I had never owned a Windows or X86 computer (though I did borrow one from school for a number of months), yet it is very important, as a web developer, to test in IE. IE is of course discontinued for Mac, and has been for 10 years or something like that. IE happens to be the hardest browser to develop for, especially the dreaded IE6, and it (IE in general) still has the market share, so it is very important to test for. I recently got a job and some actual income, so I decided to buy something.
I’ve been considering getting a netbook for a while now to fill my IE needs. It would be relatively cheap, and would be awesome to have a tiny computer to easily carry around. I carry my iBook around a lot, but it’s big and heavy and I have to think if I really want it. The netbook I’d not really have to worry about so much.
I did a lot of research and looking into netbooks. I wanted a touchscreen one with good handwriting recognition, but the current attempts aren’t fully to my satisfaction. There are some new models expected to come out at some point, who knows when. So I could buy a cheap one use it for a reasonable amount of time, when better touchscreen netbooks are out, sell my cheap netbook. I’ve never really been a fan of frequent computer purchases, but I could try it. I could also buy one of the current touchscreen ones and hope it’s good enough for my needs.
At my job, though, I use a mac with Windows installed virtually with Parallels. It provides a fairly good workflow for testing, since I can test many browsers and code all on the same computer. There are a few issues, but for the most part I’ve liked it. So I got to thinking that I could perhaps upgrade my main computer rather than get an extra one. I could get a Macbook and Parallels and Windows. That would be pricy, but I’d have a much more powerful computer, only one to deal with, and possibly better workflow.
If I could find a decent price on one, that might be the way to go. Used Macbooks don’t seem to be that cheap though. The cheapest was $569 (found on lowendmac’s price list), and that was with only 512 MB RAM and a 60GB harddrive. Just to upgrade that to where my iBook is might add another $100. And I’ve heard going for a Core 2 is worth the extra money. Dealmac showed a relatively recent Macbook for $749, a much better value, but they sold out too quickly. They also had the current model refurbished for $849, which would be powerful and have more RAM and HD than my iBook, as well as the fancy new 3-and-4-finger multi-touch trackpad and LED-backlit display, shipped with Snow Leopard.
Then dealmac showed another deal for the same computer, $800 at MicroCenter. It was for in-store pickup only, but I discovered one only 40 minutes away. I then discovered that this was also brand new. I was leery, wondering how they could offer this for cheaper than refurbished, but a support person told me it was in fact new, just some special short term deal. After a bit more deliberation, with some discussion with my Mom, I decided to jump on the deal. I drove there Monday night and picked it up.
It is indeed new, and has been working quite fine. The user interface is not that much more snappy than my ibook when doing light work, and it still beachballs more than enough, but it can multi-task quite a bit better, and handle more intense stuff much better. I haven’t really gotten to test it with anything really intense, but Youtube played better, and the only chop seemed to be related to the connection.
Snow Leopard has a number of small but nice improvements over Leopard, though it still hasn’t FTFF. Nice improvements to Expose, though still not perfect. The drag-and-drop for Dock applications is sort of improved.
Overall I’m happy with the purchase, even if it cost a good hunk of the money I’ve earned in the past six months. I’ve had some troubles migrating from the iBook, especially since I wanted to do it by copy only to get rid of some of the extra lint (I think I’ve done upgrades over several iterations of OS X), but I’m mostly there. Now I just have to get Parallels and Windows and get them set up, and I’ll be able to test IE at home. And I of course have to figure out how to sell my poorly painted iBook for a decent price.