Almost three years ago my boss sent me an iBook G4 to work with. It was an absolutely awesome machine: fast, great battery life, beautiful hardware, beautiful OS. I loved it, but after 1,5 years using it some problems arise.
First, the battery just died - it just worked when connected to the charger. Second, I work(ed) with Zope and Plone on a daily basis, and things like running the entire gocept.zeoraid test suite took about 40 minutes. Even PloneTestCase with some functional tests was painfully slow. A Macbook was too expensive for me at that time, but I needed a new laptop.
Before using that iBook I used Linux for almost 4 years, so I brought an inexpensive laptop to run Linux. The laptop has an Intel Core 2 Duo 1.66GHz, 2 GB of RAM and 120 GB of disk space - a reasonably good machine, except for the video and the wireless card. It took me almost 6 hours to install Ubuntu on that laptop (which came with Satux Linux installed by default) and much, much more time to get everything right.
I was reasonably happy with that setup, but every now and then I needed to fix something in the OS. One day I decided to buy a second monitor, and so I did it. Big mistake.
It seems that the SiS Mirage 3 video card is a Windows fanboy and I couldn’t get the new monitor to work with Linux. It worked out of the box with an Asus eeePC running eeeBuntu, but not on my laptop. Damn it. After that and some other minor annoyances I decided to give Windows Vista a try, following some advice from Sidnei.
Windows Vista surprised me. It’s a good OS, every piece of hardware on my machine worked without “serious” configuration. As I can’t live without a Unix I installed andLinux, but it was not enough: using Linux to manipulate a NTFS filesystem is a PITA.
Mac OS X - Again
After so much trouble I realized I was losing time with all these annoyances; then I saved money, did some freelance work on my spare time and voila: last week I brought a white Macbook.
I can’t tell you how much I’m happy with it. It took me less than 1 hour to download and install every application that I need - well, almost all of them, since XCode is really big and the download took almost 2 hours itself.
One good surprise is XCode / iPhone Simulator. XCode is a very good IDE and it’s been a lot of fun to learn Objective-C and how to develop iPhone applications.
If you need to buy some tool (be it hardware or software), buy the best tool your money can buy. Some programmers hesitate to spend some money on a good chair, on a good editor or on a good computer (like me, before all this) but damn, we spend 8-12 hours a day using these things! Every single thing that can save you time or give you more comfort is worth it.
I have a profile on iUseThis that shows the apps that I have on my Mac. If you have any recomendations please leave a comment!