Sunday, January 3, 2010

Five Days with My MacBook Pro

With a few changes headed my way in the coming new year, it was once again time to get some new hardware. I took the leap and opted for a MacBook Pro. (2.66GHz/4GB/320GB/15” so not the biggest, baddest one.) Here are a few of my initial leaving-Windows-and-Dell thoughts. Mac v. PC

I can say after five days that I’m pretty sure I made the right move. There are a few things I’m struggling with in the switch, mainly my fingers going to the correct keys. Years of hitting CTRL on a windows keyboard has me hitting the fn key on the MBP, which doesn’t do much. Getting used to the Command key will take some time, but the oddest keyboard issue I’m having is hitting the B key. The reach is apparently shorter because I’ve put a lot of spaces where there should be a B.

On the flip side, it didn’t take me very long to get used to the multi-touch functions on the track pad. Having an iPhone doesn’t hurt, but the two, three, and four finger operations didn’t take long to become comfortable with. Scrolling through blog readers, articles, and Tweetdeck is a lot easier.

Installing applications is a lot easier, and a lot quicker than on Windows. To be fair, I haven’t installed a lot of huge apps, but the fairly large ones I did install went really quickly. The only real side-by-side comparison of installation I have is Tweetdeck, and it was a fraction of the time getting it up and running on the Mac. Most apps are just download, mount the image, drag to applications, unmount the image, and run it.

Now on to one of the bigger reasons I was after a Mac: Ruby on Rails development.

Rails on Windows was painfully slow at times. I tried all kinds of stuff to get my specs to run in less time than it took me to go downstairs and brew a cup of coffee. After copying the git repo of one of my sample apps over, I ran the specs and it reported .7-ish seconds. And it actually WAS .7-ish seconds. Not the 45 seconds of dead time at the command prompt while it fired up servers and stuff then reporting .7-ish seconds when it was done with the tests that I was used to. I’m already looking forward to doing some more of this.

Before I start sounding like a total fan boy, it hasn’t all been awesome. There was a 2 hour fight with an iso and some printer drivers to try and get my printer at home to work. Still haven’t got it to work, so I gave up and grabbed Brendan’s netbook to print off what I needed.

I’m also not enthralled with only having 1440 x 900 resolution. But, I’m getting old and my eyes would get tired staring at the hi-res Dell I had before, so maybe I should not worry about this one too much.

Also, couldn’t find any decent blog writer that lived up to Windows Live Writer, so this is being written in Live Writer in my Windows VM. (Bootcamp + VMWare Fusion + Win7 is freaking awesome. Looking forward to some .Net dev when I get Studio installed.)

Suffice it to say, the positives out weigh the negatives so far. I’m sandals-to-work away from swallowing the blue pill with the Apple logo on the side of it. :)

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