Tales from the switch(er)

Well, I did it.

History was made on Saturday June 26 at 1:00pm EDT, when I purchased yet another Apple product. The first computer I owned was an Apple IIGS, but I moved over to the Windows world ever since...until now.

I ended up with the PowerBook G4 12". I wanted a smaller laptop that I could carry around easily - and the 12" is truly mini-me sized. This is a cool computer, if there is such a thing. First, it is solid. Some of the other laptops I've had make a creaking sound when you pick them up. Not so with the PowerBook - feels very solidly built. There are plenty of other little touches that add to the Apple "experience" - like the slot-loading DVD drive (yes, just like in your car) and the power adapter that can either be a "wall wart" or a more standard looking two-piece operation.

It is also pretty darned fast. With a clock speed of 1.33ghz and 256mb of RAM, it is extremely responsive - at least as responsive as my Windows desktop (with a Pentium running at twice the clock speed)

OS X is beautiful and extremely functional. Things are generally placed where you'd expect them, system changes don't often require a reboot, and a standard UNIX terminal is available for all that fancy BSD stuff :-) Installing software pretty much involves dragging an image from a download or a CD to the "Applications" folder. Thats it. No InstallShield, no rebooting, no registry.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with it. There are a few drawbacks that I've discovered thus far:

  • Printer drivers - there doesn't seem to be a driver for my NEC SuperScript 870. The Apple store did have a deal where you get a free HP Inkjet printer with the purchase, so I may hook that up to my network (presumably there are drivers for that)

  • Wireless - I was thinking too hard when setting up the wireless network connection. If I had an Apple Airport base station, it would have been completely painless. I use Linksys gear, but it was easy enough once I realized the WEP key needed to be prepended by a "$" to indicate it was a WEP key and not a WPA password.

  • VPN - Mac OS has a built-in VPN client, but I haven't yet gotten it working with the equipment at work. The setup is straightfoward enough, but it doesn't want to seem to negotiate whatever security protocols are needed. I'm probably thinking too hard again.

At the moment, I am downloading a TV show with DVArchive from my ReplayTV so I can give iDVD a shot. Burning DVD's on the PC has always been a pain, and I'm looking forward to seeing how easy it should be :-)