Usually I get excited when I get a new laptop. However, I ended up getting a new one today and I’m not all that happy about it.
At OpenNMS, the new guy gets a laptop when he becomes an employee. We order a top of the line machine, always a Mac so far (although not a requirement), along with AppleCare. Since AppleCare is good for three years, they are expected to use that laptop for three years. Thus they have a screaming, envy inducing machine at first, and the last couple of months it’s a little slow. I kept my 12″ Powerbook for 4 years.
Since I travel a lot I went with the Macbook versus the Macbook Pro to replace my Powerbook two years ago. I liked its size (although I would have preferred a smaller footprint) and the plastic case resulted in better Wi-Fi signal in most places. When I had a lot going on it wasn’t the fastest kid on the block, but for most of my work it was fine.
Today I was on a Skype call with Alex when the system froze and I was looking at some serious beachball time. After waiting a couple of minutes for the system to recover, I decided to power cycle it. Instead of the usual welcoming “bong” I was treated to a number of loud clicks, followed by a picture of a folder with a question mark on it.
Now I have to be out of town for awhile starting on Friday, and there was no way to get the Macbook fixed in time. Ben had a spare drive, but I wouldn’t be able to get that until tomorrow and then I’d spend the whole day swapping it out and then restoring from backup. My guess was that any problems I would encounter wouldn’t show up until I was on the road, so I made the decision to get another laptop.
I went with the Macbook Pro for the extra power, and it really isn’t that much larger than a Macbook (about an inch wider but only about a half inch deeper). I know there are some of you saying “poor baby” but I take spending money seriously, even if it is for my benefit. I guess I could rationalize it by saying that I held on to the Powerbook for an extra year so I can get another system a year early, but that doesn’t really work for me. I guess I can hold on to this one for four years as well to even it out.
On another note, Time Machine rocks. I backup my system regularly to a network drive and it was incredibly easy to restore all of my data. There is one problem however: it is not possible to restore a network volume using the default install of OS X.
When you first start a new Mac you reach a “Migration Assistant” screen which lets you restore from a Time Machine backup. However, you can’t choose a network volume, which kinda ruins it for me since that’s where the backup is located.
If, however, you boot from a Leopard CD, when you get to the installation screen you can access a menu bar (it’s hidden but will appear when you mouse over it). From there you can run Terminal and mount the remote volume:
mkdir /Volumes/TimeMachine mount -t afp afp://username:password@remotemachineIP/remotemount /Volumes/TimeMachine
Then you can exit Terminal and choose the appropriate backup, press okay and off you go. It took about 3 hours to restore my system.
Really not bad. Some of my preferences are gone and Photoshop CS3 is complaining about not being registered (gonna have to call ’em tomorrow) but other than that things seem fine.
But I still don’t like having to spend the money.