MacBook::Impressions

The other day I was musing about how I’d buy a Mac, just to use Skitch, to Cris Pearson, on Twitter. Today, I did just that.

I woke up in the morning, seeing an SMS from Giuseppe, informing me that it would be ideal if I had bought a laptop. So I proceeded to calling up a store located a few blocks down (I’m lazy to drive into the city, its F1 weekend), and asked if there was a black MacBook in stock, and if I could get 4GB of RAM rather than the standard 2. Turns out, this was available, but there was only one unit left, so I asked for it to be held (this was at 10.40am). By 2pm, I had walked to the Apple store, and picked up my new, black Macbook.

What’s in it?
It sports a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, with 4GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, and the SuperDrive. Its black (there’s a AUD$150 premium added just for colour), but in the long run, I think it will prove worthy, as I won’t have to see the palm-rests looking nasty. That, and I chose to buy it in-store, rather than online, so it would have been harder to get the larger hard disk option.

I’m disappointed that the Apple Remote does not come with it (an extra $29), and there is no Mini-DVI to VGA/DVI adapter included (an extra $35). There was a time, we got everything we needed, in the box – now the MacBook by default, is useless for presentations.

What about the software?
I have been using OS X on and off for many years, and back in the day, if you had picked up an iBook, you’d have found useful software, like an encyclopedia, and games. If you grabbed a PowerBook, you’d have seen cool items like OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner (useful, as), and so on. MacBook Pro’s came with Comic Life. Nowadays, you get no additional 3rd party software.

I am pleased however, that X11 is installed by default in Leopard (this means that OpenOffice.org, will just work nowadays). To get the development tools though (XCode and friends), you still have to install it from the disc.

First Impressions
The keyboard is not hard to type with. In fact, it doesn’t take any getting used to, so I’m wondering why people are complaining. I don’t know if this is a change that has come about with Leopard and new laptops, but the F3 key now brings up the Expose, and the F4 key brings up the Dashboard Widgets. In fact, they even print it on the keyboard – highly nifty.

It weighs much lighter than my Dell 14″ Inspiron 640m. In fact, its a lot smaller, so once you’re used to carrying the tome, the MacBook seems really light.

What software is on it?
What I consider, essential software:

  • AppZapper – removes unwanted tools, like GarageBand, and probably soon iPhoto. Free for 5 removals, so use it wisely
  • Skitch – I’ve had a beta for a long time, and this software is just simply amazing. I cannot say enough things about it.
  • Firefox – because I need to browse the web, sensibly
  • XCode – I need my development tools
  • XChat Aqua – to get on internal, and community based IRC channels
  • Apple Mail – I’m trying this out, instead of Thunderbird, to see what all the hype is with this software. Current verdict is I’m hating it, but let me spend a bit more time with it (another post on Apple Mail sure to come soon)
  • Skype – because VOIP and chat with that, is just so handy

What else will go on it, soon? OpenOffice.org, NetBeans, VirtualBox (I tried downloading it, but the Sun sanctioned download site, tells me “File Not Found” – disappointing, and no one on #vbox could help), and probably lots more.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • cos

    If a MacBook was ever *supposed* to be useful for presentations “by default”, they’d ship a non-30-day-demo version of Keynote with it. And I think Apple worked out that the rest of us don’t actually use the remote very often (if at all).

    Also, there seems to be a working link for OS X Virtualbox at http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads

  • Thanks cos, after enough complaining, there is a working link that doesn’t take me to Sun’s download site.

    Hmm, yeah. So the MacBook Pro’s are still coming with Keynote, et al? Interesting.

  • cos

    no. you just get a 30 day demo of iWork…

    i did get OmniOutliner with my MBP 2 years ago. and ComicLife. I’m due for a new one this year, so I’ll let you know what you still get this time around. At least I can use my old remote if i need to ;)

  • Congrats Colin!

    For mail.app, i suggest http://www.indev.ca/MailActOn.html for better keyboard keystrokes. I use this for archiving email into IMAP folders without taking hands off keyboard.

    some details on how I’ve set it up here: http://skitch.com/atariboy/84nf/named-imap-folders

  • the new version of mail is good, i really like it, currently i am running both mail and thunderbird, mainly to separate personal and office email accounts.

    black color is definitely better than white.. if you see this then you know what i mean :)

    btw, welcome to the macbook club.


i