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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Opinions on the new MacBook
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11/10/2008 12:55:19 PM · #51
I got my first Mac (a new aluminum body Macbook) just a few days ago and so far I quite like it. Since I've been using Linux/Unix at work for a long time, a lot of things on mac seem very familiar. And it just feels so refined and solid, especially when I look at my (not so) old Sony Vaio laptop :).

Anyway, I have this strange problem which I haven't resolved yet. I was planning to use it for photo processing, and set out to calibrate it with my Huey gizmo, but the calibration came out horrible, with very strong red tint. So I had to delete this profile and come back to the built-in profile. So, what the heck is this? Is it related to the new LED display? Huey works quite well on my regular desktop windows monitor... Also, another question for those who connect Mac laptops with external monitors, how do you calibrate those, and do you have to switch profiles every time you connect your laptop to the monitor?
11/10/2008 01:07:56 PM · #52
Originally posted by Louis:

I don't necessarily need to discuss the pros of OSX over Vista, although I do value your opinion and everyone else's regarding their personal experiences -- they'll help me make my decision -- but just so it's known, I'm not an OS evangelist for Windows or OSX. I just want to get the job done, whatever the job happens to be at the moment, with the right tool. Leopard appears to solve some form/function issues for me right now. I have no illusions that it will not introduce other issues for me, however.


At the moment my desk has a windows Vista machine, a Solaris SunRay, a linux box, an old XP laptop and my macbook pro. Far and away the one I have the least issues with and use the most is the macbook. Stuff just works. On the other platforms I have to fight a whole lot more to get things to work. I say that as someone who first installed linux in 1992 from a handful of floppies and has written Windows device drivers and linux kernel modules. I know the least about OS X and FreeBSD.

It was a big surprise to me.
11/10/2008 01:11:09 PM · #53
Originally posted by LevT:

I was planning to use it for photo processing, and set out to calibrate it with my Huey gizmo, but the calibration came out horrible, with very strong red tint. So I had to delete this profile and come back to the built-in profile. So, what the heck is this? Is it related to the new LED display? Huey works quite well on my regular desktop windows monitor... Also, another question for those who connect Mac laptops with external monitors, how do you calibrate those, and do you have to switch profiles every time you connect your laptop to the monitor?

I'm not sure about the color cast. Maybe you had a strong light source in the room that was bleeding though the glass at an angle, or maybe the Huey itself is bad? I'd certainly try it again. I don't think there's anything about the LED backlighting or glossy screen that would be an issue (my glossy Macbook Pro is calibrated).

As for other monitors, the calibration process itself usually blacks out everything but the primary display. Just set your monitor preferences to use the external as your primary monitor (drag the menu bar to that display in your prefs), calibrate it, then switch back. The OS should then use both profiles.
11/10/2008 01:26:41 PM · #54
Originally posted by Gordon:

Originally posted by Louis:

I don't necessarily need to discuss the pros of OSX over Vista, although I do value your opinion and everyone else's regarding their personal experiences -- they'll help me make my decision -- but just so it's known, I'm not an OS evangelist for Windows or OSX. I just want to get the job done, whatever the job happens to be at the moment, with the right tool. Leopard appears to solve some form/function issues for me right now. I have no illusions that it will not introduce other issues for me, however.


At the moment my desk has a windows Vista machine, a Solaris SunRay, a linux box, an old XP laptop and my macbook pro. Far and away the one I have the least issues with and use the most is the macbook. Stuff just works. On the other platforms I have to fight a whole lot more to get things to work. I say that as someone who first installed linux in 1992 from a handful of floppies and has written Windows device drivers and linux kernel modules. I know the least about OS X and FreeBSD.

It was a big surprise to me.

Whoop. Sounds good. I think I'm settled on the MacBook Pro. (Btw I was just talking with Alex about the days when we installed Slackware from about 20 floppies. :P)
11/10/2008 01:28:21 PM · #55
Originally posted by Louis:

I'm not into OSX because I think it'll save me from headaches. I expect headaches. Consider this thread.

I've been telling Neil his Mac is not normal ever since he got it. I've been using Macs since 1987, and Neil keeps coming up with issues I never even heard of. I would say his experiences are the exception rather than the norm.
11/10/2008 01:57:18 PM · #56
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by Louis:

I'm not into OSX because I think it'll save me from headaches. I expect headaches. Consider this thread.

I've been telling Neil his Mac is not normal ever since he got it. I've been using Macs since 1987, and Neil keeps coming up with issues I never even heard of. I would say his experiences are the exception rather than the norm.


It could be that Neil is an exceptional individual too. My boss has a particular talent for that, typically has to reinstall windows every 5 or 6 months. Linux installs usually only last 3 months until he's broken them irreparably. He used to be a Computer Science lecturer so expects his computers to behave in a particular way, no matter what reality might decree.
11/10/2008 02:21:04 PM · #57
another point of view
11/10/2008 02:31:07 PM · #58
Is DRM a serious issue on Macs? And what proprietary file formats is he talking about?
11/10/2008 02:38:06 PM · #59
Originally posted by Louis:

Is DRM a serious issue on Macs? And what proprietary file formats is he talking about?


The DRM complaints are the same DRM complaints on most platforms. DVDs, region encoding, music from iTunes, netflix etc.

Proprietary file formats would be anything non-plain-text or XML based if you are viewing it with an OSS perspective.
11/10/2008 03:22:36 PM · #60
Yeah, was wondering what would be so proprietary on OSX that it would prevent porting some data file to another platform for work... can't think of anything immediately that would impact the average user, unless it's compressed files.
11/10/2008 04:15:23 PM · #61
I have another issue which I discovered just yesterday. Apparently MacOS can read NTFS partirions but cannot write on them. So my big external hard drive which I was planning to use for moving stuff around my computers, only can do it one way and not the other. How do you guys work around this - use Fat32?
11/10/2008 04:20:29 PM · #62
Originally posted by LevT:

How do you guys work around this - use Fat32?

That'll work, or you could just keep using NTFS. ;-)
11/10/2008 05:52:54 PM · #63
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by LevT:

How do you guys work around this - use Fat32?

That'll work, or you could just keep using NTFS. ;-)

hah, interesting! Did you actually try it? I wonder how fast the write process is through this FUSE interface?
11/11/2008 02:22:27 PM · #64
Made my decision and just ordered this. Okay, hope it was the right decision. :-)
11/11/2008 02:44:45 PM · #65
Originally posted by Louis:

Made my decision and just ordered this. Okay, hope it was the right decision. :-)


wow, this is quite a beast! good luck with it!

an update on my own issues with Macbook:

Pantone folks wrote to me that their Huey calibrator "is not optimized for LED screens" and recommended to get "a spectrophotometer like the ColorMunki". So, it's a bummer. I calibrated the screen "by eye" for now, which is ok, but no substitute for a real calibration.

on a brighter side, following Scalvert's advice, I installed MacFUSE and NTFS-3g, and now my NTFS hard drive is both readable and writable on my Mac!
11/11/2008 04:16:22 PM · #66
another update on the Macbook display calibration. Just discovered this thread. It appears indeed to be a common problem. But these folks noticed that pink tint changes to a green tint after calibration if you turn the Huey upside down. So they placed it horizontally on screen and the results seemed to be pretty good. Isn't it weird? I am going to try it tonight and see what happens...
11/11/2008 04:40:27 PM · #67
I will say this: I have noticed that when using my MacBook on my wireless connection, if left idle for any amount of time (say, a minute or two) the laptop starts searching for other networks so that when I try to click a link, it cycles through all of the networks it can pick up before connecting through mine. When that happens, it makes me yearn for the days of 56k dialup. There doesn't seem to be any way, that I can find, to "lock" onto one wireless connection and avoid that searching for networks. I don't experience the problem with other wireless computers using the same connection.
11/11/2008 04:45:16 PM · #68
Which MacBook do you have? Is it a late iteration (ie, this past October)?
Edit: not that it makes any difference. :-P

Message edited by author 2008-11-11 16:46:02.
11/11/2008 04:49:06 PM · #69
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

I will say this: I have noticed that when using my MacBook on my wireless connection, if left idle for any amount of time (say, a minute or two) the laptop starts searching for other networks so that when I try to click a link, it cycles through all of the networks it can pick up before connecting through mine. When that happens, it makes me yearn for the days of 56k dialup. There doesn't seem to be any way, that I can find, to "lock" onto one wireless connection and avoid that searching for networks. I don't experience the problem with other wireless computers using the same connection.

I heard about this problem from some other users, but so far it did not happen to me (knock, knock). The wireless connections both at work and at home have been rock-solid. I wonder if it happens even when your laptop is very near the router, or only if the signal is weak?
11/11/2008 04:49:18 PM · #70
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

I will say this: I have noticed that when using my MacBook on my wireless connection, if left idle for any amount of time (say, a minute or two) the laptop starts searching for other networks so that when I try to click a link, it cycles through all of the networks it can pick up before connecting through mine. When that happens, it makes me yearn for the days of 56k dialup. There doesn't seem to be any way, that I can find, to "lock" onto one wireless connection and avoid that searching for networks. I don't experience the problem with other wireless computers using the same connection.


Let's compare mythologies:
Network Prefs > check "Ask to join new networks". From the (top) pop-up choose a specific location.
Click Advanced, Airport and check "Remember any network this computer has joined".
11/17/2008 01:33:47 PM · #71
Well, my new MacBook arrived today. I'll post my impressions and progress going forward.
11/17/2008 01:39:18 PM · #72
Congrats on the new baby. They grow old so quickly. ;-)
11/17/2008 01:42:45 PM · #73
No kidding! Hopefully it'll last at least a year. :P
11/20/2008 11:16:25 PM · #74
I'm officially loving FreeBSD on my laptop. (OSX calls its kernel "Darwin".) I was right about being wowed by simply ssh-ing without installing 3rd party software. Awesome. The shell -- I use tcsh, not the default bash, but simple to switch -- is exactly as I expect. Darwin is laid out slightly differently than FreeBSD, but essentially it feels and looks and behaves exactly as I would expect. Having Unix on my laptop is sweet. Alex is supremely envious. Too bad though, since he recently got a new laptop with Vista.

OSX is a beautiful OS. It's close enough to Windows to be more intuitive than I had feared, but there are differences I will still need to acclimatize to. I have to say I don't like the dock. It's a weird paradigm that looks more like eye candy, so I don't use it much. Instead, I've installed QuickSilver on Gordon's advice and use it to start applications and find documents. I believe it's a must-have on OSX, and should ship with the OS (I understand it's 3rd party and Apple is a covetous company, so that won't happen I assume.)

The MacBook Pro I have is snappy as hell. The screen is stunning -- I've got the glossy LCD screen. Instant-on, extremely bright, beautiful colour. Performance is the best I've experienced on any laptop.

I've installed Zend Studio for Eclipse, Coda, Scrivener, Firefox, Thunderbird, and QuickSilver. No problems with anything (I was worried about Zend Studio, but everything's cool). I find the application paradigm interesting: apps are "packages" (similar to FreeBSD packages I guess), compartmentalized into a single icon from the user's perspective though holding all application files, and thus installable and deletable by dragging and dropping that icon. No Add/Remove, which is cool.

There is too much reliance on the mouse in OSX, or I don't understand how to do some things. For example, I can't simply ALT-D in my browser, FireFox or Safari, to get to the URL locator, which sucks. I'm forced to click in the bar with my mouse. There are other annoying instances where I'm forced to interact with the GUI, when a keyboard shortcut would make much more sense. Also, no PGUP/PGDN on this laptop, and CMD-DOWN doesn't work as page down in every app. Not good.

Overall though, this is one sweet laptop, and OSX is pretty cool. I'll keep posting my impressions and progress.

[thumb]740739[/thumb]

Message edited by author 2008-11-20 23:20:53.
11/20/2008 11:32:34 PM · #75
Originally posted by jaysonmc:

My two cents.
As far as hardware, my black Macbook is the best notebook I have ever owned (not saying the best per say, just the best I have ever used and the includes Dell).
There is really nothing to dislike about the hardware, at least for me.

The actual os platform, MacOSX... better in some ways than Vista worse in other ways.

That's the beauty of Apple though, you don't have to use MacOSX if you don't want.


I have to agree. I bought a Dell XPS M1330 in January, it was dead by July. The motherboard had to be completely replaced and Dell said it was a "common issue". Also within those few months the laptop worked, I had to perform factory restores several times. Some of my files would randomly be corrupted. I also had a lot of wireless networking issues which even my IT department couldn't resolve (resolved the issue with another restore). After Dell fixed it the laptop, it still didn't feel or act right and I desperately need a stable platform, so I bought the MacBook.

I've had my MacBook Pro for a while now and I am running similar hardware as the M1330. The performance difference is astounding. This computer just flat out runs smoother and my productivity is much better. The OS is just flat out sexy and I love the ability to use the terminal. My MacBook is the best laptop I have over owned.
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