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b.hicks
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A Little History

At the age of 29, I am 1 year into a 3 1/2 year college program in Instrument and Controls Engineering. I had been looking to buy a laptop for school, but I just couldn't settle on the right one. I had seen the commercials for the new Intel Macs but didn't really consider it as a viable option. I'd never used a Mac, and until I started researching laptops, I hadn't even heard of OS X. I know, sheltered life and all that! I have been a Windows PC user since Windows 3.1 through Windows XP, and that's the OS that I know and love. Whatever laptop I purchased had to be able to run XP. I started reading about the onMac solution to load XP on the Intel Macs, and that, combined with iLife and the cool hardware, had me seriously considering a Macbook. After all, it would only be a matter of time before the onMac solution was fully polished and who wouldn't want a computer that was immune to nearly all virusus. On April 4, 2006, at 10:00 PM, I broke down and ordered a 2Ghz, 1Gb Macbook and a wireless mouse from Apple Canada's online store, with the $400 education discount. My intention was to use XP as my main operating system, and OS X for iLife and web browsing.

For reference, this is my current desktop.

AMD Athlon 64 3500+
1GB DDR400 Corsair RAM
ASUS A8N SLI
ATI X700 256MB PCI Express
200GB Maxtor Diamond Max 10
LianLi Case with UV lights
Acer AL1916W LCD 19" Widescreen

April 4, 2006

About 10 minutes after ordering the Macbook, I had a panic attack. I mean, what was I thinking. I just ordered a computer that uses an operating system that I know absolutely nothing about. What if the onMac solution never gets the video card drivers working? More importantly, what if XP stopped working on the Macbook? Apple could easily realease a firmware that could prevent me from running XP altogether, right? I'd be in real trouble then. On top of that, I was spending about $400 more than the ASUS W3j that would be available shortly, just to have shiny hardware. That settled it. I would cancel the Macbook and wait until the W3j came to market. First thing in the morning I would call Apple!

April 5, 2006

I woke up this morning to news of the release of Boot Camp. YAHTZEE!!! I couldn't believe that Apple actually released an official way to put XP on an Apple. I spent the entire day reading the Mac forums about what boot camp was and how it worked. I was still considering canceling my order but after a lot of consideration, I decided not to. After all, I checked the Apple web site at about 9am and it said that my order had already been processed and shipped. I could always send it back after it arrived, and at worst, I would be stuck with the restocking fee.

April 7, 2006

I arrived home from school today to find a very small package from Apple. It obviously wasn't a laptop, and the Apple web site said at least 8 business days to receive my order. I opened it up and found my new wireless mouse. Wow, what a cool design, but my desktop didn't have bluetooth so I couldn't even try it. I swear those bast$#@% at Apple did this just to tease me!

April 12, 2006

Today my Macbook arrived. I was actually impressed before I even got it out of the box. It came double boxed and well protected, and the packaging looked very cool. It took me about 5 seconds to demolish the packaging and there it was.

My first impressions:
This thing is gorgeous.
OS X setup easily in about 5 mins. I just didn't know what to do next.
Magsafe designers deserve a nobel prize.
The screen puts my Acer LCD Widescreen to shame.
I could spend all day turning the lights on and off just to watch the keyboard light up.

I spent most of the evening just playing around with OS X and testing for dead pixels, LCD flickering and processor whine, none of which are present on my Macbook. Actually for the first 10 minutes I thought the CPU fan wasn't working because I couldn't hear a thing. This is by far the quietest computer I have ever heard. Unless you are in a fairly quiet room you can't even hear it run. OS X GUI is very nice and Dashboard is pretty cool too. I was really excited to get started loading XP but it was too late to start that project.

April 13, 2006

Installing Windows XP with Boot Camp went flawlessly. I installed Windows defender and Avast! anivirus, Office 2003, Half Life 2, Battlefield 2, iTunes, and some other odds and ends. Every program worked perfectly. I ran 3DMark05 and scored near 2900 which is about the same as my Desktop with an X700 Pro which scored 2800. This surprised me since Half Life 2 runs much better on the Macbook with the graphics set quite high, compared to my Desktop with medium settings. I download and 3DMark06 and ran it on both the Macbook and the Desktop and got another suprise. On 3DMark06 the Macbook scores just short of 1600 while my Desktop only scored 900. Go figure! Anyway after a day of playing games it is quite clear that the Macbook is superior to my Desktop for playing games.

April 20, 2006

A week of using the Macbook had pretty much cured me of my buyer's remorse. The computer itself is really cool and l have started using OS X a little more. iPhoto and iMovie are amazing. iMovie is the easiest video editing program I have ever used. I wanted to try iWork since it came as a free trial, so I used it to type my final English Essay, and quite like it. Pages takes some getting used to, but it did everything that Microsoft word does for me. My biggest peeve about OSX is that windows don't maximize. Everytime I hit the maximize button the current window only fills about half the screen.

April 21, 2006

So that's what the little tab in the bottom right corner of windows is for. doh! Now I get it. I can make the windows any size I want.

April 22, 2006

Today was a great day of discovery. While browsing in Safari with a few different windows open I tried to turn up the keyboard backlight with F9, but accidentally held down the fn key. This led to the discovery of exposť. Now that is a cool feature! I am coming to appreciate the elegance of OS X. Spotlight and Finder are my new best friends. I have poker on the Dashboard along with local weather. I realize these seem like small things, but the small things add up. Uninstalling and installing programs in OS X is much better than in XP. It also occurs to me today that I haven't turned on my Desktop PC in more than a week.

April 27, 2006

The past week has been nothing but exams and studying, but now exams are over. I have spent some time surfing the web but thats about it. No games for me, and I need my video game fix. All the games I have now are games I have finished before so I decide to buy Quake 4. I go to Future Shop (similar to Best Buy) and go figure, out of stock. I ask how long to order it and they tell me "next day." I ask the salesperson if they can order it for the Mac and find that Doom 3 and Quake 4, are available next day from Future Shop for OS X. I ordered both.

April 28, 2006

I installed and updated Doom 3 and Quake 4 in OS X. Both run excellent. I accomplish nothing all day!

April 29, 2006

Uh Oh. Not Good! My mothers CRT Monitor bit the bullet today and she uses her computer daily. She uses photoshop frequently and spends a lot of time working on genealogy websites. Her old AMD 2100 is showing it's age and I haven't touched my Athlon 64 3500+ in 2 weeks, so we make a deal and I no longer have a Desktop PC. I put a fresh install of XP on the PC and setup all her software. Four hours of setting up XP and drivers and software and antivirus and antispyware and systemworks and.....SUCKS! Let me tell you, if I never see a Start menu again it'll be too soon!

April 30, 2006

I have a new problem. I have 55GB of AudioBooks, 1GB of Music, 2 GB of Photos, 10GB of Movies, 20GB of Windows XP Partition and 13GB of OS X and Software. 101 GB of Stuff and 93GB of Hard Drive. So long XP! I went to Business Depot and bought a SmartDisk 80GB External USB powered 2.5" Hard Drive. Very nice. I have copied all of my Audiobooks, Music and Movies to the USB HD. I didn't have to, but I deleted my XP Partition Anyway. I also ordered Office 2004 for OS X since I need Excel for School and Work.


And that's my story. 19 Days with a Macbook Pro. It has been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster and I still have a ton to learn about OS X, but it has certainly sucked the fun out of XP for me. The Macbook Pro is everything I expected and more. When schools starts up again in September I will have to reload XP so I can install Autocad again. I think that will be a sad day. I understand now why Mac users are fanatical about their Macs.

Thanks to all those who run this forum. I would never have bought my first Apple if not for all the info I found here.

Brian.
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