actuality.log


Wednesday, March the 1st, 2006

With those objective differences out of the way, now onto the more touchy-feely issues I had. Some trivial, some not, and in no particular order. (None of which are disputable; I’m not a reasonable person.)

  1. After I’d initially ordered the MBP, I spent hours of my days looking at things like this, this and this to augment my purchase. We wouldn’t want our sexual preferences to be that apparent now, would we?
  2. The T60p I’ve now picked is higher spec’d in every respect, and cheaper. I disliked the thought of being treated like a “Mac fanboy” who’d happily get shafted by Apple. Getting shafted by IBM however, I can handle.
  3. I get to try out the T60p for a month, and return it if I’m unsatisfied for whatever reason—no questions asked. I like the sound of that. Contrast that with Apple’s, “You buy a configured machine from us, you’re stuck with it no matter what problems you may face” policy.
  4. The T60p runs much cooler, has a better battery life and the aspect ratio of its dimensions are more standard; not ungodly 17″-like wide like the MBP. I am willing to sacrifice some thickness for the reduced width, besides; it now fits in a cute bag I was eyeing.
  5. The T60p doesn’t have a magnetic power cord jack like the MBP. Imagine what that could have done to my credit card, external hard drives or worse. But the real issue is, after I’d accidentally erased my card and went to the bank to replace it, I’ll have to listen to that old lady’s spiel on how women are so more careful with their stuff than men!
  6. I am also quite intrigued by the possibility of wireless-broadband-everywhere that the T60p provides. Goodbye even more, social life.
  7. I wasn’t ever drawn to OS X in the first place; I just wanted a fast, rugged, sleek x86 laptop to run GNU/Linux. Apple is not really free software friendly; no matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise.
  8. Having to replace a UNIX (Mac OS X) with another UNIX (GNU/Linux), because Apple’s Darwin kernel is less performant than linux ON THEIR OWN HARDWARE, seemed quite retarded. The least they could have done is to not require that distribution makers run through hoops (even if minor) getting their OSs booted on x86 Apple machines.
  9. ThinkPads on the other hand are historically GNU/Linux friendly. Even the more esoteric things on the laptop, like the fingerprint reader, already have working linux support. I must say I am impressed.

I spent a couple of weeks using OS X a lot, and snagged and browsed every OS X (written for UNIX geeks) book I could find. Here are some UI issues I still have with Macs:

  • One fucking mouse button.
  • I am a very heavy Emacs user, and I need my ctrl and alt buttons where I want them.
  • Even on powerful machines, in my limited experience, OS X seems a little laggy.
  • There is usually only one “right way” of doing things, and it isn’t always intuitive as to what it is. I hated feeling like an idiot not knowing how to do simple things. I am not in a frame of mind to reset all that I know, well, and have to relearn redundant, even if arguably fun, information.
  • It’s not really (a) UNIX (you’re used to). I mean it is, but it’s so warped, it isn’t. I hated feeling like I didn’t know where what goes and such, reiterating the last point. Don’t even get me started on sudo.
  • It’s stuffy and lacks configurability. Some effects quickly go from being “Oh, so shiny” to being downright cheesy. But everything that annoys you cannot be turned off, because, well, Apple deems it so.

Mac users (at least the ones that popup in various fora across the intarweb) seem to be a bunch of whiners. I am not sure if their spoilt-bratisms arise out of being so well treated by Apple in the past, or if they’re just a bunch of whiners, period. Since the release of the MBP a couple of weeks ago, less than 1% of the user reviews I’ve read of it have been positive. Here’s a sampling of the delightful things you’re subjected to instead.

  • ARRGHH, it’s making this annoying whining noise. It annoys me so much I can’t sit at it and it aggravates my migraines.
  • MY SCREEN IS WARPED. I took it out of the box and my aluminium screen was clearly bent, but Apple told me that was a cosmetic defect which they don’t replace.
  • I have a GROWING PATCH OF DEAD PIXELS on my screen!!! When I called Apple they said they’d replace it only if it crossed a certain number of dead pixels.
  • (And, in case they do send it in for replacement.) I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY PUT ME AT THE BACK OF THE QUEUE. I have to wait for FOUR MORE WEEKS for my computer. ARGGH.
  • The resolution is SO LOW FOR THIS SCREEN SIZE. Even my Powerbook had a better resolution. The fonts RENDER FUZZILY.
  • The LCD brightness is INCONSISTENT. It is arbitrarily brighter in some regions and darker elsewhere.
  • It runs SO HOT. After a short while, my KEYS ARE TOO HOT TO TOUCH.
  • The screen ONLY OPENS TO 120o. I need a 135o opening angle like my PowerBook!!

You know what you bunch of whiners? STFU. Stop exaggerating. But this is not the response the more seasoned Apple devotees will give them. Instead, they go, “You bought a revision A (first generation) product, what did you expect? Every company has issues with transitions”. Umm, so, it’s OK?

  1. I really assumed Mac users are generally a bit more technically aware than your standard windows counterpart. Not so. Even the simplest questions you ask them (“Oh, so where is the menu where I can turn this off?”) will result in a standard response. They will point you to a “freeware/shareware/adware” application that does it for you. Quickly followed by a “I really like it, it’s worth the 50 bucks. Get it!!!”. It’s like they haven’t heard of free software, or just DOING IT YOUR FUCKING SELF.
  2. On the other hand, not one of the T60 reviewers was unhappy with their purchase. They were, in fact, ecstatic. I am not saying that makes it a better product, I am just talking about the apparent maturity of the users.
  3. The existence of resources like Thinkwiki, and a vibrant GNU/Linux community.
This is a printer-friendly version of the journal entry “Why T60p over MBP?” from actuality.log. Visit http://emphaticallystatic.org/earlier/why-t60p-over-mbp/ to read the original entry and follow any responses to it.

8 Responses to “Why T60p over MBP?”

  1. pUl| says:

    I wanted to ask you earlier, but I forgot. What exactly do you plan to use the ‘dual CPU’ for? Research simulations? I mean yes, you’re getting more performance, lesser sluggishness etc. etc. But do you have some specifc tasks for the ‘dual CPU + cartloads of RAM’ combo?

  2. pundit says:

    I will obviously run some research simulations, yes. I am also making it so that the architecture on my laptop matches up to the architecture of the larger computers I really run a lot of my stuff on (also x86, dual CPU and such); so I can trivially throw code from here over there and things will “just work(TM)”.

    But basically, I’m a geek, and this is just an avenue for me where bigger is better. Besides, it is not physically larger or worse-off in terms of battery life, and if you’re willing to spend, why not go top of the line?

  3. Maniawire says:

    I feel you.
    I am a Mac user who bought last revision of powerbook on DEC.
    I don’t regret wating for a month for a Mab Book pro.
    MacBook pro lot’s of improvements they need to make.
    So what I am doing with my 4month old 15inch PB?
    Selling it.. and gonna get x60. I am a college student who moves around alot. And 15inch is kinda too big.
    I have dual monitor setup at home with Ubuntu, so that x60 will become subcomputer while i am away from home.
    I am new to Linux world so Not familiar with competibility.
    If i grab the Verizon wireless broadband option, will that work smoothly on linux distros?
    Still don’t know if X series is the right choice or not. But it is either X or T.

  4. pundit says:

    Welcome!

    (Disclaimer: It’s all a matter of perception I think. I’m a college student who moves around a lot also; and I’ve not felt 15″ is too big.)

    I’m picking the 15″ because it’s my primary (only when I retire my current laptop) work/play machine. And I enjoy the screen real estate when I code/write. I’ve swapped things around so it’s under 6 lb, but it’s still no X60, which is like 3.5–4.0 lb. Since you have a larger monitor set up at home, I think it will be great if you go in for the more portable X series. The only sticking point for me is that there is no X60 with more than 1024×768 resolution, and that’s not enough for me.

    With regard to the using Linux and compatibility, if you’re comfortable with Ubuntu right now, you’re halfway there. From what I’ve read on the internet, the Verizon broadband option works on Linux. I am not willing to say “smoothly”, because that might imply that it works easily and out of the box. I will say that I think it will work well, if you’re willing to put in the time to read up how to get it working from the internet. The drivers and kernel patches and such exist.

  5. pUl| says:

    *cough* *cough* Somebody seems to have just ordered a *cough* MBP.

  6. pundit says:

    Yes? I’ve put up with enough crap already?

  7. pUl| says:

    Hey, I totally agree to that. However, I’m curious why you decided to put away your “religious”[1] reasons. My intention is to understand your rationale for choices. Obviously your choice changes depending on how you’re treated, and that is justified. So, for instance, I can understand your rationale for dumping the MBP if, for argument’s sake, you find some dead pixels on the MBP and Apple refuses to replace. These are materialistic reasons, totally justified. On the other hand, being the free-software zealot, that you are[2], how do you justify your (presumably final) choice over your initial arguments?[3]

    [1] For instance, what happened to Apple’s free-software animosity?
    [2] I’m sure I don’t need evidence to back this up. I’ve had enough discourses even within the free software realm. For instance, your choice of GNOME over KDE even though both are classified as free software today etc.
    [3] Some parts of this very journal entry for instance.

  8. pundit says:

    Because, while animosity toward some nebulous community is one thing, animosity toward me is an entirely different story altogether. Everyone cares most about themselves first; I am no different. After looking at replacement ThinkPads initially, my enthusiasm for it began to erode as my personal experience with the company was beginning to sour. I’ve obviously not harped upon this on the journal because I’m consciously trying to reach a different audience; one that hopefully doesn’t care about what computer or text editor I use to pen these posts.

    People, geeks especially, want a pleasant experience with technology. I want to buy it, use it, and have it enhance my life—not cause distress, tension, heartache, annoying phone calls, strongly worded letters and so on. I am looking at this purchase as not just some device that helps me with my daily computing, but as something more; something that will spur me out of a rut I am in. If shiny LEDs and iPhoto/Aperture and a couple of new lenses for my camera is what it takes, so be it. The ThinkPad, apart from not helping, was spiralling things in the opposite direction. And it wasn’t even the computer, it was the humans behind it.

    If a company expects you use words like ‘investigation’ and exert much pressure just to get your own damn money back—just so you can buy ANOTHER OF THEIR OWN PRODUCTS—then there is seriously a problem. Where is the scope for my principles to come to the forefront of my mind when I’m exhausted and depressed by more pressing matters perpetually? To put things in perspective, that 3 grand was the amount that pushed me past the 2/3rd mark in my Mini Cooper hotness meter. It was some 1/6th of my life savings; not a trivial thing for me to not mull over.

    These are not “materialistic reasons.” They are deep-seated psychological reasons. I never once claimed anything I did here was for technical reasons.


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