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Apple’s laptops, the replacement to the PowerBook. They make the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air (they canceled the plain MacBook).

Written By: Gary on April 2, 2011 3 Comments

If you don’t know by now, I’m a Macintosh fan as in: “Hi! My name is Gary and I’m a Mac User…”. This is from last week’s Friday Question, but I never got around to it.

I was a PC user before I used Mac and when I say PC, I mean DOS user, not Windows. Actually, I used Windows before that, but I wasn’t really a fan at the time, I think the last machine that I had was a laptop with floppy (no hard drive) that I had a crazy way set up to boot it and put some of Microsoft Works in the RAM drive and then I stuck in disc 2 with the dictionary and room for some documents (or something like that).

Apple MacBook MC516LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop Apple ComputerBut where I was doing work they were Macintosh so I was always converting my word processing files back and forth and couldn’t do any of the HyperCard* stuff at home, so I picked up a used MacPlus with an external hard drive and never looked back. That was probably nineteen years ago..?

Since then, I’ve owned (or work owned) a Mac Classic, IIcx, PowerPC 610, PowerPC 6100, MacBook Duo 280c (with a docking station at home and work) that I eventually converted to a Duo 2300, a monster PowerBook G3 (it was more lugable than a laptop), a tower PowerMac G4 (the first with a DVD burner), iBook 12 inch, PowerBook 12 inch (2 different models), MacBook 13.3 inch and for a few weeks a MacBook Air 10.6 inch (I returned it since it didn’t have enough storage for me (awesome machine though). I could ramble more about models and printers and stuff, but I did this in a Happy Twenty-Fifth Birthday Macintosh! post a few years ago.

Needless to say, I’m a huge fan. I’ve never been one to jump on their new things, but I do grow to love them. I waited until the color iPod before getting one. I waited until the third iPhone (the 3Gs) before getting one (and that was after specifically getting a iPod Touch to try out for a few months first since I didn’t really want to switch to AT&T at the time).

My MacBook is my main computer, my desktop is a little old, I think it’s ten years old and while it’s gotten a few processor upgrades, memory and hard drives, it’s more convenient to have everything on my laptop.

But my MacBook is getting a little old too, it’s just over three years old and I’m looking around. I’ll probably upgrade my MacBook this summer, if they come out with a new one (or else I’ll get the MacBook Pro)_, but I’m hoping they’ll do a new education promo with a free iPod touch again.

*Hypercard was one of the most amazing pieces of development software ever! You could learn how to do some pretty incredible programs without learning too much coding.

Written By: Gary on July 23, 2009 No Comment

I’ve found a new WordPress plug-in that I like. It’s called “A Year Before“.

It’s got options to show a year ago today (or months or days) what you were blogging about. I’m using “anniversary mode” which I think is taking the post from today for as many years back as it can find.

Don’t worry if you haven’t been blogging long it’s got a “range” to show posts near a year ago (or six months ago). I’m running it on WordPress 2.8.2 (as of this writing) and it seems to be fine.

On This Date

2008 Best fix for my Convertible Rear Windshield
2008 MacBook Rumors seem to be rising…
2007 The Future of Television is selling me individual custom episodes
2005 Google Moon
2005 Don’t Be Afraid… Be Ready!
2004 Photos! (London)
2004 Did we walk? Boy did we walk!
2004 Cowboy Junkies and Shawn Colvin

I’ve been using it the last few days at the bottom of my left sidebar, but since I’m blogging about it I moved it to the top of the left sidebar, so you can see what it really looks like. I copied the text here so the links actually work. I’m not sure where I’ll move it to later.

It’s interesting, maybe more to me than you, but they always say you should show links to older posts for newer readers. Without even reading them I’m reminded about a trip to London (and the concert I went to a few days before) and the slideshow viewer that never detected flash properly, a homeland security site (which now appears to be a FEMA site), Google maps adding the Moon, my dreams for a new MacBook and how $5 fixed my convertible roof saving me hundreds of dollars (and save multiple readers the same!).

Written By: Gary on January 24, 2009 One Comment

So twenty-five years ago today, Apple released the Macintosh computer. And as far as I’m concerned, they changed the world.

oldmac.pngI was never an Apple II person, I was an Atari 800 guy. Then I used PCs for a while (DOS and Windows 3.1). For years I couldn’t understand why I should switch from my cheaper PC-Windows machine so it took me a few years (8) to get one (after using them in my graduate education program at MSU) but I’ve been a convert ever since. That’s not to say I don’t own a Windows machine (or two) but they’re usually doing mundane tasks, which my Macs are for creative tasks and what I want to use for my everyday stuff.

Here’s a YouTube vid of Steve Jobs demoing the Mac back in a 1984 keynote (wearing a bow-tie).

I think my first Mac was a used Macintosh Plus (with an add-on external hard drive), then a classic (same shape way more power), a PowerPC 6100 (pizza box shape), a tower PowerMac G4 (the first one with a DVD burner) and I owned a few used ones that I picked up here and there (a IIci and IIcx and a Quadra 605 that had been upgraded to a PPC). I paid way too much for the two PowerMac desktops, I did a few processor upgrades to get some more life out of them.

But I’ve also had a few Apple laptops: The PowerBook Duo 280c which in my opinion was the best laptop ever; more of a sub-notebook (1.5″ x 10.9″ x 8.5″) and you could get a dock you could stuck it into (like a big floppy) and it would use the monitor(s), keyboard, mouse and anything else plugged into the dock (hard drive, CD, etc.). I eventually upgraded the motherboard in that to turn it into a PowerPC 2300c and used that for a while. After that I had a PowerBook G3 luggable laptop, it was huge but had power, memory, storage and a beautiful 14 inch(?) display; fully loaded I think that was over $5,000 but it was a heavy beast to lug around. Since then I’ve stuck with smaller 12-inch models: an iBook (I got the iBook instead of the PowerBook because I wanted a smaller model), the first 12-inch PowerBook and the last 12-inch PowerBook (the 12-inch PowerBook is probably my second favorite after the Duo). My latest is a white 13.3-inch MacBook (the fastest plastic model from just before the uni-body models) and it seems like a monster compared to the 12-inch model but I love it, I don’t leave home without it.

Since the Macs were more expensive I generally did a few things to save money. I’d upgrade the memory myself from Other World Computing (they’ve always be notoriously expensive for memory upgrades). I usually used some other brand monitors (even though the Macs have traditionally been better). And I usually used non-Apple printers except for the Apple StyleWriter which was an excellent printer; my first was an old NEC 8023 dot matrix that I purchased an adaptor for, also some HP and Epson ink-jets, a used QMS laser, a used HP lasers and a new HP laser (my current).


To make sure you watched it, here’s a question:
What’s wrong with the above version of the ad?

I’ve also had an Apple Newton (it was way before it’s time) and two iPods. I’m craving an iPhone (or a Touch) and considering the plunge.

So that’s my personal Apple Macintosh computer history. I really didn’t realize I had so many different machines. Out of all of those I had two problem machines: the ultra expensive laptop (2 bad motherboards, but after the second replacement it was perfect) and the iBook (a lemon, multiple problems, eventually the agreed to give me a brand new one). The other laptops have been great and I’ve always beat the hell out of them (scratches, gauges and drops) but they’ve held up quite good.

Lately, I’ve been using the laptops more than the desktops, my last desktop was from 2001 (I’ve boosted memory, hard drives and processor since then) but the last few laptops have been faster than the older desktop so I’ve neglected the desktop. I’d like a new one, I just haven’t been able to justify the dollar$ for a new tower desktop and the MacMini just hasn’t had enough juice (it’s more like a fast laptop) and the Mini really needs a refresh/upgrade from Apple.

So (like the guy in the ad) I can say “I’m a Mac”.

Written By: Gary on January 6, 2009 No Comment

So it looks like some nice stuff:

  • iPhoto and iMovie with some nice updates.
  • The geo-tagging in iPhoto looks cool. Will someone please figure out a way to sync my GPS with my photos for the location they were taken!!!!
  • iWork on-line looks great and that it’ll give GoogleDocs a run for their money.
  • And a way cool app to use your iPhone or Touch as a preview remote for slideshows!
  • The 17-inch MacBook Pro looks great, but 17-inches is just too much of a hassle to haul around. I still think my 13.3 inch MacBook is huge compared to my 12-inch PowerBook.
  • Non-Removable battery for the MacBook 17-inch MacBook Pro. But it lasts 8 hours and 1,000 recharge cycles (triple the standard). It’ll be interesting to see how this works out…
  • The new MacBook has a matte option on the display (that’s for me!) and up to 8GB of RAM!
  • Looks like all music with be DRM free by the end of the year at the iTunes store (I’m not sure if by default it’ll be DRM or if you still have to buy the ‘iTunes Plus’ version or if everything is ‘plus’). And pricing will change older stuff is cheaper and some newer stuff will be more.
  • But they will still have the iTunes plus at a higher bit-rate for more money (I think). Isn’t that how you got the DRM-free before, was with the iTunes Plus?

Check out the MacWorld Keynote Coverage from Engadget, start at the bottom and scroll up.

No new Mini’s, iPhone Nanos or anything that I need.

I was hoping for tethering for the iPhone (connecting the computer to the iPhone to use it’s 3G internet) and a model with more memory…

Written By: Gary on December 15, 2008 No Comment

A free update, weighing in at 190 MB!!! OS 7 was probably only about 8 MB total and I think a few floppies of that was fonts! (Or am I thinking 6.0.5?)

I’m hoping for better Airport connectivity and some more reliability with Mail and faster sync with MobileMe. Better security and a Trackpad System Preference Panel for the MacBooks too. More info here.

A reboot before installing might be a good idea… Backing up too, but that’s not likely to happen…

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Written By: Gary on November 10, 2008 One Comment

Contrails-Img 0119Wow!!! I was just looking outside the airplane window and and there in the sky were contrails from another plane that must have flown by recently. It looked very cool and I had never seen any from the air before. I hope the pictures came out okay! Yes, I know it doesn’t take much to excite me :)

Contrails are the cloudy streaks that an airplane sometimes leaves behind in the sky, right? That’s what I saw, even if I got the name wrong.On a side note – I need a good dictionary for my MacBook that doesn’t need me to be on-line to use it. Just a big PDF would work fine. Anyone know of anything semi-recent in the public domain or something? Or if I can purchase one somewhere? Something old enough to have copyright expired probably would not have “contrails” in it…

Written By: Gary on October 20, 2008 One Comment

Yes, I know I’m always talking about Apple Laptops, especially the MacBook, but I really like the Apple laptops. So the new MacBook metal laptop itself looked really nice but what I really noticed was that it felt really really sturdy whether it was opened or closed. It’s got the black border around the display with i don’t like at first glance but people must have liked it on the iMac so I guess I’d get used to it. I’d trade up in a second (half-pound lighter, backlit keyboard, brighter lower power LCD Display, longer battery life) if I needed to have it replaced for some reason but without a significant speed upgrade I really can’t justify the cost (any cost really) especially since my memory won’t transfer, neither will my spare battery or my video adaptor.

Two questions:

  • When you use the security port (Kensington lock slot), does it lock in the battery and the hard drive by stopping you from opening the back? (it was really close to the release latch)
  • If there is no firewire, is there no target disk mode or will it work via USB? (no reason that they couldn’t)I still think it was ridiculous that they removed the firewire port. It’d have been easy enough for them to say a year ago that they planned to phase Firewire out so make sure you purchase USB devices, that would remove the real valid complaints.
  • Written By: Gary on October 16, 2008 One Comment

    So the new 13-inch MacBooks look nice, but nothing to run out and ditch your current model unless you’ve been waiting for a new one. They have two new metal models and the lower-end white plastic model but still really nice white-plastic model for $999. The processor still tops out at 2.4 GHz on the fastest model (but they upped the bus speed about 33% so that’ll help). The important parts (IMHO) are:

  • LED Screen – Brighter and lower power (I think this is only on the metal models).
  • Backlit keyboard on the fastest model.
  • New NVIDIA graphic chips (only on the metal models) – These should make the graphics faster (but they still use shared memory) and as a result make your computer faster.
  • The metal models weigh a 1/2 pound less and should be more durable.
  • No firewire on the metal models and they did not increase the number of USB ports (if you need an external drive you’re short one port now).
  • On the metal models: They changed the video connector, battery and they come standard with 2 GB of DDR3 memory now (so don’t plan on moving that from your old machine to the new).
  • New bigger glass trackpad about the size of an iPhone (only on metal models)
  • No combo drives! The low-end model has a Super-Drive DVD-Burner now; previously it’s always had a DVD Reader / CD burner combo drive.
  • Smaller packaging and the computers are supposed to be more ecological to dispose of.

    All in all, nice new machines. I’d probably wait until the next speed refresh when they might have some of the bugs out (as many new models have). $1599 for the high end model (plus $150 for a total of 4 GB of memory and $100 for a 320 GB hard drive).

    I’d really like the LED display, the backlit keyboard and the metal case (if it is stronger); I’m pretty rough on my machine and my current plastic MacBook just isn’t holding up as well as my old 12 inch iBook.

    I’m assuming when they run out of old parts the plastic version will get the same display, new trackpad and same graphic chips (and lose the firewire); or possibly become a metal model, it’s gotta cost them a lot to tool the low end machine completely differently.Later:
    Looking at the MacWorld speed tests, comparing 2.4 GHz models (13 inch new, 13 inch last Feb. (mine), and 15 inch), the speed differences are negligible when it comes to plan old processing (even with the 33% bus increase) it’s the PhotoShop (still minor) and Quake (WOW!) where the differences are. Similar results were found by Primate Labs with a 3% overall difference in the 2.4 GHz machines.

  • Written By: Gary on October 12, 2008 2 Comments

    I really don’t care what my laptop physically looks like (I want my display to look nice though). I want it functional and preferably small, light and durable. I want features at a good price. If it’s sexy too, that’s a bonus.

    I’m dying to see the specs on the new Apple MacBooks next Tuesday (Oct. 14, 2008) but I’m really hoping for more features at a great price (we need more converts). I’m not even in the market for a new laptop but I can’t wait to see. A twelve or eleven inch MacBook might change my mind though; the same goes for a touchscreen (but I’m not expecting that).Personally I like the plastic cases better than the metal, the metal slips out of my hands plus it dents more easily…

    Here’s My Dream MacLaptop:

  • 12 or 11 inch display (doesn’t need to be full height).
  • Small solid state drive and a big hard drive. All the system stuff goes on the solid state drive.
  • Lots of memory.
  • Blu-Ray DVD drive would be nice (it’s that time).
  • Non-powered audio jack (so I can use any mic/headset).
  • Security – can’t power on or wake up without a password.
  • Backlit keyboard.
  • A spot to plug in an external WiFi antenna (I’m tired of weak reception areas).
  • Internal spot for Sprint 3G cellular card (or other brand equivalent).
  • Maybe GPS (it’d go well with the mobile cellular).
  • and if we’ve got GPS and cellular we might as well as be able to run iPhone and iPod Touch apps.

    Or for something way smaller: Take a current Macbook, chop off everything below the keyboard (the trackpad area) and shrink the screen to be the same size. Somehow a track pad would have to pop out or something would visually watch your fingers gesture on the table where the trackpad would be. Obviously a DVD drive would not fit in such a machine.

  • Written By: Gary on August 25, 2008 No Comment

    So my “D” was a little crooked on my MacBook the other day so I pressed it down and it snapped back into place and has been fine. Today when I opened the lid the key just feel off and I can’t get it to snap back on.

    I can type on the missing part. It’s just annoying and I’m afraid I’ll lose the key before I can get it back on.

    While I love my white plastic MacBook it just hasn’t held up as well as my old plastic iBook. I used to beat that old iBook up and never had any problems. In addition to the “D” key I’ve got a few cracks around the seam that I have no idea when/where they came from.

    Written By: Gary on July 23, 2008 No Comment

    There seem to be lots more rumors on new MacBook refreshes lately and with their free iTouch (or Nano) promo (students, teachers or staff), I really want to buy now before the promo ends on September 15. I’d prefer they’ve added GPS to the iTouch but that’s just not happening yet. I’d more excited about an iTouch with the new Apps store :)

    Written By: Gary on March 8, 2008 2 Comments

    So after the MacBook Air not being what I had hoped for, I had been hoping for a 13.3 inch MacBook Pro and while the Air is small, I wanted something not so stripped down. Since then, I’d been trying to decide between a 13.3 MacBook and a 15 inch MacBook Pro (size vs. power, I’m used to the tiny 12 inch PowerBook), I thought I’d let fate decide for me and get the next one that they upgraded. Unfortunately, last week they did an upgrade on them both on the same, letting fate avoid making the choice for me.

    This week I was at a conference and was at the Apple Booth and was playing with the 17 inch MacBook Pro and asked if they had a 15 inch to look at and then I realized I was using the 15 inch model. It just seemed so large and bulky to me. I think I’m going to have to go with the 13.3 MacBook, I think it’s only about a half pound less in weight, but it’s a bit smaller. I’m not even sure how I’d fit the 15 inch on the back of an airplane or train seat tray.

    Of course, the day after I order it, they’ll release a 13.3 inch MacBook Pro

    Later: I went with the 2.4 GHz White MacBook (I couldn’t possibly justify the Black one for $110 more, that doesn’t even make sense!), with the 250 GB HD and lots o’ RAM. The biggest downside to not getting the Pro is that the glossy screen was the only option (and the non-backlit keyboard).

    Written By: Gary on February 2, 2008 6 Comments

    So I went to the Apple Store today to take a peek at the MacBook Air. Honestly, I had pretty low expectations so I thought I’d get my socks knocked off, but it was just okay. It’s more beautiful than my 12 inch PowerBook, but just by a small margin. It’s light and thin seems pretty durable, and has the beautiful LED display (but a bit of glare). But I thought I’d leave and say “I have to have one”, but it didn’t happen. If I had the extra bucks to spend it on I’d certainly get one, but I think I’d still need a more powerful laptop.

    Pluses: 3 lbs., 13.3 inch low power LED display, small, new track-pad, backlit keyboard. Please note, some of these are huge pluses.
    Minuses: External DVD drive (which I could live with), special MagSafe power adaptor, slow hard drive, lacking ports, 80 GB, maximum HD, no option for a spare battery and (of course) the price. Note that while it’s a metal MacBook it has a shared memory video card like a MacBook, not a MacBook Pro.

    The solid-state 64 GB drive is a plus, but the $1000 price tag is certainly a minus…

    If I had a 17 inch PowerBook, the MacBook Air would make a great addition as a “day” computer, when I don’t need the power or DVD drive and didn’t want the 6.8 pounds to lug around. If I could only have one machine I’d probably take a loaded MacBook 13.3 inch (5 pounds). If I could “create” an ultimate machine it would be a 12 (or 13.3) inch MacBook Pro; I could even live with an external DVD drive it it could lower the size and weight…

    This kind of fits with my initial thoughts when I first saw the announcement of the MacBook Air, it’s not what I was hoping for. If you haven’t seen it, this is the MacBook Air ad.

    Written By: Gary on January 15, 2008 2 Comments

    Apple MacBook Air MC233LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop Apple ComputerSo I like the new MacBook Air. But while it’s smaller and lighter than all the current MacBooks, and it’s one-third lighter than the 12 inch PowerBook, you give up a bit. You can’t have a spare battery, as a matter of fact you can’t even change the battery yourself. The hard drive space is limited, an (iPod?) 80GB hard drive that runs at 4200 RPM, or a pricey 64GB flash drive. It does have the cool new multi-touch-pad and the built-in camera. No internal DVD drive, mono-speaker, only one USB port and a few other things I’m sure I’m not thinking of. If you haven’t seen it, go watch the ad….

    It’s got these minuses (but it’s been a looonnnggg time since they refreshed a 12 inch PowerBook and and I’m definitely having “Air Envy”) I think if they take apart, slap it in a regular (or slightly smaller than regular) case with a changeable battery and a real hard drive (and maybe DVD drive) they’ve got what everyone has been waiting for.

    I really thought I was going to want to snatch one up but it’s just not what I was expecting (and I’ve seen others say the same. Maybe if I actually see one, but I think until they do my (fictional) upgrades, I might just wait until the next refresh. I’m guessing the MacBook 13 inch will have the new multi-touch pad and LED screen. I can get an awful lot of power for the same price (if I buy my memory somewhere else).

    Here’s an idea for something even smaller (no DVD though). Make ma a MacBook but chop the screen in half to the size of the keyboard and somehow have the trackpad slide out! It’s really be a “wide-screen” but it’d be tall enough for normal use.

    I really miss my old Apple Duo (or was it a PowerBook Duo?)….

    Written By: Gary on September 12, 2007 No Comment

    So my Mom went to get me a Gift Card from the Apple Store and she was talking about her experience there. I’ll paraphrase –

    I had never been to an Apple Store, it’s kind of a strange store. It was 10:30 am on a weekday and they were packed, there weren’t any cash registers and it was just kind of odd. The store was very small but there were a lot of staff and they were all busy. It was a different shopping experience.

    It was just an interesting experience listening to her talk about it, trying to comprehend the Mac fascination of the Mac users.

    I kinda wished I had talked her into getting a MacBook, I just wasn’t sure if she’d use it and wasn’t sure if it was worth the extra expense (in case she didn’t use it). Now I know that it would have been…

    Written By: Gary on May 18, 2006 No Comment

    So Apple finally released a new smaller Intel Core Duo laptop. It’s just called the MacBook (no “pro”) and as far as I can tell be biggest difference is the fact that it doesn’t have separate graphics hardware. My big question is why? Why not just put in the better graphics for $50 more and be done with it? I want a small and powerful machine! I don’t think I’ve heard any rumors of a small pro model yet. Has anyone?

    So let’s compare this to my favorite laptop, the 12 inch powerbook. It’s a all around, but a little thinner (10.9“ wide, 8.6” deep and 1.18“ thin for the PB and 12.78” wide, 8.92“ deep and 1.08” thin) but it’s 5.2 pounds which is 0.6 pounds heavier, which is huge when you consider the 15 inch model is only 5.6 pounds.

    Bonuses on the MacBook: built-in iSight camera, up to 2 GB of memory (compared to 1.25 GB), optical audio in and out, a slightly larger screen, Front Row (with remote) and I’m assuming it’s a lot faster for the native applications (has anyone seen any speed tests comparing it to a 12 inch PowerBook?). But the best part? I like the plastic case better than the metal ones! The metal ones are too slippery…


    It’s only $1099 and Amazon has a $100 rebate right now on it. Oh, it comes in black for $150 more and I can’t figure out why it’s more. It’s actually $200 more but it comes with a larger hard drive which would be $50 more anyways.

    Anyone know if there are plans for a 13 inch MacBook PRO?

    Written By: Gary on January 14, 2006 No Comment

    So I was going to write a post about the new Apple products (iMac, iLife 2006; I already drooled the other about the MacBook a few days ago) and the stats on the Music Store and the B & M stores but PeachPit Press did such a nice wrapup, I’m just going to link to theirs.

    Written By: Gary on January 10, 2006 One Comment

    So I really want need the new MacBook Pro. The Specs are very impressive and it’s gat a great tag line.

    “What’s an intel chip doing in a Mac?
    A whole lot more than it ever did in a PC…”
    – Apple.com

    Plus it’s got everything a guy could want…

  • 4x faster than the last model (which is 150-200% faster than what I have).
  • 67% Brighter screen.
  • Backlit keyboard.
  • Built in iSight firewire video camera.
  • Remote control for Front Row.
  • iLife 2006 (with iWeb your podcasting blogging web publishing software).
  • Digital optical video out.

    I have one complaint, it’s only available in the 15 inch model and it’s really more than I want to carry around. It’s 5.6 pounds (only one pound more than my 12 inch) but it seems huge and heavy. I compared a someone’s old 15 inch model (almost the same size and the same weight) with mine and it just seems annoyingly huge.

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