Wednesday Oct 15, 2008

Mac bother

Bother! No sooner do I get my lovely MacBook, than Apple release a new range.


Instantly my old black Mac will start to look hideous and deformed in my eyes, whilst colleagues in the Sun office gloat over their new models, just after their old Toshibas mysteriously start breaking en masse.


Apple's ability to make their older models look completely dated each time a new version comes out is simply amazing.

Saturday Oct 04, 2008

It wasn't broke and is back to being so

A quick downgrade of the Apple router, Acer locked to 802.11b and everything seems to be working properly, music streaming-wise.


When these things don't work, it's infuriating. Fingers crossed things will work as expected now... Darn you, Apple!

Thursday Jun 19, 2008

Mac love in begins

Thanks to everyone who chipped in with tips on how to get to grips with my Mac.

I'm now starting to enjoy using it, although I still miss one button for page up and down and a proper delete key! Decent suspend and resume, as well as ease of use when in cramped conditions with the laptop on my knee are particularly welcome.

NeoOffice is working fine and I'm getting used to some of the hot keys. The heat issue doesn't seem to be much of an issue any more, even in Islamabad airport, where the AC was really struggling. Or maybe I was just boling hot myself anyway.

There are a couple of small things to work out, which I'm sure I'll manage by asking Mr Google (Google Desktop not indexing Thunderbird mails for example).

I'm sure the transition would have been easier if I hadn't been travelling that week and stuck with generally poor internet connections. It was still pretty painful though - Apple should really include a printed sheet with some common 'switching' tips.

Let's see how things progress. I'm particularly interested to see if it's as reliable as my old Tosh over the long term.

So far I have resisted the temptation to clean the thing down with wet wipes or encapsulate it in soft furnishings, like other colleagues whose names I will not mention.

Tuesday Jun 10, 2008

Mac progress

I'm quite looking forward to using my Mac tomorrow at a proper desk with a decent internet connection. That'll allow me to get mail synched properly, make sure all my helper apps are installed and really see whether it works for me when sitting at a properly positioned desk with a decent chair.

Current irritations are hot keys being needed to right click, sharp edges cutting into wrists when using it in cramped conditions, lack of status lights on the ethernet port and OpenOffice continually crashing. Page down hotkey doesn't work in Firefox and OpenOffice either, which is infuriating.

The lack of page down functionality is a killer, even if it sounds petty. It's something I use all the time when scanning large docs or online documentation.

After a few days in a normal office I'll have a better idea of whether it's right for me or not. Tomorrow I'll put Windows XP on it as well. If OS X is still not for me, I'll give it a go with XP for a bit. If things are still annoying the hell out of me, I'll see if I can swap it with someone in the office who has a Toshiba Portege...

Monday Jun 09, 2008

Apparently settling down with my new Mac

Getting to grips with my Mac a bit better this evening.

Some gripes still -

I don't like all these keyboard shortcuts I have to use and the position of the Apple key and not being able to use ctrl instead. It doesn't suit my hands, which are used to doing things differently as opposed to thinking different.

The mouse seems to slow down when moving over links. I also find highlighting things frustrating.

Still hating the lack of a del key - fn delete doesn't cut it. Same goes with the page up and down keys and shortcuts.

It doesn't really seem much faster than my four year old Toshiba, which surprises me considering it has a processor that's so much quicker. Maybe the tasks I'm doing are more disk bound than anything else - launching apps for example. That said, it does seem slower when multiple apps are open and I'm switching from one app to the next, something which has nothing to do with disk speed.

Doubtless I'll switch my old laptop on over the weekend to make sure I've copied everything across and find myself railing at the slow old thing and irritating XP it runs.

Sunday Jun 08, 2008

More Mac irritations

More Mac whinges.

Earlier this evening I installed Thunderbird and Firefox and used them both happily. Now their icons have disappeared from the dock and I can't find them.

Safari doesn't work with my bank's online password entry system.

The left side of the Mac is extremely warm and the right hand side is cool after being left on for four hours. This makes typing feel horrible - my left palm is sweaty and my right palm is fine. Yuck.

It's a lot hotter than my Toshiba ever got underneath as well - my suit trousers will lose their crease if I need to adjust my presentation on my knees moments before a critical presentation :) Maybe newer laptops are just like this, but I thought the new Centrinos were meant to be more power efficient. There seems to be no fan going on to cool the thing down. I'd prefer even temperatured hands if it meant a bit of fan noise.

Where's the 'del' key?

The Mac is here

Well, I ended up getting a MacBook, now that my reliable Toshiba Tecra S1's screen has finally died.

I'm trying to remain objective, but the fact is that this isn't the device I would really have chosen, given a choice. If there had been a nice small Windows laptop on offer, I would have gone for it. That said, lots of colleagues who now have Macs are very happy with them, so I'll persevere for now. This is a business tool though - something to help me work and be productive, not a toy that I want to ogle at for hours on end because of its sheer widget bouncing beauty.

So, first impressions of a slightly grumpy user who feels he's ended up with the best of a bad bunch and is peeved that, at the local Sun office at least, a properly portable Toshiba wasn't on offer...

It came with a European plug. Granted, this is something that happens with most of the electronics you buy in Dubai, but it's still irritating. A British three pin is the standard across the Gulf, not Euro toothpicks. Now I need a UK to Euro converter and a Euro to UK converter in my bag.

I keep hitting the '\\' key rather than return. That's something my fingers will probably get used to, as well as the fact that the 'fn' and control keys are reversed compared to my Windows laptops.

The keyboard feels plasticky.

It came with a US keyboard. That's not Apple's fault, of course, but I preferred my UK keyboard on the Toshiba, which had a nice pound sign. This keyboard doesn't even have a Euro symbol.

It's not clear how replaceable the keyboard is. The keyboard was replaced twice on my Toshiba for various reasons - how long will this one last?

There are only two usb ports and you can't keep the mouse plugged in and use a usb stick at the same time, as the ports are too close together. Yes, I got a wireless mouse with it, but I don't want to have to carry a large mouse with a battery in it around with me. A small, retractable usb mouse is much more convenient. The usb slots are also on the left of the laptop, meaning the mouse cable has to stretch around to the right. I'd have preferred three usb ports - one for the mouse and two for an external hard drive, but that's not something that's a Mac only gripe - a small Tosh would have been the same, I expect.

The 'm' key looks like an upside down 'w'. I know, this is only a minor whinge, but it looks odd and I'm feeling picky, so there.

I can't work out how to hide the toolbar at the bottom, but will doubtless find the setting somewhere.

It's heavier than I thought. My old Tosh was 6.2lbs with a lovely 1400x1050 screen. This is 5lbs with only a 1280x1024 screen. I'd expected it to weigh less. It is much smaller though and fits nicely in my bag and on my lap.

I can't run the software I need to synch and backup my Palm Pilot. Nor can I run the software needed to synch and backup my Sony phone. Even charging the Sony phone via usb won't work well as Sony insist on having drivers installed on the laptop the phone's attached to for it to charge properly. I will also need to run VMware's client soon and that won't install either.

Looking back at the issues above, these are all minor gripes, common when anyone goes from one machine to another. Let's see how the Mac measures up over the coming weeks. If I get fed up with it, I'll just put Windows XP on it, go back to the classic theme and choose non anti-aliased fonts. It'll look old and dull, but I'll know where everything is and won't spend time fiddling, which, quite frankly, is all I care about.

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