July 19, 2007
I bought a new toy recently.
Ain't it purty?
Here you see a 2.2 GHz MacBook Pro. Not shown is the wireless optical mouse. I'd forgotten that there's such a thing as "new computer smell" -- I so rarely replace more than a couple components on the PC that I don't notice it any more. Anyway, as far as toys go, this is a pretty expensive one.
I'm still getting used to it; the mouse actually has multiple buttons, so it's not as big of a pain as I was afraid of. It came bundled with some software (detailed below) that I'm trying to figure out and see what it's useful for. I'll probably have a review of all that up in a little while.
I'd like to take a couple minutes now, to explain the ways in which Apple tried very hard to get me to not buy their computer.
Not telling me what's in it. They cover the basics on their product page: 15-inch screen, 2.2 GHz processor, 2 GB RAM, etc. They don't get into the extra detail on the hardware that a comparison shopper with some knowledge would want. I realize that a lot of people don't care about the front-side bus or the L2 cache, but at least throw a link that says "geeky stuff in here" for all the gearheads. And while you're at it, tell me what the hell a "Superdrive" is.
Between a Mac-user friend and a Google search I was able to get all the information I needed, but c'mon, Apple: I'm on your site already, looking at the product. Make it easy for me to make an informed choice. And speaking of informed choices...
Not telling me about the software. I know I get MacOS X ('cause, you know, Mac). I know I get Safari. That's pretty much it, as far as I knew. When I actually went to an Apple Store the person there was able to show me the actual software bundle that comes with every Mac -- the iPhoto picture organizer with a small built-in editor. Nothing I can't do with Photoshop, but not having to fire up a resource hog is nice, and the thumbnails are pretty good-sized, too.
It also comes with iMovie, the (simple) movie editor, and iDVD, which assembles "real" (as in, a player will treat them like normal) DVDs. Not things that get a lot of use, mind you, and things that might not stick around in my
Quicklaunch Bar Dock for long, but nifty things to have around. Rounding out the list is GarageBand, which I probably won't use at all due to the fact that I have the musical skill of a pile of driveway gravel.
Here I come to save the daaaay!
But that's four pretty decent programs there, and they go a long way toward ameliorating the $600 difference between the Mac and the PC laptop I was also pricing. I mean, I could see myself using this stuff -- at least once in a while -- compared to the resource-sucking crap that comes pre-loaded on any PC laptop. Why not let me think I'm getting my money's worth? Some of us aren't interested in paying extra money for a logo and a donation to the Steve Jobs Turtleneck Fund.
Oh, I mentioned the Apple Store up there. Nice people, and helpful. Which was all the more impressive considering the iPhone had launched the day before. Which leads me to point three:
The Apple Store was out of laptops. Seriously. I asked right there to buy a MacBook Pro, and was told that they didn't have any. They didn't even know when a shipment would come in. At the Clarendon store they at least told me that their shipments lately had been loaded with the phones, so people could shell out $600 a pop for them, but it left them light on computers. Between lack of inventory and an influx of people into the stores, they just didn't have any.
So after driving around Fairfax and Arlington counties in an attempt to buy a computer from a computer company, I finally had to order online and wait for my computer to be assembled and shipped from China. Which took a day longer than it should have, because the truck took two and a half hours to get from Apple's factory in Shanghai to the FedEx depot in... Shanghai. That's right, two and a half hours to get across town, which meant it missed the cutoff time and the plane to the US, keeping it the Eastern hemisphere for an extra day.
And I thought traffic here in NoVA was bad.
But anyway, it's here and I'm giving it a try. There's no "productivity" software on here -- no Office, no iWork, no Photoshop, no IDEs. Just a web browser, chat software, and the movie-making stuff. This is a play computer. If I need to work or balance my checkbook, I still have my desktop PC.
Of course, I say that now. I'll probably be running Apache, MySQL and PHP on it (usually called "LAMP" when Linux is the OS; would this be "MAMP"?) because geeks can never leave well enough alone.