No, it’s not a new product from Apple. The Mac/Thinkpad shuffle is what
you do when you buy a new iBook for your daughter so that you can redeploy her
Thinkpad to the family room, so that you can redeploy the six-year-old and broken
family-room PC to the, well, to the dump.
Yes, the new iBook arrived, and Jenny opened the box Wednesday evening. She
The adventure begins! Jenny carves into the newly delivered
It’s the first Mac in our family since I sold my Powerbook way back in 1993.
Here are some of our initial thoughts and reactions:
Jenny likes the iBook case material very much.
She was momentarily upset at having only one mouse-button. I think I could carefully saw that button into two halves, but
she wasn’t too interested in my, er, suggested hack. Really, Apple ought
to offer two buttons as an option. I’m sure the design is modular enough
that they could offer two trackpad configurations.
You should have seen Jenny’s eyes light up when I went to the iTunes store
and began playing song samples. She didn’t know what she was missing. And
it all just worked. I’ve never run iTunes before, and I was playing song
samples in less than a minute. No setup. No configuration. No registration.
While transfering Jenny’s files and other data, I found I can get just
as frustrated using a Mac as I can using a Windows PC :-)
Apple’s icon and GUI design are awesome. No Teletubbies on that screen.
The icons are very pleasing to look at. Well done.
Why on earth does the extension adaptor for a two-prong power adaptor terminate
in a three-prong plug? What’s that about? Ease-of-use does not include hunting
around one’s office for a grounded outlet.
Sadly, OpenOffice.org doesn’t seem to play well on the Mac. Having to use
X11 is no bother at all. But the fonts, they render terribly. We opened
a couple of Jenny’s files, and the text was awful to look at. The good thing
is though, that OpenOffice.org does at least run on the Mac. She’s at least
got access to her files. We both really appreciate that.
Hmmm… I just now opened Appleworks, typed in a few words using the default
font, and the results there are not very appealing either. Interestingly,
that font, Helvetica 12pt, renders better, though larger, in OpenOffice.org
than in Appleworks. A further oddity is that clicking on the bold and italic
toolbar buttons in OpenOffice.org has no effect at all. More research is
Jenny’s had some trouble adjusting to the trackpad. She tends to drag her
palm across it while typing, with the result that her cursor flies across
the screen, window focus changes, etc. She and I are both big fans of IBM’s
little, red nub. Oh well. Can’t have everything. She’ll get used it eventually.
Jenny was completely baffled (at first) by the slot-loading CD drive.
It was a bit funny watching her try to put in her first CD. She was looking
right at the slot, but couldn’t find the drive. Such are the small joys
of fatherhood :-)
- iMail did an awesome job of importing Jenny’s old email. She used to use
(which, by the way, I
recommend unhesitatingly to Windows PC users) I had to export each of
Jenny’s folders from The Bat! one at a time. To my very pleasant surprise,
iMail loaded the entire resulting directory and subdirectory of Unix mailbox
files in one, fell swoop, and preserved the hierarchical structure into the
bargain. I was most pleased with how easily that went.
Despite a few rough points during the configuration and setup process (I was
in iHell for just a little while), and despite a few adjustments she’s had to
make (one button mouse, trackpad rather than Trackpoint, etc.), Jenny is a very
happy teenager. When I offer to take back the iBook and let her keep her Thinkpad,
the answer is a resounding "No!" And Jeff, my nine-year-old son, he’s
completely lost eyes for Thinkpads. He could care less that Jenny’s giving us
her old one. He wants an iBook too.