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Dennis Kennedy

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Testing the MacBook Pro – Report #1

As many of my regular readers know, Apple recently selected me for a special program to evaluate the MacBook Pro in the context of the legal profession.I’ve been busy putting it through the paces, with some invaluable help from my daughter and Steve Nipper and Doug Sorocco of the RethinkIP group.
Other than a thorny network connection problem that related more to my ISP’s instructions than anything else (thanks to Doug Sorocco for some very valuable help and then not stopping me from trying something I know he disagreed with), my experience has been great so far. It’s a beautiful machine and it takes me back to the late 80s and early 90s when I was the happy user of a Mac SE and regular attendee of the Gateway Mac User Group meetings in St. Louis.
Earlier this week, I wrote a new, long article from scratch on the Mac and thoroughly enjoyed the writing experience. The keyboard feels great and this is the first touchpad I’ve used in a while where I don’t accidentally drag my thumbs across the surface and send the cursor all over the place while typing. The best part about the keyboard, however, is how it lights up in low light. Awesome.
Based on my experience so far, I’ll make a couple of observations for those lawyers thinking about making the shift from Windows to Mac (which is the focus of the Apple evaluation program).
1. I never realized how important the notion of right-clicking my mouse had become to me. Macs have a one button mouse (although you can easily add a two-button USB mouse). Once I learned and got used to the fact that control-clicking accomplshed the same thing as right-clicking, I was in good shape.
2. Similarly, Macs use the “option” key rather than the “control” key for a number of actions. No big deal, but it takes a little getting used to.
3. I’m as comfortable in Microsot Office for Mac as I am in Windows.
4. I haven’t yet started to experiment with running Windows programs – that’s on my to-do list – maybe with the brand new release of CaseMap 6 (congratulations to Bob, Greg and everyone at CaseSoft on the sale to Lexis!).
5. I did a lot of copying of files to the Mac in a variety of ways (USB drive, Bluetooth and, after I got the networking going, over a network). As of now, I still somewhat prefer Windows Explorer to the Mac Finder, but that’s largely because of familiarity. There are subtle differences to me that probably will not matter much to other people.
6. Oh, yeah. It does get hot, but so does my Tablet PC and most recent notebook, depending on how and where I use them. I’m not sure that anyone would want to place any notebook on his or her lap for any extended period of time. Like others, I’m following the discussion on the heat issue.
That’s a down payment on my progress report. I’m very positive about the Mac and my experience so far. My main glitch was a home networking issue – connecting to WiFi networks at restaurants and elsewhere has been a breeze. I’ll also note that I have the 17″ model, which has an amazing screen, but it is a little big for me. I’d see it more as a desktop replacement with some mobility rather than a travel notebook, but I’ll do more testing on that.
However, the real reason I wrote this post was to point you to a great review of the MacBook Pro by Brett Burney in the new issue of the ever-excellent LLRX.com. I agree with what Brett has to say and the way he says it.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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6 Responses to “Testing the MacBook Pro – Report #1”

  1. Warwick Rothnie says:

    By the way, for those using Macs in legal practice there is a great listserv (read support group) at http://www.maclaw.org/.
    Current posts can also be found at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MacLaw/messages.

  2. Dennis, the firmware upgrade addresses the heat issue.

  3. Dave! says:

    As an old Mac user who left and then came back, the right click thing still bothers me. However…
    The new Macbook’s have a feature that allows you to put two fingers on the touch pad, causing the pad button to become a right-click button. Pretty cool. And it’s a control panel option, so I imagine it will be available on the Macbook Pro’s shortly (if it isn’t already).

  4. Maybe if more lawyers used Macs like us, the legal industry would not be as far behind in the innovation arena as we are.
    It’s possible to be different.

  5. Brett says:

    Dennis,
    Just saw today that Apple has acknowledge a manufacturing issue causing excess heat on the MacBook. You may want to check the exhaust vent on the back to see if there is a little piece of plastic covering the vent. Check out http://www.macnn.com/articles/06/06/06/macbook.heat.problems/ for details.
    Brett

  6. Check out this pretty thorough (although not entirely unbiased) review of installing WinXP via Parallels on an intel-Mac:
    http://www.wap.org/journal/parallels/default.html
    I give it 6 months, and I’ll have a MacBook in my office as my only machine running TimeMatters, CaseMap, NoteMap, and DevonThink all at once!
    p.s. I’m posting this from my home intel-iMac. Everytime I bootup my Dell Inspiron at work, I’m reminded what a clunker it is compared to Mac hardware.

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