OK, so I bought a macbook

Yes, I caved in and bought a macbook. Sure I have a mac mini, but my primary machine is my Thinkpad T42, so switching to a macbook is a big change.  I still think Macs are too expensive, so I ended up going to the online Apple store and ordering a refurbished one. It’s the same spec as the current models, and I ended up getting the higher spec ‘white’ one (ie. 2.4GHz CPU, 2GB ram, 160GB HDD).

As I’ve been temporarily in Australia for the last month, I don’t have a proper desk to work on, so an external mouse and keyboard haven’t been options for my T42. And on occasions I’ve had to use battery power due to location of power points. Using the T42 in this way, a few things have irritated me ; 1. The 100GB Seagate 5400.2 IDE drive I have gets too hot and consequently makes the right palm rest very warm and ; 2. Trying to get consistently low power use while running on batteries is difficult. Many a time I could not get the T42 to spend most of its time in the C4 state, regardless of what I was doing. A few days later it would go to C4 though it didn’t seem that I had changed anything (this is 2.6.24 or 2.6.25 with acpi-cpufreq).

The T42 is a great machine though. It is quite tough. The keyboard is excellent. I am a huge fan of the trackpoint and having three buttons for the mouse (which is so useful if you copy and paste with the mouse).  But it’s about 4 yrs old now and I need to try something different. This does mean my great experiment of trying to use linux everywhere at home is coming to an end. Oh well.

Anyway, I’ve been setting the macbook up today. Initial thoughts are;

  • This refurbished machine looks brand new except for some minor scuff marks
  • The keyboard is bad. Maybe ‘different’ is the correct word. I can type quite fast on the T42 keyboard. I have to slow down a lot on the macbook in order to avoid making typos. My hands also feel sore after typing for some time. Its like a whole bunch of muscles I never use are being punished. I guess I’ll see how it goes.
  • I do have to do everything a bit slower in general. The one button mouse slows me down in addition to the keyboard
  • The 1280×800 screen res is not too bad. OS X does smaller fonts much better than linux.
  • The right palm rest does get warm, but I did read somewhere that this is due to all the indexing that takes place to set up spotlight on a new machine. I’ll keep an eye on it over the next few days.
  •  My thunderbird mailboxes loaded straight into thunderbird on the Mac. I thought I’ try using Apple’s Mail app but it was going to be a pain, so I just copied across my linux thunderbird mailboxes.
  • All the function keys are different to my Mac Mini
  • Where are the pageup/pagedown keys?
  • The speakers sound good.
  • The 2.4GHz CPU is very quick. I’ve been running an old Windows 2000 vmware machine under vmware fusion and it is amazingly fast. The macbook is my fastest machine at the moment.
  • With power unplugged it reckons I have over 6hrs left. Yeah right.
  • The screen is a bit odd. Sometimes you need to keep adjusting the angle to make it look right.
  • The camera above the screen is quite decent quality

So far the keyboard is annoying me, but I’m keen to see if I’ll just get used to it. The problem I see is a bit like key rollover not working … or Thinkpad keyboards are so much better than anything else out there. We shall see.

This is also my first go at Leopard. The Mac Mini here has Tiger. I like the multiple workspaces thing (it’s about time such an obvious feature was included), and the terminal has ‘tabs’ … which I don’t think the Tiger version had. However, I am missing the ability to drag inside the terminal and have it automatically go into the Copy buffer. Maybe I need iterm or I’m missing something.

So, early days. I’m keen to make this ‘all work’, as linux has its own headaches to contend with on a laptop.