Living With a MacBook


Four Months Ago... *

On the 3rd of August 2012 (According to Time Machine) I fired up my Windows desktop PC for the last time (this may not actually be true - I have a vague feeling that I may have booted it again later for one last check that I hadn't left anything important behind). Myself and my partner drove to Birmingham's Bullring Apple Store and I handed over a significant amount of money for the shiny, new, all-singing and all-dancing, MacBook Pro with Retina Display. This had been the subject of some deliberation. I had known for some time that I would finally ditch Windows, but the question of exactly what I would end up with was up for debate. For a long time the iMac 27" was the distinct favourite but the mixture of portability and awesome screen won it for the rMBP.

My PC was relegated to a corner in the study (and has since been inherited by my sister, who amusingly refers to it as The Beast, it must be more than a hundred times the volume of the MacBook or more (It's in a mid-2000s Alienware chassis though almost all of it's internal organs are transplants). I am now Windows, and static/desktop rig free.

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.
— Pablo Picasso

About Gaming

Gaming was the only weak-point to my plan. Gaming on the Mac is still some way behind PC gaming in terms of support and availability - but it is catching up fast. Many developers are now supporting the Mac natively and others are supporting DirectX emulated conversions. Big names such as Blizzard, CCP, Arenanet, Zenimax (Bethesda), and Valve among others have current titles available.

This said, I also quite liked the idea of being more restricted in what games are available; it might temper my gaming habit slightly. Should there be a game with no Mac support that I desperately wished to play my partner still maintains a gaming PC - no big deal.

EVE Online looks particularly stunning.

In practice this has worked relatively well - possibly better than I really expected it to. I have on the odd occasion borrowed the PC to scratch a gaming itch for a few hours but can confidently say that should that option not have been available I would feel no great loss. The games I have played on the Macbook Pro at it's ungodly screen resolution have performed well and looked gorgeous. This tiny little 1.8cm (0.71 inches in old money) thick machine is significantly more powerful than The Beast, and that's before considering the performance improvement of the SSD.

The Macbook Itself

I have to agree wholeheartedly with Ben Brooks:

...the screen is the best screen I have ever seen and the performance is almost as impressive.

This thing blew away my expectations and I secretly feel some schadenfreude when my partner has to wait more than 3 seconds for the PC to boot. Though I was wary of generating too much heat early on, some simple observations and a little reading allayed any fears I had. It doesn't get all that hot, though I wouldn't want to have it on my lap for a long gaming session. Thanks to the full sized keyboard, and so long as I'm not being an idiot (It has been known, though I'd never admit to it publicly), I get no wrist pain from prolonged typing. If I am being an idiot then it's my own damned fault. As I've said before, the screen is simply astonishingly good.

No Desktop

It's hard to understate just how nice it is to be able to take your computer with you. Though for extended gaming I still require a power connection, I can pick up the machine and head to another room - which is great when I'm trying to spend time with someone but also writing - even if that someone is mostly watching the TV or reading or whatever. It was also great to be able to take my computer when I went to visit my Mother a few weeks ago and it'll be pretty awesome to have my computer with me again while I visit family again for New year.

The MacBook does still spend most of it's time on my desk, though this is slowly changing as my habits change; some ingrained behaviours are hard to fall out of. I'm pretty sure that the portability is the asset that I'm making the least use of currently, but that I will in the long-term gain the most from.

It's hard for me, after using an iPhone and an iPad and now a MacBook for so long to really consider the computer to be a stationary tool for all tasks. It's far more about doing what I need to, with the most convenient tool to hand wherever that may be and having the right tools to make that as frictionless as possible.

- Sent from my desk.

* It seems I can't count.

A phone for my Mother-not-quite-in-law.

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