My New Macbook

I got my new Macbook today, and I’m having a lot of fun playing with it.  I’m typing this on it right now, as a matter of fact.  Though I’ve only had it for a few hours, I’d like to go over some of my first impressions.

The Macbook doesn’t come with iWork, or MS Office, so I installed OpenOffice.org instead.  I really only ever use these office suites for the word processors anyway, so it’s not a big deal to me.  The only problem is that OpenOffice seems to take longer to start up under OS X than it does in any of the other operating systems I’ve used it in.  I haven’t actually timed it, but it feels slower to start.

Also, I’ve had some trouble getting the Macbook set up to recognize the wifi network in my apartment when I start the computer.  It might be that I didn’t set it up properly when the OS was walking me through the initial setup.  If that’s the case, it’s my fault, but I’d still like to find a way to fix this little problem, so that I don’t have to manually set it up by going through the diagnostics walkthrough every time I turn on the computer.

Otherwise, everything seems to be going swimmingly.  Overall, this computer is a lot faster than my desktop.  I installed World of Warcraft to test the graphics capabilities relative to my old desktop PC (WOW is the only game I have that’ll install on a modern Mac), and I ended up getting more than double my usual frame rates.  Given that the Macbook I got is only using an integrated Intel graphics chip, that should tell you something about the desktop PC I’ve been struggling with for the past few years.  But also, I think it says a lot for how much CPU power this little laptop is packing (2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo).

I also installed Firefox without any problems, and it seems perfectly fine.  Back when I was listening to Paul Thurrott complaining about Firefox not using any special skins for Windows Vista, I just thought he was being annoying.  Now, I come to find that that seems to be exactly what Firefox has been doing for OS X.  The default theme for Firefox in OS X seems almost identical to that of Safari.  I don’t know why they wouldn’t want to do something similarly customized for Vista.  I understand why they don’t do it for linux (there are too many different desktop themes in linux), but Vista has a relatively uniform theme overall, so I’d assume they’d want to do something that made Firefox look like it belonged.  Oh well, it’s not like there aren’t custom themes to download.

Speaking of web browsers, I love the fact that flash works properly in OS X.  The crappy flash in Linux has been annoying me for quite a while now.  It’s nice to have a Unix based system with good flash video while web surfing.  I can finally watch hulu full screen without loosing frames (or booting up into Windows).

Spaces, which is Leopard’s version of Linux’s multiple desktops, seems to work fine.  I honestly don’t think Leopard handles multiple desktops as seamlessly as Linux does with compiz fusion.  However, it’s arguably better than the way KDE handles it by default, so one could make an argument either way.  I’m confident of one thing, though: it won’t be long before Microsoft hops on the multiple desktop bandwagon too.  With the exponential increase in multitasking capabilities of modern computers (with more ram, and multi core possessors), it won’t be long before multiple desktops become more than just a convenience for high end power users; it’ll become the norm.

Overall, I’m really enjoying my first real experience toying around with OS X.  I don’t think I’ll be installing a different OS on this computer for a while.  I want to get used to OS X before I start experimenting with anything else.  I’m looking forward to all the things I should be able to do, now that I have a decent portable computer.

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