Category Archives: Cost Of ‘switching’

Macbook Air – My Brief Love Affair

I’ll admit it… I was weak.

Like a middle aged man suddenly forgetting all about his wife and fantasizing about spending time with the young, gorgeous 20-something girl that has shown an interest in him, I was tempted by the seductive thinness of the Macbook Air.

Sure, my Macbook Pro and I have been through a lot together, but still, there was something about that “thin” goodness that appealed to me. I tried to rationalize why I needed one, and for a while, I was able to resist.

But then, I wandered into an Apple store and touched one…

In all seriousness, if you’re a road warrior and are considering purchasing a “thin and light” notebook, you really owe to yourself to go to an Apple store and look at one. The pictures/videos on the internet simply don’t do it justice.

It’s simply an amazingly thin and surprisingly sturdy little machine, and it had to be mine…

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The iPhone Experience

NOTE: If you’re in the market for an iPhone, check here to see availability in your local Apple store, or call your AT&T store. There are auctions on eBay already with phones going for $1000 or more. But, folks, until they actually run out of them in the stores, don’t go to eBay – unless you really want to pay the extra $500 or more for one.

So, yeah, after switching back and forth on whether or not I was going to get one, I went to Willow Bend and got in line for an iPhone.

For those of you who haven’t heard about the iPhone, check it out at apple.com.

“iPhone fever” has gripped the nation over the last several months, reaching fever pitch this week as the Apple marketing machine continued the buildup until June 29, which AT&T referred to as “iDay.”

The biggest question that was left unanswered until yesterday was: How many of the things would Apple have? The phones did not arrive in the country until Sunday, under armed escort. They would not show up at stores until Friday afternoon – just a few hours before they would go on sale at 6pm on June 29. Both Apple and AT&T stores could not say how many phones they would have.

In fact, one apple store employee told me that they had to turn in their cell phones as long as they were at work. They were not allowed into the back of the store to retrieve merchandise and had to radio the storeroom to bring computers out to them.

A friend of mine and I watched macrumors constantly yesterday for updates on line counts in the Dallas area. He had seen 8 people lined up at the AT&T store in Allen on the way to work. By noon, reports were coming in of at least 150-200 people in line at two of the Apple stores in the area. But, after the announcement on Thursday that the Apple store would allow people to buy two, we figured we would be safe.

So, we left work as early as we could, and ended up in line at Willow Bend at around 5:45pm – just 15 minutes before the iPhone would go on sale… along with 500 or more other people.

I had a plan B already in mind. There are at least five AT&T stores between Willow Bend and my house, and worse case, I would probably hit them all in the quest for the phone. I knew that I wanted one at this point, so now the challenge was whether or not I could buy one on “iDay.”

The line started moving pretty well. Apple was allowing 50 people at a time into the store, and they would then move in groups of 5-10 as people filtered out of the store. Fifteen minutes after the store opened, two guys walked out and walked over to the back of the line offering to sell their phones to the highest bidder. Most people laughed at them, so they took their phones out to the front of the mall to try again.

We were probably 2/3 of the way through the gauntlet within 45 minutes.  But, then, an Apple store employee came running out and approached the line. “There’s a chance you may not get a phone,” he said. We opted to take our chances. It made the next 20 minutes or so more interesting as we neared the Apple entrance, hoping that they wouldn’t come back out and say they were completely sold out…

Success! Thirty minutes later, I was able to walk out of the store with my brand new iPhone! My friend was also able to get the pair he needed to buy (one for the missus, and one for him).

It turns out going to the apple store was the right call. As we left, we walked out into a downpour. The drive home took me by one of the AT&T stores, where several soaked iPhone buyers were patiently waiting outside for their chance to get a phone.

I’ll post more about the phone later. So far, it does everything as advertised. : )

There are a few quirks though, but there’s nothing that wasn’t really expected and, more importantly, nothing that couldn’t be added later though a software update.

Mac vs. PC – religious parody

Nope nope, not what you think. There’s no mac zealot vs windows fanboy ad here. But these are kinda funny anyway.

Christian vs. Christ Follower

Normally, I wouldn’t post anything religious on my blog, but these are fun today because I think it portrays a lot of the things that are wrong with “Christians” today. I know a few people who are like this: they’re more interested in convincing you that they’re “Christian” by making a great effort in showing off how they go through the motions and with their holier-than-thou attitude, when the reality is they’re not any better than anyone else (usually, they’re worse).

Ironically, the “christians” will probably be offended by these videos. Why aren’t we the cool “mac” guy? Why are we the geeky “PC” guy? It should be the other way around, they’ll say. They should be the “cool” ones because they’re Christians, while the rest of us heathens should be the “geeky” losers.
But, where are the truly fun “Mac” vs. “PC” religious ads? Like “bible-thumper” vs “athiest”, “palestinian” vs “jew”, or “american” vs “muslim terrorist”? Or, for you really hard-core folks, what about the mother of all religious battles: “coke” vs. “pepsi”?

losing my (mac) religion

Although I have long since gone back to the world of windows, something happened last week that no one really expected.

Apple released a beta of a product called ‘Boot Camp’ that would allow owners of intel-based Macs to install Windows. The product will eventually be merged into the core OS X product, but it allows users to boot their shiny new intel-Mac with either OS X or Windows XP.

Apple takes great pains to note that they do NOT support Windows XP on the Boot Camp download page.

Already, the Mac fanatics are declaring victory — saying that this will convince the masses to abandon their pcs and make the switch to macs. Even Wall Street seems to be convinced this will mean a boost in Apple sales.

Others, from CNet and Robert X. Cringely, take other stances, saying that it’s a gimmick and/or it only helps Microsoft, not Apple.

Microsoft is currently debating supporting Macs running Windows XP, and I predict they probably will. Why? Because, after supporting all the other guys (Dell, HP, Gateway, Lenovo, Acer, etc, etc), Apple is just one more hardware vendor.

Will it really convince the masses to switch? Probably not. Boot Camp provides a nice security blanket for anyone sitting on the fence about switching, because now they can happily boot Windows XP on their Mac and run any apps that don’t have a mac counterpart.

The biggest problem, still, is the price point. Macs are still cost several hundred dollars more than their PC competition. That’s not counting software, and a lot of that is in flux because every sofware company on the Mac side of things now has to build ‘universal’ binaries that will run on the new intel-based machines as well as legacy systems.

So, why would I really pay more for a Mac if I’m just going to put Windows on it?

I looked long and hard for the last month at my options for a new laptop. My choices came down to three: an HP nx9420, the Acer Travelmate 8204, and the MacBook Pro. The mac intrigued me more for the design/weight features than the OS. The HP, though light for a 17″ notebook, was going to be too big for what I wanted. I looked at 15.4″ and 17″ laptops side by side at a local CompUSA, and I decided that the 15.4″ screen was plenty big.

So, it came down to the MacBook and the Acer. Ultimately, I chose the Acer, and it was at my door before the Boot Camp announcement. Would that have made a difference? Probably not.

Don’t get me wrong, the MacBook is one nice piece of hardware. The Acer had the same basic configuration as the MacBook Pro, and it was several hundred dollars cheaper. And, I can run everything I have on it.

For me, the OS doesn’t matter to me, so long as it doesn’t get in my way. Windows XP has been relatively painless for me, and it gives me the flexibility to run just about anything.

Linux woudl be nice, but it’s still a long way off from being a desktop contender. They are making great progress, though. I plan on installing SUSE 10 at some point.

Vista promises to have some of the spiffy OS X features that wows everyone, if it ever ships, that is.

But, now that OS X runs on an intel machine, wouldn’t it be cool to run it on my Acer laptop? After all, the hardware is basically the same.

Cringely suggests just that. Apple will take things one step further at some point in the future announce a “Boot Camp for Windows” that would allow OS X to be installed on standard PCs.

Heresy! cry the Mac faithful. Jobs would never allow it!!!

But, why wouldn’t he?

Ah, say the faithful, if OS X ran on any PC, then the masses would flock to OS X and kill Apple’s hardware business in the process.

But would they? Really?

The masses haven’t flocked to Apple for anything besides iPods, iTunes and QuickTime in years. Apple still holds 2.3% ish of the PC market, but that hasn’t really changed (maybe shrunk a few tenths of a percentage point – but it’s never really gone up).

Or, the fanatics argue, it kills the entire “Mac experience” by running OS X on something other than Apple hardware. Well, doesn’t booting up Windows XP on that spiffy intel-based Mac kill the “mac experience” as well?

In a way, rolling out Boot Camp for Windows benefits Apple in the same way Boot Camp is benefiting Microsoft now — more sales of their OS.

If Apple does such a thing, it will probably issue a lot of “not supported” statements, or they may partner with a couple of vendors. It may be that some features are intentionally disabled as well.

It’s providing the security blanket the other way. Here, keep your PC and Windows XP, but check out our cool OS. Give it a test drive. Maybe, you’ll learn to like it so much that you’ll completely switch over.

Worse case? Apple makes a bit more money off of OS sales and maybe loses a few hardware sales. But, I think, it might win them a few more converts.

Actually, I think the best way that Apple can help raise people’s comfort level with switching is to provide them a list of equivalent apps. Oh, you like Office? We gotcha covered? Like graphics? Check out Adobe products on the Mac. Need development tools? Look at these.

Maybe there’s already a list out there, and I just haven’t seen it.

Now, what would be really wacky would be if Windows, after Vista, announces it’s abandoning its core for a unix/linux flavor, and the next version of windows would be unix-based.

Now, at that point, you would have three operating systems all running on the same basic hardware, competing over who provides the best ‘user experience.’

At that point, the REAL OS wars would begin…

mac software purchases

It’s been a month since i bought my g4 ibook, and I have been happy with it so far.

I have not done any battery metrics with it, but the battery life has been impressive. I can charge it up, leave it unplugged for 3-4 days, turn it on and have a couple of hours of life on it. I’m pretty sure my toshiba won’t even boot if left unplugged for four days. I may try that later.

I have not yet tried to do any development on it, so there’s at least one program I have not picked up yet.

So far here’s the list of software I’ve purchased.

iLife ’05 upgrade
Mac Journal 3.0
NetNewsWire/MarsEdit ( right now Ranchero software has deal going where the license for NetNewsWire will also work on MarsEdit. Two nice products for $39.95 )
CopyWrite 2.1.8

I will probably add TextMate to the list at some point, but I need to play with it some more.
I may also pick up VoodooPad as well.

The nice thing is that all of these products are $40 or under.

I have yet to pick up Office for Mac yet. I just don’t know if I want to.

I am also staying away from graphics programs for now as well. I think my 12″ screen is going to a bit cramped for graphics, especially when I have a nice 22″ monitor 10 feet away from where I am typing this. Plus, the graphics apps are the ones with the $500-$700 price tags.

The only product I was a little disappointed with was MacJournal, and that’s only because they had a 15-day trial instead of a 30 like most companies. I like the product overall though.

So, I have spent about $125 on software and the iLife upgrade.

cool blog app

I am just now getting into using some of the programs that I have downloaded for the iBook. So far, the coolest one I have used has to be MarsEdit.

It’s a nifty little utility program that allows you to compose/edit your blog entries. Then, when you are ready, you can either upload it as a draft or publish it. You can easily find and add images to your blogs as well. I tried that feature out with the mac portable entry. Very cool.

I did have to find an patch a specific php file for WordPress, but it has worked pretty seamlessly after that. Someone probably has something similar available for windows.

This may be the first program I buy for the iBook. : )

in the beginning, there was pc, and it was good…

The path to buying a mac went something like this:

I had decided that this year would be the year I would finally start making an effort to work on my writing skills. I decided that, as part of that task, I would set up a website and challenge myself to start posting blogs about various subjects for friends & family to read.

Since I was going to do some of the work on the web, I thought it might be useful to have something portable enough to write on whenever the mood strikes me. Plus, it gave me an excuse to buy a new toy. : )

I had recently helped my sister with buying a PDA for LVN school. We had started with a Zire 72, and then ended up with a Tungsten T 5. One of her friends from school got a T 5 for Christmas, and after seeing the larger screen, she decided she wanted the T 5. Truthfully, this was a good call, since the majority of the software we were getting for her were medical references. Having the 320×480 screen would allow her to view the virtual typewriter and easily see the search results as she’s typing. The Zire 72’s 320×320 screen wouldn’t allow that to happen. After playing with the larger screen, I think Palm just needs to go to a virtual silkscreen on all of their models.

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Switch?

This section will cover my experiences with working on a macintosh. I haven’t worked on a mac in probably seven years. Much has changed.