For a little over three years, I’ve had the Mac laptop.  Little shiny white affair: small for a modern laptop, but the sharp screen quality compensates for that, by enabling me to read much smaller print than is comfortable on a desktop machine.

Much to my surprise, I never liked the MacOS user interface very much: much of it seems to be a generation behind the Linux world, simple operations like cut&paste are a faff, and above all there’s the screaming inadequacy of control of windows and focus.  So I wouldn’t choose it for the desktop.

But on the laptop, the defects have been more than compensated by hardware (and drivers) that just work.  Minor conveniences like that great Mac power supply.  Much more importantly, none of the kind of flakiness and perpetual need to take it apart and jiggle some internal connection that characterised its predecessor, a Dell Inspiron that was just plain shoddy.  Decent build quality matters on a laptop!

But last night it suddenly died.  First some ticking, then in less than a minute it froze up with a spinning ¨busy¨ cursor, none of the open apps responded, and it refused to reboot.  Took it in to the local Mac shop this morning, and they extracted the hard disc and found it dead – ouch!  They can replace the disc for sixty squids, but it means I´ll have to faff about with reinstalling lots of apps, setting up prefs, etc.  Fortunately there is (I think) only a few hours of actual work on there with no duplicate, but I´m now down to one copy of quite a lot of important stuff, so spending this morning on a spot of backup!


Posted on September 29, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Your missing footnote is causing me angst!!

    I tend to agree about the MacOS X UI – c&p is a pain except for the clipboard-free drag of text between apps and windows are only moved via titlebar as distinct from alt-click in everything from Metacity upwards. Small wonder my dream box is a powerbook, er, macbook pro even, with linux in a virtualbox VM somewhere 🙂

  2. Heh. Not sure any longer what that was meant to be. Possibly something about the poor fit of X11 on Mac. Or the Mac terminal, which feels like a basic xterm of the last century. Or particular apps … I despair of finding an IRC client I really like on Mac, so I’m reduced to chatzilla!

    Oh, and my dream laptop is completely different. It’s ARM, e-ink screen, and solid state storage with no moving parts. Powered by any *X – Linux is obviously a candidate, but I’d take a BSD or OpenSolaris. Just so long it’s at ease with the hardware. All of that gives it a long battery life on a much smaller and lighter battery than today’s laptops.

  3. Come back to sunny Hove, where an apple shop called Solutions currently encourage recycling by giving you £100 off the price of a Macbook Pro – at least on the 13.3 in screen version. I got one just a week ago and had managed to scrounge a very dead Toshiba laptop and got my £100 off. Am very pleased on the whole – although find some things about the OS infuriating.


  4. When it comes to IRC clients on OS X, it might be worth noting you can install irssi, unless you’ve already rejected that for other reasons. For myself, I find it works perfectly well like that (but carrying my config about is a pain sometimes). My issue is the window management.

  5. You have a Mac, you have no excuse for not using Time Machine. Your Mac could have been back to normal with a simple restore process.

    I use a Drobo/DroboShare combo. I ported netatalk to the DroboShare.

    The Drobo is a bit expensive, but totally worth it. Either do that or get an external drive and backup to that.

  1. Pingback: MacOS grief « niq’s soapbox

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