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MacBook

Amongst the celebratory gifts I got for father’s day this year was a pretty surprising toy. I had been commenting to Tammy for a while about how cool I thought the new Apple MacBook was. She decided that it was inevitable that I was going to get one and surprised me on father’s day with a nice box containing a black MacBook.

The Path to Here

I was born and raised on the Macintosh platform (after some very early years on TRS-80, TI-99/4A and finally Apple //c). I fondly can remember the release of the first color Mac, multifinder and the advent of System 7. However, when I came to college I discovered Unix and “real” operating systems. I then wandered into the Windows NT world as I moved into the professional or commercial world and never looked back to the Mac. Until…

About a year-and-a-half ago I got an iMac. The main reason I got the iMac was location. It was going in a very public place in our house and I wanted something that looked good. I was open to getting a Mac because of OS X. Apple had finally given up on the horrendous operating systems they had and moved to a Unix based environment. Stability and tools were greatly improved. I’ve been happy with the iMac, but then Apple got really serious.

The announcement a year ago to switch to the Intel chip was huge. The promise of hackable machines that could run Mac OS X but also run Windows and other environments was a siren song. And it’s become real over the last year. This decision, combined with a good, stable OS and some very nice hardware got me to get back in with the Mac crowd in a bigger way with the MacBook.

Initial Impressions

The MacBook is an extremely well constructed and versatile machine. It isn’t as light as my business laptop (Dell D410), but the construction quality runs laps around my other home laptop (Sony VGN-S360). Everything is solid. The keyboard looks like it may be a “chiclet” keyboard, but it’s feel is great. One of my favorite laptop keyboards thus far.

On the software side I’m enjoying Mac OS X. I’ve been using it on the iMac for a while, but mostly that computer just surfs the web and ‘looks pretty’. This machine has been getting more industrial use and I’ve optimized it more for myself. I’ve purchased Parallels as well which allows me to run Windows XP (and really almost any x86 operating system) without rebooting. The product is great for a v1.0 and they will close the gaps in the coming updates. I look forward to having one machine with Mac OS X, Windows XP, Windows Vista and whatever else I want on it. Can you say Swiss Army Knife?

Areas of Improvement

There are some things that Apple didn’t get right yet. First, Apple’s insistance on a 1-button mouse is just infuriating. I may give them a break if they didn’t emulate a 2-button mouse themselves by holding down the control key. If your software uses a 2-button mouse concept, put one on the computer!

The MacBook is also extremely hot. Much has been written about this and I’m hopeful that there will be a firmware update to lessen this. I’ve been using CoreDuoTemp to monitor and I’ve seen my CPU hit 90° C. (Right now just typing it’s at 77° C.)

It’s a Wrap

I have to take my hat off to Apple. To get me to buy a Mac laptop is a feat. I had all but given up on them and they’ve really risen from the ashes. This is a fun machine.

6 Comments

  1. Yeah, I think one is in the future for me too. I really prefer the *nix OS’s to Windows; however, there are a few pieces of software that are pretty much indispensible in business land such as Powerpoint, Visio, and a few others. The ability to run multiple OS’s simultaneously pretty much clinches the deal. How does your battery life compare to the Sony?

  2. Battery life is okay — definitely not stellar. I get a little over 3 hours on a battery. Of course, I may just be spoiled by my Dell D410 with extended battery that can go for 5+ hours. The Sony does a little better than the MacBook, but not much.

    If you consider one, just factor the cost of Parallels desktop into the price ($50 on introductory price now). You can run Linux as well which may be nice for some of what you do. Right now, unfortunately, Parallels cannot run Vista (I tried!) because it’s virtual BIOS doesn’t support ACPI. However, this is coming RSN (real soon now) in an updated release.

  3. my favorite part of this post is learning about the acronym RSN.

  4. A MacBook is in my future as well since I like that you you can dual boot the Mac with OS X and Windows. I will have to check out Parallels as well, but thought about using Boot Camp. On the heating issue of your MacBook. Have you checked to make sure there isn’t a plastic cover over the cooling vents? I have seen that the factory that puts the MacBooks together has been forgetting to remove said plastic thus causing heating issues. Just a thought.

  5. I read the same thing — along with the theories of too much thermal paste. No vent being blocked on mine, it’s just really hot. :-)

  6. You can also emulate a right mouse click by putting two fingers on the trackpad like you’re going to scroll, but then click instead. It works in Parallels too.

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