Usability Pain

If you’ve been following my tweets for the past month, you’ve endured (sorry) my complaining over my malfunctioning MacBook Pro. For the past two years, it’s been a great machine: dependable, never crashes, fast, good for photo and movie editing, great for video chatting and Web apps — AND well-designed. Unfortunately, it got sick. The keyboard stopped working intermittently. It wouldn’t accept CDs or DVDs. It would randomly disconnect from my broadband card. Worst of all, it would randomly shut itself off. Fortunately, I purchased it with the Apple Care three-year warranty. Apple guarantees they’ll fix it, or they’ll send me a new one.

The only problem is having to give up my laptop (my work command center) for a week, starting this past Tuesday. We had no spare MacBooks at our office, so I adopted an interim Lenovo X400, the other dominant laptop at our startup. It’s not beautiful, but it’s sturdy and has all the important features. Despite relatively easy files-transfer and set-up, adapting to Windows XP operating system as my command center has been nothing short of painful. The combination of an unfamiliar and “less elegant” user interface has eroded my productivity and created an unpleasant experience — at every session. We have a Sony VAIO with the similar Vista operating system for our home entertainment center, and it does a fine job streaming video, running HDTV apps, and playing DVDs. And we have a five-year-old Dell Inspiron with Windows XP as a casual, no-worry email and Web-browsing device for toddlers and guests. While Windows and Vista get by for those lighter purposes, they fail as my 24/7 workstation.

I can’t wait to get my Mac back.

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Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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