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MacBook At One Month

Well, it’s been about a month since I bought my 1.83Mhz MacBook and I thought I’d share my thoughts on it.

This is my first laptop in about 12 years. My last lappy was a Packard Bell 486 notebook with Windows 3.1. Needless to say, notebooks have come a long way in a decade. Just getting used to using a portable computer has been the biggest adjustment for me. I can now take my computer anywhere I want, well, except to work. That has been particularly nice for me this very hot summer, because my garage is where my real comuters live and I have completely shut them down until cooler weather comes along.

I had never used a Mac before, so learning the new OS was kind of a nice change of pace in itself. I did not find the transition from Linux/Windows very difficult at all. I like the Aqua GUI and I really like the *nix shell. I even went so far as to actually buy some applications, first time for me in many years. Like any OS that is not Linux, I had to install a bunch of FOSS tools that I can not live without. From FireFox to ViM, everything just worked. Very little teaking in the shell.

I purchased a copy of Parallels and installed Ubuntu. Works great, but I really wish I had another gig of RAM. I also bought the Pages and Keynote suite – iWorks primarily just for Keynote, although Open Office works quite nicely for me. I also purchased a nice writing program called CopyWrite that is like a IDE for writers. I am now completely adicted to that application. It lets you write and not worry about formating like word processors are centered on. In full screen mode, my computer becomes a writing only machine and I can concintrate on writing with no distractions.

If there is one application that I cannot live without on the Mac it would have to be iChat. I almost never use it for IMing. There is the much more flexible Adium for that. I use it for video chatting with my mother and my brother – both on Macs now. Full screen video chatting is absolutely fantastic on iChat. Nothing on Linux or Windows even comes close. Priceless for grandma talking to her grandkids.

I have not purchased TextMate yet, I’m using Smultron, a Open Source code editor and it works fine. I also have ViM installed, so I can really cook. I have not done much programming on the Mac yet, but I’m getting into RoR and will have that going soon. I have done some Ruby on the Ubuntu side.

The hardware has been a complete joy for me. The white MacBook looks sharp and I have had none of the discoloring some folks have had with it. The screen is bright and rich in color and the keyboard is wierd but not bad. It’s actually easier on the fingers than a standard MS keyboard. There is a sharp edge where the hinge for the screen meets the body. I may have to take a file to it so as not to worry about cutting myself. The only big issue I have with the hardware is the heat it generates. But I solved that by getting a external laptop fan to sit it on. Combine that with a knee table and you can sit on the couch all night and never have a worry.

All in all I have been real happy with the MacBook and can reccommend it to anyone. If you are a Linux geek like me, you will like OSX and will be happy to run Linux as well as OSX. If you want to get away from Windows, OSX is not that hard to learn and use and you will not regrete switching.

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