Already time for a new Mac

I've had the MacBook for just over two and a half months now. I've grown to really enjoy working on the little machine; so much so that I will use any excuse to spend time on it. All my web browsing, RSS feeds, e-mail, word processing, blogging, instant messaging, etc. happens on the MacBook now. If I have a meeting outside the office I snap the machine shut, place it in it's form fitting black neoprene Incase sleeve and take it with me wherever I go. It has become my trusty sidekick.

There is one thing though that always makes me grudgingly turn to my Windows XP machine: that's where I really do all of my development work. I am still committed to Visual Studio and C#. Sure, I have VMWare Fusion installed on my MacBook and it is capable of running my development environment but the screen real estate is too small for the code / test / debug cycle. For that I need lots and lots of pixels and simply adding an external monitor is not enough. 

My Windows XP machine has two beautiful Samsung SyncMaster 204B LCDs running 1600x1200 side by side (effectively 3200x1200). I thought to myself that those two monitors would look pretty cool running OS X, wouldn't they?

Well, last weekend I went out and ordered a Mac Pro to compliment the MacBook. Based on all of the feedback I've received I decided to go with a refurbished current generation model: 8 core / dual 2.8GHz processors. This particular machine comes with a 320GB drive and 2GB of RAM. I also ordered additional memory and a couple of 1TB hard drives for all of my photos, video and backups from some different vendors. When all is installed it will have 12GB of memory and 2.3TB of disk space.  I'll be writing about all of this after I put it all together and see how it performs.

So far everything is here except one key piece: the Mac Pro itself. According to FedEx it should be here today. Somehow I think this is going to be a painfully slow Friday until it arrives.

As usually happens when I obtain new technology, my older equipment cycles downstream. The Windows XP machine will remain on my desk, though mainly as a resource for the Mac Pro as I bring it up to speed. The HP Laptop running Vista is the odd man out now, having been pushed over to a different desk here in the office. I have an intern starting in June and he will have the pleasure of using Vista on that machine. Sorry Daniel!

One Key Decision Remains
I need to name this machine. I like naming computers short, single word, easily remembered names; it makes it easier when trying to grab data or connect to them internally. All of my current machines have Star Wars themed names; Luke, Vader, Wookie and Solo. The exception is the MacBook, which is named Drifter.

So what should I name it? Got any suggestions? 


Dan Brown said...

2.3TB of disk space!? I'd call it Jabba

Charles said...

Just out of curiosity, what's keeping you with Visual Studio and C#?

Fred said...

Congratulations ! Good move

But beware, a Mac Pro never dies :-) You will have to spend years with it !!!!

My PowerMac G5 MP (2 GHz) is still on 24/7 and I can't imagine replacing it.


Anonymous said...

I vote for Hal.

batplug said...

I'm thinking Xena.... Hot, feisty, and kicks butt

Paul said...

David, now you're just using the blog to show off! ;)

It's worked though - I'm incredibly jealous. Running VMWare and Visual Studio on a machine like that will be a piece of cake.


David Alison said...

@Dan: Dude, that is funny. Nice and short, though I think I want a name that is more on the positive side. Jabba seems like something I should rename my Vista machine to because it's slow and easily angered.

@Charles: Such a simple question but such a complex answer. The really short version is this:

Visual Studio is a complete development environment; robust programming editor with debugger, HTML design surfaces, integrated SQL support, a membership provider model for easily creating a signup / account system for a web application, C# is a really great language, there are extensive 3rd party libraries for web based controls that make things like paged and ajax enabled grids really simple, the garbage collection and stability of .NET based web servers is now excellent, performance from a .NET based application is excellent and can scale pretty easily.

I actually nearly dropped my current development activities mid-course and switched to Python because of the Google App Engine - that's the one area that is really lacking for Visual Studio applications; you need some serious IT resources to scale it up. Then I heard that Python runtime performance on production servers is not very good.

Bottom line is I still haven't found the right one. If you have a recommendation I would really like to hear it though!

David Alison said...

@Batplug: Hmmm - that has potential.

@Paul: I am not showing off! (OK, maybe a little). It's just part of my ongoing saga I guess. I'm just really lucky to have the resources to pull this off. Since I build software for a living it's much more easily justified for me - and buying refurbished did save me a ton of money. I am spending less for this machine than the XP rig I bought one year ago.

Anonymous said...

DAD! Jabba!! PLEASE i died when i saw that hahaha. love you!

xcapepr said...

Joda , I say. cause were all green with envy!

The Chad said...

I vote for either Obi-Wan or Yoda

Philip L. Copeland said...

How much was the machine you bought? And where did you purchase it?

Would you care to share that?

I think I found your site from Digg and have followed you ever since. You've got me thinking about converting.

Thanks for your daily blogging.

David Alison said...

@Philip: I bought it from the Apple web site store. Here is a link to the refurbished Macs. I paid $2,400 for mine and it came with free shipping. Normally that machine would be $2,800.

@All: I like Yoda - haven't used that one yet, though my daughter seems to like Jabba quite a bit. I could use this sound effect when my application generates a run time exception.

Roger said...

It's not really a name but how about this for your monster Mac Pro...

The Force. As in "The Force is with you, always".

David Alison said...

Argh! The FedEx site, which all week indicated the machine would be here on 4/18 has now been updated to 4/19. A pox on you FedEx!

Swiss said...

Call the Mac Pro: "The Force"

Brian said...

Doh! Gotta wait until Saturday!

Despite my setup of a 24" iMac and 15" MBP, I am still quite jealous of your Mac Pro purchase!

That said, given your status as a recent "switcher" I do think an appropriate name for the new Mac Pro would be "darkside" :)

David Alison said...

@All: I'm a fan of most Sci Fi and Star Wars is no exception. The best part about naming a machine in that genre is that you can tweak the sounds to work with it. My favorite sound effect - one that I used for many years as a sound that activated when one of my compiles failed - was this one: Darth's Warning.

Anonymous said...

Here are some more suggestions for names:

- Anakin
- Ben (Kenobi)
- Mace (Windu)
- Dantooine (far too remote to make an effective demonstration, but still a good name!)
- Kamino (where the clone army came from, hence a good name for a development computer)
- George (Lucas)
- Hoth

Looking forward to reading about your choice. I'm having a very slow Friday, too, waiting for my Kindle to arrive today. :-)

David Alison said...

@Anon: Hoth. Shouldn't it be called Colth? (You can thank Family Guy for my pithy Star Wars references)

Don said...

Very nice! I also switched about the same time you did. I found your initial post thru Digg and have been a loyal follower. Thanks!

Let's see... a name... C-3PO or maybe Millennium Falcon or you can find just the right name from this List of Star Wars characters

Chris S said...

How about Octal? Oct meaining 8 and al meaning aluminum? Just a thought.

Chris S said...

Oh, BTW, would love to see pictures after you get it. The RAM and HD's and all that. I also switched to Mac about 2 weeks ago, but only with what I could afford, a Mac Mini for $529. I love the thing though.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"drifter", uncertain, looking back and forward.

"switch": admit it, like me you are commited.

David Alison said...

@Chris S: Yep, I'll take photos of it once FedEx decides to grace me with the box. Looks like I'll have a busy Saturday. Octal is a cool name - got a nice programming feel to it as well.

@Anon: I really like Switch! And yes, I am committed. Or at least I probably should be committed.

Still stuck on the Star Wars theme though. Jabba and Yoda are the front runners, though TheForce is interesting.

Tom said...

Gah, you've switched to a mac and bought an Mac Pro in the time I've been waiting to buy a Mac Pro.

*waits on his tax refund check*

Trying to be good for once and buy with cash in hand instead of putting the Mac Pro on a credit card. This will be my first Mac desktop in a long time. Last one I had was the G4 Cube, and I discontinued that from daily use back in 2003.

David Alison said...

@Tom: always better to pay cash - a wise move. I was hoping to share with everyone the quality of a refurbished machine today but alas, it is not to be. I believe I've refreshed that damn FedEx status page 200 times, hoping that the package that arrived in the state right next to mine would miraculously make it on an outbound truck - but no.

Vito Traino said...

Good to talk to you again, David. It's been a while since i've commented but I've been reading up on your blog daily.

Not following the Star Wars theme, but since this thing seems to be taking over, how about "Big Mac" or "Mac Daddy"?

P.S.- You look a wee bit like Dr. Phil in the new picture you put up for your Blogger account.

David Alison said...

@Vito: Ha! Dr. Phil?!? Ouch. The curse of being bald is that people think you look like everyone else that is bald.

Anonymous said...

A pox on UPS and FedEx. My Kindle is delayed until Monday, after being lied to all day. On the web and on the phone UPS lied when they told me today. A pox and a plague. Locusts, too!

More name suggestions:
- Tarkin
- Dagobah
- Coruscant

And you should rename your Windows machine to...

JarJar :-)

David Alison said...

@Anon: Dude, sorry to hear that. Nothing like spending a perfectly splendid spring day waiting around for the big white (or big brown) truck to come up the street. Oh well.

silent lurker said...

You're going to love your new Mac Pro.
First off you'll be surprised at the size of the huge honking box! Open it up and the surprises continue...
With the flip of the latch on the back the side is unlocked and opens from the top outward to reveal the most pristine and uncluttered interior you've ever EVER seen in a desktop computer.
Your memory modules snap into two easily removable daughter cards. Your 2 extra drives will attach to the included sleds with their included screws then just slide into their respective slots and snap into the backplane. No cable clutter- in fact, no cables to weed thru at all. I've setup about a dozen of these for my office and they're just amazing. Tricked out with a Boot Camp partition or using a separate drive for it so that it can be utilized by Parallels or Fusion- makes using whatever flavor of Windows you prefer (or multiples for that matter) a piece of toast- er- cake. no, pie! Its just sweet. Not to mention solid as a rock.
I'd recommend calling it just that- Rock
Karl C.

Anonymous said...

Hi David;

You should give a try to Pylons:

This is a great web-framework for Python if you're interessed.

Have a nice day.

David Alison said...

@Karl C: Sounds wonderful! I have nearly always built my Windows machines myself; mobo, CPU, case, etc. from Newegg. SATA drives have helped considerably on the PC front but I love the idea of what you are describing.

@Anon: Thanks for the Pylons tip - I will check it out. Because of the Google App Engine I am interested in giving Python a try. I've done a little reading on it and I like the philosophy behind it, though I've never been a fan of loosely typed languages. Application performance and scaleability are my main concerns there. Still, I do want to try it out.

David Alison said...

Delivery Update: According to my FedEx delivery page the 65 pound (?!?) box was on the FedEx truck and out for delivery at 6:59am.

I appreciate everyone's name suggestions!

David Alison said...

Update: A very large box was just delivered from the FedEx guy. It has an Apple logo on it and says Certified Reconditioned Product in large block letters.

My suspicion is that the Mac Pro is inside. More on this shortly.

Vasque said...

I name machines on my network after the Simpsons - my cheeky new macbook is definitely Bart while my bloated XP dev machine is Homer. Marge is the server and Maggie is the clueless 3G phone.

Luckily the Simpsons has plenty of half-witted characters so I never run short of names for a primarily windows based network.

Carsten said...

Way too late, I realize, but I would call it Death Star ;)

My own theme is the Himalayas, and I have Himalaya for my network, Everest for my PowerMac, K2 for my MacBook Air, Sir Edmund for my iPod touch, and Tenzing for my iPod Classic :)