My trusty PowerBook has been showing its age quite significantly over the last few months. The display connector on the motherboard has been working itself loose resulting in the display to start “tearing” horizontally in a most unpleasant manner. That was managable in that I just had to open the case every once in a while and reseat the cable. Unfortunately, lately it has been crashing when I open the lid to wake it from sleep or if I move it while it is running. Both issues seem to be the result of heat issues flexing the motherboard and most likely causing some hairline fractures in the motherboard. This was supported by numerous reports of the same problem on the Apple support forums that were all fixed by motherboard replacements. Since those run upwards of $1000, and it was over 3.5 years old, it seemed like it was appropriate to get a new one. (note self-justification in previous sentance.)
Last Sunday Elizabeth and I made a pilgramage to the Short Pump Apple store. The Apple guy I cornered seemed a little taken aback that he didn’t have to give me any pitch on the machine. The conversation went something like this:
Me — Hi. Do you have any of the new 2.16 15” MacBook Pros with the matte screens in yet.
Apple Guy — Yeh.
Me — Good. Can you get one.
Apple Guy — ::blink:: ::blink:: Yeh, sure. ::wanders off::
Aside from the Apple guys harassing me about Applecare (shush Braz), he was very helpful. I don’t think the store employees get any commission for selling computers, however, I get the feeling they get something for selling Applecare packages as they rabidly push these even after you have said no multiple times.
So I have a new shiny MacBook Pro now. It is quite nice and one would never know that it has a different processor architecture inside (except maybe for the tons of heat it pumps out). I was pleasantly surprised to find that just about all of the applications I use on a daily basis are Universal binaries. The only biggie that isn’t is Microsoft Office, and I don’t notice any problems running it under Rosetta. In transitioning over to the new machine I did have an experience that made me very happy for open source software. I use an application called SSHKeychain to manage my SSH keys. When I checked the website, the author did not have a universal binary version of the app, however, he did have the source available. I downloaded the source, compiled it myself, and voila, I had a native version that works like a charm.
I always hate having to give up an old computer, so I was pleased that I will be able to put my old Powerbook to a productive task; it will be attached to the entertainment center to play movies that I have captured electronically. The only task left on that front is to get an ethernet cable down 3 floors from the attic to the bottom floor. I think I know how I’m going to route it, but it should be an adventure. If I’m feeling energetic, I might even post pictures. Who knows.
So that is it; new laptop. very nice; very happy. More impressions to come.
(I’ll leave it to Elizabeth to relate her adventures at the Apple store. If she doesn’t, bug her.)