Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Exams and shiny laptops

The exam went reasonably well, even if I did answer a question using Alice and Bob and their trusty friend Kevin the Kerberos server. There were also lots of questions about PGP, which is good since I know quite a bit about PGP, but it didn’t need to be a whole third of the paper.

I’ve also had more of a chance to play with the MacBook – the essentials such as Firefox, Thunderbird and Adium are all on there, and I’ve removed the trials of iWork and Microsoft Office. Whatever that Mac advert said about Macs being ready out of the box is not entirely true – you do get a lot of updates to install and some trial software to remove first, just like on some Windows PCs. Thankfully though said trial software isn’t on your desktop and in your face, and there’s certainly no downloading new drivers (but then I don’t think I’ve had to do driver updates when setting up a new PC before anyway).

The keyboard is nice but may take some getting used to – the caps lock key is huge compared to my old laptop and the enter button is quite small, so I keep TYPING IN CAPS when I mean to press ‘a’, and pressing ‘\’ instead of enter. It’s also closer to the US layout, with the @ symbol on shift+2 instead of shift+’, and certain special characters are in different places too. There’s also the lack of a right-click on the trackpad.
But on the whole, I’m really happy with it so far. Now back to revision…


  1. True, there are a lot of updates to install apon turning on a new Mac computer. However, you don’t have to wait for them to download and install to use your computer. You can even put them off if you wish.
    As for the fluff trails and such that they give you. Yeah, it’s a bit of a pain to remove, but it’s a million times better than the Windows alternative of “uninstalling” the programs. Even then, your not guaranteed that you have removed the programs on Windows, but with a Mac, deleting the program file deletes everything. A much nicer experience.

  2. > […] but with a Mac, deleting the program file deletes everything. A much nicer experience.
    True, but I did run them through AppZapper first 🙂 . In the case of iWork it also deleted the install packages I’d downloaded as part of the big update.

  3. AppZapper: A truly “must have” program for the Mac. Not because uninstalling programs on the Mac is hard, but because it helps eliminate all files associated with them, like preferences and such. I love that app. Plus it’s got a great sound effect when you zap stuff. 🙂

  4. If you go into the System Preferences then Keyboard & Mouse, click on the Trackpad tab.
    From there, you can turn on the ability to right-click by holding two fingers on the trackpad then clicking.
    It takes a few minutes to get used to. But it is simply awsome. It is so second nature for me now to do that it is sick.
    Plus use two fingers to scroll up/down/sideways.

  5. Tis true about the keyboard being more us than uk, its quite odd installing things like windows and linux and having to choose britsh english and then on the next screen American for the layout. Even harder is vista because microsoft think they’re being clever by combining both keyboard and language into one option. Duh!
    Another fun thing to play with UK Mac keyboards is hunt the #. Or, if your in linux/windows hunt the £
    Oh, hows the glossy screen working out for you?

  6. Glossy screen is nice – very bright and no problems with reflections. My dad’s laptop also has a glossy screen which me likey.
    You’re right about the # key, though I got it right first time as alt+3 since I know they call ‘#’ as ‘pound’ in the US instead of ‘hash’ and shift+3 is the £ sign.

  7. I love my Powerbook, which unfortunately I got right before the Macbook Pro came out. It’s a great computer, except I’ve had numerous issues with the wireless. I’ve heard someone say that there is usually an initial problem with Macs, but once they’re fixed they run like a dream. Thank goodness for the one year warranty.