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PowerBook in the enterprise

posted by DL Byron on February 09, 2004

Byron asked me to log my experience integrating and using my new 12" PowerBook in a tech enterprise . I'll continue with a post every day (or thereabouts) until I run out of new anecdotes or Byron tells me that I'm boring everyone to death.

This is the first day of the PowerBook era. In spite of using Macs exclusively at home my entire adult life, I haven't worked full-time on a Mac at work since 1993, and I'm very excited about returning to an all-Mac environment.

My colleagues are excited as well--several of them gathered at my desk to see the Mac. These are not Mac users and I'm guessing that most of them have never seen a Macintosh OS live before. I fire it up and show them the Finder and Expose and import some photos into iPhoto. I turn on all the Dock animations and genie effects just to show off the Mac-ness of the UI. The masses are pleased, and I get to work.

Some observations from my first day:
* When it's time to actually do work, I don't know where to start. Having a Mac at my work desk totally disorients me. I simply don't know how to go about doing my daily chores like checking e-mail, reviewing a requirements document, posting a UI demo on our intranet. The Macintosh environment that is so familiar to me at home is totally foreign to my work place. It feels a bit like when I drove a car in England. It takes me a full day to finally settle in. I leave for home with a terrible headache, but my development environment is finally in place.

* I can't go another day without a full keyboard. The PowerBook's keyboard is very usable, but it's not an extended keyboard. It only has 12 function keys, it has no Del key, and there is no number pad. I must have all of those things, so I'm off to CompUSA first thing in the morning.

* This machine absolutely needs more RAM. My model shipped with 256 megs, but I'm going to pop a 512 hunk in the open slot as soon as I can scrape up the $100 or so. The performance is acceptable until I have Entourage, BBEdit, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Mozilla, and a half dozen terminal windows open, which is pretty much all the time.

* I'm driving a 19" Dell monitor for my desktop, with the notebook's screen as an extended display. This is very cool. People can't get over how easy it was to do this out of the box. This arrangement is so productive for me that I'm going to start doing it at home as well.

* I'm not able to use Entourage as an Exchange client because we're not using the required version of Exchange Server. My workaround is to use Remote Desktop to drive my Dell PC and run Outlook. I've moved the Remote Desktop window to the notebook's screen. So I'm all Mac on my big monitor with a little Windows window floating on the PowerBook . I'm going to use the same strategy even when Entourage is working, because it's nice to have my e-mail client always visible, but not in the way of my work.

* Everyone wants to take a look at this thing. All day people are dropping by to see the PowerBook , the Mac OS, talk about Macs, talk about notebooks, or just gawk at someone not using Windows. It's fun and a little surprising. I've told my work friends about my plan to be all Mac, but people I barely know are asking to try out the keyboard or click around the system. I'm just settling in, so I'm happy to answer all their questions and give all the demos they want. One engineer promises to buy one for himself after I've used mine for a few weeks. He says he wants me to "smooth out the edges" before he takes the leap. I hope he does.

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Feb 12  |  -b- said:

That’s a great post. thanks. I’m also using a powerbook in the enterprise, with similar success. However, I absolutely cannot authenticate to their 802.11x wireless lan.

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