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I am starting a new series on my blog that will hopefully spark some (civil, productive, non-inflammatory) conversations. These will mostly be random thoughts I have. This will also lead bc_shoutme to post more often and not wait until I have something large to say. So for this [insert frequency of series' posts here]'s entry:

The MacBook Pro. I've seen lots of developers lately using MBPs as development machines. I am interested in learning Ruby, so it might be a good option for me. I wonder how they perform. The developers that use them say Windows runs fantastic on a MBP. VMWare Fusion is a must have for easy switching back and forth. How does Vista perform in the VM? Is it a true VM? Any problems to be aware of? Are there those of you who tried using a MBP for .NET development and switched back? What about customer service?

Just considering it right now. I grew up using Apple products and have used Linux on and off for years, so I feel pretty comfortable with OSX, but the $3K price tag for a 17-incher must give anyone pause.


Posted on Friday, March 6, 2009 12:48 AM Conversation Starters | Back to top

Comments on this post: Conversation Starters Series

# re: Conversation Starters Series
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I just made the switch to a MBP within the last month. I need to start by saying I like what works and I don’t have much time for emotional arguments about Apple or MS.

I did a lot of research on the topic of MS dev on Mac and it seemed like a lot of people were very happy. (The other happy group seemed to be IBM/Lenovo owners). So now I am typing this comment in Office for Mac and reading your blog on a VM Fusion instance of XP(VS.NET/SQLExpress/Gallio/TortoiseSVN) on my other monitor. I’m probably not going to install Vista – just wait for 7. IIS and MVC is sort of a pain, but nothing that is making me move to Vista yet…

Before buying this I never typed a single word into a Mac. So if this experiment were going to fail I would have learned an expensive lesson.

The good:
It’s new so take it for what its worth but it runs flawlessly.
Not exclusive to MAC, but developing in VM has made life a lot easier. Having a base dev environment, being able to start a new blank slate environment, and just deleting the vm file is great – I don’t see a lot of reimaging in my future.
You can share files between host/guest.
You can run the VM across all your monitors (I used to have 3 but had some issues so down to 2)
I just started doing Ruby and some Rails stuff and apparently trying to do it on Win can have some rough spots.

Sort of bad:
The keyboard is missing (AFAIK) the End, Home keys and I’m not savvy enough to figure out a workaround on the Mac. I have an external keyboard and that works when I’m working on windows.
There is no such thing as a docking station. I’m usually at my desk in a home office, but if I want to take this into a work environment I disconnect 5 cables everytime. Apple’s suggestion for a “Docking Station” is an $800-900 external monitor that has a port replicator built in… arghhh
You cannot VM an Apple Desktop OS (OSX) because of licensing (You can with their server products however).
Sharing graphics files between Win VM and Apple will doesn’t work so well.

BTW – I got mine online at MacMall and the experience was great. Ordered it at 8 MST and got it at 3 the next day ($28 shipping/no taxes). They had a special on MS Office for Mac for $49 all well worth it.

Overall, it’s working out great. Windows runs smooth and won’t get to crufty – otherwise I’ll just throw it away and start a new one…

No crashes that I can remember…
Left by Matt on Mar 06, 2009 11:59 AM

# re: Conversation Starters Series
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@Matt.. AWESOME! Thanks for the thought-out review. I just went and "customized" my choice of MBP at and it priced at $5200 (ouch). Will have to check out MacMall and see if I can live with a lower-priced configuration.
Thanks again!
Left by Lee Brandt on Mar 06, 2009 1:24 PM

# re: Conversation Starters Series
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Can't get past the price tag. Can build a smoking Dell, even using their bloated upgrade pricing for about 30-40% less than an Apple. I'd like a Mac for the quality of their monitors alone, but the price is just too much.

#Dell Studio XPS 16"
#Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T9550 (6MB cache/2.66GHz/1066Mhz FSB)
#Edge-to-Edge FullHD Widescreen 16.0 inch RGBLED LCD (1920x1080) W/2.0 MP
#8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1067MHz (2 Dimms)
#128GB Solid State Drive
#ATI Mobility RADEON® HD 3670 - 512MB
+other minor upgrades

# 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
# 8GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2X4GB
# 128GB Solid State Drive
# SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
# MacBook Pro 17-inch Hi-Resolution Antiglare Widescreen Display
#NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 512MB
+ no other upgrades

That's a $1505 difference! Is an Apple $1.5k better than a Dell? I'm not trying to be argumentative, but *seriously* $1500 smackaroos?!
Left by Michael D. Hall on Mar 17, 2009 6:30 PM

# re: Conversation Starters Series
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This was really interesting and taught me one things or two.
Left by Craig on May 01, 2009 7:01 AM

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