Mac’in it up with a fruity new computer

macbook-aluminum-425wI’ve officially joined the club. You know, that pretentious group that hangs out in cafes with their white Apple-logo lit, doing little other than subliminally pointing to the branding and winking.

Those that are quick to tell you how amazing a Mac is, and how super better it compares to a PC, while barely having any concept of what runs either machine.

The people who aspire for a hybrid, drink coffee named and sized in languages they only pretend to understand.

Yes – I’ve bought a MacBook.

And I FUCKING LOVE IT! Can I get a venti® Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte to go – my Prius is running.

Not since college have I routinely used a Mac (my college’s journalism department was Mac-only on pain of death). Other than messing around a bit with them here and there, and doing a decent job of making my PC act like one, this will be the most extensively and intimately I’ve used one.

So far I’m really diggin’ it. Being that I spend most of my time online for work, I generally dislike the interface laptops offer. Bulky lap warmers with poor non-mouse interaction and itty bitty monitors (my desktop setup uses a 22″ monitor paired with a 19″ for an extended desktop).

My MacBook is proving to dispel some of my apprehensions. It’s small – only 13″ – but solid feeling (it’s one of the new aluminum models), and it’s been on my lap for an hour now and hasn’t significantly warmed me up yet.

I thought the small screen was going to be a problem, but OSX’s Spaces sorted me out. A couple shortcut keys later and I’m sliding through screen after screen of applications with no fuss and no muss (what’s muss?).

The thing that has impressed me most about the system is that it tends to operate “like it should” a lot more than a PC does. I love my PC, but the bitch requires some discipline. The MacBook’s more like the good child that does her homework and stays chaste until she’s 25.

Everything from connecting the power supply to connecting to my wireless network just flowed beautifully. Having worked on PCs for so long, it’s easy to dismiss the exclusive nature of working on a PC (and fixing the errors that creep up) as just part of using a computer (like knowing how to change a flat or the oil in your car). But in my now time-restrained world, having technology that just works, and works well, I can see a definite advantage to that.

The decision to buy a MacBook came late last year while I was attending the China 2.0 tour in Shanghai.

I had left my 15.3″ lapmoster at home, as I didn’t want to be lugging around a big PC as we went from office to office for tours. However, when we sat down at our first stop and everyone pulled out a sleek little MacBook and began tweeting away – I was sold.

Coupling this Macenvy with the fact that I was growing tired of using online emulation tools to test Web design layouts on Mac browsers, and that I had given my old laptop to Maggie when I got my Dell last May, I knew it was time to take the plunge.

I had planned to wait until sometime mid-2009 to get one in Hong Kong, but in December my good friend Gin informed me that her school was becoming a “Mac school” and so was offering teachers (and friends of teachers) the opportunity to get a MacBook at the educational discount price.

The discounted price worked out to be only a couple hundred kuai more expensive than HK (at the local Mac store it would be a few thousand RMB more), and that the school offered a payment plan sealed the deal.

Having ordered it last month, poor Gin has had to endure me calling her several times a week with desperate “is it in yet?” questions. Finally she managed to get her hands on it yesterday – apparently having to fight some of the kindergarten teachers for it, as the full order hadn’t arrived.

The biggest difference I’ve felt thus far is that I’ve not yet had a chance to build my understanding of the Mac’s file structure. I was raised on MS-DOS, and so when Windows gave it a pretty top layer, it was a natural evolution in my mind, and I still clearly understood where things were.

But with the Mac, I’m starting at the top. I’m looking at the slick desktop and vaguely know that perhaps I should start with something called ‘Finder” – what I assume is the more practically-named cousin to Windows’ Explorer.

Once I get that sorted – it’ll be time for me to figure out how I can sync it with the plethora of data I have on my PC.

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