I'm still lovin' the MacBook Pro, and having fun with it. However, there's one thing that I didn't expect, and that was the surprisingly noisy slot-loading optical drive. The first time I loaded a disc into it, it went Snap! Izzz! Whirrr! CLICK! Snap! I honestly wondered if it had cracked the disc in half. Was I going to have to pick out the pieces of a shredded DVD with needle-nose pliers? But no --- this is a feature. The other slot-loaders I've had, mostly CD players, load a disk is near silence, with perhaps only a muted click, and soft spin-up. (But then, perhaps the violent snapping noises enable super-precise positioning for ultra-accurate DVD burning and reading. How have other drives performed for all these years without them? Who knows?)
What I do know is that Apple actually posted the sounds of the MacBook Pro. So you can listen before you buy. Now that's thinking different.
First, a brief historical interlude. My first paying job in the computer industry was at a computer retailer in Tampa, Florida. It was a small company with eleven employees, two store locations, and we built and sold clones, set up small networks, and enjoyed the high margins that a hardware retailer could get (20% and up!) back in the early 1990s. Like at many small companies, we all did it all, and wore every hat there was to wear. It was a fabulous time in the industry, and I developed an affinity for hardware tech. I never got tired of building machines and troubleshooting hardware issues. And even after many years now, I still love the hardware and still build my own rigs.
I’ve gone through a number of notebook computers, and for me, the first question to consider when buying a notebook is: Do I want a smaller notebook with long battery life, or do I want big screen and horsepower (with the understanding that battery life might equal 25 minutes)?
My last notebook was a big Sony Vaio. I made the decision that I wanted something in the 'desktop replacement' class, and it was heavy, large, and battery life was around 30 minutes. and while I really liked the Sony hardware, the overall experience I had with the notebook was miserable. The notebook came with no disks at all, and so I had to burn my own driver-backup disks. Yuk. Plus, when I actually needed them, months later, the disks didn’t work, and I had to call up Sony, where they cheerfully told me that I could order a set of disks for $99. Nice. Anyway, I used that notebook for a year and a half, sold it, and was 'without notebook' for a while.
Last week, I decided it was time to get portable again. I wanted something smaller this time, but still with enough juice for Visual Studio. I had heard from quite a few developers that really liked the MacBook Pro, running Boot Camp/VM Fusion/Parallels in order to load Vista and (the all-important aforementioned) Visual Studio). The machines certainly look cool, but is that enough to justify the premium? To check it out, I went to Best Buy and tinkered with all the notebooks . . . which is an enjoyable afternoon all unto itself. Then I plunked down my two large on the MacBook Pro 15.4" model. (My path to the dark side was complete!)
I must report that I really like this machine. Not to get existential, but Apple just gets it. After messing around with OS X, which is nifty, I partitioned the drive for Vista, installed that OS, and wondered how bad the driver situation would be. After installing Vista, I inserted the Apple CD, and Vista immediately recognized setup.exe, ran it, which installed the Boot Camp software on Vista, along with all the drivers - - - even the ones that control the keyboard backlighting. That’s just cool. Wifi works, Bluetooth works . . . it all just works. Dang, just like the slogan. Credit where credit is due: the boys from Cupertino design a good notebook.
For a mouse, I picked up the Logitech VX Nano. I use the MX Revolution when I code, and I just love the heavy, metal scroll wheel. That’s the best feature I’ve found yet on a mouse, and the VX Nano has a scroll wheel just like his big brother.
All in all, I am one extremely satisfied customer. Now I’m wondering if I’ll ever buy anything except an Intel-based Apple notebook. They rule.
And as a historical observation, the camps of Apple Fanboys and the camps of Microsoft Fanboys were once clearly delineated. It’s interesting that in recent years the lines of demarcation have blurred . . . to the point where Windows developers buy Apple notebooks to run Visual Studio on a Windows OS inside OS X to build code that gets deployed to Windows Server machines.