Posts for Tag: macbook

Why are PC people so angry?

I'm bitching about how stupid people are to pay for a machine that has so many drawbacks. So stop being Apples bitch and paying out the ass for their products.

Are you one of the non-technologically inclined idiots that Apple has gotten to? Thats what it sounds like to me.

The above is a comment from a TechCrunch posting by the famously pro-Apple MG Siegler. It's always funny how the spectrum of Apple lovers/haters plays out. People either REALLY love them or REALLY hate them.

The posting itself brings up some good points about Apple's eventual killing of the optical drive in most of their laptops. I can count the number of times I've used the optical drive on my laptop in the last two years on one hand yet it's persistently there taking up valuable space and weight. When I owned a MacBook Air, I bought the external superdrive and probably used it 3-4 times, as well. Would I buy a laptop without a built-in optical drive but have an external one handy? Absolutely and that's what I think Apple will do in its next refresh of the MacBook Pro line.

Speaking of new MacBooks, I just ordered the latest 13" MacBook Pro via Amazon. Arrives on Monday - no tax and free shipping via Amazon Prime. Early benchmarks show that the lowest end MacBook Pro 13" released on Thursday performs as fast as the highest end MacBook Pro 17" released last year. Crazy!

Laptop comparisons

So I was accused the other day of being a Mac snob which is odd given that I only started using them a couple of years ago (not counting my Apple IIe days). The first Mac I bought at that time was a Macbook Air. I had been using a 15.4" Dell Inspiron which was pretty heavy and also on its last legs so I thought it was a good opportunity to try a super-light computer. Also, I had been using the iPhone for about 6 months and wanted to see how pairing a Mac with an iPhone would be. The experience was good so my next machine was an aluminum Macbook (the one that was stolen). During that time, I wouldn't have been against going back to PC laptops but there weren't any compelling reason to do so. When I switched from the Inspiron to the Air, it was because I wanted the lighest laptop available at the time. Is there a PC laptop that could make me want to switch back? I guess I did my version of the Laptop Hunters commercial...

I had pretty strict requirements for my laptop. 13" to 14", about $1200, light, and must have good battery life. On the Apple side, the 13" Macbook Pro was the standard by which I would compare all the PC laptops. Here's the rundown on what I found:

Dell M2400
14.1" WXGA+ LED
2.53ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
160GB 7200RPM Hard Drive
DVD burner
3-4 hour battery
Backlit keyboard
$1,464 after $328 instant savings

HP Envy 13
13.1" HD LED
2.13ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
250GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
DVD burner
~6-7 hour battery

Sony Vaio SR590
13.3" LED
2.20ghz Intel core 2 Duo
250GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
DVD Burner
5.5 hour battery

It actually looks like the Sony Vaio SR590 is pretty decent. Still not enough to make me want to switch back to a PC laptop but I think it's a good laptop for the money.

I don't blame Microsoft. I blame the hardware manufacturers.

Ever since my unfortunate incident, I’ve been working on a Lenovo R60e spare laptop we have in the office.  It’s a huge adjustment to make going from an Macbook to a plastic feeling laptop.  But it’s a hardware adjustment and not a software one.  For the record, I actually really like Windows XP Professional.  It’s stable, easy to use, and very effective for most work related tasks.  Office 2007 has its issues but it’s no biggie.  I actually prefer Office 2003 but maybe that’s because I’m just more used to it.  Vista and Windows 7, however are garbage but I’ve already discussed that before.

Though this is an older laptop (probably circa 2006), I haven’t really seen a huge leap in usability/comfort/innovation from PC laptop manufacturers.  Either they build really expensive machines with a bunch of useless features (Sony VAIOs or Lenovos for instance) or they err on the side of cost effectiveness and build cheap laptops that make CFO’s happy but are lackluster from a usability standpoint (Dell, HP, etc).  Yes, I can buy a Dell Vostro for under $500 but it’s heavy, bulky, and feels cheap.  The really sad part is that in about 6 months, the value of that machine is basically halved by a combination of its cheapness and the fact that Dell builds its computers to be relaced within 2 years.  When I bought my Macbook Air in early 2008 for about $1600 (got a sweet deal).  I sold it over a year and a half later for about $1200.  It held 75% of its value 18 months after I bought it!  When was the last time you could say that about any computer technology?

With rumblings of an update to the Macbook Pro line coming soon, I’ll hold off on getting another Macbook until then.  I’ll probably just pick up the version just before the latest one and save a few bucks.

Some words of wisdom regarding backing up your data

So my car was broken into on Friday and my Macbook was stolen.  This isn’t a post to discuss that incident.  What happened has happened and in honor of the fast approaching lunar new year, I’ve decided to be more Zen – Possessions Are Fleeting.  This is more about the events after the theft. 

I did the usual things like filing a police report, getting my window fixed, and cleaning up the car.  Next, I needed to get my digital life back on track.  First, if I had actually used Time Machine like I was supposed to, the backup process would have been super simple.  That was strike one.  I use Mozy to backup my work files so those were easy to retrieve.  Since we migrated to Google Apps earlier this year, all of my email was stored on their servers so getting access to that was easy.  What was not easy to get back were my personal files – mainly music and photos.  Luckily, I sync those items with my iPhone so technically I have a copy of those on the phone.  The difficult part is actually getting them off the phone and onto my spare laptop.  Every time I try to sync with iTunes, it tells me that it’s going to wipe all these items off my phone and replace it with the items on the laptop (which at this point is nothing).  I’ve got a Genius Bar appointment tomorrow to try to figure out how I’ll be able to have my photos and music somewhere other than my phone.

So the morale of the story is back-up your computers.  Don’t rely on copying files periodically from your laptop or desktop to an external drive.  That’s a very ineffective way of doing things.  If you have a Mac, use Time Machine.  Have it set to backup at least every 24 hours.  If you have a PC, use Mozy.  It’s free for the first 2GB and only $5 a month for unlimited storage - use this link and promo code "FEBRUARY" for a 10% discount!  $5 people.  That’s less than two lattes or one lunch out or half a movie every month.  The point is it’s not much and well worth it.

Apple releases upgrades to laptops and lower prices

And yet more Apple news...
At today's WWDC, Apple announced upgrades to the MacBook line. The Aluminum 13" MacBook will be now considered a MacBook Pro (the white plastic MacBook is the only version in the MacBook line, now) and will have a bump in processor power, hard drive space, and a slightly better screen resolution. Other goodies include SD card slot and FireWire 800 port. There were also upgrades to the 15" and 17" MacBook Pros and also the MacBook Air (won't list them here but you can check them out on the Apple website).
The bigger news is that prices were reduced anywhere from $100 to $700 across the line. Still doesn't make them on par with Windows based laptops but at least they're making an effort to be more affordable. I'll probably pick up a new 13" MacBook Pro in a few months and pass my current MacBook on to the wife. By then, there should be enough froth in the secondary market to snag one at slightly below retail and with no sales tax.