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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Inquiry about laptop for future CS/Japanese Double Major


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jupitercore
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I'm starting to look into my future as a Computer Science/Japanese double major attending University of Maryland (College Park), and am looking for advice from the Mac Community. I know that power and desktop space are essential for Computer Science, but I want to know what the community thinks for doing all of the things necessary for both degrees. I have other needs (Bluetooth, wireless, multi-platform compatibility), but these questions are geared towards my future schooling.

I'm looking at the Powerbook because I love the Mac platform (though I'm generally on Linux/x86), and I feel, at least in the CS arena, it meets all needs. But, what about the support for Japanese language, especially Japanese input? Is it there? Is it possible to find a replacement keyboard (or better, to BUY a PB with one installed) with Japanese AND English key layouts?

Following with the Powerbook for the moment, which would you shoot for? Is the 12" model sufficient enough to do development on while I'm hanging around on campus, or would the 15" be more suitable? I don't see the 17" model being something i could efficiently drag around campus all day (I'd be commuting via MARC train, so it's gotta be something PORTABLE (eg. light)), but only experience would tell me that. What specs/setup would you use? Would you still use an external monitor while at home, or is the screen res enough to do development on? If yes, would you recommend an Apple Studio display (what size?) or your typical run-of-the-mill CRT or cheap LCD?

With all the problems that seem to have been popping up with the Powerbooks lately, would you even recommend the Powerbook? My current laptop (a Dell CPi-A400XT) will be replaced by whatever I buy, and it will be for a long time. This laptop has lasted me for almost 5 years, travelling all over the US and to 2 countries, without a single warrenty call. Only in the last 4 months have I developed 2 dead pixels, in the very bottom corner and out of the way. Can I expect a similar life from the current generation of Powerbooks or should I look elsewhere? Can it last through 5 years of college, with daily commuting, classes, amongst other activities (or at least enough time that I could feel the money was well spent)?

All of your input would be greatly appreciated. This will be a major purchase for me (one of those "however much money it takes" kinda deals - if I drop $3500, I drop $3500), and I really would like to not get bitten by dead pixels, ghostly white displays, 3rd degree burns, faulty this-that-or-the-other, since Apple has shown Customer Support's ugly side more times than I cared to have come across. And I need to know that the language support is there - more so than it is with Windows or Linux.

I'm sorry for the long post, but I've been spending a good amount of time looking into this and have yet to recieve any really good feedback, aside from "Apple suxx0rz" or "Don't waste the money" or other highly unintelligent remarks.
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