Things TDot Likes: Apple, Inc.

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jun 28, 2010 in Things TDot Likes | Subscribe

Hey everybody! :D

I took the weekend off so I could focus on the presentation I told y’all about Friday along with wrapping up my final exam for ADR Practices & Process. In between I went through the laptop to free up space, including shrinking my Bootcamp partition that contains Windows Vista.

Each of those experiences in some way reminded me how appreciative I am to have access to Apple products.

Some of Apple's Products

Yes folks: appreciative ;)

And I’m not talking about the new-fangled iStuff either. I can’t get an iPhone unless/until they come to Verizon Wireless, ((Soon, I hope :D )) and although the iPads are flying off the shelves they’re not really my thing. I’m talking about good ol’-fashioned Macs running MacOS X.

I’ve been an Apple fan most of my life. Back when I was in elementary school, Apple IIs were all over the place. Then the Mac line came out and they were everywhere too — I still remember going to the library in middle school to type my papers on a Macintosh LC II, because I preferred ClarisWorks and seeing when I bolded or italicized or underlined my text rather than having to decipher what different highlighting meant in WordPerfect on a PC :beatup:

But by the time I hit high school Windows 95 was out and school systems were deploying PCs everywhere to save money. My parents bought a PC and that’s what I had to use at home, where BSoDs ((The Blue Screen of Death, basically what happens when Windows crashes.)) became a part of life and I screwed up the Registry on more than one occasion trying to use the uninstall scripts that came with most programs (Macs, by contrast, use packages that you can just drag to the trash bin). Apple was in its own death spiral back then, as CEO after CEO found ever more innovative ways to piss away millions of dollars.

Then Steve Jobs came back and knocked some sense into folks ;)

I didn’t have a computer when I started college at NC State, and one day in the spring I flipped through the Classifieds in the Technician (our school newspaper) looking for someone selling a PC that I could buy. It turned out that was the only day Apple ran an advertisement looking to hire a campus representative as part of a new Jobs-approved outreach program. I applied on a whim, got an interview, and for reasons I still don’t understand I was given the job. In exchange for being a general Apple enthusiast, salesperson, and IT support guy for the campus, I was loaned a 333MHz G3 iMac (Bondi Blue), was paid $200/week, flown out to California each summer for “Campus Rep Boot Camp”, and hooked up with all the latest software.

And I haven’t looked back :spin:

I had to quit being a Campus Rep when I dropped out, but since then QuietStorm and I bought another Rev. D iMac, then upgraded to an eMac, then when I came back to NC State I snagged a Mac mini and then got my trusty MacBook Pro. I’m now running MacOS X “Snow Leopard” ((Also known as MacOS X 10.6.4… roughly 7 full OS revisions from MacOS 8.5.1 that was released the day after I started as a Campus Rep :beatup: )) and looking forward to upgrading my laptop to the latest technology. ((Which currently includes multi-core chips clocking well over 3GHz+… well over 10x faster than my first iMac :crack: ))

I’ve got a lot of experience with Windows and various Linux distributions as well, so I’ll sidestep the quasi-religious war some Comp Sci folks believe in. But for anyone planning on going to law school, I strongly recommend getting a Mac. Here’s why:

  • High-quality hardware. It took 4 years for the circuit board on my MacBook Pro to die, and that was after using it a solid 8+ hours/day nearly every day for that entire time. Most of my colleagues had to buy 2 (or even 3) laptops during that same timespan due to failing parts. Apple’s computers are solidly built and include a ton of high-end technology, making them cost-competitive to a similarly-configured PC.
  • It just works. I’ve got a partition on my laptop running Windows Vista that I use solely for taking law school exams with ExamSoft. When I loaded up Vista last night, it began downloading the dozens upon dozens of software updates that Microsoft spews out on a near-daily basis… and during the installation of some of those updates I got a Blue Screen of Death and had to restart the computer :crack: Something is awry when the total system failures I learned to accept in 1995 are still happening in 2010. I haven’t had a “kernel panic” — the Mac/Linux equivalent of a BSoD — on any machine since MacOS X Panther came out 6 years ago. MacOS X is built on top of crash-resistant Unix (dubbed “Darwin”), which also gives you the perk of virus resistance as well. Plus its Quartz graphic engine uses PDF internally, so it not only looks amazing but you can print anything to a PDF file — great for sharing papers, essays, projects and so on. With MacOS X you don’t get a feeling like the operating system is standing in between you and your productivity; it’s more like a partner helping you get things done.
  • The iApps are amazing. Apple has an expansive slate of software products, including its iCal calendar program, its Mail app, its Safari web browser, its iLife suite (iTunes / iPhoto / iMovie), its iWork suite (Keynote / Pages / Numbers), and on and on and on. ((As a highlight of how long ago it was when I worked for Apple, iTunes v1.0 was really just a reengineered SoundJam MP — a program that I’ve still got on an installation CD!)) These are some of the slickest and most user-friendly applications on the market, and for many of them there simply is nothing comparable on Windows or Linux. I’m a particularly huge huge huge fan of Keynote, Apple’s competitor to PowerPoint. Keynote was in-house software Apple developed for Steve Jobs’s use in preparing his keynote presentations at MacWorld Expo (hence the name). The features built into this thing make it trivially simple to put together excellent presentations. I’ve been using it regularly since 2006 — for English class, my Senior Design project in Computer Science, UNCASG presentations, the list goes on — and the hours of time it saved me between Saturday’s plea bargaining piece and my group’s two presentations for Race & the Law make it more than worth the price.
  • The other apps are amazing too. Run a website? Panic’s Transmit is one of the best FTP programs I’ve used on any platform. How about instant messaging protocols? Adium combines over a dozen chat protocols into one refined interface. And although you might not be able to tell from this post, I’m actually a big Microsoft fan: their 2008 Office for Mac is far more intuitive than the Windows counterpart, and makes using Microsoft Word and Excel a lot less tedious. There are thousands of other really cool apps out there, far more than I can highlight in this already lengthy post. There’s a website dedicated to tracking these applications over at — head over there and poke around :)
  • And, for the switchers, Windows is only a few clicks away. I mentioned up at the top that I’ve got a partition for Windows Vista. What I didn’t mention is that I’ve also got Windows XP, Windows 7, and Ubuntu Linux on here as well — a side effect of the Computer Science education :beatup:

    Windows running inside MacOS X with VMWare Fusion

    If you’re a PC user switching to a Mac, you can ease into it by having Windows only a click away. Apple includes a program called Bootcamp that helps you add a full Windows installation alongside MacOS X, enabling you to boot your computer directly into Windows.

    But the really cool stuff happens when you use virtualization. A company called VMWare has a product called VMWare Fusion that let’s you run “virtual OSs” at native speed inside MacOS X. I’ve included a screenshot of my Windows XP installation running (along with my terminal running the Unix top program). You can share files between the operating systems, connecting to the internet “just works”, the list goes on. Although virtualization has long been the refuge of technophiles like me, it’s great to ease the transition from one OS to another.

I could go on even more about some of the other features, applications and perks ((Like using IPP to successfully print for free on a Windows-centric network :angel: )) but you get the idea ;)

Thanks for letting me preach a bit :) If any pre-Ls out there have technology questions, let me know! Until then have a great night!!

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Jun 29, 2010 at 6:22 PM

I tried using one of those really expensive Macs in the video editing section of “the hill” and just couldn’t get over the single mouse button.

Jun 29, 2010 at 9:50 PM

I’ve got to say I love this post. I would die without my Apple. I’ve had my current MacBook since 2008, but my iBook is still kicking (albeit with a very small harddrive) after five years, without any major problems. The only thing I’ve ever had a problem with is cosmetic–the plastic around the edge of the keyboard likes to come off. But that is minor and one guy at Apple told me it was their bad (too strong magnets on the top) and they would fix it for the lifetime of my computer.

I also love the Mac-only software, outside of Apple’s iWork and iLife. Have you tried OmniOutliner or Scrivener? They are two of my favorite programs that I used in undergrad for class.

Jun 30, 2010 at 12:00 AM

You make a very compelling case, Mr TDot! Last time I was buying a computer I seriously considered a Mac, but then let others talk me out of it. Now UMN makes all new law students buy lap tops through the university so that everybody has the same computer, and there’s absolutely no wiggle room.

Madame Prosecutor
Jun 30, 2010 at 11:50 AM

I was considering getting windows for my mac but I’m not sure if I want anything microsoft…hmmmm


[…] Mariel wrote a truncated post about the joy she has found at her internship. NCU ‘12 TDOT expressed appreciation for Apple computers and their operating systems. 2L Julie Anne shared the ‘gnarliest’ eating experience she has had thus far in […]

Becky Hayes
Jul 2, 2010 at 1:11 PM

I am a closet Apple girl. You’d never know it from what I own–I have a Dell desktop (XP), a Gateway laptop (Vista), and an Asus Eee netbook (7 Starter). My mp3 player is a Sansa and only syncs with Windows Media Player. My phone is a Pantech. I’ve never owned an iPod, and the last Mac I had was a family computer when I was 9.

But I think of myself as an Apple person. I love reading books about the history of the company (“Apple Confidential” may be my favorite), I love keeping up with the latest releases, when I see an Apple store I stand outside and stare longingly at the clean, crisp awesome tech. Basically, I am an Apple fangirl who doesn’t own anything Apple. I keep telling myself that someday will be *my* time, when I’ll have the money to get a MacBook and an iPhone, when I will be able to march right in to that Apple store and feel like I belong.

Until then, I’ll live vicariously through others. :-D

Jul 11, 2010 at 3:28 AM

@Eric: The library doesn’t get any special accessories, but you do know you can just get one of those fancy Microsoft mice with all the buttons right? ;)

@Amanda: I have not. I’ve heard of them both, but I’m too set in my ways with Microsoft Word to learn other outlining software :beatup:

@Lotta: Find some wiggle room ;) You won’t go wrong with a MacBook or MacBook Pro :D

@Madame Prosecutor: Having MS Windows isn’t bad as long as you only use it during exams ;)

@Becky: I loved Apple Confidential too, and used to be in the same “I love Apple but don’t have Apple $$$” boat — but you’d be surprised what you can find at comparable prices to a PC ;) Enjoy living vicariously, but don’t hesitate to take the plunge :)


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