My MacBook Pro – first-time Mac owner

First and foremost, let me tell you that I don't abide to the poor labeling of being a Mac fanatic or a Windows user. I'm a computer user, period. I use the programs and computers and programs that are good, no matter what their eventual name might be. With that said, I hope this post will be balanced and fair instead of just trying to take sides, and informative no matter from what angle you're coming. I've mostly been working with Windows since 1996, but recently I got a opportunity that I couldn't turn down. At the end of last year I put in a lot of hours working and ended up getting a cash bonus from my manager in the beginning of this year for it. Without loosing a lot of it to just taxes, I made a deal with him to instead by a new computer and then pay the difference between the bonus and the cost of the new computer. At about that time Apple announced that they would release the Intel Macs soon, so I thought that it would be a great machine and that I would also probably be able to run Windows as well on it. I decided to get a 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 2 Ghz Intel Core Duo processor and 2 GB of RAM and a 7200 rpm 100 GB hard drive; basically, a very good computer. When I finally got the computer by the end of March I was ecstatic! So, about five months later I'm ready to write about my experiences and opinions.

The hardware

The good

Everything from packaging to the actual machine, it looks extremely good coming from Apple. I seriously cannot understand why no PC provider can match this; why does all they produce have to be bulky and look completely tasteless? A picture of the MacBook Pro box The keyboard is very nice to type on and the trackpad is outstanding! I've never liked trackpads before, but since this is so wide it makes it really easy and comfortable to use, and coupled with the fantastic two-finger scrolling feature and two-finger-click equals right-click feature I don't feel the need to use a mouse (this, however, doesn't work when clicking in the top bar). The illuminating keyboard is a fantastic feature! If it eventually gets dark in the room when you're sitting there typing (this seems to happen all to often for me) it automatically illuminates the keyboard keys so you can see them. Very nice! A picture of the MacBook Pro seen from three different angles It has also got a built-in motion sensor, so if you're a Star Wars fanatic, you can make your MacBook Pro sound like a light saber when you're moving by using MacSaber. Another feature that has been appreciated is MagSafe, which is a magnetic power connector that lets go of the computer if anyone/anything gets stuck in it. Very cool, although it doesn't help that much if one has one other cable connected to the computer... :-)

The bad

The thing that definitely disturbs me the most is the heat it's generating. It's gets very warm, and I would not using it in my lap without having at least two layers of clothes. I've used Temperature Monitor and it can get as hot as almost 50 degrees Celsius/122 degrees Fahrenheit. I mean, come on, it's a laptop! I did a non-scientific test at home to see how much this actually affects the surface below the computer. I had to use 8 thick morning newspaper below it to avoid the wooden table it was standing on to get scorching hot. It is also extremely annoying that it's only one mouse button and not two. Apple, that's far behind you; nowadays you need to right-click in every application. Just add the extra button, dammit! Another annoyance is the genius that decided to put the network socket on the right-hand side of the computer. If you're not using wireless in any sort, and are right-handed and using a mouse, you're bound to hit your hand on the cable sticking right out there in the middle of the way all the time. Apple has decided to have all USB ports, Firewire etc on the sides of the computer and not on the back. I like that (except for the network cable, of course), but with this comes the limitation that you can only open the lid/screen to a certain degree; it then stops. I can imagine this is very annoying for someone sitting slouched down in a couch trying to use it. The blinking light when on standby is cool for about a second, and then just a pain. If you have the computer in the same room as you and it's dark, it will be constantly reminding you of its presence, almost looking like the northern lights. Some people have also had problems with a whining sound, and maybe a solution for them can be found in MacBook Pro Complaints.

Mac OS X

Mac OS X is truly an impressive operating system. It looks fantastic, is very classy and at the same time offers you some hacking if you're interested. The difference compared to the upcoming Windows Vista is that Mac OS X has subtle animations and transitions while Microsoft (which is often the case) starts out with a good idea but then goes overboard and becomes tacky and just too much. Unfortunately not all applications are ready to run on the Intel-based Macs, so they're emulated through something called Rosetta (this applies to, amongst many others, Adobe Photoshop). This in turn makes them much slower than they actually should be, but everyone seems to work on releasing so-called Universal binary versions.

Installing applications

Installing applications on Mac is almost overwhelmingly easy. You have the application and then you drag and drop it into your Applications folder, and voila!, it's installed. Basically, as it should be. A few applications that I have came across have install wizards, but these seem to freeze up on a regular basis, meaning that I usually just utter a sigh of relief when a new application turns out to just use the drag and drop installation approach. If you're sincerely interested how this works, make sure to read Dave Verwer's excellent Application Installation - Mixed Feelings.

Keyboard shortcuts

There are, of course, a number of keyboard shortcuts that's available; many of them are listed in Keyboard Control. Some I really like, like the ones for changing to certain folders, like the Desktop, no matter where I am in the Finder, be it in a dialog or in a window. And I love Command + 1/2/3 to easily switch between Icons/List/Columns view in the Finder. Another favorite is selecting one or multiple files and press Command + i to see more information about it/them. However, there are other less perfect ones, like when you have selected a file in the Finder. The Enter key is reserved for renaming the selected file, while Command + o or Command + arrow down opens the file. Definitely not effective; Enter should always open the item. This also comes back in dialogs in programs; not all programs supports tabbing and selecting buttons with the keyboard, while with those who do, Enter here means selecting the button with the full blue background color while the space bar now enters the scene, meaning selecting the button with the blue outline (the blue outline is moved around when tabbing; the solid blue background is locked to the default button in the dialog). Something else that I have a problem with is jumping to the first respectively the last file and selecting it when in Columns view in the Finder. I eventually found that the fn and arrow up/arrow up does the actual scrolling but no file is selected so I have to click it with the mouse... And last, but not least: setting focus to the menu bar at the top. In Windows you simply press alt to accomplish this; in Mac OS X it's Ctrl + F2. Not very handy, and I almost get a wrist strain trying to do it.

Dashboard and Exposé

Dashboard and Exposé are features that look really cool at first, but in everyday use I very seldom use them. Dashboard is a set of widgets that you can use to check things like weather, e-mail, calendar etc right on top on what you're doing at the moment, which instead gets dimmed down. A picture of the Dashboard feature Exposé are different ways of looking at one application or all applications running at the moment, side by side. with the background dimmed down. It would be very useful if one could invoke the command and then drag and drop from one application to the other. That is not the case, however; a click on one application in Exposé just sets focus to that application and no more action is possible. A picture of the Exposé feature

The iLife package

The iLife package that comes with Mac OS X comes with these applications: I'm going to cover the first three, since they are the only ones that interest me.

iPhoto

I really wanted to like iPhoto. But I hate it. Sure, it looks really nice and the full-screen feature are great. But there are just some things that drive me crazy:
  • A lot of the commands are available either as buttons in the interface, through right-click or in the top menu. Naturally, every alternative should be available in all those locations.
  • The default setting is to copy every image to a separate iPhoto library. Kind of upsetting when you import a lot of pictures...
  • Performance is a joke. If I import, say, a 100 pictures, my Mac soon gets sluggish and the fan runs like a little hamster on the lam. And this is even if I've turned off the copying of every picture to the separate iPhoto folder (however, it apparently saves a lot of images there anyway, in a smaller format). Given the hardware specs on my machine, this is unbelievable.
  • I want to edit the image file I have on my computer. If I rotate them, or any other action, I want it top happen to the original file. This doesn't have to be the default setting, but at least a setting that is even possible.
All the alternatives I've tried have unfortunately not turned out to be better.. How come there aren't any ACDSee or Picasa for the Mac?

iMovie HD

Generally, I like iMovie HD. It's very easy to import movies and to edit them, and then to export them to create a DVD in iDVD. Something you should read, though, is Avoid iMovie HD annoyances to be able to shy away from some common problems.

iDVD 6

It's easy to create DVD movies with iDVD 6 and there are a lot of nice themes to choose from to add menus and navigation to them. It seems a little slow to me when preparing to create a DVD from the given material, but overall it's ok to use. Microsoft really do have to come up with some equivalent to iMovie HD and iDVD 6 in Windows Vista, because these are the programs and functions that home users really need.

Oh yes, it crashes

It is said that Macs and their applications are supposed to be more stable and Windows and that they will never crash. This is not true. The complete operating system has frozen for me a couple of times (I can't actually remember when this happened to me last after using Windows XP). However, there are some applications that are far worse than others, and for some of them it might be because of the Rosetta emulation. CyberDuck has been crashing about every other time when I've been using it. Not that comforting when transferring files... However, in their defense, they released a version during late summer that seems to be working out better.

Updated August 25th

After several commenters recommended Transmit, I installed it and tried it. It seems to work fine and act stable. What I can't figure out, though, is if there's any keyboard shortcut to upload the selected file, instead of having to double-click or right-click on them.

Flickr Uploadr also crashes almost every time I'm using it and uploading more than about ten pictures. Very discomforting.

QuickTime Player

Please apologize my language now, but QuickTime is the biggest bitch of them all. When you get an error like:

QuickTime Player has unexpectedly quit

it just blows my top! It is not fucking unexpected when it happens for the 127th time in a row! And while on the topic, what's sad is that I like the interface and generally using the program, it really misses fundamental features to be used. Except for the crashing all the time, to me the two most disturbing ones are:
No support for subtitles
I think that most of you out there, at one time or another, watch movies that require subtitle files. That QuickTime in no way supports this is pathetic. Sure, you can permanently add subtitles to a QuickTime movie by using TitleLAB, but it's just too much of a hassle.
Viewing fullscreen actually costs money
You actually have to bye the Pro version of QuickTime Player to be able to watch movies in fullscreen. Outrageous! Not even Microsoft would come up with something like that.

FrontRow and the AppleRemote

The MacBook Pro comes with a remote control, AppleRemote, and FrontRow, a program in Mac OS X for multimedia purposes; i.e. watching movies, DVDs, photos or listening to music. It looks insanely good and the way it fades in and out of the Mac OS X desktop can't help but bring a smile to my face. Unfortunately, though, the joy is killed. There aren't any settings at all in FrontRow, e.g. meaning that you you can't change what player to use to watch video files. The consequence of this is that I then can't use the lovely FrontRow to watch movies, since it uses QuickTime Player(and QuickTime player, as I've told you, crashes and doesn't support subtitles...). Two alternatives to FrontRow, if you're looking for that media center feel, is MediaCentral and CenterStage. What I (and many other disappointed souls) have done is to find a video player (in my case: VLC media player) that is actually competent and designed for this century, and then there are a number of add-on software to control the AppleRemote. My favorite of those are Apple Remote Helper, which is free and basically controls everything you want to do with VLC media player. Only thing missing is that fast forwarding/fast rewind doesn't work and it just skips instead and that the volume controls the volume of VLC instead of the MAC OS X system volume. Other alternatives are:

Updated August 25th

After autoy's tip I tried out Movie Time. With its fullscreen and perfect AppleRemote support, I was really intrigued! Initially I had problems with Swedish characters in subtitles getting messed up, but after being in contact with the Movie Time creator, I changed the subtitle encoding to Western (ISO Latin 1) and now it works like a charm! Well recommended!

What web browser to use

The answer is easy: Mozilla Firefox. It's the best web browser there is, no matter the platform. The functions and the myriad of extensions that are available are very hard to beat. I've never cared much for Apple's Safari, neither as an end user or as a web developer. The only annoyances with Firefox are that keyboard shortcuts are case sensitive (meaning that if Caps Lock is incidentally pressed, nothing happens) and that it sometimes loses focus when closing a tab with Command + w so the next one doesn't respond to any key press. The runner-up that is definitely heading in the right direction is Flock, but it needs to add keyword support and more extensions before I'll try it out more. But what about Camino?, I hear you say. While it's nice that Camino has more of an OS X-look with form buttons and other things (by the way, this should really be addressed for Firefox), some keyboard shortcuts are weird to me and I miss the extensions that I've gotten dependent on.

Instant and video messaging

MacBook Pro computers have an iSIght camera built in, so I thought it would open up for more video chats. Naturally, I wanted to be able to chat with people not having Macs as well, but after an extreme amount of failed attempts (iChat and the PC version of AOL Instant Messenger sucks so hard) I gave up. All I could do was take a picture of me with the iSight camera and then send it to my brother through Adium (which is outstanding for Instant messaging). A picture of me being angry, taken with the iSight camera So, needless to say, when Skype released the 1.5 beta of Skype for Mac with the additional Skype for Mac with Video Preview, and it works like a charm. Finally!

Applications that I like and use

For your convenience, I though I'd list the applications that I have become dependent on, and which I really like and recommend as well.
QuickSilver
QuickSilver is an amazing application for oh-so-many things directly with your keyboard and not having to be inside an application for certain actions. It also beats Apple's built-in Spotlight by far. A recommended read is how to search Google with Quicksilver.
VLC media player
A very good video player that supports most formats and subtitles. Read How to enable/use subtitles to automatically display subtitles when they are available (I can't believe this isn't default, and that it's hidden so far down).
NetNewsWire Lite
A fantastic and simple RSS reader, with great support for navigation only with the arrow keys and the Enter key (if you know of any Windows equivalent, please let me know).
VirtueDesktops
Software for having virtual desktops to more efficiently get an overview of what you're doing.
MacTheRipper
Easy as pie to rip complete DVDs.
Smultron
A text/code editor that's very nice and easy to use.
Mozilla Firefox
Best web browser there is.
Transmission
Great light-weight BitTorrent client (if you know of any Windows equivalent, please let me know).
Parallels Desktop for Mac
Best way to run Windows, or any operating system, on a Mac.
Other alternatives can be found in the very handy Open Source Mac collection or in the How Does Open Source Software Stack Up on the Mac? article.

Running Windows on a Mac

As you all probably know by now, running Windows on a Mac became reality. There are a few options out there, but I choose to use Parallels Desktop for Mac. For me, it's working amazingly well and fast and I'd recommend it to anyone trying to do this (I will write a little more about Parallels in the near future. I hope.). A picture of Paralles Desktop for Mac running Windows Other options are:

The Apple experience

I just have to say this: Apple seems to be a toy company. Given the experience I've had since I ordered my Mac, it has been crystal clear that they're not ready to play with the big boys and reach a mass corporate market. First I wanted to place my order online through my company and get an invoice sent. After some talking with the support they told me that you had to buy for a huge amount of money to be allowed to do that. My alternatives were through credit card (not interesting since I wouldn't want to pay the money in the interim period till I got them back from my employer) or making an advance payment to their bank account. Listen; I work for a company with 600+ employees; we don't make advance payments, we turn to the company that can treat us business-like and professionally. This led to that I had to go into a local store in Stockholm to order it. The person that helped looked and behaved just a little too much like Tom Arnold for me to feel comfortable (I actually think he also had a Hawaii shirt to go with it too, but my memory might fail me on this). When I said what I wanted the started to place the order, and seemed genuinely confused when I wanted to tailor it to my needs with more RAM memory, the hard drive with the higher rpm etc (it should be mentioned that I later found out that this one of the managers and owners of the company...). He gave me a order number and told me that I could follow the order online on their web site, and most likely Apple's web site as well (although he wasn't sure about Apple's). Naturally, neither worked. After repeatedly calling them I eventually got to talk to one employee that told me that it wasn't possible, that it was only their internal order number... Anyway, after the order had been submitted it took about seven weeks to get it. I don't care if was a new model; if Dell, HP or any other would've done this, the customer would've just cancelled the order and turned to another provider. When I had used the computer for a couple of weeks I got more and more worried about the heat and from reading reports online that this was from a hardware flaw. I returned it to the store for them to attend to the issue and give me back a functioning computer. Now it took five weeks for them to get the new part, install it and test it. When I got home and tested it it got almost, if not completely, as warm as before. Now I've given up on that, there's no way I'm giving them another chance now.

Is it overpriced?

Basically, yes. If you only look at the processor, amount of RAM and hard drive, at least in Sweden you can get a matching PC laptop for 2/3 of the price of the MacBook Pro. What has to be added to this, though, is that you get the fantastic unmatched hardware and OS X with it, so in the end, it's all about your priorities. Luckily, given the deal with my manager, I ended up paying just a little more than 1/4 of the retail price, so for me it was naturally a find (I'm not gloating; just be happy for me, alright? :-)).

Would I recommend getting a MacBook Pro?

Given that you can pay the steep price: definitely. It's a great machine, best I ever had, and you can also run about any operating system you desire on it.

 

Finishing words

I've probably missed, or left out, tons of information that I initially wanted to share. However, I do hope that you found this article helpful (hell, if you made it here, you've got stamina!). Are you a Windows user thinking of making the switch? Or maybe a Mac user that learned something from this, or disagree with my conclusions, or (please say it is so) have the solution to the problems I've described above? Let me know!
Posted in Apple/Mac,Reviews/tests,Technology |

87 Comments

  • Wow, if I’d read your post prior to buying my first mac, it would’ve seriously dented my desire to get one – sounds like the product hasn’t lived up to the hype and you’ve had a pretty negative experience! I’m relieved to say my purchase and user experiences have been the complete opposite :)

    The heat they generate does concern me though, and I must admit when a laptop fire hit the news headlines recently, I truly expected it to have been an Apple rather than a Dell…

    LOL at the unexpectedly quit comment :D

  • Ã&Acirc says:

    Hej Robert.

    I was thinking of doing exactly the same thing … getting a mac to test, and work on Windows on it. Great to read your impressions, just made me more sure of getting a MacBookPro laptop.

  • Two issues:

    1) I agree with Apple's decision to stay with the one button mouse. I suppose I wouldn't be mad if they added another at some point, but, from my perspective, the ctrl key is close enough.

    2) You can, in fact, use Expose for Drag and Drop file operations if you use hot corners. You can grab a file and, while holding the mouse button, activate expose and switch to whatever app/window needs the file by briefly holding over it. I use this multiple times, daily; it's great (and looks cool).

  • Well, didn't I tell you you'd like it (for the most part, anyway) ;)?

    The keyboard shortcut for the menu is ctrl+m on my Macs. Strange that yours has something else. Anyway it's user configurable, so change it to whatever suits you best (System Preferences – Keyboard & Mouse – Keyboard Shortcuts).

  • Joel Meyer says:

    Great write-up. I switched to Apple this spring when I too bought a MacBook Pro. Previously I'd used a lot of IBM T-Series Thinkpads. I like the MacBook Pro better, though it does get much, much hotter. I completely agree with your thoughts on iPhoto. I really wanted to like it, but have been completely disappointed.

  • [...] acBook Pro e tentar a vida como usuário de um computador da Apple pela primeira vez. Suas primeiras impressões são uma leitura interessantíssima, talvez a ma [...]

  • [...] appointed souls) have done is to find a video player (in my … Visit original post by Robert Nyman This entry is filed under Music vi [...]

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Thanks for your comments, I'm glad that you found it useful!

    Steve, Roger,

    Nice "it's in the eye of the beholder"-moment there! One thinks I've had a bad experience and the other that I'm fairly happy with it. :-)

    Allan,

    1) To be honest, I've gotten used to it, but I still think it's wrong.

    2) Ah, great! Drag, invoke Exposé with a hot corner, let the desired program get focus and then drop. Outstanding! Thank you very much!

  • Blake Bauman says:

    Nice write up! I recently switched also and I love it. I bought an iMac so the heat issues aren't really affecting me. A few of my friends have the macbooks and I can't believe how hot they do get.

    It was a joy reading your article and getting another "first-time Mac owners" opinion. Also, It took me awhile to find an ftp program for Mac that I was really happy with. I was using CyberDuck but had the same issues you did. I finally came across Transmit which I love and recommend.

    Blake

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Blake,

    I'm happy that you liked it! I've heard good things about Transmit, so I guess it's about time to give it a go. :-)

  • Paul Groves says:

    Congratulations! You are now actually cool :-).

    You're definitely right about QuickSilver and Transmit is a truly great app.

    Have you tried:

    TextMate &

    xScope

  • autoy says:

    Very nice article, seems to mirror my thougths. Just a little suggestion for a full screen player that automatically supports subtitles:

    http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/video/movie

    I will try your tips on how to enable subs on VLC.

  • You need:

    -> http://tinyurl.com/qkhft (for controlling everything, especially music)
    -> http://tinyurl.com/r5p99 (peachy script forthe above to boost performance if your iTunes library is +20.000 songs)
    -> http://tinyurl.com/m2wns (for that extra Adium experience)
    -> http://tinyurl.com/j3qzs (just to set the visual appearance to perfection)
    -> http://tinyurl.com/jvh4a (to make your mouse to the thing)
    -> http://tinyurl.com/lgzoa (more tips)

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Paul,

    Aw, thanks! I've always wanted to be cool! :-)

    I haven't tried xScope and only tested TextMate for a couple of minutes. I guess I maybe need to give it another chance then. (Edit: confused it with TextWrangler. I have never tried TextMate either).

    autoy,

    Movie Time looks very good! I briefly tried it and file and Apple Remote support is superb. My only problem is that it messes up Swedish characters in subtitle files (I tried a number of different ones). Any ideas on this?

    Markus,

    Thank you very much for the links!

  • Costas says:

    Welcome to the back from the dark side!

    I switched 1,5 years ago and i will never turn back.

    about the remote. I use salling clicker! i remote the mac with it and it autosyncs my phone with the computer.

    cheers

    costas, stockholm

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Costas,

    Thank you!

    Sailing Clicker seems ok, but I want to use the nice Apple Remote with my computer, not my cell phone.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    autoy,

    An update: after being in contact with the Movie Time creator, I changed the subtitle encoding to Western (ISO Latin 1) and now it works like a charm! :-)

  • autoy says:

    Nice Robert :) I also got VLC to play subs automatically, thanx fot your tip too.

    Yeah, I had the ISO ploblem too but solved it reading the FAQ, so it's working nice. Subtitles look great and you can alter all fornt parameters etc. Best of all, it's free (rare on good mac apps).

  • Triple Johan says:

    Robert,

    G5 here, temperature of CPU between 45 and 50 degrees.

    Seems a little too warm, no? Transmit is a good FTP program.

    I have a friend who uses mac since a couple of years for developing, using X11.

  • Triple Johan says:

    Also this might be of intrest: about firefox and osx

  • Triple Johan says:

    I dont like the term switchers how about convertors

  • Robert Nyman says:

    autoy,

    Great! And yes, Movie Time is indeed very nice!

    Triple Johan,

    Yep, trying Transmit out now. Thanks for the tips.

    I don't like the term converts, since it's usually only Mac fanatcis that use it to try and make a point. I'm not a convert either; I use both PCs and Macs.

  • Johan says:

    I don’t like the term converts, since it’s usually only Mac fanatcis that use it to try and make a point. I’m not a convert either; I use both PCs and Macs.

    Just kidding! I meant it as a joke, switchers I think is almost the same. the revenge of the Mac Switchers (the sequal)

  • Benny says:

    I need the right click funtionality all day long so I hated the fact that the key is not there, but it is possible to configure the trackpad the a "two finger tap" reacts as a right click. I find it useful enough for my needs …

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Benny,

    Yes, it's ok then, but I still think the right mouse button should've been there.

  • Emanon says:

    Hi Robert!

    How did you overcome the F8 problem installing Windows XP with Parallels Desktop? When I press F8 I get the backlit pic on the screen…

    thank you

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Emanon,

    What you can do is to hold down the fn key while pressing any of the F1 – F10 buttons that have built-in functions.

  • Jane Marion says:

    Emanon,

    In the Mac Preferences, Keyboard and Mouse, uncheck the box that says "use the F1-F12 keys to control software features". I had to check it and then uncheck it for the f8 command to work properly (even with the fn key).

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Jane,

    Thanks, that's also an option (although the <code>fn</code> key seemed to work fine for me in Windows using Parallels).

  • Emanon says:

    Yeah, thanx a lot, after sending the message I found out about the damn Fn key myself lol Had no problems usin' it thou', without having to uncheck the F11-F12 keys from preferences!

    thx again! Just got my MacBook Pro too and I'm trying understand Apple's 'think different' motto lol

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Emanon,

    I'm happy it worked! :-)

    Good luck!

  • [...] lable for Mac OS X as well, since iPhoto is sub-par (more about that and Mac in general in My MacBook Pro – first-time Mac owner). During June this year they to [...]

  • [...] e just too many drawbacks for me right now. Robert Nyman has a nice post highlighting some things about OS X that suck and I got quite a couple others in my head [...]

  • mikek says:

    regarding quicktime with subtitles. yup it sux. instead try mplayer osx 2 – an video player that plays all pc avi's, supports subtitles and is free to d/l from sourceforge.
    http://mplayerosx.sourceforge.net/

    I've been on mac's since 1985 and have had good times though not used an intel mac as yet.

    HTH

    mikek

  • Robert Nyman says:

    mikek,

    Thanks for the tip! It is one of the media players I currenly use, although Movie Time, mentioned in the post, is now my favorite media player.

  • Fokke says:

    Just wanted to drop a line to let you know I enjoyed reading your experiences. Just ordered mine ;)

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Fokke,

    I'm glad it helped!

  • Maverick says:

    Robert,

    Excellent article for the first time user like me. I had one additional question though. Would you happen to know how I could play a video game cd (or for that matter any .iso) in apple. I mean they have the executables in the form of .exe and mac os x doesn't seem to recognize it.

    Thanks

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Maverick,

    I'm glad that you liked it!

    ISO files can easily be mounted through the built-in functionality in Mac OS X, but EXE files can't be run. An alternative for you if you have to run Windows-specific stuff is Parallels Desktop for Mac, to install Windows and run it within Mac OS X.

  • Maverick says:

    Robert,

    Thank you very much for the alternative. I was thinking there might be a way by means of converting .exe file to a .dmg or .img file for mac reconginition but I couldn't find anything. And now that you have mentioned, I guess it is the only way to run windows based application on mac.

    Thank you for your feedback. Its really appriciated.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Maverick,

    No problem, I'm glad it helped! :-)

  • [...] any computer I use. For a way more thorough review of my switch to the Mac, please read my My MacBook Pro – first-time Mac owner. First Swede in space! If you& [...]

  • Magnus Burman says:

    Good read the second time through, now that I've gotten a macbook myself!

    One thing that annoys me and that I haven't been able to solve in the few days I've played with this thing is the key combinations for some characters on a swedish keyboard, most of them used pretty often when coding.

    @ alt-2, with no alt on the right side of the keyboard this calls for a rather odd reach with the left thumb while stretching for the 2.

    $ alt-4, same thing here.

    { alt-shift-8, same odd thing with the thumb here while using the pinky for shift.

    alt-shift-7, same as above.

    Have I missed anything, or is this simply something you gotta get used to?

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Magnus,

    I'm glad this post was good for you! And, sorry to say, as far as I know, you just have to get used to it. There might be some keyboard remapping software for Macs, but I don't know about it.

  • [...] My MacBook Pro – first-time Mac owner Posted in Tech [...]

  • [...] My MacBook Pro – first-time Mac owner [...]

  • [...] My MacBook Pro – first-time Mac owner Posted in Apple/Mac, Reviews/tests, Technology | Share your thoughts [...]

  • David Marsh says:

    Exposé are different ways of looking at one application or all applications running at the moment, side by side. with the background dimmed down. It would be very useful if one could invoke the command and then drag and drop from one application to the other. That is not the case, however; a click on one application in Exposé just sets focus to that application and no more action is possible

    Start dragging the file before you hit F9 then hover over the window you want. You can also keep holding F9 and release when over the correct window rather than hovering. What I do: Have a hot corner set, drag the file into that corner, Exposé activates, hover over the window you want and drop where needed when it comes back. Works a treat.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    David,

    As a matter of a fact, that's exactly how I do it nowadays! :-)

  • [...] I’ve been with the hard drives who have come with my two MacBook Pros. Last year, I got my first Mac, and it was supposed to have a 100GB hard drive. Actual size: 92 [...]

  • StrAngel says:

    If you know your mac, you know that you can rightclick.

    Use two finger tapping on the touchpad…and voila!

    I think you have to configure it in the mouse properties, but it is possible.

  • Rob says:

    Omg I wish I had read this before I got my MacBook (although my dad bought it for me without my knowledge).

    As far as I know, it was around £1,500 and tbh, at that price, it is CRAP.

    Yes it looks pretty cool when you're flying through differnet applications, it has a camera, records vids, bluetooth, nice keyboard and handy ports aound it etc.

    *HOWEVER*

    Everything I read about a MacBook includes the heat. I mean, the innovation and technology that we see everyday in Apple and it's products should surely cover shuch a basic point.

    It has some really cool looking applications but I only ever use a very small proportion of these. A specific point that really ticks me off is the camera. WHY DOES IT REVERSE PHOTOS???? I'm not a freakin' left-handed drummer but this is the impression you get from my MySpace photo!

    My AirPort connection constantly weakens and sometimes cuts off even when I'm about 10 feet away fromthe bloody signal box thing (w/e you call it).

    Next in my rambling session is battery life. I've never actually needed to take my MacBook out with me yet (my main desire for a laptop was lack of space) but if I did, I garentee(sp?) that the battery would be at 0% by the time I returned home. For this reason, I usually have it plugged into the mains when using it at home.

    The audio is slightly disappointing too. At full volume it is considderably quiet. I was also slightly disappointed to merely have a trial of Microsoft Office while if I had bought an alternative laptop, it would have no doubtedly came with Windows as standard, would it not?

    Finally, the thing that almost made me throw it on the floor (but luckily my sofa was there instead) and drove me to come onto this *MICROSOFT WINDOWS* desktop; where I then came accross this page and wrote this essay that nobody is going to read; :P is the fact that it has completely frozen. I had just opened iTunes began downloading some music and it simply froze with the cursor assuming that spinning rainbow disc.

    Ok, new to the Mac world, I turn to my *MICROSOFT WINDOWS* PC for help. I found the list of keyboard shortcuts referenced further up this page. But guess what, none of the Force Quit or Restart/Shut Down commands are working and thus my MacBook is still frozen as I type this. I can't switch it off or anything!

    All in all, I am *SO* disappointed as I always thought if I ever gave Mac a chance, I'd get used to it quickly and fall in love. However that is most definitely NOT the case.

    I do love the look of it on screen and the machine itself and it dose have some nice features but the cons drastically outweigh the pros. If I had made the ourchase myself, I would most definitely gone for a much cheaper but equally as useful Microsoft laptop.

    Lol I bet this doesn't even get read considdering the date of this topic but to be honest, going on like an old woman has made me feel slightly better. Best to get rid of as much stress as possible before A-Level exams in January. :P

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Rob,

    It does indeed get read. :-)

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Jim Allen says:

    Hi,

    I have read all the posts and it is really refreshing to find some Mac users who don't seem brainwashed by the hype. I have said in the past that the one thing that puts me off the Mac is the users :D

    Thankfully, my preconceptions have been dispelled after reading this page.

    I have ordered my MacBook Pro, and it arrives in a couple of days. I have admired the Mac for a number of years but been unable to afford one until now. Over the years Windows has annoyed me to the point of full-on shouting at the PC (is this just me?) and I felt that it was time to try an alternative.

    Thanks for your comments – very helpful – I didn't realise the heat issue was such a problem. I use an HP laptop at the moment, and that gets rather hot on my lap. So much so, that I think it could genuinely be used as a contraceptive device (raising the temperature of the scrotum and killing the sperm) like the traditional approach in some parts of Africa, but using hot water – not laptops – obviously… Sorry, probably too much information :)

    God knows what the Mac will do to me!

    Anyway, I'll update you with my findings. I also read the essential freeware recommendations – nice, thanks!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Jim,

    I'm glad that the information could be of use to you! Since my switch from Windows about a year and half ago, I haven't regretted it once. I think the new models have heat problems as well, but maybe just not as bad as the first ones. Sperm is definitely the first to go if you use it as an actual laptop should be used… :-)

    Good luck!

  • Jim Allen says:

    Rob, I guess you have tried using Google to search for solutions to this. I had a quick look for you and there are a number of people who (predictably) are experiencing the same thing. Experts Exchange is a good place for PC troubleshooting, and they have a 7 day free trial which should sort things out for you.

    If you can't fix the problem, and are just fed up with your Mac experience, are you by any chance considering selling your machine on E-bay?

  • Jim Allen says:

    A quick update – actually the heat generated by my MacBook Pro is no worse than the HP laptop, and possibly it is a little cooler actually!

    Lots of things I'm not used to, but generally everything is fairly seamless. Wifi set up perfectly, and most things just work nicely.

    I'm really enjoying this so far!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Jim,

    The problem with heat isn't that bad actually. And no, I won't sell it! :-)

    I'm sure you will have a great experience with your model as well.

  • Jim Allen says:

    Two things about OS X I don't like are 1. the inability to activate a single instance of a running program from the doc. I frequently have 3 Sketchp files open, if I switch to something else while rendering, I can't choose just an individual file to maximise.

    The second is iTunes. God, what a terrible application! It is bloated, rips in m4u format – not supported by other mp3 players by default without telling you, (guess who has 8 otherwise unusable CDs) won't allow me download the album art even with an iTunes ID which I shouldn't have had to have had, and even if I manage to download the album art, it won't be transferred to other music players. It also won't allow me to copy music off my daughter's ipod…

    I really need an alternative to this POS. Songbird looks okay, but won't let me rip music, I'm not sure if it will let me download album artwork either…

    Most of the much-heralded iLife suite is also effectively useless to me. I don't have a band or a camcorder, and like to manage images by directory not by 'album'. Oh, for a Mac version of Irfanview!

    This doesn't mean I'm not happy with my Mac, just (quickly) discovering annoyances.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Jim,

    Yes, definitely there are downsides, but I think the overall definitely makes it worth while. :-)

  • kate challenger says:

    Hey Robert,

    I am the proud new and not very competant owner of a macbook (white and still clean). Where can i go to get tutorials on how to use the sexy machine. I want to love my macbook, but am frustrated. I need to find somewhere that can explain stuff to the macillerate. can you help at all. I would appreciate it if you could help me.

    kate

  • John Graybeal says:

    Jim,

    (In 10.4 anyway) You can select a single instance (if by that you mean window) from most programs by going to the Dock, and holding down the icon for your application until a list pops up of all the windows. Just navigate go to the window you want.

    Interesting to read how the switchers view the Mac experience. With so many things just being different than on the PC, it's impressive that people can make the adjustment at all.

    Thanks all for the links.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    John,

    Thanks for that input!

  • Martin says:

    Robert

    It was good to find this article and form an opinion on buying or not with an unbiased view. The option of dual booting was what swung it, although a year on I've managed to resist the temptation and it's still Windows free :)

    If Kate above (or anyone else) is still looking for a good tutorial site I discovered macinstruct, which I recently found really useful. It also informed me that the mac firewall isn't on by default, which was a bit of a shocker after a year of use!!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Martin,

    I'm glad to hear that!

    Thanks for the link!

  • Nick says:

    Nice review. I just got a new Penryn based mbp and it runs MUCH cooler than what it sounds like the older versions were running at. Also the multitouch pad makes the need for a second button obsolete. two finger tap right clicks now :)

    I really have to agree with you you about apple being a bit of a toy company… They would sell a lot more computers if they were not silly about their ordering/customizing process.

    Overall I am very happy with my switch. A couple of issues with sprint releasing crappy software support for their dialup aircards but besides that.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Nick,

    Good to hear that your new version doesn't get as hot, and that you're happy with the switch! I know I wouldn't go back, at least. :-)

  • Synco says:

    That was an interesting reading. I am thinking of getting a Macbook Air. I hope it doesnt get that hot.

  • James says:

    Here we go, it took a long time for me to even Think, about switiching to Mac, but in the last year I have been looking more and more into it. One reason for certain in this decision to purchase the Macbook Pro (which will be arriving at my door tomorrow) is the crop of gray hairs I have nicknamed "Windows" that I have sprouted while using windows for years. After reading this from top to bottom, It seems I better lower my expectations for the Mac…? Altough we all have our own opinions of it, but I do expect it to be far better than what I've been forever dealing with…I hope. Whatever the case will be, Thanks for posting your input on the Mac, I must admit, I do feel as if I already have a advanced insight on whats to come. I'll come back to this page after I've played with this new "toy" for some weeks and hopefully have good things to say about it. I'm indeed excited to sign for my Mac pac with open arms and refreshed attitude on Pc bonding.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Synco,

    Good luck!

    James,

    Now, two years after I wrote this post, I can tell you that I would never ever go back to Windows. :-)

    Good luck!

  • John M Dolan says:

    Good review and I agree , no better than my pc just different. Way prettier though. I am selling my macbook, I think I want the aluminum one :)

  • Rj says:

    I had some serious problems switching to Mac, only because I had NO IDEA what I was doing and no one I knew had one at the time. I searched Google for "mac video training" and found some videos that saved me all sorts of time. I suggest that anyone that is about to buy a mac, check the videos out and you'll see that not only are Macs great but they don't take long to learn!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    John,

    Go for it! :-)

    RJ,

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Tom says:

    The network cable on the right side of the machine makes absolutely NO sense at all! I thought it was just me who thought that was a feeble attempt… This is a great review: I have been a pc user for ever, I finally snapped and invested in the MAC, the no right click throws me for a loop, but all in all, this is a superior machine.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Tom,

    Thanks!

    And of course you can right-click. Just plug in a mouse or set double-finger setting in System Preferences. :-)

  • xereniak says:

    have you ever heard of QTAmatuer? its like a free quiktime player pro. i use it for any kind of movie file including flv's.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    xereniak,

    Actually, no. Thanks for the tip!

  • Julie says:

    Hey, this is really good.

    Thank you, no thanks a lot for all of this. I was hesitant to get a MBP but I am now certain to get one by the end of this week! :)

  • Padma says:

    Hey Robert,

    I just bought a new Mac Pro. I bought it in a quick second but I was so hesitant about it after that. Though it hasn't yet reached me ( I have asked for 4 GB upgrade. This is taking a day's time), I started thinking about returning it. Your review and comments by others have given me enough courage to go for it. Thanks a lot. :)

    Cheers,

    Padma.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Julie, Padma,

    Glad I could inspire you! :-)

  • Dan says:

    You shouldn't bash Apple for lengthy shipping time – It's a California, USA based company. It's where all their products are manufactured and sent from. If I read correctly, Shipping from West Coast US to Sweden SHOULD by any means take quite a bit of time.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Dan,

    Well, first of all this post is four years old, and things have changed. Besides, seven weeks are not ok under any circumstances, if you ask me.

  • First and foremost it is not called a laptop. It is a MacBook. I use a breakfast in bed tray to keep my legs from burning. I have used computers since 1970 and you know what I say here is the Truth. There is not anything finer than a Mac.

  • marcoselk says:

    “I have never used the built in camera (or other) since I got my MacBook Pro, so there is no way of knowing if it ever worked as now no matter which Ap I use it says “No Camera connected”. I reset the PRAM, no help! how do you get to activate it?
    Thanks.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    marcoselk,

    Sorry, you need to try the Apple support forums for help with that.

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