Yes the macbook keyboard still sucks

OK, so I’ve had the macbook a week now. I’m using it as my main computer and the keyboard is painful. I’m still doing lots of typos when I type fast. Especially the ‘l’ and ‘y’ keys. I’ve started to think that maybe it really is faulty, however other people seem to be annoyed as well, so maybe they do have a generally crappy keyboard.  If you google around you’ll find such gems as this youtube video ‘the macbook keyboard is total crap’.

So I ring Apple and tell them I think there is a problem with the keyboard. They point me in the direction of a local Apple service centre (there are no official ‘Apple’ stores in NZ). They tell me there is a 2 to 3 week turnaround for repairs. Who can do without their business laptop for 3 weeks? Hmmmm.

So maybe I’ll take the thing in for repairs, but I don’t have the time right now, so I’ve been playing around with pulling keytops off and have a workaround at the moment that improves things somewhat. Basically I’ve stuck little bits of cardboard underneath the keytops of the Y and L keys (as a test since they’re the worst keys). The extra pressure on the rubber key mechanism under the keytop is enough to help the key register more often. The downside is that these keys stick up a bit higher, so my keyboard looks a little wonky … but it does work a lot better. I’ll still try to get the keyboard repaired, but I can live with it as is at the moment.

It’s not all bad.  I’m enjoying the fact that just about everything else ‘just works’. The battery life still astounds me. Definately around the 5hr mark under light usage and no wifi or bluetooth. Apple is definately doing something very smart in OS X so far as kerbing back power use when you’re not doing much.

So, here’s a list of the apps I’ve been using so far;

  • Firefox 3. Works the same as on linux, but I miss the middle mouse button to open new tabs
  • Thunderbird. I did attempt to move all my mailboxes off Thunderbird in linux onto Apple ‘Mail’, but it started to get complicated, so I just copied my linux thunderbird profile directory across and it all works good.
  • iTunes. I need music and it actually doesn’t feel like the resource hog it seems to be on most Windows boxes.
  • iChat over googletalk and private jabber sessions. Works quite well.
  • iTerm. I tried the Apple ‘Terminal’ in Leopard and sure the new ‘Terminal’ does do tabs which I find essential, but iTerm will let you drag over a piece of text and it automatically goes into the copy buffer. I need this feature!
  • TextEdit. I need a simple wordprocessor that can hand simple bold/italics etc for RTF files and can search quickly through 100’s of pages. TextEdit is great. On linux I had so much trouble trying to find a decent equivalent of wordpad (lightweight/fast and actually works)
  • NeoOffice. I use this for read/writing MS$ Office docs. Its basically OpenOffice for Aqua. It doesn’t quite do some of the later doc formats of MS$. It seems quite slow to start up, but generally works. I still have a Windows vmware VM handy that I can run actual versions of Office.
  • Vmware Fusion. I tend to run lots of virtual machines. I’ve tried VirtualBox, Xen, Parallels and possibly others, but I always end up coming back to Vmware. I’m not sure why …. but I do have lots of VM’s around in vmware format as a result.
  • Others; X-lite, Mplayer OSX, Cisco VPNclient, Citrix client. I’ve only used these briefly so far and they all seem to work well. Though Mplayer OSX required some TTF font file installed to get subtitles going.