Thursday, October 23, 2008

Apple hates me

I cannot believe it but my Mac Book Pro has just died again. I am using an older one because my other one died about a month ago thanks to a faulty graphics chip. For those counting, that is three major outages for me this year (the first happening in June).

While I have been a diehard fan of the PowerBook and MacBook Pro over the years, I think its time to find a new platform. My main concerns with the switch right now are:

  • Calendar and calendar sync to my iPhone - I guess this may mean a change in phone

  • Swtiching email - I just don't like the GMail interface

  • MS Office support - I use them every day

  • Backup - Timemachine is the best I have used

  • I don't think I can bring my self to go back to Windows

It seems like my only viable option is a Thinkpad and Ubuntu. Anyone else have another idea?


Ken said...

After using Thinkpad with Ubuntu for a couple months now, here are my thoughts:

* Fast and stable. I suspend/hibernate consistently and only reboot about 1/month.
* Much better development environment than windows
* Security
* Thinkpad hardware is rock solid and the form factor of the x300/x301 rocks.

* Updates can be problematic. Recent update killed sound support on my system. However, Windows can be just as bad here.
* Need to manually tweak the config files for it to work well with external monitors and projectors. Otherwise be prepared for some quirks when firing up the external display.
* Skype client is a little quirky. Messages pop up under other windows and you don't see them. Also can't get my BT headset to work with Skype yet
* You can use MS Office running on Wine but you should probably go with Office 2003 if you use Powerpoint. PPT 2007 is very unstable running on wine. Excel and Word are fine. I've tried OO Impress but it just doesn't have some of the great productivity shortcuts PPT has if you use it often.
* Forget about doing webex or adobe presentations. They don't support linux. You may want to install an XP KVM image to do presentations. Also, even the client software (not presenter) is flaky on Linux.
* No really good screen capture software that can compare with SnagIt - one of my favorite programs on windows.

Anonymous said...

The Cult of ThinkBuntu is smaller, but as equally fanatical and comfy as The Cult of Apple. I'm sure you'd be fine. Our man Stephen O'Grady can set you straight for getting setup there. That man is an apostle of said ThinkBuntu.

If you get MobileMe - as distasteful as that idea is - you can tediously solve a lot of the problems with getting your Calendar synced to your iPhone. As long as you can get whatever calender you want up into MobileMe (insert duct-tape du platform here), you can get it on your iPhone. It's total crap, but what else would be worth paying so much for? ;)

Anonymous said...

Not sure why you want to change the phone, do you expect its GPU to burn a whole on your pocket eventually? ;)

Anyway, The G1 phone turns out to be a fantastic platform, with community around it already buzzing even before official launch.

Robert said...

Ross - We've been on Dell/Windows for years. I use Mac at home, where it doesnt have to travel and can saefely work within its warranty period.

For all the productivity benefits touted, it all comes unstuck when there is an outage. With Dell, the next day the Dell tech is onsite and fixes it. Done.

It is far better to schedule a ghosted rebuild every 6 months then to deal with unexpected hardware failure.

The other problem you get with Apple is that everyone wants the latest one and they get obsolete every year. Apps like office aren't OEM's and are more expensive.

Like I said, I use Apple at home and I love it. But it isn't yet cut for business.

We also got over our linux-alternative-mail phase and moved to exchange years ago. Yup, its not as sexy, but it works and the device mail sync with windows mobile works. Better still, I never get incompatibilities with my enterprise customers. We outsource the hosting, therefore backups for mail are handled for us, and webmail is always in sync and available. Can you imagine a calendaring sync tool that always works?

I chose to focus on the customers, not trying to lead the revolution against using a wintel laptop ;-)

Ross Mason said...

Ken, I do find the skype client dodgy, why aren't all skype clients created equal? I find the fonts in Ubuntu aweful, and the UI feels retro. Stability has been good so far. I'm trying wine today. I have webinar on Tuesday so I need to figure out what I'm going to do there too.

Ross Mason said...

Andrew, iPhone is inexplicably tied to iTunes and you can't get iTunes on Linux. Also, I rely heavily on the iPhone for email, calendar and address book. I need them in sync, but with Ubuntu, they feel worlds apart.

Ross Mason said...

cote, I actually have MobileMe but I didn't know it till recently (they quietly migrated my .mac account that I didn't know I was paying for). I'll Stephen for tips, right now I'm uneasy about the whole experience.

Ross Mason said...

Robert, just to be clear my choice of laptop is not dictated to the rest of MuleSource, so I'm the customer here. The thought of running 2 laptops to me defeats the purpose of having a laptop in the first place. I need everything in one place. I'm not against Microsoft, it's just that I was spoon fed Windows for 10 years or so and the experience scarred me a little. I still love office, though I wish they'd cut out some of the "productivity" features.