Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Life - MacBook

The other day I took a leap of faith and invested in a MacBook. An aluminum one, for those that know these things, not a fast one (2.0 Ghz), stock RAM and such, as-is.

Other than the slightly nerve-wracking process of spending the money that day, I've very little experience with anything Apple. I don't do iTunes (it's on my PCs for some reason though), I don't have any iAnythings, and I always "whatevered" all my friends that had a Mac. They were for graphic designers and "students", not for me.

I didn't do graphic design and I already know everything.


Okay, back on topic.

A few years ago, I learned that the cool Linux interface I'd seen was a version of the Mac. I learned how efficiently the OS worked. Learned technical things about Apple's history and development. Since it was my brother telling me this stuff, and he's an absolute top level programmer in one of the more efficient languages, I paid careful attention.

The resistance lessened just a touch.

Then a good friend got one. A long-time Campy user, in the bike world he might as well bought a whole Shimano group for his bike. Not that he wouldn't do that now, but that's beside the point. One free evening we visited a local Fry's and poked around the Macs. Nice, yeah, but holy smokes they were expensive. Nonetheless I felt like my world had opened just a bit. It didn't hurt that my friend swore by his Mac.

The resistance lessened just a little bit more.

A bit after that initial fiscal shock, I pedaled away in ignorant bliss for a bit. I shot some clips on my digicam, but when I went to edit them in Windows Movie Maker, I learned that I couldn't edit .mov files in the PC. Well, if I can it's not that easy. The .mov files was a "Mac" thing. Doing some digging, I learned that Macs are good not only for graphic design stuff, but graphic design that moves - video editing. Of course.

Push that resistance down another notch.

A friendly coworker, a MacBook person himself, took me the next step. I mean, of course he's MacBook friendly - he teaches graphic design at a high school, so he fits "graphic design" and "student" (or in his case, "teacher"). He happened to have his MacBook with him when I pestered him with various Mac questions. He ran out to his car, grabbed it, and showed me his MacBook.

Since he's pretty fluent with basic IT, I paid some attention.

Another notch down.

Price always got me on these things though, literally 3x or 4x the price of a PC. I couldn't fathom spending $1500 or so on a laptop.

The co-worker told me all the different ways his students get their Macs for less than retail. EBay... I'd do bike wheels or car rims, but not a computer. Used locally... people want more than a new machine for their beat up old ones. Or, if I really wanted to get a machine from Apple directly (yes), with a warranty (yes), I could go...

To the Apple Refurb Store.

Well now.

I'm a big fan of refurb PCs, having bought 3 of the last 4 of my own PCs that way, and pointing a few other PC buyers the same direction. I usually use the savings to slap in a bunch of RAM, a nice video card, and presto! Decent game machine!

I'm not afraid of refurb. I've heard great things about Apple's customer service. So I took the leap of faith and ordered one.

Oh, I forgot, I also had to work this whole thing out with the missus. She contemplated it for a while and gave it an okay. I mean, heck, I'm still riding my bike and planning on racing, and I'm not 100% recovered from my crash yet. She's never said a peep about that; it's not like she doesn't understand me.

Anyway, that's when I ordered one.

When I got done going through the ordering process (this just a few days ago), the screen said I should expect it in 5 or 6 business days. Good. I had a bit of time to goof off doing other projects, do whatever, you know. We had other things to do, my sis-in-law will be coming up at the end of the week, my bro, the nephews, and my dad the following day, and all sorts of stuff like that. I could use the week or so break before I got involved with this new... thing.

The day after I placed the order, the UPS guy came into work. Let me repeat that. The day after I placed the order, the UPS guy came into work.

To be precise, it was about 23 hours after I placed the order.

"Hey, this is for you," he said, holding out a suspiciously familiar shaped box, slightly smaller than the ones I've seen before.

I stared at it, a bit incomprehensibly.

"What, you didn't order this?" he asked.

I cracked a bit smile when I realized what it was. I started looking around the box for an identifying label or icon.

"What is it?"

"It's my new laptop." I looked up at him. "It's a MAC!"

He looked at the box, looked at me. Obviously he didn't care if it was a Mac or not.

"What are you waiting for? Open it!"

Since I happened to be unpacking a (tractor trailer) truck's worth of bins and such, I had everything necessary to open this quaint little box. Zip-zip, tape cut, popped open the lid.

A silver colored (no, aluminum colored) laptop sat there, hidden by a box. We both peered inside.


It's like we'd never seen a computer before.

I closed the box. We looked up at each other.

"Have a good day!"

And the UPS guy left.

Grinning, I put the box by the counter. A couple hours later the missus dropped by and picked up the box. She wanted to check it out at work. She powered it on but once the registration stuff started, she shut down. She figured that I'd want to do all that.

So... I will. While I do some laundry and other stuff, I'll be setting up the new MacBook.



Suitcase of Courage said...

Congratulations! Now we'll be expecting even more webcam videos - and once you figure that thing out, you can teach *me*.

Aki said...

This is a bit tougher than I thought, but I like the graphics better than the laptop. I like the keyboard too, and the clicking mouse pad.

It's tough when I didn't even know what the browser was (I figured it out - Safari). I don't know how to alt-tab either, popping through the different windows I have open. I have a lot to learn.

I'll have to learn what this "command" button does, also "option".

Skip said...

Are you planning on doing anything with power on your Mac? - WKO+ "works" under wine, or parallels+windows (if you've got a spare copy of windows, and feel like running windows on the mac).

other options include spreadsheet-analysis, golden Cheetah, and Cycle-ops software. (there may be others I'm unaware of, I last looked in January 09.)

Aki said...

Skip - I hope to use the Mac a bit more than just as an experiment. I've yet to experiment with the open source power stuff, but that's something I'd be interested in.

For everyone else, I figured out how to copy/paste. I also figured out that the "file/edit" menu stays in one place for all applications, but its functions change based on the different apps.

Right now, unless something weird happens, I see myself as using the Mac more than the PCs. I also see myself rebuilding one of my machines with something like Ubuntu and using their GUI (which resembles the Mac).

YaniCan said...

Congrats on the Macbook. i just got my first real mac 2 weeks ago, a 13 inch macbook pro, the base model and upgraded the ram to 4gb's and a 7200 rpm 500gb harddrive myself the next day. So far i'm loving it. I had been using a hackintosh i put together myself for the past year and felt it was time to make the leap to the real thing and i'm not regretting it. I used the apple student discount though, i knew this going back to school thing would eventually pay off.

if you have any questions about the mac let me know, i've become pretty proficient with them in the past year making OSX run on off the shelf PC equipment.

Anonymous said...

I always used Macs until I started this job, where they gave me a Windows laptop. They recently let us choose which we wanted when get a computer renewal, and I went back to the Mac. It's funny you should mention Campy here, because I think the Mac cult is a lot like the Campy cult. No one ever seems to feel devoted enough to get a Shimano tattoo or Microsoft ink, but they apparently do for Campy and Mac (and Harley, but that's another story).

Anonymous said...

Congrat's on the new Mac, but i was hoping to see that rock powering everything up though.