Mac: Macbook Pro – My first week

I went and bought a 13″ Macbook Pro last Saturday – the base model with no bells or whistles. Impulse brought me to the Apple Store on Regent Street and impulse compelled me to buy one on the spot. Common sense would have told me to exhibit some patience and buy the laptop online with a faster hard disk, but impulse won.

I’ve been wanting a laptop for a while now. I satisfied my craving for a state of the art desktop PC last Christmas and I felt it was time to finally get a laptop – the missing piece in my digital lifestyle. I’ve always been curious about the “Mac World”. A mystical place I thought, staring enviously from my “Microsoft World”. All “Mac People” ever went on about was how much better it was than the “Windows way”, so I thought I’d give it a go. With the advent of programs like VMWare, Parallels and Boot Camp I thought I could always flee to the safety of Windows – either on the laptop or back to my desktop – a risky strategy in these economically challenging times.

As it turns out my fears were unjustified. My initial use case (and justification) was that I simply needed a small device on which to browse the web, check on emails and do some lightweight programming on (perhaps learning a bit about Ruby and this thing called ‘Rails’). And in this regard the Macbook Pro simply excels. It’s fast, it’s simple and it does what I want it to. Let’s ignore for the moment that for this simple use case I could have gone and bought a £250 netbook – it’s not an economic itch to scratch by any means.

As a professional web developer I could not resist installing a few other ‘extras’ though. Firefox and Chrome quickly joined Safari, as did TextMate, QuickSilver and Ruby. Solving problems on projecteuler.net proved to be fun using Ruby and when I get stuck doing something there’s always Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection to my PC where I can fire up Visual Studio for some brute force calculations (8 logical cores… wooo!).

So far it’s been good, but then it’s only been a week and the novelty of actually having a laptop hasn’t worn off yet. I have noticed that I tend to use the laptop in the living room or in bed now instead of being glued to my desktop. That is not so much a statement of how much I enjoy using Mac OS X (I still have some ‘issues’ with that) but of how nice it is to be able to just fire up a TextMate instance or browser and ‘do stuff’ whilst still being ‘sociable’ with my other half.

I have resolved to create a website for my upcoming wedding and I think I will probably do some of it on this laptop. It will be interesting to see how well it will cope when used in anger.

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