My new MacBook Pro 13″ – A love it, hate it roller coster

It has been a very long journey deciding to leave windows behind and try out Mac OSX. At the end of the day the 13″ MacBook Pro offered the best balance of performance for the price.

Mac Stores are Awesome – Love it.

I really have to say that Mac Stores make the buying experience easy and exciting. They have every model available and you can see everything you are interested in buying. This made my debate between the 15″ and the 13″ easier to handle. I have to give them a 10/10 for the store experience.

OSX Initial Impressions – Hate it.

First I hated it. The keyboard layout (control key is in the wrong place!), application control (odd folders, not really like start menu). Clicking on the keypad (needs physical click, right click took me a bit to figure out).

Configured a few things that helped like tap touching the keypad. Then I made the mistake of trying to get Wine running next.

Everything worked great to get Steam installed but literally NOTHING ran for me out of Wine without major issues (even Wolf3D!). After trying this for a few hours over a few days I gave up on it for now and decided to install the SSD instead.

MacBook Pro 13″ + OCZ Vertex SSD = Initial Configuration NIGHTMARE. Hated it.

I had read a couple of places that there might be issues installing SSD’s on the macbook both because of the SSD firmware version and because of the Mac books throttled SATA interface. I was to excited to prep for any of this and just ripped my case open to slap the new drive in. Sadly I didn’t have the T6 screw driver that I needed so this was delayed a couple of weeks. After that I popped the drive in, slapped the OSX install disk in and I was super excited. Then the install failed.
And it failed again the second time.
Read some forums…try minimal install.
Failed again. And now it doesn’t even recognize the drive as a valid partition…great.
Hmmm…read deeper into some technical forums and found three possibilities:

  1. Update the drive firmware.
  2. Update the mac driver for SATA
  3. Hold some magical key combination to clear out some kind of cached memory at boot up [Check this link out and search for “Resetting PRAM and NVRAM” for the key combination]

My scientific background wanted to try these one at a time. So I found a way to burn the driver update, ran the program and it told me I was already on the latest flash. Ok…why bother re-installing then? Might as well flash the mac. Slap in the old HD, run the update…it says I don’t need to. Ok…why bother re-installing? Put the SSD back in, hold down three magical keys and try the install again. Works fine and super fast. Great! I have no idea if step 1 or 2 actually flashed it and I have no idea why the third step worked but I now have a crash free Mac with a fast SSD.

Fast Boot and Wake up times – LOVE IT!

Launching applications, copying files and doing anything HD intensive is a dream on the new drive and it is silent! I’m loving what the hardware can do and how little time is spent waiting for anything except network traffic!

Post Install Thoughts – Warming up to loving Mac

After having issues installing the operating system and getting everything running I was a little worried I would regret the purchase. After using OSX for awhile and mostly using the machine for the usual web browsing and photo editing I am really enjoying it. I am even considering not installing windows because I don’t think that I will game on the laptop very much given that I will be moving into a bigger place and will be taking my desktop out of storage. One of the advantages of not having games on the laptop is that I may be more likely to make some of my own! That leads to some comments about continuing this blog.

Long Time, No Posts – Hate that!

The last few weeks have been hectic for me selling my place and buying a new one. I move in a few weeks and then I should have a longer commute that will let me work on my projects more (I hope!). This laptop purchase may be a bit of a hit in terms of my development because the popcap framework doesn’t run under OSX. In addition to that I think I may have caught the iPhone/iPod Touch development bug and may explore what I can do on that device. Hopefully I will be posting again more regularly in the near future.

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2 Responses to My new MacBook Pro 13″ – A love it, hate it roller coster

  1. Sikosis says:

    Control key is in the wrong place ? Huh ? What do you mean wrong place ? Do you mean “wrong” as in, not the same place as the iMac keyboards ? If that’s what you meant, then yes granted, it’s a different place.

    But Dell and all other laptops, have a function (Fn) key on the bottom left, like the Macbook. Even my MSI Wind does.

    “literally NOTHING ran for me out of Wine without major issues”

    I don’t see how you can blame the Mac for not being able to use something that was written for Linux to enable them to run Windows files. Just reread what I wrote and it should be clear what the problem *is* … If you want Windows, install Windows on another partition or if you don’t need 3D gaming (but I suspect you do) use VMware Fusion.

    • jhuculak says:

      Thanks for the comment Sikosis. Reading your reply made me realize I may have inadvertently gotten into the Mac vs. Windows debate and I probably should have been more clear that my issues have more to do with getting a new laptop regardless of OS/Manufacturer. Let me try sectioning my issues into three categories: new laptop, new OS and Mac vs. PC.

      New Laptop
      Things like the control key are purely hardware issues and aren’t a mac vs. PC comparison. Every keyboard I own and my laptop I have had for the last four years have a control key in the bottom left. I have about 20 years of typing muscle habits that take a little getting used to. On the bright side, OSX doesn’t even use it much so my dependence on it will not be as bad because I have to learn to use the command button instead. Typing on the Sony Style keyboard on the MacBook Pro is awesome for every key but control! My typing WPM actually improved on my first usage.
      The OCZ Vertex issue is also something I don’t have any personal issue with. I wanted it to work out of the box but the fact that Apple lets you upgrade the hard drive and RAM so easily is awesome. My tiny Sony T-140p actually needed “bamboo shoots” to pop the keyboard off to install new parts. It would probably be the equivalent of disassembling a Macbook Air so this is a big improvement on that.

      New OS (OSX)
      After taking a break from apple (last time I really used it was in the 90’s!) I am very used to windows. Buying this notebook was a conscious effort to try out the new OS and anytime you do something new there are things you have to fight through. I think I will love it in a few weeks. I was actually excited to run things like Wine to see what they could do. I am still amazed this technology works at all. Getting steam running got me really excited and it worked to download everything. Following that success and reading the compatibility listing made me think a few of the games would run without needing a Windows license. For now I don’t think it is worth getting the license. If anything it made me want to test and contribute to Wine or Crossover. I will re-asses when Windows 7 is officially released. I will happily continue learning OSX.

      Mac vs. PC
      I really like both. My iPod’s have really made me appreciate the hardware design that Mac creates. This machine is gorgeous. Four and half years ago I chose a Sony over any Mac’s because you couldn’t find another machine like it. I think Apple has made a HUGE design step with the latest MacBook and their batteries. As I said the price to performance (+style) is amazing. If you buy at the lower end of the Mac line I think the “Mac Tax” is a non-issue.

      For desktops I’m still into Windows PCs and for my NAS I am still digging the QNAP linux machine I have.

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