Since I received my MacBook in December I have taken the time to use it as often as I can. As with all new things the novelty of owning one wore off after about a 2 weeks, however the usefulness of the MacBook never stopped. My progression to the Mac has been slow however for the last 2 weeks I have used it as my primary machine, and it has proven its weight in gold during this time.
I initially only used my MacBook for email and web browsing. Taking the time to get to know Leopard, and the various applications provided with the Mac. Although Mac Mail has fewer features the Thunderbird or even Outlook, it is powerful in its simplicity. All my email accounts are easily accessible, along with my RSS feeds. Safari has proven its ground as my browser of choice, with the odd website not able to display due to lack of support. With iChat Google Talk integration I am able to stay in contact, and although Messenger for the Mac is available I have decided to combine and only have one instant messenger. Google Talk on the Mac, MSN on Windows.
Due to its size I prefer travelling with the MacBook, and after the 4GB RAM upgrade I decided to give Parallels a chance and load a Windows XP Virtual Machine. My main requirement was to run Visual Web Developer for a part-time project, developed in ASP.Net and C#. With Coherence mode in Parallels all my Windows application integrated into the Leopard desktop and makes switching between platforms almost invisible. The 4-5 hour battery life from the MacBook is a huge help as well, along with the instant sleep and wake functionality, allowing to move between places without the having to wait. I haven’t used my Windows machine for my part-time development again since getting everything working on Parallels.
Apple iWorks 2008 has also been broken in nicely, with Pages working brilliantly as a word processor and Numbers providing all the basic spreadsheets requirements I need. Both applications also support the new Office document format and handles most documents mailed to me at a regular intervals quite well. I did load Office 2008 a bit later since I needed a way to manage my office mail offline while on the Mac, and Entourage connects nicely using Exchange Web Access, allowing me to stay in touch with the office from my Mac as well. My big disappointment has been that Word for the Mac doesn’t support blogging like Word for Windows.
More recently I was on-site at a client and had very limited space to work in, and decided to load the projects I was working on into the Parallels VM, since I can already manage the documentation part through Mac natively. I also found a copy of the Cisco VPN Client for Mac, which allowed me to use the Mac to VPN into remote sites, and with Remote Desktop for the Mac, manage the remote Windows Servers I need access to. Within an hour I was up and running being able to use the Mac for all my day-to-day tasks, albeit all my development running within Parallels on the Windows XP box.
We also received licenses for Adobe Creative Design Suite, which consists of all the major Adobe products, more specifically Photoshop and Illustrator. Even with the small 13″ screen size designing graphics on the Mac is extremely easy. With the full range of products required for work and play, my MacBook is now officially my everyday machine, with my Acer notebook taking up its role as major gaming machine, which is already running Vista Service Pack 1.
I am still extremely happy with my MacBook.