My MacBook Pro Experience - Day 8

My MacBook Pro Experience - Day 8

Summary: FAQ time!


FAQ time!

Over the past few weeks I've received a number of questions thorough the TalkBack sections and via email.  As with any time that you're bombarded with questions, it's best to answer then once, rather than separately. 

The questions and answers appear in no particular order.

  • What prompted you to go on the "MacBook Pro Experience"?
    Because it sounded like fun.  Several TalkBack comments in a variety of posts had suggested that I give this a go.  It sounded like a good idea and a neat learning opportunity so I approached Apple's PR people for a loaner.  They agreed and I started blogging from day 1.
  • Is Apple paying for this?
    Nope.  Apart from bearing the cost of shipping, this is free publicity for Apple (hehehe, like it need that!).
  • Is Microsoft paying you to say bad things about the Mac OS?
    Nope.  In fact, to set the record straight, Microsoft have never paid me for anything, ever.
  • Are you coming to this with pre-conceived notions about the platform?
    No.  I'm keeping an open mind all round.  I hope that comes through in my posts.  Contrary to what some people think, I'm pretty open-minded about most things and don't get caught up in fanboyism.  I have strong views about some things but these are based on information I've gathered or what works for me or doesn't work for me.
  • How long do you have the MacBook Pro for?
    Four weeks, so I have three left.
  • Will you be covering XYZ?
    Maybe, depends on time.  Some of these posts take a lot of effort.
  • Does Apple OK what you write before you publish it?  Do they make changes?
    No and no.  And just to clarify, no one from Apple asked for the opportunity to edit or OK what I write.
  • Will your buy a Mac?
    Don't know.  My next purchase will be a UMPC.  Maybe after that.
  • Will you take a look at Leopard?
    Not in this series, but if Apple want to give me a MacBook with Leopard on it when it's released, sure, I'll take a look.
  • Does the MacBook have to go back to Apple?
  • Do you find it easier to use than Windows?
    Different would be a better word.  Some things seems nicer and simpler, other things are foreign to me.
  • Do you find it harder to use than Windows?
    Again I'd use the word different.  I've done quite a bit of real work on the system so I'm pleased there.  I get more done in a day using Windows but I put that down to experience rather than the platform.
  • Has the Mac crashed on you?
    Yes, when playing a DVD.
  • How heavy is the MacBook?
    The 17-inch MacBook Pro is 6.8 pounds, but the 15-inch version is only 5.6 pounds.
  • How well does Windows run on the Mac?
    Well.  Very well.  I prefer using Parallels to BootCamp though.
  • Are you enjoying the experience?
    Yes, a lot.  It's been a great learning experience.
  • What's do you hope people get from the MacBook Pro experience posts?
    Two things:
     - For those unfamiliar with Apple hardware, an outsiders view of the Mac OS X and hardware
     - For those familiar with Apple hardware, a chance to educate me/argue with me/leave tips for others who might want to take the plunge.
  • How many posts do you have planned?
    Don't know.  Between 20 and 30.
  • Anything you dislike about the MacBook?
    The buttons on the trackpad - they feel clunky to me.  I'm also no big fan of slot-loading CD/DVD drives either.
  • How think is the MacBook?
    1 inch.
  • Have you got the WiFi working?
    No, not yet.  I've been told that a member of Apple's executive relations team will give me a call this week to try and solve the problem.
  • Are MacBook's overpriced?
    That's a relative question.  Depends of how much cash you have to spare and what you want.  Given the high quality and the excellent fit and finish, no, I don't think so.  However, I won't try to argue that the MacBook, especially the top-end MacBook Pro I'm using, is cheap.  It's not.  This MacBook Pro retails for $2,799.  That's a lot of dough for a notebook.
  • What's your favorite MacBook Pro feature?
    I have two - the backlit keys and the MagSafe power connector.  If I had to choose between the two, it would be the MagSafe connector.
  • Have you tried gaming on the MacBook?
    Not yet.  I might get round to that this weekend.

Previous installments:

Topic: Apple

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  • Most important question...

    And probably most difficult to answer: Would you recommend the MacBook Pro (specifically the model you are test driving - with it's price tag)? If so, is it for everyone or only certain users? If not, what are the biggest obstacles, usability, apps, price, etc.?
    • Yes ... but ...

      ... I have a post in the pipeline that will cover that question. :-)
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • Obstacles?

      I would hazard a guess, you are expecting some, many, any.
      (probably to reinforce any preconceived ideas)

      While I have my own love/hate with Apple the company. I admire them far more than MS.

      Would it be any "benefit & value" to you, your spouse Maybe, maybe not.
      You won't really know unless you look for yourself.
      Most do not need a macbook pro.

      Just like with Linux you have to be aware & interested, otherwise any & every obstacle can become a blockade,
      Whether real, perceived or artificial.

      Hardware.... What ever happened to Plug-n-Play (the real one not the MS one) Driver loaded firmware will become an increasing issue.

      Apps/Data... What apps.... are that important that there is not a port, analog or equivalent, proprietary or FLOSS.

      Usability... relative to any system, PC, Phone, Remote, Microwave.

      Price... Like I said not everyone or few need a pro, notebook or desktop. If you see no value or benefit to OSX & its available apps, choose something else, as there are many equal or less pricey choices both hardware & software.
      But none have OSX, etc and the ability to run the others.

      I do wonder if they can do VT & Xen?

      If in the market it maybe a worthwhile, Fun/educational venture, especially in a notebook, Even if only in a MS monoculture.

      Simple Answer, it depends on wants, needs & perceptions.
      and of course funds.
  • Are you going back & forth

    between the MacBook Pro and your Windows machine, or are you using the
    Mac full time? The reason I ask is that when I got my first Mac I was still in the
    corporate world and had to use a PC at work. It wasn't until I started using the
    Mac for everything that I really fell in love with it. I guess that was becasue
    there were certain things that I didn't know how to do on the Mac and it
    seemed easier to boot up a PC and do it on that than it was to learn how to do
    it on the Mac. But once I forced myself to learn the Mac way, I found I liked it
    better. Funny, now I find myself struggling on the PC...
    • That has happened to a lot of us...

      ..thats just the way it is. We still use Windows professionally, but prefer our Macs
      at home. It was a job that introduced me to Macs. Then a gimme Mac that cost
      me a new battery to get going and I have never looked back. From upgrades to
      enhancements to software to OS, I fell in love. Production is usually surprisingly
      easy even when covering new ground. Hence my support of the term "intuitive".
      Something you can work with that doesn't require a great deal of intrinsic
      knowledge to work with.

      Nothing is perfect - Macs are included - they are a work in progress - but
      certainly for many of us - an enjoyable vehicle to travel with.
    • Yes, I do

      I have too much Windows-based stuff to do to make a complete switch as an experiment. But I'm doing a lot of work on the Mac. More than I thought.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • Good question.

      Adrian -- Just finished reading through all 8 days of your experiment today and enjoy reading your thoughts (mostly because the're thoughtful, honest and there is no name calling).

      FallGuy - As for your question, I bought a MacBook Pro back in July 2006 and found myself going back and forth between my Mac and PC laptops for about 4 months. I used the Mac for almost everything except for Excel, Quicken, and a couple of web radio stations that would not work with the WMP plug-in. I was very stubborn and had trouble leaving those two applications because of my history with them (I'm a numbers nerd). However, I am now using Office for Mac and Quicken for Mac full time and rarely use my PC. However, this doesn't change the fact I use a laptop PC every day at the office. In the end I'm happy with both my Mac (at home) and PC (at work).
      • Thanks!

        Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
        • Yes, I have to say that

          I've been following these posts with great interest, largely as I feel you are a very
          open minded person, so your comments and discoveries will be without prejudice.
          Personally, as having used the Mac for well over 12 years now, and the Windows
          world off-and-on for the last 8, I find your observations very informing. I don't
          think anyone here in their right mind expects you to jump to the Mac platform
          only, but as you mentioned, perhaps you would now consider adding a Mac to
          your world at some time. As I'm sure you are aware, many of us here are 'bilingual'
          with the platforms -- either through requirement or choice.

          Anyhow -- great stuff Adrian. Thanx!
  • Adrian -

    Maybe a stupid question, but did you make sure that your router(s) don't have
    mac address screening in place?

    Also - in your preferences, network, did you make sure that the airport connected
    - automatically? and check the tcp/ip tab to make sure that you are connecting via
    dhcp automatically?

    I work with a Linksys router and have recently even plugged in a couple of
    different Apple routers...never a problem. In fact my laptop has been all over the
    place and has never experienced such a problem - at anyone's home or the many
    businesses that I use the traveling wifi networks at.
    • WiFI

      Not sure what your WiFi problem is. Sorry I haven't read all the posts. I switched to a MacBook Pro for my home PC back in March/April of 2006. It took me a while to get the WiFi to work on my home network. What it came down to for me, was WEP. If you are using WEP make sure your router is configured to use the FIRST key. For whatever reason the MacBook can only connect to the first key. Can't remember where I found that but that was my fix (I was previously configured to use key 2)
      • Hopefully ...

        Apple's executive relations team will shed light on the issue.
        Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • No

      Good point, but no, neither my main router and my lab router use MAC address filtering. I don't dother with it - it offers little in the way of additional protections and increases the hassle factor dramatically.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • Are you worried that if you converted to using ....

    ... the Mac your blog would lose its' relevance? I mean after all the Mac user is fairly well insulated from the hardware. Since you blog on hardware wouldn't using a Mac make you less knowledgeable?
    • The Other Perspective

      Strange premise. I'm at odds as to how the pursuit of knowledge makes one less
      knowledgeable? Expanding on one's experience is usually cumulative, not
      subtractive, is it not? I surely can't speak on behalf of Adrian, but I will speak on
      behalf of myself as a multi platform user. I would trust that Adrian's Mac
      experience would serve to further inform his PC experience, just as his PC
      experience benefits from this new Mac knowledge. I would hope you feel the same
      way. Regardless which platform he chooses, readers are better served by his

      Let's not confuse ourselves with the vendors of these systems. We are not their
      salesmen either. This is not a zero sum game for us. Our careers are often
      congruent with our opinion. But if you are suggesting that bolting opinion to
      career is a virtue, some life lessons are in order.
      Harry Bardal
      • Just came to this today

        I appreciate your neutral comments. There are those of us that have to exist in both OS's. As one who would like to be able to have both systems in one laptop, significant with my travel requirements (the same reason as I do not want have to take card readers, mouses etc).

        Using a 3rd party keyboard & mouse with my G4 helps with some of the keyboard issues between Mac & Windows, but unless I take one with me I am stuck with only Apple's on the MacPro laptop. That I do not like.
        Howard Pierson
    • Interest

      Macs are where the interest lies. Take a look at the hit rates on any stories talking
      about Macs lately. Ed Bott just went to CES and saw thousands of gadgets. He
      get's back and posts about iPhone, gets nearly 300 posts (although about a
      hundred of them were from you, foaming at the mouth, rhetorically trying to
      convince every one that iPhone will fail).

      Perhaps Adrian is recognizing and responding to a growing trend. He's at least
      educating himself about this new source of interest. Making himself more
      qualified to argue the benefits of whatever platform he ultimately chooses. It's a
      smart move. A scientific move. My hat is off to him. Well done Adrian!
      Len Rooney
    • This is such an interesting question ...

      ... That I'm going to answer it in a separate post.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • Quicksilver

    If there's one application that you need to try, it is Quicksilver. It is for me, the one
    application I can no longer live with. Alas, it's harder to explain what quicksilver is
    and does, than it is to use. Suffice it to say, it's an infinitely better application
    launcher than the dock, and then some.
  • Another day and no more reasons to switch

    Too bad. I was really hoping for a revelation: YOU HAVE TO STOP USING WINDOWS BECAUSE ________ IS JUST SO MUCH BETTER ON THE MAC!!

    Instead, we find out that a $2,800 laptop is nicely built although that you still need to carry around a clunky card reader.

    We find out that Apple was lying when they said: [i]Get a Mac - It Just Works[/i] because you are now waiting for Apple executives to get your WiFi working, something that I've never, even once, had problems with on many Windows (and Linux!) computers. I'm also curious if the average Joe would get members of Apple's upper echelon to troubleshoot their connectivity problems or if this treatment is reserved for members of the press who might leak word of the fact that Apple's computers truly are more difficult to configure than the equivalent non Apple computer.

    We find out that the Mac [b]does[/b] crash, once again shredding the image of Apple's computer ads where only the PC guy is in the wheel chair.

    Sorry, but if the best reason to switch is because I have 3 ways of ejecting a DVD, I'll save the $2,000 cost of the Apple logo and buy a better laptop for $1,000. I'll even get a truly innovative UI that Mac zealots could only [b]dream[/b] about: [url=] Xgl [/url]