Aluminum MacBook Review

15 December, 2008
Apple’s been marketing the Aluminum MacBook as being “Beautifully Engineered, Inside and Out,” a “Technological Beauty,” “Engineering with Good Taste,” being part of “The World’s Greenest Notebook Family,” and “Perfectly Conceived.” And I must say, I agree with all of these.
At first sight, the new MacBook is a stunningly beautiful piece of technology. The colors Apple chose were a perfect match for each other, and I loved how the whole upper part of the MacBook was made of glass. There was no “dip” from the part surrounding 
the display into the actual display. Everything went fluidly across, and at a certain distance and angle, with the display put to sleep, you could barely tell that the actual display wasn’t the whole glass. 
The aluminum felt absolutely great. It reminded me of the texture of the silver aluminum iPod nano, but it felt so much nicer on a computer. It felt much smoother than the white MacBook. I’m glad that, along with the overall smoothness of the aluminum, there isn’t a sharp edge on the ends of the armrests of new MacBook, unlike its older brother.
Like the MacBook Air, there is a wedge leading from the body of the case to its bo
ttom (not as drastic, obviously), giving you the sense that the computer is thinner and that it’s sort of floating in the air, which is an interesting fancy once you pay attention to it.

The new multi-touch trackpad is really cool. I found it slightly strange at times, but after using it for about five more minutes, I became completely accustomed to it. The color matches the rest of the aluminum case, and the multi-touch gestures seem extremely useful, especially for graphic artists who need to rotate something, or even an every-day web surfer of the web who needs to zoom in a bit on a webpage with tiny text. Unlike what it seems Apple thinks, however, (or maybe it’s just a working advertisement plan), we don’t spend our whole day in iPhoto and the rest of the iLife suite. In fact, I think Apple should include iWork with their computers instead of iLife, but that’s an opinion for a different post.
I wasn’t really able to test the graphics too much, but I can say that it was a good move. The display wakes up quickly after having been closed, and your display viewing experience isn’t really affected by your angle so much as it was in the previous MacBooks.
The backlit keyboard is really useful, but it can be a bit sensitive and turns on the backlight when a few people cast a light shadow over it.
They made the thumb scoop a tad bit deeper, which is nice; it makes it easier to open the computer, and they seem to have added a thumb scoop to the MacBook Pro as well, for which I share the same opinions as described here for the MacBook.
One thing I noticed, however, was that the part that surrounds the air vent in the MacBook was made from the same or a similar material to that of the overall composition of the black MacBook instead of black glass. Another thing that I couldn’t quite understand was the presence of a very tiny little speaker just above the F1 key. When I played some sound, I didn’t seem that it was coming out of the little speaker, but rather from the same place where sound comes out of in the white MacBook.
Overall, I really liked the new aluminum MacBook, and I see a great audience for it internationally. It’s sleeker, faster, and overall a great upgrade to the previous generation of MacBooks, and I would always recommend it to people who ask me if they should look into buying one.
One thing I noticed that Brazilian Apple retailers are doing differently from those in other countries is selling the white, black, and aluminum (with backlit keyboard) MacBook instead of just having the white and two models of the aluminum one.

Linux in the Stores

7 July, 2008

Linux hardware is finally starting to make its debut in consumer stores. Here in Brazil, in the store Saraiva, I noticed two KDE 3-based laptops, both apparently built upon some version of Kubuntu; one wasn’t that customized and had the normal bar and K menu at the bottom, and the other one was so customized at first I thought it was Vista with the taskbar put on the side! I also the noticed the MacBook Air, the regular MacBook, and an iMac, all extremely overpriced (come on, Apple! Manufacture the computers in the countries and the price will be better). I was in the US recently and I find that not even having Macs is a sad, sad thing. I’ve met a lot of people who think Microsoft made their computer and Dell is their reseller, who think a computer crashing and getting viruses is an alright thing, and that Internet Explorer is the internet! Brazil is making an extremely smart move in the technology field and I proudly applaud the country for that.

Saving your Data

24 December, 2007

I feel bad for this guy whose hard disk failed and needed to get it replaced by Apple and had a rip-off ensue. In case something similar where your hard disk fails happens to you, take the following simple steps to prepare yourself for it (for both Mac and PC):

  1. Backup regularly – I backup and reinstall every month. Leopard comes with Time Machine. Use it! Yes, it can also be used with drive partitions but that won’t help if your HD fails.
  2. Have a Linux live CD available – It’s only a couple minutes download and burning; if your computer fails, you can use the live CD to get your data back.
  3. A couple spare flash drives – Most people have one or two flash drives (or jump drives, or whatever you want to call them). Keep one or two in hand as emergency drives. Pop in the Linux live CD, insert your flash drive in, and copy some data from your hard disk to the flash drive. If the data is very sensitive, such as source code or other types of  stealable information, delete it off the hard drive too.
Here’s a tip: don’t save important data within the OS-given folders, such as “Documents”, “Pictures”, etc. (Home not included), but rather place them in separate directories under your home folder, which gives you more of a chance to access it via the live CD.

New iMacs and Software

8 August, 2007

Yesterday Apple released a new iMac line with the Intel Core 2 Duo Santa Rosa processor. There are no more 17-inch iMacs, just 20- and 24-inch ones. I love the new design. The iMacs are much more beautiful than before. Where it said “iMac” on the back is now an Apple logo. It’s also quite thinner. I also like the new keyboard – it’s very stylish. 

Apple also released iLife 08 and iWork 08. I downloaded the iWork 08 trial and it can very easily replace Microsoft Office. I’ll be getting one of these new iMacs for Christmas 😛