As always, great post, Ed. I really enjoy reading these. For those who use Ready-Set-Do! on their Macs, there is a new set of podcasts, one of which discusses how to handle processing e-mail with Ready-Set-Do!. The one on handling e-mail can be found here.
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I can also highly recommend Notify App. I have it notify me of new messages via Growl, and if I want to read and/or respond straight away, the in–menu bar mail interface is perfect. That way I only open the full Mail app a few times a day.
Thanks for the review. Just for your information, my 13-inch MacBook Pro looks like a black MacBook because I have covered it in an Apple-approved third-party black shell. Very elegant looking. Just FYI in case you eventually upgrade to a MacBook Pro.
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I’ve got one of these for my black MacBook. I also lusted after that BlackBook for quite a while. I’m considering a MacBook Pro, but my wife’s been eyeing my sleek black machine. Maybe I’ll buy her the MacBook Pro! :)
OWC also makes a small, clear enclosure for 2.5-inch SATA hard drives. I like them because you can see the drive installed inside. It has a built-in heat sink and tiny rubber feet on the bottom. Great for backing up photos while traveling.
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There are several vendors making colored shells for the current MacBook Pro lineup. I have a black satin shell from Speck Products on my 17″ MacBook Pro. Note that the smaller your MacBook Pro, the better the color selection; the only colors Speck offers for 17″ are clear and black satin. :(
I received a clear Speck shell from the gentleman I purchased my BlackBook from, but I don’t use it because I don’t like the glossy slickness of it. I much prefer the feel of the BlackBook’s native exterior.
I’d missed the news of their Satin line, however, and these look like just the thing I would buy were I to step up to an aluminum MacBook in the future. Thanks for pointing them out!
I generally recommend any router capable of running DD-WRT firmware. Bridging multiple routers, setting up hotspots, adding USB file storage, and extending the range of the router is all very easy to accomplish. Plus, the interface is the same regardless of which router you have.
I also generally recommend an expandable NAS in place of a Time Capsule since those don’t contain nearly enough storage to accommodate Time Machine backups for several systems, as well as an entire digital library of CDs, DVDs, photos, movies, and other files.
Apple makes nice products, but they are definitely not “one size fits all.”
You raise some valid issues. I hope to address some of them in future articles. Each of the issues that you mentioned, along with other issues such as wireless security, could be separate articles in their own right. I recently became aware of the DD-WRT firmware but haven’t taken enough time to really become familiar with it just yet.
You are also correct in that the Time Capsule is not right for everyone. Its firewall, for example, might not be adequate for some applications. In my case the Time Capsule replaced a NAS that went bad on short notice. Although my 2 TB model isn’t full, I have a USB hub attached with additional hard drivers that are used for backup.
To be fair, Windows must run on a wide range of hardware from a multiverse of manufacturers, and an endless range of internal and external attachments. Apple has the advantage of hardware control, so an OS installation should be quite straight-forward. That said, you forgot to mention the absolute horror of updates, service packs, and patches that must follow the initial Windows installation. I’ve recently restored XP Pro to a few (elderly) friends and found the online download and install process can add several hours to the process. And as you mentioned, one cannot simply leave the machine: one must “attend” to click the various menu acknowledgments.
Infuriating, simply infuriating!
I know it’s been a while since this review was written, but thanks for the incredibly comprehensive review. Very impressive—and very helpful in my decision process. Much appreciated.
I don’t understand why the iPad does not have a built-in cell phone with a Bluetooth detachable earpiece and a detachable bluetooth camera that automatically stores the pictures on the iPad as they are taken. Both would charge when plugged into (mated) with the iPad. Plus, the camera could be placed across the room and operated from the iPad or independently by itself or while mated to the iPad.
The iPad simply isn’t intended to be a phone any more than a laptop computer is. However, there’s already an application you can put on an iPad and an iPhone to use the iPhone’s camera wirelessly on the iPad via either Bluetooth or WiFi.
I actually just bought this keyboard so that I could use my MacBook Pro in clamshell mode with an external monitor and my Magic Mouse.
This keyboard mimics the MacBook Pro’s keyboard remarkably well, and that just so happens to be the best keyboard I’ve ever used. I used to swear by IBM ThinkPad keyboards before I discovered Apple’s first on my PowerBook G4, then taken to the next level with my MacBook and MacBook Pro.
But by any standards, this keyboard is flawless. The size and functionality of a desktop keyboard with the feel of Apple’s notebook keyboards. I was hesitant to spend $49 on a keyboard, but I knew from experience that, with Apple, you get what you pay for.
I only wish they made the full size keyboard with numeric keypad as a wireless model.