Amongst the celebratory gifts I got for father's day this year was a pretty surprising toy. I had been commenting to Tammy for a while about how cool I thought the new Apple MacBook was. She decided that it was inevitable that I was going to get one and surprised me on father's day with a nice box containing a black MacBook.

The Path to Here

I was born and raised on the Macintosh platform (after some very early years on TRS-80, TI-99/4A and finally Apple //c). I fondly can remember the release of the first color Mac, multifinder and the advent of System 7. However, when I came to college I discovered Unix and “real” operating systems. I then wandered into the Windows NT world as I moved into the professional or commercial world and never looked back to the Mac. Until…

About a year-and-a-half ago I got an iMac. The main reason I got the iMac was location. It was going in a very public place in our house and I wanted something that looked good. I was open to getting a Mac because of OS X. Apple had finally given up on the horrendous operating systems they had and moved to a Unix based environment. Stability and tools were greatly improved. I’ve been happy with the iMac, but then Apple got really serious.

The announcement a year ago to switch to the Intel chip was huge. The promise of hackable machines that could run Mac OS X but also run Windows and other environments was a siren song. And it’s become real over the last year. This decision, combined with a good, stable OS and some very nice hardware got me to get back in with the Mac crowd in a bigger way with the MacBook.

Initial Impressions

The MacBook is an extremely well constructed and versatile machine. It isn’t as light as my business laptop (Dell D410), but the construction quality runs laps around my other home laptop (Sony VGN-S360. Everything is solid. The keyboard looks like it may be a “chiclet” keyboard, but it’s feel is great. One of my favorite laptop keyboards thus far.

On the software side I’m enjoying Mac OS X. I’ve been using it on the iMac for a while, but mostly that computer just surfs the web and ‘looks pretty’. This machine has been getting more industrial use and I’ve optimized it more for myself. I’ve purchased Parallels as well which allows me to run Windows XP (and really almost any x86 operating system) without rebooting. The product is great for a v1.0 and they will close the gaps in the coming updates. I look forward to having one machine with Mac OS X, Windows XP, Windows Vista and whatever else I want on it. Can you say Swiss Army Knife?

Areas of Improvement

There are some things that Apple didn’t get right yet. First, Apple’s insistance on a 1-button mouse is just infuriating. I may give them a break if they didn’t emulate a 2-button mouse themselves by holding down the control key. If your software uses a 2-button mouse concept, put one on the computer!

The MacBook is also extremely hot. Much has been written about this and I’m hopeful that there will be a firmware update to lessen this. I’ve been using CoreDuoTemp to monitor and I’ve seen my CPU hit 90 °C. (Right now just typing it’s at 77 °C.)

It’s a Wrap

I have to take my hat off to Apple. To get me to buy a Mac laptop is a feat. I had all but given up on them and they’ve really risen from the ashes. This is a fun machine.

Jamie Thingelstad @jthingelstad

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