I hate my Macbook Pro

Don’t misunderstand me: I like OS X, I like the build-quality, and I like the look But there are some things I just can’t stand; and they’re ruining the whole experience for me:

  1. anti-social speakers (delayed headphone detection)
  2. poorly-positioned DVD-drive (and it’s region-locked!)
  3. badly laid-out keyboard (particularly the European models)

Headphones

My last laptop was a Thinkpad, with a physical volume control; this made it easy to check the volume was off and avoid annoying fellow train-passengers when booting-up the beast.

In contrast, there’s on volume-control on the ‘Pro. The volume-level is set using function keys when the machine is already powered-on. Fortunately, it remembers the volume-level between reboots. Unfortunately, it also remembers whether you had headphones plugged in. This is what’s really annoying.

When you turn on the ‘Pro, it likes to shout about it: making a long bonggggg noise. If you had headphones plugged-in the last time you turned off the laptop, it doesn’t make a sound. But if you didn’t: well, it doesn’t matter whether you plug-in headphones before powering-on or not, the ‘Pro will use it’s internal speakers to make the bonggg noise… That’s really annoying in so many circumstances (libraries, trains, planes, quiet offices…)

DVD drive

There are two things wrong with the DVD drive in my ‘Pro. Firstly, it’s a region-locked POS with no multi-region hacks available. Secondly, it’s in a really stupid position. Picture the scene: there I am, crammed in my train seat; I’ve just retrieved and unwrapped a new DVD from my bag, and I’ve got easy access to pop the DVD in the side of the laptop. But no… that’s not where the DVD drive is; it’s in the front. There I am, stuck between Joe Random and the window, and I’m writhing about with my 17″ laptop trying to find the right angle to slide the DVD down my gut and into the Macbook’s annoying rubber slot. It’s annoying, and unnecessary.

There’s a reason every other laptop has the DVD drive in the side: it’s accessible. Apple are supposed to be good at this stuff; it’s supposed to be their strong-point. They’ve obviously forgotten.

European Keyboard

This just kills me: I’d always avoided Apple computers with their one-button-mouse-freak operating system. Then OS X came out, and everything changed.

As a developer, all I do all day long is think and type. That’s it, that’s all I do. Think, and type. Think, and type.

I need to concentrate: anything distracting or frustrating can break my concentration and stop me working. This is my main gripe with the Macbook Pro: it has the most annoying keyboard I have ever used.

I’m a ‘switcher’, trying the Mac after ten years using PCs. I don’t want to decode cryptographic symbols on my keyboard, and I don’t want to hunt for essential keys. Why did you hide the hash-key Apple? It’s nowhere to be seen! (UK keyboards don’t have # printed on the ’3′ key like US keyboards; in fact, they don’t have it printed on the keyboard anywhere. The manual is CD-insert thin, and omits any useful keyboard information, leaving the user to search the Internet for the mystical ‘Alt + 3′ keyboard shortcut. In the age of HTML, why would anyone do something so stupid? On a unix-based operating system, why would you be so stupid? For god’s sake: the Apple home page uses the ‘#’ symbol 59 times – try writing that when you’ve no idea where the bloody hash-key is!

Then there’s the cursor keys, stick-thin and dual-function, with labelling that’s inconsistent with the rest of the keyboard. There are lots of keys to perform special functions: screen brightness, volume control, number lock etc. In every case, the special-function is labelled on the left, and the normal function is labelled on the right. In every case, except the cursor keys. The labels on the cursor keys aren’t left/right aligned; they’re centrally aligned. And the special-function isn’t always on the left: the ‘home’ key breaks the rule – putting the special-function (home) on the right. The home-key should have it’s arrow right-aligned pointing left, and ‘home’ should be left-aligned on the key. It may not look perfect, but at least it’s consistent: without consistency you lose the only visual-cue that tells you that to go ‘home’ you have to press ‘fn’. Not ‘shift’, not ‘alt’ or ‘option’, not ‘meta’ ‘command’ or ‘apple’; and not ‘ctrl’. You need to press the function-key (fn), and only the function-key.

And how about the Mac’s option and command keys? How do you recognize them? They’d be the keys labelled ‘option’ and ‘command’ wouldn’t they? Don’t be silly. Why does Apple label UK keyboards with icons while US keyboards are labelled with words? Why does a US keyboard have a second enter-key labelled ‘enter’, while UK keyboard are labelled with a sideways ‘next track’ icon? Even the help pages for Apple’s keyboard shortcuts use words. What use are meaningless icons? (Come to think of it, what use is a second enter-key?)

rotated-L shaped return-key
European Macbook Pro
Photo: Sonic Julez

Finally, we get to the most annoying key; the key that stops me using my ‘Pro for any real work: the return key. I use the return key a lot when programming. Much more than when writing – writing only needs a return-press at the end of a paragraph; but programming: that needs a return-press at the end of every line. And a ‘line’ often contains nothing more than a single curly-bracket. So, the return-key is important to me. If it’s badly shaped or awkward to press, it becomes frustrating, breaks my concentration, and stops me working.

brick-shaped return-key
US Macbook Pro
Photo: Justin Roselt

So why did Apple give burger-fingered Americans a brick-like return-key, and lumber the Europeans with a Tetris-block from Soviet Russia? Look at the surrounding keys; they’re the same on US and UK keyboards, just placed differently. Why would Apple do that? I find the return-key to be the measliest stupidest most loathsome key I have ever had the misfortune of using. I’ve tried to get used to it, but I simply can’t. “Plug in another keyboard” you say… Reasonable advice if I used my laptop on a desk. But if I wanted to work at a desk, I’d have bought a Mac mini and saved myself a thousand pounds (~$2000.) No… I bought a laptop to use on my lap, and I use the built-in keyboard. I’ve learnt my lesson: if the keyboard’s wrong, there is no alternative – you have to buy a different laptop.

Dear Apple:

Please make these fixes to your Macbook Pros:

  • when headphones are plugged in: don’t make a noise
  • move the DVD drive to the side: so it’s accessible with the laptop on our lap
  • use an unlockable DVD-drive (you may not be able to supply multi-region or region-free drives,; but you can use drives with the capability to be unlocked)
  • use English on English keyboards
  • change the shape of the return key

I’m not buying another ‘Pro until they do.

Update: Following up leads from the comments, I’m happy to recommend a few pieces of software:

StartupSound.prefPane
Allows you to set the volume level (or mute) the startup-sound
Deep Sleep
(So far) more reliable than standard sleep, and doesn’t use any battery power while sleeping. Basically, the equivalent of ‘Hibernate’ on a PC

Just as I was about to try remapping my keyboard with Ukelele, I noticed the International option in System Preferences… Choosing the “U.S.” option in “Input Menu” and selecting “Use one input source in all documents” I now have Shift-3 producing a ‘#’ character instead of a ‘£’. My at-symbol (@) and double-quote (“) are still reversed (compared to PC), but I can live with that for now…

Posted Friday, February 16th, 2007 under Rant.

63 comments

  1. Sound: why are yout turning your MacBook Pro on & off so often. It only needs to be powered on and off after system installs or other like functions, close lid, then lift lid for sleep function. Most Mac users NEVER turn the poer on and off and Apple designed it that whay.

    The DVD drive: it s the front for a reason, see all those nicely accessible ports on the side instead of hiding in the back?, The Pro version has more ports and so the drive was moved to the front, other models have had it on the side when able.

    Keyboard: no comment, don’t live in Europe.

  2. Looks like somebody forgot to take his pills today.

  3. Muting the Startup Sound – Does pressing Mute (F3?) key while starting up still work? (This used to work on Power PC Books – I don’t own an intel Book to test it.)
    Or, you can mute it completely by using:
    http://www5e.biglobe.ne.jp/~arcana/StartupSound/BETA/index.en.html

    The position of the DVD drive – maybe in the new casing for future Books?
    BTW, I saw an Apple patent somewhere with the Drive mounted at the BOTTOM of the case…

    REGION CODE SUCKS.
    VLC and MacTheRipper can help.
    http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
    http://www.mactheripper.org/

    The English(European) keyboard looks really “wicked”.
    Maybe Apple should make “English (U.S.) Keyboard” BTO option available in UK.

  4. I’ll give you the keyboard argument. That would be quite annoying and more than likely resolved by now if it were an US keyboard. I feel your pain as a programmer.

    However, the DVD issue is a split. I have no issues w/ the region-lock but can see how that would be a problem. However, Apple’s hand may be tied on this one due to mfg. terms & conditions. But on the DVD slot location, I’d much prefer the front due to the side due to a more likely intrusion to those sitting to the side. It’s much harder to “elbow” someone from the side than it is to lift up the MacBook to load the front.

    Headphones issue is a bit silly. I’m sure it’s not a great concern to the majority of users. It certainly is not for me.

    I hope you will find the MacBook Pro satisfying in the near future. I truly love my decision to switch to my MBP.

    /

  5. I am also a developer (longtime Mac developer) and I recently replaced my old TiBook with a MacBook Pro. I have to say I love my MBP.

    Regarding the DVD issue: tilt the computer backwards so that the DVD slot is facing UP. Then stick in your DVD. If you are actually crammed next to a Window, having the slot on the side wouldn’t help because you wouldn’t have room to get the DVD in. Do what I suggest and you’ll see why Apple’s choice on this was correct (and also because the sides are covered with IO ports which is a better location than on older ‘books like the TiBook.

    Regarding the audio issue: This is an annoying issue with Core Audio that I also ran into in a different way than you. I was developing a multimedia application and I found a weird problem where the audio device clock was getting reset when the user plugged in or removed headphones which would cause problems for my app. I was able to fix it once i understood what was going on, but I found it odd that Core Audio reconfigures the entire audio HAL when headphones are inserted.

    Regarding the keyboard issue: Why don’t they offer a US keyboard as an option in the UK?

    Regarding DVD region encoding: The MPAA came up with region encoding, not Apple. I agree that it is stupid. It would be nice if they had a region free DVD player. Do other laptops have this feature?

  6. Your first complaint really isn’t about headphones at all, its about the startup sound. True, the headphone detection doesn’t work correctly in that situation either (I believe this is a new situation because I don’t remember my PowerBook doing so), but its actually the startup sound that is so damned annoying. Fortunately, there is a solution… I found and installed a Preference Pane called “Startup Sound” that allows you to adjust the startup sound volume for your Mac (or set it to mute). Works like a charm! ( http://tinyurl.com/8bm9f )

    The fact that the DVD-drive is unlockable may be a minor annoyance, but I don’t know any manufacturers that tout that their drives are unlockable as a feature anyway. I’m sure the MPAA would come down on them pretty quick if they did.

    Moving the DVD drive to the side would necessitate moving the ports somewhere else, probably to the back of the laptop, which I’m certain is why they chose the front for the DVD player. Perhaps the DVD drive would be more accessible on the side (although, really, I think that’s only an issue for the 17″ MacBook Pro) – but the ports would definitely be less accessible on the back (not to mention that you would also then be forced into a weaker hinge for the display again). No, I believe that Apple did consider carefully all the options available to them and chose the best possible layout for the majority of applications.

    I can’t really comment on your keyboard complaints as I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a British keyboard. ;-)

    I have had a small army of laptops over the years, mostly for work although several personal units as well, and I can easily say that the MacBook Pro is, in my opinion, the best laptop available. Of course, everyone has different needs, but in my case at least it is a near perfect balance of power, design, and functionality. Many, many lightyears ahead of anything I’ve used or seen in the PC world of laptops.

  7. Audio – see post above. You can get around what’s bugging you.

    DVD drive – two sides to every argument. I’m in the ‘ports on the side, optical in front’ camp. It’s the lesser of two evils until ports are irrelevant ‘cos all comms are wireless.

    Euro KB? – I’m with you all the way. I’m European, living in the US, and all my friends and family back home are Mac users. Every time I’m at their gaff I can’t for the life of me figure out how to type. What’s with that tiny shift key for fucks sake?!!! Apple’s US keyboard layouts are simply WAY more ergonomic.

  8. I want touch on all the points you raise, but I just want to echo and second your comments regarding the UK keyboard. It’s gratuitous and mystifying as to why Apple went out of its way to redesign the return/enter key. The US approach MUCH more ergonomic.

    As for the region-specific DVD issue, there has in the past been a way to change this setting on most Mac models for those who do international travel. I suggest you make further inquiries about this. My main gripe is that Apple limits this ability to five instances. After that, you are stuck with whatever region was last configured.

  9. I can understand your issues, only five so let me remove two. For the DVD region issue, try VLC (free), I use it for all my DVDs from all regions. Having over a thousand DVDs one needs this software. It is all I use for all my DVDs and videos. QuickTime sits asleep for the most part.

    http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

    To block/control the start-up sound:

    http://macupdate.com/info.php/id/16425

    Let me/us know if this fixed the issues.

    Cheers, KK

    Kamakura, Japan

  10. Sound – turn off startup sound in System Pref…DUH
    DVD Drive – LOOSE WEIGHT TUBBY
    European Keyboard – MOVE TO THE US

  11. Another thing, to access the front DVD drive:

    Semi close the computer, tilt the computer up in the vertical position and slide the DVD in. Return the computer to the horizontal position, open to view the screen. I commute for a couple of hours daily on the packed trains in Tokyo, this is how I insert DVDs. No trains are packed tighter than in Tokyo, one cannot pack animals in this manner, animal laws are enforced, us humans are pooched.

    Cheers,

    KK

  12. I also am a developer, from the UK with an Apple European keyboard. I don’t have a problem with it. I’d suggest that you just find it different from what you are used to and that if you stop thinking about it and just use it for a while you may find that you get used to it.

  13. I don’t have a notebook but it looks like you’re raising some good points. Writing a blog entry may not be the best solution, though, you’ll only run into religious zealots. Let Apple know about these issues.

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/macbookpro.html

  14. Thanks for the comments.

    I turn my Macbook off because it (mine) doesn’t wake-up reliably; I’d rather close apps and have a boot-up from scratch than risk having to hard-reset when I’ve put the Mac to sleep with apps open.

    I found the DVD-slot in the front to be less accessible than in the side. I’m not a lard-arse, and I’m not anorexic either. Maybe it’s cos I’m quite tall that I have long arms: if I tilt the laptop upwards to get the DVD in the front, my elbows go sideways.. jabbing the unfortunate sat next to me.

    The DVD region locking is strange: region-hacks exist for various DVD drives that Apple have used in the past, but not the one in my MBP (I’ve tried VLC and Mac the Ripper before, but may try them again to see if there’s been any progress.)

    “5 changes and you’re locked” seems fairly standard across PCs and Macs. It’s a stupid idea in general (if you buy and watch DVDs at home and on business trips, it only works out at 3 business trips before you’re pinned down.) As I say, I don’t mind what the default restrictions are, as long as there’s a hack to get round them.

    Thanks for pointing out the System Preferences options (Tiltowatt, thanks for the URLs.) Holding down F3 didn’t work for me; and it’d be stupidly cool if it did; like Apple could detect you pressing a key, but couldn’t detect headphones? That’d be weird. And as for having to install extra software to get around piss-poor hardware detection? I mean, I’m glad the software exists (and I’ll probably install some); but let’s be honest: it really shouldn’t be necessary.

  15. Anon. E. Mouse. says:

    Not turning your Macbook off is bad advice Rob.

    I used to just put my powerbook to sleep all the time, instead of shutting down – this behaviour killed the battery in less than a year (I was down to around 40% life).

    My replacement battery is nearly 2 years old, and still has 80% of its life – the only difference is that I now shutdown instead of “sleeping”.

  16. I used to own a PowerBook G4 and now I’ve got a MacBook Pro (both US versions, both 17″). I put off buying the first PowerBook categorically because I simply hated the keyboard, but they never changed it and I eventually relented. The keyboard on the 17″ model is the same as on the 13″ and 15″ versions. On the 17″ model the keyboard is just too much of a compromise for their top of the line laptop.

    It has pokey little arrow keys, pokey little function keys, a pokey little spacebar, and (what really bites me) no Option or Control keys on the right side. making half my option key combinations an annoying two hand detour. Oh yea, and there’s no separate numeric pad. Now I grant you that the smaller laptops can’t fit some of these fixes, but they can do most of them.

    All in all – the absolute worst keyboard I’ve ever used. The rest of the laptop is a joy.

  17. I forgot to reply to the ‘ports on the side’ argument. Take a closer-look. Put a DVD on the front-right and see how far back it goes… On the right, the only obstruction is the tiny hole for a Kensington lock. On the left… there are no holes at all. Move the Kensington lock and (maybe) one port from the right to the left… and bingo. You’ve got space for the DVD slot.

    Mike,

    I’ve tried to live with the keyboard, I really have. I got the MBP last July, used it solidly for three weeks before trying to return it to the shop (I mistakenly(?) remembered being told the top-end MBP had a 28 day return policy.)

    I use the MBP frequently (checking stuff in Safari), but my workhorse is a PC with a Logitech keyboard (featuring a damn chunky return key!) If I try programming on the Mac my little pinky hits the return and ‘| /’ key at the same time.

    Mick,

    I noticed the common-keyboard between 13, 15 and 17″ models too. I’m sure there’s a great manufacturing saving from doing that. Did you also notice that although the 15 and 17″ models feature the same touchpad, the 13″ gets a custom one? (it’s tiny) I’m with you; I think the 17″ deserves a bigger better keyboard – but the GF appreciate the speakers, and it seems we can’t have both.

  18. It’s disturbing that it doesn’t wake up properly. I don’t have a Macbook, but I agree with the others who say they never shut down their laptops. My iBook G4 rarely is shut down… I just put it to sleep. You can avoid the battery problem by plugging it in when possible even when it’s asleep, but my ibook’s battery is still doing fine after 2 years and virtually no shutdowns, so I respectfully disagree with Anon E.

    If the Macbook isn’t sleeping and waking properly then something is wrong. Either the SMC or some program that’s installed that’s causing problems. Poor sleep/wake performance should not be tolerated. If you can reproduce it, I’d call Apple or take it to Apple and request service. The fast sleep/wake feature of MacOS X is one of the best thing about Mac laptops and if it’s not working, it could be a hardware problem.

  19. It would be nice if Apple finally allows people to switch off the Start-up Sound that plays at the same level as your main volume.

    I know there are freewares for this, but it must be a standard feature in Mac OS X.

  20. The CD/DVD slot is on the front of the professional books for a reason. These books are larger and targeted at the Pro user. Pro users are more likely to travel on crowded aircraft and trains. Apple felt that a powered eject to the side would knock drinks etc onto the Mac user or the neighboring seat mate. Hot coffee or stickey Pepsi isn’t good.

    Just being curteous. The Apple way of doing the little things that make a differerence.

    This was actually said by Apple during an interview when the move to the front was made.

  21. 1 – You don’t reboot a Mac. Put it to sleep instead. That will somewhat alleviate the startup noise problem. Sleep mode on Macs actually works (compared to windows). I never reboot my OS X Mac except when forced to byOS updates.

    2 – The keyboard thing is baffling. Why do they make a special retard version for the UK, fer chrissake! That said I always ask for the US keyboard. I am from Austria and we get the german keyboard. It has the advantage of having umlauts but that comes at the cost of switched Y/Z keys, and pretty much all important command line / programming symbols are either gone completely or can only be reached with weird key combinations. You need to hold shift to get a /

  22. Ok, to the people commenting on the Region Issue and suggesting VLC and Mac the Ripper etc. I say, “WAKE UP!” …

    The new Macs, have RPC2 drives. Workarounds like the ones above “DO NOT WORK”.

    With these new drives if the region code of the media does not match the region code of the drive, the drive gives you a file that is not what is on the disc. ie. it gives you a file full of random information.

    Get a new laptop and try it.

    To the best of my knowledge the only way you can get around this is to NOT set the drive region in the first place (when asked to by DVD player), and use another DVD program to view discs.

    I empathise with this post. DRM sucks. The new drives in Apple laptops are designed to restrict users. Given that laptops are used by people who travel a lot, it is ridiculous that the drives are region locked. I have discs from all over the world and I can play them on a cheap Chinese $40 DVD player, but not on my $2000 laptop – insane.

    Not sure whether the drive in the MBP is a super super slim drive – as in the MacBook, but if it is only the super slim model, I’d replace it – as there are other brands with region hacks that will fit.

    If it is the super super slim Matshita drive you are screwed as no other manufacturer makes a drive this thin – or unreliable for that matter, and Matshita have released no region-free patches.

    My advice, email Steve Jobs and give him a gutful.

    sjobs@Apple.com

    Cheers.

  23. Ok.. if it doesn’t wake from sleep reliably you need to return it for repairs. Simple as that. Its not about risking something, this is absolutely essential functionality that needs to work.
    OS X does reliably wake from sleep so yours is a hardware issue – sadly not that uncommon – and needs to be taken care of. I had this happen on my last Powerbook it turned out to be a RAM issue.

  24. Hi Ash,

    I own a lowly 12″ G4 that I’ve dropped more than a few times. A simple Google search would find a US keyboard for your MacBook Pro, especially if it’s too late to return it.

    - Replacement US style keyboards can be bought online in the States here:
    http://www.dttservice.com/macbookpro.html#macbookkeyboard

    - You can find instructions for installing here:
    http://www.takeitapart.net/archives/macbook-pro/

    It may cost an extra hundred pounds or so, but if you’re that unhappy…

    The sleep thing is abnormal. Nobody I know with a MacBook ever turns their machine off, except to reboot after Apple updates. Just put it to sleep. It takes too long to power down and up again. If there’s a sleep (or wake) problem then that’s not a normal thing, and is caused by something else (System Software? PMU? RAM?). Search online and see if others have a similar problem, then take it in for service under warranty if you can’t find a fix. Don’t wait.

    If you must power down, then get into the habit of hitting the mute button (F3 on US models) on the keyboard first. That will mute all audio on restart. Simple.

    Or, as mentioned earlier, if you want a control panel app to mute just the startup chime all the time, you can get a free utility to do this from Arcana:
    http://www5e.biglobe.ne.jp/~arcana/index.en.html

    The disc load thing you’ll have to live with, or get a different machine, there are several PC laptops that load from the side…

    The disc region thing is much more ominous, and not an issue related solely to Macs apparently. As mentioned in other posts it has to do with the Matshita DVD mechanism in your MBP. There is tons of info online about this, and since you’ve already tried a couple of workarounds, doubtless you know that there is no real solution. Yet. This region thing is pretty dumb.

    So, I guess I just have to say that if I were to throw down a chunk of cash and buy a new MBP, I would want to make sure I was really happy with it. But if I thought that the Keyboard was lame, or the disc slot was horribly inconvenient, or the audio uncontrollable, I probably wouldn’t have bought it. Or would have returned it.

    Or, with a little searching online, I would try to make a nice machine even better, by simply finding solutions for those things I could actually fix. Every computer I’ve ever owned needed some software utility or hardware thingy to make it work the way I wanted. Be happy, you’ve got a great machine that runs an incredible OS. And it will only get better with Leopard.

    Cheers!

  25. I’ve experienced “waking from sleep” problems, too. My 12″ powerbook and now my MacBook has the same problem. (That means that Panther and Tiger have the problem.) The laptop will wakeup, but the screen is still black. I’ve found way to fix it when it gets in the state, other then holding the power key to power off.

    That being said, I’ve found away around the problem. Never connect or disconnect any USB devices when your laptop is asleep. Meaning don’t close the lid, then uplug your USB mouse. Unplug your mouse, printer, etc, then close the lid. (Obviously, not necessary if your not moving your laptop.) The same is true when it’s asleep. Wake it up before you plug in your mouse. Since I’ve started following those rules, I’ve never seen the problem crop up.

    Thanks, — Tad

  26. Baffled no PC converts are complaining about single button mouse on Mac laptops. Easy fix, open System Prefs and modify mouse settings so you can tap trackpad with one finger for a left click, two finges for a right click. While you are at it, experimane with two finger drag to scroll down a page. There are some nice features in the Prefs, you need to hunt for them. (Use Spotlight to search for areas to change settings… example type in wallpaper and see what you get.)

  27. Re your waking-from-sleep problem. Unfortunately, I also had issues with this with my 17 MBP. And this is perhaps my 8th laptop, so I am pretty familiar with them. (Doesn’t hurt that I worked for Apple for 10 years, either.)

    In my case, the issue was that the machine would sometimes turn on, even when closed. I’d hear various sounds telling me that some activity had happened. (Incoming mail, for example.) So I’d lose battery life, and have a hot machine in my bag. And I did take it to a dealer to be looked at, but the hardware passed all tests without issue. So I looked for an alternative.

    Check out utilities that implement “hibernate” or “deep sleep” on the mac. It’s an alternative to “sleep”, such that the state of your machine gets written to disk, then the machine powers down. Upon waking up, which usually involves hitting the power key, the image is reloaded from disk (you’ll see a grayscale image of your desktop with a different progress bag as it is beeing loaded). I use a widget called “Deep Sleep”. Which Apple appears to at least approve of:

    http://www.apple.com/downloads/dashboard/status/deepsleep.html

    From Apple’s site:

    *******************************************
    The default behavior of Mac OS X is to put sleeping computers in “hardware suspend” mode, during which the RAM is still powered on. This widget allows the computer to enter “software suspend” mode. Software suspend is a feature similar to what Windows calls /hibernation:” the computer consumes no power while sleeping, however the wake up process takes more time to complete.

    Hibernation is made possible by the Mac OS X Tiger v10.4.3 update. This operating system version is required.

    Only the computers with “safe sleep” feature are officially supported. The computers with this feature are the PowerBook HD, Macbook Pro and Macbook lines of Apple laptops, and every Apple desktop with an Intel processor. Please read the included documentation for more information, including the possibilty to use this widget on unsupported computers.

    *******************************************

    Doesn’t use power, doesn’t seem to screw with your battery’s longevity, and is quicker to get back to a state of productivity as compared to rebooting and getting your various apps opened and setup as to their state when you shut the machine down.

    This is something Apple has built into the OS, but for whatever reason, it hasn’t been enabled by an Apple provided GUI. Don’t know why, but I have not had any problems with it.

  28. I don’t follow this blog, I just got here from a link on MacSurfer.
    However I’m surprised that not a single comment on the keyboard talks about the difference between US keyboards and ISO keyboards. The ISO/IEC 9995 standard defines a 78-key keyboard layout, whereas the US one is 77-key. That’s why you have more space for the left hand shift. As for this layout, I have 2 thinkpads sitting near by, and an old Compaq, and they all have approximately the same layout as the MacBook’s I’m writing this on. Only the Return key is a little wider on the ThinkPads, but it’s still Tetris block like (I don’t know the reason why it’s like that though).
    All of these were sold in Sweden, hence with the 78-key layout.
    And if you want your # printed on the keyboard instead of a £, next time get a BTO Mac with an International keyboard instead of the local one (that’s what I did), you have the option on the online Apple Store, but I don’t think local resellers stock them.
    If you really want to get mad, try the french layout (I’m French, BTW), where you have to push shift to get to the numbers on the top row.
    Finally, there’s a nice keyboard layout editor called Ukelele, you can use it to create your own layout, but of course it won’t change what’s printed on the keys (if you change only a few, you get use to it pretty quickly).

  29. apple cult survivor says:

    LOL – I am so glad I switched the other way 10 years ago. My top of the range hyper-expensive powerbook was an utter piece of shit. I have not bought anything labeled Apple since. So funny to see the same cult mentality (thou shalt not say bad things about Apple blah blah), the continual production of crap hardware, and nil support when things fuck up.

  30. LOOKS LIKE SOMEONE’S GOT A CASE OF THE MONDAYS!!!!!

  31. Another thing that I miss from my Dell Latitude that Apple doesn’t, but should, have is a port replicator/docking station.

    I hate having to plug and unplug everything when I take my MBP with me. Why can’t my power, ethhernet, USB, Firewire, video, and audio ports be replicated so I can leave my devices plugged in? Why can’t I bolt a port replicator to the desk and then have a lock that locks my MPB to it like IBM and Dell do?

  32. look lady , putting a dvd drive on the side slot … the design of the keyboard and somethng about the speakers ? ..

    sounds to me like you were looking for a dvd player somehow might have been to blond to realize that a mac isnt that dust collector you put under your tv .. .

    some people are soooo unrealistic … and how dare they call a mac crap … please look at every single windows based laptop on the market … and please … please honestly try to prove to me that there is one laptop that can outperform .. both with the operating system ,

    you know what i was going to continue .. but this is bullshit … not even worth my time …

  33. yes, the UK / euro keyboard thing is really pretty damned annoying. It’s even worse if you’re in ireland with a requirement for €. Guess how you type that? Alt-Option-2. Obvious, no? That didn’t take me ages to find out, ho, ho ho.

    I use Matt Sephton’s UK mapping for the Mac keyboard. It’s not perfect, and there is an extremely annoying bug in OSX which causes the keyboard locale to revert to the primary input format every now and then. But it’s good enough to use and makes the mac keyboard bearable. Some day i’ll sit down and make it better by supporting the backtick – ` – currently available on Option-3, and moving the Euro to the default PC place – Alt-4.

  34. i love mine.

  35. I own a macbook pro for a 2 months now. I had never used mac before and I like what it can do. I haven’t become a serious osx or mac enthousiast or anything and still I don’t understand how you could trip over such futile little details. Damn if you can write a whole page on 3 tiny little setbacks I bet you should be able to write a book about all the awesome stuff on this machine. Maybe you should do that in the train!

    What’s with the headphones anyway, are you affraid someone might look at you in the train for having a laptop? You should be proud of your macbook pro goddamned. And tilt the fucking thing if you want to slide in a dvd, it’s really not going to sore your muscles!
    And as for the keyboard… I also switched from over a decade of PC experience, and guess what, you CAN learn something new!

  36. Martin Chamberlain says:

    I’d like ot add my 2 cents’ worth. What about the Caps Lock key – why in heaven’s name is this such a large key, and placed in a position that could have been utilised MUCH better by other keys?
    I live in Canada, and hence we have the American keyboards on Macs here, however, I often write for British audiences, and need to hunt for the ellusive pound key. Problem reversed!
    Apple did so many things so well, but there are still a few things that really just blow my mind (in a bad way) – why do they let such obvious things still make the machine less than perfect???

  37. Martin Chamberlain says:

    I forgot to mention – I recently visited South Africa, and noticed yet a THIRD keyboard layout on a MacBook Pro there, I wonder how many there are?

  38. I don’t know much about computers, but I have been a Mac user all my life, thanks to my parents influence of course. None of my companions use Macs as my school doesn’t either. I just wanted to say that I’m glad my parents (mostly my father) introduced me to Macs since I believe they are just simply amazing. Sure there’s some things that I still can’t do since I have a Mac, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    My sister recently got a MBP and it still amazes me to this day. I have yet to see another lap top like it, mind you I haven’t seen a lot of others.

    Just wanted to put my two cents in and give “props” to the computer company that I am completely satisfied with. Mac is definitely on top of things.

  39. I’m just glad I could get the thing with a proper return key (i.e. vertical bar) because when I have to use a daft US layout, I just end up with backslashes all over the place…. hmmm, backslashes… that reminds me of something…

  40. From one keyboard fanatic to another: great comments…
    hadn’t seen yours before I posted my (similar) MacPro keyboard moan…
    (if Steve Jobs ever used the European version he would freak out)…
    my posting is here: http://kmi.open.ac.uk/people/marc/2007/04/19/back-from-the-dark-side/, and you may also have fun with my comments about my cool unlabelled Das Keyboard that I use with my PC: http://kmi.open.ac.uk/people/marc/2005/07/20/early-das-keyboard-comments/.

    Best of luck… shout if you find a replacement keyboard solution!

    -Marc

  41. jesus i hate mac fanboys…

  42. I totally hate my macbook.Im an american,i have the nice return key but the battery drives me fucking off the edge.It has some sort of fucking problem whenever i disconnect the AC adaptor it shuts off and dosent turn back on until i Plug it back in.I bought a macbook so i can use it on the road and when traveling.I bought it to be mobile.I didnt pay 2000 fucking dollars for a non functionable laptop. I couldve bought a Dell XPS with like 500 gigs harddrive for that price,Its ridiclious. If anyone knows how to fix it please Email Me E11cisneros@yahoo.com And dont tell me to reset because ive tried it all.

  43. Evan,

    You make it sound like your battery simply doesn’t work…

    The battery’s one of the things I acutally like about the Macbook Pro – I think the button built-in to the battery to check the charging status is well over the top, but really niice.

    Try someone else’s battery… (batteries are really easy to swap over…) If your machine still resets itself, your machine’s clearly broken. Fingers crossed it’s still under warranty…

  44. I absolutly and completly and totaly agree with you. I was going to my a MacBook Pro (To run Windows), until I went into one of the stores and used the keybaord. What JOKE!! I wont be buying a mac, until they start employing some decent ergonomists. It’s another Dell for me, they may be ugly but at least there usable, and a dam sight cheeper.

  45. im english and i have the ‘bad keyboard’ i actually prefer it to the american one! took me a month to get used to but its good. and the whole layout of the superdrive thing….YOUR THICK saying stuff about moving the security cable….have you considered what goes on INSIDE the macbook pro…jesus. anywaayyy macbooks pros are the best laptops..period. and os x is a dream. i agree some of teh hardware isnt up to scratch…but id rather use os x than crappy windows!

  46. so you are taking a 17″ laptop on the train and then complaining that it is not very comfortable on your lap? LOSER!!!

  47. I’ve moved to a MacBook after a lot of years using a PC. I expected that I’d have teething problems and I don’t mind that. What irritates the hell out of me is Help that isn’t remotely helpful. I have a UK keyboard and have been trying to find the hash key for bloody ages. Why should I have to use the internet to find the solution???? Why isn’t in the help??
    The return key is tiny and I keep hitting the forward slash key, the caps lock key is huge and
    I hit it accidentally too many times. The navigation keys are way too small.
    I chose the MacBook over the MBP, cos the keyboard on the MBP is nasty.
    I’m quite happy to learn new stuff, but I wish Apple hadn’t made it so difficult!

  48. I absolutely despise my macbook pro. OSX is overrated, too–I’ve had all sorts of crashes, and for all it’s great parts it has some really stupid stuff too. Good marketing and not much else, unfortunately. I’m trying to run it as a Windows machine now, but there are a load of hardware problems.

    And this is after 6 months of trying to get used to the thing.

  49. MacBooks own, so stfu.

  50. Whats wrong with everyone! you can make your macbook region free and can change the DVD region as many times as you want with a simple firmware upgrade!!

    To help you guys out i’ll run you through it (worked 1st time for me!)

    (i upgraded my brand new macbook pro 2.4 15″ yesterday when it was 3 days old, ordered on the 9th of october 2007 from apple direct, 14 days delivery)

    Anyway here’s how you do it

    SET A (ANY) REGION with a DVD (you’ve probably all done this already, but it’s VERY important)

    go to (apple menu->about this mac->more info->disc burning
    and look at “Firmware Revision”). and find out your firmware version

    then from the below link download the firmware for your drive.

    http://www.powerbook-fr.com/dossiers/dvd_region_free_en_article30.html

    plug your macbook into the AC/Mains.

    unzip the firmware and click the region free installer

    (mine was “Update ZA0E to region free.app”)

    then download RegionX from this link (you use this app to switch the drive to whatever region you want, as many times as you want)

    http://www.powerbook-fr.com/IMG/zip/RegionX_1.1.3.zip

    and hey presto. Set you region, play the DVD and even use OSXs built in DVD player (or VLC if you want)

    DO IT then change it again and again!

    Ps the half UK keyboard is a bit poor. the return key is too skinny and why is the @ above the 2 (like on a yankee keyboard) ITS SUPPOSED TO BE A UK KEYBOARD

    But other than that my macs a good purchase (my first) and well worth its quirks for the biggest reason of all…… ITs curtains for Windows!!!

    Byebye Bill Gates and your filthy badly written virus ridden bloatware!

    I admin UNIX (SUN Solaris) at work now i use it at home with OSX….. couldn’t be better!

    Laters…. ;)