MacBook Pro first impressions and why I switched

I just received my MacBook Pro on Friday. For me this is an even bigger switch since I’m making the switch from Windows to OSX as my primary work desktop. Over the years I’ve alternated between Linux and Windows and as my current Windows laptop is a few years old and shows its age when running IDEA and doing Java compiles I decided the time was right to make the move to OSX.

So for the first impressions, this is the nicest laptop I’ve ever used in terms design, speed, screen size, screen brightness, and the little things (magnetic power connector, keyboard and screen that auto adjust brightness based on light conditions, double finger scrolling, etc..). Apple got this laptop right, it’s amazingly thin and light yet still packs the same amount of power as the current Dell offering!

There are a few downsides in my opinion of switching to a Mac but they are general gripes I have with Apple and not specific to this laptop.

  • My main gripe is the lack of a right click, for the love of god Apple, please accept that right click is a good thing and it wasn’t invented by Microsoft so it’s OK to give us a right click button on the trackpad.
  • The other one is the lack of hibernate. In Windows you have shutdown, hibernate, and sleep and I use hibernate a lot because I want to leave my apps open but I think sleep is a waste of electricity if you’re not going to use your laptop for half a day. I may be totally wrong on this but I’d bet if you added up the power draw of all the Macs sleeping in the world right now that it’s not an insignificant amount of energy being wasted… tree huggers heart hibernate!

I also thought of staying with Windows or Linux but here was my thinking there:

Linux

  • Pros: It’s *nix so it has everything a developer would like for the command line such as bash, xargs, sed, awk, vim, etc… and lots of programs with gnu readline support.
  • Cons: While there’s good support on the open-source application front and Java you can spend a good chunk of time trying getting things installed and working right such as browser plugins like Flash, using CodeWeavers Crossover Office for Word and such, and so on. And yes, I’ve used OpenOffice and while it’s 95% there in office compatability it’s not 100%.
  • Summary: Basically there’s a bit of a hassle factor in the office applications when trying to use Linux in a Windows office. I want to focus on our core business, not dealing with compatability issues.

Windows

  • Pros: Runs every application under the sun (except Textpad) and in my opinion it’s a pretty stable OS these days.
  • Cons: It has the crappiest command line and scripting language out there, see my hunor piece I titled Fed up with Java, switching to .BAT for a little tongue in cheek! I always end up installing Cygwin to develop on a Windows machine and while Cygwin works really well, some bash scripts of downloaded software don’t work out of the box and even in Cygwin it shows through from time to time that you’re running on a non Unix platform.
  • Summary: Basically there’s a hassle factor of being a developer on the Windows platform. I need a good command line and I really want Unix.

That brings me to switching to my new MacBook Pro. It’s Unix under the hood which makes for a great development and command line working environment. There’s a version of MS Office for it so I can still easily deal with opening and editing office documents without worrying about sending out a document that looks like crap when opened in Word. I’ll see how it goes but I’m hopeful it will be the right mix of being able to work in both worlds a little better.

Related reading: MacBook Pro: So fast, oh, so fast, Eclipse on MacBook Pro, MacBook Pro: Kicking ass and taking names, MacBook Pro Experience, MacBook Pro First Impressions, New MacBook Pro (with great Pug photo!), and More MacBook Pro Benchmarking.

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