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Marc Wandschneider is a professional software developer with well over fifteen years of industry experience (yes, he really is that old). He travels the globe working on interesting projects and gives talks at conferences and trade shows whenever possible.

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Jan 02, 2007 | 05:12:49
Taking the Fun out of Buying a new Computer
By marcwan

In normal times, buying a new computer is a rather fun experience. In addition to the endorphin rush caused by plonking down a huge wad of cash for such a small – but often 好看 (that’s Chinese for good looking) – piece of hardware, you get to take it home and play with it and discover all the new and fun things that are different about the new toy. Even if it’s still running Microsoft Windows, your new vendor has probably come up with some new set of stuff to include with the machine. Or, far more common with me, my last attempt to finally come up with the “ultimate organisation of my hard disk™” was a miserable failure, and I’m excited about trying out something new.

So, imagine my disappointment when I recently upgraded my 15” Powerbook G4 to a shiny new 15” Macbook Pro.

In short, my upgrade experience was:
  • Plug in new computer, run through annoying Apple registration sequence (Tip: If you indicate in one of the first steps that the computer will not be connected to the Internet, you can make it so that the registration will not be sent).
  • Run migration wizard from the old Powerbook to the new Macbook Pro (this involves clicking a few buttons and connecting the two machines by FireWire).

Yes, about an hour later (35GB of iTunes and image data takes a while to transfer from one 5400RPM laptop drive to another), my new machine, appeared exactly the same as the old one. My desktop, my language settings, all my files, SSH keys, svn and source enlistments, and more.

What’s worse, all of the software on the old machine was Universal Binaries, so I didn’t even need to install any new software. It if weren’t for the fact that JustLooking compiled in less than 30 seconds instead of well over 2 minutes, I might not have even noticed right away.

I did also notice after a bit of experimenting that I can finally watch HDTV movies (720p and 1080i) at more than 2 frames a second, and that instead of being completley unable to play Civ IV, I can now play it at 1900×1200 with all features and whizzy 3D goodies turned on. I’ve also noticed that the fabled heat problems of the MBP have not materialised on my machine. After a copule of hours of gaming, the machine is no warmer than the G4.

However, the upgrade itself was a complete and utter disappointment. No temporary disruption in productivity, nor any hours spent trying to figure out how to migrate all of my data over. In short, no excuse to do anything other than just go back to work.

Thanks Apple. Jerks.

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