MacBook Pro: Week 12

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MacBook Pro

It's been 3 solid months of having my MacBook Pro now and I wanted to give a quick overview of my thoughts:

  • I loooooooove my MacBook Pro. Not one single regret about dropping $2,000 on it.
  • I develop quite a bit faster using TextMate. Nothing against my first love, jEdit, but Textmate is more flexible, functional, and useful.
  • The command line is a billion times more powerful thanks to Unix. I commend the efforts of Cygwin developers but there's nothing like the real thing.
  • I can count on one hand the number of times I've needed to Force-Quit an application (yes, I'm looking at YOU, iTunes). Seriously.
  • Thanks to having this Unix-powered beast, I've become better with shell scripting and using command-line utilities and strategies.
  • Everything just seems easier. EVERYTHING. Installing and updating applications especially.
  • I still need to use a PC at work....and lets just say I've put in many requests for a Mac at work to increase my productivity.
  • Dock > Start menu
  • I enjoy that I don't need to go through a bunch of shit just to upgrade my OS. No serial number, no online verification, no bull -- just upgrade and move on with life.
  • The user interface of Mac applications is 100 times better than any Windows application. Not even close.
  • I will never, ever buy a PC again as a primary or secondary development machine.
  • Programs I use religiously: Adium, Colloquy, Tweetie, TextMate, Photoshop, iTerm, and Transmit.
  • Programs I use occasionally: AppFresh, Skitch, Transmission, GitX, VLC.
  • I have Windows 7 on VirtualBox and it looks great....but why have that as your primary OS when you can put it on a measly virtual box?
  • Although I was told by many to avoid MacPorts, I've found MacPorts to be extremely helpful.
  • At one point checking my work on Macs was secondary -- now checking PCs has become secondary.
  • If someone were to ask me why I would choose Macs over PCs, I'd say: "Because things just work."

I admit: I am a fanboy. I am smug. But I'm also productive, happy, and encouraged by this beast of a machine. MBP FTW!

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  1. Tommix

    MacBooks are bullshit story made by Apple marketing. Now all ‘designers’ must have’s crap… all you need is f*** text editor that’s it! But no..people buy stuff for 3x bigger price than it really worth..just because to use some shitty soft you can find on every OS? And risk of explosion?/ cause Macbooks, Ipods, iphones….have this feature-to explode. thanks to Apple.

    3x bigger price for slim just design??

  2. try forklift , it makes all the money :)

  3. Great Post (i also commented a previous post from you on my website).
    I also have a MBP (15″, 3.06ghz, 4gb, 500gb 7200rpm) since 4-5 weeks and its awesome! before i had a MacBook White 13″ and i loved it to. i think, the performance of virtualbox isnt very good, i use vmware fusion and thats really nice! one space with fullscreen emulated windows and you can switch smooth between the os.

    Greets from Switzerland

  4. The next step in the Mac acceptance evolution is to just chuckle and laugh at people who put together these big arguments about how Macs cost more or how you are paying for marketing or how you can’t do real development on a Mac.

    I won’t even have a friendly argument about it, it’s just a waste of time.

  5. Sean

    My thoughts are the same and I wouldn’t consider myself a developer. The phrase, “it just works” used to erk me to no end, but it’s the truth. I wouldn’t consider myself a fanboy, but I have to give credit to Apple on this one. Oh, BTW, I used to make a living off of selling PC’s. :-)

  6. Similar setup to yours with similar focus. Couple differences:

    – I still use Fetch over Transmit – why have 2 windows in your app when the other window can just be your OS?
    – Terminal + Visor plugin.
    – Vienna for RSS feeds (including yours)
    – Taskpaper for dirt simple GTD
    – Sequel Pro (if you work with MySQL)

    Otherwise I agree with all your points… as someone who’s used Linux, Windows, Silicon Graphics and Amiga… Mac definitely offers the best user experience overall…

  7. Mr.X.

    I find mac overpriced.
    Working with Windows 7 is great, and if I ever need alternative I will use linux(free).
    There is nothing so much better in mac to make me pay all that money for it, in fact I can easily argue that standard PC with Windows on it is better (but I am not going to).
    But that is just me.

  8. I got my MacBook Pro (13″ base model) 2 weeks ago. Now I have some speed (I did have a G4 Mac Mini, 1.4Ghz, 1gb ram, 32mb graphics card) I love OS X much much more. I can’t want to attach it to my 24″ monitor when I buy the Mini Display to dvi adapter. OS X just looks better on big screens I think.

    I totally agree with Chris too, when people ask why I spent so much on this MBP, I just chuckle. Not worth my effort, I know it was the right thing to do.

  9. My PC also ‘just works’, and besides a good browser (firefox), Adobe CS and Notepad++ I do not need things.

    I like apple products, I just do not like the “oh, i have seen the light”-posts cause I work with colleagues who are frustrated with macs as well.

    But, in your case, all the better for you I guess. Maybe I’ll be tempted one day too, to have both systems.. but if price/performance or my income doesn’t improve I’ll stay for a while with those nerdy pc’s ;)


  10. I would really love to own a MBP. Apple pay so much attention to not only the design and usability of their software, but also to the design of their products.

    The one downside has to be the price. If Apple were to drop their prices (I don’t know what their profit margins are like), but if they dropped them in line with PC prices, they’d get the market majority.

    Otherwise, until I have the money, I’ll be stuck with Windblows.

  11. Has anyone tried creating a Hackintosh?

  12. Dave Woodwater

    I’ve had my Macbook Pro for about the same amount of time as you and I basically agree with everything you say. I’ve gone through exactly the same transformation.

    I would just like to second the Forklift tip. Really great application for the price, awesome FTP client too.


  13. @David Walsh: on of my servers running as a hackintosh ;)

  14. I bought the first generation MacBook 5 years ago and have never looked back. A few years later I bought an iMac for my primary home machine and just a few month ago I dropped cable bought a Mac mini as a media center. All three are stellar machines that I have nothing but good things to say about. Now that my wife is in grad school I’ve passed the old MacBook down to her to use for school l and am waiting for a reason to go buy myself a MacBook Pro.

    It’s pointless to argue about the usability of Macs with a die-hard Windows user. They’re just bitter about the ‘Get A Mac’ commercials! Just recently I got a job as a Front End Dev at a co. and am stoked to being given a Mac to use for dev. Finally I can use all my beloved Mac tools on the job.

  15. I made a Hackintosh once, and was very satisfied with it. But unfortunately it crashed horribly, and by some strange reason the backup things (Time Machine) was gone too. So I’m a bit reluctant to do Hackintosh stuff again.

    However, I am seriously considering buying a MBP. I currently have an old laptop running Ubuntu, and a school laptop running XP. So another laptop might be a bit of an overkill.

    But thanks for your thoughts. It makes me want a MBP even more :)

  16. Welcome to the world of those who already know (and just don’t understand why they didn’t switch earlier) :-)

  17. /me hides his head in shame.

  18. Darkimmortal

    I use Windows on both my desktop and my servers because it works and I know what I’m doing. And I play a lot of games that only run on Windows.

  19. Congrats on finding a work experience you enjoy :)

    I didn’t get it either before I bought my first mac (ibook 12″ G4) some years back.

    I find it more and more, in these discussions, that people who don’t own macs end up trying to justify their choice.

    Ultimately though, what one gets out of the Mac is this feeling of enjoying your computer that is way off of what the others provide. I suppose this makes us look smug and conceited :P

    I am an apple fanboy (sometimes even a “mactard”). iTunes makes me ache, my iPhone has a sucky camera and can’t even do video. I pay for my software, and a premium for my hardware.

    Still, I feel so much better using all of the above than I did before, using the alternatives, its not even funny.

    A computer is a computer is a computer :) Just enjoy it!

  20. @Tommix: Lulz, you’re ridiculous! Thanks for the laugh.

    @David Walsh: See, we said you would dig the Mac. Hope your work let’s you switch. My 8-to-5 was cool enough to buy me one, like *mine*, to keep. Tell your boss all the cool bosses are doing it. ;-)

  21. Hackintoshes clash pretty badly with this bit of praise you made in your original post: Everything just seems easier. EVERYTHING. Installing and updating applications especially.

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention Quicksilver or Growl. They’re so unique, and they augment workflows so much, I’d love to know how you feel about them.

  22. @Dan Bookman: Yes! Growl! Growl is insanely cool and I long for it on my work PC. Shockingly enough, I never use QuickSilver.

  23. You should give it a decent shot. It stuck out to me when you said you prefer the Dock to the Windows Taskbar, because of how seldom I use the Dock anymore.

    With only a couple keystrokes you can launch applications, send terminal commands, scripts, Tweet, control iTunes, go to bookmarks, email, view contact info, etc etc

    Thing is, the preponderance of features is very manageable because it’s all plugin based, and you can assign system wide hotkeys for anything it can do. It’s really amazing!

  24. swin

    @Tommix: – you have obviously never used a Mac.

  25. Rey Bango

    I’ve had a MBP for 14 months and I think it’s a great computer. I honestly, though, have not found it to be some form of holistic or enlightening experience. It’s basically a well-built machine and it allows me to do my job.

    There’s really only a few things that I’ve found advantageous compared to a WinXP box:

    1) App installl & uninstall is way cleaner
    2) Haven’t had to do the yearly OS reinstall
    3) Less of a fear of viruses or malware (still careful though)
    4) Driver conflicts are non-existant due to Apple controlling the hardware

    These are great things but again, they’ve not lead me to some form of out-of-body experience. I could easily go back to Windows and be as productive.

  26. @Rey Bango: The items you mention are worth it alone. I still need to use a PC at work which makes me think you may feel differently if you actually did switch back to a PC. :)

  27. Rey Bango

    @David Walsh: Well, I actually use a PC regularly both as a VM & a dedicated desktop, alongside my MBP. Again, I’m able to jump back & forth quiet easily and can honestly say that I wouldn’t feel a loss if I didn’t have a MBP.

    The features that I listed above, at least to me, aren’t things that would ultimately drive me to buy a Mac.

  28. @Rey

    For a 100% developer – especially one with a background in PowerBuilder, Sybase, ASP and ColdFusion – I can totally understand where you’re coming from. Mac’s really shine for developer/designers. And having the NIX core also helps with open-source (ie use GIT much on PC?)

  29. Rey Bango

    @Aeron: Not sure if I agree with you. While I’ve had extensive experience in back-end development (you must’ve read my bio), I’ve also used both OSX & Windows for the front-end development. Apart from video editing, which is where I think Macs shine, the tools available to designers on Windows are on par with anything available on OSX (except for CSSEdit which rocks). Where Macs do excel is in providing a 64-bit architecture which dramatically improves performance for specific apps such as Final Studio or Photoshop.

    As for GIT, unfortunately no. I have used SVN extensively though and TortoiseSVN still outshines anything on the Mac. The closest to it is Versions but TortoiseSVN’s tight integration with Windows file explorer is simply awesome. And if I did want to run Git on Windows, I could have my own repo on Github & run msysgit.

    So again, for me, switching between OSX or Windows for almost all development needs is a non-issue especially since I tend to use well-built PCs anyways with more than enough horsepower to run any app I needed plus give me an amazing framerates for graphic intensive games such as BioShock, Fallout 3 & CoD4. :)

  30. Dutchie

    What I love about OSX is cmd+spacebar to launch apps really quick, faster than I can do ever on pc. And I like pushing spacebar in finder, can’t do such quick previews on pc either.
    As far as design work I do it on mac at home, pc at work. Never had problems, also no problems creating solid pdf’s for printers or whatever. The Apple OS is just much friendlier and easier to work with, and I know what I’m talking about; Windows IS more difficult or more of a hassle in alot of ways.
    My only current problem is connecting to a vpn at work, then using MS Remote Desktop (OSX App) to connect to my work pc finding out my keyboard is all wrong (and then having to launch vmware with XP to connect from there which takes up more memory).

    As far as apps I also prefer TextMate and Fetch. Sequel Pro seems like a good tip, I’ve been using CocoaSQL but it kind of sucks (I love HeidiSQL on pc :)).

    What I really really hate about Windows is that it works with drive letters which can cause serious shitty conflicts. Never had any problems on my macs with this. But that’s another story.

  31. Dutchie

    PS > I recommend a separate cinema display for you laptop users though. Wouldn’t be able to work without my 24″ iMac, seriously.

  32. @David Walsh: hackingtosh is how I started as a mobile developer on a thinkpad x60

    My slippery slope to full mac ness

    Hackingtosh (quickly followed by)
    2nd hand Black Macbook
    Wireless keyboard from Apple store (1st purchase in an Apple store) to alleviate my loosing of the thinkpads dock
    13″ Macbook Pro at WWDC from the Apple store

    Forget the price I use my laptop 50-60 hours a week, despite seeing the albeit pretty progress indicator a bit more than I did in windows. I rarely need to restart just use suspend all the time and gain lots of time by the consistency of keyboard shortcuts and gui in applications

    Textmate also stomps over notepad++ for me and I was a big fan of notepad++

  33. Darkimmortal

    Of course Textmate is better than Notepad++. But can it compare to a full IDE? PhpED – Intellisense, code explorer and syntax checker for both PHP and Javascript, along with countless other features.

  34. *cries out of frustration and jealousy*

  35. Expose, spaces, multi-touch track pad that’s huge.

    If PCs had those I might be able to use one without sighing endlessly.

  36. @Darkimmortal: IDEs suck.

  37. I’m with you. I wouldn’t change my macbook 17 for any machine out there. TIP: Try MAMP and VirtualHostX to setup a localhost environment. They work great together.

  38. @Tommix: I assume you didn’t read the post? (And that you have no hands-on experience with OS X…) You just saw the title and went into 12-year-old OS troll mode. Grow up.

  39. @Chris Coyier: *Sigh* I wish I could… I fall into the argument trap 60% of the time still. :(

  40. I got a Mac Mini a few months ago and I am as happy as you are with your MBP. Unfortunately, in school I’m stuck with Vista (horrible thing) and I can’t wait to buy a portable Mac to have there instead.

  41. Code.My

    MBP is awesome than PC for many reason, i happy as you too. make developer/designer more productivity with some awesome app than using pc

  42. Jonas

    @Paul Davis: Dude, thats because youre a little kid who got his parents to by it! When you grow up and learn the value of money you will understand.

  43. Jonas: Seriously dude? Weak.

  44. Gurpartap Singh

    @David Walsh: lol

  45. Matthew Westrik

    @David Walsh: Yes. It isn’t really worth it. The interface isn’t as slick as the software wasn’t designed for PC hardware. Sleep and other things like that won’t work as well.

    Macs rule!

  46. Dan West

    had my macbook over a year now, i still find the dock hard work some times. windows taskbar just seems to suit my work style more.

  47. I’m starting to know what you meant by this post. Just got an old MBP and I love it so far. Still learning the ropes, though. Your post was super-helpful.

  48. So I know I’m a bit late to the game here, but..

    Congrats David. I’m glad you got a machine that works. I’ve had a MacBook Pro for a couple years and don’t voluntarily touch Windows for anything other than testing or AOEII (but thankfully AOE runs on XP, which I find more reliable and less confusing Windows 7). They are indeed more reliable and easier to use.

    And, in several cases, cheaper – per component – than Windows laptops.

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