My MacBook Pro Experience - Day 1

My MacBook Pro Experience - Day 1

Summary: Through the TalkBack section of this blog a number of people have mentioned that it would be interesting to read a Windows user's take on the Mac OS X. Well, thanks to Apple's PR department I have the opportunity to do just that.


Through the TalkBack section of this blog a number of people have mentioned that it would be interesting to read a Windows user's take on the Mac OS X.  Well, thanks to Apple's PR department I have the opportunity to do just that.  Today I took delievery of a brand new 17 inch MacBook Pro notebook (no, it's not a freebie, it's gotta got back!).

The machine has a 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 2GB DDR2, 160GB hard drive, 17 inch TFT widescreen display.  Apple also installed Aperture onto this machine for me too.  Overall, a very good specification. 

Regular readers of this blog or PC Doctor will know that I'm a Windows guy - I've dabbled with both Linux and Mac before but I've never tried to do any real work on a non-Windows system.  The next few weeks is going to be interesting.  I'm actually looking forward to it a lot!  I'm wondering if at the end of this review I'll want to buy a MacBook Pro or not.

I've only had the MacBook Pro a couple of hours so right now is a good time to put down my initial/early impressions of the device.

  • As with all Apple products, the packaging is a work of art.  As with every other Apple product I've handled lately, the packaging feels like an extension of the product.
  • The aluminum finish is smart.  Very sleek and sexy.  No arguments from me there.
  • The notebook is a big one but it's light and thin.  This is a surprise as I expected it to be heavy, or at least heavier than it is.
  • The keyboard is easy on the fingers and easy on the eyes.  I love the light-sensitive backlit keys.  When the room lights are on, the keys are not lit, but turn down the lights and on comes the backlight – very cool!  My only complaint is that the keyboard is quite far forward so it feels far away, so I find myself hunching a little to get to it.
  • Bootup is fast, but about the same as my XP notebook (at least as fast as it was when it was new before I installed many apps on it).
  • The MagSafe power connector is one of the most brilliant innovations in hooking up a power supply to a device.  I absolutely love this feature.  It eliminates the risk that someone tripping over the power cord will make the MacBook eat dirt.  It also eliminates the risk of damaging the connector and cable.  Very nice.
  • Currently I can't get the MacBook to connect wirelessly to an encrypted WiFi network but I have figured out how to steer Mac OS X enough to get to the point where I can see the available wireless networks that I can’t connect to just yet.
  • I'm not going to make much in the way of comment on the Mac OS just yet.  Initially I felt that the notebook was being sluggish but I'm now putting that down to programs being used for the first time and me not noticing the feedback that the Mac OS is giving me (I’m used to the kind of feedback that Windows gives when it's busy and as yet I haven’t spotted the Mac equivalent – maybe it’s there I’m just not seeing it yet).
  • I like the iSight camera.  A nice touch.  No having to mess about with drivers, no installing, no wires, the camera was just there, waiting to be used.

Over the next few days I plan on getting the MacBook set up so that I can do some real work on it (writing, research, blogging ...).

Got any tips for a Windows guy planning to use a Mac?

Topic: Apple

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  • Boot time is irrelevant

    Remember, you're using a Mac, so there's no reason to ever turn it off or reboot, save an update that requires it. Boot time becomes irrelevant, because you so rarely ever boot the computer.

    Sounds like you're having fun though.
    tic swayback
    • It's a laptop...

      So shouldn't it be shutdown while being transported? I'll be honest I've only used a Windows laptop for work and everyone always tells you to shut it down before taking it somewhere. Our dept self proclaimed IT guru even screams about not shutting down the laptop for the short trip to the conference room. Is the MacBook more stable on a laptop then Windows or is this just a laptop myth.
      • I take mine all over the place when it's sleeping

        Been doing this for years with no issues. Anyone know if I shouldn't?
        tic swayback
        • I'm with you

          The only time I restart my PowerBook G4 is for system/security updates. No
          problems, although it's always a good tip to unplug all your USB/Firewire peripherals
          and manually disconnect from local networks before closing the lid when you're
          about to relocate. If you don't, waking up at the other end takes a bit longer because
          the machine thrashes around a bit figuring out where those things went.
          Len Rooney
  • Initial Sluggishness

    The initial sluggishness you mentioned is noticed by just about everyone on new Mac hardware - it's Spotlight doing it's initial disk indexing for searches. After a day's use that's finished and the machine feels much snappier (as you've noticed).

    As a Windows switcher for about a year I'll be interested in reading your continuing experiences. I love Apple's hardware (the MacBook Pro is a beautiful machine and a joy to use). OS X is clearly a fine OS, but their are some fundamental differences from Windows that still drive me nuts. Despite what the Apple faithful would have you believe, there are quite a few things that Windows does better.

    And if you haven't already, you WILL grow to hate the Finder.
    • You know

      "Despite what the Apple faithful would have you believe, there are quite a few things
      that Windows does better."

      You know, I constantly hear that from Windows users. And then they never list what
      things Windows does better. Having used both platforms for a number of years, the
      only think I can come up with is that Windows browses networks better and handles
      dropped connections better. What else do you think Windows does better?
    • Finder

      what's wrong with the finder?

      I'm a switcher and I've gotten used to the finder. Actually it all makes sense. Now
      I know the reason for My Documents, My Music etc which windows failed at

      I see no issue with the finder. I like the spring loaded folders, I like that when i
      make a global change, it stays that way, I like knowing what application i have
      open by just looking at the upper left corner of the monitor, i like the consistency
      of finder. All apps have the same shortcuts. I love the Expose feature in Finder.
      What's not to like about Finder?

      If you really think about it, the Finder is a large part of OS X. If this is something
      you hate, then apple is not suitable for you and your computer needs.
  • encrypted wireless

    look up the instructions for entering encryptions keys for airport. You need to do something special if your entering the text string. I think you need to start it with a period or end it with a period. It was an issue I struggled with for a few hours before I found the tech note on the apple support site.
    • Ahhh, cheers ...

      I need to put it in quotes.

      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • Ummmm

        You seriously expect a Mac user to follow that article ;-)
  • Get Parallels!!

    Oh yeah, you asked for tips. Get Parallels Workstation so you can run Windows on your new toy. For us switchers it provides easy access to those must-have apps for which there are no Mac equivalents. Parallels is worth every penny and deserves all the accolades it has received.
    • Why contaminate his review and test?!

      This is a test of Apple OSX not how Windows runs on Mac hardware. ]:)
      Linux User 147560
      • I wanna try bootcamp

        I'm gonna give that a go soon. :-)
        Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • Many Thanks

    I've been taking a crack at most of the ZDNet Windows crew including you. The
    reason has been my feeling that computers are powerful behavior modification
    devices and we have to gain a broader exposure or remain over a single vendor's
    barrel. The Apple thing is a foil, and supposed to stimulate a desire for a broader
    experience. This shouldn't be about one vendor or another, but about the space
    between them.

    This has to be about a competitive marketplace. I'm not talking about the insular
    and false competition within the auspices of a single platform, but real
    competition between the platforms themselves. It also has to be about the
    leverage granted us by this real substantive choice. Finally, this is about the
    interoperability between these competitive silos. We can demand it, but we have to
    grow a pair first. We have to be able to remove our money from the coffers of one
    vendor and transfer it to another vendor. Not another department mind you,
    another real vendor. Our final choice is of less consequence, than the fact that we
    have created choice.

    Good luck with the experiment. Rest assured Mac "Zealots" appreciate the effort
    and I for one will be just fine with the outcome regardless of which platform you
    finally prefer. My goal was to get this commitment to this process, so once again,

    Harry Bardal
    • Ahhh, Harry ...

      I remmeber that it was you who mentioned I should give this a go. Thanks for the pointer ... great idea!
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • Sluggishness

    On the mac - the OS doesn't tell you everything it does like windows. Sometimes the window's OS messages back to you are good, but windows gives you way too many messages! The only messages back you really get on the Mac is when there are problems...
    • I'm starting to notice that

      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • Well, you could always open a terminal window....

        ...but as someone suggested above, what you're probably seeing is Spotlight indexing everything on your hard drive.
        tic swayback
    • Fire up the Activity Monitor

      That'll give you lots of info on what's going on.

      Here's an Activity Monitor tip:
      1. Drag the Applications/Utilities/Activity Monitor App's Icon to the Dock
      2. Click and hold on the Activity Monitor's Dock Icon
      3. Select Dock Icon/Show CPU History (or any other option you like)
      4. Now you always have some activity feed back at glance.

      Thanks for taking this on Adrian! Have fun and just let us all know if we can be of
      any assistance.


      PS -- Don't forget to try the Spring Loaded folders! :)
      Len Rooney
      • Warning

        Be aware that Activity Monitor has a memory leak bug currently. Make sure to kill and
        restart the process every couple of hours. Leave it on overnight, and you'll find it's
        using a gig of real memory.