Now I'm one of those smug bastards
I bought a MacBook Pro a week ago and joined the cult of Mac, which I've enviously followed from the sidelines for years and years-ever since Steve Jobs came back to Apple and lit a fire under its ass. Today, I sold my laptop that ran Windows, a machine I'd owned for nearly two years. It was the only laptop I've owned that actually lasted longer than a year, and it was really thin and really light, but it wasn't a Mac, and my friend needed a laptop, and I needed the money. So now, all I have is my Mac (excluding my work desktop). It's the most beautiful and amazing computer I've ever owned, and yes, my beloved Opera runs on it :-) This thing is just great, and by great, I mean it's totally fuckin' sweet. Unix underwear and slutty Apple pants.
My MacBook is named Olivia. My old laptop (a 12-inch ultralight, ultrathin Averatec) was named Sealab 2021, but I renamed it Coraline before selling it, because it didn't feel right to sell it with the name I gave it.
Yes, it is stupid to buy the first revision of any new Apple hardware. I know this. And yet, I do not care. There is nothing wrong with this computer at all, other than the fact that I bought the 15 inch model days before Apple announced a 17-incher. I would have bought that one if I'd known it was coming out so soon. My main complaint is that they renamed it "MacBook Pro". "Powerbook" was a much better name.
But I couldn't wait to buy a laptop. The old one was slowly dying on me; in fact it gave me a great fright a few weeks ago when I was totally broke and it wouldn't boot any more. I thought it was a goner, but it came back to life and acted like nothing was wrong. Then, two weeks ago, the LCD's backlight started failing. I would have to move the screen back and forth a few times to get a visible desktop. Strangely, that problem, too, has now totally gone away, and the old piece of crap is acting like there's nothing wrong with it. I had the money (barely), the Apple Store had them in stock, and the only thing separating me from my new laptop was fiscal prudence. One of my bosses, knowing of my troubles, offered to buy me a Dell laptop of my choice if I needed it. But zorkie insisted I spoil myself and get the Mac because she's been listening to me talking about how great they are and how bad I want one for the last year. So I let zorkie talk me into what I so desperately wanted to do, and I got the Mac. zorkie,
I forgive you
THANK YOU DARLING for letting me buy the toy I really wanted to buy :^D
Coraline to my friend with the caveat that I would repair it or give him back his money if it died in the next three months. I don't expect to have to make good on that promise. No one rides computers as hard as I do, and my friend will be mostly web surfing and doing homework on it.
This laptop is so goddamn cool. It has a camera built in, so I can take pictures of my stupid face whenever I want. It runs Mac OS X; the happy marriage of Unix & Apple. The built-in speakers sound close enough to my expensive speaker system that I haven't bothered plugging it in to it. The screen is really bright and feels huge. It's so elegant and pretty and fast (the Intel Core Duo processor just screams
). I couldn't be happier with it, it's the nicest computer I've ever owned. Scratch that: it's the nicest thing
I've ever owned. It has a remote control, for chrissakes, so I can control the music that's playing from across the room.
I've been slowly learning my way around, figuring out how everything works. It's amazing how many things I had to hack and kludge in Windows are designed into Mac. Two simple examples: I had a program called AllChars installed so I could chord-compose accented and European characters, like è or ø or å. That's built in on Mac. Or, I had a program called Find & Run Robot, so I could hit the Break button, type a few letters of a program's name, and it would search for it and let me launch it. This lets me start programs without having to mouse around awkwardly and dig through menus. Spotlight is built into my MacBook and it does that. Every little thing smacks of "wow, somebody thought of that and decided to make it easy". It's really amazing. This thing is just gorgeous. Oh, by the way: the keyboard senses the ambient light and if it's dark, there are lights underneath the keys that come on so you can see. The power connector is magnetically attached to the laptop, so if you trip over the cord, you don't make the whole laptop fall off the table-the cord simply disconnects and the laptop stays on the table, unharmed. There's an eject button on the keyboard, so you can eject a cd or dvd. I couldn't even begin to tell you how many beautiful, subtle touches there are.
Even though I can put Windows on it, so I can work on Windows stuff if I need to, it feels like it would be sacrilege. I'm going to avoid doing so for as long as possible, hopefully forever.
So anyway. The above facts absolve me from my shameful failure to answer emails and call people back for the last week. I forgive me. I've been busy as hell. And with the new Tool album leaked to bittorrent, I've been basically listening to Tool and playing with my new computer for the last week. By the way, Tool fans, the album stinks the first few plays, but it grows on you.Brian Tiemann, him of Peeve Farm,
has been an immense help to me as I adjust to this bright new world. Thank you, Brian, for letting me ask you all those stupid questions...many of which I could have answered myself by exploring, if I wasn't so damn impatient. I've enjoyed your writing for years, and now I've enjoyed your freely offered, generous-spirited help adjusting to my MacBook. As it turns out, most things are so intuitive, my brain was too stunted from years of Windows to believe they could be so simple. I knew how nice using a mac would be intellectually, but hadn't quite experienced it in person so I could feel it in my guts. It really is this good. He was like my very own Genius Bar. Speaking of Genius Bars*, The folks at the Apple Store were quite helpful as well; one of them was a Comp Sci PhD and I had a fine time talking with him about programming on the Mac. Memorable quote, when I mentioned that I would be writing a lot of Python on the mac: "Objective C is like Python with braces". He was quoting someone else, so I can't credit him with it, but I thought it was a clever thing to say.
*The Genius Bar is a bar that doesn't serve alcohol. They have one in every Apple store, and they basically sit there and wait for you to ask them questions or help you fix your computer. Is that service or what? You don't get that when you buy a Dell :-) The coolest thing is that they have this "Red Phone": if they can't figure out your problem, they call Cupertino to ask an engineer for help. It really makes you feel like no problem is insurmountable, and everything is within reach. The impossible just takes a little longer.