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MBP: The First Few Days

Thomas Whitley

As you probably know, I got a MacBook Pro a few days ago (my first). So, I thought I'd take the time to tell you about my new set up and the initial pros and cons that I have observed.


Technical Specs

  • 13" MacBook Pro
  • 2.4GHz
  • Intel Core 2 duo
  • NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics
  • 4GB RAM
  • 320GB Hard Drive


  • iWork preinstalled
  • Evernote is my note-taking program of choice (you can see what I've said about Evernote in the past here)
  • Chrome is my default browser. I tried using Safari since it's native to the Mac OS, but Chrome's bookmark syncing, address bar doubling as a search bar, and most recently implementing GMail desktop notifications make Chrome the best choice for me.
  • Twitter for Mac. My default desktop client on my PC was Tweetdeck. I love it's organization with groups, but have been happy so far with Twitter for Mac, especially since it has great shortcuts.
  • Gimp has found its way to my new mac. I don't use it very often, but it allows me to make tweaks that iPhoto can't.
  • GMail is still my default for email (and calendar and contacts) since I have all of my email addresses pushing in and out of there, but I have set up syncing with Mail, iCal, and Address book so that I can take advantage of native emailing in Mac apps.

Initial Observations


  • Design. That can almost be left without any comment. The unibody enclosure, the aesthetics, and the multi-touch trackpad (more on this in a bit). Everything makes sense and has a purpose.
  • Insanely fast startup and wake up speed. No longer do I have to wait 15-30 seconds for my desktop to full load when I'm trying to bring my laptop out of sleep. It's not instantaneous, but it's darn close.
  • Expose. Getting used to not have the windows taskbar didn't take long. Being able to bring up expose with one swipe of the hand on the trackpad means I can quickly and easily switch between windows or check the progress of a download/backup without fully switching windows.
  • Multi-touch trackpad. This has got to be my favorite part of my new MBP so far. Scroll with 2 fingers. Follow a link in a tweet (Twitter for Mac) with a swipe of 3 fingers. Swipe 4 fingers up for a clear desktop or 4 fingers down for expose. The amount of time these and other trackpad gestures will save me is almost unfathomable. Not only that, the multi-touch abilities of the trackpad means that I remain fully immersed in the experience, whether it's editing a document, reading tweets, or going through my feeds. The gestures quickly become second nature (I tried two finger scrolling while working on my wife's laptop last night).


  • New printer. To be fair, I don't think this is necessarily Apple's fault. My wireless Dell printer is not compatible with Mac, though it seems that just about every other printer under the sun is, so I assume this is a move on Dell's part, not Apple's. Either way, it worked out ok. I got a great deal on an HP Officejet 6500A printer that allows both my mac and my wife's PCs to print to it wirelessly, it supports iPhone printing over wifi, and it uses ePrint technology which means I can print to it from anywhere in the world by using it's unique email address.
  • BibleWorks doesn't, well, work. I've used BibleWorks as my Bible software since m days as an undergraduate religious studies major. I know it well and have been very pleased with its language capabilities. Sadly, though, it isn't compatible with Mac OS. Again, this isn't technically a problem on Apple's part, but it is a problem for me. I know that I can go with Accordance, but it's a bit expensive and I already own BibleWorks and know it's user interface, shortcuts, etc. I imagine I'll either have to run a virtual machine with Windows so I can run BW or I'll have to spring for Accordance, which will probably happen if I do get into a PhD program this year.

So, there you have it; my initial reactions to owning my first mac computer. What tips do you have for this Mac newbie? Any suggestions or making my experience even better?