Should I Get a MacBook?

By Michael Flanakin @ 5:23 PM :: 2398 Views :: Technology :: Digg it!

I've complained about laptops and stated how much I want Microsoft to sell its own hardware. That's not happening any time soon, so as I discussed future plans with a friend, the idea of a laptop instead of a desktop came up. For what I need, that's perfectly fine. The only question is, what laptop would work best? Lenovo is the best I've had hands-on experience with, but I can't help but recognize its faults, which don't seem to be changing anytime soon. So, who has the best hardware? Supposedly Apple does. After speaking to someone who has one, he's confirmed that it's the best hardware he's had. He hasn't used a Lenovo, so he wasn't able to make that comparison, tho. Either way, you never know until you give it a shot, so I decided to entertain the idea of buying the Apple hardware. Let's face it, you want to run the best OS on the best hardware, right? Vista on an Apple laptop.

I have three problems with this, tho. First off, I hate the idea of giving Apple money for an OS I won't ever use. Second, I don't like the idea of walking around with the big Apple on my laptop. Of course, I guess it's no different from having the Dell or ThinkPad logo. Nonetheless, it'd be nice to replace that with a Windows logo. Finally, I have to have a right-click. I can't imagine a computing experience without the ability to right-click. I quickly found out the Ctrl-Click and two-fingers-on-the-touchpad-Click, which might work. I do have to say this is much more complicated than just adding the extra freakin' button. As I understand it, the argument for one button was simplicity. You tell me where the simplicity in a two- and three-finger click is. Anyway, I can get past the first two relatively easy and figure the third is just the price you pay. There's something a lot more important to me: the keyboard. You probably already saw that coming.

When I first looked at the Apple keyboard, I thought, "Wow, that's a tiny keyboard with huge keys... and what's up with all the wasted space!?" I thought my 17" Dell Inspiron had wasted space, this thing looked to be almost twice as bad. You'd think a company that gets so much kudos on thoughtful design would think about utilizing wasted space for, I don't know, a number pad!? HP is the only vendor I've seen with number pads, and that means a lot to me. Sure, it may not be on every laptop, but if it fits, give it to me! This isn't anything new, considering most vendors have this issue, but it's made worse by the immense amount of wasted space on the laptop. The next thing I noticed was the lack of Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys. Well, actually, these are on the same physical keys as the regular arrows. Not exactly sure how these work, but that seems off to me. Honestly, tho, I think I could get used to that fairly easily, since it makes sense. I don't mind dual-purpose keys. Let's see... aside from the aforementioned keys, there are no Print Screen, Num Lock, Pause, Insert, or Delete keys. I'd like to think there's a replacement shortcut for the Print Screen and I can easily live without the next three, but as a developer and fairly proficient touch-typer, I use the Delete key a lot. I don't know, maybe you can use Shift-Backspace to delete. Well, since I'm on the subject, Mac's label the standard Backspace key as "Delete". Not a big deal, really, but there's definitely a difference in the functionality. I then noticed the fact that there were two Enter keys. What's up with that!? I still don't know. Later, after getting a chance to look at a few pictures online, I realized the modifier keys are jacked up, just like almost every other vendor out there. What should be Ctrl, Fn, Win/Cmd, Alt is Fn, Ctrl, Alt, Cmd. This is aggravating enough on the Lenovo where there's only two keys off; I can't imagine dealing with them all out of place.

I think that about covers it, which brings me back to my earlier idea of keyboard replacement vendors. I haven't made a decision about whether or not to buy the laptop, but it's not looking good. Either way, I'm in no rush and didn't plan on doing it anytime soon, anyway. People probably think I'm crazy about being so anal with the keyboard, but let's face it, it's what we interact with the most on the computer. My hands are on the keyboard a lot more than the mouse... maybe that's because I talk too damn much in these posts