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Time and Technology

MacBook Pro vs MacBook
MacBook Pro with Yellow Lab screen saver

So my wife finally decided she'd had enough with the four-year-old MacBook. In her dear sweet hands it had gone through hell and back. It had been dropped, banged, had soy spilled all over it, traveled across much of Florida and other points in the U.S., and had served up yeoman duty with Microsoft Office 2004. As a retired English professor, my wife is often called upon to practice her English skills in support of those who lack such skills. It was her window on the world. In a pinch it served as a platform for simple post processing for my E-300 and E-3 when we were on travel together.

As good as it was, it couldn't handle the continuous physical onslaught as well as the advancing software that was slowly larded onto the aging platform. Right now it has Lion installed on it, and that was probably a mistake. It was fine with Snow Leopard, but Lion finally placed a high burden on the Core 2 Duo that came with the machine. After one too many freezes, one too many near-perpetual spinning wheels, she decided it was time to trade up to something more current. And so we made a trip to the local Apple store at the Mall of Millenia.

We were originally going to get a MacBook Air. It's amazingly light for what it does, and considering her arthritis it would have been ideal. But it soon became apparent that by the time she added in an external SuperDrive for her DVD collection and a second external drive to hold her extra software (the cheapest MacBook Air had a modest 128GB SSD), it made better sense to get a 13" MacBook Pro. It was $200 cheaper, it had a 500GB hard drive, a dual core Core i5, and a built-in DVD drive. She thought briefly about the difference and decided to go with the Pro. I couldn't blame her.

Once we got home it was dead simple to start up the Pro and have it hand-hold us through setup to where it wanted to transfer her account information from the older MacBook to itself. We tried direct WiFi but could never get either machine from looking for additional computers. In the end I made a final TimeMachine backup of the original MacBook and then used that to transfer to the Pro. Once that was done my wife was back up and running with her new machine. First words out of her mouth when she started to operate was "Wow, is that fast..."

Biggest problem is with Office 2004. Because Mac OS 10.7 no longer has Rosetta, Office 2004 will not work. I need to find out how much it's going to cost to upgrade to a version of Office that will work. She needs Office, specifically Word and Excel, to continue to read everybody else's documents when she needs to provide help.

Form my very limited perspective the base MacBook Pro is considerably faster than the base MacBook my wife purchase exactly four years ago. Everything, from the aluminum unibody to the lit-up keyboard to the screen and the guts inside, are head and shoulders better than the MacBook. And it should be. We're talking almost two generations. We could have toughed it out and waited for the Next Big Thing that might have appeared later this year, but waiting for the Next Big Thing is a fools game. She'd waited and saved long enough. And if something Bigger and Better is released, well, so what. She's ecstatic to have this version of the Pro, and she'll be as happy with it for the next four years as she was with the MacBook during the last four years. Except this time I'm getting a special keyboard cover to protect the guts from errant chocolate soy milk. Lessons learned, as they say.


  1. Hmmm Office? Just for reading others' documents? Sure that Open- or now LibreOffice won't do? They do here, at IBM customer service, where we *have to* be able to read others' Word documents...

    1. No, my wife also edits, sometimes extensively, those documents. She also writes and needs to then share what she writes with others using Office.

  2. I have a 3 year old MacBook that I would like to replace. The plastic where my wrists rest as I type have long splintered away. I have Leopard running on it, not Snow Leopard. As a result, I can't use Aperture to deal with my photographs. I was told to get Lion to run it, but from what you've said, running it on an older machine may be a bad idea! I'm trying to save up for a iMac, but I think I will wait for the Next Big Thing. I'm hoping it'll make the current thing a little cheaper!


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