[rescue] Request for recomendation [was: Why is everyone so OSX happy?]

Chris Hedemark chris at yonderway.com
Sat Apr 12 20:04:23 CDT 2003

On Friday, April 11, 2003, at 11:23 PM, Rich Kulawiec wrote:

> Chris (and/or anyone else): what Apple laptop model(s) would you
> recommend (or un-recommend) for someone like me?
> 	1. Unix-phile; I suppose I need to have something that OSX
> 	will continue to support in the future.  Barely-if-at-all
> 	Mac-literate, having lived in the SUN/DEC/HP/IBM/SGI/etc.
> 	world for years.

You don't need to have any special skills to drive a Mac.  Apple has 
gone to great lengths to make these machines easy to use (though 
without obscuring UNIX too much if you don't want it obscured).  I went 
from Linux, OpenBSD and Solaris to OS X without any significant 
previous mac experience.

> 	2. Don't need hi-performance (e.g. hardcore gamer) graphics.
> 	Enough to run web browers and watch the occasional low-res
> 	streaming video off the 'net is fine.  (do need >= 24 bits
> 	of color though)

You might want to check the specs on the iBooks to confirm but I 
suspect *any* of the currently available apple portables will meet this 

> 	3. Need ability to manipulate MIDI and audio files, pull
> 	audio from CDs, write audio to CDs, etc.

This is more a function of software than hardware, and OS X comes with 
iTunes which will handle all the CD<->MP3 conversions (both 
directions).  My own MP3 collection is only like 10GB but other OS X 
enthusiasts that I know have collections of over 120GB managed by 
iTunes.  iTunes will rip CD's and burn them (either regular audio CD's 
or MP3 CD's)

> 	4. Need to have a way to talk 9600/8/N/1 to many devices
> 	made by a certain company often discussed here. ;-)

I haven't been able to try this yet since the apple laptops don't come 
with a serial port.  But they do have 2 USB ports (at least the 15" 
powerbook does).  You may be able to do this with a USB->DB9 dongle but 
I haven't tried it nor I heard reliable accounts of this.

> 	5. Long battery life would be nice; a way to plug into
> 	a solar panel to extend that life would be even nicer as
> 	frequent outdoor use is anticipated.  (Does anybody make
> 	a solar recharger for these things?)

Battery life is pretty decent on my powerbook.  iBook might be even 
better, I don't know.  Power adapter only pulls about 14W max so 
charging from a solar panel should be very doable.  A 12VDC automotive 
power adapter would let you charge straight from the panel, but it 
might be cheaper (though less efficient) to go from 
12VDC->110VAC->stock power adapter via a cheapo power inverter.  I've 
got one of these setups on my unabomber shack and it works well.  
(Solar panel feeds deep cycle battery, which in turn feeds an inverter 
to get me up to 110VAC).

> 	6. Because of frequent outdoor use ;-), some degree of
> 	ruggedness would be nice.  (I'm not brutal to systems,
> 	but one that breaks easily would be a bad idea.)

I don't have first hand experience with the iBook but they are plastic. 
  The 15" powerbook, at least mine anyway, is titanium.  The 12" and 17" 
powerbooks are aluminum I believe which isn't a particularly rugged 
metal but it is probably tougher than the plastic case on the iBook.  I 
am not sure if the 15" powerbook has been changed over to aluminum now 
or if it is still aluminum.

Still check out the iBook.  It's a tremendous value.  Since it doesn't 
seem like you're hell bent on high performance or lots of connectivity 
options built in, the iBook may be enough machine for you.

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