A Windows expert opts for a Mac life, Part 2

The transition was a little rocky for Windows expert Scot Finnie, but once over that hump, his Mac experience has been superb

Last month, I initiated a three-month trial of the Macintosh as a total replacement for my primary Windows machine. That computer is asked to pull double duty as a work and personal machine. It's also the only computer I run e-mail on. And it's the one machine (other than backup) that contains all my data files. In other words, it's got to work flawlessly.

I've had serious pain switching to the Mac (we'll get to that in a moment), but I've also had great success and no second thoughts about my experiment.

Supreme notebook: The MacBook Pro 17 Core 2 Duo

Although I already had two 15-in. Core Duo MacBook Pros, I needed a bigger, more powerful model as my primary machine. Enter a brand-new, 2.33-GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro 17 with a 160GB hard drive and glossy screen. I love this new 17-in. MacBook Pro. The screen is glorious. The performance is top-notch. It became my primary computer about 10 seconds after it first booted.

If I decide to go back to Windows when this Mac trial is over, returning to my ThinkPad T60 Core Duo may be a very difficult move. I've settled into the MacBook Pro 17 and Mac OS X 10.4.8 as if I was born to them. If the Mac OS doesn't mesmerize me to the point that I lose all interest in Windows, this piece of hardware might just do that all on its own.

My only complaint is that the spacebar squeaks whenever I press it. Whoop-de-doo. I'll head to the nearest Genius Bar and see if I can get Apple Computer to replace it free of charge.

Why can't Dell, Hewlett-Packard or even Lenovo build notebook hardware this good?

Update on RAM for MacBook Pro 15

In the first installment of this series, I relayed my experiences with a spontaneous reboot problem concerning the Apple MacBook Pro 15 my company gave me. I wrote about pulling the add-on 1GB single in-line memory module (SIMM) and how, after a few days, I had not experienced another spontaneous reboot.

As it happens, that 1GB SIMM continues to lead an unlucky life. My IT department checked it in, and then it was misplaced -- permanently. So even though we had an return merchandise authorization on it, we weren't able to send it back to Edge, the company that sold it to us last spring.

Instead, we wound up purchasing a new Kingston Technology SIMM from PC Connection. I've had a lot of good experience with Kingston memory. I can also recommend a low-cost vendor for Mac RAM SIMMs -- a company in Salem, N.H., called Data Memory Systems (DMS) charges quite a bit less for its memory. I bought memory from DMS for the MacBook Pro 15 that I own, and I've had zero trouble with that memory or that machine.

Anyway, the Kingston RAM did the trick. I haven't had a spontaneous reboot since the moment I pulled the RAM SIMM, the second day I had the machine. It's been about six weeks. Apple computers are picky about RAM. Don't buy expensive Apple RAM, but it pays not to try to go cheaply on RAM for a Mac. Get a solid recommendation, or just get the good stuff.

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