Sunday afternoon post: Using my sister’s MacBook


My account on Elke's MacBook

To say my sister is somewhat obsessed with The Sims 2 would be akin to implying that bridges are somewhat useful at allowing vechiles to cross bodies of water. The problem is, her pretty white MacBook’s integrated Intel graphics system performs worse than a bridge that has suffered some form of structural damage and as a result is no longer safe for the aformentioned vechiles to cross.

The Sims 2 dock iconDespite my MacBook Pro only having a 32 bit Core Duo [Wikipedia] chip and her MacBook having a 64 bit Core 2 Duo [Wikipedia], the discrete 256MiB ATI graphics chip in my MacBook Pro plays The Sims 2 and her other older 3D games blazingly fast. Despite not being able to compile complex application packages or process video quickly enough compared to the current generation Mac laptops, the graphics are still very good. I heart my 2006 vintange MacBook Pro, it’s been a real trooper.

So I created a seperate account on Mac OS X for her on my MacBook Pro and created my own account on her MacBook. She installed The Sims 2 on mine, and I installed MacVim, The Gimp, Inkscape, Eclipse, Q and MacPorts with Python on her MacBook and we’ve been going just fine all weekend. I’ve been promised my baby back during the week so I can do work and assignments; I hope that proves true!

Icon from the Tango Desktop projectFor someone writing code, the only thing that’s hard to get used to on a MacBook after using a MacBook Pro is the reduced screen resolution. Back in Singapore my FreeBSD desktop is connected to a 1680×1050 Samsung LCD, but I swear the difference between Elke’s MacBook’s 1280×800 and my MacBook Pro’s 1440×900 seems infinitely bigger. When the new MacBooks came out with the new N’Vidia graphics (and before I realised they had no FireWire), I thought I could upgrade my MacBook Pro to a new little aluminium MacBook, but I’m just so used to having a larger workspace that prospect now seems frightening. I’ve been spoilt!

As you can see in the screenshot, I managed to recreate as much of my MacBook Pro on her MacBook as possible including software. This Code Geass background was sitting in my downloads folder on my external drive, and it’s certainly more colourful and different to most of the Mac OS X default desktop backgrounds which I’m already sick of! I should SFTP my MacBook Pro and get some of the photos I took with my D60 recently and use them as backgrounds.

Now that Elke has created three families on The Sims 2 on my machine, I get the feeling I’ll be using her MacBook a lot over the next few weeks. Aren’t I a nice brother?

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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