[Editorial note: It is actually a MacBookPro 17, as is pointed out in a friendly comment below]
Here’s what it is like to buy your first Mac.
1. The number of purchase decisions are far fewer
2. It arrives in a beautiful box. You slip it out of the box, set the instructions aside as unnecessary, plug it in, turn it on. The machine is very beautiful. It asks you your name. The fonts are very beautiful.
Then it works.
Mac people laugh at you if you buy a book about how to use it; the culture is; use it, poke around.
Parallels lets you run XP and/or Vista on your Mac in a window or full screen; it is one of the easiest, fastest and nicest VM software packages I’ve seen.
I plugged my 500Gig external hard disk into the mac, formatted it and it worked (3 minutes). I plugged my two button optical wireless mouse in, worked great. I plugged my monitor from my Dell laptop in, worked instantly. I plugged my network in, worked perfectly, instantly and with zero setup.
The kicker was that setting up XP through Parallels on the Mac was faster and an order of magnitude easier than it was on my Dell. Cracked me up; the Mac answered all the questions for me; I just sat back and watched it work.
I hear the Mac folks are afraid that Microsoft is selling Silverlight as cross-platform today but might “walk away”from the Mac at “any moment.” But I just don’t buy it; the Mac is too much fun, and once a lot of Vista and XP users get our hands on it, using Silverlight applications that run both on Vista and on the Mac — well, I wonder if Silverlight won’t eventually sell more Macs than it does Dell machines.
Niftiest program so far: video conferencing through AIM; there is something very nice about seeing the person you’re talking to, for free, with very solid full motion video. Yes, it takes a very big pipe, but FIOS is cheap these days, and the Mac makes it painless.
Meanwhile, the more I program with Silverlight, the more impressed I am.
I took my Mac to Milwaukee to give a presentation about Silverlight and .NET 3. The great news was that Keynote (PowerPoint for the Mac but faster, easier, better in every way) worked great, and it wowed them. The even better news was that Vista running under Parallels, with ORCAS and .NET 3 worked like a charm (though, I admit a bit slower than on my dedicated Dell. On the other hand my dedicated Dell now has 4 Gig of RAM, 4 Gig of ReadyBurst, and an upgraded video card with 1/2 gig on board memory).
What was most fun was the unending grumbling about my using a Mac to make a Windows presentation. It is a brave new world.
One humbling thing I learned and it is important to keep in mind is that most of the folks there (and these were all business folks who signed up out of personal interest) are working in companies who are still working in .NET 1.1, and just beginning to transition to 2.0; the challenge for Microsoft, clearly, will be convincing folks that 3.0 (which is a very big step) is worth taking any time soon.