After my laptop committed suicide (a contributing factor to why I haven’t blogged in a while!), I had decisions to make as to what I was going to replace that decrepit, obsolete piece of junk with. I started my process in the same logical way I evaluate most devices: examining my interface with said equipment, namely the keyboard and screen.
A disturbing trend that I’ve noticed with laptops in Canada is the need to want to support French on the keyboard. Frankly I don’t utilize enough French to make it worth it for one of my primary interfaces to be compromised. (My problem with the multilingual keyboard is the placement of the enter and shift keys (as Peter so eloquently points out on his blog), among the MOST USED keys on a keyboard!)
It is crucial to your laptop experience to have a worthy screen and video card. Your eyes will gaze upon this thing for countless hours, you want it to be pretty.
Lastly, your machine has to be fast and stable. Nothing worse than your computer crashing constantly or it taking forever to open Windows Explorer (*cough* Vista *cough*).
After weighing all of these factors, I bought myself a refurbished Macbook Pro 15″ with anti-glare screen (support for 1680×1050 resolution, perfect for my eagle eyes). Refurbished on the advice of a friend who always buys refurbished Mac machines for his business, also Apple has a great warranty and they test the heck out of the refurbs, I’m told. Most of these are just open-box returns anyway, good way to save a couple of hundred bucks.
At first I wanted to stick with PC but none of the laptops I looked at really did it for me. Perhaps I was soured by my recent experiences with Microsoft OSs but something told me it was time to look at Apple. After all, my iPad has proven to be a useful, elegant tool, why not give their laptops a look. I figure if I wanted to get nostalgic, I could always install Windows with Boot Camp or run Parallels.
I splurged on the screen upgrade because I want to see a lot of screen real estate. And call me spoiled but since I’ve been working from home much more frequently, I wanted to be able to sit in the sun and stay connected (it’s summer, get outside!). Also, Spaces (virtual desktop) is beautiful, reminds me of the Unix machines I worked and played with for Computer Science courses at the University of Waterloo and my first programming job (I had an SGI on my desk).
Speaking of nerding out, I love that Terminal allows me to truly relive those Unix glory days. I may have to break out a shell programming textbook!
LOVING Apple shortcut keys and gestures on the Multi-Touch Trackpad. As I anticipated, I easily adapted to new shortcuts.
Price – Time will tell whether I got what I paid for. So far, so good.