Recycled Computing

MacBook Pros and Cons: Leaving the Past Behind

- 2010.07.12

Alert readers have pointed out that my last column contained anembarrassing error. I incorrectly used sawbuck to refer to $100.Naturally, I should have used C-note (since corrected - ed).It's really bad when you can't even get your slang right.

As a challenge, let's see how many people know what "large" means interms of currency. Example - "They paid him 20 large to rebuild theirservers".

A New MacBook

On to new business. My wife gets a new Apple laptop every threeyears. This lucky woman works at a school with a purchase agreementthat automatically updates laptops for its administrators. She recentlyreceived a late 2009 whiteMacBook. Naturally, I have been playing with it when she doesn'tnotice.

Let's just hit the high points and then get to the part where Icomplain about the things that curmudgeons complain about. This newMacBook has curvy sides and a nonskid bottom. It has all sorts ofprocessing power (at least for me in comparison to my 12" 867 MHz PowerBook G4 andnearly-10-year-old PismoPowerBook). The MacBook has a 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB ofRAM, Nvidia GeForce 940M graphics, and a 250 GB hard drive, along withthe usual CD/DVD burner. It's running Snow Leopard and can beat up myPowerBook G4 any day of the week. I dare not leave them alone togetherdue to computer envy.

I like the ability of the Intel chip (with the Nvidia chip) torender streaming video on the Internet. The MacBook can run the latestand greatest software, while I am limited to running Leopard on my G4. The trackpad allows allthose iPod gestures, which I love, to be used on the MacBook. Coolness,and almost worth the price of admission.

I really like the change in styling on the MacBook. It is muchsmoother and more rounded while still retaining the Apple design ethos.Progress marches on.

Two Strikes

However . . . you knew this was coming. You just knew that I wouldhave some howevers, because I've got to make my case forrecycling old computers. So on with the excitement!

I have said this in the past, and I'll say it again: Where's myFireWire? I still have FireWire devices, and I can't be the only one. Istill use Target Disk Mode, and Ican't be the only one. Geeez, Louise. I know money is tight, but doesremoving one FireWire port save that much?

Now let's talk replaceable batteries. The MacBook is a laptop. Thismeans that you may be in the middle of nowhere (rural New Hampshirecounts) when your battery dies. Can you put in a spare battery tocontinue operating? Ah, no.

Yes, I can buy one and defy the gods of Apple by removing the bottomto put it in. But can you do this in a pickup while bouncing down asecondary road in the middle of nowhere? No.

Laptops have always had removable batteries for a reason. I don'tcare what Apple thinks. I need 'em. Of course, this means a new marketin external batteries for Apple laptops. You heard it here first.

Living in the Past

I know that I am going to have to buy an Intel Mac at some point,but I am going down fighting. I like the future, but darn it, there aresome things that just work and shouldn't be abandoned.

I guess I'm living in past, but it's still comfy back here. LEM

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