compare and contrast..

I just sat back on my home office chair and noticed something – the way I’d laid out my phone and laptop spoke volumes.. so I took a picture to show you…

My work laptop and phone

work

work

My personal laptop and phone

Home

Home

Interesting, huh?

My work, which is very important in the scheme of things to both me and my company – if I can’t work well, then it costs lots of $$ – gives me the most basic phone I’ve ever seen and a base spec business laptop. Actually, I’m not complaining about the laptop, it might be basic, but it works fine, I just need a bigger harddisk – 50G these days for demos and virtual machines is waaay too small. The phone on the other hand, is embarrassing.

My home setup technically isnt that important (as in I don’t need it to pay the mortgage etc) – however it does keep me in touch with my kids on skype which is pretty important, and I also use it for my photography obsession to process photos and more recently, for writing children’s books. So, this largely non-essential use and I manage to have a hugely better spec machine (and oh so shiny too) than work. My phone is also muuuch better than my work phone and more appropriate (calendar/3G/email sync etc).

I’ve never had particularly good work laptops and I’ve always had to compromise in what I want to do -surely thats an oxymoron!

2 weeks with the mac

well, its been a few weeks with the MacBook Pro now, so I thought I’d offer my thoughts!

Speed. I have the slower of the 2 MacBook Pro 15″ models, but its more than quick enough, even for serious photo editing. Lightroom and PhotoShop CS3 run fast and without any problems, as does Open Office. Actually, thats probably the most noticeable speed increase. Everything else tilts along just nicely.

OS X. The OS is ok, its fast, stable, does most things you want really. I find “Finder” – the equivalent of Windows Explorer – to be a bit limiting and frustrating, but I’m getting used to it and I suspect there are other free utilities that I can use to replace it in time. Its a pain with images – browsing is not as simple – Windows works better in that regard. Everything else though, the Mac is just fine. It goes to sleep when I want it to, wakes up with no fuss. Excellent.

Applications: It comes with most of the things you need really – have to download updated itunes which was a little disappointing, but no big deal. Downloaded Open Office, but could have bought IWork with the machine which I guess would have done pretty much the same thing. The only gotcha is playing video files. Windows was better at all the various codecs and players needed to play all the files I’ve collected over the years – the codecs are available for Mac, but I’ve only found pay ones so far.

Physical. Its very shiny and aluminiumy. The screen is excellent, but it does go very dim in low light with its ambient light sensor – has me peering at the screen sometimes. I got a glossy screen and its fine where I use it – not too many reflections and it displays images well and pretty much true to colour too. The single click track pad is a work of genius – gestures work really well, although I have a tendency to pinch, which enshrinkens the running application, mostly firefox – so the font goes teeny. I just need to adjust my technique. I particularly like the one, two, three finger gestures – they’re very intuitive. The only negative is the lack of USB ports (only 2) but there is an ESATA and Firewire port too, so its just a matter of getting peripherals that don’t rely on USB. Oh, and the keyboard is quite a long way back on the base in order to accommodate the large trackpad. Means my wrists get a bit sore from being bent up in piano playing stylee. The aluminium chassis is not comfortable to rest your arms on, so “normal” use isn’t really possible. I’ll get used to it though. They keyboard is lovely to use though, keys are nicely spaced and well weighted. And its really quiet.

Battery. Not 7 hours as claimed, but easily 5. Good. How well it lasts remains to be seen.

All in all – very pleased with it. Happy to have made the switch.

new toys

Its been one of those weeks. My laptop died a few weeks back and despite updating it to Windows 7, repeated surgery for new drivers, disk defragmentation, memory parity checks and so on, it just kept freezing.

So I had to buy a new one.

The big debate then – another PC or go the Apple Mac route.

Well, Jay’s Dell has been plagued with issues from Windows Vista, my Sony was the same, so I decided to spend a few dollars more and get a MacBook Pro.  15 inch screen.

macbook pro

macbook pro

and very shiny it is too.  I’m not totally sold on the large clickable touchpad and there are some things the operating system does that I still need to get my head around, but apart from that- it just works.  No crashes, freezes, complaints or anything.  It goes to sleep when asked and wakes up on cue.  And the battery lasts forever.   A few hours of surfing and stuff only used 25% of the battery.  Very impressive.

So it gets my vote for the time being.