Update: MacBook

» In which I finally buy a Mac that isn't low-end or old.

My desktop PC is over 3 years old, and was getting slow and clunky. So I started looking for a new machine... something I could use for work. Having the clamshells around for a while taught me that I like to work from odd places (like my bed :-), so a laptop seemed like a good choice.

I like colorful stuff, so when I saw the Dell Inspirons that come in eight different colors, I wanted one of those. But when I tried to order online, I found that it would take them over a month to ship the computer, much to my dismay. (And no, it did not have anything especially odd in it, that would cause the assembly or shipment to be slowed significantly.)

So, scratch that. I wanted my laptop ASAP, because of my new job, and was not willing to wait that long. Maybe a Mac, then?

At first I was appalled at the price difference between the Macs and the Dells. People have always claimed that Macs are more expensive than PCs, and others have insisted that it's just a rumor. A look at the websites of both will make it clear that it's definitely not a rumor. A 17" Dell widescreen laptop (white, 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 160 Gb hard drive, 2 Gb memory, NVidia GeForce 8600 card) is around $1550. By contrast, the 17" MacBook Pro, which has the same specs, starts at $2799. It's an even worse deal if you don't need some of things the MacBook Pro has, like the video card, because you cannot downgrade.

Anyway, you could argue that the Mac is of higher quality and such, but I just don't see a justification for the outrageous price difference. But before you send me your corrections and flames, read on, because... I chose to go with a MacBook anyway!

Not the 17", though. I now have a 13" MacBook (not a Pro). It's the 2.0 GHz model at the Apple store, except I upgraded memory to 2 Gb... OS X likes a lot of memory, the more the merrier.

Even though the screen is only 13", it's wide, and very clear, which is nice, because I can now run it at a higher resolution than I ever have (1152x720, vs my PC which runs at 1024x768 on a 19" monitor). Performance is good as well, at least it's much better than the clamshells (but then again I would have been quite upset if it wasn't :-). 80 Gb hard drive is not a lot these days, but probably quite a bit more than I need for work.

So far, I like it quite a bit (and faithful readers know that I've come a long way in this regard). I would not have been able to use it effectively with my old job (since we used Windows-specific code), but for my new one, where code runs on Linux and we exclusively use open source tools, it's a great match. These days, Python-for-Mac is up to snuff now too (as opposed to back in 2002), so no complaints there.