Thursday, February 19, 2009


So as I was playing my way to a mighty 20th place finish in The Mookie last night, I was also busy setting up my new MacBook.

Yah, despite my protestations to the contrary, I bought a Mac.

First impressions? I did the right thing.

After Dell's masterstroke of keeping me from ever making a major purchase with them, I was resolved to find an alternative. After examining and dismissing the other retail options (Toshiba/HP/Sony - bad enter key, Lenovo - boring black box, Asus - battery life of a dollar-store flashlight, Acer/Gateway/other - I prefer my computers to last), I loaded up Ye Ole Apple website.

My company has an employee purchase program with Apple, so I save a few percent when I mention the powerhouse who signs my cheques. The MacBook pros? Too big. The MacBook Air? Too overpriced. MacBook? Well... 0.19" thicker than the Air, and 1.5 lbs heavier. Also, aluminum and "green". Pretty asthetics aside, it matched every feature I was looking for, with the exception of a solid state drive (which was a $400 add-on... too pricey for what it is). It did, however, have incredibly easy drive access, so i can replace that puppy when SSD's drop to a price level I like. Oh, and with the EPP in place, it cost the same as I was willing to spend on the Dell (which had the SSD in it, but that's $200 I'm willing to spend as my own personal "fuck you" to Dell).

So, LED backlit screen, Bluetooth, Wireless n, enter key in a place that makes some damned sense, lightweight, portable, and in the price range? Done.

I strolled over to the local Apple store to get some hands-on time with the machine. The trackpad took some getting used to, but the keyboard is great. The OS may take some time to familiarize myself with, but I can always dump it for Linux or XP if I really want.

I was surprised at how busy the place was, and it took me a good 5-10 minutes to flag someone down. Once I did though, I had a computer, extra battery, and sleeve in about 4 minutes. Talk about a night and day experience compared to Dell. Friendly staff, a well-oiled retail machine (order placed from any computer on the floor, checkout done from anywhere on the floor, receipt e-mailed), and zero pressure.

No wonder their market share is growing. It's not just about iPhones and iPods.

I got home, went to the Raptors-Cavs game (yay! tickets replaced! boo - Raps got creamed). Came home, fired up The Mookie, and plugged in the MacBook.

Use is simple enough, but installation is a bit odd. Drag this icon to that icon of a folder? Now find that folder in Finder? Drag to the Dock or create an alias and move the alias to the desktop? Downloads get mounted on the desktop and have to be ejected? I'd probably have been more confused if not for my Linux days.

This could be the major thing that bugs me - access. I've always been someone who dives for the hardware manager, registry, etc., to fiddle with things. When I used Linux, it wasn't a proper install unless I'd recompiled the kernel a dozen times. But now, there's this underlying assumption that I don't WANT to know where anything is or how it works. I'm not so sure I like that. But hey, I have X11 on there and a terminal window is easy to open for me to explore the fairly standard *nix directory structure.

But I think I'll keep it. Now I need a bluetooth mouse.

Oh, and my night ended with my desktop going BSOD while I continued my attempt at C: backup. Methinks I know which drive is having the problem.

One other thing - when I got home, there was a message letting me know a package was downstairs for me. I picked up the box from Dell and laughed. The laptop sleeve I'd ordered with my laptop from them had arrived! Despite the fact they put in a cancellation request. Oy.


Schaubs said...

LOL @ your "enter key" frustrations... It seems rather minut to worry about such a thng, but it seems that it was one of the major deciding factors.

I'd have to see it and use it to believe it.

Schaubs said...

Oops. I hit post too soon.

Meant to say "congrats on the purchase"

Astin said...

Oh, I know, and at first it was a non-issue. Then I actually started using various laptops in-store, and every time I went to hit enter, there was a "\" instead.

So websites were\ (and wouldn't load becuase I didn't hit enter). Typing involved a lot of slashes at the end, etc..

It was a pain in the ass, and I hate those :).

Unknown said...


No need to dual boot Linux or XP, imo. Well done.

You bought the extended warranty...didn't you? Sucker.

Use it in good health. Congrats.

Astin said...

The day I buy an extended warranty is the day I wire up my BOSE speakers with Monster cable. Also, dogs and cats will be living together and they'll be having snocones in Hell.

My credit card already doubles the warranty anyway. :)