Two months ago, at the end of this post, I mentioned I had bought a MacBook. I took delivery of it about a week-and-a-half ago and wanted to share my thoughts on it. I’m not exactly “new” to Macs as my college’s journalism department ran on them, but that was a decade ago and my knowledge of the fruity alt.PC has waned a little. I’ve always been a PC guy–I grew up on MS-DOS. I studied programming using Basic and later Visual Basic. I built IBM clones (when they were still called that) as my work experience in high school and later as my first business venture for beer money.
I always viewed Macs as the PC’s simpleton cousin. Pretty, but just not a tool for people who liked getting into the guts of their box and switching things up. Built for people who were too clueless about computers to know how to keep them humming along without viruses or having BSoD-induced embolisms.
And though I’ve followed Apple’s rebirth in the last decade with interest, and couldn’t help but be impressed with the company’s super-slick product design, I just wasn’t sold.
But I’m a sucker for peer pressure, and when my friend Rick told me he was surprised I didn’t use Macs as they fit my personality, I began to get curious.
Surely my personality was PC. I’m more functional than pretty, I’m upgradeable, I often “crash” on the sofa for no reason, and I’m far too bloated with software.
But as I needed a new laptop and also wanted a way to test my designs on the Mac OS in-house, I figured, what the hell, I’ll give one a shot.
I’ve grabbed myself one of the new(ish) aluminum 13-inch MacBooks, figuring I’d enter in shallow waters, and also keep an eye on the fact that the lowest-end MacBooks are about 50 percent more expensive than China-made Lenovo PCs of the same approximate calibre.
-2.0GHz-Intel Core 2 Duo
-2GB DDR3 memory
-160GB hard drive
-Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics
But other than that last “aluminum unibody” bit, nothing about those numbers is all that exciting. No, where the clouds open and a chorus of light and music come through is in the ease of it all.
Apple has done absolutely everything it can to make using its laptop computer an enjoyable experience. First, and foremost, it just works. Booting it up for the first time I didn’t have to mess around with drivers, fidget with settings or reboot 10 times in hopes that 11 was the magic number to get my computer to recognize the wireless network.
I turned it on and was up and online in seconds. Within minutes I had Spaces set up to extend my desktop by a factor of 8 (I wish I could say this wasn’t a necessity). And though a bit awkward at first, I am full-time in love with the MacBook’s new multi-touch glass trackpad. PC manufacturers, listen up–if Apple can do 100 times more with a single square (no visible buttons) than anyone in the PC world has been able to do with two, three or four buttons, a trackwheel, a trackball and a GHB nubbin… it says a lot.
I’m still getting used to the file system and relearning how to install/uninstall apps, but by and large, I am really enjoying my foray into the Mac world. The 13-inch monitor isn’t going to replace the Dell-powered 22-inch + 19-inch paired monitor work system I’m using, but as a compact, and somewhat sexy, travel companion it’s aces.
Owning a Mac also allows me to slip in and out of Apple circles, an interloper of sorts, mostly undetected. Sadly, my lack of an iPhone and right-click arthritis in my index finger are bound to give me away. Sigh.
New to the Mac world, I’m eagerly gathering advice on must-have apps. Please leave your suggestions in the comments below.