Cutting the wires - it's iBook time

I haven't had a laptop computer for a couple of years, and I can't say I've missed having one all that much. That quickly changed after I borrowed an iBook G4 for my recent trip to Stockholm. The desire to have a laptop Mac became too strong to resist, and three weeks ago I ordered an iBook G4.

While I'm waiting for it to arrive (what is it with Apple and delivery times, anyway?), I'm looking for tips from anyone using a laptop, be it a Mac or not. Utilites, tricks, online services, anything that makes writing and blogging from a laptop computer easier. Obviously any software or online services you suggest will need to work with Mac OS X or I won't be able to use them.

Update (2004-12-20): It arrived today! Guess who's busy installing and checking out the tips in the comments... :)

I went for the 12" iBook G4, upgraded to a 60 GB hard drive and added an extra 512 MB of RAM. I also bought a Tucano Second Skin neoprene sleeve to protect my new toy. Why not get a bigger iBook? Two reasons: price and portability. I used to have a 15" Apple PowerBook, and I found it a little too large. This time I wanted something smaller.

If money was no issue I'd have bought a 12" PowerBook, but the price/performance ratio is looking much better for iBooks right now. Yes, PowerBooks are slightly faster, but I'm not buying a portable computer for gaming anyway, so the performance difference is not enough to make me pay 70 percent more.

What really made me realise how much use I could have for a laptop was something I never really saw the point in before: Wi-Fi. When I switched the iBook I borrowed on, it found two open networks in my apartment, and asked me if I would like to use one of them. Excellent. Now I can sit anywhere I want and still be connected. At least until my neighbours realise someone is using their bandwidth and password protect their networks...

Not sure what the situation is out on the streets (make that in the cafés) of Göteborg. Perhaps there are some local readers that can fill me in on that? I think I've read something about some cafés offering Wi-Fi, but I can't find anything about that now.

Oh, and anyone looking to buy an iBook had better wait a few days – Apple will probably release something twice as fast for half the money now that I've already bought mine. I had a quick scan through some of the rumour sites before making my decision, and couldn't see anything about new models coming any time soon, but that is likely to change now I guess ;-p.

I'm guessing a lot has happened during the last couple of years when it comes to neat utilities, applications, and tricks for enhancing your iBook or PowerBook experience. I also know that a lot of bloggers have laptop Macs, so I'd love it if you could share your favourite "how I made my i/PowerBook even better" story. If you have any good Windows stories, feel free to share those as well.

Since I'm also keeping my Power Mac G5, there are a couple of specific syncing problems I'll run into. One is syncing the RSS feeds I read. I currently use NetnewsWire Lite to keep track of well over a hundred RSS feeds, but that won't work too well unless I make sure to only check what's new from the same computer all the time. I'm also not sure how to best handle email. I currently use POP to download everything to Apple Mail. I suppose I could look into using IMAP or webmail.

Anyway, enough of me thinking out loud. You got any nice tips to share?

Posted on December 18, 2004 in Mac