Apple MacBook – 9 Months Later

Well, I bought this Macbook a while ago now and I thought it might be nice to give it a solid review after using it for so long. Everyone loves hardware they but when they buy.. but what happens months down the road?

For me? I love it and I love it more every time I use it. Heh, I know, it sounds stupid but it’s true oddly enough. Lets start with the hardware that seems to be causing someone out there so much trouble… My Laptop has been running on my desk for 6 hours and it’s about 75 degrees Fahrenheit in my office, my current CPU temp is 46 degrees Celsius and I can’t hear my fan at all. It runs very cool all of the time. When it’s 90 here in New Hampshire and I don’t want any extra heat hitting my lap I break out a piece of plywood or a small laptop board I picked up al Wal-Mart to create a barrier but 90% of the time I put it on my laptop to no ill effect.

Something else to note is that it is still just as white as the day I bought. No discoloration here at all. I will admit that I take pretty good care of it but I don’t think wiping it down once or twice a month with a 50/50 mixture of tap water and isopropyl alcohol is that odd. I do the same with the HP laptop I carry around for work. I try to take care of things.

I really like the keyboard and the trackpad is great. My HP laptop has a much smaller trackpad with two button below it and a srolling bar on the right side. I can’t stand it. I use a wired mouse with it when ever possible. My Macbook though feel great. The pad is massive and provides plenty of room two fingers and not have to fish around looking for my right click button is great. Apple is really onto something with this pad. Not having a mouse was one of my biggest concerns and since day one I have never missed it.

I should mention here that Apple did swap out my laptop at one point. I am technically using my second MacBook. I must admit though that I was wrong and did not need a replacement. When I bought the laptop I picked up 2GB of RAM to put into it from a third party. One of the sticks was bad and I didn’t know it. Since I installed the RAM my self before I went to the store to complain and put up a stink about my faulty laptop I put the original RAM back into the machine. While I was at the Apple store my laptop functioned flawlessly but I was still able to convince them that the laptop was defective and they gave me a new one —On the spot. When I got home, I swapped out the RAM I bought and ran a RAM test. It immediately failed and the new laptop did all of the things the old one had. I pulled out the offending chip and have not had a problem since. Sorry Apple… But honestly.. talk about customer service! A huge plus.

As far as the specs of the machine in relation to price? I don’t think anyone today can honestly say that an apple is more expensive then anyone else’s machines. What you can say however is that you cannot buy a cheap apple laptop. They don’t make one but if you spec out an HP or god forbid a Dell you will find that they are right on par with them when you build like machines. This has wireless G, Bluetooth, a built in camera and gigabit ethernet. Find me a Dell or an HP with all of that for less then $1000. I should mention at this point that I am not an Apple Fanboy. When I see fault I point it out and I’m sure I’ll mention a couple in this review but all I’m saying is the illusion of over priced hardware needs to end.

Now, lets talk software. Overall, I’m very happy with OS X and all of the other apps I have found to fill the voids left from my Windows days and in a small part my attempts at Linux desktops. OS X is very fast, I love expose and the dashboard. It took me a while to get used to not maximizing windows across my whole screen though. Apple programs don’t typically do that. in a web browser for instance when you click the + simple at the top left of the window it will increase the size of the window so that the content fits without scrolling. Very foreign to me. To be honest though, I have grown to love it though it still does trip me up from time to time.

Something else is when you do updates. In Windows you choose between restart and postpone the restart. In OS X you get Restart and shutdown. You can continue working but it just sits there on the screen behind your windows as you can’t minimize it. As an IT guy I understand the need for reboots from time to time and I wouldn’t want the OS to remind me to reboot like Windows does but.. I don’t know. It’s odd and to me very un-Mac like.

The one last thing that trips me up is when I’m using two monitors and you put an app on the second screen the menu bar at the top stays with the main screen. For instance, if I’m in Neooffice and I open a doc on the second screen if I need to click file to get to page setup I have to move my mouse all the way back over to the main screen to do it. It’s a short coming. No denying that. I can’t say I want the menu bar to move with the app and I don’t have any suggestions but it’s awkward.

All of that being said, I am loving OS X. It’s fast, it’s uniform and it’s ready to help me. Not get in my way. System preferences is excellent and when you need to change a preference in an app all you do is press ‘Command+,’ and you are there. Little things like that make a huge difference. No longer am I left digging through menu’s to find ‘Preferences’ or ‘Settings’ in an app.

Not have a the system tray is also excellent and I have never missed the task bar. The dock and the menu bar are much much better methods for managing background apps and desktop apps. Quick and easy.

Fine thing too is I have not had to redo my OS since I bought. As a rule of thumb I redo Windows installs every 6 months to keep things running just right. 9 Months in and I don’t even see any lag. Thats a time saver.

Hmm, what else is there? I have access to my NFS shares, my Windows shares and Linux Samba share. I can work easily in Windows domains. I have no issues with windows networking and I’ve never not been able to open a file someone sent me… an No I don’t use Office. NeoOffice, which is free has been all I need.. and NO, it does not need X11 to run. It’s a native OS X app. Creating wireless network on the fly to share files is a breezing. Internet sharing could not be easier. Bluetooth works great. iPhoto, iMovie and iDVD make me look like a genius on a regular basis with work presentations and information videos.

I can’t hide my love for this damn thing. It works great and I get more work done is less time on this in my Windows based work environment then I do on my Windows machines.

Ok, Ok. I’ll shut up now…


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