My First Five Days With A MacBook Pro

Last modified on February 28th, 2007

I thought I’m chime in with my thoughts and feelings so far now that it’s been a few days without a PC. First, I’m definitely really happy with my purchase. For the most part everything has just worked, and I haven’t had to mess with very many things so far. Sometimes I lament not having more control over cetain elements (for example, trying to figure out which WiFi connection to use in a public space isn’t exactly obvious — in Windows at least you can see signal strength and public/private all at once. I haven’t figured out how to see all that on the Mac).

The windowing manager on Mac OS X is so much better than Vista. It’s really snappy, and you can program the mouse to activate certain aspects of the Windowing system just by moving it into certain corners. For example, when I move my mouse to the top-left of the screen, it automatically changes the display so I can see every window at once. Then I just pick which one I want, and it goes back to normal. Very slick.

I’m not entirely sold on this apple key thing. Some of the commands I have to use in Photoshop involve like three buttons at once, most of the using some derivative of the apple key. For example, apple key, option D is a real thing that does something. I guess you get used to it, but I miss pressing PrintScreen for a screen capture since on a Mac it’s apple-key, shift 3 or something. I’ll get used to it.

Another strange thing is the little red/green/yellow buttons on each window. Apparently I’m meant to think this is sort of like a stoplight somehow. Pressing green maximizes the window if it isn’t already, and pressing it again brings the window back to normal. Makes sense so far. Pressing the yellow button shrinks the window and puts it on the dock. I get this part too. But I really don’t understand the red button. If I press it, the application closes.. Sort of. That is, it still shows that it’s running on the dock, and it still has an associated menu. But that window no longer exists, and if it’s the main window, the application is basically closed now. So I officially don’t get this part.

The file associates are a bit screwy too. All the “.jpg” files on my hard drive show nice previews when I navigate the directory structure, and this is a really nice feature. But all my “.JPG” files don’t, because my Mac somehow doesn’t think they are image files because of the extensions. I’m sure I can change this somewhere, I just haven’t figured it out yet.

iPhoto seems like a really cool tool. When I plug in a USB card reader, it automatically imports all my new images and lets me tag them so I can find them later. This is great, since I lose images on my cards all the time. Unfortunately, iPhoto doesn’t always pop up when I plug a card in. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, I can still manually import the files, I just don’t get why it’s a bit strange that way.

iTunes worked better than expected. It actually read all the purchased music off my iPod and installed it on my Mac hard drive. Which was great. However, it won’t pull off my non-purchased music, which blows. So now, I had to fire up Vista tonight on my other laptop and start copying MP3 files over manually. Not really a big deal, but I was hoping I wouldn’t have to touch Vista ever again.

Another weird thing is I never really know if my laptop is sleeping or the screen is just off. Sometimes it appears to just sleep, and moving the mouse causes everything to come back to life. But sometimes I need to press the power button to have it come back, and since this process isn’t instantaneous, I’m often left wondering what it’s doing. Still better than Windows (since windows sometimes doesn’t come back).

I’m definitely impressed with how most applications run. On Windows I’d frequently get into scenarios where everything would start to chug. I haven’t really had that happen on the Mac yet. Even photoshop is pretty snappy once it’s loaded into memory.

So, am I happy so far? You bet. I still have a few issues with the OS, but like I tell everyone at work, 9 times out of 10 the problem is between the chair and the monitor, so I’ll keep playing around with it and see if I can figure more things out. I definitely recommend playing with a Mac before you make your next purchase though. Not only do most things “just work”, but hey, it looks pretty sexy too.

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