Skip navigation

Tag Archives: book

 

2008 MacBook Review

 

Intro:

After some months of waiting for the new revision, I have finally been able to obtain one with my Dad’s financial help (he paid for it). After spending a good week with it, I feel compelled to write an initial impression of my experience. 

 

Unboxing:

Of course Apple is very well known for the quality of their packaging and the new MacBook are up to the same standard. Opening a box for the first time is probably the most exciting of buying anything new. This is probably the most expensive thing I have ever unboxed. Apple even pads the inside of the box. Everything is in its own compartment and it’s very minimalist. 

 

First Impressions on the Look and Feel:

The new aluminum casing is amazing. The metal is smooth and the edges of the laptop are very clean and defined. I found myself constantly running my hands around the top of the laptop and the edges of the keyboard because its seriously the best texture ever. The fact that the body is cut from a single piece of aluminum still astounds me; there are no seams or real “edges” so to speak. The only time the body really breaks form is on the bottom where the battery and HDD compartment is.

 

The size of the laptop is perfect. The screen is just big enough to display everything- but not so small that everything feels cramped. It feels bigger than the previous generation MacBook, but after a quick size comparison- its the exact same size, but thinner. Awesome.

 

Screen:

Although the screen keeps the same form factor from the original MacBook (13.3 inches) the quality over the previous generation has vastly improved. The fact that the screen now has LED backlit display is a HUGE change! When I’m in a dark room and I turn up the brightness, it actually hurts to look at the display. Its ridiculous! The colors pop better, the “warm-up” time of the screen is non existent, and the lighting is even. I did a side-by side comparison of my Mom’s old MacBook and you can see the difference. One is both of the screens at lowest brightness, and then the other is both at the highest setting.

Apple also changed the screens from having a glossy finish, to having a single piece of glass that covers the screen. This improves the clarity of the screen but it makes it really reflective. As I type this review in my living room, I can see pretty much everything behind me, so I guess this would be a good way to spot an serial killer or something. It can be pretty distracting, so I either have to actually angle the screen to the point where it doesn’t reflect, or just move into a darker room. The glare problem sucks, but you learn to block it out. The quality of the screen makes up for the bad reflection problems. 

 

Also another thing that will bug people is the fact that since the glass on the screen goes to the edge of the laptop, I found that every time I opened my laptop, my thumb would leave a print on the glass. This can get annoying, and I find it to be bad design because the iSight camera is right where you would put your thumb to open up the laptop. At least they give you a cloth to clean the screen. 

 

Touchpad:

This is probably one of my favorite new features on the new MacBook. The trackpad is now one big square on the surface. No visible buttons. It took about a day to get used to, but I found myself actually using the gestures (tap to click, double tap and hold to drag etc). The trackpad itself is actually button. You press it and it makes an audible click sound (a little too audible for me). The pad can be assigned to right click depending on where you click on the pad, which is pretty useful. For those who still like the idea of having a button to left-click, you can have the bottom of the trackpad assigned to do that. 

 

Apple now put a layer of glass over the trackpad so that it reduced friction. Its not the kind of glass you would find on a window- its more like a cloudy matte glass that’s used for privacy. The feel of it is very nice and smooth without being too slippery to the point where it feels like ice. Just the right amount of friction.

 

But where the trackpad really shines is the multi-touch! This means the pad can recognize more than two points at a time- just like the iPhone- so you can do all those fancy zoom in and out commands with the pinch gestures. This is a Godsend for the people who love all things GTD (Getting Things Done) and people who just like making things more efficient. Thanks to my brother Jimmy, I am now using this application called MultiClutch. What it does is essentially assign key commands to difference multi-touch gestures. Example- to minimize a program, instead of moving your cursor up to the top left corner to click on the icon, you can just take three fingers and swipe them in a downward motion on the trackpad to minimize the active window. 

 

Here is a video to clear up some confusion you might have:

http://media.macworld.com/media/vodcast/mwvodcast50.mp4

 

I love using this application. I use it all the time and it makes me feel like I’m from the future. It’s something that Apple should really implement into the OS. No one should be without this. Period. 

 

Keyboard:

I’ve always been a fan of the MacBook keyboard. I liked it more than the MacBookPro’s and the white keyboards that came with the older mac desktops. I like the fact they made them black because it fits the design better, and it just looks cooler. The throw of each key is nicely spaced  and it takes little time to adjust to the keyboard. I haven’t had a problem typing. The spring of the keys is soft and resilient so you feel compelled to type more on it just because it feels nice. 

 

My model didn’t include the backlit keys, which is a shame because its a really nice feature. I would’ve had to pay about 300 dollars more to get that, 400 Mhz, and about 90 more Gigs of hard drive space. Not worth it in my opinion.

Other than that, its pretty much the same keyboard that we’ve seen for the last few years. 


Graphics:

So this actually surprised me. The fact that Apple actually decided to put in a dedicated graphics card to the less expensive models like the MacBook. I thought they would stay with Intel’s crap integrated graphics forever!

 

So this is a very pleasant surprise and a very nice change for me. What was the first thing I did? Install WoW of course! Threw in the first 5 install disks- it took about 30 minutes or less. About average. The thing that sucks about installing WoW is that it takes forever. Not because the install takes long- its the numerous amount of patches that one has to keep downloading before you can play! Even after you install all the patches for the first game- you then have to install the 2nd expansion and THEN you have to patch that. Luckily, Blizzard managed to streamline the installation process somewhat. Instead of having to install both games, all you have to do now is just install the first game and patch it- without having to install Burning Crusade. Although the latest patch 3.0.2 makes it so you don’t have to install BC, you still have to download the patch- which is a 2.6 Gigabyte file. That took a few hours. 

Anyhow, its faster to install now and that’s a nice change.

 

Enough about the install time- more on how it runs! Good news guys, it runs WoW pretty well! I was actually impressed. I was worried that the new graphics card they put in wasn’t going to cut it- but now my fears are alleviated, as I now can run games like WoW at an average FPS of 50-60 depending on the area. Although gaming on a laptop brings up another issue.

 

Battery Life:

The battery life is good, if not great. As long as I don’t have the screen at full brightness, or use any programs that are processor/graphics heavy, I get about 4+ hours. Now keep in mind I haven’t timed anything- these are just estimates. I can post more accurate times later. Although when playing WoW- the battery life was cut down to about half.


Camera:

Same ol’ iSight camera. As far as I know its the same VGA (640×480) resolution. It looks more clear, but that could just be because the screen is brighter. Also just to mention the microphone quality is very good. I recorded some video and both the sound and video was very clear. 


Conclusion: 

I love this laptop. This is the first mac I have ever owned and there is a big difference from just using a mac to actually owning one. I’ve used alot of macs for different classes in school and my impression of them was just “meh”. It could be just because the computers I used at school were abused.

 

As a kid, I vowed to never use any Apple computers just because of how sluggish and awful they were back in the day. Today, things are much, MUCH different. This laptop is really snappy and responsive. Leopard is a very stable and pretty looking OS. There is not much else I can say because I’m pretty sure most of the readers already know most of the stuff I mentioned in this review, its nothing new really. 

 

One thing I can say though, if you’re thinking about buying a MacBook- you will have no regrets should you decide to purchase one.

Hey alright guys, this is a true story thats original to this blog only- AND – it happened today! Hurray! Ok, so today I got out of my piano lessons at 4:30pm. There is a bank next building over. So usually my Mom picks me up afterward in the parking lot, (yeah she picks me up I can’t drive- cue laughter whatever) I noticed that she wasn’t waiting there so I walked around the parking lot just to make sure. As I was passing by the back entrance of the bank- there were a few people inside staring at me. I didn’t think of it much at first, I was calling home and walking around in a circle. After I finished getting off the phone, the people who were staring at me were gone from the windows and there was a woman who was locking the back door. She gave me a odd/fearful look and so I just gave her the “whatever” expression and walked off.

So it usually takes my Mom about 10 minutes to get to where I was so I took out 1984 (which is a good read, I recommend it) and using my backpack as a pillow, laid down and read on the small strip of grass that was in front of the bank. About 1 1/2 minutes later, this cop car pulls up beside me (because the lawn strip was close to the parking lot) and I looked over and was like, “wtf”. I get up and the cop gets out. He was a bald guy of about 30+ years.

Cop: “Can I see your ID?”

Me: “Ah yeah, sure.” [pulls out student ID]

Cop: “Alright” [Takes ID, scribbles some notes]

Cop: “When is your birthday?”

Me: “February 26th, 1990”

Me: “Can you tell me whats going on?”

Cop: “Well, last week this bank was robbed by a young man, who was thin, had dark hair, lightly tanned skin and a black bag. Before he robbed the bank he hung around the back parking lot area for a few minutes before he went in and held the place up. And the people at the bank reported that there was a guy walking around the back of the bank who matched the suspect who robbed the bank last week.”

Me: [Thinking, oh shit, because I totally match the description, I was carrying my black messenger bag AND I was making phone calls while just walking around the back of the bank]

“Oh………funny you never hear things like that….”

Cop: “Yeah, you look like the guy, but you’re not the guy. The real guy was about 20 years or older and everyone was sure he had a wig on.”

Me: “Really? Man, thats pretty crazy.”

Cop: “Yeah, sorry to alarm you or anything.”

Me: “Oh its no big deal, but you scared me there for a second.”

Cop: “Sorry about that….by the way, you waiting for someone or what?”

Me: “Oh yeah I was waiting for my Mom to pick me up- I just got out of my piano lessons like 10 minutes ago over there.” [points at building]

Cop: “Hm. Well take it easy- now I just gotta go tell the people inside its ok.” [laugh]

Me: “Good day!” [at that moment my Mom arrives and I jump in and drive off without any other hassle- oh and I say good day a lot to adults because I’ve worked as a cashier at a few jobs and I’m so used to saying it]

Overall it was a jarring experience. I had no idea why those people inside the building were freaking out and locking all the exits, but now I do. XD It actually crossed my mind that maybe they thought I was attractive or something and they just couldn’t keep their greedy eyes off me- Ha! Wow! Totally wrong!

-Neverhitboxes

-Staring does not equal hotness. -Neverhitboxes

    So let me admit right here, that I am a big fan of Zelda. I bought both the Wii and Zelda at launch and have spent 40+ hours playing it. Being the young and determined person I am, I beat the game in 35 hours. My Dad on the other hand, is not even half way through yet and has spent 100+ hours (according to his save file). Here begins my story.

“God Dammit!” “Shit!” “Oh fuck! I have to do it again?!” These are the sounds that emanate from the downstairs living room. My Dad is playing Zelda again. My Dad is well into his mid fifties and wasn’t born into a generation where video games existed, but even with that said it still doesn’t stop him from swearing up a storm when he gets knocked off his horse or when he dies in a boss battle. My Dad is truly determined to do whatever it takes to beat Zelda. He calls me when I’m out with friends (true story) and asks me, “Hey Jeff, how do you do a Shield Attack? It keeps asking me to do a shield attack and I have no CLUE (with emphasis) what the hell its talking about!” Then I will have to tell him how to do it, and chances are he probably still won’t get it, but by some chance, he discovers how to do it by pure luck accident (aka wave around the controllers).

            His sense of direction is alright in real life, but for some odd reason, real-life doesn’t transfer to what I call, “A Virtual Sense of Direction”(a term coined by me). He always runs around in circles and goes back into rooms he has already been in and wonders why everything looks familiar. It’s a true test of patience, I’ll have to say. I really have to try and not point out what he has to do, or beg him to let me do it for him. It is painful to watch, in fact I’m pretty sure that if you wanted to torture someone, all one would have to do is tie them down and make him/her watch my Dad play Zelda (I can hear their screams of frustration as I type this, “Oh God! You already did that temple!! Somebody, please, I’ll do anything! Get this man a strategy guide!!”). That’s why I usually bring a book with me so I don’t have to silently weep while watching him play (in fact when my brothers came down from LA, my brother Michael pointed out that that we all started reading books when my Dad began to play Zelda).

            Dad, I love you, but your navigation skills I’m afraid are in another castle.

 -Neverhitboxes