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By and large, you can’t go wrong with Apple’s current crop of desktops and laptops powered by Apple Silicon processors. The lineup is stronger than it has ever been, especially with this week’s launch of new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M2 inside.

But there’s one notable exception. There’s one MacBook that pretty much no one should buy, and that’s the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

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The current MacBook lineup

When reviews of the M2 MacBook Pro were published last year, a consensus was immediately clear: it’s the same exact MacBook Pro that Apple has sold for years, just with an M2 chip inside. It features the previous generation design, the same Touch Bar, the same two USB-C ports, and the same limitations.

For context, here’s the current slate of Apple’s MacBook lineup:

There’s a glaring hole in that lineup, with a $700 price delta between the M2 MacBook Pro and the 14-inch MacBook Pro.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro exists to fill that gap, but it’s so far below the 14-inch MacBook Pro, in terms of both price and capabilities, that it doesn’t really fill that gap. It gets even more confusing when you look at how close the M2 MacBook Pro is to the M1 MacBook Air and the M2 MacBook Air, again in terms of both price and features.

The M2 MacBook Air specifically offers some benefits over the M2 MacBook Pro. You get an extra port thanks to the MagSafe charging connector, the webcam is 1080p vs 720p on the MacBook Pro, and the speaker system is more powerful. The display is slightly larger as well, with Apple branding it as a “Liquid Retina Display.”

Which MacBook should you buy?

I hope I’ve made the argument clear enough that you already know part of the answer to this question. Unless you are an absolute Touch Bar fanatic, there’s no reason to buy the M2 MacBook Pro. Not only is it more expensive than the two MacBook Air models, but it’s also inferior in a number of different ways.

I hope that Apple closes the gap between the $1299 MacBook Pro and the $1999 MacBook Pro. There are whispers of a new 15-inch MacBook/MacBook Air of some sort coming in 2023 or 2024. This machine might even feature options for either an M2 or M2 Pro chip inside. Ideally, this will sit right in between the two MacBook Pro models.

If you’re shopping for a MacBook and you need it immediately, the M1 MacBook Air is the best option without shelling out $2,000 for the 14-inch MacBook Pro. The M2 MacBook Air is an even more enticing option with its modern design, improved screen, and faster processor.

Wrap up

So why does the M2 MacBook Pro exist? Well, it exists to fill the gap between the MacBook Air and the 14-inch MacBook Pro. It does that poorly. Looking beyond that, it seems to purely come down to marketing. There are some people (and particularly enterprise buyers) who are dead set on buying a “Pro” machine from Apple.

It’s actually a bit deceiving. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with an M2 chip is branded as a “Pro” machine, but it’s not “Pro” in any way. The only things that may justfy the “Pro” adjective are its fans and its longer battery life. The fans might let the M2 MacBook Pro sustain peak performance longer than the fan-less MacBook Air. For most people, however, this doesn’t mean anything.

Other than that, it’s not a “Pro” machine. In fact, you could even argue that the MacBook Air fits that “Pro” branding better.

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No One Wants Another H

The first atomic test was atmospheric. From that day in 1945 and through the first two decades after the end of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union conducted around 400 more atmospheric tests in total. France carried out its last atmospheric test in the 1970s, and China conducted the last atmospheric nuclear test to date in October 1980. Over half the population of the world is younger than the last nuclear detonation in the sky, but that might all change as tensions between the United States and North Korea edge toward a modern atomic brinkmanship.

North Korea is the only nation to test nuclear weapons in the 21st century. So far, all of North Korea’s tests were done underground, where the effects of the blast can be better contained. Testing an atmospheric blast means lofting a warhead vertically, above North Korea itself, or it means launching on a more horizontal trajectory, with the missile carrying a nuclear warhead traversing over a nearby country. While within the technical abilities of Kim Jong-un’s state, it took a failure of diplomatic understanding to even put the test on the proverbial negotiating table.

On Friday, Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said that, in response to President Trump’s threat at the United Nations to destroy North Korea, Pyongyang may take action, up to and including the “powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific,” according to Yonhap. The statement followed an escalating war of words that week, as the president of the world’s oldest nuclear power tried to constrain the world’s youngest.

To understand the risk posed by a possible new atmospheric test, it helps to step back to 1963, when the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty. And we’ll need to narrow our scope a little—down to baby teeth.

Radioactive baby teeth

“Health concerns in the American public were rising, because of detectable levels of radiation in people’s bones,” says Alex Wellerstein, an assistant professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology who specializes in the history of nuclear weapons. “There was a big event called the baby tooth survey, where people were encouraged to send in their children’s baby teeth after they had fallen out. Scientists could use that in conjunction with the location and the age of the child to track how much Strontium 90 was getting into American bones.”

Strontium 90 is a radioactive isotope produced by nuclear fission. With atmospheric tests, the plume of radioactive by-product would stay in the atmosphere, mix with other clouds, and then come down when it rained, and end up in the ecosystem, like on grass. Cows would eat that grass, and then because strontium acts like calcium chemically, that strontium would end up in the milk, and then end up in human bones.

“Little bits of this stuff aren’t going to cause you lots of trouble,” says Wellerstein, “but as you raise that exposure up higher and higher and over large populations, you’re just adding little bits of uptick to the base chance of fatal cancer, which is already higher than people like to think about. Adding a couple percentage points in there for a population of 300 million starts to add up to thousands of people, even if it’s hard to detect which radioactive source the exposure was from specifically.”

Besides the health impact, there was a strategic reason to ban atmospheric tests, too. Testing underground limits the size of the weapons that a nation can develop. Not every nuclear power signed and abided by the Partial Test Ban Treaty: besides North Korea, France and China are still not signatories, though it’s been decades since either tested in a way that would violate the treaty. Should North Korea decide to test a weapon in the Pacific, it would also have the challenge of getting that weapon to the Pacific.

No safe trajectory to the Pacific

“The shortest pathway to open ocean is over Hokkaido the way they’ve gone with the two Hawsong tests,” says Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT. “It’d have to be a trajectory that doesn’t look like it’s coming to the continental US or Guam, and gives them open ocean. That’s the Hokkaido trajectory, we’ve gotten used to it, they’ve gotten used it it, I think that’s probably the way they go, and it’s the thinnest part of Japan, so the risk to Japan is minimized.”

Twice in August, North Korea tested missiles in a flight over the southwestern peninsula of the island of Hokkaido in Japan. It was the first and second such launches over Japan in over a decade, and the only ones so far that are explicitly missiles, rather than satellite launch vehicles. The launches passed over only two small parts of the island, but they still passed directly through Japan’s airspace, and prompted text alerts for the public in case the tests were instead an attack. Minimizing risk here does not mean no risk, and that’s assuming the missiles perform as expected and carry on into the Pacific.

“The United States only once tested a live warhead on a ballistic missile on ballistic trajectory,” says Wellerstein. “It was Shot Frigatebird of Operation Dominick, which was a submarine launched missile.”

“In general, testing both at once adds a lot of risk and uncertainty and isn’t safe,” says Wellerstein. “There are worst case scenarios which can you prevent with clever engineering, like putting a sensor on the warhead that says ‘if I’m not where I’m supposed to be, don’t go off’, and hopefully North Korea will build those. Less catastrophic but still not good, the missile blows up on the warhead, which won’t explode ideally but may disperse plutonium, or it may blow up in midair. And missiles sometimes do explode on a launchpad and disperse plutonium all over, which is a contamination problem.”

There is the chance that the missile does not reach its intended spot in the Pacific, and explodes prematurely over land. It could also be targeted by missile defense systems, which have so far never succeeded against a target in realistic conditions (though some systems have had some successes in recent test exercises). A test that fails over land and results in deaths, especially if the warhead goes off.

“If something doesn’t go according to plan, and the warhead detonates at a lower altitude than intended and then there are effects on shipping or civil aviation or loss of life,” says Narang, “that’s a world-changing event, that’s an act of war, and I’m not sure how we’re going to climb down from that.”

“We’ve made it hard for the North Koreans to do that,” says Wellerstein. “If they give us forewarning and say, ‘hey, we’re going to test a missile’, we’ve made it clear we’re going to try and shoot down their missiles. You can’t have both, you can’t tell people you’re going to shoot down their missile, maybe, and tell them you’d like it if you gave them warning before the test.”

There could also be an electromagnetic pulse, though beyond the immediate area experiencing the blast, fire, and radiation, it’d be hard to say how much extra reach that electromagnetic pulse effect would have. Many planes in the United States have some protection against this, which is to say some protection against electrical storms, that might translate into protecting it from the pulse.

Outside the immediate blast area, there’s still that plume of radioactive gas.

“If a weapon goes off in the atmosphere, you’ll detect that radioactivity from huge distances, even distances where that radioactivity doesn’t pose any health threats,” says Wellerstein. “I think that’s going to make people very uncomfortable, as the difference between the radioactivity you can detect and the radioactivity that can hurt you is going to be lost on a lot of Americans.”

That plume, and the deadlier risks it entails, is one possible outcome of tensions and miscommunication between the White House and Pyongyang. Should North Korea be the first nation to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test in this century, it would not be the first nation to surprise the United States with such a test. In 1966, China detonated a nuclear weapon at high altitude while President Lyndon B. Johnson was visiting Thailand.

Relearning how to win another Cold War

“All the same rhetoric we used for Kim Jong-un, we used for Mao,” says Narang. “We said ‘he’s a madman, he can’t be trusted with nuclear weapons’. But we managed. Deterrence has a logic of its own, it’s a universal language. The reality is, Kim Jong-un has bought himself insurance against external regime change, invasion, probably efforts at disarmament. Should the United States attempt it, there’s a possibility of Guam or Japan or even the continental United States eating a nuke. This reality is why he bought himself nuclear weapons in the first place, so he didn’t meet the fate of Saddam and Gaddafi. He’s not going to give them up.”

For decades, the United States maintained a policy of denuclearization for North Korea, hoping some combination of sanctions and diplomatic pressure would convince the pariah state to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Despite the sanctions, despite attempts to isolate North Korea diplomatically, the country developed its own nuclear weapons. This progress capped off this summer with the tests of two intercontinental ballistic missiles and a thermonuclear bomb.

“And the fact is, he’s a nuclear weapons power at this point. We have to get out of the frame of trying to denuclearization, because that’s probably not going to happen,” says Narang. “It means learning how to practice deterrence, like we did with the Chinese and the Russians. It means dialogue and diplomacy at some level. We don’t have to like it, but this is the reality right now. Once you pass the threshold, the cost of denuclearizing is higher than practicing deterrence, which is something the United States is actually pretty good at.”

Homepod Multiroom Is Just One Way Apple Is Playing Catch

HomePod multiroom is just one way Apple is playing catch-up

Eight months after it was announced, Apple’s HomePod is finally making it to Apple Store shelves. The Siri smart speaker promises voice-controlled access to your streaming music along with the ability to answer questions and control your smart home. However, there are some things to bear in mind before you flex your credit card.

Apple took a little extra time to refine what HomePod offers, and we have high hopes for the connected speaker’s audio performance. Squeezing a high-excursion 20mm woofer and seven tweeter array into a relatively compact housing isn’t easy, and nor is doing automatic room calibration. From what we’ve already heard – albeit in a relatively limited setting – HomePod sounds impressive.

Out of the box, though, there’ll be some features missing which rivals are already offering. The biggest issue is likely to be the absence of either multi-room audio or stereo support. Unlike Sonos, to use one of the better-known examples, you won’t be able to link multiple HomePod speakers together and play the same track through all of them at once.

To be clear, you’ll be able to have multiple HomePods set up on the same network. Each, though, will be treated individually rather than supporting grouping, as Sonos has long offered and as Amazon and Google added to their Echo and Home smart speakers more recently. Apple says that’ll be coming in a software update later in 2023. When AirPlay 2 arrives, also expected sometime in 2023, you’ll be able to control other compatible speakers in multiple rooms.

It’ll also be adding stereo support retroactively, too. Then, if you have two HomePod speakers set up in the same room, you’ll be able to link them as a stereo pair – one unit delivering the left audio channel, the other the right channel – as you can do with Sonos’ connected speakers.

The other big absence is voice calling. Google Home and Amazon Echo both support making speakerphone calls through each smart speaker, even recognizing who is asking to place the call and automatically searching their contacts for the right person. That’s not something Apple will apparently be offering.

Instead, it’ll be using HomePod as a speakerphone for your iPhone. Start or receive a call on Apple’s smartphone, and you’ll be able to hand it off to the HomePod, just as you can currently do with AirPods or a Bluetooth-connected car audio system. On the plus side, you will be able to send messages using voice via HomePod, and Siri will read them out to you through the smart speaker when they’re incoming.

Apple is, effectively, arriving late to not one but two markets: it’s lagging both Sonos in the multi-room speaker segment, along with Amazon and Google in the smart speaker category. Counting out Apple is seldom a wise idea, though the HomePod will likely take a few firmware updates before it’s the entirely compelling alternative to rivals like the Sonos One or Google Home Max. We’ll know that for sure when HomePod arrives on February 9.

Apple Watch Comparison: Which One Is Right For You?

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The Apple Watch is still far and away the most popular line of wearable devices in the world. According to analyst Counterpoint Research, it accounted for more than 30 percent of all smartwatches sold in 2023. The wider range of Apple Watches also contains the best overall smartwatches you can get right now if you’re looking for a “lifestyle” watch that blends fitness tracking, health features, and a secondary interface for notifications, texts, and calls from your phone. In 2023, however, Apple completely overhauled the Apple Watch line with a wave of three new models: the standard Apple Watch Series 8, the budget-friendly second-generation Apple Watch SE, and a new high-end sports watch, the Apple Watch Ultra. Between those three and all of the past models, which you can still find at Amazon and other retailers, you have many options if you’re considering your first Apple Watch or upgrading from an older design. Before you commit to putting a new computer on your wrist, we’ve put together this Apple Watch comparison to help you figure out how to pick the right one for you.

Apple Watch SE 2 vs. Series 8 vs. Ultra

For the most part, we think it’s prudent to focus on Apple’s current set of Watches. They have the latest and greatest tech inside—perfect to pair with that new iPhone 14 Pro Max. All three 2023 watches—even the relatively affordable SE—feature the same processor and motion sensors that enable car crash detection. The 2023 models will also get more watchOS software updates down the road, which means you can hold onto one (or more) longer before your Watch needs replacing. From cheapest to most expensive, here are the three current options and why you may or may not want them:

Apple Watch SE 2

At the same time, the second-generation SE comes closer to parity with the standard Apple Watch than the last generation. It features the same chipset inside and offers the same battery life. It offers the power and features to work effectively as a fitness tracker, sleep tracker, and iPhone companion device for most people. And it costs substantially less. If you just want an Apple Watch that works, and you don’t necessarily care about getting every kind of data, the SE 2 is probably the move.

Apple Watch Series 8 Apple Watch Ultra

The Apple Watch Ultra is the most powerful Apple Watch and, frankly, will be overkill for most people. The $799 Apple Watch Ultra is an outdoor-focused “sport” watch, similar to many of Garmin’s high-end wearables. Unlike the other Apple Watches, it’s only in one size—a huge 49mm case—with cellular support and dual-frequency GPS built in. It features a thicker, more durable build with a redesigned digital crown and an extra “Action” button to quickly start workouts and toggle other functions. 

The Ultra gets double the battery life of the other 2023 Apple Watches—36 hours versus 18 hours on the Series 8 and SE—which is great for everyone, but many of its features are designed for athletes and outdoorsy folk dealing with harsh conditions. Its powerful built-in speakers enable a loud SOS siren if you get lost in the woods. Improved waterproofing, certifications, and a dedicated app qualify it as a diving computer. The three-microphone array is burlier than normal to improve call clarity in situations with power interference from blizzards and powerful winds. It even has specialty bands for specific activities like diving and endurance training.

Given the difference in price and specificity of its feature set, you should only consider getting the Apple Watch Ultra if you are either a serious athlete or a fan of outdoor activities that require specialized equipment like climbing, off-trail hiking, and diving. If that sounds like your speed, you’re better off comparing the Apple Watch Ultra to the best Garmin smartwatches, as well as top picks from other brands like Suunto.

What about the older Apple Watches?

Though Apple’s lineup is limited to those three watches, there are still plenty of ways to get your hands on an older-model Apple Watch. If you aren’t concerned with getting a handful of new features in the Series 8, such as low-power mode, Car Crash Detection, and temperature sensors for ovulation tracking, the Apple Watch Series 7 is still a very appealing, very viable option. Likewise, the Apple Watch Series 6 gives you most of the same functionality as the Series 7 and Series 8, though you’ll be stuck with a smaller display, which makes a bigger difference than you think.

I would not recommend going further back than the Series 6 at this point. Independent of the features you’ll lose access to model by model, the older Apple Watches inevitably offer shorter lifespans. With every new version of watchOS, the Apple Watch’s operating system, the company will inevitably shut off support for each older watch, leaving you without access to new software-enabled features and security updates. It may be cheaper, but we can’t recommend you buy an Apple Watch Series 4, knowing that it will likely become obsolete in less than 12 months. And suppose you’re using an Apple Watch Series 3, which Apple sold until earlier this year but stopped supporting with watchOS 9. In that case, you should consider upgrading soon to ensure your watch remains secure, especially if you use it for Apple Pay.

What size watch face should you get?

The new Apple Watch SE offers two case sizes, 40mm and 44mm. Series 8 features a larger size range at 41mm and 45mm. The Apple Watch Ultra comes in a single, extra-large 49mm size. Though it sounds small, even a 1mm difference can feel quite striking on your wrist and looks substantially larger.

If you’re unsure what size would feel right, we recommend going to an Apple store or other retailer and trying all sizes on to see what feels right. If one Watch feels noticeably better than the others, go with it. A bigger screen is an upgrade, but it won’t matter if the Watch feels bulky or uncomfortable on your wrist. 

Which Apple smartwatch is the best fitness tracker?

The new Heart zones feature in watchOS 9 enhances runs on any Apple Watch. Mike Epstein

The Apple Watch Ultra has special features that make it the best fitness tracker for certain kinds of athletes and workouts. The action button on the side of the watch makes it easier to switch between legs of a race or training if you’re in the middle of a multi-phase workout, for example. It also offers superior GPS for more accurate tracking while using the Apple Watch’s “Race Route” feature to create and follow a work routine.

That said, in terms of heart tracking and data collection, the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra feature the same sensors for tracking your heart rate and movement. If you’re looking for a watch to bring to the gym or track your outdoor runs, the Series 8 is probably the right call.

Is the stainless steel Apple Watch upgrade worth it?

In addition to the standard recycled aluminum body, you can pay extra for an Apple Watch Series 8 made from stainless steel. The Apple Watch Ultra features a highly durable titanium body. Both metals are tougher than aluminum and won’t scratch or dent as easily. Perhaps more importantly, the stainless steel Series 8 and the Ultra come with an extra-hard sapphire crystal over the display. Having worn both models extensively, I can say that the sapphire crystal upgrade clearly resists scratches and damage better than the Ion-X glass used in the standard Series 8 and SE 2 displays. We haven’t had any problems with scratches or breakage with the Ion-X glass, though, so it isn’t a huge concern if you’re not putting it in harm’s way regularly. 

Of course, that extra durability—and the additional colorways—will cost you. The stainless steel case models start at $699, and the Apple Watch Ultra costs $799. If you plan to keep one watch for a long time, the additional durability may be worth it. That said, you shouldn’t worry about your watch being highly fragile if you don’t.

Do you need cellular data on the Apple Watch?

When making your own Apple Watch comparison, whether or not you need cellular data is a major feature difference between models. The Watch itself costs more with cellular built-in: it’s a $50 premium for the SE and an extra $100 on the Series 8. Then you’ll have to factor in the cost of the data itself. Most carriers will charge you about $10 per month extra to add basic data to your Watch. Check with your carrier for compatibility before making a purchase. 

That extra expense may be worth it for some people because it allows them to use many Apple Watch features without lugging around an iPhone. So, if you run without a phone, you can still make calls and listen to music from streaming services. 

So, which Apple Watch should you buy?

Without any information about you, dear reader, we think the Apple Watch Series 8 offers the best balance between price and functionality. If that doesn’t ring true, if there are things you really want (or don’t want) that steer you to another watch, we totally get it. That’s why we made this Apple Watch comparison. The important thing is finding the Apple Watch that fits your life.

One Class, One Day: Lessons From The Wire

One Class, One Day: Lessons from The Wire Students mine series for insights into cities’ social construction

Don Gillis (left) with Jamie Hector, who played Marlo Stanfield, and Gbenga Akinnagbe, who played Chris Partlow, on The Wire. Photos courtesy of Don Gillis and by Cydney Scott

Class by class, lecture by lecture, question asked by question answered, an education is built. This is one of a series of visits to one class, on one day, in search of those building blocks at BU.

As an African American from San Antonio, Tex., aspiring urban planner Lauren Williams didn’t realize how little she knew about low-income city life and the racial issues that often infuse it. Until she took a seat this semester in Don Gillis’ new course, The City in the Media: The Sociology of HBO’s The Wire.

“I believed that I was well versed in the black-white urban culture,” says Williams (MET’11). “But The Wire and Michael Patrick MacDonald’s book All Souls exposed me to a level of ‘urban’ that I never knew existed.”

Over the course of the semester, Williams and fellow students watched all 60 hourlong episodes of the critically acclaimed urban drama. They also read, among other texts, MacDonald’s 2000 memoir of growing up in a poor Irish family in the South Boston projects in the 1970s. The thinking behind the class, says Gillis (GRS’13), an adjunct faculty member in City Planning and Urban Affairs program at Metropolitan College, was to pierce the so-called BU bubble, where many students dwell while on campus. “BU students spend four years in Boston and many have very little understanding of the major issues,” he says.

The HBO series, set in Baltimore, ran for five seasons, from 2002 to 2008. Created by one-time Baltimore Sun crime reporter David Simon and former Baltimore homicide detective Ed Burns, The Wire probes inner city life from all sides, starting with the drug trade, moving on to unions and the working poor, city politics, public education, and the media. Infused with gritty dialogue, the show was lauded for its authenticity and nuanced exploration of social issues, including the inner workings of police and criminal gangs. Many of the characters are composites of real-life Baltimore figures, and the show’s cast members were largely unknowns, some with their own street-hardened backgrounds.

“The Wire is a perfect text, better than any scholarly journal or book,” says Gillis, who is also executive director of the Massachusetts Workforce Board Association. “The show raised issues that if you look around are issues that we’re facing today—the change in the economy, going from manufacturing to service. We have 15 million people unemployed and the only ones making money are the corporations that aren’t putting people to work.”

After The Wire went off the air, sociology and law departments at a handful of colleges and universities, such as Johns Hopkins, Middlebury, Harvard, and Duke, began offering courses on the show. The Wire has even trickled down to high school curriculums and leapt over the pond to lecture halls in England.

At one class meeting this spring, at the Fuller Building at 808 Comm Ave, Gillis guided the students through the evolution of public housing in the United States, from its post-Depression-era roots as housing for the working class to the contemporary dwelling place of “the savage urban other.” His students had just started watching season three of The Wire, which opens with the demolition of one of the public high rises controlled by Avon Barksdale’s gang, which pushes his drug dealers onto the streets and into previously untouched areas, leading to a bloody turf war.

“What it’s signaling is the change in both the physical structure and the social structure of that community,” Gillis says, walking over to the desk holding his laptop.

He puts up on the screen a slide showing the Pruitt Igoe housing development in St. Louis, Mo., a massive collection of high rises built in the 1950s. Over the years, Gillis says, Pruitt Igoe became symbolic of everything wrong with public housing—its disconnect from the surrounding community, drugs, violence. The complex was demolished 18 years after construction, the first major destruction of a public housing development. He noted that Columbia Point, one of Boston’s first housing projects, was built on the city dump at Harbor Point.

Brian Corbett (MET’11) says public housing around the country grew into vertical warehousing for the poor, with green areas paved over for ease of maintenance and little for children to do other than play with the elevators until they broke down.

“In Chicago, it seemed like the politicians wanted to keep public housing primarily in the slum areas and out of the white neighborhoods, keep them out of sight,” he says. “It doesn’t seem like there was a lot of planning of how to accommodate for children and things like that.”

Later, Gillis asks what responsibility lies with the government in responding to social needs like housing, employment, and income support.

“Those are some of the questions that I think David Simon tries to raise in the series,” he says. “He’s saying we’re a bankrupt country because we don’t really focus on these issues. We let the housing deteriorate, we let these things go on in these communities, people shooting one another. What are we really doing about this as a country?”

The next month, some of his students got the chance to hear from Simon himself. As one of the first universities to teach The Wire, Harvard Law School hosted a panel discussion featuring the series cocreator and members of the cast, as well Donnie Andrews, the real-life inspiration for renegade gangster Omar Little, played by Michael Williams. Gillis’ class was invited. Several of the show’s actors were so affected by their experience that they launched nonprofits aimed at remedying urban poverty in Baltimore and other cities.

“In my opinion the most passionate speaker was Sonja Sohn, the actress who played Baltimore police officer Kima Greggs,” says Elise Kulik (CAS’11). “While speaking about her nonprofit, a community center in East Baltimore called the Village House, she emphasized the importance of paying attention to people because ‘that which we pay attention to grows.’”

Kulik says Sohn and the show have made a deep impact on her thinking and how she wants to spend her professional and personal life.

“I have to offer my time and talent to address these issues in whatever city I live in next,” she says. “Not necessarily out of duty, but because The Wire gave faces to the crime statistics and high school dropouts, serving as a reminder that the ramifications of poverty, segregation, brokenness, racism, and poor education happen to real people—people deserving of my attention and sacrifice.”

Gillis will teach MET UA 403: Boston Urban Seminar in fall 2011, focusing on Boston’s people and neighborhoods.

Caleb Daniloff can be reached at [email protected].

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Hdg Explains : What Is A Dedicated Ip Address & Should I Get One?

Most people are under the assumption that when you sign for a hosting plan, you get your own IP address, but that’s not true. The truth is you need to sign up for a dedicated IP address for that. But what is a dedicated IP address?

Most hosting packages will give you an IP address that’s shared by a number of other customers. This means that the bandwidth for internet traffic is stretched across multiple websites.

Table of Contents

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at the difference between a dedicated IP and a shared hosting account, and explain whether it’s worth getting a dedicated IP or not.

What Is a Dedicated IP Address In Hosting?

Most typical hosting plans come  at a low price because the hosting company can place multiple hosting accounts at the same IP address. This means that one server is essentially dedicated to multiple different customers.

A dedicated IP address is different and it means you’ll have your very own IP address, or server, dedicated to your one account. It costs more for a dedicated IP address because the hosting provider must reserve more server resources for just one customer, but it usually comes with a number of benefits.

What Are The Benefits of Using a Dedicated IP Address For Your Website?

When you’re on a shared plan, your IP address is shared with other customers. Your privacy and account details are safe and there’s no way to know who is sharing an IP address with you. But using a shared IP address does pose a risk to your website performance.

Firstly, because there could be multiple websites with incoming traffic hosted on a single server, bandwidth has to be managed. The peak maximum upload and download speeds are often restricted to very specific levels with these hosting plans so that the servers don’t become overloaded.

Unfortunately that means that if you hit a spike in traffic from a viral post or a well performing article on Google for example, traffic may be throttled. Users may have to wait longer for your website to load so that your site isn’t causing issues to other customers sharing your same IP address.

This can have a huge negative impact on your user retention. Page speed score is important. So upgrading to a dedicated IP address can stop this issue from ever happening.

Another negative drawback to using a shared hosting plan is that you may risk interference to your website performance as a result of other customer activity. 

As we explained above, website traffic is throttled which means if things work like they should, you shouldn’t see any drastic performance issues if a customer sharing your IP address suddenly has a surge in traffic. But technology doesn’t always work as expected, and there’s no guaranteeing other customer activity may not cause issues. 

One example could be if a customer sharing your IP address is targeted by a DDOS attack. Because you’re sharing a server with that customer, your website could have connectivity issues.

Another issue with shared plan hosting is that it’s not just the server network speeds that are shared. You also have to share other system resources, including storage. Because of this, shared IP hosting often limits a user’s storage size quite significantly, so you’ll have trouble expanding your website in the future if you keep uploading new content.

Of course, a dedicated IP address will resolve all of these problems. With a dedicated IP address, all system resources are dedicated only to you, including network speed, memory, and storage space.

Not all servers are built the same, so even if you plan to have your own dedicated IP Address, you must make sure the server has the right hardware and network requirements to manage your website and incoming traffic.

Dedicated IP hosting also has other benefits. Because you are the sole customer using that server, you are given greater control over how it operates because you won’t impact any other customer’s experience. You can control how your storage is distributed across your websites and manage network performance so you’re always ready to endure any sudden spikes in traffic.

Different hosting accounts offer different levels of support, so it may mean that owning a dedicated IP address requires more manual maintenance. But you’ll need to check with each server hosting provider to find out more details about that.

Dedicated IP vs Shared Hosting – Which Is Better?

It should be clear that a dedicated IP address has a number of benefits over shared hosting, but is it always the clear choice? Below we’ve taken a look at pricing and performance differences between dedicated IP hosting and shared server hosting on Bluehost, a popular provider.

The Stats of Dedicated IP Hosting

Pricing from $119.99-$209.99

4 Cores @ 2.3GHz – 3.3GHz

500GB to 1TB mirrored storage


5TB-15TB bandwidth

3-5 unique IP addresses

The Stats of Shared Hosting

Pricing from $7.99-$23.99

No dedicated IP address

Storage, performance, and network throttled

Bluehost uses terms like “unlimited” or “unmetered” for its bandwidth and storage. What that means is that Bluehost monitors the average performance of their customers on shared plans and ensures that their servers can support the customers using it based on this data. And while your bandwidth and storage is technically unlimited, if you go outside of what they consider normal usage, Bluehost will contact you and ask you to tone it down a little bit.

For most people, the cost difference alone is why shared hosting is more than enough. Unless you’re running a popular website, dedicated hosting isn’t nessacary. But if you start to ramp up more traffic, upgrading to dedicated hosting can be a worthwhile investment.

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