iBooks and TiBooks and MyBooks

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Nat Torkington
Aug. 15, 2002 08:55 PM

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Apple's Switch campaign is great, but nobody tells you what you REALLY need to know when switching. Here in one place is my top-ten list of switching essentials:
  1. iBook vs TiBook. iBook fits on cramped airplane traytables, whereas TiBook requires you to gouge your neighbours with your elbows. iBook has better wireless range than the TiBook (unless you use a PC-Card instead of the Airport card and a third-party driver). Oh, and of course, you can darn near afford two iBooks for the price of a TiBook (and as the saying goes, if you buy one iBook you've got two weeks to get another or get a divorce).
  2. Speaking of Airport (Apple's 802.11 internal card), when the ad says "Airport Ready", they don't mean "ready with an Airport", they mean "ready for you to buy an Airport card".
  3. Carrying on from that, adding an Airport card to an iBook is painless (you can do it all without unscrewing anything). Adding an Airport card to a TiBook involves SCREWS. And not just normal screws like a Philips or flathead, which you probably have screwdrivers for around the house, but fiendish NEW screws called Torx T-8. The good news is that Sears carries screwdrivers for $2.19 or so.
  4. Mac OS 10.1 only works with Postscript printers, as far as I can tell. I don't have the Postscript chip for my HP 2100, so I'm screwed (or as we say in Mac land, t0rx0red). Jaguar will apparently provide the framework to fix that, but I'm not sure whether it'll be as click-click-click-done as Postscript printers currently are.
  5. Although it's harder to get a 802.11 card into a [T]iBook than a PC, they are much easier to drive. The networking in general is much easier than PC--if I had a dollar for every time I had to reboot my PC to make my network settings change effect, I could afford a top of the line TiBook.
  6. Caveat Recorder: no microphone input jack will hurt people addicted to recording every conference session they attend. A $35 USB doodad gives you mic in, and all that remains is to find some recording software. (A bit of Fink and a pipe will turn your Mac into a handy mp3 recorder)
  7. AppleWorks just doesn't cut it when you have to send and receive complex Word files. If your office just ships memos and notes around in Word, then maybe you can get away with it. But if you're seriously hellbent on macros, templates, and all that good stuff, then you probably need Office X. Do it--Office X is much sexier than Office on Windows, and seems less prone to those heartrending crashes that are a trademark of Microsoft software on a Microsoft operating system.
  8. Get used to finding software via sites like aquafiles, but it may turn out that google is your best software index. I do things like google for "irc client mac os x" to see what's available. Some of the same software you use on the PC may be available for the Mac (e.g., AIM and Palm Desktop) but for things like FTP clients, IRC clients, news readers, etc. you're going to have to learn a whole new set of brand names.
  9. Culture shock alert: the best software available is often, but not always, shareware. This means you'll be nagged to register for a month, until you delete it and reinstall. Or, you know, you pay. I'm still getting my head around this whole "pay for software" thing, having come from the open source world.
  10. Find a Mac buddy and grab their bookmarks. The world of Mac web sites is full of things like macslash, PowerBook Central, and Mac OS Rumors. And then there are pointers to places like OS X faq and Mac OS X Hints, places you can't live without.
  11. Okay, so you're getting 11 tips for the price of 10. Watch out for the heat of the [T]iBook batteries. You'll be sterile for a month if you're not careful about how you place them on your lap. Those puppies get HOT!
Happy switching!


Nat Torkington is conference planner for the Open Source Convention, OSCON Europe, and other O'Reilly conferences. He was project manager for Perl 6, is on the board of The Perl Foundation, and is a frequent speaker on open source topics. He cowrote the bestselling Perl Cookbook.