Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mo Mac

The Mac Pro arrived last week. The benevolent aspect of the universe shined its glorious light upon me as, within ten minutes of each other: As I was notified that the Mac was waiting at the leasing office I was also told that we were being told to go home early because it had begun to snow outside. To appease the snow deity that took pity on me, I ceremoniously left a plate of cheese and barbeque sauce on my doorstep. Thank you Snow Buddah! Well, technically the Buddah isn't a diety, and since I am now a full-fledged member the MaCult, I guess Snow Steve Jobs would be the more appropriate deity to leave snacks for.

I can't say too much about the experience of actually using the Mac above the rote routine of installing any piece of hardware. There was a hefty amount of unwrapping, plugging, unplugging, and swearing to be done. In the end, however, I can say that the actual OS X user interface (UI) is so far above and beyond the Windows XP experience as to not even be worth comparing. I hear the new Windows Vista UI "Aero" is pretty, but that's about it. Amazingly, the MacOS UI is not only very nice to look at it, but it's also very intuitive. Things just seem to be where you'd naturally expect them to be. The most used options are the easiest to find, and even the more technical options of a given application are simple and highly adaptable. I'll report more on using the software as I have exposure to it, but for now, I'm very excited about the prospect of exploration.

The hardware layout, I can say with certainty, is brilliant. I installed a new, off-brand 320GB hard drive I purchased through TigerDirect for $79 (which is a about 1/4 the cost of buying the same sized drive through Mac). After the nearly 2 hour installation of Final Cut Pro Studio 5.1 (it comes on 6 full DVDs), I decided to give installing the hard drive I had purchased a week back a shot. To physically install the hard drive involved the following:

1. Remove side panel via a lever on the back of the case.
2. Pull out a hard drive sleeve.
3. Screw the hard drive to the sleeve with four screws
4. Push the sleeve back in place
5. Replace the side panel.

That's it. When I booted the computer, it brought me to a disk maintenance app that took, literally, 3 clicks to clear and format the drive to be used. The entire process took less than five minutes. Mac are expensive, don't get me wrong. I would go so far as to say they are prohibitively expensive for the average web surfer and word processor. However, now that Apple is adapting Intel architecture, these costs will, as my third-party hard drive experience demonstrates, come down over time. Video cards, which, traditionally, have had the largest cost gap between Mac and PC, are starting to be released cross-platform, and all new Macs are adopting the PCI-E architecture.

No comments: