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My new ‘puter

7 Comments

[UPDATE: 2007.11.13]
So after playing and working with the Macbook Pro.  I have decided to stick with it.  Its a real nice machine regardless of the OS.  Though I have a few things to learn with the OS, I think it will come naturally with very little time.  I am certainly not a mac-geek, but I do see why it is so appealing.  The Terminal and the whole UNIX thing is another issue entirely.  I really feel that I have been set back a few years as though I just graduated high school and still using DOS.  I know DOS fairly well now, but you get the idea right?  I did install XP on the bootcamp and parallels setup.  That will take some getting used to but oh well.  The funny thing is that when I go back to using ‘the Beast’ I feel a momentary crippling as my hands have already come accustomed to using the mac board.  Now if only they would have thought enough to include a real numpad on the 17″ puter, I may have gone that route.  Oh well.  Thanks for all the feedback.

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I have been in need of a secondary computer for some time now. My current rig is a behemoth 17″ laptop that must weight 10lbs with an additional brick for a power supply. When I purchased it, it was to be a desktop replacement as I wasn’t doing much travel. Things have changed. Don’t get me wrong, “the Beast” as I so adoringly call it, is a great computer. It does everything I need so long as it is plugged into the wall and needn’t be sitting on one’s lap. But now that I am doing some traveling I need something a little bit more travel-friendly.

So like a dumbass, I did very little research and went and got a Macbook Pro 15″. Two words: “Wow!” & “Shit!”. So the story goes something like, “Wow, this is so cool, I wish Windows would do this” then only to be followed by, “well shit, at least XP does that”.

Way back in the day, my family was an Apple family owning one of the first Macintosh computers that had the greyscale screen, the 3.5″ floppy drive and the funky double decker house profile. Unfortunately it was used for little more than playing Dark Castle, word processing and creating automated prank calls from bogus credit card companies. Then years later my family made the move to a Windows machine and never looked back until now. So maybe I am just a little biased after nearly 15+ years of Windows.

Rather than bitch more about Mac vs. PC I figure I would spell out what I really like about the Macbook Pro and what I would like it to do if possible. Hopefully some of you folks can steer me in the right direction.

Like my Nissan XTerra (which was a vehicle made for a person like me), the Macbook Pro has alot of little features that though not necessary to the operation of the machine, really makes it nice to use. Let’s just say there was alot of thought put into the experience of using the machine, regardless of its OS.

  • weight and size: This is the smallest, lightest and coolest (temperature-wise) 15″ notebook computer I have had resting on my haunches.
  • maglock AC adapter connection to the computer: Why haven’t they and when will other notebook manufacturers catch on to this. It probably cost next to nothing to implement this and many of the features found below
  • the AC adapter itself: Not only does it have an interchangable wall-wart/extension plug outlet connector, but it also has a built in cord wrapping system to neatly keep the AC to Computer cord wound up and out of the way.
  • backlit keyboard: This should have been a no-brainer years ago. To hell with the USB keyboard light snakes.
  • big, bright screen: I have never seen a screen so bright.
  • non-tray DVD drive: less exposed moving parts to break.
  • ambient light screen adjustment: a little finicky but maybe updates to this will improve the logic in how it fires.

So the above list are things that I love about this computer. If I could find a PC laptop that offered this, I would have probably opted for it instead. Unfortunately the PC manufacturers are lazy, stupid or just don’t care about adding a few minor things that would vastly improve the experience of working with a notebook computer. Now rather than make a shit-list of my complaints about the Mac OS (Leopard) I will instead make a list of things that I am having trouble with and hopefully some folks can point me in the right direction (did I say that already?).

  • Simply, straight-forward installation of MySQL: I know nothing of the terminal and am not looking forward to learning yet another DOS-ish language. I have found a few tutorials on building MySQL but then I cannot even navigate directories in Terminal.
  • Simple use of Ruby & Rails and other potential server languages as I decide to learn them: Doing this on XP was in itself a pain but I eventually figured it out.
  • Creating a FAT32 partition that can be seen by both the Mac OS and the NTFS install of XP: Just want a simple file xchange partition to use by both OS’s.
  • Basic Terminal navigation and commands: I must be a complete idiot but I cannot find any tutorials on working with basic syntax within the Bash language. I only know CD and LS. I certainly do not like blindly following instructions without knowing why I am doing something.

Lastly I should say that I am still within the time frame to return the Mac and get a comparable PC (I think the deadline is Nov 17th). So can anyone recommend a PC with the same features that I like about this machine up above. Price is not really an issue as I would rather find a machine that works well for all my needs rather than having to make a compromise because I wanted to be cheap.

I look forward to some feedback. What kind of machine are you using?

Thanks,
J

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7 thoughts on “My new ‘puter

  1. What about installing Windows on your new Mac Book Pro using Bootcamp?

  2. What about installing Windows on your new Mac Book Pro using Bootcamp?

  3. I have done so already. But the issue is that I feel the computer’s keyboard and key mapping along with a few more issues is somewhat prohibitive to using XP. I may investigate this further at some point if I decide to keep the machine.

    Do alot of developers do this? Are Macs a viable option to doing RIA development? I generally research this sort of thing to death but this just happened to be an impulse buy.

  4. Hi,
    reading your blog for some time now.. such good stuf! anyway, you may want to check out the toshiba’s portege series. Except for the backlight keyboard feature, etc i think its quite good when it comes to portability… i’ve had one for years without any complaints

    hth,
    san

  5. Damn right I heart my Mac. The apps are cool, there is no fear of viruses or spyware, and of course the terminal… OSX was built off unix, so if it runs on unix, run it on your mac. tomCat, apache, php, etc… Explore your sys admin side among other things. Of course there are win32 alternatives for all the above, but geekery prevails for me.

    -ekz

  6. Macbook Pro 17″. Now on Leopard despite lack of AE until Jan (thanks, Adobe…NOT). Like you, grew up on Apple (mine was Apple //C!), switched to PC ’cause that’s what we had at work, switched to my Macbook about a year ago now. Never looked back. Run Parallels only b/c I had to run a Windows VPN for one client (even though Cisco is available on Mac; I have that too), and later needed to run Enterprise Architect for another client. Someone is working on a UML tool written in Flex (AIR app I think), hopefully that will make the need for EA obsolete (I hate EA, it is cumbersome and I have many issues with it, it doesn’t seem to work well in a RAD environment). My previous workhorse was a Toshiba laptop, I noticed someone else postd a comment on Toshiba. My Macbook can run Windows faster, at the same time as Mac OSX, than my Toshiba could handle just Windows. I guess 3Gig of RAM on a UNIX OS makes a difference, too. Plus the lid cracked on the toshiba – the hinges are faulty – had to replace the lid and the hinges – I’ve seen the same problem on other toshibas being sold on ebay. Ah, and the DVDR drive went bad…hard drive died and was replaced. OK, the machine was a workhorse, I used it well and had to replace almost everything but used extremely heavily for more years than I care to mention. Still, Mac rules. Anyone want to buy a Toshiba laptop? 😛

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