Road to Mac II: I've got a Macbook !

See part I

July 25th – August 2nd

After ordering, I received two emails from Apple, confirming the order. It took 3 days until the order finally got shipped from China (where else, of course) on Friday, July 28th and the estimate for delivery was 5-8 business days. I have received the tracking number and was able to track how my Macbook was moving around the globe: starting from Shizou, China on 28th, arriving to USA, Anchorage, Alaska one day later. One more day and it showed up in Memphis, Tennessee. That was on July 30th. It seemed to stuck there for over 2 days and then, without any interim stops it showed up on August 2nd in Ottawa Fedex location. I have just arrived to customer place in the morning and saw the news on Fedex Tracking page (dutifully bookmarked and checked every few hours )…

In two hours, it was delivered. So the “birthday” and timestamp for the beginning of my Mac experience is the August 2nd, at about 9:50 Eastern Standard time. Fortunately, at that day I had arrived to work at 7 AM so I was able to finish everything I had planned for the day and leave relatively early. At about 4:30 PM back at home I started to unpack the package. I did it really slowly, enjoying it a lot and throughly documenting ever step with my D70. This was first time that I have ordered anything else than books and tickets from the Web – so it was a kind of “leap of faith” to pay around $2000 to company who will ship the thing from different side of the globe. Maybe I was suspecting that something could be broken, or something will not be as I ordered – but fortunately (as I found out in next hour), no surprises there. It was nice to find that this global ecommerce thing everybody talks about actually works 🙂

Being educated by various Windows products manuals “NEVER attach the disk before installing drivers” or “do NOT switch it on before doing X.Y.Z” I actually did not switch the notebook on before scanning the manual. Yep, you heard correctly: I actually did read the manual first <grin/>. I have to say that it was beautifully short, good looking and thoroughly understandable, without insulting reader’s intelligence. It was that type of manual, that even my mom (who never touched a computer) would probably understand how to start and what to do – if she spoke English, of course.

To charge the battery, I unpack and connect the power supply. This simple thing lies on the floor right next to my Fujitsu power supply and the difference could not be more revealing. The Fujitsu power supply is large, heavy, ugly brick, weighting about 4 times as much as as nice and small Apple white box. Not only that – note the small details: how the brick allows attach/detach either power cable or direct right-to-the-wall plug. The hidden collapsible “ears” that serve as holder for the thin computer power cable loops. And the nice small magnetic ending that can be plugged to the notebook either side up …

With all this done I dared to press the button and “bang” – off it went. The system booted (without Microsoft sound, but one would not really expect it). OS-X started, asked me few questions about country and language setting and myself and I was in.

First experience in four words: Looks just plain beautiful.

Second experience in three words: It just works !

Everything on the screen looked so nice, polished, with very smooth typography. I pressed by chance F12 and wow – I saw the Dashboard for the first time, with Weather widget configured to Ottawa and clock showing my local time … It must have got it from my address, I typed in when registering.

Note: as I discovered two weeks later, when comparing weather forecast from Weather Network with the one from Dashboard widget, it was different Ottawa which got configured by default: Ottawa in Kansas, USA rather than Ottawa, Canada . Now this is really confusing: not only these cities have same name, they even have both university with almost identical name: see the real one (University of Ottawa) and the Ottawa University in Kansas. Obviously, the setup picked the first Ottawa it found and did not bother compare the country. I changed the city in the widget and got the temperature down to real values.

I even dared to switch on the Airport (aka wireless card) right away. I was expecting to have to set the security protocol and experience same issues as few years ago when I started to use wireless router: during setup, you need to select from different settings none of which is really explained (like WEP, WPA, WPA-PSK). After you spend some time surfing the web and reading, you’ll find out what these acronyms actualy represent. But if all you want is to get secure wireless connection quickly, you do not really care about the differences between these standards. Fortunately, Macbook figured it out without troubling the user with too many details. It saw my home network right away, just asked for network password and again – it just worked. What a relief. On the other hand, I do not know what I could do if it did not work, not having any parameters to set. Probably I would have to Google a lot, then go down to the depths of command line and Unix commands I never knew they exist …

The wireless also seems to be way more stable with Mac than with my Windows based notebooks (both Fujitsu and tablet). But to be fair – my experiences of instability are from last two years and I have replaced the router recently. Instead old WRT54G, Yan brought home some Dlink router with pre-N capabilities (which I do not need and do not use) and range boost (which I do need and enjoy !). The new router is more stable but I have already seen few “Could not connect to preferred wireless network” messages in the morning on both Windows macgines and weird connection delays (2-3 minutes) after waking from hibernation. The Macbooks just wakes up from sleep and in 10-20 seconds is online.

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