View Full Version : My review of our new MacBook

November 30th, 2007, 10:30 PM
Ok, as I stated in a different thread, I bought the wife a macbook as she was having stability & performance problems in linux, as well as the linux peripheral support shortcomings. She is not very computer literate, & mainly wants to surf the web, watch videos, use the spreadsheet, and print & scan things like labels, forms, etc. So, as a result, I bought her a MacBook, and reclaimed my Acer Aspire ubuntu laptop (and was freed from xubuntu-on-a-Gateway Solo P2 purgatory).

We bought the lowest spec MacBook - it came with an HP 3-in-1 scanner/printer/copier, which is free after $100 rebate. We also bought iWork to install on the machine.

Random observations:

- Setting it up was pretty easy, though the HP driver/software installation continually locked up, & had to be force quitted multiple times. I did a search, and found advice to go to the HP website to download the latest software. I did, and installation went fine. The printer works great.

- Not crazy about the screen - it's small & grainy looking, & has one of those anti-glare surfaces that's hard to see from an angle. Definitely a step down from the big, glossy screen of the Acer Aspire.

- Things do crash occasionally.

- The HP photo/printer management app is a major resource hog. It effectively locked up the machine at one point.

- The Mac scheme is funny & weird - buttons are in the wrong place & do strange things, the menubar at the top "becomes" the menubar for the application with focus, the system chooses which app icons to display on the bottom (I guess based on recent use), and the minimized applications are crammed in the lower right corner.

- Very slick & compact looking, feels solid. All the usb ports are on the left side, though, which is a bit inconvenient. Neat how there's no extending CDROM tray, you just stick it in the side, & it spits out when ejected.

- I really like the cool power adapter & extender scheme, & how the cord-to-laptop jack is magnetized.

- It has a BASH terminal, if you can find it (it's buried somewhere within Finder). Once there, it's your basic *nix interface. It did everything I tried, including ssh, ifconfig, etc. However, it failed to mount a remote NFS partition, which I later found out that it uses AFS (I think), so no surprise that didn't work.

- Numbers (the iWork spreadsheet) does not recognize the OO calc .sxc (?) format. I had to convert our existing OO spreadsheets to .xls. However, if you simply try to open those, it funnels you into the installed trial version of MS office, and gives you instructions on how to buy. You have to explicitly open the document in Numbers. Number does however have some handy built-in templates, such as the party planner template (not sure exactly what it's called) - my wife loves it & is using it to plan our son's next B'day party.

- We also bought an external Kensignton mouse which was recognized & worked fine, except that we found it interfered with my own external Kensington mouse, so I ditched mine.

- The Addresses(?) app is very handy, & makes it easy to print out envelopes, labels, etc (that is, it was easy once you figured out that the funny-looking "down" button expanded the options window to expose printing format options...).

Well that's all I can think of now. Not the perfect experience I was hoping for (& payed for), but all-in-all a pretty slick machine, hopefully it'll work out for the wife in the long run.

November 30th, 2007, 10:36 PM
- Things do crash occasionally..

what kind of things?

openoffice crashes for me due to that buggy X11

November 30th, 2007, 10:38 PM
what kind of things?

openoffice crashes for me due to that buggy X11

For example, the HP installation I mentioed (i.e. it locked up).

Safari also crashed at one point - in fact, you know how it does that fancy graphical "swish" from minimized to open? It crashed mid-swish, so a deformed safari was sitting on the screen until I killed it.

November 30th, 2007, 11:29 PM
The HP stuff is HP's fault, not Apple's. I know for Windows, you can just install the driver and skip the utility. The default scanning utilities work fine for our HP all-in-one, and I got rid of the HP utilities for the same reasons you mentioned. Unless you have a dedicated print server or print something every few minutes, it is an amazing waste of resources.

December 1st, 2007, 12:36 AM
i've never really used a mac, i'd like to try it out! :) i know one thing about macs and that's the free program called Quicksilver, it's really good, there are tutorials for it on youtube, there's a linux 'clone' called gnome-do too.