My Next Mac

Monday, November 5th, 2007

I just ordered one of Apple’s new MacBooks. They just released them so this seemed like the best time to buy. There won’t be any new notebooks released until MacWorld in January, and if anything is released then it’s likely to be a MacBook Pro rather than a MacBook. I don’t use my laptop as a primary machine, just for traveling, so weight is more important to me than screen size. Thus I prefer the 13″ MacBook to the 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pros.

The Pros do have a faster graphics card, but it’s not like I’m going to be playing WarCraft on my laptop. The Pros do have an option to have a matte screen instead of a glossy one. The MacBook is glossy only. Generally, I prefer the matte screen; but that they just be what I’m accustomed to. Hopefully, after a week or two, the glossy screen will look normal to me. To clinch this one, the MacBooks have a smaller native resolution (that is, a larger pixel size) and I prefer not to squint.

A few years ago the iBooks were crippled relative to the PowerBooks–for instance they could only mirror the desktop to a second monitor, not expand the desktop across two displays–but these days the main difference seems to be screen size. The newest MacBooks use the same basic chipset as the Pros and the CPU’s only about 10% slower. All but the base model even have a dual layer SuperDrive. Possibly the speakers are a little weaker in the MacBook. The low-volume speakers have been my biggest disappointment with my old TiBook; but even if they are, the smaller size is still more important to me.

I was tempted to wait for the hypothetical, solid state, ultraportable MacBook, but I don’t really know if any such project exists, or when it will come out if it does.

ZipCar expands Insurance Coverage

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

Zipcar and Flexcar have agreed to merge. This is exactly the sort of merger that I think ought to be prohibited by antitrust laws: two competitors doing exactly the same thing, even if they are both still Tiddlywink operations by Fortune 500 standards. I’d much rather see them compete in the marketplace than collude. However there will be at least one immediate benefit for ZipCar customers: more insurance.

Effective immediately, Zipcar is raising their coverage to $300,000 per incident for members 21 and over instead of the state mandated minimum. It will also soon be possible to rent Zipcars in Flexcar’s cities: Philadelphia, Seattle, Portland and Atlanta. Now if they could only find the cars they think they have in Brooklyn, everything would be hunky dory.