Reviews: First Experiences with the MacBook

The MacBook and OS X

Somehow the MacBook has that intoxicating new product smell. I’m surprised at how intuitive OS X is compared to the old MacOS versions. I’ve figured out most everything just by messing around. Although it took me a while to learn that if you enable the right option, you can put two fingers on the trackpad and click the button to execute the equivalent of a right-mouse click in Windows. Dragging two fingers on the trackpad up or down will scroll up and down pages. Hot!

Exposé

I have the desktop configured so that if I move the arrow into the top-left corner, then Exposé takes over. Exposé minimizes all the open windows on your desktop just enough so that you can see all of them at once — and select the one you want to view.

Dashboard

The top-right hand corner is set to display Dashboard. Dashboard lets you display widgets or mini applications that do various things. On mine, for instance, I have a stock ticker, a weather tracker, a system resources app, and some various other goodies that look good.

Comic Life

I was looking at some of the other applications that came pre-installed on the MacBook and came across Comic Life. Comic Life is pretty fucking cool! What it is is a comic strip creation tool. It lets you create a basic comic strip layout. Then you just drag and drop photos or images into each cell and it auto-sizes and auto-crops it to fit. Then you can add in thought or speech bubbles, narration squares, whatever you like. You can put in text and then stretch it and warp it however you want, filling it with a bunch of pre-set color gradients. It even makes a stretchy rubber band sound as you stretch the text around! Perhaps the best part of this app is that it has a ton of filters to pass your images through on the fly. Like you can make a cell look like Sin City: black and white and stark contrast. Or you can make it look like a video camera (faded green with interlacing video lines).

Julie's birthday card!

I immediately thought about testing it out, and what a better way than to make Julie’s birthday card with it? It took maybe 45 minutes to make, and it was a blast. Finding what I wanted to do in my mind was easy; I learned as I went, without help. The fun you could have with this application is immeasurable. Anyone in the family could use it if they were interested. I’m surprised there aren’t better examples of peoples’ work online — the best I could find was the “comiclife” tag at Flickr.

The last thing I want to mention is Photo Booth. Photo Booth is super sexy with the built-in iSight camera. Photo Booth just lets you snap photos, but it also has on-the-fly filtering so that you can make yourself look like “A Scanner Darkly”, a thermal camera, Andy Warhol pop art, even X-ray. I just wish you could put up your webcam through Photo Booth, along with the filtering!

I’ve already installed Firefox and it works just like it does on my other two computers. Beautiful.

Really my only complaint is that you have to pay for a .Mac account and the vertical size of the screen is a little small. My other laptop displayed 1600×1200 and neither my 19″ LCD or this 13″ Macbook can display resolutions that large.

But other than that, the MacBook is a beautiful machine and I recommend it to anyone who wants a cool traveling laptop.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Reviews: First Experiences with the MacBook

  1. I messed around with one of these yesterday at the apple store. I thought about getting one, but will probably get the top model mac mini sometime around December. i just bought a new car (scion xb, first new car) and a microkorg, so I’ll have enough on my plate. Maybe I’ll install the Microkorg into the car, and get some of that sweet caging like strykers have around them: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/ca/Stryker-IFV-MK19.jpg

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