Making Life Easy

Last week, I ordered a MacBook Pro from the Stanford Bookstore. With educational discounts, I got a monster of a notebook and an iPod nano (which I’ve yet to play with). Just because I feel like boasting, here’s a rundown of the specs:

Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T7500 (2.2 Ghz)
2 GB DDR2 RAM @ 667Mhz
GeForce 8600M GT Graphic Card w/ 128 MB RAM
120 GB hard drive @ 5400 RPM (Okay, not particularly proud of this)
8X DVD-RW/CD-RW drive
Built-in microphone & webcam
Built-in bluetooth

I think the coolest difference yet is that they replaced some software called “Windows XP/Vista” with “Mac OS X.”
Not that I dislike Windows. I’ve used it on all of my home computers before, and while processes might be convoluted, I’ve managed to do what I need with it.
Like many other people, however, Windows is what I’ve always had, and I’ve gotten used to it. Inured to it. Allegory of the Cave, maybe.
Perhaps I don’t have the mind for using Windows or Linux. While I consider myself technically knowledgable, I’m not the type who feels the need to hack from the command line, or buckle down and go through complicated options in the cases when I need the extra capabilities or power. And so, I have a Mac, and it’s great.

Of course, you get the pictures of me unpacking and opening:
You can see my sister’s HP on the right. Kind of like Godzilla in a cage next to a teddy bear.

I think that’s my mom’s leg in the bottom right.
And it’s alive!

There’s definitely a learning curve to this. Certainly not as steep as switching from a Mac OS to Windows, but definitely some stuff to get used to. Fortunately, there seems to be help and help files for just about everything, so it’s not too difficult to get it to work.
The ads say that these things work right out of the box, which is pretty much true. First time running was much better and faster than setting up Windows, and I instantly had internet connection and everything I needed for basic functionality.
I guess the first thing that I noticed is that it looks really nice. The screen I got is flawless, and with LED backlight, everything looks crisp, vibrant. Even if not familiar, the OS is designed intuitively, and I didn’t have a problem figuring out how to do things.
I probably should’ve written this sooner, since I’m at a loss of what to say now, but overall, it is good.

IE7; the new… Firefox?

So I just installed IE7 (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.mspx), and I must say it’s quite nice. I can already say I’m used to it.
Because it’s basically Firefox.
Of course, mebbe I’m just behind on the times. I haven’t used IE in quite awhile, but from what I ‘member, it was quite lacking. I then switched over to FF, which has the incredible tabbed browsing, quick searches, hundreds of plug-ins, with the benefit of better security by obscurity (yes, I know that’s now real security, but it still counts for something).
Microsoft might be a big, slow corporation, but at least they try to reel ppl back from the competitors (can you say Zune?). Tabbed browsing and quick searches have made a pretty prominent advance in my mind, and I’m sure that as ppl have more experience with it, the plug-ins that made FF so good will come as well.
Now, seeing as I’ve just explained why IE7 is just as good as FF, you might wonder why I seem so excited. Well, basically, IE7 is pretty.
Shallow, I know, and I’m sure there are more customizable features on FF to make it look just as good, but this is kind of nice. People have this image for technology and computers of giant, towering behemoth skyscrapers, angular, metallic, and perfectly pragmatic, sacrificing aesthetics for it. Well, my computer definitely needs that last characteristics. If I’m going to stare at it for at least an hour a day, it should look appealing.
So the rounded corners, cleaner text, and general layout are nice. I always worked to shift around favorites and toolbars so that it took up minimal space, being as clean as possible. Well, another little feature is that all those messy menus are gone (File, Edit, Options, etc). Everything pretty much got condensed into a little area in the top right, where, if you need it, you can hopefully find it. Minor, but it looks nice.
Right now, I’m trying to figure out whether I really want to use it now, though. It’s very slick, and I’d like the hands-on with it, but Microsoft does have a little history with newly released software. I’ll mull this one over.

(Story blog will be updated by the end of the week.)
(And if you haven’t seen it, I updated quicker than normal, so my HC post is just below.)