Phillip Pearson - web + electronics notes

tech notes and web hackery from a new zealander who was vaguely useful on the web back in 2002 (see: python community server, the blogging ecosystem, the new zealand coffee review, the internet topic exchange).


Clever things about the MacBook that other laptop makers should steal

I've been using a MacBook Pro for a week now, and here are some of the things I'm surprised nobody appears to have cloned.

- Giant touchpad with multi-touch gestures. Two finger scroll that works both vertically and horizontally is excellent, and the three finger page up/down is good, if not something I need as often.

- Power indicator that tells you how long it will be before the battery is fully charged.

- Fans that vent through the top of the case rather than the bottom/side, so you can put it on a soft surface without it overheating (any more than it normally does).

- The ability to act like a wifi base station and share an internet connection from a wired ethernet connection out via wifi.

- Autosensing ethernet, so you don't need crossover cables.

- Good keyboard shortcut to eject a volume, which also tries to close windows using the volume so you don't get an error about something being in use.

There are some things that could be improved.

- The not-so-often-used function key is off in the bottom left hand corner of the keyboard, which is prime real estate. My Windows laptop puts the Control key there.

- Home/end/pgup/pgdn would be nicer as separate keys -- this makes me much slower editing text in OS X than Windows.

- A lot of apps use similar-but-different keyboard shortcuts. Lots of things use shift-cmd-[] to switch tabs, but I've also seen cmd-left/right and shift-cmd-left/right.

- I haven't figured out a good way to completely wrap up the power brick yet. My Toshiba has a velcro strap I can use to secure everything. The thin cord coming out of the brick wraps nicely around the little hooks, but the big cord that plugs into the mains needs a bit of velcro.