New Computer Diary: The Computer Arrives

It’s here in record time.

Not bad for free shipping. I just placed the order on Wednesday. That’s less than a week. I think that the more you spend at the Apple Store, the more likely they are to get it delivered to you quickly.

The computer I ordered is a 15″ MacBook Pro. Here are the specs, right from the confirmation e-mail I received moments after placing the order.

MacBook Pro, 15-inch, 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo
1GB 667 DDR2 – 1 SO-DIMM
100GB Serial ATA drive @ 5400 rpm
SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW)
MacBook Pro 15-inch Widescreen Display
Apple USB Modem
Backlit Keyboard/Mac OS – U.S. English
AirPort Extreme Card & Bluetooth
AppleCare Protection

This is my latest Mac test mule, destined to a life of leisure, sitting quietly, powered off, waiting for me to call it into action to run software while I write a Mac book or article.

Although the more I think about it, the more I think I might want to use it a tiny bit more often. Heck, when I spend that kind of money on a computer, I want to get my money’s worth.

It arrived in a brown box that was surprisingly lightweight. The FedEx Ground guy brought it to my office, even though it was addressed to me at my house. This is Wickenburg and there’s just one FedEx Ground guy. If he knows where you’ll be during the day, that’s where he’ll bring brown boxes from computer companies. Oddly enough, he wasn’t quite sure where I’d be and seemed relieved when I opened the door and he recognized me.

“I couldn’t remember which apartment you were in,” he admitted.

This didn’t surprise me. I don’t use FedEx Ground very often because they usually can’t find my house. I think this guy had been tipped off about my apartment-based office by the FedEx overnight guy. Neither of them like taking their trucks down the road to get to my house. And they like making a U-Turn in my driveway even less. UPS is the same, although I had to put a stop to them delivering my stuff to the airport.

“If there’s a red vehicle in spot number 18, I’m here,” I told him.

I signed for the computer and he went on his way. Then I left it by the door so I wouldn’t forget to take it home with me.

Yes, that’s right. I didn’t open it right up. That shouldn’t surprise you too much. It took me a whole week to open my PC laptop when I bought it two months ago or so.

Why? Well, I’m busy. Today I revised Chapter 8, the last chapter, of my Excel 2007 Visual QuickProject Guide. I had a bad headache all day and it was hard enough to keep my mind on my work without being distracted by a brand new Mac.

When the chapter was done and I called it quits for the day, I carried the computer out to the Jeep with a few other things that needed to go home. Jack the dog was with me. He jumped in and we started out. I had to stop at the post office on the way home. And then pay a visit to Dr. Saxby.

Dr. Saxby is a chiropractor. But unlike the chiropractor I once visited regularly back in New Jersey for my sciatica, when Dr. Saxby adjusts you, you don’t need to visit three times a week. You go once and he cracks you all over the place, leaving you feeling like … well, like shit. The next day, though, you feel great. He put me on the roller table, where the rollers rolled up my back. Then, on the adjustment table, he cracked every joint in my body — including my toes. Another patient, who had taken my place on the roller table, let her dogs wander around the office. A third patient, a man, was holding one of the dogs on his lap when I emerged, sweating and exhausted.

Jack the Dog and the new computer were still in the Jeep when I came out.

We went home. I picked up the mail along the way — our mailbox is about 1/4 mile from the house. My royalty statement from Peachpit was among the big envelopes. All 67 pages of it. Sheesh. Wouldn’t it be nice if all the books in the statement earned money at once?

Finally, I could wait no longer. I went back outside and got the computer box. I opened the box and found a smaller box, wrapped in plastic, nestled in foam corners. I pulled it out and stowed the foam corners back in the brown box.

Apple has incredible packaging. It makes you want what’s in the box. That in itself is odd when you consider that the boxes are never displayed where the computers are available for sale. So that beautiful packaging is obviously intended for the end user, a kind of gift that’s meant to be opened and kept. I guess that’s why I still have the boxes for all the Apple equipment I still own. They take up a lot of space in the back corner of my hangar.

Nestled inside, in custom-carved white foam, was the computer and it’s accessories, including the power supply, video adapter, external USB modem, and Front Row remote control. There was also a flat square box that had a tiny manual, Restore DVD, and a bunch of warranty stuff I’m sure I’ll never read.

The computer looks remarkably like my 12″ PowerBook. It’s just a lot bigger. That’s unfortunate. What I really wanted was another 12″ PowerBook with the new processor and a bigger hard disk. I found the 13″ MacBook tempting because of its size, but was completely turned off by the cheesy feel of its case.

Of course now that I’ve shot my load on a 15″ MacBook Pro, Apple will probably release the computer I really wanted to buy. My luck, you see.

I opened the lid and pushed the power button. The computer bonged to life. It then went through the video thing it does right after you install Mac OS X. When it was finished welcoming me in every language known to man, I went through the configuration process. From power on to running and connecting to the ‘Net took all of three minutes — most of which was spent on that silly welcome video stuff.

The computer appears to be loaded with iLife and iWork software. I expected iLife, which I already have on disk, but not iWork. There are some demos, too. And an app called Photo Booth, which I’d never seen before. This is the first Front Row-compatible computer I’ve bought (timing is everything) and it’s a good thing I bought it. When I revise my Mac OS X book for Leopard, I can include coverage of Front Row. I guess I’ll have to learn how to use that remote.

Mike came home as I was taking a photo using the built-in iSight camera. He got in the picture. It’s now my icon throughout the system. Oddly enough, I can’t figure out where it’s stored on the hard disk, although I do know how to change it.

Software Update popped up, telling me I needed about 700 MB worth of upgrades. Later on, after dinner, I plugged in the computer — I really do like that magnetically attached power cord — and let it suck updates off the Internet. It was still working on it when I went to sleep.

What do you think?