Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at Scotch On The Rock (SOTR) 2010 (London) with: Claude Englebert and Ciqala Burt

My First Year As A Mac User On The Apple MacBook Pro

By Ben Nadel on
Tags: Work

I'm coming up on my first full year of being a Mac user since my Lenovo died last August. In honor of the the Apple WWDC 2011 keynote and event, I thought I would take a few minutes to reflect on my transition to the Mac and how I feel about the computer after a year of dedicated use. Despite a few flaws, which I'll cover, the experience with my MacBook Pro has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, I can definitely say that when this computer no longer holds its value, my next upgrade will also be to a Mac.


 
 
 

 
 Apple MacBook Pro one year review by a new mac user - Ben Nadel. 
 
 
 

For this retrospective, I want to start with the bad and progress to the good so that we can end on the positive notes (which are far greater in this case).

NOTE: Everything beyond this point is 100% personal opinion! I am sure my experience will differ greatly from yours.

Things I Dislike

Without a doubt, the worst feature on this computer is the way it handles windowing. Everything from maximizing, to minimizing, to alt-tabbing is just not up to the level of the Windows OS yet. I have felt this pain from day-one and it is not something that I've ever been able to ever get fully used to. Every time I ALT+TAB when I meant to ALT+~, I reminded of the incompleteness of this feature.

Things I've Discovered Aren't Useful

Spaces. When I was a Windows user, I saw everyone using Spaces at the conferences and it made me really jealous. I always thought it would be awesome to be able to jump back and forth between logically-grouped sets of applications. Then, I got my Mac and realized that Spaces was useless. The problem was that my original perception was founded on a completely false notion: that apps are grouped.

Application are not grouped; rather, there is the currently active application and then there is everything else. With the exception of an IM client, the "current" app is always that huge window maximized in front of me. In other words, it's the one I'm focused on. Everything else is an ALT+TAB away - the space on which it resides is completely and utterly irrelevant.

So what do Spaces do? For me, they only added unnecessary animation (read: delay) between my application toggling.

Expose (ie. Corners). This is another one of those things that looked cool from afar but quickly lost its attractiveness when I started to use it. The only time I ever really triggered an Expose feature was by accident. Though, there was actually one action that I did like for a while; but then I discovered that I could program my mouse's thumb-button to do the same thing and the last useful corner became irrelevant (and the slower option).

Things That Really Whip The Llama's Ass

The good news is, aside from the few items above, pretty much everything else about my MacBook Pro kind of rocks it hardcore style. One of the things that repeatedly surprises me is how much functionality is built directly into the Mac. Every time I wonder if the Mac can do something, a quick Google search typically will reveal that such-and-such feature is already built directly into the operating system.

Need FTP? No problem, it's built-in. Need to turn your Mac into a wireless hotspot? No problem, it's already built-in. Need Apache? No problem, it's got that. This operating system appears to be jam-packed with tons of goodies.

And, I'm quite sure I've only scratch the surface.

One feature that I feel the benefit of on a daily basis is the incredible speed with which the machine Sleeps and Restores. When I tell it to "sleep," it does so instantly. When I hit a button, it pops back on almost immediately. This is amazing! When I was on a Windows machine, waiting for the machine to come out of sleep mode could take upwards of a minute (on a new Windows 7 machine). State-change on the Mac, in general, appears to be a highly optimized and completely pain-free experience.

Now, I know this might sound crazy, but also I believe this MacBook has made me a more well-rounded individual. There's something about it that just makes me feel more adventurous. Whether it's playing on the command line or installing a new programming language and interacting with its REPL, I'm continually finding ways to step outside my comfort zone on this computer. I don't know if it's the machine or it's just where I am in my life; but, there appears to be a correlation (if not a causation).

The machine itself also feels very solid. Even before I was a Mac user, I would have gladly admitted that Apple makes a beautiful machine. And that magnetic power cord - come on! It's like a delighter every single time I go to plug it in.

It took me a couple of months to really get situated on this beast; but all in all, I've been extremely happy with the switch. I have to admit, I am now a "Mac" person. Unless something critical happens, I can't see myself feeling any strong need to switch back to Windows.

UPDATE: Regarding the start-up speed of the Windows machine, David McGuigan may have been correct. I may have been thinking about Windows XP machine, not my Windows 7 machine. Honestly, it was a while ago. And, it's even possible that I was thining about Windows Vista which is what I had restored onto the Lenovo before I then installed W7 on the machine.




Reader Comments

Ben, Thanks for sharing your experience. I am thinking of getting a Mac this year. Any insights, pros and cons about installing, setting up and configuring CF/Flex on Mac?

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I agree with you on all accounts, Ben. I got my first one in February, 2010, and have not looked back since.

I will add a few delights of my own:

- trackpad: awesome! Once you get used to it, a mouse gets in the way. I even got the external one to use with my external keyboard.

- connecting to things: WiFi, printers, cameras, networks - it is so easy and the Mac just does it.

- backups: Time Machine rocks. Just buy a $60 WD 500GB drive, plug it in and Time Machine takes over from there. Restoring files is so simple.

Paul

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Hey Ben, I'm curious if you ever went the way of a Magic Mouse. Between that and a program called MagicPrefs, Expose and Spaces started coming in handy a lot more, at least for me. As with most stuff, I think the key is to make it useful for you. I didn't have them for years but I'd be lost without them now.

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Ben,
Thanks for the post, I've been thinking about getting a mac for a while, but I'm not sure if it's really worth the money, I've been searching around for posts about it, and I'm glad to hear you really like it.
Bruno Lopes

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Ben, did you really have and use a Windows 7 laptop for very long, or is that 2nd hand information?

One thing you didn't mention is how elderly-dog-on-his-last-leg-slow OS X is. Going into and out of sleep and restarting are pretty quick but those are trivial, intermittent time savings compared to the gigantic, terrible latency of launching applications, opening new tabs, waiting for Spotlight to serve you your desired application, and even just opening new terminal windows. I have a 2011 2.2 Ghz quad core MacBook Pro, so keep in mind in benchmarks my MacBook Pro is almost or more than twice as fast as yours for most tasks, but even still I just find myself waiting on the OS all day long. That hypnotic beach ball comes up so often that I just sit here and long for the instantaneity of Windows 7 at every footstep.

So that led me to believe that you'd only ever used / were making these comparisons to really old hardware running Windows XP. But if you've really explored Windows 7 then I just don't get it. I mean you can install Windows 7 ON YOUR MAC in Bootcamp and just playing around with it for a few hours you'll notice that Windows runs exponentially faster than OS X on the same hardware, which to me is the number 1 contributor to usability. Not to mention all of the innovation Windows 7 brought to windowing, probably the number 2 contributor of an operating system to experience and usability. Basically Windows 7 on mac hardware IMO is a much more refined, polished experience than OS X. Although Lion looks pretty effing awesome, especially now that they're ( a decade or so late ) copying most of the important parts of windowing from Windows XP ( Lion will let you resize from any window border, use fullscreen in applications without the developer having to go to leaps and bounds to add it manually, etc. )

That said the icons and text aliasing are very pretty. And I do like that about OS X.

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@Ben,

I should've told you in my e-mail...

My MacBook is dying. Actually, it's growling (versus mooing). The circa Oct '06 fan is failing. So I went and bought a new Mini on Saturday to make use of an expiring Groupon.

This same MB's hard drive died 15 days out of warranty in Nov '07

I'm on my 2nd MagSafe adapter. Don't pull it out too frequently. It's not that big of a selling point, after the fact (I suppose it /is/ better than pulling the NOTEbook* off the table, but...).

Agree about Spaces and Expose. I still use the widgets. I do use one corner to "Show All Windows" but that's it.

I'm tired of the iTax. I don't know if I'll stick with the Apple Eco, but I know I'm tired of ALL computers. NONE of them really work as well as they should, IMHO.

-raj

* NoteBook, not Laptop. Laptops make it sound like you can use them on your lap -- and be burned by them, thus they are now all called NOTEbooks instead.

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@David,

I am not sure what issues you are having, but launching apps and slow speed is not common on my Mac running OS X. Mine runs very fast. I also have Parallels with a Win 7 VM and while it is definitely faster than Win XP, I do not agree that it is faster than Mac OS X.

I usually have about 10 separate apps running, from Pandora to TweetDeck, Thunderbird, Skype, Evernote, Word, Excel, Google Chrome, Eclipse, CF on Apache and SQL Server running on the Win 7 and do not have any issues. There are times with all of those running that one program may pause a bit, but I would expect that with all that I have running and would not believe that a Win 7 machine on its own would handle it any better.

Just my $0.02

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And to all: I am in no way an Apple Fan Boy. I do not own an iPod, iPhone or iPad and don't anticipate owning one anytime soon. But given a choice of a laptop computer that does what I need here at home and when I am on the road, my choice is a MacBook Pro.

@Randall: My previous PC laptop, and my son's newest one, get just as hot as the MBP does, so it is not unique to Apple. I did buy a neat pad with a little USB-driven fan that helps a lot. I would suggest that.

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@David,

In all fairness, it was Windows 7 installed on my 3-year-old Lenovo that had died and had Windows Vista restored back on to it (over Windows XP). So, in the end, it was Windows 7 installed on top of Vista, on top of XP. I don't know if that has anything to do with it (I don't know how jumbled the Hard Disk gets or if that's completely emotional).

And, in further fairness, I had the Windows 7 installed for about a week before I actually got a totally new computer (another store altogether). So, now that I think about it, you might be right - what I may be remember is more of my XP experience than my Windows 7 experience. It all gets a bit jumbled in my mind.

No intention to mislead at all.

@Marupilla,

I've had no problems installing ColdFusion on the Mac. The one thing that made me nervous in the beginning was that there's no "Services" list like there is the Windows UI. But, when I installed CF, it did come with a Launcher that I can use to easily turn on / off JRUN instances. So that made me feel comfortable.

But, in general, I do feel less confident with turning things on/off on the Mac. On the Windows UI, it was so easy to turn services on/off; on the Mac, it seems to be more command-line-driven for the most part.

@Paul,

I'm still a Logitech Mouse person, myself; but, I know that people love the track pad. And with Mac Lion, it looks like they're really taking gestures to the next level with complete system-level integration.

And yeah, connecting to the printer was shockingly easy!

@Steve,

I never gave the Magic Mouse much of chance. It just sits there collecting dust. It always felt way too small for my hand. And, I didn't like the "fluidity" with which it scrolled. I prefer the hard start/stop scrolling of my Logitech mouse.

But again, this is all personal; I know people who swear by the magic mouse.

@Roger,

Ha ha, resistance is futile :D

@Bruno,

Honestly, I have been really happy with it! I know they are definitely more expensive than Windows machines, though. Had my Windows machine not actually died, not sure if I would have ever switched.

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Paul, if you're running an operating system in a virtual machine what it does is use a small portion of the actual system's hardware to virtualize it. In other words OS X is getting XX% of the resources, and Windows 7 is getting XX%, if you're running in Parallel's defaults it's probably 512MB of ram and a single CPU core. Even the fact that your impression is that Windows 7 is fast within the virtualization is a testament to how speedy it is. I did a side by side test of Win 7 in VMWare Fusion with absolute minimal resources to OS X running natively and even things like Alt Tab were faster. There is a very subtle, slight delay between when you hit command + tab on OS X because it just can't handle instant interaction. In Win 7 it's ~0 ms.

Even things like navigating Finder versus Windows Explorer let you see the performance difference. If you're not the type of user that gets frustrated by little pauses here and there then it may be a non issue. But for developers like myself that view every single second of waiting as productivity or stride killers it becomes a huge deal. Apps seem to launch SOOO slow on macs versus Windows. I just don't get it.

Also, Ben totally agree with you on Spaces and the Command + ` issue. You can use something called Witch ( http://manytricks.com/witch/ ) to get better, Windows like Alt + Tabbing fyi. I was really excited for Spaces before I realized that it's pure, unadulterated, fruitless overhead. Some apps don't even comply with spacing either like you'll put them on space 3 and then alt + tab to them but it'll keep you on Space 1 until you interact with particular parts of its interface and then finally switch you. Very buggy feeling.

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I agree with Ben that OSX's windowing isn't as good as in Windows, but to me that's a minor flaw. One of the biggest reasons I like the Mac platform? As Paul Carney said, *Time Machine*. I don't care whether you're on a PC or Mac, your hard drive will fail at some point (or you'll lose your laptop). And if you have a Mac with Time Machine, you'll be able to restore to a new drive (or machine) exactly the way it was before, something that is nearly impossible in Windows.

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@David,

I added an "Update" at the bottom of my post to reflect the possible mis-memory of Windows machines.

Also, we find at the office that Spaces doesn't play well with Skype. 7 times out of 10, if we're doing screen-share over Skype and someone switches their spaces, Skype dies. It doesn't seem to enjoy the concept of multiple desktops.

And, I'm with you - even small delays are noticeable to people (like us) who are jumping in and out of apps all day. Hence why Spaces lasted about 30 seconds in my life :)

Thanks for the "Which" reference; I'll have to look that up.

@Randall,

I agree with the Notebook vs. Laptop concept. I use my "laptop" with an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor. The only time I ever actually use it directly is when I am traveling. And at that point, I'm just a casual user (email mostly). I don't think I could type all day without my ergonomic keyboard.

That's weird that your adapter is having such troubles. Hmmm.

@Paul,

The only thing that consistently slows my machine down is FireBug :D But, it's so worth it!

@Tom,

I'll look into Time Machine. I've been backing stuff up with Jungle Disk (a hold over from my Window's days).

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Another thing no one ever talks about is how frighteningly hot MacBook Pros get if you stress them in any grown up way whatsoever.

The automatic graphics switching is also buggy as crud, using dedicated graphics for things as trivial as browsing the web.

When you have to install an operating system hack ( http://codykrieger.com/gfxCardStatus ) just to keep your crotch from being melted, someone has sacrificed function for form a little bit too hard.

Then there's battery life. Without the hack I get about 3.5 of the advertised 7+ hours, if I can even stand the screen brightness at a low enough level.

Then there's stability. Sometimes my mac completely crashes from things as basic as plugging it into an HDTV with a VGA cable. That's just silly.

If I had a nickel for every time I've had to force quit I'd be a rich rich man. Then there's the fact that my $2200 "professional" Apple laptop can use a maximum of 1 external monitor, 0 out of the box without buying at least 1 adapter. There are 3rd party solutions you can pay a few hundred dollars more for to let you do something that my 2006 Dell laptop could out of the box, use multiple monitors, but none of them support native performance, you'll hit visual lag and delay at any resolution above 1080p.

Can't carry extra battries, because the laptop can't use extra batteries. No WiMax, WiDi, or Intel MyWifi options because OS X can't handle the noise. Those 3 technologies are the biggest innovations in laptops right now, and mac can't hang. Or even play BluRay discs.

To me every time I do a side by side with a newer Windows laptop I get this:

MacBook Pro: Very attractive, very thin, AMAZING TRACKPAD, very expensive, extraordinarily limited.

Windows laptop: Ugly as crap, terrible trackpad, superior in every other way.

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@Ben,

Also in bad-to-good order:

I agree with you that sometimes you want Cmd-Tab to take you to a specific window, not a specific app. Macs are app centric, Windows is window centric. For 10.7 Lion, I requested a keyboard Systems Preferences option to toggle at the window level. Doesn't hurt to ask, right?

Spaces is useful if you use System Preferences to map apps to specific Spaces. Then you can use Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, etc, to switch directly to a specific app. Pretty soon you'll like having one app per Space, and working faster that way.

Expose is also a heck of a lot more useful if you use the 4-finger-swipe gestures on the trackpad. Try them, you'll like them. Do the opposite to undo them. (4-finger-swipe down undoes 4-finger-swipe up, for example.)

ColdFusion 9.0.1 runs great.

The Mac has true preemptive multitasking. Once, on a Windows machine, I started a long, intensive task (indexing I think) but then realized that wouldn't be able to go home until I sent an e-mail. The indexing was so impacting everything else, it took me over a half hour to write a three sentence e-mail. (I'd type, nothing would appear, wait and wait and wait, text would appear, made sure no dropped characters, typed more, etc.) But on a Mac, I initiated a similarly long, intense process (copying 500,000 files from another Mac). I got bored and decided to watch a DVD of Dune. The DVD played without any visual or audio glitches at all. And, when the DVD was done, so were the files. (It didn't simply allocate priority to the DVD and not copy the files.)

The thing I love most about my desktop Mac is PhoneValet. It's a telephone voice-menu, voice-mail system that runs in background. When a call comes in, it reads the Caller-ID and runs profile-specific scripts. Family gets one behavior, friends get another, coworkers another and telemarketers another. Everyone I personally know gets an outgoing message that begins "Hello [firstname]". (It took a while to set up a bunch of profiles, but it's fun to pleasantly surprise people.) And when someone leaves a message, I can optionally forward the message as a sound file via e-mail.

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As another dev frustrated with OSX window management, I've tried a bunch of alternatives. Witch, as mentioned above, came in a close second. I eventually settled on Optimal Layout: http://most-advantageous.com/optimal-layout/

@David my experience has definitely been different from yours. My MBP rarely overheats, and apps crash much less frequently than during my Windows days. That said, some of the hardware-based limitations are annoying (Bluray, external monitor support, etc), but my day-to-day (dev) experience is defined more by the software.

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If I couldn't have my dual external monitors I would want to shoot myself. I can't see virtually anything that would make me give up a good docking dell laptop with dual monitors. Doing web development with the editor on one screen and the browser on the other is pure brilliance, and with its windowing issues I just don't see a mac being able to duplicate that level of intuitive usability.

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I have had my Macbook Pro (for home PC) for about three months now and enjoyed using it, but it has caused problems when using my work systems, especially notebook. I am always pushing down on the trackpad to click and my Lenova doesn't respond. I am not sure if Apple has this patented or not, but it is one feature that once you get used to, you don't want to go back to tapping to click.

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I too recently switched to a MacBook Pro. I've been pretty happy, but I agree that the windowing is terrible. I've actually installed a small app called RightZoom to fix the + button to maximize like in Windows. Works pretty well for the most part. I really dislike the Finder, I don't like the way keys behave, the way directories aren't all shown before files, among other things. And one glaring thing missing: cut and paste of files. You can copy and paste, but you can't cut and paste. Why not? I haven't a clue. It's such a simple thing, and yet they don't add it. TotalFinder fixes a number of these problems, but I kind of refuse to pay for things that should be built-in on general principle. Like you, I have no use for Expose or Spaces. Also, anything running Flash can cause the fan to go on overdrive and make the machine hang a bit, which I guess I was all too aware of before getting the laptop.

Other than that, performance is great, I love multitouch trackpad, Dashboard, and Spotlight built-in, among other things. Can't say I regret the change, though if it wasn't for iOS development, I would have stuck with Windows.

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Jason I was suggesting Witch to fix OS X's Command + ` alt tabbing issue, not window management.

Optimal Layout looks cool, at first glance it looks like a slightly less awesome copy of Divvy though. I'll have to check it out.

And I'm glad you don't have issues using your MacBook Pro on your lap. Honestly, I can't use mine even on integrated graphics on my lap without some kind of laptop buffer accessory because it's just too hot, but with dedicated graphics on it gets so hot that it will literally burn you. Granted I have the 2011 model with the highest end graphic card available, and it may be an issue exclusive to those models. But the point is it's just out of control hot all of the time until you hack it, and even then it's too hot. I'd gladly accept another .05 inches of width or some effing vents or holes in my laptop to preserve my ability to procreate.

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@David,

I've definitely noticed that my MacBook Pro gets pretty hot; but my primary means of use is basically as a desktop, so it didn't occur to me to list it out as an issue. I have used it a few times on long train commutes and have felt the heat :)

As far as battery life, I never believe anyone about anything! I've never had a battery life be predictable for any device.

As for the other technologies you mentioned, I had to look them up - wasn't sure what they were.

@WebManWalking,

I watched parts of the Apple Keynote this morning (had it on in the background). Looks like they are really going hardcore with the gestures. I wonder how I'll integrate that more into my life. Since I use all external devices (keyboard + mouse), it doesn't give me a lot of touch-ortunities :D I know they make external magic pads ... I think we even have one in the office somewhere. Could be nice just to have off to the side. Of course not having it front and center might defeat the purpose.

What Apple really needs to do is come out with a beasty ergonomic keyboard with a track pad. For real - how is it that Apple doesn't make any good keyboards? When they put so much thought into everything else.

@Jason,

That Optimal Layout app looks interesting. Though, I have to say I spend more time trying to make window take up the entire screen than I do making multiple windows fit nicely together. I think its a byproduct of the fact that I only ever had one-monitor. I never figured how to mentally model more than one window :)

@David (Maggard),

I've tried multiple monitors before. Something about it I just can't get into. I know I am definitely in the *minority* here. People rave about their 2 or 3 monitor setups; it's not for me. Then again, I rave about ergonomic keyboard and people think I'm crazy... to each their own on personal comfort :)

@TC,

It's funny you mention that - the buttonless trackpad is something that always throws me off when I go to use my laptop as a "lap" top. No matter what I am doing, I always click on the bottom of the trackpad when I want to click. Then I realize there are no buttons there. I think it's all just a matter of what you get used to. I am sure if I used the laptop directly more often, it would be pretty cool. Especially since the trackpad is freaking HUGE on these new computers.

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@Thomas,

I've *definitely* had the Flash == super processing + fan activity happen to me. I always just assumed that was a browser issue. As someone who has Grooveshark or Pandora on a lot of the time, that can be annoying. But, it doesn't always happen; it seems to only be set off some of the time.

While I agree that the Finder is missing some good features like folder/file separation and CUT, one thing that I do like a lot about the Finder is the fact that the "view" always remains continuous. On Windows, one folder would be in "thumbs" view; another would be in list view; another would be in details view. There was no continuity. On the Mac, the Finder is always the same. You view in Thumbs on one folder and it stays in Thumbs everywhere until you change it to another view. To me, this approach feels much more intuitive. I could never understand why I would want / need a per-folder display setting.

Also, Spotlight is one of those things that I need to get into. People always tell me how awesome it is and I've yet to ever actually use it (other than accidentally prompting from time to time).

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I own both a Mac and PC (multiple machines in fact) and I find all of our Windows notebooks (and PCs) sleep and resume near instantaneously w/o a hitch. If yours was taking a minute then something was wrong or it was sick :-)

My new Core i7 notebook blows the doors off of the Macbook Pro in terms of speed,versatility and features... but the design and compact nature of the Mac are pretty sweet (magnetic plug, lit KB, etc.)

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@Ben @David, Oh, I totally ignore the actual "layout" usage of Optimal Layout. I just like its options for "command-tab" behavior better than Witch's. Not by much though.

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Ben,
WiDi ( Wireless display ) is freaking AWESOME. It basically lets you use an external monitor/tv/projector without any cables. You toggle a software switch just like you would your wifi if you wanted to turn it off, it picks up any enabled devices ( monitors that support it adapterlessly or anything with an adapter in the back ) and you just click on the ones you want to broadcast to and you're good to go. It's pretty futuristic and supports up to 1080p right now, and is only getting better.

WiMax is just a 4G data connection inside of your laptop. Literally $500 class laptops come with it nowadays, it's absolutely insane that Apple doesn't support it. I mean you get 5-20 Mbps on the go with no adapter or hotspot necessary and fantastic coverage in most major cities I'd care about going to! What could be more elegant.

MyWifi just lets you push a button to share that 4G connection with your girlfriend on the go complete with encryption choices and passwording like a router. Actually, it lets you share any connection, including your wireless connection. So if for example your gf has a B/N chip and you happen to have an ABGN chip and are getting a solid 5 Ghz freq connection in a place with big 2.4 interference ( actually happened to me ), you can rebroadcast the signal to your gf on 2.4 so she can use the Internet too. It's pretty slick and I'd expect to see it in something touted as the best laptop on the market.

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It is weird that I am the only Windows user in the local Clojure meetup. Everyone else either has MBPs or Linux machines. Many are also young and mostly Ruby people. I understand that the Ruby dev community is almost exclusively Apple oriented from what I have observed. A large number of the local JavaScript community members also use Apples, but it is more like 50% which are usually the younger developers <30yo.

I come from a completely different background where the corporate datacenter tells you what to use so I have always bought Windows boxes personally. I started with the original two floppy IBM-PCs with MS-DOS came out.

I thought about a MBP for personal use, but would need something to push me to go that direction due to the ridiculous price. More likely, I would take up Linux if I switched OSs.

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Ben: Spaces is my number on productivity tool. If you're coming from Windows, it's obvious that you're used to ALT-Tab and gravitated towards Command-Tab as the equivalent.

Don't. Do. That.

Success at Spaces requires learning new habits, assigning applications to specific Spaces, and mastering what I call "adjacencies", or putting supporting applications adjacent to main applications.

You might read the following articles....

Confessions Of A Space-oholic...
http://www.isights.org/2007/11/confessions-of-.html

More Confessions Of A Space-oholic...
http://www.iSights.org/2007/12/more-confession.html

I have 9 active Spaces that I use on my 17" MacBook Pro. That gives me NINE 17" screens in which to work. (And sometimes even 12.)

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@Thomas, I actually came here to counter MyWifi with OSX's internet sharing, but never noticed that you can't share from one AirPort band to a different AirPort band. I normally share when tethered via bluetooth (which is very simple).

So, point Windows! :)

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@Aaron,

That, good sir, is actually the cuff to a nice shirt... perhaps the last nice shirt I purchased (a few years ago). I had to get one for work for client meetings (since tee-shirts aren't all the rage in the business world). But it turns out, most of our meetings are virtual.

@Andy,

It's quite possible that the re-waken slowness on my PCs was due to problems. I did have one laptop (about 5 years old) rocking XP-Pro that would randomly just take FOREVER to do anything. I'd be moving along fine and then, out of nowhere, everything would come to a halt. I'd look at the TaskManager - CPU was fine, disk usage was fine... I could never figure out what it was. Luckily, that's never happened on any of my other computers since.

I don't know what the Core i7 is - I'm not much of a hardware guy. I assume that's the latest and greatest.

@Jason,

Oh cool - I just watched the video; I didn't actually look at the feature list. I'll re-examine.

@David,

"Wireless display" ... good sir, that is like a sci-fi level of awesomeness you are talking about! I've never even heard of such a thing. That's ridiculously cool!

The MyWiFi stuff sounds cool too. On the Mac, you can "share your internet"; but it sounds much more limited than what you're describing.

Maybe there's patents or something that are getting in the way? There are definitely things that would appear to be no-brainers for inclusion.

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@Roger,

There's no doubt that a certainly cool/hip atmosphere when it comes to Mac people. Though, I was watching the "Welcome to Macintosh" documentary on Netflix the other day and I believe that one of the guys being interviewed in the film said that, in fact, most Mac users are over the age of 30 (if not over 50). Who know if he was just pulling that number out of the air (he definitely wasn't citing any sources); but, he was saying that to contrast the reality with the perception.

I think part of what he meant to imply was that Mac has always had a very loyal fan base; and, many of the people who use Macs today were also using Macs waaay back in the day (hence the older bell curve).

As far as Linux - that's way too intimidating for me :) I like that I can "baby-step" into the command line on the Mac. This is probably why I feel more empowered on the Mac than I did on the PC - it allows me (sometimes forces me) to get into the command line without feeling like its an all-or-nothing approach.

@Michael,

Ha ha, 9 virtual screens :D That's bananas! Ok, I'll take a look at the blog posts. Hey, if it can improve the way I do things, I want to be open to checking it out.

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I don't think it's patents so much as stone cold greediness.

Apple won't adopt BluRay because they want you to purchase their 1080p content through iTunes. Because unfortunately they don't get money for every BluRay disc you rent.

No Flash in the browser on iDevices ( could've easily been implemented like QuickTime in the new Chrome, click to enable which nullifies any arguments for battery life or performance ) because then Apple wouldn't get 30% of the revenue from all of the software that you write for their devices.

I have a 2011 17 inch HP dv7tq with an identical processor and switchable graphics card to the current $1800 MacBook Pro ( weird thing is, it cost me around $800 WITH a 2nd battery ), and the wireless display support is actually built into the Intel chipset, likely the same one in the mac. Pretty sure the technology and option is there, Apple just doesn't want you to use it because that would kill their $30 per display adapter revenue stream ( I had to buy a VGA and DVI adapter to use my projector and monitor ) or $100 if you want to plug it into anything above 1920x1200 ( http://store.apple.com/us/product/MB571Z/A ). My 3 three-year-old 27 inch Dell monitors all support display port by the way, but curiously there's no Apple mini displayport to displayport adapter or cable at all on Apple.com or bundled with your new exorbitantly priced laptop. Kind of entertaining. That kind of bold, blatant wallet rape.

To hook my 2010 Mac Pro ( desktop ) up to those 3 monitors before I returned it I had to buy a 2nd graphics card AND mini display port adapter. That's more than $300 extra to plug my RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE MAC PRO DESKTOP ( which comes with only 3GB of RAM by the way!!! ) INTO THE 3RD MONITOR.

Those were Radeon 5770 cards. When I looked at my $400 Dell T110 sitting next to it on the floor with a single 5750 card able to power all 3 with no adapters necessary I had an epiphany. Mac hardware limitations are 100% strategic, and 100% scam. This $3,000 desktop couldn't power the same monitors my $400 SMALL BUSINESS SERVER with a cheap graphics card from Best Buy could. LOL.

What a disgrace. When I asked the Apple store employee supposedly most knowledgeable about Mac Pros, he couldn't find an answer. It must be a limitation with... the driver. Or something.

Apple doesn't add multi-monitor support to their laptops because guess what? Then you have to buy a MAC DESKTOP in addition to your MAC LAPTOP. If you're already spending $400 on your matrox adapter to power your multiple monitors why not buy an iMac for a little bit more? ( 2011 iMacs support 2 external monitors ). Then we get that money instead of no one getting that money.

Apple may not embed 4G chips because they make money off of iPhone tethering plan partnerships, god only knows. Who knows why the iPhone 4 doesn't have 4G either. Or why macs got the i7s 6 months after the rest of the world. My guess would be scams so amazing that I can't even guess at them.

Anyway.

I hope that when Steve Jobs dies whoever takes over completely overhauls the company's strategy to really live up to their claims and make the best products ever. And start to put people and consumers first and pruning every last dollar out of every last consumer second. That would be a company I could root for. The end.

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Totally forgot to mention, also hate the keyboard shortcuts and positioning of the keys on the Macbook Pro keyboard. Too much splitting of things between Ctrl and Apple key. For example, managing tabs in Chrome. In Windows, you use Ctrl + W to close a tab, Ctrl + T to open a new tab, Ctrl + Tab to go to next tab, etc. In OS X, you use the apple key instead for most of those operations, except for cycling between tabs, where you also use Ctrl. Hate it.

The position of the keys is also annoying. The fn key sits where I'd want the Ctrl key to be. Also, there is no Home/End key, which si used a lot. Instead, you need to use fn + arrow keys to mimic that functionality, which sucks.

Boy, am I ranting. You'd think I hate the machine, and I truthfully am very happy with it!

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I switched to Mac about 2 years ago. I'll never look back. Having the Unix filesystem under the hood is a huge plus in my book, Unix-based systems have always been better performing for me than Windows systems ever have. All my production servers are Unix, and will be as long as I am in charge of it.

I do have Win7 Pro running in a VMware Fusion instance, with 2.5GB of memory dedicated to to it, leaving me 5.5GB for my Mac-based applications. I run SQL Server 2008 R2 on there for work purposes, and I use IE9 to unit test my work for IE7-9 compatibility. I will say that Win7 is a huge step up from past Windows experiences, and I was a beta tester for Windows 95 back in the day so I have a ton of experience with Windows. It also has never been as polished to me as OS X is. So give me the option to work in OS X versus Windows, even Win7, I'll choose OS X every time. It just works better for me.

Regarding the heat of the laptop, I fixed that with a $10 lap tray that allows me to use a mouse with it. Simple, easy, and comfortable. As for dual monitors, I've never found a time where using my 15" Macbook screen as a second monitor to my 26" HD primary has left me wanting more. I can routinely get almost 4 hours on my Macbook running CF 9.0.1, CF Builder 2, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome, and having VMWare up and running. My wife's Samsung i5 Win7 laptop maxes out at 3 hours with only light usage. Maybe I'm lucky there, but when I got my new dual-core i7 about 5 months ago it's been even better than my first MBP.

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@Thomas,

You don't have to be stuck with any keyboard shortcut. QuicKeys will let you assign whatever keys you want to whatever actions you want. And it's not just a keyboard mapping utility. It's also a scripting language that can script GUI actions. In ye olden days, they used to say "a Mac without QuicKeys isn't really a Mac". Currently sold by Startly Technologies.

You can make your Mac keyboard shortcuts the same as Windows or vice-versa, because they make a Windows version now too.

@Ben,

On the subject of most Mac users being older:

http://www.maclaptopsplaza.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/macbook-college.jpg

http://news.cnet.com/i/bto/20080918/missouri_macs_540x369.jpg

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Hi Ben

Thanks for taking the time to post your review. My laptop died last December and I too looked around for a while to find a replacement.
I came so close to buying a Mac but in the end I bought a 13" Sony Vaio for these reasons:
1) I didn't want to buy and run two OS's - just one.
2) As a developer I need to be able to test in IE.
3) As a developer I have some clients who use Sql Server and I needed to be able to install a local copy.
4) My local Sony shop can carry out warranty repairs on the spot.

That was it - otherwise I would love to have bought a Mac.

Glad you are enjoying yours - they do seem like beautiful machines.

All the best.
Marty

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Hi Ben,

As usual your posts are awesome. I've been looking at an excuse to by a macbook pro for long now, and your post convinced me... well it almost did, but then I started reading through the comments to your post :) Looks like a lot of mixed emotions here.
My question would be, would this machine be a better tool for a front-end web developer like me, or should I stick to my Win7 machine for this. Something I've gotten used to, is using Aptana/eclipse with SFTP to work directly off my servers. Is something like this possible with the favoured text editors on the mac, i.e. textmate or espresso (think I got the names right)?

Just curious
Thanks
Ettiene

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@Ettiene,

You can use Aptana/Eclipse with SFTP on the Mac. I myself use CFBuilder most of the time.

@Ben,

I don't use Space or Expose. I find that Space just gets in my way, the way they've set it up. I used to use Expose in the past, but not so much now. I've found that I never, ever use Dashboard widgets. I think that is one of the OS X features that just don't really work out so well in practice. Too "out of sight, out of mind".

I may be in the minority, but I find the trackpad irritating. It makes me feel like I'm cramping my hands (I have some stiffness and a bit of nerve issues in my right hand) and use my mouse most of the time.

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I have a fairly cheap Win laptop just so that I can see what Win users see in browsers there. I find it really excruciatingly slow on the startup. All those constant system updates. I've always felt like I'm bumbling around when I use Windows.

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@Lola
Well I've just heard good things about textmate, and to be honest that was one of the reasons I've started looking at the macbook. Aptana for instance, is a bit too bloated for what I need and since I mostly work on linux servers, it sounded like going the mac route would be a good idea, since mac also runs on some kind of linux/bsd OS. Apologies if I'm not 100% correct here... :)

On a side note, my buddy wants to sell his macbook pro. It's a MacBookPro5,3 . Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz, 8GB RAM, etc. etc. How long will typically would that one be fine for web development? I mean, does the OS slow down the laptop if the CPU and resources aren't good enough?

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  • On Windows, one folder would be in "thumbs" view; another would be in list view; another would be in details view. There was no continuity.

@Ben

In XP (maybe V & 7 too?)

1) Open an Explorer window
2) Set the view up the way you like it
3) Tools / Folder Options / View / Apply to All Folders

I do this IMMEDIATELY after I set up a new copy of Windows and then allow the "Remember each folder's view" settings to remain. That way I can set my [My] Pictures folder to show thumbnails without affecting the rest of my system.

As for the Mac/PC debate, it comes down to this:

Do you want to PAY MORE and have a few less frustrations (assuming everything you do can remain in MacLand and not cross over to PC world?)

OR

Do you PAY LESS, and have on-going frustrations (such as waking slowly) and have a less sexy machine?

I had an iPhone 3G ($300), now I have a Droid Incredible (Free). I had a MacBook ($1600) and I think I'm going to upgrade to Win 7.

Why? TOTAL cost of Ownership is just a /shade/ better (all things considered) with the alternatives than a Mac. There are simply tradeoffs between the two (which is why there's always the 50/50 debate as seen above).

But, I feel slightly more frustrated with my Android.... That said, it was $300 cheaper. The additional frustration /IS/ worth the $300 discount to me, because I was frustrated w/ my iPhone too.

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@Ettiene,

Depending on the price, I'd be okay with it. I've got Snow Leopard on a 2.0GHz Core Duo (not core 2) with 2 GB RAM. It's okay.

With 8 GB RAM, after you boot up and get everything loaded, I bet you'd think it was very quick.

Might be a good "starter" machine.

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@Randall
Thanks for the reply. I think I might just take my buddy up on his offer.
Now I'll stop spamming this post :)

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I have used a Macbook for only a few hours. I hate to say it but you just confirmed what I found out in just that time which is the productivity of this machine when lots of apps and web pages open is woeful. I mean for Apple to claim the high ground in the OS world over even XP is doubtful let alone Windows 7.

I bought a second hand Macbook to find out more about macs as I service PCs already and want to service apple products also. My assumption from what I heard was that macs are very stable and excellent multimedia machines. I also heard that the W7 taskbar and ability to track open applications and web pages was better than mac. What I didn't expect was just how damned primitive the mac is in this respect. IMHO it renders it much less useful for serious business use where I often have open a dozen applications and probably six web pages when I am busy. It would be a right pain to switch to where you want to be on a mac. I'm still exploring the machine and I have been quite impressed by the setup and use. It has a lot of good points but OMG the ability to navigate should be well past some shitty ALT + TAB crap that I got fed up with on windows long since.

Windows 7 is such a sweet product. I admit though using something like Outlook to send pictures for example is much harder than it should be and it is a shitty bit of software and no credit to microsoft. Microsoft though seem to be putting a lot of work into developing their interface unlike Apple and it shows. It seems like mac is surviving on unreasonable hype and it had better get it's act together as W7 has already kicked it arse in basic usage and my bet is W8 will finish it off. For some reason it seems to have a charmed life and people have almost religious faith in it.

Well, rant finished. I have a lot to explore and I'm sure in the world of multimedia it has some pretty flash stuff under the hood. I have already had a play with DVD and pictures. Pretty good stuff and much more thought has gone into software supplied with the OS than Microsoft. Microsoft though have not been idle and programs like windows live mail and windows picture gallery are very well thought out programs. Traditionally microsoft have just supplied the OS and left third parties to do all the hard work but with Vista this started to change and with W7 it is in full swing with them starting supply nice multimedia software and I expect this trend will continue.

I have had W7 since before it was released using the beta and it has performed very well with pretty well no crashes in spite of extensive usage and using loads of different software. Viruses and malware aren't the scourge that people make out provided you take at least some care as to the web sites you visit and yes you do need security software too, to be safe. Overall though W7 is uncommonly good and well thought out, not so the basic usage of mac. Poor. Yes, do have the latest 10.6.7 release

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You're spot-on with your dislike of the Alt-Tab feature. I regularly use Linux for development and it has a vastly-superior system for moving between tasks, windows, apps, etc. Whenever I find myself back in OS X I too am reminded of the incompleteness of the feature.

I'd have to say the same about Expose and Spaces -- using the equivalent features in Linux is much more productive. I always feel Spaces gets in the way, whereas the Linux implementation of multiple desktops is a huge productivity/organizational enhancement.

On the positive side, Apple hardware is amazing! Which is why I often run Linux on my Mac hardware...a perfect setup for development.

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@David (McG),

I only understand the hardware stuff abstractly, but I have to say, you make some pretty persuasive arguments. From what it sounds like, there's definitely some shady decisions being made.

@Thomas,

Dude, I completely agree with the positioning of the FN key - it has NO business being where the CTRL key should be. But, to be fair, my Lenovo has this same poor layout as well. I typically type of on an external keyboard (Logitech) and thankfully it doesn't even have a FN key since it has F1-F12 keys at the top. Every time I have to actually type on laptop itself, it takes me many mistakes to remember where my pinky should go.

Also, since I have a Windows-based external key board, I have the "Start" button instead of a Command key which causes a whole other set of mental gymnastics :)

... not to mention that when I use my Windows Virtual Machine, for certain tasks, it all gets translated back to the old way of doing things.

@Rob,

Mac's do have a polished feel. There is definitely a unifying thread that seems to pull everything together (and I'm not just talking about iTunes :P). In fact, one of my co-workers will often refer to "junky" Apple software as not having the "Apple look". It seems to be something the Mac world prioritizes.

We have Windows 7 on one of our production servers, and it seems to run quite nicely.

@WebManWalking,

Ha ha, that photo is a classic :D

A few weekends ago, I participated in the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon; one thing that really surprised me was the large diversity of computers. Given the context, I assumed everyone and their mother would be there with a Mac; but, it was probably only like 50%. It was pretty surprising!

@Martin,

Word up - testing on IE is definitely more of a hassle on the Mac. I have to boot up my Virtual Machine and then use some "IETester" app that runs multiple IEs at the same time. I definitely put off testing in IE until I know it works well in every *other* browser :)

The SQL Server issue is also a big one. We use MySQL at work for most things, so it hasn't been a big deal. But, I do have one or two personal sites that are running on live SQL Server instances (ex. Dig Deep Fitness), and not having SQL Server locally has .... slowed down work on those projects ;)

@Ettiene,

I'm glad you like the post; and with any "product review", nothing will leave you more unsettled that the comments :D I feel the same way whenever I go to buy electronics off of Amazon or New Egg. To be honest, I wouldn't necessarily try to convince anyone to switch one way or the other. I started using a Mac because my Lenovo happen to have died. And, since switching, I have felt a lot of benefit from it (and some friction).

But, at the same time, I spend 95% of my time in three applications: ColdFusion Builder, Adobe Fireworks, and Firefox. Other than that, I have very little experience with how this machine might be better or worse for any particular type of work.

Even when it comes to something like Builder (based on Eclipse), I can't even talk about integrated FTP since I use other apps for other functions. I've never been one that unified my work flows - I use one app for SVN, one app for code editing, one app for FTP... I've never gotten into the idea of integrating functionality. Not to say that it's not great - if I started, it might rock my world; I've just never really tried it as having multiple apps has never really been a point of pain for me. As with everything else, all apps are just a quick ALT+TAB away.

I wish I could give you more concrete advice. I can only say that I really do enjoy my Mac. And, that when this one dies, I'll probably get another Mac.

And, it's not "Spamming" when you're part of the conversation :D

@Lola,

Ha ha, yeah, Dashboard is always one of those things that I forget even exists. When they mentioned it in the Lion Keynote the other day, I kid you not, my immediate reaction was: "You're still building that into the OS?"

When I first got the Mac, I did try to use the Dashboard, specifically for the Calculator. The problem is, you can switch back and forth between the calculator and anything else (such as to copy a number) - the dashboard disappears. I realized, at that moment, the Dashboard and myself were not going to jive well together. I promptly removed it from my Dock and forgot about it.

(I replaced it with the Utility-base calculator which works just like a regular app).

@Randall,

I've definitely used that approach before "Apply to all folders" for view types. But, I could swear that I always mess that up at some point. It might be me, but it just never felt like it stuck.

I also used to immediately go into the computer properties and set it to "Optimize for best performance". This would turn off all the themeing and anti-aliasing and what-not.

@Grant,

Yeah, I have the latest 10.6.7 release (at least that's what the Finder tells me). And, yeah, it took me a few month to stop hating the windowing that Mac users. Like you said, if you're doing business and are in web development, you probably have multiple instances of web browsers open. This leaves the windowing approach less than desirable.

That said, I've never really experienced the performance issues with the machine itself that other people are talking about.

With the exception of Navicat (a MySQL Client). On my Windows machine, it was the most brilliant piece of software. On the Mac, it's seems much much slower. I don't know if that's an issue with the app itself or, the underlying MySQL engine. I just know, as a hard comparison, Navicat was much better on Windows.

@Jon,

The hardware has been sufficient for me. I don't do anything too intense with it other than having ColdFusion 8 and 9 running all the time in the background.

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@WebManWalking

With that comment, you bring me to another disadvantage of the Mac. Disclaimer: this is not me having a feeling of entitlement or whining about something, just pointing out a practical disadvantage.

It's become obvious that there is very little free software for Mac. Every time I look for some simple utility for Mac, it's always a pay app. Sure, they're sometimes less than $10, but on Windows you tend to always find a free alternative, even if a little inferior. I checked for alternatives to QuickKeys, every other program I find is a pay program. For QuickKeys it's not as bad because what I want is down to preference, not a real flaw, but for things like cutting and pasting files in the Finder, I think it's ridiculous to have to pay for something that should work out of the box. Sure, TotalFinder makes it work, but TotalFinder does a bunch of things I don't need. All I want is to be able to cut and paste file and I think if we have to pay for that (along with all the other stuff that Apple charges for that David McGuigan so eloquently pointed out), it's just wrong.

On that note, anybody know of any small program that would allow for mapping a keyboard shortcut to another keyboard shortcut? That's all I want to do. Basically, I want to make fn + c and fn + v = Ctrl + c and Ctrl + v. My pinky is just used to reaching for that last key on the bottom left. I thought BetterTouchTool was going to allow me to do it because it has a Keyboard section, but that one only allows you to map to predefined functions, unlike the gestures which you can map to shortcuts.

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  • I also used to immediately go into the computer properties and set it to "Optimize for best performance". This would turn off all the themeing and anti-aliasing and what-not.

+1. My brother and I do that too. We can live without (most) of the eye candy.

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@Randall,

Regarding wake up time on windows 7. It was annoyingly about 25 seconds on my last motherboard/cpu. I now have an Asrock motherboard with an i7-2600k on it and it wakes up in about 2 seconds, basically as fast as a mac OSX. It makes you wonder what is going on but the wake up time is very good. My Toshiba laptop wake up time is about 5 seconds and it is running a crappy AMD dual processor but does have an SSD. Total bootup time for Windows 7 for both my desktop and laptop is about 30 seconds in total, not just into the desktop but everything up and running. Both have SSD for the Windows 7 64 bit OS.
Grant

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@all,

I am planning on taking the leap and buying some sort of a mac...most likely a laptop...when I have the money. I simply don't have the money at this time. I know people say, the COST is less if you factor in how much time it takes to open apps, the frustration factor, etc., etc., etc., but if I don't have $2,000, I don't have $2,000, end of story. It's really basic math. And I really haven't found anything for less than $2,000 (like $1,600, which is what @Randall posted). And I know people say you pay for quality, you get what you pay for, etc., etc., etc., but I haven't really had that many problems with the laptops I have.

And I say laptops, because I do use mine on my lap quite a bit, and don't have a problem with the burning. Nor do I really have to worry all that much about being able to procreate, as I don't think it really affects that with women. Plus, you know, they could use that as a means of advertising, you know? It could be considered a feature, not a bug. It could get you more play...like, "hey, baby, I use a macBook...on my lap...don't you wanna have some fun? We won't have to worry about the usual things that cause anxiety with this, because, as I said, I have a macBook, and I frequently use it on my lap." See there...more play. :-D

That brings us to a slightly more serious note, that which also @Randall brought up...I don't really care if the thing looks sexy, I just want it to function. Maybe that's because I am a girl and less concerned with that which is visually stimulating, but I really just want something I can use.

And, leading to yet another point of mine...this is the way I handle cars: I like to use and abuse them. I like to go 10,000 miles in the car and then realize I haven't changed the oil yet and take it in for an oil change and the thing still run. I like to be going down the road on a rainy day, miss my turn, jerk the wheel a little to the left, and do a 180 degree u-turn right in the middle of the road without the thing totally crapping out on me in the middle of the whole thing. If I find out I have pulled out a little sooner in front of someone than I meant to, I like to really gun it, gain in speed, and get ahead without being run into and also without the freaking transmission falling out of it and into the middle of the road where it can cause other people to run over it and wreck, or just give out on me completely.

This may seem not to relate, but it does...I am getting to it. I like to treat my laptops/computers the same way, really. I like to be able to use and abuse them, and at the end of the day, they still work. I like to open up 18 windows...FOR WEB BROWSERS...and some of those windows have 6 or 7 tabs open, at least, and the thing not crash on me. Not to mention the other 15 or 20 programs I have open. I like to have Flash, Photoshop, Eclipse (or Dreamweaver, or whatever code editing program I use), im, and several im windows, my email program (if it is separate from the web browser), excel, adobe acrobat, and several others...all at the same time...if I want to, and the thing not crash on me and not take forever switching in between tasks.

I have heard that hardware-wise, that you can drop an apple machine out of the window of your car, have several people run over it, drop kick it over a goal post and have it land on concrete, body slam it to the ground and do an elbow drop on it, and the thing still work. If this is true, I would LOVE to get one. I would LOVE something that could take that much abuse and still live and work after that. I have dropped my laptop on the ground at least a few times, and it still works fine. I have a few that I have dropped a few times on the ground, and after awhile, they just quit working.

I have a friend who has a mac. After about a year or so (it's coming around to the time you have had yours, @Ben, but his is a desktop, so it may be a slightly different thing), the thing just locked up and quit working completely. So, @Randall, he and I would agree with you that a lot of computers these days, mac or pc or whatever, are just crap in general, and none are free from completely crapping out on you, especially not eventually. But anyway, he had his about a year or so, and it just totally locked up on him. He had to take it back to the apple store to get it worked on, and he finally got it fixed and was able to bring it back on. Not long after that, a few months or so, the same thing happened. Just the other day, I heard him beating on it and cussing at it, because it had locked up again. I think it does that quite a bit...it locks up on him. I have been on it when it has locked up, and I also noticed at that time, it did seem to take an awful long time doing things in different programs on it. My laptops work fine, so I am just sticking with them for now.

And @David, I have heard this rant about Apple several times, and there are many people in the same camp, I am sure. Being that Apple is bringing a $500 million dollar center to our state, and that I work indirectly for AT&T, I can't really say anything bad about Apple or the iPhone, or about their business practices or anything like that...it wouldn't be good for my state's economy, or my personal economy either. :-) But I feel your pain.

That brings me back to my original point...the economics of it...of the decision to go mac. (and by the way, as a side note, perhaps part of the reason these companies are charging that much is because they think that mostly, people who will be buying this stuff and caring about RAM, etc, are people who are computer professionals, who are making a lot of $$$$, and they think they can afford it. Doesn't apply to me, I'm not rich, but if you consider that, maybe it's just a smart business decision that we end up having to pay for in the long run). Honestly, if someone just gave me one out of thin air, I would accept it, I wouldn't just throw it back in their face. But again, $2,000 (or $1,600) is $2,000 (or $1,600), and I simply don't have it at this time. I did buy 2 additional laptops, which cost me about 1/10 the price apiece. 1/10 of the price!!!! (and even at the lower $1,600, it was still about 1/8 of the price) I am exagerrating a bit...the laptops were under $300 apiece (a little over $200), but still...that fraction of a price is worh A LITTLE frustration in my book. And you're saying, you had that $300...why not wait and save up $300 a month, and then just buy a mac. Well, what if I can't wait? And also, maybe it took me awhile to save up that $300, and I don't have an extra $300 a month to save up on a laptop? Almost all of my money now goes to paying back school loans...that's where my priority is now and has to be. Maybe once I get those things paid off, I will be able to afford the mac, but I'm actually thankful to have this time to think about it and think if it end up really actually being worth it in the end. Because it may not be. If I can get away with paying 1/10 of the price, and still be happy with the machine I paid 1/10 of a price for, then I may just stick with that...haven't completely really made my mind up yet.

@Ben...I was going to suggest getting a laptop and putting linux on it if you were really enjoying playing with the command line, and really wanted to play with it, but you beat me to it when you said it was beyond your desire to play command line. :-)

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@Anna:

As far as durability, I'm sure 30 mac enthusiasts will start spouting about how durable and amazingly sturdy the unibody construction is...

But. I can personally tell you that it's 98% bullshit. I got into an impromptu tickle fight with some friends on my bed one time and one girl's foot tipped my 2010 MacBook Pro off of it literally 2-3 feet onto the floor. The entire CD slot part of the metal just caved and bent warping it so badly that I then had to sell it for an insane price just to not have to look at it anymore. On top of that I've had 3 separate mac laptops with dead pixels, luckily they were purchased from Best Buy so I was able to exchange them.

But yeah. The laptops ( at least the Pros ) definitely feel and look very solid, which is actually great. But as far as real durability, no ma'am. also I notice scratches all of the time on the metal on other people's which may or may not matter. To me it doesn't.

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@Anna, If I had a $1 for every word you wrote, I'd be able to buy a new MacBook Pro ;-)

@All,

I had an iMac practiacally in hand (it was used, needed to be reboxed) -- until I asked if I could change out the internal hard drive. Nope, requires a technician.

NO DEAL. And I may be taking my Mini back.

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@Thomas,

Are you serious? Macs are Unix. There's a metric TON of free open source software out there:

http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/unix_open_source/

http://www.finkproject.org/

http://sourceforge.net/

All you need is Xcode. It's a complete IDE, with interface builder, source-level debugger, etc. It'll generate everything Apple, from an iPhone app down to a stdin/stdout Unix command line utility. And it's $5 on the Mac App Store. If that's too much to pay, I give up.

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@Randall:

I wish you did!

@David: Thank you for your input. :-) That helps in my decision when it comes to it. (when I have the money, that is). Right now, I simply have other things to pay for. My college loan is absolutely going to top priority right now (obviously after the things I HAVE to pay for, including basic living expenses, food, gas, rent, etc.) Durability is a top decision-maker for me. I love the fact that my laptop still works after it was kicked off the bed by someone in the last month or so.

@all...kind of on the same subject, I meant to say this a minute ago (if I didn't) even though it may seem bad that I enjoy using and abusing inanimate objects, it is better than using and abusing other human beings, right? I could be like some women I know and resort to using and abusing men, but I don't have the energy for it, and it just isn't as fun as using and abusing things like laptops, cars, etc. (you can't take a man on a 180 degree spin on a wet road going > 60 mph and still live to tell about it. :-D)

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The only things about a MBP I like are the magnetic power plug of course, and the color calibration of the display. Color is important in the web design world, and too many craptops simply have bad color, or display off colors if you are sitting just 30 degrees off perpendicular. MBP has good color - not the best, but good.

@Anna:

I wouldn't mind a woman taking me on a 180 degree spin on a wet road going > 60 mph. You'd live to tell about it... and would probably want to do it again. Just saying. (Sorry Ben... wrong blog for this, I know... but the suspected bra in that pic got me started)

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@Aaron, unless I am somehow misunderstanding your comment, it IS great to DEVELOP graphic/web design things on a computer that has a great graphic representation, but in a way, it is kind of for you, being pleasing to YOUR eye...correct me if I am wrong, and this is for @anyone...@anyone can correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn't you also have to test it on a craptastic monitor with craptastic colors so that you could design/develop for the least common denominator? That's what I was under the impression of, but I could be wrong. People with completely crappy computers and monitors should be able to view your work without wanting to scratch their eyes out by the horible contrast and clashing of colors also, correct? Unless you can control how your visitors are viewing your work, which is kind of a discussion @Ben and I got into somewhat concerning javascript/jquery.

Also, bra in the picture? What bra in the picture? I must be missing something...

Furthermore, to address the comment about spinning a man around 180 degrees on a wet road, etc., First, I'm not sure I could do it, because I am not sure I could really lift a man in that way unless there was some other factor being controlled for in there, such as I was only lifting men weighing less than 100 lbs (which I don't think there is), or if he kenw how to support himself in order to enable me to lift him, and I don't think it is anything a man would particularly enjoy, because I would likely be giving him a torque injury of some sort, doing some complex martial arts technique on him to separate some of his connective tissue from his bones. So, yes, I might want to do it again, although the next time I might want to use a different technique and rip connective tissue instead as I separate two joints from each other in some fancy torque operation involving the rotation at a 180 degree angle, however, I don't think the man would want me doing it to him again. :-D Just IMVHO. :-P

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@Anna:

re: display - It might not be a good idea to design for incorrect color calibrations. Seems to me that would be like painting pictures for incorrect eyes like those suffering with monochromacity. In my opinion, designing with a display showing you as correct of colors as can be asked for would help yield the best possible color designs. The MBP has a very decent display. The Apple displays that are $999 27" color calibrated led displays are known to be a very good option for the serious designer, and the MBP apparently shows some similar care in that department.

re: bra - I was referencing my first comment on this post.

re: spinning a man - I never mentioned you spinning me. :-Þ I said "I wouldn't mind a woman taking me on a 180 degree spin on a wet road going > 60 mph." But thanks for the great visual.

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Actually Aaron, I think you're off base there. From what I've read in high-end monitor and panel reviews Apple's newest displays and the 27" especially are highly-criticized for poor and exaggerated colors because they're so glossy, and that Apple recommends going with the anti-glare MacBook Pro option ( $150 upgrade ) for any color-sensitive work. I could be wrong but I have heard that in reviews of $1000+ screens ( was checking out the Dell U3011 at the time I believe. )

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@Anna, you can take me for a spin any day. Er, I mean, to stay on topic, my MacBook. Yeah, that's it.

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@David McGuigan

I don't believe I am too off-base. I don't know much about recent reviews, but gloss or no gloss, color is color and in the past the Apple displays have been a good choice for proper color calibration.

Some monitors are really terrible with color, contrast, brightness... the calibration is just off and configuring it yourself can seem impossible and sometimes is impossible to get it "correct".

But, I don't recommend Apple products of any kind. I have an iPod video that I could do without. I have an iPad2 that really irritates the crap out of me; not to mention the first one I got came with a dead power button. The last MBP my boss bought ended up with a broken "Enter" button that cost $169 to fix. I'm done with buying Apple products, I think. I wouldn't refuse an MBP or an Apple display, but... I probably wouldn't buy either for personal use.

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@David McGuigan:

I'm definitely not defending Apple, but there is a clear distinction between the displays in that review that should separate them in tests. The Apple display is LED, and those higher rated displays are CCFL. In my opinion, LED and CCFL shouldn't even be in the same consideration. CCFL is simply better than LED when it comes to contrast and promotes a more even lighting enabling a larger range of colors to be precisely calibrated.

Yes, the ASUS and Scepter displays are better, but they are smaller, use CCFL, and really shouldn't be considered in a comparison between like model displays. The Dell U3011 is just as horribly priced at $1299 after $200 off, as well as most of those displays of like size and color quality. Apple isn't too far off base in that market.

However, again, I am no fan. I wouldn't buy any display for $1000. My best tv only ran $800. I just can't justify the cost for what you get when you can choose a little smaller monitor like the 23" ASUS you referred to and get the color accuracy needed.

But to be fair, the display on that MBP really isn't bad. The display is a lot better than what I get on my Acer laptop, Sony laptop, HP laptop, Dell laptop, Samsung 22" monitor, Dell 17" monitor, Dell 19" widescreen monitor, or the two Dell 17" monitors I am staring at right now. It is better than average, in my opinion.

But, none of that even matters... What matters is that MBP has a freaking magnet power plug! What more could you want? Buy it for that, and that alone! To hell with these stupid barrel jacks it seems every other laptop must come with...

/end trolling

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Talking about the technology inside isn't relevant to a discussion about color quality. It sounded like you were saying "Apple monitors are great at color accuracy ", when in reality as you just saw they're not. It's not a discussion about LED versus CCFL versus SuperAMOLED or eInk or anything else, but about color.

1. The 30 inch Dell is far superior colorwise to any current Apple offering, but so are a ton of other monitors.

2. The 30 inch Dell MERITS a higher price because as you just saw, it's for professionals concerned with color and other professional things.

3. The 30 inch also gets you 1600 vertical pixels compared to the Apple's 1440. That's about 11% more vertical space, which is worth much more than the price difference in Photoshop panelspace for most graphic designers that can afford it.

I'm not trying to harp on this, but making a statement like "Apple products are just great at color" just isn't accurate, and it's exactly the kind of virally perpetual while false statements that fuel the Apple marketing machine, leading consumers to really believe that everything Apple makes and does is "just better" when in reality it's not, it's just more expensive. No offense intended.

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@Anna,

I just got a second hand MacBook yesterday and did an earlier post expressing my frustration with it.

I am a I.T. professional in that I did 15 years of software development, the last 4 years using .NET and SQL Server and other tools.

Anyway, I only point this out as I like software, I think a lot about what makes software good software.

The Mac OS X as it stands is a severe disappointment in terms of tracking open applications and Safari is several generations behind anything else on the market and I think you could say the same about OS X. To rub salt into the wound macs are between 2 and 5 times the price of the equivalent Windows based PC.

The iPhone is great although far from perfect. If it weren't for the iPhone effect on OS X sales and the malware issues that Apple run scare campaigns over, I think looking at this OS X, it would have been on the point of disappearing into the recycle bin of history.

Sure it has some nice applications but overall, Apple have been too busy counting their dollars to put that money into a revamp of the interface so necessary to make it remotely competitive with Windows 7 OS, which is an absolute gem and so quick and easy to use.

Safari is beyond an embarrassment too, pathetic. IE 9 on the other hand microsoft have put huge amount of time and money into perfecting it and it shows. Likewise Windows 7, lots of no bullshit useability built in which makes it a delight to use.

At some point Apple has to take both hands out of their bum and actually do something about OS X rather than just relying on scare campaigns, marketing hype and the iPhone to drive sales.

My opinion is that more people like me will discover that the emperor really doesn't have clothes on and the crowd will suddenly turn. Apple have to take action before their brand is irreversibly dented.

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@David McGuigan

RE: "Apple products are just great at color" - Hmm, can't find that quote when searching the page for it. I did say something like "... in the past the Apple displays have been a good choice for proper color calibration." Does no one any good sensationalizing what was actually said.

I have formed the opinion your understanding and my understanding of what actually produces the range and accuracy of color obviously differ (referring to flaming whether led vs ccfl should be compared). If that is indeed the case, fair enough. No sense in turning a display discussion into a religious battle where we will obviously never come to any kind of agreement.

RE: "... and it's exactly the kind of virally perpetual while false statements that fuel the Apple marketing machine, leading consumers to really believe that everything Apple makes and does is 'just better' when in reality it's not"

Did you completely overlook my statement "I don't recommend Apple products of any kind."? ... and it's convenient dismissal of facts like that which will continue to fuel flames of opinion, leading consumers to hate even discussing that they like anything about Apple because flamers push their anti-Apple propaganda in their face repetitively until they submit and agree that Apple is "just more expensive"... never mind the repeated attempts to offer opportunities for the antagonist to simply discuss a simple difference of opinion, instead of attempting to prove them wrong.

Examples of offering as opinion only instead of negating facts:
"It is better than average, in my opinion."
"In my opinion, LED and CCFL shouldn't even be in the same consideration."

As opposed to these antagonizing gems delivered as negating facts instead of mere opposing opinions:
"...when in reality as you just saw they're not."
"The 30 inch Dell is far superior..."
"The 30 inch Dell MERITS a higher price because..."
"The 30 inch also gets you 1600 vertical pixels compared to the Apple's 1440. That's about 11% more vertical space, which is worth much more than the price difference..." (this is the closest thing to opinion you've actually said)

You may reply to that if you like, but I will absolutely respectfully decline to respond to you on this topic. Have a nice evening. (and, sorry Ben... I'm not normally like this, and I'm sorry I contributed to this kind of flavor)

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@Aaron

Yikes.

@Grant

Are you sure you're not on a really old version of OS X? Snow Leopard has a lot of really sweet shit in it. You and quit apps from the Command + Tab overlay, launch apps fluidly with Spotlight, get really usable inertial scrolling with any of their multitouch interfaces, get best-in-class OS-level text aliasing, and the latest few releases of Safari really brought it in league with the top modern browsers ( Chrome being the best obviously ).

If you're really a "lover of good software" and check out what they've done with the OS X coming out next month ( Lion ), you may be REALLY impressed. Apple has finally done some things that actually seem amazing to me, after years of severe overhype and disappointment.

I think it's pretty easy to make a case for Windows 7 offering superior usability and experience to the current OS X, but it's not leaps and bounds like you're experiencing. It's definitively better, but not Jordan versus Parish better. I just went there. I wouldn't give up on OS X just yet.

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@David,

I have no idea why you still use Apple. I have both Win7 and Mac OS X--the latest Macbook Pro 15", and all I can tell you is take yours back. Mine doesn't get overly hot, and I can even play older games on it. I also created a two hour movie in iMovie and used iDVD to create a DVD of it. Again, not warm. My battery life on average is well over 6 hours. I don't know why yours sucks so bad, but mine has been awesome.

Plus, I can update it to Lion for 30 freakin bucks. That is crazy. Win8 for my desktop will cost well over a 100 I am sure.

Bash it all you want, but why do you keep using it?

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@Grant

I have no idea where you are getting this speed thing from. I have both Win7 and Mac OS X, and I can run both Win7 inside VMWare and Mac OS X on a Macbook Pro, and both are plenty peppy. If you don't like Safari, (supposedly so far behind) simply install one of the other browsers...like all of us do in Win7.

As far as IE9, yeah right. Chrome is far faster and still more secure on windows. Same with Mac. Chrome is far faster and still more secure. Pwn2Own proves that.

As far as the rest about "scaring" and "bums" and the like. *yawn* That added nothing. Not. a. thing.

Phones, at this point, are a matter of preference, and definitely will be when iOS 5 comes out, and the latest WP7 comes out. Pick one, just understand that bashing the others is pretty lame at this point.

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@Jason

First of all let me just say...
HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

"I can even play older games on it" - you typed that.

That made me laugh for like a decade before I realized you were serious.

Hooray! My $2000 laptop can play OLDER games without burning my lap!!! JBC man.

The heat issue is something that tons of people are experiencing. Again I'm talking the i7 SANDY BRIDGE 2011 QUAD-CORE MACBOOK PROS that just came out a few months ago. If you're not feeling the heat my guess is you're really old and don't get modern multitasking or have the previous ( dual core ) generation. It's been on a crapload of tech sites including Engadget.com

There was even an official Apple update meant to combat the issue, but it still hasn't fixed it for lots of users, myself included. Hacking it with that plugin I mentioned has really helped ( though it still gets way too warm when I bring the noise ), but the graphics switching software is still terrible and should be trashed in lieu of manual switching like Sony and HP implement.

It's adorable that you're touting a $30 operating system upgrade as if that trivial savings makes any difference whatsoever against the astronomical overcharge you already relinquished for your hardware itself.

I use a mac for a lot of reasons. I bought this one after selling my 2010 model because Lion looked/looks so promising. I guarantee you that I want to like Apple and their software as much as anyone else, probably more than most people because computing and programming is my life.

What I have a problem with is their blatant false advertising and the embarrassing success their psychological marketing has on consumers. It's made them one of the most profitable companies ever, an entire ecosystem built on misinformation and propaganda, and it's kind of depressing. That consumers are that misinformed and suggestible. Not to mention evangelical.

But I'm as eager as the next guy to laud any and everything any company does well.

I adore mac trackpads. I shit my pants with excitement when they announced the new Safari would have smart zoom and other iPhone-like gesturing. I love the visuals-first approach to a lot of OS X ( text aliasing, ultra high resolution icons, animation as an interface language, etc ). I love how thin my MBP is until I realize it was at the expense of my skin. I like a lot of things about macs. That doesn't mean that I think that OS X holds a candle to Windows 7 or that I'll go around repeating Apple's viral propaganda without actually verifying it to be true first. All that I even care about is the truth and attempting to discover and indulge in the best software available at all times. I don't think I was bashing anything so much as keeping it real, son.

P.S. Congratulations on creating "a two hour movie in iMovie" and then totally owning it and making a DVD out of it. I say go ahead and put that on your resume.

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@David,

WOW. What about my post was worthy of such a personal ad hominum attack. First of all, I am under 40 with over 10 years experience with Windows, Unix (Sun and HP), Linux (Red Hat, Fedora, Ubuntu), and Mac OS X. I have been a DB admin for both SQL Server and Oracle. Additionally I am a .NET, C++, PHP, PERL, Web coder. Currently I am in Information Security, but will probably switch over to informatics to take advantage of my varied background.

Thus I was simply pointing out that in the LESS THAN A MONTH I have owned my macbook these are the ways I have taxed it. Granted not much, but yeesh. You really are a tad defensive. And I don't expect ANY laptop to be able to run games as well as my desktop.

I have run SC2 on it and it does fine. I do have that extra fan program. Big whoop. Took me 10 seconds to install. Anyway let's go through this now.

I don't know what the point of HAHAHAH is, so we will move on. That's right, it doesn't burn my lap. I don't know what JBC means, so we will just move on. I HAVE the i7 Sandy Bridge so yeah, and the 8 GB of RAM. I don't know what your point is.

At Macrumors, most said that replacing the hardware fixed the issue, which is why I brought it up, but if you want to stay with your problem feel free to ignore the advice. It's a free world.

About hardware pricing? If you say so, mine was less due to academic pricing (grad school), so it wasn't all that bad, and I priced COMPARATIVE laptops with dedicated video, and the price premium was only about 300-400 dollars. Not insignificant, but I want Unix. It was worth it. Now I will save on the backend for upgrading. Call it adorable if you want, but it doesn't change the price point. It does make you less than polite though.

I, too, adore the trackpads, although a bowel movement wasn't involved when I saw the specifics on Lion and iOS 5.

I didn't fall for their advertising, and I am sorry that you feel it is false. I research, and I think that most people do also. I don't think they are blind automatons that just do whatever Apple or MS or Google want. But, what the hey?

But again, your post would have come across much better without the personal attacks.

Peace out.

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@Jason,
Lighten up man, no one is attacking you! JBC you guys take blogging seriously eh? I was just making fun of your response ( which I'm sorry but I found entertainingly asinine ). It doesn't mean you're not a perfectly acceptable person in other ways or need to get upset.

But lookey what we have here. The same skeptic yelling from the rafters that there is no overheating issue and that MY LAPTOP IS DEFECTIVE AND I SHOULD RETURN IT has to run "that extra fan program [ yes I had to hack my operating system to get my brand new computer to 'just work' but ] BIG WHOOP [ I'm sure all mac users know how to do it ] ".

Either you're new to comparing prices, or perhaps not so savvy at arithmetic.

$300-400.00 difference? You know what, just to prove how astoundingly overpriced Mac hardware is, let's go ahead and FACTOR IN AN EDUCATIONAL DISCOUNT the way that you seem to feel is a fair pricing comparison. Nothing wrong with a little fraud I guess if that's how you do.

Let's assume you got the 2.0 ( cheaper ) model.

Education pricing: $1699. If you add the 8GB of RAM that's another $180. Adding the RAM and not upgrading the HD to at least a 72k would be a fool's errand so I'll presume you did that too. Another $90. So, your laptop with the amazing educational discount applied comes out to $1969 before taxes and/or shipping.

$1969.

For fun, let's pull up an order I placed on hp.com on 05.10.11

Order #H117598366 if you'd like to verify it.

Here are some pictures of this nasty attractive 17.3" HP by the way: http://www.engadget.com/photos/hp-pavilion-dv6-dv7-hands-on-and-press-shots/#3854626

Eerily, this HP has exactly the same processor, switchable graphics card, RAM, and oh, a slightly larger 7200rpm drive. Oh, and 1600x900 resolution instead of 1440.

Dv7t Quad Ed
• Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
• 2nd generation Intel(R) Quad Core(TM) i7-2630QM (2.0 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache) w/Turbo Boost up to 2.9 GHz
• 1GB GDDR5 Radeon(TM) HD 6490M Graphics [HDMI, VGA]
• 8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
• 640GB 7200RPM Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
• No Additional Office Software
• FREE Upgrade to Norton Internet Security(TM) 2011 - 15 Month Subscription (activation required)
• 17.3" diagonal HD+ HP BrightView LED Display (1600 x 900)
• FREE Upgrade to Blu-ray player & SuperMulti DVD burner
• HP TrueVision HD Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone and HP SimplePass Fingerprint Reader
• Intel 802.11b/g/n WLAN and Bluetooth(R) with Wireless Display Support
• Premium Beats Audio w/ built-in Subwoofer

But how much did it cost?
$1034.99

Oh no wait I'm sorry. The Radeon 6490 on this HP has 1 GB of dedicated GDDR5, your mac laptop only has 256 MB. That's roughly 400% more in case you were wondering. Gosh, that seems like a lot.

Awkward.

Ok so if we compare this laptop to yours we only get a $934.01 difference.

I may have forgotten to mention that my laptop can play Blu Ray and power multiple external monitors without any adapters. Oh, and it has these amazing speakers that literally put the built-in sound on the MacBook Pro to dirty, dirty shame. Beats something or other, but it can basically DJ a party in a modest room with no external hardware.

Oh, and it can use external monitors wirelessly without any cables too with its built in wireless display feature. You know, basic 2011 stuffs.

Just for fun let's compare it to the non-educational discounted price of your same configuration, you know, just to help non teachers decide...

$1799 + 200 ( ram ) + 100 ( hd ) = $2099.

$2099 - 1034.99 = $1064.01, ouch.

I can get myself this kick ass new HP, and you know what? A full 2nd backup of it in case I lose the first one for less than the single mac.

Or something else really awesome that costs about a thousand dollars. I mean that's not that much money right? For a student.

Maybe $300-400 was a little bit of an exaggeration on your part. But Apple does tell people that if you compare laptops with the same specs there's really not much of a price difference anymore. So it's not your fault really. You probably heard that and it sunk in. It's not that you fell for their advertising per se, or is it?

Again, I'm not attacking you in any way. So much as making fun of how Apple affects people's brains. No offense intended.

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@David,

You forgot a few of the more important factors I was looking for, but either way I don't have time to show you my research. I was just pointing out (politely unlike you) some ways and thoughts I thought might help. Good luck with your communication style.

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@David McGuigan

Lacks couth - I was just making fun of your response (which I'm sorry but I found entertainingly asinine).

Dick comment - Either you're new to comparing prices, or perhaps not so savvy at arithmetic.

Attempts to prove an opinion (which proving an opinion is just stupid) - You know what, just to prove how astoundingly overpriced Mac hardware is [etc]
Note: It is not overpriced if it is within the budget of the purchaser. Perhaps it is too much to you, but it does not mean it is too much to everyone. Anyone could buy a Kia or something and have a car with similar features to a car that costs 2+ times as much. Take your "asinine" arguments to the chevy vs ford forums or something.

I could attack you for buying HP products, because I have no lesser opinion of any of the top brands than I do for HP - For fun, let's pull up an order I placed on hp.com on 05.10.11

Naive - That's roughly 400% more in case you were wondering. Gosh, that seems like a lot.
Note: Plenty of people spend $60k on a car that has half the horsepower of a car half the price. You should expand your agenda and "educate" every consumer of every type of product showing them why they made a poor choice buying what they liked. Good luck!

Allow me to point out your "asinine" comment too - Oh, and it can use external monitors wirelessly without any cables too with its built in wireless display feature.
Explanation: I don't know if you knew this or not, but "wirelessly" does normally mean "without any cables"

Blatant contradiction -
Maybe $300-400 was a little bit of an exaggeration on your part. But Apple does tell people that if you compare laptops with the same specs there's really not much of a price difference anymore. So it's not your fault really. You probably heard that and it sunk in. It's not that you fell for their advertising per se, or is it?
- contra -
Again, I'm not attacking you in any way.

So, when you say "No offense intended." it really has no meaning at all.

No offense intended.

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I thought that I replied to this already, but maybe not or maybe it got deleted due to inappropriate content, maybe someone thought it was spam, or flaming. I apologize if any things any of that was my intent, as it was not. I know I get off the subject sometimes and on rants, and I'm sorry if I went on an inappropriate one that got my post deleted. :-) It's all good, though.

Anyway, what I was gonna say is...goodness. I did not mean to spark such a debate about color/display/etc. I was just trying to relate a previous experience I had where I designed this nifty and attractive site/graphic on my home computer when I was in school, and it looked beautiful. When I got to school, on the monitors we had there, it looked awful. I had no time to change it by the time I saw how horrible it looked on the school monitors. When I tried to explain to the teacher what had happened, she simply said, "when you are working in the real world, advertisers aren't going to care what it looked like on 'your computer', they only care how it looks on their consumers computers that they are trying to please". The graphic I had designed on my home computer was forest green there, and then when I got to school, it looked Kelly green, or puke green is a better description, and really clashed with the other colors in the site/graphic. So maybe if you are a designer, you are just supposed to stay with neutral colors that go with the other colors in your design regardless of the shade/hue/whatever.

Anyway, that was just the point I was trying to make.

And, btw, may have mentioned this before, but on my non-apple computer, it falls asleep and comes back to life pretty quickly. I've never had a problem with it.

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@David,

You forgot the following characteristics:

15" only --raises the price on the premium models,

6770 minimum

2.2 GHZ

Just FYI, you are probably right to a degree though. It is a little more, but NOT 1000. Of course we also have to factor in the adorable (your word) pricing on software:

Lion 30 versus Win7 Pro +100

iLife and iWork versus the basic crap Win7 or Win8 will provide.

Scrivener and Curio - don't exist in Win.

But again, I am out of here. You are simply not open to discuss issues with, and hate Apple yet clearly stay with it.

Good luck!

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@David,

Thanks for your comments. The Macbook is a 2007 model but it does have all the latest software and Safari 5. I have had another go at Safari and I have to say I do like the ability to see thumbnails of the history. It is quite useful. I tried to maximise the safari window but couldn't do it! I found that this can't be done easily. I downloaded Chrome and found it could be run full screen. I then downloaded Safari on W7 and of course you just dock the safari window to the top of the screen and it maximises just like any other application. It is bizarre how there are all these clumsy 'gotchas' everywhere. I still can't find an easy and quick way to navigate apps except using ALT + TAB. I am still learning of course. Mind you using a 13 inch laptop screen is not great at the best of times especially a low resolution one like on the MacBook. I normally use two 24 inch screens and normally only use my laptop when I have to. Comments about the Apple stuff being shockingly expensive is quite correct. I mean it is $1199AUD here for a shitty plastic MacBook with a low resolution 13 inch screen. Disappointing. My entire PC with my nice case, i7-2600k SSD(120G) and two hard 1TB drives, Blu Ray Burner, HD5770 Graphics card, 4G RAM, Corsair 450W PSU, Keyboard/Mouse and a Noctua Cooler (so my CPU runs at up to 4.8GHz with turbo) costs $1819 with the W7 64 bit Home Premium. This is parts only but it does give an idea of relative costs. It would be great if the OS X was clearly better but I am still digging to find out what the fuss is all about and why people pay so much.
This second hand MacBook only cost $499 with a brand new magic mouse so it is a good way to find out without it costing too much.
I would be interested in this upcoming Lion release.

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@Anna

I understand what you are saying, and it makes good sense.

My comment was aimed to address that kind of problem. I guess my opinion is if you start designing with a display that produces fairly accurate colors, that design on other displays has a better chance to look close to what you intended it to look like. If you design on a monitor that is kinda badly calibrated to display green, then you will struggle to produce a green graphic that will look the way you want it to on other displays that may not be calibrated the same for green.

You probably get what I'm saying. There are a few standards for color that are often tested for displays, just for this purpose. For range, some things that come to mind are the Adobe RGB and sRGB. For accuracy and consistency, I have seen various products available like EyeOne and ColorVision. Your setup may even have some tools to get you "close enough" like Adobe Gamma.

May your color woes continue to wane. :-)

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@Anna, @Lola,

Search for the term, "studio monitor speakers," and you'll see that monitor speakers are far from superior speakers. They are, like what you're saying, "Middle of the road." So the best monitor for authoring would be a "pretty good" one.

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@Aaron,

yeah, I think I get what you are saying. I think we were saying basically the same thing, even though in different languages (or dialect) perhaps. I was suggesting that you could design it in something awesome, but then testing it on a crappy monitor would probably be a good idea before going to final production (or in my case, a grade). Then, your rear is covered like mine unfortunately at that time was not. If it looks crappy on the crappy monitor, then you could at least change it and have time to change it before someone saw it looking completely crappy.

Anyway, someone brought up the LCD screens, and I'm not sure if it is those, but boy do I hate the way the screens portray graphics when you are trying to design and it looks one way on one part of the screen...scroll up, and it looks completely different! UGHHHHHHHH. Like the green, since we already mentioned it, is a light green in the middle of the screen, but scroll up, and it is a dark green. And then, raise yourself up out of the chair and stand w/o scrolling, and it changes again. Walk to the side, and it changes again. Those things drive me nuts, partly because I CAN'T control how the user is going to be looking at it, and I have no idea what it will look like on a 'regular' screen. Yes, I have some control issues. Sorry about my rant.

Thanks, @Lola, even though I am merely the messenger. :-)

@Randall, I apologize for the inability I have to understand the connection to what you are talking about and things I have previously said. I'm not really sure what you are referring to. I don't remember mentioning speakers or authoring, so I apologize for the lack in brain wave activity here. :-/ But I appreciate your comment and input nonetheless...

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@Anna,

Speakers:Sound :: Monitors:Sight

Both output something from a source to our sense(s), but the quality of the output device (monitor or speaker) skews the receiver's (person's) interpretation of the output (the sound or light).

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@Juan

That MacBook Pros are overpriced is not an opinion, it's an easily provable and demonstrable fact.

I just pulled up "overprice" in OS X's built-in dictionary to try to help you: "charge too high a price for".

So what that means is that there is a cost involved in making a product, and then manufacturers or resellers generally sell the product at a higher price to make a profit from it.

For the most part, Apple uses the SAME PARTS as these other manufacturers doing it for significantly less do. They just choose to capitalize on their tricksiness and artificial mindshare by jacking the price of almost everything they sell up far past what it's actually worth, such that comparatively some of Apple's competitors provide MUCH better values.

But many people can't help but buy because they've heard that it's just better and worth it, and what do they know about computers? So they believe it and stand in line, and then repeat those same things to other people.

Maybe the unibody material is more expensive than the casing that HP uses ( though the speakers are definitely a lot cheaper ), and maybe the trackpad is too. Oh wait, no it's not because you can buy one for $69.99 at an Apple Store. If that's the case then, and the unibody materials cost $1000 extra, I'd like mine in some other more exciting material. Carbon Fiber or Unicorn Ivory please.

By your argument I can sell Bill Gates my MacBook Pro for $1,000,000.00, and because it's "within the budget of the purchaser" it's not overpriced.

Lacks validity.

And then there was the Apple-propagated luxury car metaphor.

Really what you're saying though with the prior art on this argument is that what Apple sells is a BMW frame with KIA parts under the hood. Which you know what, I'd agree with. With the exception that Apple's BMW-ish frame isn't very sturdy or durable, and will bend and crush easily on impact.

Yep, just like you've heard is vogue to do, try to paint HP as a poor choice.

The usual arguments are that they're ugly or unreliable.

Guess what? The HP is very attractive, people actually ask about it. There is a really svelte royal blue rim around the trackpad that lights up in low lighting situations and looks futuristic. The chassis is a solid-feeling, deep brushed metal with a beautiful keyboard.

Guess what else? I, and a lot of consumers that don't just repeat baseless rumor to each other, have great experiences with HP. As long as you treat a computer well chances are it will last longer than you'll need it to.

Which brings me to another great point. That HP I just price compared to the MacBook Pro comes with a 2 YEAR WARRANTY. Macs don't even get that unless you pay extra AGAIN for it. ANOTHER $175 PER YEAR. That takes that price differential even further. There really is no contest, Apple products are blatantly, shamelessly overpriced.

Juan said "Note: Plenty of [ idiots ] spend $60k on a car that has half the horsepower of a car half the price."

You should help those people. Immediately. Unless you're talking about people that buy electric or competing technology cars for environmental reasons. In which case I applaud them. I'd pay extra for a laptop too if it was solar powered.

Juan said "Allow me to point out your 'asinine' comment too."

Dear Juan, there are a few other products that achieve the same effect with cables that come out of your laptop into an external adapter that broadcasts to another receiver plugged into the monitor ( http://www.notebooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/HP-Wireless-TV-Connect-hookup-rear.jpg ). The HP I'm talking about does it with absolutely no extra hardware connected to the laptop, it's baked into the chipset. Cableless, wireless display.

Juan: "Blatant contradiction:" ...

Pointing out that someone ( just like I did you with your frivolous luxury car metaphor attempt ) is spouting nonsense isn't the same as attacking them "personally" or purposely trying to offend them. Yes, I use particularly demonstrative language because I find it entertaining and more debatey, but that doesn't mean I'm trying to hurt anyone's feelings or make them cry. You guys should lighten up and not take yourselves so seriously, this is a post about switching to mac, and I'm sorry that the truth hurts so good.

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Take the Apple/PC argument elsewhere

Take the Apple/PC argument elsewhere

Take the Apple/PC argument elsewhere , please.

Can't we all just get along?

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@Jason

15" only -- the 15 inch version of this laptop is about $100 less with the same options, widening the pricing gap even further.

6770 minimum: The upgrade to the 6770 ( 1 GB ) is $25 on hp.com. You can also take it to 2 GB, an option not available on any MacBook at any price, for a paltry $75.

2.2 GHZ: If you're trying to compare the 2.2 Ghz MacBook Pro you'll be in for even more ridiculous numbers. That starts at $2199 before the upgrades.

Lion 30 versus Win7 Pro +100: Win 7 Pro doesn't offer anything that the modern professional needs over Home Premium. This isn't a valid criticism for laptops. The number 1 reason people go pro is to be able to remote desktop INTO the device running it, something rarely needed for laptops given their nature.

iLife and iWork versus the basic crap Win7 or Win8 will provide. Do you really use iWork instead of Google Docs or another cloud service? Hopefully with iCloud that'll finally be efficient, but it remains to be seen. FYI an ad-powered version of Microsoft Office now comes with a lot of new laptops ( for free ). In other news, I'm glad to hear you love iPhoto and iMovie. That's... fun.

Scrivener and Curio - don't exist in Win. WINMERGE, TORTOISE, SQLYOG, AND 500,000 OTHER GREAT APPS DON'T EXIST FOR OS X.

It's fine to like or love your mac, but the real question is why do you? Ben gets an intellectual stimulation out of his ( though it may just be because it's a major shift and something totally new ) that makes him feel more adventurous and experimenty. I can appreciate that I guess, but who's to say a tour with Ubuntu wouldn't do the same thing for a few grand less?

I like a lot of things about mac, a lot of things about Windows. I just don't like false statements I guess.

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Holy cow, this post elicited a lot of comments. I didn't take time to read them so hopefully most of them are positive. I was really disappointed to see some people in our community leave the Mac mostly for political reasons because of the Flash nonsense between Apple and Adobe, so I hope that angst hasn't come into the picture.

Couple thoughts. I love Expose's feature to quickly hide all windows to get to the desktop. I make that one of my corners and it makes it easy to get to a file saved on my desktop super-quick.

Also, I think the Spaces thing is an example of one of those evolutionary things that Apple is still developing. Apple does this often, where they introduce a feature to feel out the waters and we don't see the implementation that was the full intent until significantly later. With the advent of their full-screen support (a.k.a. maximizing but a tad better) coming in OS X Lion, I get the impression that this feature will basically use Spaces technology. Swiping from one full-screen app to another, the user will effectively be switching spaces, but in that intuitive way where they don't realize that's the technical explanation of what they're doing. I think it will feel very natural, and Spaces will have helped it happen.

I'm so glad you're loving your Mac. I'm glad Microsoft upped the ante with Win7, but I still love my Mac more.

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I think with Lion I will like the Mac. I might even buy a new one. The magic mouse is pretty cool. It also reminds me that the paradigm of a mouse is changing with the trackpad on the new Macs and iMac. I got used to the magic mouse without even thinking about it and kudos to Apple after the bad things i said about their user interface which hopefully will change greatly for the better from July in just a few weeks. The idea of being able to manipulate the interface using movements on a trackpad is really a good one and an essential move forward. I was always hearing about touch screens but really a trackpad is a much better idea as you can interact with the screen but without leaving finger smudges on it. It also is a better idea as it integrates nicely with a physical keyboard on the traditional laptop design. I helped a customer set up a iPad2 today. I was impressed with it but not sure tablets are such a great idea. They are an in between device, not a phone and not a laptop and really I don't see much point in them. Still a nice little toy though and we all love gadgets which is why we argue so passionately about them.

I may have entered Mac world just as they have got their act together with this upcoming Lion release. Hooray.

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@David McGuigan

Overpriced is something of a relative term, depending on what you think the value is based on. If you look purely at the hardware and software running it, it's one thing. But people actually put a price on design/coolness/whatever other abstract thing. So another laptop may have exactly the same components, but guess what, it's not as cool. Yeah, I know, not my priority, but it does work that way, people do pay for Apple's slick designs and to have the cool Apple logo on their laptop (I know, I know, get a sticker or something lol).

Having said that, being that like yourself I don't put that high a price on design and coolness, I tend to agree with you that Macs are horribly overpriced (though I don't agree with the way you're making your point, why all the belittling?). I got mine because I wanted to do iOS development, no other reason. Any time I looked into it before I thought the price wasn't worth it. I even looked into just getting Mac OS to run on my PC, but it was kind of a pain and I didn't have the time, otherwise I would have probably given it a go.

@WebManWalking

I do realize there is a lot of free stuff out there for Mac OS. But there's probably a lot of free software for *insert obscure platform here*. It's just that relatively speaking, there seems to be a lot more for Windows, at least that's the impression I've gotten when I've searched for little things here and there. Not a showstopper by any means, just a factor.

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@Thomas Messier,

You said it: priority. That is what matters to me. My priorities. Right now, it is taking care of my school loans. That is the way it will be for awhile. Once my school loans are out of the way, I will have to re-evaluate the situation. For me, what I found was the mathematical difference to be $1,700 between the mac I was told to get and an equivalent laptop of another type/brand/os...whatever. So, after my loans are paid off, I will have to re-evaluate in those terms. Though, another priority of mine is that laser eye surgery. I'll have to say....hmmmm....do I want the latest mac? Or do I want to be able to see perfectly without my glasses? Because in one payment of a mac computer/laptop, I could pay for an entire eye surgery. I just have to look at it and evaluate it in those terms.

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@Thomas: One's impression of how much freeware is out there is conditioned by where you look for it. Unix folks don't usually post to download.com. That's why I provided the hotlinks.

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@David (McG)

Take your volume/meanness down a notch, bud. It's obnoxious. What are we, 14? Let me paraphrase, "it's a fact because I looked up the definition in a dictionary." I've read this entire chain, and I have to speculate if the Mac Priest touched you in the wrong places. You've adopted an offensive tenor to start, and people take that personally. It's a sad fact, we don't get the luxury of deciding how others interpret our intent or emotion, and you've embraced a style that unfortunately yields a set of diminishing returns with regards to your credibility. You can be right and let us know it, but it doesn't make anyone care if you're right or not. Something to think about. </endRabbinicalSermon>

On topic, we get it, you don't buy the value proposition of the Mac or its operating system, but anecdotes aren't facts. Price points/blue ray, what not, don't absolutely define value proposition, either, as a fickle consumer market demonstrates that ephemeral concepts like brand sell. There are a million things that I've found the OS X environment (and previously OS 9, and previously 8, and 7, etc.) do that enhance the computing experience in a way I can't match with Windows, bunt, or Fedora. A wise man once said a perception of reality becomes its own reality, and Apple's been successfully pushing its schtick for a long time now.

NTFS is slower than HFS+. It's a fact, though I'd bank security on NTFS first, but for my purposes, it's not a concern. And are we arguing the efficacy of 32-bit or 64-bit versions of the operating system, something a Mac user need not be concerned with? Not to mention the purported $29 price point for Lion. Spend all that money and get what you will for it with your Windows box, but to get maximum advantage out of it and the amount of RAM you've mentioned before, you have to hold out hope that there's a 64-bit driver for that hardware. And that drives up cost, too. And maybe there is a driver, but the Mac user doesn't have to be concerned with such things. I want to focus on development and best practices therein, not the system behind it. Anyone having to code in .NET and gets to contrast it with other IDEs would cede that there's sweat equity that comes with the Microsoft value proposition.

And maybe I don't have WinMerge, but I did spring for the license for Araxis and use it in both environments. However you pronounce tomato, software is a means to an end, not a qualifier for value proposition, in either direction. Enter denigrating use of ellipses when it comes to ...cute iPhoto - but go high level and show me the graphic designer who's worked with Photoshop or Illustrator in a production environment (especially a corporate one where "build your own" PC doesn't happen and cookie cutter, ghosted image bulk lease/purchase boxes do), and they'd opt for the cookie cutter Mac even if they could build their own. It's not just comfort level, it's rendering speed, something easily verified.

Like so many, I get what I need done with the utilities I have at hand, and when I'm developing in Visual Studio 2008/2010, I don't find that I miss Tortoise or WinMerge when I go back to the OS X environment. Products like SVN X or even, gasp, the command line work just fine for commits. There's a good point to be made here, OS X, because of what it is, makes a nice bridge between the worlds of commercial and open source, in many cases without the need for virtualization.

And maybe it gets hot in my lap when I play World of Warcraft, but for the robust development I'm doing on it, the MacBook never overheats, and it's significantly less noisy than my Windows 7 laptop. I'm aware it's a known technical deficiency, but show me a time in Mac's history that didn't involve Steve Jobs where a computer had inefficient cooling (or no fan at all). It's not as much an argument, as it is this design consideration has been in existence since the failed Apple III and that wasn't the time in Apple's history when they suffered attrition (that would be the Gil Amelio days). And with the warranty considerations, how is buying a plan from Apple any different than getting fooled into buying the extended warranty at Best Buy?

Every single company seeks to part you from your money, friend. Apple has done very well at that game, and will continue to do so. iOS and OS X development, too, are money, and have they released those SDKs to any other platform?

And in a comment very germane to Ben's blog, both CF9 Developer Edition and Railo run much faster on my 2010 MacBook Pro than they do on my equivalent Windows 7 environment. CFBuilder is a dog in my windows installation (take a look at its thread count and memory), and the equivalent consumption on my Mac neither prompts overheating nor the kind of lag I get on the equivalent Windows 7 environment.

I have one to refute your precious ticklefight story-proves-unibody-sucks. Mine fell off the top bunk at a National Guard drill weekend and a friend stepped on the corner of it with a booted foot. Nary a dent. I've deployed alternately with equivalent Macs and Windows PCs, and the Macs, including a very unmilitary clamshell iBook from back in the day, all fared significantly better than the HP or Sony I deployed with. Only a pre-HP acquisition Compaq performed physically better in demanding environments.

But this doesn't render my opinion superior to yours or anyone else, it just informs my experience better than vituperative comments on a blog ever will. There are prosumers and sheeple, and in the end, we'll buy what we will accordingly, but denigrating anyone over a purchase leveraged entirely by branding is no more heinous a sin than rendering childish "because I said so" comments.

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@Aaron,

... "Sorry Ben... wrong blog for this" ...

Nonsense :) Everyone enjoys a good metaphor or reference to an "impromptu tickle fight" :D

@Anna,

A few years ago, the slight difference in color quality in monitors between me and my business partner led to endless back and forth about which monitor was "right". Color quality is such a sensitive issue.

@Grant,

I have to admit, Safari is one of the reasons that I disliked Macs for as long as I did. I remember, I would try someone else's Mac, open up Safari (cause that's the only browser they had) and tried to maximize the window. And, how did it interpret "maximize"? Well, it SHRUNK to the size of the content in the browser. I almost had an aneurism!! This ONE feature had me convinced that macs were utter crap for the longest time.

It was only years later that I realized that both Firefox and Chrome all treat Maximize in the "appropriate" way. All to say, I don't care for Safari in general.

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@All,

Let's try to keep this convo light hearted :) May I suggest that we all just take a minute and watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTTwcCVajAc

... I hope that we can all find a computer to love as much as this girl loves cats :) Whether it's a Mac or a PC.

I dare any of you to even try and argue with that video. I think it provides all the necessary information you need in your next purchasing decision.

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@Ben,

Yes, it has that annoying oddity. It is strange that being an Apple software product that it works that way. I do love the thumbnails history. It looks like Lion is giving the OS just the makeover it needs and support for full screen on every application. Hopefully some of the dock left, right and top for every application like on Windows 7 although they have to differentiate themselves so maybe not. That simple docking thing so simple is so good and so useful. I laughed when they did that as usually microsoft overcomplicate things and miss the point but not in this case.

Microsoft have implemented multi touch technology and it is built into some products but I think so far it looks patchy but it is one feature that I think is going to be used a lot in the future, just a matter of educating people. Anyone you know hate using them on macs?

Anyway, I'm about to put together another PC for someone. I can at least begin to understand Macs rather than discuss them in a general way and I may end up buying a new Macbook but will see what Lion offers first. I believe that the 13 inch screen on the Macbook is lower resolution than the one on the MacBook Pro.

Grant

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@Guust,

Well it shouldn't be necessary with the Lion OS X update in July. The ability to view apps full screen and navigate through web pages and open applications will be much easier. That is what they say anyway.

Time for Apple to catch up to Windows for the first time in history. God knows Microsoft have ripped off enough stuff from the Mac. :)

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@Ben, I am beginning to realize that, and I'm sorry for bringing it up and sparking such a debate! :-)

I'll watch the video when I get home. I think my work computer blocks them. :-/

I know this has been mentioned, but I LOVE working on 2 screens, btw. In the past, I have never done it before this year. But this year, I had a company that gave me the option, and encouraged 2 screens, and I agreed to try it, even though I thought I would go back to working on one, and I really love it. I love having my code on one screen and the page it brings up on the other, and being able to refresh the site without having to lose focus from the code. I am loving it so much, I am thinking soon of upgrading to 3 screens instead of just 2. :-) So I can have my code in one screen, my database in the other screen, and my web page/site on the 3rd screen. :-)

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@Joshua, @Aaron,

It's especially nice that "Cats" and "Macs" don't sound tooo different. If you don't listen too closely, it sounds like she's freaking out about computers :D

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Ben,

Here is a little trick to disable the animation when switching spaces.

http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=20110214074550501

Personally, I live and die by spaces. I have 6 running at the moment. I keep a space just for my Win7 Pro on VMWare to run. (Still no real good alt to MS SQL Server Dev tools). And I have another space that is all about RDP'ing to Windows Servers using CoRD. Oh, if you have not found CoRD yet and you need to RDP with Windows Servers this is the best way to do it by far.

But you are right about Spaces, Expose and Widgets just not feeling right at times. They are getting completely overhauled in OSX Lion. I am looking for that upgrade next month. I never use Expose or widgets. I need my spaces.

I have never had an issue with Skype and screen sharing when switching spaces. Odd.

Oh, I don't do OS Wars. I run 2 OSX, 2 WIndows (XP and 7) and 3 Linux servers. I need to have them all play nice together and I must keep up on all of them. (Even is I am partial to OSX.)

If you ever need Mac Tips, ben, just email or Skype me. I also follow the RSS feeds for Mac World, Mac Rumors, Mac Hints (http://hints.macworld.com/) and TUAW.

Later

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@Will!

WILL AWESOME TIPS. I've never heard of CoRD but it looks like it will solve a crapload of my problems. I have to remote into about 5 separate servers. THANK YOU. Also might give the spaces thing a try. If it were instant it'd definitely help the argument.

@Brian

I can't tell if you're kidding or serious. I'm pretty sure you're kidding. Or that you haven't touched/read up on Windows in about 4 years.

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@Randall,

I'm not interested in touch screens but it is great that Microsoft are working on these things.

I discovered that multi touch even runs on my humble 2 year old el cheapo toshiba laptop. I downloaded some hp drivers and my synaptics touchpad worked fine with it. I can rotate, zoom photos in Windows Live Photo Gallery. It surprised me but windows 7 already supports multi touch and touch screens very well and as you say it will get better with Windows 8.

I guess all the OS systems are merging somewhat just doing the same things but in different ways, just different flavours with different strengths and weaknesses but not so different.

My only concern with Apple is that they do price gouge. I know the arguments inside out but they do and I think it is a bit unfair. It means my desktop will remain windows but I can see for a laptop I might consider a Mac (a new one). I need a Mac anyway if I want to service these things. I mean take the Macbook Pro, a $300 difference between the two versions because of the intel chip which is worth about $50 more. A 200G bigger mechanical hard drive being priced at $200 more (worth about $20) etc. It is a competitive mean world out there and they are getting what they can.

Anyway, pricing aside, I am starting to like the Mac but the pricing thing does leave a bad taste in my mouth and is a prime reason people don't like Macs. Really W7 is very good and so much cheaper.

They really are a rich man's toy especially if you start to want this and that. Like all the fruit on my desktop, cost a fortune on a Mac but cheap as chips on W7.

Anyway, enjoying this four year old Macbook. Nice to use so should stop whinging!

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Does anyone have thoughts on a trackpad versus magic mouse?

I need to know if people who use macs for some time have a preference. My Macbook is four years old and will have to be updated if I want to use a notebook built in trackpad. I am using the Magic Mouse which is really great actually but the trackpad has more gestures, well one I know of, which is rotate, not practical on a mouse. Also on Lion more gestures will be added (evidently).

The other issues are on mail. One issue is for IMAP accounts like gmail and doesn't relate to POP accounts. What it does is 'save' every few minutes to the 'trash' folder on the gmail server. You open up trash and voila there are about 15 copies of your email if it took say 30 minutes to type it. The other error is a straightforward bug in mail on my 13 inch screen and is related to the screen resolution. Go into Mail > Preferences > rules on your 13 inch screen and find that the OK and Cancel are down under the quick launch icons at the bottom of the screen. If you resize the mail screen it makes no difference. I moved the whole mail screen to the left so I could hit 'cancel' and get out of it.

The trash issue seems to be a known issue and it is cured by not leaving deleted and draft emails on the server but looks like a bug to me but a fairly specific one.

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Correction it leaves just one copy of each email in trash on the gmail server but in mail on the mac it leaves these multiple copies under trash, lots of them.

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@Grant,

Mouse. I find that using the trackpad makes my hand feel all cramped up and it's just faster for me to use the mouse.

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@Grant,

I do use the trackpad if there are functions that I can't do with the mouse. Looks like with the Lion (not going to install until URL Manger Pro has been updated to work with Lion) I'll find the trackpad more efficient to use.

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Hi:

Mmm, doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement of the trackpad so far.

It just fascinates me as the potential is there but it looks like the ergonomics may not be. I love the magic mouse as it looks and works like a normal mouse but has all this other useful functionality as well.

It is sounding like the trackpad idea is a technical triumph but possibly an ergonomic failure. Mind you, you could say that both the PC and the Mac have done for chiropractors, physiotherapists and bowen therapists, what the motor vehicle has done for orthopedic surgeons, that is made their skills in demand.

More opinions please!

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@Grant,

Yes, indeed. If Apple would just put in touch screens in their laptops, I think this would make for a better experience.

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@Lola,

I don't think the trackpad (which is unbelievably awesome) can be compared to the mighty mouse, which is merely okay. I love the trackpad on my MacBook pro. In fact, I can't even use my Thinkpad one for work now. It pales in comparison. With gestures in Lion, it will get even better.

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@Jason,

OK, you love it. Good. On a laptop too. I suppose it would make a difference too whether it is a desktop or a laptop as the desktop one is much bigger, about 80% bigger they say but is angled also, so the ergonomics would be different. People often use laptops... well on their laps! This is another difference, possibly.

You can do the same things at the moment on a PC laptop based multi touch pad but I haven't used one except as a test on my crappy pad on my old toshiba. It isn't made for it I just downloaded the drivers from HP to test it out of curiosity.

Has anyone used a mult touch touchpad on a windows laptop? They have exactly the same swipe gestures and rotate gestures as the mac.

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@Jason,

Yes, definitely the Mac trackpad is better than the PC trackpad. The one on my Compaq Presario laptop is really clunky to use.

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@Grant,

I have tried to use multi-touch in Windows in many ways. First I tried on a gateway laptop, then an IBM thinkpad, Dell, etc., they all suck. They are too small and cramped.

I even tried to get used to an exo-pc. Lame. Apple has mastered it. Big, roomy, it flows.

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@Lola,

Now the one thing I will say is that Apple needs help with mouse sensitivity. I had to get a program called steermouse to do that. Oh well, I rarely use it anyway.

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@Lola,

It looks like it is the technology used in the touchpad that distinguishes the PC touchpads from the Mac ones.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/18/the-windows-pc-clickpad-finally-improved-synaptics-clickpad-is

It looks like it is coming to the PC very soon and even this review of a prototype from Synaptics was getting close to the Mac. It does mean until this clever capacitance type device is built into laptops (and I don't think that they have yet) then the Mac will remain supreme.

It also looks like the technology is not patented or controlled by Apple which means it will find it's way to the laptop PC probably this year I guess. There is no reason either why it shouldn't be just as good either.

I imagine that they just want you to wet your appetite with a crappy touchpad so you can upgrade your laptop next year to a decent one!

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@Grant

re: trackpad vs magic mouse.

I love my external "Magic Trackpad".

Now, I use a pointing device a little less often than most, but for me, using the trackpad is actually *more* comfortable than a mouse. Specifically, I like how I don't have to move my arm as much, instead having to only make relatively small finger movements. Over extended usage, my shoulder feels a lot less strained.

That all said, if you don't "buy in" to multi-touch gestures, stick with the mouse. I make liberal use of 2-finger (scrolling, zooming), 3-finger (back/forwards, browser 'expose'), and 4-finger (os 'expose', os task switching) gestures.

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@Jason,

Well, read the link above. You are perfectly correct about those synaptics touchpad as they are not based on capacitive technology AND they are maybe too small as well.

I am asking as I really want to know if it is worth the large (relatively) amount of cash to upgrade to a Macbook Pro (the Macbook uses current gen - two, core duo technology - unf..kingbelievable really)so the Pro version is probably best.

I have a four year old Macbook by the way and I really enjoy using it especially with the magic mouse but having no mouse at all is a very obvious advantage anyway for a laptop. The mouse on my old macbook is just as crap as any on a PC, the same in fact.

I still have mixed feelings about the Mac as Windows 7 has always put a smile on my face but I need to get to know Macs for my computer services and fixing business. I also needed a new laptop anyway due to the short battery life (due to the AMD processor) which was annoying me). The Macbook is nice to use so I guess a nice Mac, a new one still has a place in my house as my choice of laptop.

It does look though like the difference between the two systems is decreasing and I anticipate that they will take turns leap frogging in terms of new features and technology. I certainly don't see Mac as having an unassailable lead by any means.

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@Grant,

I always go for the pro. Apple tends to use cheaper components in the low-end MacBook versions.

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I have a fairly new MacBook Pro and several Windows machines.
I have been on and off the Mac for the last 20 years. Overall there is premium to pay for convenience on the Mac plattform.
Today I would say that, in my opionion, the OSX is stale and I prefer working on the Windows 7 machines that I have.

My 2.

Cheers.

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@Bilal,

The interface looks a bit dated and plain. i thought the Mac would be more eye candy than windows but it isn't. Maybe Lion will bring more meat into the tent.

One advantage I see with mac at the moment are the touchpad devices and some aspects of the interface are nice like the smooth scrolling. I think too as they charge a lot for the mac they can make improvements in hardware, at least partially reflecting the premium they charge. The interface is not as swish or well thought out as Windows, ditto the navigation especially of web pages. The other major advantage of the Mac is supposedly security but the experts reckon it is actually less secure than windows. As not a lot of Macs are used except generally by small businesses and home users there isn't a lot of money in hacking into them. I guess too most hackers use windows for that reason, probably need training courses on the mac...:)

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@Ben,

I just finished watching the WWDC announcements from the Apple Keynotes podcast. Long video, but fun to watch. There's been a sincere effort in Lion to make Spaces and Expose even easier and more useful.

Since you've had your MBP only a year, it's unlikely that you have a lot of PowerPC software running under Rosetta. But maybe some of your 3rd party utilities are PowerPC. Just in case, here's how to find out:

  • system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType | sed -e 's/ *//' | grep -A4 "Kind: PowerPC" | grep Location | sort

If you use bash, you could also throw in 2>/dev/null just before the first pipe character to filter out extraneous stderr messages.

  • system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType 2>/dev/null | sed -e 's/ *//' | grep -A4 "Kind: PowerPC" | grep Location | sort

Translation: stderr's file descriptor number is 2, the > redirects the stream, and /dev/null is the Unix file system's "bit bucket". If you're using tcsh or some other shell that doesn't support 2>, you can switch to bash temporarily.

  • bash
  • ((bash commands))
  • exit

ANYWAY, after a delay, what you'll get back is alphabetized list of PowerPC apps that you would have to upgrade to Intel or Universal if you want to use them under Lion. Nice to know a month in advance and upgrade at your leisure rather than all at once.

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@Grant - I am ok with the trackpad/touchpad, whatever it's called, except that I would prefer it have the 2 buttons on the bottom (like that thing which is similar on a laptop has) instead of having to learn a new sequence of tapping the thing to get the same fuctionality. Or maybe I'm just lazy. I am fairly conservative as most things goes, in terms of sticking with something if I know it works, and not really changing to anything too drastically when I am used to something the way it works. That's why I would actually like a trackpad or touchpad or whatever it's called with the two buttons on the bottom like what is on one of those laptop touch thingys. I like the laptop touch thingy that works like a mouse but has the two buttons at the bottom. For icing on the cake, I would love the track/touch pad/whatever to have a scroll wheel, as I have to confess, I love using one finger to scroll down the page on the wheel. I must admit that it is possible I could learn how to use the touch/track/whatever pad and all of the finger combinations that are required, and then love it the way I like using a mouse or working with the thing that comes on a laptop, but as of now, I haven't learned the combinations, and the few times I have worked on it, I did like the sweeping motion to move the mouse, but I didn't like having to figure out how to left click, right click, double click differently, etc. That was kind of frustrating to me. Especially the right click. Everything else is kind of ok, but learning how to do the right click kind of frustrates and annoys me, especially when you could just as easily have the buttons on there and do it the way you are used to doing it. The scrolling wheel is nice as well. haha...I probably sound like a dinosaur.

Btw...I am going to put this in there, also. Battery life has been mentioned. I haven't noticed any nice long battery life lately, but I do remember I once had a laptop with a battery life that was 12 hours or so. I'm not kidding. That was awesome. Wish I could find that again...

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@Anna,

Well, rather than trying to replace my new four year old MacBook which cost $500 (with a magic mouse) with a much more expensive brand new laptop, I went out and bought a Magic Trackpad and a matching wireless keyboard. I also bought a copy of parellels and a VGA adapter. I have the Macbook on top of my desktop under the desk and connected to what used to be my second monitor used with my Windows 7 desktop. It is a very nice Samsung 22 inch LED monitor. The trackpad is working very well. I love the scrolling and the clicking is fine as a left click can be done anywhere and the right mouse click is at the bottom right of the trackpad.

This is really all I need and if I need the laptop I just pull it out from under the desk and disconnect the power lead and the VGA plug. it is really working very well. So far I like the trackpad better than a normal mouse and it has more tricks than the Magic Mouse. It still seems a bit hard to use on iPhoto for resize and rotating so not sure yet what to make of that.

The apple keyboard is very nice and feels pretty much like the keyboard on the Macbook. It is a cheap way to get familiar with the Mac so I'm happy with this setup and I will try to use Microsoft office and MYOB using parellels software soon.

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@Grant, ahhhhh...so that's how you do a right click! Awesome. Problem solved. I had been having so much trouble with it, so I had just gone back to using a regular mouse. Thanks for the info! (I still would like a scrolling wheel on it, though. :-D) Well, it sounds like you have things figured out there. Sounds like a pretty good setup. :-) I know that I am probably in the minority here, but I am fine with pretty much any keyboard. It's probably because of the fact that I have played the piano and have some extra dexterity in my fingers that I can type on the bigger keyboards and it doesn't bother me nor is it a strain for me, but the smaller ones, like the ones on a laptop that I have heard a lot of people complain about are the ones that actually fit my fingers better, because my hands are pretty small. I love the small keyboards that come with the laptops, and type pretty well on them. The bigger ones are a bit big for me, but I am used to stretching my fingers to reach for keys, so I really barely even notice a difference.

And one of the reasons I had to respond on this particular thread is because it is rare I have anything to add to any technical discussion. I wish I did, but usually, when I read a post @Ben has made about something technical, including both ColdFusion and JQuery, it is usually way past my intelligence and/or experience level for me to even come up with anything to say that doesn't sound completely dense. So I have to respond when I can every now and then to a technical post. :-) I do respond to the personal ones, though, just throwing a different viewpoint in there, in case it helps.

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@Grantanna,
If you go into the trackpad settings of system preferences there are a few key options that you have to enable ( at least on the built-in trackpads on 2010 and 2011 macs ).

Tap to click, so you don't actually have to depress the trackpad, something that can let you move more quickly with the trackpad.

Two-finger tapping to right click. This is really powerful because it lets you disorient yourself from your position on the pad and right click anywhere, something not possible with most Windows trackpads.

Multi-finger gestures. This is by far the #1 boon to OS X. If you're using a trackpad and OS X and you don't spend some time integrating multi-finger gestures into your workflow you're missing a huge, productive, fun opportunity. If you want to take it to the next level jitouch and mondo mouse can make OS X usability 15x what it is out of the box. You can map any actions ( like maximize and unmaximize/restore, something that OS X lacks out of the box ) to any combination of amazing gestures. I use two fingers to fly through, close, and reopen tabs in a web browser. 4 fingers right and left and then instant horizontal scrolling and the space bar to switch apps much more quickly with the command tab interface than Expose will ever get you.

The trackpad benefits are only going to get better with Lion, and web browsing on a desktop will never be the same once the phone-like smart zooming is in place. It's pretty exciting.

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@David,

Yeah, the multi-finger gestures are great. Maybe when I upgrade to Lion, I'll give this another go. I love my 2-button, scroll wheel (Microsoft Wireless Mouse). I make a lot of the scroll wheel. I really like being able to scroll down the twitter column in Tweetdeck while participating in a Skype conference whose window is topmost . . .

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@David,

I've only used it a few hours but already I am enjoying the keyboard and trackpad.

The only thing it doesn't work well on is in iPhotos when you resize, you get 5 - 10 second lag then seems to queue up the gestures so it keeps going bigger and bigger or smaller.

The rotate works quite well although a little bit touchy.

It is only a 2.1GHz core duo but resizing a photo shouldn't be a challenge.

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maybe the scroll wheel is a girl thing. I've used the track pad a little bit. I haven't really used it for modifying pictures, like in Adobe Photoshop, so it may be difficult to use in a program like that where you are working on pictures or photos or graphics. It was cool for the most part for browsing the web, etc., things like that, when I used it before, though.

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@Jason

Just saw this today and it reminded me of our little comparison.

http://edealinfo.com/deal/HP-Pavilion-dv6t-Quad-Edition-Intel-Quad-Core-i7-2630QM-15-6-Laptop-6GB-750GB-Win-7-1GB-Video/20110613225

$770 HP versus $1799 MBP

Identical processor.
50% more of the identical RAM ( 6 GB )
50% more of the identical HD ( 750 GB )
400% more graphics RAM ( 1 GB )

Not trying to salt any wounds, just found it interesting. I mean that price difference is mad nuts. It's amazing what $800 can get you nowadays.

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@Wil,

CoRD is definitely awesome. That's what I use for RDP. So far, I have only run into two problems with it:

1. On my external, windows keyboard (logitech), I can't use the *right* Shift key. If I do, it appears to get "stuck" and I have to disconnect CoRD and reconnect it. The left Shift key, on the other hand appears to work perfectly.

2. We recently implemented some sort of SSL version of RDP on a production server for PCI compliance and CoRD can't seem to handle it. From what I've Google, very few RDP clients can. For that machine only, I have to use my VM to use an actual Windows RDP client.

But other than that, it's just a brilliant app. And thanks for the advice offer - I'll definitely take you up on that :)

@Lola,

My hand gets crampy if I use a mouse that's too small. Specifically, my pinky starts to hurt or tingle or go numb.

Also, I spend a lot of time in Fireworks working with graphics. This seems like something that I would really prefer to have a bigger mouse for. There's so much drag+dropping that I think a touchpad would make problematic. Not to say the functionality is not there; just that it would require different dexterity.

And as far as the scroll-wheel, I live and die by it. In fact, sometimes the scroll wheel gets messed up and starts going very slowly and its shocking how much it kills my performance (to the extend I have go into the System Preference and figure out why it's not working properly). It's like trying to walk through molasses.

And, speaking of scrolling, I am not a big fan of the "smooth" scrolling that I see it taking place on the gesture-based scrolling. When I scroll with the scroll-wheel, I expect the page to scroll and then to stop immediately. When I see a page have "momentum" it feels very unnatural.

Of course, when I use my iPhone and I "flick" an interface, momentum makes perfect sense. So, I assume its just that the two-finger scroll is being considered a "gesture" and not a "scroll" in the traditional sense.

@Grant,

This may be the most visually compelling phrase I've heard today:

Maybe Lion will bring more meat into the tent.

... Awesome!

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@David

I do like the trackpad, I really do but I can't help making the comparison, of course, with a mouse. The mouse is going to be faster for a point and click operation which will make it more efficient if point and click are what most of the operations are. You know you are moving and controlling the movement with your whole hand so it is somewhat steadier and faster.

The whole useability question is interesting. I will look at some of the gesture software (after I see what Lion) has, as efficiency and useability is complex and the more options you have for gestures, the better, providing they don't cause gesture confusion. It does mean a learning curve.

The question of cost keeps coming up of course too. I think Apple are sailing close to the wind with their charging as it seems Mac affecionados upgrade fairly regularly and always want the latest hardware. The good news is that their software upgrades appear to be painless and somewhat cheaper.

The cost is a major factor, I would recommend a Mac to people who have teenage children due to it's simplicity in the design of the OS which makes software failures less likely and easier to fix and the fact that better security or not, it doesn't have a lot of known malware vulnerabilities. The catch though is always cost. You get slightly better hardware and a trackpad but you end up paying twice as much or even more.

I would probably never go over to a Mac full time, just too damned expensive to be honest and 90% of the world and 99% of business is still windows. As much as this trackpad is interesting, Windows 7 is such a sweet system, there really is nothing not to like and I can upgrade my hardware (last upgrade to i7-2700K cost about $550AUD) every year without it breaking the bank.

I still like the Mac though and I think as a laptop, the trackpad is a significant advantage, faster to setup and easier to use on the lap. Not so much of an advantage for a desktop but still nice.

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Hi Ben, i'm also interested to own a mac, but 1 thing i really concern about is how is the mac temperature? Is it too hot? I'm using a windows laptop that really hot even after i used it for only 30 minutes.The temperature will even influence my fertility if i put it on my leg.(i love to coding by sitting on a beanbags and putting the laptop on my leg). So, is the macbook ideal for me if i need coding for hours?Thanks!!Sorry for my Malaysia English..

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@Tee,

I have noticed on some laptops especially those running i7 processors that they get far too hot. This could be just Intel trying to cram too much wattage into a laptop form. It will also depend on the fan and heat sink although if a lot of heat is produced it will be noticeable either as the laptp body getting hot or obviously a lot of hot air being moved out.

I guess you would have to ask someone who owns an i7 Macbook Pro whether they have had isssues. I just have a Macbook with a core 2 duo in it and it runs pretty cool but then a PC laptop with the same chip runs cool also.

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I have been experimenting with the Magic Trackpad and the only application where pinch and zoom and rotate work 'perfectly' is in Preview.

In Adobe Premier trial I just downloaded it works pretty well but is oversensitive and jumpy but works.

Pinch and Zoom works OK in Safari.

iPhoto seems to be the odd one out. I am puzzled as this is an Apple application shipped as part of the OS and it is iphoto '11, the latest one. The performance here is crap, no other word for it. I thought at first it was my Macbook not having fast enough graphics but that was put to rest by the performance on Preview which was very smooth and fluid.

The rest of the Magic Trackpad performance is well, Magic! It is very disappointing though that iPhoto of all applications is so poor and it seems inexplicable to me but I have googled the problem and found other people complaining of the same thing.

Anyone else have the same issue?

The only other issue with the trackpad is it can be a bit hard to do the one finger drag operation, very sensitive to how you do it but I preferred this option to losing the three finger navigation which is the other way to drag.

Would third party touch programs like jitouch and mondo mouse make iPhoto any better or this application destined for the trash when Lion come out. This is the only explaination I can think of as to why Apple would neglect touch so badly on this application.

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@Ben

thanks for the helpful comments. I hope my colourful analogy doesn't put you off medium rare steak...

I think I will look into the other touch programs also that have been mentioned.

Apple definitely have something going with the trackpad although probably not quite as fast as a mouse when serious work is to be done in say one or two applications. I do much prefer the trackpad though.

I have only used my Mac for a little over a week and I really like it.

The problem I have with a Mac still is no USB 3.0. If they put thunderbolt ports in then that is good but they need to put the USB 3.0 ports on too and they may do that when Intel integrate them fully hopefully the next chipset release. I wouldn't buy a new Mac till then though as i find USB 3.0 really important.

The other issue I have is that I have several hard drives and enjoy using a proper desktop as otherwise there are too many cables and boxes. I guess that brings up the astronomical cost of a Mac Pro system. Plainly ridiculous, cost wise.

I would also need to invest in proper backup software as i want flexibility where to backup to including network drives which is lacking in Time Machine.

Apple really need to sharpen up their pricing across the line. I know they have a cool factor and are lovely to use but money does talk in the end especially when Windows 7 is so good already and will get better with Windows 8.

I am happy though with my $750 purchase which includes the Macbook, Magic Mouse, Wireless keyboard, Magic Trackpad and a copy of Parellels (which I haven't used yet).

I would recommend a Mac , subject to affordability, to people who can get by with just an iMac or a Macbook and isn't a power user like me with lots of stuff to get on with, to store and to backup. The exception is of course people who aren't price sensitive (have lots of money) or wish to spend all their savings on a Mac Pro. It is still a bit of a pisser though that the base MacBook they feel the need to flog it with an old core 2 duo. These processors are practically given away these days. I do find though that the performance is just fine, a tribute to Intel who are making such fast processors these days, it is ridiculous (but nice).

As a laptop though I think that the Mac is great, mainly due to the trackpad. If you took that away, I would personally be just as happy with Windows 7.

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Wow... Talk about a heated argument.

I tend to agree with a lot of the posters saying that the pricing on the MBP is very overpriced when compared to a comparably equipped PC. However that being said, one needs to have OS X in order to do iOS development. If it wasn't for this fact, I wouldn't even consider buying a Mac.

I've read several blogs about attempting to install OS X on a PC and from what I've gathered, it seems skeptical at best and may not work on many cases. Legality questions about even doing this in the first place are a whole another topic for conversation.

One of the great things about the Mac ecosystem is that one company produces the hardware and operating systems and things just seem to work better because of this integration.

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@Jordan

Actually, they don't produce their own hardware, that's just another facet of their false advertising.

In reality, Intel makes their OS X processors, at the moment ATI their graphics cards ( was NVidia ), Hitachi and others their hard drives, Samsung and Sony the important parts of the iPhone and iPad, etc. The list goes on and on.

They do "design" their own cases if that's any consolation ( though not always, the original MacBook Pro, for example, was designed by Sony, who also designed the first island style keyboard ). When you open up a new Apple device, you'll notice that it doesn't say Made by Apple or Made in America or anything of the sort, but Designed by Apple in California. That's for legal reasons, Apple has been forced to change their marketing various times because of false advertising laws.

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Hi Jordan:

How much does it cost to get into development on the Mac. I think that latest .Net visual studio is nearly $900 here in Australia.

Hi David:

Apple would dearly love to have their own hardware so that they can charge a fortune without users being able to price check on hardware. Underneath the hood (bonnet here in Australia), the Mac Pro which they charge $3000 in Australia would cost about $1400 in parts to make and that would include a much faster processor as well. To top it off it could be upgraded each time faster hardware comes out without much cost.

Even the operating system derives from Unix. That was a smart move though as even Microsoft would have had an easier time developing the OS if they had started that way.

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Part of the reason about whinging about prices is that we get overcharged here in Australia for anything overseas companies feel that they can get away with. In the PC world it is competitive so we pay pretty much what other people pay in the USA and other places.

The Mac Pro, the basic one, sells for $2499 in the USA but is $2999AUD here. Now in USD $2999 is $3180. We charge 10% GST so without GST the price is $2890. Transport doesn't come into it as they all come out of China anyway. The difference is significant and on top of an expensive product anyway.

We get the same thing with software. If you go online to buy Norton Internet security it is $79USD from the US site and $99AUD from the Australian website. It means we are being systematically ripped off my American based companies with no reason except they want to grab as much of our hard earned dollars as possible.

We even get the regional encoding crap where we are lumped in with Asian countries and can't play Blu Ray encoded for the US area. We then have to pay more for our DVD and Blu Ray as they up the prices here.

Apple I believe do the same to us from their online shop for apps and music but I haven't checked this out.

It is certainly one reason not to get locked into Apple products and also having to buy non pirated videos, music etc. Pirating is the great equaliser and likewise the ubiquitous PC running windows or linux has bought high power high quality computing to the masses at competitive prices.

My thoughts from an ozzie point of view!

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@Grant,

I thought I was going to make a point by stating the AUD was less valuable than the USD, but Google says $1 AUD = $1.0524 USD.

All I can say is, "Sorry."

If it makes you feel any better, I watched Top Gear on BBC America and they said a Holden (not sure the model) beat the Chrysler 300 in every way except in looks. ;-)

-Randall

PS - Los Angeles will be contacting you soon to collect on all those movies / music. ;-)

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@Tee,

While I don't often use the laptop on my lap - mostly I use it at a "desktop" computer with external mouse / keyboard / monitor; I have used it on my lap on sever 4-hour train rides. It gets warm; but, nothing too intense in my experience. Meaning, I was never uncomfortable with it on my lap.

@Grant,

USB 3.0? I've not even heard of this yet! Dangy - the technology is moving so fast. I wish I had a solid state harddrive. They seem pretty cool, although I hear they don't last as long.

On a side note, that's a pretty hefty mark-up that products cost coming into AUS. Sorry about that.

@Jordan,

That was actually the only reason I ever got the Mac MIni. When the iPhone was getting really popular, I wanted to take a look at the XCode stuff, play around. I think I got the Apress book on intro iPhone development and the Mac Mini all for like $500 or something... business expense of coure ;)

Unfortunately, my Mac Mini died. I think the power supply died. I've been meaning to bring it to the store forever just to see what's wrong with it.

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@Randall

Apple also charge 20 - 30 % more for their digital products available from the Apple shop also.

Overall it doesn't leave a good impression. There is competition at least with windows products which means that this sort of thing can't be done very effectively.

There is always a raft of 'good' reasons why we get charged more but let's face it, it is just corporate greed.

I will stick with my four year old $500 MacBook. Looks good on a 22 inch screen and goes fast enough. I put a 400G hard drive in it a few days ago just to experiment.

@Ben

An SSD will work fine, evidently, in an Apple computer. Apple being Apple try to make it appear that they won't work and give out NO helpful information. Another Apple thing I hate, they want you to buy products at their inflated prices. In the case of an SSD, you will get a slow, expensive one from Apple. You are better off to pop in a OCZ Vertex 3. An SSD is very good. I have two, one in my laptop and one in my desktop. Both work very well and make a big difference in performance.

USB 3.0 is definitely here and I use a USB 3.0 external drive for transferring data and it is much faster than USB 2.0. USB 3.0 is available on every motherboard now except the cheap ones. Thunderbolt looks promising but really Apple should be putting USB 3.0 ports in their computers as they are backward compatible with USB 2.0. Again, critical of Apple for making things difficult for people. I expect more from Apple as they charge so much for their products. I expect the gold plating and white glove service and maybe even the occasional thing like a USB 3.0 port which is on most new windows computers sold. USB 3.0 support is already widespread, as you would expect, as it is a sensible evolution of USB 2.0. Sensible and cheap and universal, almost diametrically opposed to Apple philosophy it would seem.

Remember firewire? Really? The only device I have firewire on is a five year old or older first generation digital video camera. Firewire has been dead in the water for several years now and yet Apple persist with their support for this.

Apple offer a good OS but their desire to control anything and everything that goes into or is attached to your computer, usually in opposition to sensible progress in the outside world is a bit of a problem IMHO.

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@Grant

Hey Grant, just a slight correction. While you can currently install a SSD in a mac and it will *work* well initially, because of a fundamental design flaw in OS X, SSD performance on a mac will degrade astronomically over time.

In a nutshell, a simple technology called TRIM needs to be supported by the operating system using an SSD to prevent against the performance degradation, something that was present in Windows 7 from launch, and which to this day Apple still hasn't implemented openly ( though as of a semi-recent OS update OS X does now support TRIM for SSDs shipped from Apple.com, but no other models so you can't pop in your own without the degradation ).

But good news. Apple has announced ( if a few years late to the party ) open support for TRIM in OS X Lion due out next month. Hooray! ( I'm actually being sincere ).

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@David:

I know about the TRIM thing but reading through the blogs etc, at least a few people have just popped one in without experiencing any problems at all.

Apple use pretty well identical SSDs in their systems to what is commercially available and they either don't need TRIM or don't use it. TRIM I guess is a type of rubbish collection functionality and it could probably be implemented in a number of ways. There is actually even a Mac certified version of the OCZ Vertex drive but no one has been able to determine any differences. It is confusing and I think it is meant to be confusing to discourage any attempts to bypass the Apple store.

http://www.ocztechnology.com/ocz-vertex-series-mac-edition-sata-ii-2-5-ssd-eol.html

It looks like these are used WITHOUT trim support but just have some sort of certification from Apple labs.

I guess I should just try one in my el cheapo Macbook just to prove the case.

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@Grant

Some SSDs ( like the ones OWC offers ) try to compensate for OS X's lack of TRIM support with tricks at the controller level like including a higher capacity drive than what you buy and reserving a large portion of space for improved block management and wear leveling, but OS X's lack of TRIM support causes real slowdown on a high majority of drives from what I've read.

I personally hit the issue with an Intel drive a few MacBook Pros ago. Performance started off acceptable ( though for some reason launching apps on OS X even with an SSD still feels slow compared to the same apps on W7 ), but increasingly degraded over time. It got to the point where arbitrary cfm files would take 5 seconds to save. Re-installing the OS seemed to fix it, but it's something that from my research is just fixed by TRIM support. Because I haven't experienced the same degradation with the same exact drive ( sold the mac and switched to a Windows tower ) even after almost 2 years of daily use, I'm inclined to believe the research. Dreamweaver still launches in a second, Fireworks in 2. So, needless to say, I'm very excited about TRIM support in OS X Lion.

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@David:

It is confusing to be sure. If I bought a Macbook Pro I would happily put a vertex 3 in it. The thing with Apple is you don't know what they are doing if they choose to be unhelpful. The guy at anandtech seemed to have no trouble with a variety of SSD drives in 2011 Macbook Pros but did have a problem with a 2010 one.

In any case, it is academic if Lion is coming out with the necessary support for TRIM.

I think the SSD is the best thing since sliced bread. It is no good having a super fast computer with a slow hard drive, particularly with a laptop as it has much slower 5400rpm drives to start with. My old laptop with an SSD feels faster with my AMD processor than the latest i7 processor in other laptops.

Apple should put in faster SSD drives than they do but then the technology is advancing rapidly.

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@Grantt, agree 100% with the USB3 vs. yet-another-new-cord-that-will-be-obsolete. I have a FireWire drive that fortunately can also use USB2.0 (ext enclosure I bought for a hard drive).

I "had to" buy a Mini (see above). The FireWire cord that fit my MacBook didn't fit the Mini w/o an adapter. I'm so glad I could go USB with it else I would've been very upset with Apple. Yet Another Adapter?!

Apple products are very sexy -- until you add adapter after adapter to your device (each $19.99 + Tax, of course!). Ugh.

Re: USB3 - I bet it's partially due to the bottom line. If it costs more, that eats in to the profit margin.

Thanks, Apple, for covering me during the Vista debacle, but I'm going back to 7.

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Someone please buy david a cookie so he can cheer up.

@David why are you torturing yourself?

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@David, @Grant,

I've heard a few stories (ie. take with a grain of salt) that the SSD wasn't causing degraded performance over time; but rather, that the whole drive would just fail. Of course, I have zero experience with this - it's simply things that people have complained about in passing (at user groups and what not).

I think someone said that it had to do with the fact that the SSD is an all-or-nothing piece of equipment; that with a traditional drive, parts of it can degrade and the beast can still perform. But, with SSD, if any part of it fails, the whole thing basically fails.

I may very well have no idea what I'm talking about though.

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@Ben,

You are quite right about the all or nothing failures on the SSD. The first one I got did mind you fail slowly but the potential is there for total failure so backups are important.
A hard drive, as you say, will normally follow a pattern beginning with unreliability and throwing errors which can eventually cause all sorts of weird errors (whether on a Mac or a PC). The drives normally test OK using hardware testing utilities but are nonetheless on the way out with intermittent faults. Often when hard drives won't boot under windows they will under linux so data can still be taken off.
Mechanical hard drives though are bad news, old technology and I am hoping in five years time they will be not in general use anymore. I get tired of all the intermittent issues that they present with.
SSD drives on the other hand I have high hopes for and the feedback from the shops is that the failure rate is much less than with mechanical hard drives.
I have one Falcon 120G in my desktop (I store all my user data on a separate 1TB mechanical drive) and one Vertex 2 120G drive in my Toshiba laptop. They both work very well and the boot up times are nice and fast. Aside from a failure (partial) of my first Falcon drive all is good and been running them for some time now.

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If your app is on a windows server, how would you deal with processing files when dealing with locations such as c:\coldfusion9\while the developer machine may be linux or mac?

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Looks like I'm late in posting here :)

I got a MacBook Pro (4Gb Ram) a few years ago as an attempt to move my development environment in there and actually start working with it on daily basis.

Pro's:
- I have PHP and mySQL setup for the day when I want to play in that environment.
- CF9 installed and can play with mySQL apps
- I have Windows XP Pro installed in Parallel's environment

Con's:
- No docking station. Huge negative for me. In my office I have a cabinet setup with fan and a few shelves for different laptops connecting to my monitors. No way would I keep a laptop on my desk taking space.
- Heating issues. I did solve that by getting a lappad that has a built-in fan that connect to the USB port.
- I hate the trackpad and lack of 2nd mouse button.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg, but the most important for me.

I'm still a hardcore PC laptop person and ended up purchasing a new Dell Precision M6500 w/16Gb Ram as my personal Mother's day present in May :) I still have an existing M6400 and could now utilize the same docking station and power adapters for this one.

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@Jaana

Just a note: Picturing a female with a 16GB M6500 is maybe the hottest thing I have ever heard of.

Do you have the silver or the orange?

My M6400 was one of my favorite laptops ever.

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@David
HAHAHA I nearly chocked in my coffee <cf_cough>

I've got the silver one, not into the color orange that much. My M6400 is/was an awesome machine and even that has 8Gb Ram :) Have to love gadgets with lots of power, they're like cars that need to have the biggest engine and loudest noise (V8 rocks).

The only complaint I had about my M6400 is the quality of the keyboard. I've gotten lazy lately and don't drag myself upstairs to my office, but stay downstairs and take over the couch. So I use the built-in keyboard a lot and letter J finally popped off. I didn't want to get a new keyboard or even new external keyboard for it, so I worked with it for a year with the missing J letter. For Americans, J is not the most used letter, but as you can tell by my name, I use it quite a bit hehe.

Also the reason why I love the M6400/M6500 line is the huge screen and the built-in numeric key section on the keyboard.

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@Jaana,

You can use the 2-button mouse with the MBP. I have a MS Wireless 3500 that I use with mine - couldn't live without it!

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@Lola,

Correct, but that means that when you're truly using your laptop on your lap, you have to have space next to you to use the mouse. Kind of defeats the purpose of using a laptop on your lap :)

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@Jaana

Thank god. Yeah the orange one is tacky and would've ruined my visualization.

I popped a key off of a Dell laptop once too, I think it has to do with the angle you strike them at, but I just called them and they overnighted me a totally free full keyboard replacement the next day.

It wasn't for my M6400 but I'd bet it's a similar process. You can jut pop the current keyboard out with a screw or two and pop the new one in. Don't deprive yourself of the J!

Totally onboard with you about the large screen. My Windows laptop is a 17.3". Hard to enjoy anything else once you've gone that big TWSS.

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@Jaana,

The best option for you regarding a 'docking station' is just set the laptop up under the desk.
Use a Magic Mouse if you don't like the trackpad (personally I love it) and a Apple Wireless Keyboard.

I do this with mine and it takes less than a minute to unplug the VGA adapter, power cord and I also have headphones connected.

It is a pretty easy thing to set up.

Grant

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I thought I would update my own progress on the Mac, being new as of June to the Mac and now a few months later here I am still using the Macbook Pro 13 inch i5 model.

I'm still not really in love with the Mac OS X Lion (or otherwise). I think overall it is somewhat disjointed and inconsistent in it's interface.

I do love the trackpad though and the new Lion swipe gestures and full screen support really do suit a laptop where screen real estate is limited.

The Macbook Pro itself is lovely though and has an outstandingly good screen. I'm also finding that the intel i5 processor can do a very rapid job of converting video files as apple use this capability in their apps.

I think it is scandalous that they design this beautiful laptop carved out of a block of aluminium that would last a thousand years and then make it uneconomic to repair it once outside the warranty period (system board repairs). A system board replacement on my laptop would cost $1500 here in Australia. I think Apple should price repairs sensibly. In a world where we want to encourage products to have longer lifespans not shorter ones and be resource efficient I think that this is important.

I would also like them to have sensibly priced desktop options with replaceable components but asking Apple to provide some sort of open system option will never happen, it just isn't in their DNA.

The ideal system is just the one I have now. A lovely Windows 7 desktop which I built myself with lots of power and everything I want in it. It will last for many years or rather components of it will most likely still be in use in 10 years time. The reason is the open design. I selected a lovely case, beautifully designed at the huge cost of $130, unbelievably good value. I then put in a lovely Corsair power supply at the outrageous price of $84 and so on...

I know if in 12 months time, my system board dies, I just go out and buy one at the princely sum of about $150 (1/10 the price of replacing a Macbook Pro one). If I want to replace the CPU and board for the latest quad core, it will set me back another $300.

When I want portability, I guess I will then look at Apple products although it is still possible my next laptop will be a Windows one. If it is another apple product, most likely I will buy it second hand. Second hand buying for Apple products is a great way to go. The products are very expensive and often people buy them then need the money for something else. The girl I bought this laptop from bought it then decided she had to have tyres for her car! I saved $400 on a six week old laptop. I will also sell this one, this time next year after the warranty runs out, as i know it is just a brick if something like the system board goes (I won't explain this to the new buyer :( ). Apple will also have designed something better by that time that everyone including me just has to have (another reason for me not to cough up more cash for a three year applecare warranty).

Apple make sexy products and the iPad is becoming a must have accessory for people. I would buy one myself but I must have a laptop for my job and really an iPad and a laptop aren't complementary, they really duplicate. Lots of people though who have desktops just want a casual browsing device at home that they can just pickup and look at internet, get mail etc. If they don't mind parting with the cash then the iPad is good.

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@Grantt,

Agreed. We have a computer parts store here and it's fantastic. I am saving up the US$ to build my next computer.

Woot commonly has very reasonably priced pizza boxes, and I bought a few p.b.'s in the past decade. However, I love my ten-year-old Pentium III 866 MHz machine that is extremely quiet, enough power (supply), etc... because it was built (by me) to do what I needed it to. It has become my analog media ingester.

And I passed on an iMac recently because I couldn't replace ANYTHING on it! I had the same feeling you did.

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I've been looking for a decent computer system for awhile now. My 5 yr old Lenovo T60 is finally starting to die. I've been looking at the higher end 15" Macbook Pro for the graphics capability, but I've seen so many arguments against it that I'm no longer sure. I tend to do a lot of gaming in my free time, what little there is, and I want a machine that can handle it reasonably well. Should I go with the Macbook Pro or something else?

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Hi Carl:

No one gets a Mac for gaming. You can play games on them but the choice is much more limited. You would also end up paying a small fortune for the high end Macbook Pro.
A desktop is the way to go for game playing but then if you want a laptop, get a windows one and just read a few on line reviews to make your selection.

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You can get a really powerful Dell laptop for a good price at the Dell outlet. I got a Precision M6500 w/16Gb Ram from there a few months ago.

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Not to mention that with the MBP and gaming, and it's come up before in this chain, it'll burn a hole through your lap. If I were still trying to make weight for boxing, rather than running 5 miles with a garbage bag on, I'd play World of Warcraft on a hot summer day with the MBP in my lap.

BTW - OS X 10.7 has changed everything, and not for the positive. I'm usually not an early adopter, especially with Macs, because I'm frugal (not to perpetuate Heeb stereotypes) and in the past they did a lot better with "planned obsolesence," so I could buy a software title and get many, many, many years of use from it. I wrote most of my last novel with Office 98 on OS 9 - and I use Fireworks MX for most of my graphic work. The only exception is development tools, which is the only thing that drives me to purchase new machines. So I can scroll up and down in a completely counterintuitive way as someone not immured in handheld devices, but in the meantime, the list of things OS X 10.7 broke upon installation, including my beloved CF Builder 2's licensing, and for crying out loud, printing to my mildly dated HP all-in-one fax copier dealio, is longer than any perceived benefit from the improvements. The full screen crap, too, is utterly useless in dual screen environments, too, and hopefully Adobe never drinks the kool aid on that one. Since my professional development life has shifted from ColdFusion and back to .NET, I can say that the only dev environment that provides me respite is booting my Windows 7 VM. Now that Virtual Box supports aero I haven't felt bad about stealing most of the host resources to get things done, either. There's really only one gesture I want to give Apple and OS X Lion, really...

So, all this said, for my next primary mobile purchase, knock on wood not for years, will probably be a non-Mac. People have long ballyhooed Macs as a magnet for technically and programmatically incurious users, and with this crass appeal to the mobile-focused set, they've alienated, truly, the utility-focused set and finally lived up to that reputation.

On an unrelated but related Apple theme - has anyone seen the HTML5 Amazon dealio they're pushing for iPad? How long until iDevices start blocking access to HTML5's web storage?

I'm going to go enjoy the unsubtle irony of the 1984 Mac commercial now.

Thanks all, be well!

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Grant, Jaana, Brian, thank you. I kinda figured that's the way you'd go. I'll keep looking at PCs laptops then. Only thing is, a lot of the online reviews keep pushing Alienware, which is way overpriced in my mind.

Sorry about the slightly off topic conversation here, Ben.

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Hey Ben great blog! I really enjoyed your viewpoints on the mac and windows. Im trying to add some stuff to my computers such as ocz vertex 2 60gb. Not sure if I should use to 60gb, 90gb, 160gb or the 180gb. Any ideas?

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Hi Brett:

I have a 2011 i5 Macbook Pro 13 inch. I have tried a g.skill Falcon 2 but it froze the machine and I removed it. I had enabled the TRIM using a hack and I don't know if that caused the issue.

I now have a Vertex 3 in it but I haven't done anything about TRIM. The advice is that it doesn't matter very much and is better left off. I have done some write and read speed tests on it and the results haven't changed as I have used it.

I had one problem with iPhoto freezing a few days ago then today it seemed reluctant to come out of sleep mode but it may be nothing to do with the Vertex 3 so I'm not too worried at this point. I am keeping an eye on it though for the next few months at least before I would recommend it to anyone who isn't prepared to take some risk and therefore has a 'Plan B' if it causes an issue.

It does seem though that most people don't have issues and the Vertex 3 is a good choice or maybe the Vertex 2. The Vertex 3 though takes advantage of the high speed SATA3 on the latest Macbooks.

Sizewise, you will need 120G at the smallest but how big you go after that is up to you and your needs and wallet size.

Grant

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