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I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

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pointyhat
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I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#1 Post by pointyhat » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:40 pm

As a ThinkPad user, I thought this was a good place to drop this rant/point of view...

I'm usually a T400, Dell T3500 and HP Z620 user (all running Windows 7, 8.1 and 7 respectively). A family member, in the interests of trying to convert me to MacOS has loaned me his old MacBook Pro 13". It's a hefty machine: 16Gb RAM, 2.7 i7 and 256Gb SSD. Spent the entire day configuring it to get what I want out of a computer. I'm no Unix idiot either. I spent a number of years with FreeBSD and Solaris machines and know the old Sun Ultra series inside out. I also run a number of Linux machines as devops boxes.

So, like I said, I spent the entire day setting the thing up how I wanted it.

Firstly I had to undo all the crud the previous owner had left on it. Decided best bet was to flatten it and start again. It had OSX 10.9.1 on it. Got the OS DVDs out of the box - 10.6! Quick google suggested the upgrade path to 10.9.1 was free so I thought fine. Another quick google and we're done. Reboot off DVD.

Now things get interesting. It wouldn't install OSX on the default disk for an odd reason. Some googling suggested I needed to repartition the disk and slightly shrink it. Did this and it installed. DVD whizzed around for the best part of an hour whilst it installed everything. Reboot - wait a couple of mins. Sorted.

Go through all the startup OOBE crap you get thrown at you and immediately fired up the App Store to get OSX Mavericks (stupid name but meh). Was informed I need to run system update because you need at least 10.6.8 to upgrade (not the default 10.6.6). Did this. 1.5Gb of download later (!!!!) and a reboot later and it was on 10.6.8.

So back in the app store, install Mavericks, blam sits in the dock for 4 hours downloading 5.3Gb of OS updates over my pitiful 12Mbit ADSL2 connection. Reboot - wait half an hour for it to write a load of crap to disk.

So OOBE again. 10 minutes of arguing and we're at a desktop that is clean. Hooray.

So three hours after this horrible experience, I only have the following comments to make:

1. The thing is a high end device. Why has it got only a 1280x800 display, even back in 2011!?! It's horrid. I paid 130GBP for my T400 second hand and it has a 1440x900 display.

2. OSX is impossible to use solely via keyboard - it literally goes out of the way to make it hard for you.

3. Why does everything badger me for my Apple account details constantly. I'm forced to sell my soul to the vendor.

4. Getting an RDP connection up took me literally 30 minutes of debugging and tracing the log files from the app. There is no central logging facility for applications on the desktop despite syslog and all sorts running on Unix underneath.

5. It appears to actually be two operating systems crudely glued together. There's a Unix under there somewhere as indicated by Terminal, but it's an odd one. The desktop itself seems to exist on a higher plane with no integration between the two. In fact it almost looks like they'd rather the Unix bit went away and super-happy cloud land stayed up front.

6. I really miss the TrackPoint in my T400. My fingers are actually sore from dragging them over the touchpad and pushing it down to click. It's a big touchpad but it's horrible on the MacBook.

7. The keyboard layout is a whole bundle of WTF. I've seen nothing like it. Do we really need 5(!) meta-keys either? Not only that it's spongy and hard to type on. My hands hurt.

8. I've come to the conclusion that magsafe is a stupid invention which is around to protect a fragile machine. My T400 just falls off the table if someone trips over the cable and I pick it up and carry on (this has happened numerous times).

9. When leave it for a bit and particularly when it was delivered, the thing is HEARTLESS and FROZEN COLD for the first 5 minutes of use. For the remainder it has sharp edges which actually make my wrists sore.

10. My god iWork is a piece of crap (Pages, Numbers). Move some data over to see if it was any good. It doesn't even open ODS or ODF files. It's 2014 dammit!

I genuinely can't see why someone would want one of these machines. It's abhorrent and I'm couriering it back with an apology tomorrow.

Not impressed.

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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#2 Post by Saucey » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:23 pm

People like Macs because they are easy and hassle free.
They are marketed pretty well, if you own a Mac there is an "aura" that you are smart and/or successful.

Its kinda like a high end luxury car, you feel no bumps on the road and it gets you from point a to point b with no regards how the trip feels.
Some people don't want to feel the bumps, don't want to do the gear changes, raise the volume when you reach higher speeds, constantly mess with the air conditioning or roll up windows by hand...
They don't want to do those things manually, they want it to be hassle free.
The computer experience is changing, its al ot different then it was (I wish I was born in the 70's or 60's to seen more of this)
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#3 Post by pianowizard » Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:01 pm

pointyhat wrote:1. The thing is a high end device. Why has it got only a 1280x800 display, even back in 2011!?! It's horrid. I paid 130GBP for my T400 second hand and it has a 1440x900 display.
For the longest time, Apple laptops lagged behind PC laptops in terms of screen resolution. For example, Apple laptops were stuck with 1024x768 when many PC laptops already had 1400x1050. Even the 17-inch Macbook Pro had only 1680x1050 initially, when many 15.4" PC laptops were already equipped with 1920x1200. Only the obsession with "Retina" resolutions reversed this trend.
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#4 Post by sysiphus » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:21 pm

pianowizard wrote:
pointyhat wrote:1. The thing is a high end device. Why has it got only a 1280x800 display, even back in 2011!?! It's horrid. I paid 130GBP for my T400 second hand and it has a 1440x900 display.
For the longest time, Apple laptops lagged behind PC laptops in terms of screen resolution. For example, Apple laptops were stuck with 1024x768 when many PC laptops already had 1400x1050. Even the 17-inch Macbook Pro had only 1680x1050 initially, when many 15.4" PC laptops were already equipped with 1920x1200. Only the obsession with "Retina" resolutions reversed this trend.
True; but to balance that out, they're the only mainstream manufacturer that still offers 16:10 displays...sigh.
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#5 Post by Temetka » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:38 pm

In regards to your comment about the keyboard. I owned a few TiBooks and PBG4's back in the day. I really enjoyed using the keyboards on those machines.

But as to the rest of your points about the OS, I could not agree more. I really loved 10.2 - 10.4. Everything after that made it harder for me to work in the fashion I had become accustomed to. But man did I love the display on my PBG4. And the silver and white back-lit keyboard. It oozed elegance.
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#6 Post by WillAdams » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:33 am

You should've tried something more in-line w/ your expectations

- Retina display
- installed LibreOffice if you wanted to open OpenOffice files

Agree that the newer machines have gone backwards in a couple of ways, esp. the keyboard.

Things to really like about Mac OS X (née NeXT/OPENstep):

- Miller column filebrowser
- Services --- see http://www.devontechnologies.com/products/freeware.html for a small sample
- PDF support
- Unix underpinnings --- you should've fired up a Terminal window if you wished to use the keyboard, esp. looked at the commands pbcopy & pbpaste --- there're some others
- inter-layering of windows which renders the question of which Window belongs to which app meaningless and makes app inter-operability much easier / useful
- the development tools --- NeXT used to charge $7,995 / seat for them --- now they're free and it only costs $99 if you want to put an app on the Apple App store

Things which I miss in Mac OS X from the NeXTstep days:

- the Shelf (though the Sidebar isn't a bad alternative)
- vertical and repositionable main menu
- pop-up main menu
- tear-off sub menus
- top-level print, hide and quit
- nifty little utilities such as poste.app which were essentially nothing more than Services
- Display PostScript
- PANTONE licensed at the system level

Apps which you should've tried:

- TeXshop (ob. discl. I did the icons for the newer version) --- compare it w/ TeXWorks (which is nice, but TeXshop is native w/ a better underlying toolkit / environment)
- Automator (and AppleScript)
- Notational Velocity
- Apple Aperture
- Apple Garageband
- Apple iMovie
- Pixelmator
- Skitch
- Alfred --- since you're a keyboard junkie
- Keyboard Maestro (ditto)
- LibreOffice

and of course, Parallels, in case there was some Windows app you couldn't find a Mac-native equivalent for --- or you could've just tried Boot Camp and done a direct comparison of just the hardware running Windows.
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#7 Post by sysiphus » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:57 pm

Temetka wrote:In regards to your comment about the keyboard. I owned a few TiBooks and PBG4's back in the day. I really enjoyed using the keyboards on those machines.

But as to the rest of your points about the OS, I could not agree more. I really loved 10.2 - 10.4. Everything after that made it harder for me to work in the fashion I had become accustomed to. But man did I love the display on my PBG4. And the silver and white back-lit keyboard. It oozed elegance.
Agreed. My favorite Apple laptop keyboard was the one in the Titanium Powerbooks--the feel was nice, as was the key-shape...and the translucent gray plastic looked cool, too.

OSX jumped the tracks after 10.5, I thought. After that, they started pushing the App Store and cloud integration too hard, ditched a perfectly good virtual desktop system for a crazy replacement, made the Dock harder to see (though the <=10.4 version was the best), and stopped counting storage sizes in standard (powers of 2) format in exchange for base-10...insane, given that everything in the industry does powers of 2...with good reason!
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#8 Post by pointyhat » Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:55 pm

Back again. After packing it into the box in anger, I got it out the following day and decided to force myself to use it. So two weeks later now. Firstly some replies and then some more experience...
WillAdams wrote:You should've tried something more in-line w/ your expectations
- Retina display
Thanks for your detailed replies - very helpful. Some feedback:

I've actually used my wife's iPad Retina Mini and the display is impressive however it doesn't make much of a difference when you have milk bottles for glasses unfortunately. The scale of the stuff on the display is more important than the DPI to me.
- installed LibreOffice if you wanted to open OpenOffice files
I use that on Windows and am aware of it. I'm just shocked that Pages/Numbers support OOXML but not ODF formats. The latter is almost a European standard.
Things to really like about Mac OS X (née NeXT/OPENstep):

- Miller column filebrowser
I find this incredibly hard to use. Particularly as it's a pain to scroll horizontally and vertically to get back to where you were. Not only that there is no grouping of directories and file separately so you have to scroll up and down a lot to find directories sometimes. Not very usable IMHO.
- Services --- see http://www.devontechnologies.com/products/freeware.html for a small sample
This is pretty powerful I agree

- PDF support
That is pretty good, particularly with the OS-level integration of display postscript. No complaints there. I just worked through a Cocoa book as a starter that was a PDF and it was pleasant (I go right in the deep end when I get a new platform).
- Unix underpinnings --- you should've fired up a Terminal window if you wished to use the keyboard, esp. looked at the commands pbcopy & pbpaste --- there're some others
I know Unix inside out and it's Unix under there but it's a [censored] unfamiliar one.
- inter-layering of windows which renders the question of which Window belongs to which app meaningless and makes app inter-operability much easier / useful
This was a pain until I discovered Cmd+` to switch windows in an app. Learning curve issue there.
- the development tools --- NeXT used to charge $7,995 / seat for them --- now they're free and it only costs $99 if you want to put an app on the Apple App store
Development tools are awful. Sorry but I've sat in front of Xcode for a week now and it's horrible. The LLVM integration is pretty good, especially static analysis but the thing is so darn obtuse. For example crazy stuff like editing iOS UIViews is only supported if they are zoomed to 100%, the assistant editor is just hell and the keyboard shortcuts have my hands doing games of Twister all day. Moving to and from the touchpad is a pain as well. My hands are always off the home row and hurting. I'm a pretty handy well exercised pianist and the keyboard is killing me on this.
- TeXshop (ob. discl. I did the icons for the newer version) --- compare it w/ TeXWorks (which is nice, but TeXshop is native w/ a better underlying toolkit / environment)
I write TeX (well LaTeX) with vim and make usually on a Linux box in the office. The GUI side of things doesn't really add much for me as I'm used to hacking out the TeX macros.

- Automator (and AppleScript)
Automator got me 90% of the way to solving one problem I had (image batch resize) but it just feels clunky. AppleScript - didn't try it but it looks too much like natural language. Just get the feeling it's going to be error prone using it. This could be a non issue though.
- Notational Velocity
I'm using Notes as built in which is reasonable. Will look at this.
- Apple Aperture
I use Lightroom usually. I don't see a need to switch there as it's scary powerful.
- Apple Garageband
I have a physical keyboard (Korg Triton Studio) and a pile of real instruments. Really don't want to take my music anywhere near a machine as it's an escape from the things!.
- Apple iMovie
Didn't try it. This Mac doesn't have it as it was on the apps DVD and I wasn't entitled to free upgrades so decided to ignore it. I don't really edit movies - my wife does with her iPad though.
- Pixelmator
Looked at this whilst having a browse. Impressive. Probably would use if I did any graphical work past touching up and archiving photos from my DSLR.
- Skitch
- Alfred --- since you're a keyboard junkie
- Keyboard Maestro (ditto)
- LibreOffice
Didn't try these - apart from LibreOffice
and of course, Parallels, in case there was some Windows app you couldn't find a Mac-native equivalent for --- or you could've just tried Boot Camp and done a direct comparison of just the hardware running Windows.
Was trying to avoid this as it would be a defeat! The hardware is nice. It's fast so windows is a possibility but I really would have to plug in a normal keyboard and mouse to it. Then it's just a normal PC which I might as well go and bag.

Some further comments:

(1) Spotlight rocks - this is much better than anything Microsoft have come up with so far.

(2) I have to connect to a Windows remote desktop to do work. There is a massive disparity between the keyboard layout on a PC and a Mac and it is incredibly difficult to switch between the two using Microsoft Remote Desktop. This is not a fault of Microsoft Remote Desktop either. There are things that you just can’t do with the mac keyboard logically i.e. PrtScrn for example.

(3) The keyboard. They keyboard sucks. The spacing between the keys is incredibly large so you have to move your fingers great distances. This makes typing on the keyboard incredibly difficult. The F-keys are all Fn-shifted on an MBP which makes various functions on Unix and Windows remote machines quite difficult. It’s like playing Twister. There are also 5 meta-keys (shift, Fn, Ctrl, Alt, Cmd) which are distributed inconsistently. For example to create new tabs in Safari, it’s Cmd-T. To switch tabs, it’s Ctrl+T. WTF. There is also no hash (#) which is required regularly when programming in any language these days; you have to Alt+3 to get it and it’s not marked on the keyboard. The enter key is also tiny which leads to many miskeyings.

(4) The touchpad was giving me really sore fingers. I bought a Magic Mouse hoping that would sort it but I just end up with sore fingers as well as the thing is poorly designed. It nips your fingers holding it on the side when you press the button and it's hard to hold because of the low profile.

(5) Looks like I'm allergic the alloy it uses as my palms have blistered slightly. Have put a cut up screen protector over the wrist pads and that seems to have stopped the issue but it's not really good. I have a nickel sensitivity unfortunately.

I'm going to be fair and give it another two weeks though. It's not a pleasant experience though.

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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#9 Post by pianowizard » Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:38 pm

pointyhat wrote:(4) The touchpad was giving me really sore fingers.
I had this problem during the first couple YEARS that I used touchpads. It took me a very long time to finally learn to relax my fingers and wrist.
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#10 Post by pointyhat » Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:24 pm

pianowizard wrote:
pointyhat wrote:(4) The touchpad was giving me really sore fingers.
I had this problem during the first couple YEARS that I used touchpads. It took me a very long time to finally learn to relax my fingers and wrist.
I've never had any problems with any other machine. Seems to be related to the glass touchpads they use. Apparently they fuse aluminum to the surface somehow. The alloy they use is 8xxx series which may have Nickel in it.

I'm definitely allergic to it. After a couple of weeks of use - both hands are like this. Nothing else has done it to me:

(excuse the manky hand photo)

Image

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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#11 Post by WillAdams » Sat Feb 22, 2014 4:57 pm

pointyhat wrote: I've actually used my wife's iPad Retina Mini and the display is impressive however it doesn't make much of a difference when you have milk bottles for glasses unfortunately. The scale of the stuff on the display is more important than the DPI to me.
The nice thing w/ Retina is that one gets small stuff w/ great details.

<snip>


(re: Miller column filebrowser)
I find this incredibly hard to use. Particularly as it's a pain to scroll horizontally and vertically to get back to where you were. Not only that there is no grouping of directories and file separately so you have to scroll up and down a lot to find directories sometimes. Not very usable IMHO.
It was better in NeXTstep when the scroll bars were on the left (see Mullet & Sano's _Designing Visual Interfaces: Communication Oriented Techniques_ --- I still prefer it, and wish I could find a workable one for Windows.

<snip Services and PDF support>
I know Unix inside out and it's Unix under there but it's a *****Expletives removed by Moderator***** unfamiliar one.
It was nicer / more standard / more accessible in the NeXTstep days.

<snip inter-layering windows>
Development tools are awful. Sorry but I've sat in front of Xcode for a week now and it's horrible. The LLVM integration is pretty good, especially static analysis but the thing is so *****Expletives removed by Moderator***** obtuse. For example crazy stuff like editing iOS UIViews is only supported if they are zoomed to 100%, the assistant editor is just hell and the keyboard shortcuts have my hands doing games of Twister all day. Moving to and from the touchpad is a pain as well. My hands are always off the home row and hurting. I'm a pretty handy well exercised pianist and the keyboard is killing me on this.
Why not use a mouse?

Xcode and Objective-C make sense / fit well together once one buys into Apple's style of object-orientation.

The keyboard shortcuts get better once one turns on default Fn-keys, and one can re-work others.
I write TeX (well LaTeX) with vim and make usually on a Linux box in the office. The GUI side of things doesn't really add much for me as I'm used to hacking out the TeX macros.
Inverse search --- try <Command>-clicking in the .pdf view, or in your source text.

I also find it to just look nicer and work better than TeXworks and the other integrated shells (I use Dirk Stuve's WinTeXshell in Windows).

Automator got me 90% of the way to solving one problem I had (image batch resize) but it just feels clunky. AppleScript - didn't try it but it looks too much like natural language. Just get the feeling it's going to be error prone using it. This could be a non issue though.
You can call Unix shell scripts from Automator (may have to use AppleScript to do so). Batch image resizing is a task a lot of people have had to tackle --- I've done a bunch of variants on it at work. AppleScript can be infuriating at times, but mostly it can be made to work, and it's the most accessible spiritual successor to HyperCard/Talk.

<snip Notational Velocity, Aperture/Lightroom, GarageBand/music, iMovie, Pixelmator, misc. apps>

(re: Parallels)
Was trying to avoid this as it would be a defeat! The hardware is nice. It's fast so windows is a possibility but I really would have to plug in a normal keyboard and mouse to it. Then it's just a normal PC which I might as well go and bag.
<snip Spotlight >
(2) I have to connect to a Windows remote desktop to do work. There is a massive disparity between the keyboard layout on a PC and a Mac and it is incredibly difficult to switch between the two using Microsoft Remote Desktop. This is not a fault of Microsoft Remote Desktop either. There are things that you just can’t do with the mac keyboard logically i.e. PrtScrn for example.
Can't recall the last time I had to use PrtSc. Just connect a Windows keyboard when one has to do that sort of thing, or re-map the keyboard layout.
(3) The keyboard. They keyboard sucks. The spacing between the keys is incredibly large so you have to move your fingers great distances. This makes typing on the keyboard incredibly difficult.
YMMV, I find the spacing fine --- try a MacBook Air w/ smaller keyboard?
The F-keys are all Fn-shifted on an MBP which makes various functions on Unix and Windows remote machines quite difficult. It’s like playing Twister.
There is an option to reverse that, so that the special functions require fn, and a bare tap of the f-keys gets one the fn functionality.
There are also 5 meta-keys (shift, Fn, Ctrl, Alt, Cmd) which are distributed inconsistently.
I always re-map Caps Lock to be Control, &c.
For example to create new tabs in Safari, it’s Cmd-T. To switch tabs, it’s Ctrl+T. WTF.
This made more sense back in the NeXT days --- <Control> shortcuts were either those of emacs, or were set-aside for user customization --- Developers were only allowed to set <Command> key shortcuts for their apps.
There is also no hash (#) which is required regularly when programming in any language these days; you have to Alt+3 to get it and it’s not marked on the keyboard.
Are you using a foreign-language version? You can always just re-map the keyboard / use a different keyboard layout. I'm seeing an octothorpe on every keyboard image I can find.

http://techytot.com/apple-macbook-pro-keyboard-layout/ argues ``AnandTech Apple MacBook Pro 13 Can a Mac Be a Decent Windows''
The enter key is also tiny which leads to many miskeyings.
I believe it's been made larger (or eliminated on newer machines). Usually this is the sort of thing one can become used to / better at. Patience is a virtue and all that, though I understand yours is being tried.
(4) The touchpad was giving me really sore fingers. I bought a Magic Mouse hoping that would sort it but I just end up with sore fingers as well as the thing is poorly designed. It nips your fingers holding it on the side when you press the button and it's hard to hold because of the low profile.
I use a Wacom Intuos or Logitech G-600 on my machine at work and have never much liked the trackpads, hence my presence on a ThinkPad forum (I just wish I could get a ThinkPad running Mac OS X).

<snip allergy and continued perseverance>

Hope this helps you get further along!
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#12 Post by pointyhat » Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:49 am

Thanks for your replies. I'll get remapping and see where I get. Some great suggestions there.

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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#13 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:24 am

Since this thread is supposed to be a bit of a rant, I'd like to join in a little.
After browsing through WillAdams's long post I can understand people not liking a Mac, resp. its OS.
Although properly done (I guess), there was too much gibberish for me, to want to read all of it.
It seems ridiculous that you have to go through so many complicated hoops, to get maybe only half of what you want/need...
Last time I've even seen a Mac, it was that ugly iMac G3 in a triangle see-through shape.
This was about 2 months ago at the weekly auction I go to.
The machine was working, even looked half-way decent, but it just sold for a respectable $1.- :mrgreen:
I'll never waste a penny on any of that over-rated, over-priced Apple/Mac stuff.
My daughter, who is a junior in college, has no interest in Macs either (lucky me), although she does love her iPhone.
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#14 Post by WillAdams » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:32 am

The nicest, most efficient, most flexible operating system and graphical interface I ever had occasion to use was NeXTstep, Go Corp.'s PenPoint was a close second, and there was a brief window where I had a NeXT Cube on my desktop and an NCR-3125 running PenPoint as a portable --- aside from the battery life and mediocre handwriting recognition, it was perfect.

Mac OS X unfortunately, takes away a lot of the efficiency of NeXTstep, for the sake of the ``Mac faithful'' (and the limitations of Carbon apps) --- that said, I really find Windows very frustrating, for the inverse of the reasons I noted in my post, so until GNUstep is finished and has a nice desktop setup, Mac OS X is as good as it gets for my needs. (If anyone has any suggestions on how to address these limitations in Windows, let me know via PM and I'll start a new thread).

It does seem really silly to me for people to complain about things such as the Fn-keys being defaulted to media key usage when there's an option in System Preferences to toggle it.

The irony here is that I'm reluctant to buy an upgrade to Windows 7 (actually, I'd buy an O.E.M. license of it, swap it for the upgrade copy my son has on his gaming machine) 'cause it's financially painful compared to the $19.99 a copy of Snow Leopard would cost (I paid $39.95 for Windows 7 Home Premium back when it was introduced).
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#15 Post by pointyhat » Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:47 am

Agree about NeXTstep. We had a cube in the office when they came out. Our Unix admin team managed to snag one in the budget even though it never got used in production and I got to play with it for a couple of days to see if it was a viable platform for our desktop apps. Unfortunately it wasn't due to the cost of the units and the fact that the Microsoft team were all over Visual Basic at the time. I can definitely see the bits of NeXTstep poking through in OSX's UI and API.

To be 100% fair, my complaints are mostly resolvable. Working on resolving these is actually what I did when I moved from Sun to Windows platforms back in the 1990's so I probably shouldn't complain as much :) (I did complain then!).

The main reason I'm still trying is that I'm a software guy now and I *really like* Objective-C. With a background of Unix/C and C# on windows it resolves a number of issues that I've had with these languages over the years, particularly with respect to composing loosely defined object models. The message passing model from SmallTalk is wonderful as is the ARC implementation that they provide with LLVM. I write lots of time/performance critical code and to have built in memory pools and deterministic GC/freeing (or incremental GC[1]) with ARC is nothing but positive.

Considering this machine cost me $0 and is the highest performing machine I have free access to, I really want to use it.

I have considered knocking up a web site to help people from the transition from a Unix/Windows power user to OSX. There are some Apple support articles but nothing really helpful. Need:

FAQ section (where's my cheese gone), detailed introduction, daily tasks overviews and software alternatives.

Might be helpful.

[1] I know it's not really GC as such but it fulfils the role nicely.

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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#16 Post by sir_synthsalot » Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:14 pm

If I had to buy a new laptop I would consider one just because of the 16:10 screen.
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#17 Post by pointyhat » Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:17 am

Back on my trusty T400 now. I gave up and have returned it.

Final killer things for me. I managed to solve everything else but I'm done now due to these things...

1. I'm allergic to the alloy that it uses. Despite protectors being installed on it and judicious cleaning of hands, I can't use it all the time.

2. The keyboard combinations and meta-key situation is hopeless. I've remapped literally everything and it's impossible to use. One of the really annoying things (when I'm writing software) is that I use screen capture (PrtScrn). There just isn't that key on the mac and you can't remap to it.

3. Data portability and spread is horrendous. Once you're in the ecosystem, you're stuck. I've found it poorly interoperates with other things. The Unix foundation underneath is fine but once you go above the Quarz/Cocoa abstraction it's pretty much a black box that is impossible to get data in and out of.

4. XQuartz. The few apps I use that require it (mainly Dia and Wireshark) are horrible on MacOS to the point of being unusable.

5. Cost of replacement. To get a new MacBook Pro i7 with 16Gb of RAM and a 256Gb SSD would cost a small fortune. I can assemble a similarly specced T410/T420 for very little money.

6. Screen res (1280x800) is abysmal. I'm using a 1440x900 display on my T400 and I'm much happer. Retina displays are no help either as it's about DPI increase rather than more stuff on the screen. If you scale a retina display, subpixel rendering gets screwed up so it looks like pants.

Well I tried.

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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#18 Post by dogbarber » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:05 pm

The only mac I like is mac and cheese.

The elitist self righteous snobbery of many mac owners really pushes me off too.
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#19 Post by pointyhat » Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:30 am

Couldn't agree more. More diatribe to back this up:

I had to go in an Apple store to get ripped off for a DisplayPort to DVI adapter so I could actually plug a display that didn't suck into it (I have a decent 22" dell one). When I was in there, it felt wrong. Most people in there weren't buying a thing. Those who were purchasing were getting fleeced. I saw some idiot buy a case for his MBP that cost £119! My T400 cost less than that and doesn't actually need a case (it lives in the back of the sofa).

What was the worst bit is I'm a Nokia windows phone owner and the looks I got for zapping barcodes in the apple store to see if I was getting shafted were just evil. Not sure if it was because I was daring to question the halo of the Apple store or the fact that it wasn't an iPhone.

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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#20 Post by EvoT61 » Wed May 07, 2014 6:09 pm

Never had mac ... but late great Steve Jobs said once ... Apple is a software company... so u love it or hate it :)
As a machine ... its quality, but thats all about it ... :)
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#21 Post by BillMorrow » Thu May 08, 2014 3:27 am

just spotted this thread and rant..

so I thought I would add a few remarks from a guy who started out with an S100 buss and front panel switches with lights as a SECOND computer.. the first was an orange box with nothing and in those days it was tough just getting anything in or out.. period..

SO, to continue, for me I like my iPhone 5.. it works.. that's all I care about.. even though I am starting to use more of the smart phone stuff.. after 5 years and 2 previous iPhones..

I have been using an iPad 2 I got cheap at a local pawn shop..
it works.. it is always on or willing to be on when I need to manage this forum..

I have been playing with a thinkpad tablet 2 with win8.1..
I don't particularly LIKE win 8 point anything but its there so I am trying to learn a whole new GUI when I can't find the old desktop..
I TOO do not like having to sign in and sign UP to do much or even log in to the OS..
it seems to me M$ has decided to become a company that sells stuff to a captive win8 audience, much like apple sells songs and stuff to a captive iPad, iPod, etc. group of consumers..
what a business model that is.. no wonder M$ has copied it..

the buying of that tablet 2 is a story I may relate but i'll just say the Lenovo refurb store is friendly but uninformative so the tablet 2 I got was not one I really wanted but their strange rules precluded me from returning it.. boy I wish IBM were back..

my favorite thinkpads are the X300 in spite of the display, the T61p WUXGA because OF the display..
( I wich those two would get together one dark night and produce an offspring with the WUXGA display in an X300 body..

I have an X60 I use for gathering music from the web and it sits and runs (XP!) for days and days and never complains..

I had an apple MacBook I got from one of the mods and then later returned it..
I found the max OS cryptic and difficult..
and no trackpoint is a deal breaker for most laptops..
though I DO use a mouse a lot due to arthritis in my thumbs..

now that M$ has closed the TechNet program i'm thinking of going to Linux or starting to relearn Linux/unix OS's..

SO, there you have the thoughts of an old guy who has not been paying much attention to the goings on last year..
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#22 Post by jdk » Thu May 08, 2014 8:18 pm

BillMorrow wrote: and no trackpoint is a deal breaker for most laptops..
I've found that the MacBook's trackpad is the best on the market. A few years ago on this board, I mentioned that I preferred the Trackpoint over anything else, followed by the trackpad on my wife's (then new) MacBook Air. I still stand by that claim. The MacBook's trackpad doesn't pick up accidental palm movement, and works very well with gestures. It blows my mind that after all these years, NOBODY else can get the trackpad right. That's just my opinion formed from owning EliteBooks and Thinkpads, working with Latitudes at work across multiple operating systems, and spending free time playing with the consumer-grade stuff at Best Buy or MicroCenter. The best thing to do is disable the trackpad and carry around a portable mouse.
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#23 Post by Saucey » Thu May 08, 2014 10:54 pm

Yes, I've heard the same about Macbook's trackpad being unbeatable by any other.
Imo its the best Ultrabook there is (MBP), I don't know if the HDDs are swapable anymore, but I'd get the latest model that would offer that.
Oh and the student discount I hear is really good. I stopped gaming as much as I used to, IF OSX is really that locked down, well then I may take back what I say.
But for what its worth, those things don't depreciate much at all, so not much is lost if resold.

But Macbooks have a tendency to be stepped on, thus breaking the screen.
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#24 Post by Summilux » Fri May 09, 2014 6:35 am

pointyhat wrote: What was the worst bit is I'm a Nokia windows phone owner and the looks I got for zapping barcodes in the apple store to see if I was getting shafted were just evil. Not sure if it was because I was daring to question the halo of the Apple store or the fact that it wasn't an iPhone.
Just the fact that it was a Windows phone :D

Regards,
An Android user :wink:
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#25 Post by Summilux » Fri May 09, 2014 6:41 am

BillMorrow wrote: I TOO do not like having to sign in and sign UP to do much or even log in to the OS..
it seems to me M$ has decided to become a company that sells stuff to a captive win8 audience, much like apple sells songs and stuff to a captive iPad, iPod, etc. group of consumers..
what a business model that is.. no wonder M$ has copied it..
Heh, Google too has been increasingly enforcing this model. Looks like Ubuntu Desktop and Touch (for mobile devices) will gain in popularity... from the few who mind their privacy/independence, that is.
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#26 Post by exTPfan » Fri May 09, 2014 10:33 am

By default, Windows 8.1 records searches you make on your computer and "Microsoft has announced that advertisers will be able to dish up advertising to your computer, based on searches you perform on your computer"

Out-googling Google indeed.

I recently installed Lubuntu on a Thinkpad and was impressed with how much easier and faster it was than installing Win 7. And no crud --- the default browser is Firefox.

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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#27 Post by jdk » Fri May 09, 2014 9:16 pm

By default, Windows 8.1 records searches you make on your computer and "Microsoft has announced that advertisers will be able to dish up advertising to your computer, based on searches you perform on your computer"
To be fair, Ubuntu has been doing this for the past few releases.

But yes, Microsoft never really gave up on their "Active Desktop" crap, which was originally designed to use the Internet Explorer rendering engine to deliver ads directly to the Desktop in Windows 98. They've renamed the ads to "live tiles" but the concept is the same, as is the resurgance of Internet Explorer as an "integral" part of Windows.
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#28 Post by bwaldow » Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:56 pm

I just noticed this while reading through the thread.
WillAdams wrote:(I just wish I could get a ThinkPad running Mac OS X).
You can:
Mavericks 10.9 on a T61(p)

The Trackpoint works as expected. I must keep the Trackpad enabled in the BIOS or the Trackpoint goes away as well.

Mavericks through 10.9.1 sleeps and wakes. Mavericks after that still works, but loses sleep & wake.

I get native 1600x1200 UXGA resolution on my 4:3 panel (Frankenpad 1 in my signature), and I understand others get whatever native resolution their machines have.

Apparently more recent machines work as well, with varying compatibility. But you can get Quadcore I7 'Hackintosh' machines working.

No idea about Yosemite yet.

Cheers,
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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#29 Post by Altemose » Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:42 pm

pointyhat wrote:So three hours after this horrible experience, I only have the following comments to make:

1. The thing is a high end device. Why has it got only a 1280x800 display, even back in 2011!?! It's horrid. I paid 130GBP for my T400 second hand and it has a 1440x900 display.

2. OSX is impossible to use solely via keyboard - it literally goes out of the way to make it hard for you.

3. Why does everything badger me for my Apple account details constantly. I'm forced to sell my soul to the vendor.

4. Getting an RDP connection up took me literally 30 minutes of debugging and tracing the log files from the app. There is no central logging facility for applications on the desktop despite syslog and all sorts running on Unix underneath.

5. It appears to actually be two operating systems crudely glued together. There's a Unix under there somewhere as indicated by Terminal, but it's an odd one. The desktop itself seems to exist on a higher plane with no integration between the two. In fact it almost looks like they'd rather the Unix bit went away and super-happy cloud land stayed up front.

6. I really miss the TrackPoint in my T400. My fingers are actually sore from dragging them over the touchpad and pushing it down to click. It's a big touchpad but it's horrible on the MacBook.

7. The keyboard layout is a whole bundle of WTF. I've seen nothing like it. Do we really need 5(!) meta-keys either? Not only that it's spongy and hard to type on. My hands hurt.

8. I've come to the conclusion that magsafe is a stupid invention which is around to protect a fragile machine. My T400 just falls off the table if someone trips over the cable and I pick it up and carry on (this has happened numerous times).

9. When leave it for a bit and particularly when it was delivered, the thing is HEARTLESS and FROZEN COLD for the first 5 minutes of use. For the remainder it has sharp edges which actually make my wrists sore.

10. My god iWork is a piece of crap (Pages, Numbers). Move some data over to see if it was any good. It doesn't even open ODS or ODF files. It's 2014 dammit!

I genuinely can't see why someone would want one of these machines. It's abhorrent and I'm couriering it back with an apology tomorrow.

Not impressed.
1. I totally agree with you. The 15" MacBook Pros offered a high resolution and a matte option but the 13" was stuck with the 1280x800 IPS display. It isn't the sharpest but has good color...

2. There are many key combinations to learn that have equivalents in Windows. CMD Q is to quit an app, CMD W is to close a window, CMD M is to minimize, etc. I am sure Windows has more key combos though.

3. Did you sign into iCloud and it is just looking for you to reenter the password? iCloud is very out of the way for me and I am on Mavericks. I only get a prompt when my Apple ID password expires once every few months.

4. Logging for the system is done through the Console. This is located in your Applications --> Utilities folder.

5. I think Macs have great integration with the foundational Unix but that is also a statement that depends on what you are doing.

6. That is something you have to get used to but I must say, most trackpad users prefer a MacBook's. I had a bit of a hard time switching from the TrackPoint on my ThinkPad T60 and Dell Latitude D630 to the trackpad on the MacBooks but now that I am used to it is much better.

7. Is that keyboard worn out? My 2012 classic MacBook Pro (2.5 GHz Core i5, 16 GB of RAM, 120 GB Samsung 840 Evo) feels great to type on.

8. No doubt in my mind that the ThinkPad would keep on going after a fall, but the MagSafe is designed to prevent potential falls and damage to the DC-In Board. I cannot tell you how many machines (non-ThinkPads) come in with damaged DC ports due to trippage. I think it is a great idea but respect those who prefer a physical connector.

9. Can't do much about that since it is aluminum.

10. You better believe it! Microsoft Office is great but the Mac version feels half-baked. iWork began as more of a creative software like Pages which was switched into being a word processor. It can handle both but I personally prefer MS Office.

I agree that Wireshark and Dia are junk on the Mac due to the X11 interface. I wish they would come up with a native Cocoa application that feels integrated into the OS.

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Re: I've been loaned a MacBook Pro 13 as an experiment

#30 Post by JeffCullen » Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:35 am

They are different to work on... like a Mopar guy trying to work on an old Saab, everything is weird... but with a bit of research, experience, and the right tools handy (a USB key with the Mavericks installer on it, for example...), they are generally no more difficult to to work on than a Windows machine, IMO...

I am extremely disappointed with the non-upgradeable sealed-unit nature of their recent machines.
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