24 June 2003

So I’ve done it. I’ve finally switched from a Windows machine with a tempramental network card to an aluminium box of Apple goodness.

It arrived this morning after a brief mess-up with delivery addresses (wherein Apple confused the billing and delivery addresses, merging the two. Oh dear. Anyhow, it got here. Observation #1: Apple packaging is as great as everybody makes out. A relativlely tiny black box marked ‘G4 Powerbook 12″‘, and inside, that piece of cardboard stating that it’s “Designed by Apple in California”. And another layer down, all the wires and stuff laid out neatly in the polystyrene. And under the polystyrene: the Powerbook.

There are pornographic photos of people unpacking Apples the web over, so that’s all I’ll say on that front. Since then, I’ve unpacked it, set up and patched OS X, installed Office and all manner of useful little freebies and had a little play. Further observations:

  • This is the best designed piece of hardware I’ve ever used. Everything fits. The keyboard is a work of genius – sturdy, tough, responsive. The slot-loading Combo Drive scares me a little, sucking disks up like that, and it sounds like the damn thing’s going to take off when it’s ripping or copying, but it’s a lovely piece of design all the same.
  • Word X is surprisingly crap all things considered.
  • Terminal is my friend, SSHing very nicely into my University email server. As is Safari. Sadly Safari doesn’t have typeahead find, but configuring Camino will take a while so it will have to do for now. Other freeware and shareware I’m enjoying: Kung-Log, NetNewsWire Lite, and Hydra. Am wrestling with Proteus.
  • It runs Quake 3 better than my old PC. Especially the new True Combat mod. And the screen is fine for games, trust me. Only thing: when you’re gaming, the fan will kick in. The fan is moderately loud.
  • The heat issue: yes, it gets hot. I tend not to rest my hands on the wrist rest anyway, and my posture is thus better. And the heat is not an issue. If anything, it’s pleasant. Still wouldn’t want it on my lap.
  • iChat is good. Shame half the world’s on MSN; iChat really is one of the nicest chat clients I’ve used in a long while.
  • Brushed metal: OK for some things. But please, Apple, not the Finder!

All in all: I’m a happy camper. It’s a damn fine piece of kit, all seems to be working for now (though just you wait til I have to wrestle with the modem) and it’s genuinely making me enjoy computing again. And there’s all sorts of clever stuff i’m waiting to learn. And the size is just perfect. I switched. I feel clean.