Meeting the Mac (MacBook)

Saturday, May 5th, 2007 @ 1:51 | technology

I’ve used Windows PCs all my life, with merely cursory looks at Apple computers in various computer classes in school. Yesterday at work I said I needed a new computer and got a little-used MacBook. Not the newest Intel Core 2 Duo model, but an Intel Core Duo nevertheless. After some initial stumbling, I’m beginning to like it. A lot. I am hesitant to completely abandon my Acer laptop, crappy as it was, but at this rate it’s going the way of the dodo next week.

For one thing, it’s a laptop I’m comfortable using as-is, without a external display and even without a mouse. The keyboard feels natural, it doesn’t get too hot, the battery has a life expectancy of more than half an hour. Many of the details make me wonder why PC laptop manufacturers can’t take a hint.

The keyboard looks very simple, like they hadn’t thought about the placement of keys at all, but it’s just natural. I’m comfortable typing on it! The touchpad performs so well that while using it as a laptop, I don’t miss my mouse. I haven’t seen the two-finger scrolling on a laptop before; so convenient.

The display is simply so good that I don’t necessarily need a monitor. But there’s more to it than clarity and resolution. The OS handles multiple applications so economically that so far I don’t see an absolute need for another display, although I’m still sure I’ll plug my secondary monitor on at work – my search engine optimization work does require two full-size applications on at once.

As far as problems go, currently I have two issues. One is navigation in text: I’m so used to the Windows conventions that it’s proving cumbersome. Second is the lack of Microsoft Internet Explorer, which I need for some web applications, like the full-featured Exchange webmail. I still have a Windows PC at home and there are plenty of Windows machines at work when I need one, so no problem there.

The single biggest thing I love is Quicksilver. It’s sheer genius and I don’t understand why there isn’t one for Windows – or if there is, I don’t know about it. The basic premise may not sound like much, but especially when using the MacBook as a laptop it’s a godsend. The idea is that I press a key combination to bring up the Quicksilver dialog (I’m using [alt + space]) and then type the first few letters of whatever I want to do next.

To access my email, ma
To open iTunes, it
To access this site, pos
To access the 9rules site, 9
To open my documents foler, do

And then just press Enter. No fiddling for the mouse and opening menus.

So it doesn’t matter whether I want to find something or launch an application or whatever – Quicksilver does it all. I am thoroughly impressed!

As for software choices, I don’t know yet. I’m trying a bit of everything to find the best email, word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and web development tools.

Leave a Reply