I've been pretty excited over the past few days about the idea of getting a Mac. I've been a PC user for the past 20 years, so the idea of getting a Mac never really phased me until recently. Having seen some of the cool things, and with Parallels making application compatibility so seamless on the Intel based Macs, the concept of actually getting one has been gnawing at my mind. Well the opportunity finally came into fruition when my fiancee decided to buy a new laptop. After a few days of discussion, I sold her on a Mac. Kind of funny since I'm not a Mac user myself.
So the big day arrived. Not my wedding day, but the actual purchase date. My fiancee was kind enough to point out that I seemed more excited about buying the laptop than our wedding, but thats another story. So we get to the Apple Store, and wouldn't you know it, our timing couldn't have been worse. Turns out that it was also the same day the IPhone was released. So after seeing a line about half a mile long, and having no success convincing the door man to let us in, we decided to wander around the mall and wait for the line to disapait. I wasn't concerned with the media circus and foolish behavior of the IPhone crowd. But I believe some of my choice words must have made an impression on the door man. I mean, why the hell did an Apple Store have a door man anyway?
So after some grumbling, and after seeing how overpriced the Sony Vaios were in the midst of my stubborn reconsideration brought upon by being turned away due to the IPhone celebration, we returned about a half an hour later to a non-existent line. All that for people to play with the IPhone, yet so few bought one. Of course the whole ordeal left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, so even though I was determined to buy a MacBook, I decided to be a little bit of an antagonist towards the Apple Store staff.
Now I wasn't being a prick by any means. I more or less decided to play the part of the ignorant consumer and poke a little fun at the whole Apple counter culture that I had apparently been suckered into. So while the door man was less than customer service friendly, my salesman was more willing to answer such questions as "Whats so special about the IPhone?", "Doesn't Windows Mobile and Blackberrys already do that?", and "Why should I get a Mac, doesn't my PC do all the same things?". Of course, these questions I already knew the answers to, I just wanted to amuse myself before an act that at this point I really felt was selling my soul.
The Apple Store staff did catch on to my ribbing though, so apparently I wasn't as clever as I thought I was. They joked with me a little with such retorts as "Well, a PC guy just couldn't understand", and "Well if you had told them at the door that you were a PC guy, we wouldn't have let you in". Was that salt in the wound?
Long story short, we walked out with a very cool new MacBook, a free IPod Nano since my fiancee is in college for her Masters, a customized Western Spanish keyboard layout, a free photo printer, a copy of Parallels, andthe sense that I had accomplished my goal, gotten some good rebates, and the knowledge that Dell could never match the bang-for-buck factor I had walked out of the store with. Of course, the end of the story comes when I, in my excitement, opened the box in my fiancees truck. Now, Im pinned in the passanger seat by the printer box, the fact that I can't recline due to a lack of a extended cab, and all the remaining doo dads and doo hickeys we came out of the store with. I couldn't wait to open the box and fire up the Mac. So thats exactly what I did. So here I am in her tiny truck, with the printer pinning my feet, the MacBook box wide open, and packaging material all over. I turn on the Mac, and was satisfied. That is until a friggin Brown Recluse Spider came crawling out of the packaging material right on my lap. So between the paralizing fear of one of the most media hyped venomous spiders staring me in the face, and the fact that I couldn't move with all the boxes and packaging material pinning me in my fiancees tiny ass passangers seat, I was pretty much sure my night was going to suck from that point on. Luckily, my fiancee, not having her mobility limited by her enthusiasm for technology, she squashed the dang thing with a card she had laying around. That leaves me to wonder if the Apple Store folks decided to have the last laugh. I'll tell you, in the Mac vs PC Commercials, they sure has hell didn't show the Mac guy trying to kill the PC guy with arachnids.
So with that adventure out of the way, I am very happy with my MacBook.
With all the reviews out there I don't need to repeat. A few assessments however.
1. Parallels does indeed rock. And although it is heavily advertised as working with Windows XP, it works with just about any PC based OS, just like VMWare. In fact, we went with a Windows 2000 install instead.
2. The only distinguishable difference between the VMWare Workstation and VMWare Server instances I can tell are the price tag and the integration of native client OS apps into the Host OS. Otherwise, it works pretty much the same, with you having to install the Tools inthe the client OS in order to get things like clipboard sharing, shared folders, etc.
3. Eclipse runs like crap under OS X. Either Apple or Eclipse needs to fix that. It runs faster with Parallels than it does natively under OS X.
4. The 30 day Microsoft Office for Mac Test Drives is a joke. Theres tons of comparisons between the Mac and PC versions of Microsoft Office, so I won't comment on those.
5. iLife, while being a fairly well rounded suite of applications, just doesn't warrant me ponying up extra money. I find the idea of installing shareware on a new system distasteful. If your going to put software on a new system, put the full version, don't waste my time with time limited trials and trying to sucker me into the .Mac online service.
6. Same goes with iWork. OpenOffice.org for Aqua just had their developer, so we may not be far off from the non-X11 version.
Overall though, the MacBook does rock. I will see how well my fiancee fares with it over the course of the next few months. That will help sway my decision to either buying one, or sticking with a PC and moving back to Ubuntu for my day to day tasks.