Finally managed to install Vista on the Mac via Parallels Desktop. I had some initial trouble getting the installer to use the .iso file but after quiting and restarting it worked fine. The result…very good, so much quicker than Vista on Virtual PC on a PC which I still can’t quite get my head around. The network didn’t work at first but once I’d installed the Parallels components onto Vista then all was good. The only down side is no DirectX3d so you don’t get the fancy bit…oh well I usually turn all that stuff off anyway!
Finally moved into the dizzy world of OSX from OS8 with a bottom of the range Macbook. So what’s it like?
As a laptop the Macbook is very nice, small and compact with a nice screen. The keyboard has a very nice (and quiet) action. The Magna-plug thingy is odd, almost tears your arm (ok it pulls a bit) when the plug gets near the socket. The screen is very nice, a good 13.4" widescreen size which, although is reflective, produces rich colours. I’m also very impressed with the two finger scrolling on the taskpad, great idea.
Now for the problems…
US keyboard!!! Ok it’s not the biggest problem in the world and I’ve suffered with Sun systems in the past and yes my aging G3 is US too, but come on Apple get your head out of your xenophobic butts and give us a UK keyboard.
The tiny build in web cam is great but it’s positioned at exactly the point you use to open the lid, so I dare say they’ll be lots of thumb prints on the lens soon.
I’ve read reports about the machine getting too hot and also of it discolouring (probably related). Yes it does get hot, but it a lot hotter than my Dell…hmm perhaps it is, I guess only time will tell if has an adverse affect on the components.
Ok I’m a Windows user for most of the time so I do tend to be all "fingers and thumbs" when it comes to using a new OS, a recent excursion into Linux confirmed this. Overall it’s fine.
The initial setup process was annoying. The first confusing choice was, "US or GB keyboard". Erm, well I want a GB keyboard but this is an Apple laptop so I don’t have the choice you little *****! Next was the networking… I’ve got a wireless network but didn’t have the encryption key to hand but it was a real nightmare trying to persuade the setup to move past that. Ok there was an option not to use wireless but I didn’t know how difficult it would be to persuade it to use wireless again (turns out it’s easy). Fortunally my neighbours don’t bother with secure wireless (another blog on that later) so I happily piggy-backed onto their unsecure network.
Machine name, I’ve yet to sus this one, currently it’s called after me, or according to my router HOST1. Hmm, annoying.
Now, context menus. I know Windows have had a second mouse button since the year dot, and Sun had at least 20 (or was it 3) and Apple have, until very recently, refused to ack’ this but it’s so much easier to right-click rather than command-click. Come on Apple we want a second mouse button on the laptops, you know it makes sense swallow some of that pride and get on with it.
The dock…what on earth is the horribly over-large blob taking 1/3 of my screen? Yes look at the funny bobbling icons, yuk…ok it may appeal to people who still stare at planes with wonder but come on. So after right-clicking (yes I’m calling it that) I got the dock to a decent size.
"I’m doing something indicators" – normally with any computer you get some indication that it’s doing something. For me, that usually means a hard disk LED. Apple have always been quick to get rid of ugly things that shouldn’t have any use, great. However, there have been a number of times that I’ve launched some application and I’ve been faced with a completly blank screen, no animated beach ball, hour-glass, nothing but a normal pointer. With no disk LED I’ve simple no idea what’s going on. Sure this is the OSs fault but a little support from the hardware wouldn’t go a miss here.
You get some, now standard, applications with OSX such as iChat. But wait, you can’t simply use it, oh now you’ve got to subscribe to a .mac account for £70 per year! Now I’m all for paying a little extra for the extra features, such as on-line file sharing but really…paying for an instant messenger account is just too much, in fact paying for a web space these days is a cheek.
Interop with Windows
So far so good, connected to Windows shares without an problem. Downloaded and run Microsofts Remote Desktop Client so I’ve managed to develop on a PC from the Macbook without too much fuss…apart from the right-clicking de-selecting text before displaying the context menu. The other way around is a bit more of a problem. I installed VNC for OSX, which works ok. The speed in no way matched the RDP of Remote Desktop but its ok to do the odd bit of work but you can’t use it to work remotely on the machine…well not if you’ve got my patience.