Saturday, May 29, 2010

Slowing Down and Big Choices

Things are just starting to settle down after a ridiculously hectic couple weeks. In the last ten days I have:
  • Finished college
  • Left a job
  • Started a new job
  • Moved out of a house
  • Moved "into" an apartment (sortof... my stuff is there except for my bed and clothes, and I'm staying at home until my family gets back from Maine)
  • Helped some others move
  • Ordered a new computer
  • Fixed a computer
  • Helped take the roof off a house
  • Moved my senior design project to the fieldhouse
  • Attended an open house
  • The list goes on.
It's been busy, but I spent today sleeping, mowing the lawn (until I ran out of gas... I'll have to fill up in the next couple days and finish off the other side of the front yard), washing my car, watching TV, and sleeping a little more. It feels good.

As I mentioned above, I also ordered a new computer. I'm always excited for this kind of thing, but I'm especially excited this time. It's been about three and a half years since I got my laptop, and since my second battery is already kaput (lasts no longer than 5 minutes unplugged) I'm looking forward to being able to use my computer without being tethered to the wall.

I may have gone off the deep end a little bit, but I decided to go with a MacBook Pro. I will admit, part of the reason is that they're just so undeniably gorgeous, but I have a few of what I consider to be legitimate reasons for spending so much money on a computer.

The first is that I want to have the option of using Mac OS X. I'll be working towards my masters degree in Computer Science & Engineering this fall, and I'd like to be able to test out my skills on iPhone/iPod (and iPad now I guess...) apps. Unfortunately that's impossible to do in Windows, so it was a choice of either not having that option at all, or spending the money on something like a Mac Mini later on, which I would see as a complete waste.

The second reason is the battery life. According to, the 15" MacBook Pro gets approximately 8-9 hours of battery life. While I'm sure that's not the case under normal usage, even at six hours it's still two or three times that of any comparable notebook. I want to be able to take it to classes, meetings, etc. without having to worry constantly about whether there will be a place to plug in near my seat.

Also, the screen was a huge factor for me. While I'm sure there are other laptops out there with comparable (or better) screens, I've heard nothing but good things about the upgraded high-definition matte screen I opted for. If I'm going to be staring at something for a few hours every day for the next few years, I'm going to make sure that it's not going to act like a mirror.

Finally, the build quality and the feel of the MacBook Pro is superb. The touchpad is a dream, and the keyboard is fantastic, although it may take some time to get used to.

I do have a few gripes already about it even though I haven't received it in the mail yet. (I should get it next Thursday...) The first is the hard drive speed. If I'm spending this much money on a laptop, the least Apple could do is throw in a 7200 rpm drive. It wouldn't add that much to the cost, and it would speed things up quite a bit, albeit probably at the expense of some of that precious battery life. The second is the surprising lack of ports. I could use more than 2 USB ports, thank you very much. I know some people have complained about the lack of Blu-Ray support, and I guess it would be nice, but I don't watch many rented movies on my laptop now, so I don't see it being all that big of an issue. My biggest complaint though, is the lack of a VGA or DVI port. I understand that Steve Jobs thinks the MiniDisplay Port is the be-all and end-all of display ports, but almost nothing uses it currently, and it's ridiculous that I should have to buy a $30 adapter just to be able to connect my laptop to a monitor.

Any thoughts you might have of me turning into some sort of Apple fanboy can be put aside, as I'll be installing Windows 7 on it as quickly as possible. I'm just not ready to give that up yet, and I probably never will be. Anyway, I'll probably end up writing my own review or something once I've used it a bit, but we'll see.

It's almost dinner time and then I'm off to a movie. If you've got any comments on my laptop of choice, please share!

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