Back in the saddle

And I’m already sore. Thanks to everyone who wrote with congrats on the newest little bundle. Charlotte and Mama are doing wonderfully. Her brothers regard her with love, curiosity, but mostly indifference. I mean, she’s not exactly stealing their toys yet — or even awake much — so she’s been deemed low-threat.

The other new delivery is one that plugs in. I’ve been playing around with a 17″ MacBook Pro for a few weeks now. It is a superb machine. Running a G5 at home and having moved most of my critical applications (mail, calendar, to do lists, etc) to online/synch services allowed for a pretty smooth transition. Still, working for IBM on a Mac can be a challenge. Though there are some great resources internally for doing so (and a healthy IBM Linux community that will help you run Anything But MS) some things still require Windows. Which is why running XP in Parallels virtual machine is such a blessing.

Some thoughts.

  • There is no solution for in-flight (or in-car) powering of the MacBook Pro. This isn’t a problem unique to Apple but rather to newer laptops that run at 85W. Airplane power connectors shut off when anything tries to draw more than 75W. Inverters seem not to work. Since airlines are likely not to retrofit their fleets, what’s needed is a way to reduce the wattage pull via software on the machine. This is a serious problem for international travel.
  • As yet there are virtually no cards available for the Express/34 slot. Obviously PC cards don’t work (which limits the usefulness of running XP a bit), but the real problem is the lack of cellular wireless cards, 2.5G or 3G. Also a big issue for a frequent traveller.
  • Right-click. I use it, I need it, I quite love it. Yes, you can plop two fingers on the trackpad and click for a right-click, but that’s cumbersome. All Apple would have to do is elegantly split the long mouse button. But I doubt that’ll happen.
  • The trackpad is nice, sure. But I miss the keyboard trackpoint. It is easier to use on cramped airplanes and it allows you never to remove your fingers from typing orientation. Sigh.
  • No dedicated reverse (which is to say forward) delete button. You can do this with Fn-Delete, but I never realized how much I delete going forward until now.
  • There’s no IBM VPN client for Intel-based Macs, yet. The company that makes the IBM VPN for PPC Macs is working on it, but right now this means I have to proxy all IBM-bound networking through Parallels and the XP VPN client. A cool solution, but let’s face it: a pain in the ass.

Most of these are travel-related gripes, which begs the question. With three kids at home now, maybe I shouldn’t be travelling so damn much?

2 Responses to “Back in the saddle”

  1. Rich says :

    I am an IBM contractor who just got a MAC. I have no problem using the AT&T dialer for IBM network access, but I just got a cool G5 (PPC). Where can I get a VPN client for this (IBM VPN for PPC Macs).
    The one on the AT&T sites seems to have an error whe n unpacking.

  2. Francois Lachance says :

    Re Trackpad … if you use your thumb on the trackpad, you can keep your hands on the keys. I found that trackpoints tend to cramp the forefinger.
    Good luck with acquiring the new keyboarding habits.