My Little Corner of the Net

I Can Has Macintosh

MacBook Pro 17"After more than eight years of wanting a Mac for my office I finally got one last week. And what a nice one it is…a 17″ MacBook Pro laptop with a 2.5Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4Gb of RAM, and a 250Gb hard drive. This thing flies, and the display quality is absolutely amazing.

Apple seems to have thought of everything, too. The keyboard lights and the screen dims to adjust to the ambient lighting around you. The touch pad lets you easily scroll when you touch with two fingers, and rotate and resize images with a pinching action. The only thing that I miss are my Page Up, Page Down, Home, and End keys which are absent from the MacBook keyboard. Command-Arrow does about the same thing, but it is less convenient, especially when I’m used to hitting Home and End all the time as I write code.

Since my job often requires me to make things that are cross-platform or at least to test things on both platforms, having access to a Mac is rather important. Until now, any time I needed to use a Mac I had to go upstairs to our lab and work there. Since working this way is incredibly inconvenient and distracting, I tended to work on the Windows side of things and only test on Mac when I absolutely needed to, which sometimes led me to find problems that could have been fixed much more easily if I had tested on the Mac side a lot sooner. Now I’ll be much better able to develop both platforms in parallel and hopefully improve my quality at the same time.

I was originally going to order the 15.4″ display, but my boss suggested going for the 17″ for the extra screen real estate. I wasn’t about to argue with that, though I worried that a 17″ laptop was bordering on not being portable. Boy was I wrong, though–the thing is so slim and light that it is hardly a chore to take it home with me.

So far I like the Mac. As my buddy Jason says, it’s “usable Unix.” I’ve never particularly cared for the Windows environment but used it because a) it was better than the old pre-X Mac OS versions and b) that’s where the software for developers was. Now most of the software I use is available on both platforms and the OS is a huge improvement. I hesitate to say it, but I could quite possibly become a convert. And since I can can virtualize Windows so easily on the Mac, I can have the best of both worlds on a single laptop.

I haven’t done too much yet with the Mac. I’ve been busy with a few things at work lately and, since I am trying to roll out the new Tay House site by the beginning of the scouting year, I’ve had little free time I home, either. So mostly I’ve been editing the site using our CMS’s browser-based tools and looking for tools to replace my most oft-used web development tools (such as Cyberduck in place of WinSCP). Of course, I’ve played with some of the cool software that comes with the Mac, too, like the DVD player and Front Row (full screen video is awesome on this thing).

I’ve also installed Virtual Box, an open source virtual machine container from Sun, and a virtual install of Windows Vista. While it works, VirtualBox doesn’t always hide the Mac mouse pointer when I’m “locked” into windows, so I end up with with two pointers–in different places–which is extremely confusing. I’m planning to ask for a license of VMWare, so that I can virtualize without confusion, sometime soon.

My only other complaint so far is with Office. Office 2008 is nothing like Office 2007 and things that I can do easily with office on Windows aren’t quite as fluid on the Mac. I guess that’s what you get when you let Microsoft design software for the Mac, though.

Overall, I love the Mac and can’t wait to be able to get more use out of it.

1 Comment to I Can Has Macintosh

  1. Rob's Gravatar Rob
    08/27/2008 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    Hey man, I just randomly came across you’re your site because a comment you made on ozarks underground and saw that you seem familiar with mac’s… I was having trouble with my mac book and can’t find the answer, I was hoping you could help. I can’t take it to the apple store because a non-apple tech worked on it and I think screwed it up if you think you can help email me

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