A Day In The Life Of An iBook

I am a student at Monta Vista High School. I am a proud owner of the old-new iBook. Or the iBook 500. I have been taking it with me to school for about a month now. I think it is a quite sturdy and usable little machine. So I am writing about my adventures with it. I guess this is going to be a multipart article. So I'm starting out with less stories and more advice.

The iBook is about the same size and weight as a text book, so I don't notice any significant weight difference, especially since I only need to keep one book with me all the time (Math) instead of two. I have it in a sleeve case. I got one from dr.bott. The idea is, it's just for protection, not an entire new bag just for the iBook. This lets me keep my iBook nice and cozy inside my backpack without it getting scratched.

This also makes it less obvious that I'm carrying a laptop (and sometimes I forget I do!). And, considering that lockers are virtual nonexistent, I just can't drop it off whenever I want to. I feel that this setup is ideal for students. No big bag to carry alongside and finding a place to store the bag itself. There is barely room under the desks just for our backpacks, and adding another bag would make it quite cramped.

The great thing about the iBook is it isn't TOO small (like those Sony VAIOs) and nor too big (like all consumer PC laptops). The Sony is smaller, but at the loss of functionality and durability. The iBook (in my opinion) is smaller than most laptops but has all (if not more) features. Plus considering that our backpacks are already too full, it is a very good thing.

The size and appearance has brought up many eyes. I have gotten three or four people to get them just by me carrying it around with me. I don't any longer get the "Ew! A Mac!" but the very good "Wow! Nice laptop!" Then after they get a closer look, they are shocked to find it's a Mac (and, with Mac OS X running, jaw dropping as well). Mentioning the $1299 price tag also gets rid of the standard "ìMacs are too expensive" response.

The district is implementing wireless network access (802.11b from various brands of base stations). This makes it a breeze to get online. The wireless range is slowly spreading from the library and office out to the classrooms and then leading out to the portables as we add base stations. The iBook performs wonderfully with the PC base stations. The iBook of course gets better range and speed than the PC laptops. To join the laptop to the network, I just select it from the menu and I'm in business. For the Windows laptops, you have to manually punch in ESSID and in some cases the channel. Of course, the name changes with each brand (essid, channel name, base station name). So whenever we need to debug a base station, I just pull out my iBook. "Hey, I can't get on the wireless - Ian will you go and check to see if the station is working?"

The five hour battery lets me survive the day without plugging it in - as long as I don't stay after school. Realistic battery times are 2 1/2 to 3 hours. You can get more if in OS 9, with all the power settings on low, etc., as explained in How to Conserve a PowerBook's Battery Power. I pretty much use OS X exclusively at school, partially because I'm in Java programming, and also because OS X is my work OS and is quite a bit more stable and quicker at waking up. I do have a second power adapter at school (in the tech's office) so I can use it when I need it. Having only one power adapter and taking it with you is okay until you forget it at school. I know this from experience ^_^. It also makes it a big lighter and uses less physical space in my backpack.

Well, I've pretty much done an entire article now. So I'll leave you waiting for more and have a second (maybe more?) part to this article.

Ta Ta for now!