Friday, June 08, 2007


I wrote this up the day after I got my MacBook, and I think I actually referenced it already as if it were posted. I guess that I should post it now:

So, here’s the thing. I got a MacBook yesterday, and was solely excited about the size of it. It’s a 13 inch laptop, which means that I’ll actually be able to use it on an airplane. My last machine was a 17 inch behemoth, and it was next to impossible to use it in an airline seat. It was also quite heavy, and the case for it was too big to use as a “personal item.” It required me to check bags, and that is a huge hassle if you travel a lot. I’m aware that there exist smaller laptop bags than I had, but mine was ridiculously large because of support hardware that I needed with me (specifically because of functionality that it lacked).

The MacBook arrived, and I got to work with the updates for it. It took quite a while to download everything, but it was really straightforward and only required one restart. I was amazed that the built in camera worked off the bat. It was trying to take a picture of me to use as my user icon, but I fought back and just picked a dragonfly picture. I shall cling to my internet anonymity. I grabbed the important stuff (Python, Firefox, GreaseMonkey) that I thought of at first, and then grabbed BootCamp.

I need to run Windows XP so that I can use Virtual PC to run an image that I use for presentations and software demos. I teach and code for Microsoft products, so it’s necessary that I can use virtual images to run my presentations. Part of my goal was to have a Mac at the same time as being a de facto shill for Microsoft. I’m a fan of juxtapositions.

So anyhow, I’m basically just trying to get things working today when I notice a little remote control type thing in my box. I press a little “menu” button in the middle of it, and my screen zooms and rotates out of view, and I’m confronted with a faux three-dimensional interface where I can choose between four programs that it will apparently work with. I can watch a movie, listen to music, and so on. The way it morphed really struck me as “wow.”

And well, that’s the thing about Apple. That’s the thing that they always get right. There is always some random tool or functionality that you weren’t expecting that can make even a hardened technogeek like me sit back and say “wow.” Then again, perhaps I’m exactly the kind of person who would have that reaction that you’d normally only expect from a child.

Another point to make is that the Windows installation was straightforward. I used a legit copy of XP with a real key, and it went smoothly. The driver installation was incredible, though. I insert a CD that the mac burned for me, and it goes through the entire installation procedure for every driver for every device that I have on this laptop - without any interaction from me. Apple even made XP “just work.”

That’s why the world loves Apple. I get a Toshiba, and it works fine, and it takes me a few hours to start noticing what it doesn’t have. Last time I was looking for an SD card reader. I got this MacBook yesterday afternoon, and didn’t want to sleep last night. I didn’t start the Windows installation until today because I didn’t want to turn this thing off. Around every corner I was amazed with the performance, the look, and the “wow” factor. Instead of lamenting the nonexistent SD card reader, I’m looking for a camera with a hard drive in it that’ll just connect via bluetooth. I’m looking for a bluetooth trackball, and a bluetooth presenter. The product is cool enough to structure my other purchases around, and that’s something that Apple should be proud of.

I can’t wait to get an iPhone.

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