So I went ahead and ordered a maxed-out black MacBook, not a Pro, ignoring the advice of the majority of people who commented on my earlier consideration of the choice. I’m blogging from it.

Look, I diss Apple quite a bit in this space, but there are some things they get right; in particular the thing (I’m sure it has a name), where after collecting your name and address, the new laptop says “got an old Mac you want to transfer from?” and if you say yes, you plug in the FireWire, and in a couple of hours, your new Mac is your old Mac.

To an amazing degree, it just works.

The Hardware · Off the top, I have no gripes with the glossy screen, and I find I can type about as fast as I did on the PowerBook, which, given that I’ve only been here a couple hours, suggests that I’ll be faster soon.

None of the apps I’m running except maybe Camino show off the performance of the CPU, which ought to be quite a bit snappier than the PowerBook’s. Well, the fact that Photoshop Elements 3 running in emulated mode is more or less about as fast is indicative. How ’bout a Universal Binary there, Adobe? I’ll have to get around to firing up iMovie HD soon.

The trackpad seems quite a bit better at ignoring spurious input than the PowerBook’s.

Gripes · The things that transferred did not include my many httpd.conf customizations, so I can’t run the Ape and it doesn’t assume that a URI that doesn’t end in an extension is in HTML and UTF-8.

A few of my settings didn’t transfer, oddly enough, and it took a while to sync up with the Time server; but that was easy to fix.

I pretty quickly discovered there was no /usr/local and in fact no developer tools; had to go back and install ’em off the DVD. No biggie I guess.

I have to tap the trackpad quite a bit harder than I did on the PowerBook, it’s still ignoring me half the time. Sidetrack used to let me remap the button to right-click, I’ll have to check whether that still works; otherwise the button will be wasted.

Conundrum · I’ve got a ton of code around from Fink and apt-get all setting in /sw/. For example, mysql. I guess that’s all running under Rosetta now. I wonder if there’s a one-liner to swap in Intel binaries for all of those?


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Paul C. Bryan (Mar 23 2007, at 01:51)

Dare one suggest you install Debian or Ubuntu on your shiny new MacBook? :)


From: Dalibor Topic (Mar 23 2007, at 01:51)

No one liner, afaik, but 'fink list' will give you your list of installed packages, which will come in handy for the re-install, in particular if you configure your fink install to use binary packages & pipe the list into apt-get, afaik.

Fink doesn't support 'switching' an existing install, at least according to Alexander:

Good luck, and better backups. :)


From: Eddie (Mar 23 2007, at 02:20)


I have a maxed out Black Beauty also. I brought it yesterday with me to my hair styling salon because I knew I would have to wait. My hair stylist saw that glossy screen and said, "Wow, that's a big screen! Is it a 17 inch screen"? I then proceeded to show her a really neat slideshow that I put together with iPhoto synced with music in iTunes. They were of photos I took using my Canon Powershot SD 700 IS when traveling to a mountainous area (the SD 700 IS has a really nice "Infinity" setting that takes fantastic large scene shots perfect for mountains and horizons). The iPhoto slideshow option allows one to use the Ken Burns effect (which I did). My stylist couldn't believe it. Her jaw dropped. She asked me what camera I used and she was wondering how I got the photos to be animated (she thought it was video but I had to explain the Ken Burns effect). I am not by any means a photographer (and I'm not even interested in being a good amateur photographer). My stylist said to me, "I've gotta get me one of those Macs some day". I then fired up Parallels and booted Windows XP in about 14 seconds and showed her XP running as a virtual machine. She couldn't believe it and she said that it didn't seem possible.

After I finished showing her the iPhoto slideshow and XP under Parallels, I fired up NetBeans and started hacking some Ruby on the Black Beauty. Tell me life isn't good and we're not living in a digital renaissance?


P.S. It was amusing but really great to see and hear the response of a hair stylist because she represents the "mere mortals" majority of world!


From: Michael (Mar 23 2007, at 03:40)

I went through the same last weekend (same specced machine it sounds like) migrating from an old G4. Unfortunately the firewire thing didn't work for me - something odd was going on the "target"


None of this is out of the ordinary, but what is F**king annoying is apples tendency to have software that works really well when its smooth sailing, but worse then hell when something is only slightly amiss (eg a file that can't be copied) - they also NEVER have timeouts, so you loose hours waiting over the spinninng beachball of death - not knowing if its really hung or not (and no, things will never timeout - its like a default for OSX is for infinite timeouts).



From: whatever (Mar 23 2007, at 04:23)

the trackpad is a little finicky because of the new scrolling trackpad whatever. try to click with less of your finger so it isn't trying to figure out if you're trying to right-click using both fingers?

I just use the huge button for regular clicking and "place two fingers on trackpad and click button for secondary click" whew!


From: Marcus Ahnve (Mar 23 2007, at 04:56)

I used the upgrade option for my first MBP, and sure it work out great. However, I later heard from people that upgrading from a PPC to an Intel machine was not recommended.

So when I recently switched jobs and got a new MBP, I opted out of the upgrade, and the new machine actually feels a lot faster than the old one - yes, it is the same configuration.


From: Steven Brewer (Mar 23 2007, at 05:38)

If you look in the trackpad settings there is a checkbox for "ignore accidental trackpad input". Uncheck that and see if it isn't more to your liking. I was ready to smash the thing until I found that setting and turned it off. :-/


From: Jeff Self (Mar 23 2007, at 06:50)

I stopped using Fink a while back. It seemed like everything was severely out of date. I've switched to using MacPorts and it seems to be working very well. Plus everything gets installed from source so it doesn't matter whether you are running a PowerPC or Intel. It compiles for your processor.

James Duncan Davidson has a good blog on using MacPorts to run Apache, MySQL, Ruby, Subversion, Rails, etc.


From: James (Mar 23 2007, at 08:18)

Of course, you can have Fink install everything from source, too, and in fact that's what I usually do:

fink install package

Of course, that doesn't help Mr Bray out now; if he'd installed from source he'd still have PPC binaries. He'll still hafta obtain everything again, whether it's source or binary packages.


From: Norman Walsh (Mar 23 2007, at 09:29)

Interesting. Since several readers suggested you wait for the next product refresh, I wonder if you stumbled over any clues about when said refresh might occur.

I'll be in the market for a new laptop around July or August of this year. Clearly, I'll have to (re)consider getting a Mac. If I was making the choice today, and had decided to go for a Mac, I think I'd get the 17" Pro. After living with dual 1600x1200 displays, I think I'd find the smaller models hard to live with.

I'll have to find an Apple store and check, though. My real requirement is the ability to have Emacs and two (preferably three) shell windows on the screen, none obscuring any other (see the

photo in my

Thinkpad DS essay).


From: walter (Mar 23 2007, at 11:01)

i have just been able to really take advantage of my localhost for ...well. hosting develop web sites. i just downloaded and installed and love Perhaps not in the same league as MacPorts. but i am glad i discovered MAMP. (bet ya that lady at the Hair factory would be blown over to see you host your own website without access to the net!)


From: vadim (Mar 23 2007, at 12:41)

The data transfer from a PPC to an Intel mac didn't work for me and others I know right away. The solution is usually to boot the PPC machine off the install CD/DVD (not the hard drive), run the Disk Tool, and repair the filesystem. After this it seems to work every time.


From: Giulio Piancastelli (Mar 23 2007, at 15:06)

Norman, you may want to check the MacRumors Buyers Guide, at:


From: Beth Macknik (Mar 24 2007, at 21:23)

The tool's name is Migration Assistant. If you ever need to run it again, it is located in the Utilities folder.


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