For those who didn’t know, I picked up a brand new shiny black Apple Macbook last thursday. I bought a black one because it meant I could get it three weeks earlier (that is, I would have had to wait 3 weeks to get a white one for an actually lower price).
Five points each:
- It is lightning-fast. ChatZilla times startup times – startup time on my macbook is 33% of that on my windows desktop machine (the latter is running a P4 3.4Ghz HT, with 1GB of RAM, so it’s not like it’s a useless machine either…). Mozilla builds from scratch in approximately 35 minutes. I haven’t even added -j optimization options yet – I should, it should make it even faster, I think.
- State persistence: If I use iTunes, and I stop my podcast halfway through, quit it, shut down the computer, and open iTunes again a week later, I can continue exactly where I left off (in the middle of the podcast). The entire machine also does it, of course, suspending to both RAM and disk when you close the lid. I still need to get used to not having to shut it down all the time… though its startup time is really good too, so it’s no disaster when I forget.
- A fair few things “just work”. I know everyone says this, and I didn’t really like the argument before I bought a mac, but still. I was in the train with Marco who had a Powerbook G4 with him. I think we took less than 30 seconds to set up a computer-computer wifi network, allow Marco to remote-login into my machine so he could copy some rosetta stuff to make things run on his machine, and set up video chat (built-in webcam, wee!) in iChat between the two of us (we weren’t next to eachother). The timing is ignoring my confusedness on trying to use Adium for the same purpose, which didn’t quite work. But oh well, it was still pretty awesome.
- Starting apps is really easy with either Spotlight or QuickSilver. Though alt-f2 will do this for you on most linux window managers, and win+R does it to some extent on Windows, it’s not quite as nice. Especially because on Windows I need to use paths to get to my “normally installed” apps (which happen to be in my start menu too – but that isn’t very keyboard-navigable if it’s big).
- Battery Life. Spending 3 hours in a train and using it all the time, and it still claimed to have about an hour worth of battery power left. That’s pretty awesome, in my opinion.
- Closing the lid goes to sleep, and hence kills persistent network connections. It is apparently impossible to tell it to just shut down the screen if I close the lid, so I can easily take it across the hallway or whatever without losing my SSH or IRC connections.
- WiFi has been oversimplified. While this is nice at times (see above), it sucks at others. “There was a problem connecting to the ‘blah’ wireless network. [Try again] [Cancel]“. I mean, wtf? Please tell me something about what went wrong? Please?!
- While I don’t really care for appearances all that much, the outside of the black Macbook smudges quite easily. I mean, you hold it at one point and whoops, your fingerprints will still be there the next day (visible without some kind of CSI spykit), and the next, and the next. This is annoying, and I didn’t think white macbooks had this problem. But maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know.
- Apple design is good, supposedly. But I’m really cursing the idiot who thought it would be a good idea to have sharp edges on the inside side of both panes (ie, the screen and the keyboard/touchpad parts). I’m told they’ll wear down and get easier on my palms, but right now this is quite annoying.
- The keyboard repeat settings are too limited. I have it on the one-but fastest repeat setting right now, and I’d want it to be faster, but the fastest setting means you actually delete your regular 80-char line before you can say “oops”. The slider in the preference UI is not a smooth one, it only has 7 possible positions, so I’m stuck with what I have. Which is annoying!
- My menus are broken. I can’t focus them, and I can’t use accesskeys to get through them. I use those a lot, and right now it’s about 3 times faster to use my mouse, which is really, really bad. I’m a keyboard-y person, please give me my shortcuts back.
- Accelerator keys are messed up and inconsistent. Fn+Up/Down-arrows will take you page-up/page-down. But Fn+Left/Right-arrows will not do home/end – unless you’re in a bash shell (wtf?). Apple+Left/Right will, though – but Apple+Up/Down will take you home/end in the vertical sense (as far as I can tell). Please tell me who thought of this horrible behaviour, and/or where I can fix it. The Apple pref pane doesn’t seem to allow me to configure these kinds of things at all (only OS-wide shortcuts, instead of normal widget interaction).
- By default, tab will not tab through buttons (only lists and inputs). This really, really pissed me off at first. Why is that pref off by default? It’s important, especially since the buttons don’t have accesskeys which means I can’t keyboard-navigate dialogs!
- Apps without windows don’t die. This is stupid. I know this is how the mac works, and that it won’t change, but it’s a dumb paradigm. In ChatZilla, this is particularly annoying because it means /quit doesn’t kill the client – it just closes that window. ChatZilla also has a useless empty menu item in its app menu, which is stupid. No idea what causes it yet. I don’t like how it handles explicitly minimized windows either – they won’t show up in apple+tabbing at all.
- Installed apps aren’t in the path. This SUCKS. On Windows, this is not the case either, but in your Windows shell, you can launch files by just typing their names and whacking return. This doesn’t work in unix-y shells (like those on Linux or Mac), but on Linux at least all the editors and compiler thingies are in your path, so you can just start gvim or mousepad or gedit or whatever you like, you add the filename you want to the commandline, and it works. On Mac, I need to open the app and then find the file I want to edit with it again, starting from my home dir. In big source trees this is really annoying and wastes my time. How do I fix?
I’m pretty sure there are downsides to the good things, and that some of the bad things could be fixed by some more tweaking from my side, but this is my ‘grunt list’ after about 4 days of using it. All in all I’m actually really happy about it, mostly because of battery life, speed, and generally being able to run most of what I need on it (Firefox, Last.FM, commandline tools like cvs, make, ssh, what-have-you, Jabber chat, music stuff, dvd stuff, etc.) without too much effort – the migration process is a lot better than on Linux, as far as that is concerned – I don’t like GAIM, music stuff is “hard” when you play with UTF-8-tagged mp3 files and ripping cd’s has been a pain for me on that platform (though in all honesty I haven’t tried that on Mac yet)