Thursday, July 16, 2009

New MacBook Pro

My employer was very generous in finally providing me a new MacBook Pro (2.53 MHz, SD slot) for my work computer which has been an amazing yet sometimes puzzling computer.

First of all, it's just beautiful and sleek. When you feel it, touch it, and use it, you feel like it's a high quality device. No wonder Apple make a big deal over the solid core aluminum construction. It looks almost like a piece of art. Rather than the "putting lipstick on a pig approach by many PC assemblers," Apple made it different down to the core (forgive the double entendre).

When you open the lid from sleep, you hear a sight "whoosh" as the fans briefly cycle - you feel like you should hold your breath for a moment because using this thing is a special privilege.

Second - this thing is QUIET!!!! Sorry to shout that. I've done all kinds of things with it and the fans have never come on that I've heard them running. You can't imagine how golden that silence is until you try it.

Third - it's fast. Really fast. Even with running FileVault the computer seems so smooth. Nothing seems to faze it. That should change once I get on our corporate encryption solution which doesn't store your home folder as a single file like Apple does.

Fourth - the screen is very bright. I was able to use it in a vehicle on a bright sunny day. I did pick up a little glare off the glossy monitor (which I love - so deep and lustrous) but it was much more usable than my trusty old laptop (which my son was thrilled to have use of now).

Fifth - the battery life is stunning. While typing out documents in Word on a flight, after 30 minutes the battery monitor still said I had 7:41 remaining. That is a coast to coast flight with room to spare.

Now the bad stuff - occasionally when I hook up a new external monitor or projector, the laptop takes some time to recognize the device. Once or twice, even when hooking up a familiar external monitor, it froze. My old MacBook Pro never did that. I think there is a little bit of Mac OS X sorting that needs to occur. Maybe that's the difference between ATi and NVidia. Good thing I had my Dr. Bott gHead II adapter that saved me in a customer presentation.

In fact, while on a flight back from Texas, I sat next to a guy that had the first 17" solid aluminum MacBook Pro and he had the same issue so he was glad to discover that there was such a thing.

The only other thing was that I wish Apple's Active Directory plug-in was better. In our network environment, even being binded to the network doesn't force me to change my overall password and I still have to enter in my password for certain services on our network. I'm going to try ADmit Mac which supposedly works a lot better. But that is not a hardware issue.

Someone once said that "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." My three year old MacBook Pro was a great joy to use and still kept up with even the new laptops that were being issued. It runs like it has years left in it and still looks great.

But this new one has raised the bar even further. It's like you're in a whole 'nother world or category of computing.

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