Ten Reasons Why I Hate My MacBook Pro

22 Apr

This article is the first in a two-part series. Please check out Part II: Ten Reasons Why I Love My MacBook Pro.

With the release of Apple’s Boot Camp I decided that now was the time to upgrade my laptop. My old machine was a very sturdy Dell Inspiron 5150 with a 3.06 Ghz processor that turns three years old in a couple months. While the old computer was still very capable, it was time for me to upgrade.

Now that I’ve had my MacBook Pro for a week, I have accumulated a healthy list of gripes presented here in no particular order. Please note that I refer to Windows XP several times in this list. This is not to say that one or the other is a superior OS. This list is simply ten reasons why I hate my very shiny, fancy, and sexy new MacBook Pro.

#10 Stripped Down Keyboard

The MacBook Pro has a 78 key keyboard. The Eject button is the only one that doesn’t appear on my laptop keyboard (CD eject is handled by a fn-key combo).

Compared to the Dell, it is missing the following keys: Delete (the delete key is backspace), insert, home, end, page up, page down, and pause.

Granted that the functionality of these keys can be emulated with key-combos from within OSX, but they require special handling if I am going to dual boot into any other OS (which is a main reason why I bought this laptop).

#9 Function Keys are not System Level

On a PC laptop, most of the function keys are system level. When I press the key combination to change screen brightness, toggle wireless, or turn on numlock, it just works no matter what OS I’m running or where I am at in the boot process.

For that matter, I sure do wish the backlit keyboard was system level as well, but I’ll cut them some slack on that one (even though, again, this is a main reason why I bought this laptop).

#8 Minimize vs Hide

When I click the yellow minimize button on any given window, it shrinks to the tray (with a fancy “genie” effect) just as I would expect. However, if I have minimized the last visible window for an app such as TextEdit, I also expect focus to leave that application and move to the next window in Command+Tab.

The problem of not moving to the next app upon minimize is compounded by the fact that when you Command+Tab back to the program, the windows are still hidden in the tray.

Hiding windows with Command+H accomplishes almost exactly what I’d like, but I’ve noticed that a few apps don’t behave like they should with this action. I’d probably be able to ignore this if they’d just make the minimize button perform this action and make the key combination hide windows away so they don’t return when you cycle back to the app.

#7 It Does Too Crash

Lesson 1: It doesn’t crash.

Au contraire! I’m very familiar with Windows crashes, but I’ve been keeping track and this new laptop has crashed requiring a hard restart five out of seven days since I got it. My Dell laptop, whether running XP or FreeBSD would crash on a bi-weekly basis. Tops.

I’ll grant you that I am a power user and that I may do more demanding things with my computers, but I don’t feel that resuming a computer from sleep or losing network connectivity during various actions should warrant a full-on hang.

#6 The Title Bar Hates Me

In Windows, double-clicking the title bar toggles the window between maximized and a smaller state. In other window systems, this same action rolls the window up into the title bar. It is still under your mouse and able to be double-clicked again as soon as you realize what you did.

In OSX, double-clicking the title bar triggers the dreaded minimize feature where the only sure-fire way I’ve seen of bringing it back requires mousing down to the taskbar and fetching it. For a Windows user, it’s like shock therapy to perform the exact opposite of the expected action when a user double-clicks the title bar.

While I’m on the topic of the title bar, I sure do wish that I could define more visual distinction between the window in focus and all of the others. There are several subtle clues if you take time to look for them, but the average switcher is used to a complete shift in the title bar appearance for any out of focus window.

The close/minimize/resize buttons on each window aren’t visible in all circumstances, so I can’t reliably tell at a glance which window will respond if I start mashing my fingers on the keyboard.

#5 Backwards Compatibility

To be honest, I am ignorant about a lot of Mac software history. I haven’t had an Apple since my Apple IIc and a Mac Classic or two. All I know is that when I want to run an application I found on the Internet, I can’t always do it because it’s not Intel compatible.

It just doesn’t work.

Most of the software worth installing is written by developers who have revisited their apps and built a universal binary over the past few months, but there are some apps that I’ve found that don’t have any competitors and haven’t seen any updates in nearly a year.

One of Microsoft’s biggest boons and limitations is their backwards compatibility. I can make good arguments on both sides all day long, but the net for this topic is that non-backwards compatibility is a pain point for early adopters.

#4 No Reinventing the Wheel

My early impression of finding and installing Mac software is that not many people have taken to re-inventing the wheel yet. I realize this has a lot to do with the size of the userbase, but I’m disappointed by the lack of programs that try to beat what Apple ships by default.

For example, I can name a handful of different Windows SSH clients. Because OSX has a client built in, I believe developers are disinclined to write better versions.

#3 Installing Apps

Windows installers may have their flaws, but at least the typical install process is fairly simple:
• Download the .exe
• Execute it
• Answer a few questions
• Delete the installer
• You’re done!

When I entered the widget loving phase of the switch, I downloaded over two dozen of the little buggers. Some arrived in .dmg format, others arrived in some compressed form. A couple arrived as .dmg.tar.gz. The install process went like this:
• Download the .dmg.tar.gz
• Double-click the file to un-gzip it
• Double-click the new .dmg.tar file to un-tar it
• Double-click the new .dmg file to mount the image
• If the file inside the image is an app, drag it into your Applications menu
• If it is an installer, execute it and answer a few questions
• Drag all four of the files and mount points created into the trash.
• You’re done!

There are several advantages to the OSX way of installing apps, but you can see how an install can get out of hand pretty quickly.

#2 Only One Window Resize Region

In most window managers, any resizable window has eight regions to grab; each of the sides and corners. OSX only allows the lower-right corner to resize a window. If you have a small window in the lower-right area of your screen and you want to make it bigger, you must first drag it out of the corner. This obvious omission is quite surprising to me, coming from a company who so emphasizes ease of use and a smooth user experience.

#1 No Maximize

All of the Mac users I know will go on and on about screen real estate and how a properly designed app shouldn’t take up the whole screen. However, when I want an application to take up the whole screen, I shouldn’t be forced to drag the window to the top-left of the screen (see above) and then drag it to be full screen.

I choose full-screen because it blocks out all other applications and distractions. I choose it because if I wanted my apps to be smaller, I would have bought a smaller computer. I choose it because it makes me feel happy. Please don’t make me hunt for it.

Conclusion

I spent well over two grand to join the cult. Now that I’m in, I see that the punch is all diet and they don’t have any black Nikes in size 15.

All that aside, be check out Part II: Ten Reasons Why I Love My MacBook Pro.

122 Responses to “Ten Reasons Why I Hate My MacBook Pro”

  1. madhatter October 1, 2007 at 11:43 pm #

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  4. mario January 20, 2008 at 6:00 pm #

    #11

    OSX sucks with dual monitors. The menu bar stays on one screen.

    I’ve gotten the spinning wheel of death so many times it’s not funny. You can’t even kill it. At least in XP, if something goes wrong I can kill it with task manager. XP is smart enough to know something is wrong. OSX just spins and spins and spins.

  5. OSX sucks January 28, 2008 at 5:54 am #

    The OP is dead on accurate on all the points. Macbook pro on Leopard sucks royally and Mac way of doing is seriously handicapped. It’s really cumbersome to handle multiple windows and you constantly have to be careful not to click outside an app window as that will change the top menu to finder instead of the app.. MEGA irritating that alone.

    An app should just open up and fill teh desktop. Period.

  6. I agree February 28, 2008 at 8:37 pm #

    My husband bought me this stupid macbook just last week. In my attempt to find a graphics program that will do the basic editing that I do I have managed to lock the darn thing up at least 3 times a day and crash it daily. I hate the thing. My old PC laptop handled the large image files just fine.

    I am ready to pack it up and take it back. That was a freaking lot of money to not get a computer that would handle my pretty basic needs.

    All I need is email, internet, and basic graphic editing. And this piece of junk can’t do it without crashing or locking up. And on top of that things I could do one handed on my PC takes two hands because a darn right click just isn’t possible – nooooo, we have to have key combinations.

    I hate this thing.

  7. AVP December 20, 2008 at 11:41 am #

    I used macbook pro for a year and I loved it especially in winter when that warm thing made me feel less cold and also kept me alert with random freezes during installation of leopard updates and quick battery drainout which forces me to always keep a charger wherever I went.

    Ah,the good times.

    Cheers,
    AVP

  8. Griffin April 9, 2009 at 5:00 am #

    If you don’t like it why not return it

  9. killer May 20, 2009 at 7:28 pm #

    I’ve had PCs since day one. Got a mac book pro 6 months ago. It bites. Sorry but I HATE IT. I only use it to watch movies now while I us a 5 year old pc. So many things I don’t like about it but the top two are the screen maximize thing. I want it BIG. and the fact that with a PC it’s put the thumb drive it click an icon start a slideshow. With a mac it’s I have to hunt a bunch of crap out and download the pics blah blah blah. I hate it. And yes it does crash

  10. Jo-jo May 21, 2009 at 6:28 am #

    Hmm… Well I don’t know what has changed since 2006 but I get around a lot of these problems easily with the ‘command’ key and configuring some setting in the Sys Pref. Personally, I’ve never had problems as rarely as I have with my Mac compared to what I had with the numerous PC’s I’ve had.. It depends of course what you use your computer for. My main is editing videos.

  11. Corrianna August 8, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    I just got my first Mac – a MacBook Pro – and I can totally relate to every point you’ve made! I’m still adjusting, but I find myself learning to love each new lesson as I get the hang of it. I can’t wait to be completely used to it and back to the level of productivity (or better?) I had on my PC. This machine is beautiful!

  12. Sean November 21, 2009 at 6:06 am #

    It so frustrating.

    So many nice features with the machine itself – I run a 17″ macbook pro thats 3 months old now (The second unibody model from mid 2009) and it is without a doubt an amazing machine. (I have become used to the lack of keys now, but still sometimes wish for more, but not a big deal.)

    But the Apple OS is driving me nuts. In particular the minimise feature – or specifically the lack of a simple way to manage open windows.

    For work I require multiple applications running with perhaps 10 pages open at any one time. With my Mac you cant easily organise or see these pages and so one ends up up loosing pages and then spending a considerable amount of time hunting for the page one wants.

    With Microsoft every window you open, from an application page to a web browser page, all are shown in the Tool Bar. When a page is minimised one can see it there immediately in front of you. It is so easy to see and select the pages one wants, if they are minimised or open it doesn’t matter you can see them all. Its simple, easy and logical.

    It seems that Apple know their system doesn’t work as well and so have tried to improve it with Expose, but in the end Expose complicates things even more..

    Apple have tried to re-invent the wheel and have made an OS that despite having some nice features, is sadly overshadowed by overcomplication. They have tried too hard and lost ease of use and simplicity as a result.

    I write this as constructive criticism to Apple as well as to vent my frustration. I love the machine, but wish the OS was a more logical system to use – specifically the way to manage pages.

  13. GA February 26, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    Gee, what a surprise…mac sucks.

  14. Vanessa April 19, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    Wow, I just recently bought a macbook pro and as a PC user for over 12 years now, I have to say that I have never been happier with my switch and cannot believe it took me this long to go Mac. Mind you, I am not computer..better yet, technology-savvy at all but Mac makes it so easy and user-friendly that it took me only a few days to get used to my Mac and I discovered that the initial annoyances I had with it at first was only bc I was so used to the way Windows ran and had yet to realize that Mac is just simply different and that if I just gave it a little time, I would learn to love everything it has to offer. One of my biggest adjustments at first was just like you said, Mac’s inability to maximize a page unless you drag the corners. I found on several Mac forums that this is easily fixed if you install a program for “RightZoom” (for free)..and set the preferences to automatically max your pages. I’ve gotten my dock to be invisible on the bottom and my safari pages to automatically maximize themselves. You should try it and just keep reminding yourself that they are different or otherwise, they would be PCs.

    With that said, I have nothing but love for my macbook pro and can’t understand why yours keeps crashing since I’ve had for nearly a month now and have only had to restart it once which is something I couldn’t say for my old Toshiba Satellite.

    The MBP is one sexy beast..it’s just so gorgeous, makes me wanna look at it all day and spoil the crap out of it. :)

  15. Babs March 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    I liked this article. I have had my MacBook Pro for just less than a week. I bought it as I like making band videos and was told it was good for editing (we shall see). Having used a PC since the beginning I am SO puzzled as to why they couldn’t fit a simple delete button and loads of other really simple, easy things like my music folder without having to go to horrible itunes. I also bought a one-to-one in house service training thing but the trainers are really, really stupid – this one girl I had kept running off to ask the boss. And what is it with apple employees – are they all on some happy trippy drug that turns them into loved up idiots?

    Ok I digress but I am morning my PC. She wasn’t perfect but I could at least download bbc iplayer! Point taken that its the operating system and not the Macbook per se but like, is there a difference? It all comes from apple! I am a professional writer and its beginning to seem clear to me that a mac is intended for a film/music boffin and not for someone like me.

    An insert button? A refresh button? The ability to delete a folder on a desktop without them all swooping into the trash can? The ability to turn off systems noises permanently? Try taking the MacBook into the British Library – unless you remember to press F10 the LAST time you used it, it can’t be done. This machine is mad, totally bonkers!

  16. software development company Ranchi July 13, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    I agree with everything! OSX does not get a lot of things right, it needs a lot of work.

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