Mac iBook with Mac OS X
I recently bought an Apple iBook. As Mac's now run Unix as their
underlying OS, it makes sense for me to have this. I bought the 14"
version with an 800 Mhz cpu, 30 GB hard drive and a Combo drive
(reads DVD's, reads/writes CD's). It was $1,599.00 and arrived
direct from Apple's web site just four days after I ordered it.
I'm still awash in confusion, but I do have a few first
Really Good looking
This is a good looking machine. White case, white keyboard,
thin, lightweight (about 5 lbs) and a sharp display. The battery
life is supposedly five or six hours. I have a Win2K laptop also,
but I only use that while traveling, and have a Linux box at my
office that is my main workstation.. I think this laptop could be
my machine for both office and away once I get it all set up and
But so confusing..
And that's my first (and probably only) gripe. I'm fumbling
around with basic setup tasks. It's nothing really awful, and I'm
learning quickly, but this is not something you can just turn on
and use. Well, maybe YOU can, but I confuse easily.
The first thing was something I knew but had forgotten. When you
start an application, its menu appears at the top of the screen.
Windows and X apps keep their menus in their own windows, but Apple
has always done it this way. This is not a problem, of course, just
something you have to get used to. Actually, I rather like it. If
you choose "Hide Others" from the applications title menu, all
other appplication windows go away, but you can bring them back on
demand. This, in combination with the Windows style Dock (works
like Windows title bar), is a very nice way to manage your
I'm having a little trouble getting used to the touchpad mouse
also. Again, nothing wrong - it's just different. On my other
laptop the touchpad can also do clicks by tapping on it. On the
iBook, there's a separate click pad just under the touchpad; not at
all hard to use, it just isn't what I'm used to. However, if you go
to System Preferences->Mouse, you can change the trackpad so
that you CAN click by tapping.
Another thing that I find disconcerting is the lack of
confirmation buttons in many dialogs. You know, you call something
up to change preferences and you click "Apply" or "OK" to confirm
your changes. That sort of thing seems to be missing in a lot of
places - you just make your changes and close the window. So far
that hasn't been a problem (I haven't screwed up anything I
couldn't fix), but I can see where it could be.
For example, one of the first changes I made was to Terminal. It
defaults to tcsh, which I don't particularly like, so I called up
its preferences and changed it. As you can see, there's nothing
there like "OK" or "Cancel" - in fact there is no way to cancel.
That's not so bad here, but in more complex dialogs where you may
become confused, it's good to be able to just start over. If
there's any way to do that here, I missed it.
I think I like the built-in Mac OS X Mail client. I'm not
entirely sure yet, and I have downloaded Mozilla which I'm used to using on
Linux. The mail does have this nice spam control built in, which
seems to be working well (it's still in training mode), but it only
does mail - no Newsgroup capability. Because of that lack, I need
Mozilla anyway. I'll play with it for a while and see if I still
A lot of work to do
I have a bit of work to do before I can use this as my daily
machine. I have a number of scripts on Linux that I use regularly
for managing my website, my life, and other things. Fortunately,
they are all Perl and Bash so I will have no real problems
transporting them here, but it's just taking the time to do it.
Mac OS X is very seductive though - I'm going to have to steal
the time to do this.
If you are considering an iBook, you'll probably want more than
256MB of ram. I find that very uncomfortable to work with (too much
paging and swapping) and have already ordered a 512MB stick which
will bring it to its maximum of 640MB.
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