Should I go to MacBook??? (or Windows with: Sony Vaio, or Acer TravelMate Series 3010 ???)

Hi all,

I have a dilemma! I want to go to a very compact notebook for on-the-go rails coding, however after reviewing what’s available it seems the MacBook is a real contender, but I’ve not been a Mac/Apple user before. Some advice would be great.

Re Hardware Choice
(a) Sony Vaio
VGNTX47GPW - 11" screen, 1.25kg, bit smaller than MacBook

==> excellent BUT more expensive ~A$3600

(b) Acer Travel Mate - 12.1" screen, 1.5kg, mid-way in size between MacBook & Sony

==> still a bit expensive ~A$2900

© MacBook - A$2099, but very slightly bigger, BUT 2.36kg!

I really want something I can carry around everywhere with minimum of annoyance, so the 1.25kg 11" screen Sony would be great. However I’m not sure if it warrents paying TWICE the price of a MacBook.

Question 1 - MacBook users: How do you find the device from the point of view of weight and likelihood that you’d carry around with you, or get sick of the weight and want to leave it at home?

Question 2 - Should I move to a Mac?..from a Rails development perspective I assume it should fine. I use RadRails / InstantRails / Firebug at the moment.

Question 3 - Other windows applications/things I use, know off hand if they are covered on the Mac???

Ability to share directories and files with other Windows XP computers on my network? (e.g. play MPEG2/MPEG4 movies)
1.
Share iTunes songs between Mac and Windows PCs on my network
1.
Adobe Photoshop
1.
Dreamweaver
1.
Truecrypt

Any other advice that would sway me to become, or not become, a Mac user for the first time? :slight_smile:

Many thanks

Greg

Hi Greg,

MacBooks (and MacBook Pros) are awesome. I think if you make the
switch, you will start doing some things that will really amaze you as
far as your development methodologies. While you may not be a
command-line buff, and certainly using RadRails provides you with a lot
of things you would otherwise type into a command-line, having the
power of Unix at your fingertips really is a good thing. Another bonus
of the macBook, if you run Parallels (like I do), you can live in
Windows, Mac and Unix worlds all at the same time on one machine. Very
convenient.

I used RadRails on my pc before I finally got a MacBook Pro. It is
very good, and coming from an eclipse background, I was very
comfortable with it. I also have RadRails installed on my Mac, and I
used it as a crutch for quite a few months. I kept hearing about how
great TextMate was, and it is Mac-only, but I had not tried it until a
couple of months ago. I now do all of my development on TextMate,
using the command-line to kick off my subversion commands and
Capistrano for deployment. I have found this process to be quicker
(RadRails svn interface is very slow as opposed to running it from the
command-line). Also, since the Mac is a Unix-based machine, you will
find many great sites that will provide you with step-by-step
instructions on how to do important tasks. Like Frederick above, I
rolled my own on my Rails installation, and the HiveLogic site has
amazing instructions that walk you through it step-by-step. I also
installed RMagick locally using their instructions, something that was
a real pain on my Windows pc.

Don't know what else you like to do, but the built in software included
with the Mac (iLife) is far better and easier to use than the Windows
counterparts. I know there are things in Windows world that do the
same types of things, but they don't all work together seemlessly like
in iLife. There is something to be said for having total control of
both the hardware and the software like Apple does. Windows has to
support too many variations in hardware, and I think it has hurt them.

Make the switch. You will be very happy you did. I almost forgot to
mention this: I use my make in a huge corporate enterprise on a daily
basis (top 5 bank). It is a Windows world here, but my machine plays
well with the others. Using Parallels running Windows, I can connect
to the VPN from home with no issues. One bonus there is that Parallels
does not take over the Mac's connection completely, so my web broswer
and email can still function like I am not on a restricted network,
even when I am connected to the VPN. When I am in the office, I use
Parallels and Windows for running Web Sphere Application Developer,
which runs great by-the-way, and I run everything else on the Mac.
Usining Virtue desktop for the Mac, I can have all of these running on
different desktops and easily flip back and forth with a simple
keystroke. No rebooting or anything like that.

If you decide to make the switch, enjoy the new world in which you will
be living. It will be great!

C

I can do all my work on either a pc or mac and can move files from one
to another no prob.
we got a mini at the office and in 20 minutes I had all the printers
add, all my shared drives added and even used mail.app (apples email
program) to connect to the exchange server. no third party software
was involved.
I thought about getting Parallels but then i realized I don't need it.
Plus you can save money by printing as a PDF. No use for acrobat standard. :wink:

I don't spend alot of time tweaking my mac. it's true it just works.
if i need to i can tweak the heck out of it but i don't see the need
to. it just works. i personally feel it just nicer to use, prettier
graphics.
oh Don't get me started on quicksilver.
http://quicksilver.blacktree.com/ i wish there was something like this
for the pc.

oh and automator. dude I created a work flow that I can launch and
it'll connect me to my wireless home network. with that and
quicksilver it takes three keystrokes to log into my home network.
(i'm sure there's a way to do that on a pc but i don't want to take
the time to figure it out.) also have an automator task to empty my
trash everysunday night. on lees thing I have to remember to do.
(schedule task on a pc?)

in my personal opinion if you want a computer that will work for you a
mac is the way to go. If you like to tweak your system and update you
system all the time and then make fixes because the update broke
something then don't get a mac.

My macbook is fine to carry around.
It's a portable video/music workstation out of the box.
and if price is a concern spec out a dell and a mac at the same configuration.
http://www.macworld.com/news/2006/02/14/pricecomparison2/index.php

ok off my soap box and mindless rambling...
(ps this why one should pay attention in school. So you don't write
bad things like this)

john

The idea that ruby/rails development is better or easier on a mac is a
myth. However, it is true that the mac is generally a slicker machine
hardware and software wise to a pc and therefore seems to inspire
better designed work (or is it simply that better designers choose
macs?). Anyway, my point is that you should get a mac if you're
prepared to embrace the change. Don't get one expecting everything to
be exactly the same as before as that misses the point.

I've got a macbook and a vaio. The pc is 1.8kg. The difference in
weight isn't that noticeable, but I don't travel a lot with them. If
you're going to go for a macbook then I'd recommend waiting for the new
osx, getting a macbook pro instead, and then paralleling it for the
best of all worlds. Otherwise get the vaio now (but only if it is for
on-the-go stuff as it's too small for a main pc)

I would argue that TextMate coupled with Locomotive has made my Rails
development life much easier. Combine that with the fact that you get
a very capable UNIX environment that can run a lot of libraries and
such that Windows can not (or at least, no easily), I would say that
the Mac is a good medium between a solid environment like Linux and a
"usery" environment like Windows.

--Jeremy

hi jops / all

  • re " I’d recommend waiting for the new osx, getting a macbook pro instead" - the macbook pro is not is compact was the reason I thought not to into it in the options.

  • Why do you recommend waiting for the new osx? Was it re the cost of having to upgrade once it comes out? I’ve just got this weekend the opportunity of 10% off the current MacBook…

  • was their a reason you say go for the Sony Vaio given that you say you don’t really notice the difference in weight between it and the Macbook?

Tks
Greg

Ugh, I've had issues with locomotive.

I *love* running from the command line.

Thanks hivelogic.com!

I’m supporting or rejecting the notion that rails development is easier on a mac, but I would argue with using Locomotive as evidence… after all, on Windows we’ve got Instant Rails (
http://instantrails.rubyforge.org/
)!

Curt

I have a powerbook...I love it !

I used to be a PC fan but since I moved to Apple I would never go back
and daily fight the corner. I use my powerbook at work and at home for
about 12-14 hours most days with apps like photoshop, dreamweaver,
iTunes, illustrator all running at once. I can only image the power
book will be better, my brother bought a new iMac for photographer work
and he said it faster.

I use my powerbook at work that connects to the Windows Network no
problem, you add in IP address a few other simple setting and mount it
on your desktop and good to go. You will find loads of help from apple
about setting up on Windows networks and servers.

If you wait for the Leopard OSX I'm sure that comes with ruby or rails
or both all install on the OS you just have to activate them. I managed
to get full rails system on my machine pretty quickly for local work.

Plus when you buy the mac you get loads of cool apps installed like
Mail, iLife and you dont have to buy extra security software.

I spent 15 years supporting Windows/Netware/Unix networks. Last year
I finally purchased an iMac to try them out (the move to Intel was a
catalyst). Now I have a macbook and a mini, my father has purchased a
macbook pro and a mini, my best mate an a macbook and an iMac and my
brother in law has yet another iMac. We all love them.

After the initial shock (is that *all* I have to do to install a new
program?) you will find they do indeed "just work". OSX and the
Apple's design bent seems to attract people who really care about the
user. Most applications are well thought out, beautiful and get out
of your way. Textmate, Newsfire, Transmit, Transmission, Pathfinder
and Ruby on Rails are great examples.

I discovered RoR after the move so have not developed a lot on
anything else, but I did install Rails at work and it was a horrible
experience. I can tell you that working an this platform has seen by
production and pride shoot up. I have stopped fiddling with settings
(there is no need to) and just work.

To your questions:
1) File sharing is easy, just enable it in your system preferences.
b) Get Divx and VLC for your mac
2) Haven't tried, but it should be just as easy. If not; import all
your files onto the mac (use Automator) and use the trick remote
control.
3) I have used an older version. Slow (as it's PPC version) - wait
for Intel version to come out or use Parallels (or VMWare when it's
released).
4) See 3
5) Don't know that app, but I suspect you may need Parallels.

Good luck on you decision.

I have a Macbook Pro. It's my first mac. I've been as system admin
and developer my whole professional life and have used windows, linux
and now a mac to develop on.

I don't agree that you need to wait for Leopard, just make sure you
get a Core 2 duo and not just a Core duo as you will want the 64-bit
processor when upgrading to Leopard. I'm guessing the upgrade will be
around $100.

I use Parallels to run Windows XP within my OS X environment at nearly
full speed and can test IE6 and IE7. It's the only time I ever go
into Windows. It's also nice for me to install the latest linux
distro every once in a while to see where they are at.

Textmate was the driving force for me to switch, but having the unix
tools like ssh, rsync and other useful commands built in have been
important to increased productivity.

I'm still looking for someone (at least since Tiger) who has switched
to a mac and then back to a PC.

You'll see lot's of myths about macs being closed and for people who
don't know anything about computers, but the people that know most
about computers love to work on them. I've used linux extensively as
well and the mac never feels closed. If you want to explore the unix
side, you'll be able to install most anything on it.

I'm not personally or financially attached to Apple and these are just
computers. I don't get upset if someone thinks Windows is better.
But when you are on a computer 10-12 hours a day, the right computer
with the right UI and the right user experience can actually improve
your quality of life.

Hi all,
Sorry - I should have qualified my 'myth' comment better. What I
really meant was: There is no magical property about developing on a
mac that makes learning how to program rails stuff any easier than
learning it on a pc. I started learning on a pc (in radrails), got a
mac, continued on that (in textmate), and the transition didn't change
the need to fully understand the new language and framework. There are
no shortcuts in the learning curve... However, it's true that textmate
really is a thing of beauty. Definitely the best editor I've ever
used.

Greg:

- re " I'd recommend waiting for the new osx, getting a macbook pro instead"
- the macbook pro is not is compact was the reason I thought not to into it in the options.
- Why do you recommend waiting for the new osx? Was it re the cost of
having to upgrade once it comes out? I've just got this weekend the
opportunity of 10% off the current MacBook..

If you're after a portable laptop then you're right, stick to the
macbook. It's heavier than the others in your list but the joy of
having it rather than a pc will more than compensate for the
weight :wink: The reason I said wait, was that I'm going to do just that!
I have a vaio and a macbook, and I'm happy enough with the mac to now
want a MBP17 with parallels to replace the two, and I can wait as I
already have a mac! Also portability isn't a major factor for me.

- was their a reason you say go for the Sony Vaio given that you say you
don't really notice the difference in weight between it and the Macbook?

I did suggest either go pro or get a pc I suppose. Hmm, ok, I'll take
that back. I think the reason I said that was because I have the
cheapest macbook with only half a gig ram, and it's simply not
powerful enough to replace my pc yet (using parallels) - VS2005 is a
monster! That's why I said get a pro. Also, the macbook screen
resolution isn't enough for my liking, but that's quite a personal
thing.

Anyway, good luck in your choice... hope you make the right decision!

About 2 years ago I made the switch from PC to mac for my laptop.

For rails development, and many other environments for that matter, I
like using a UNIX or LINUX based OS. I find it easier to get things up
and running since a lot of people developing things like rails and
other open source projects do so in that environment to begin with.

I didn't read this post in full details, but I saw something mentioned
about Adobe products. The higher post is correct in that there will
not be a universal binary until spring for CS3. However, as far as
Adobe and any Windows programs go, you could run parallels or one of
the other up and coming VM products for the mac. I have a friend who
does both his windows and mac development from a non-pro macbook using
parallels when necessary.

I also find the hardware, at least as far as laptops go, superb for
the mac. That's my 2 cents.

I’m just curious… if your employer doesn’t demand you run Windows, why would anyone in their right mind do so? It may sound that I am biased, truly I am not. I am all for the OS to be the most user/developer friendly. Wait, maybe I am biased about being a ‘command-line’ guy, but still I really don’t understand why anyone with a choice would even consider running Windows.

I Know there are times when your work environment doesn’t leave you a choice, or your a gamer… blah blah.

Seriously, IMHO think that people just get stuck in something they are already familiar with, inferior or not. The ripple effect of long-ago’s Microsoft great PR.

I personally find my MacBook irreplaceable and think saying should I go with OSX or Windows is like going on a first date or trying to rekindle a relationship with an ex. One is new and exciting and so much fun to use, and the other is filled with reservations and false hopes, all for an easy lay and a familiar place. *grins.

my $0.02

Mike

About Adobe CS2,

My MacBook Core 2 Duo with 2GB ram, runs CS2 just fine under Rosetta. Plus if you have a license key for Adobe already you can download the CS3 Beta and use it. ( Not sure the exact terms…)

mike

tks guys,

He’s my main dilemma, after visiting shops yesterday:

**The Macbook is noticeably heaver than the Sony Vaio! **I need a notebook I can carry around in my backpack on a daily basis. The Macbook is 2.36kg, whereas the Vaio (SZ34GP) is only 1.85kg. This really makes it hard for me to cross the line over to the Macbook in my particular case. This is a shame as the comparison is roughly:

  • Macbook - A**$2000** - Dual Core 2GHz - 2.36kg.

  • Sony VGN SZ34GP - A**$2799** - Dual Core 1.8GHz - 1.85kg (includes Vista Bus Upgrade)

Ummmm…any ideas? No lighter version of the Macbook coming out soon?

Tks

Greg

tks guys,

He’s my main dilemma, after visiting shops yesterday:

**The Macbook is noticeably heaver than the Sony Vaio! **I need a notebook I can carry around in my backpack on a daily basis. The Macbook is 2.36kg, whereas the Vaio (SZ34GP) is only 1.85kg. This really makes it hard for me to cross the line over to the Macbook in my particular case. This is a shame as the comparison is roughly:

  • Macbook - A**$2000** - Dual Core 2GHz - 2.36kg.

  • Sony VGN SZ34GP - A**$2799** - Dual Core 1.8GHz - 1.85kg (includes Vista Bus Upgrade)

Ummmm…any ideas? No lighter version of the Macbook coming out soon?

Tks

Greg

He's my main dilemma, after visiting shops yesterday:

  > The Macbook is noticeably heaver than the Sony Vaio! (Editor's
note: 510g !!)
  > I need a notebook I can carry around in my backpack on a daily basis.
  > Ummmm...................any ideas?

Lose some weight.
Buy a bigger backpack.

Alain

The price of the macbook online at apple ranges from 1099.00 - 1499.00 and is a “Core 2 Duo” not a “Dual Core”.

Is the weight difference really that big of a deal for you? Again, what you are trading off in weight as far as developers choice notebook is incomparable. the Sony vaio for 2799.00 in my opinion is overpriced and not worth it. Why buy overpriced hardware with a crappy OS for $1300.00-$1500.00 more just cause of weight?

I carry my macbook in a messenger bag all over town.

mike

Your young, fit and the mac will make life better (and save your
wallet).
Apple are always very coy about upcoming products.

join us, join us, join us.....

where's my coffee?