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Four Weeks Down on a Mac

January 16, 2010

Four weeks and counting. Thats how long I have been using a Mac. I am typing this now on a Mac, though my view out the windows is just a bit different. When I was writing the last post, I was looking out the window to see clouds from above as I flew from Seattle to Amsterdam. I have been bringing my Mac with me on all trips since then to try and get as familiar as I can with this platform. Now I am looking out at the Taman Jaya LRT station in Petaling Jaya near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I really should head out and see this town, but I am still a bit groggy from the Benadryl I used to help me sleep last night and get over the jet lag. I’ll go out after the sun is a bit past its hottest for the day. Plus I have wandered the street of KL many times before so I think I know what I am missing.

The real subject of this post though is what I think of the Mac after working with it for 4 weeks. I expected to have a rough first couple of weeks and then gradually over time to get more familiar with it and then laugh at what I used to think were weaknesses. Maybe it will just take more time to get used to it, but I am still trying to get used to the platform. The things I loved about it 2 weeks ago are still amazing. The screen is definitely best of class and I am very thankful for getting a matte display. The backlit keyboard is fantastic when sitting in a dark room. And the battery life is nothing short of spectacular, though its a bit annoying that it doesn’t seem to warn me when battery life is low, instead just shutting down.

I am definitely in the minority but I still hate the fact that the Macbook Pro doesn’t come with a pointing stick mouse built in, though the trackpad is still much better than any other similar laptop mouse-alternative. I have heard from others who had the same complaint, but there is little chance that the Mac designers will ever get a clue about this one.

The last two weeks have been especially interesting because I have been using my work laptop as well as the Mac. I have to use the T61 since I am no longer on vacation. Compared to the Thinkpad, the Mac’s ability to go on standby and then recover so quickly is superb and cannot be matched by the Thinkpad. Of course, most of you time is not spent waiting for a laptop to come out of standby. Most of the time is spent typing on the keyboard. And while the Thinkpads are widely accepted to have the best keyboards on the laptop market, Apple’s MBP keyboard is surprisingly good. Not perfect, but really close.

Another thing that is incredible is the temperature of the laptop. I had gotten out of the habit of using my Thinkpad on my lap because the Thinkpad runs so hot. It nearly burns my legs. I really should put a thermometer to the bottom of it to see how hot it gets. I don’t need to do that with the MBP since it stays amazingly cool to the touch. I can have it on all day and it is still just a little bit warm. No noticeable fan slots in here and yet it stays so cool. How is that possible???

One of the things I mentioned in the last post was that the Mac wasn’t as stable as I thought it should be. Since then I have had fewer issues with that. In fact, this machine hasn’t crashed since that first post. So now, at least for the last two weeks, I see that Apple OSX is at least as stable as Windows 7. Not sure what is really different other than I am a little more familiar with the system.

I still haven’t had much of a chance to work with XCode, but I am looking forward to checking it out. I have lots of ideas for simple little apps that exist on Windows that don’t on the Mac that could be fun to create.

In summary, I am still happy with this laptop. Its still a fun system to use.

I thought I would put together a little chart listing out my pros and cons based on what I write about in this article and the previous one.

MacBook Pro 15″ 2.66 GHz

  1. The matte display on this is absolutely amazing. The truest, richest colors I have seen on a laptop
  2. Stays cool on your laptop despite a complete lack of fans and heat extraction grills.
  3. I thought the T61 was quieter than previous models, but this MBP is almost silent.
  4. Backlit keyboard allows your lazy ass to stay on the couch when the sun goes down leaving the rest of the apartment in complete darkness
  5. The trackpad is amazing, partially making up for the lack of anything like the TrackPoint found on ThinkPads
  6. Standby and recovery from standby is perfect. Much better than any machine on the market.
  7. It looks fantastic. Could be the best looking laptop on the market.


  1. The available shortcuts are tough to get used to.
  2. No pointing stick available, the trackpad is the only alternative and thankfully it is amazing, though not as efficient as a Thinkpad TrackPoint pointing stick
  3. The lack of a bevel on the front edge of the laptops cuts into your wrist and forces me to remove my watch when I want to use the laptop.
  4. Upgraded video card on some models not as good as I expected.
  5. Help files are a bit weak for me as a new user. The reasoning might be that the Mac doesn’t need them, but I don’t agree.

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