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26 March 2009 @ 11:16 pm
life with the macbook  
Because the old PC was being less and less usable, and because the PC was back in the office and thus causing "homework" doing to be more about net-noodling and less about homework, we got a MacBook so that homework can be done in the family room.

It's a very nifty little computer. The cheapest one, white shell, small screen. Lightweight, and I like the keyboard. Life with the MacBook has been interesting, from the get-go.

- The Apple Store is a strange and quirky place. I walked in, and knew what I wanted to buy. But where's the cash register? Turns out there is no cash register, instead you find the person with the clipboard and make an appointment. To buy something. To give them money. Weird.

I will say that once I had the person to help me (waited about 10-15 minutes for this to happen), he was very nice and extremely helpful. But the wait was funny.

- I like typing on the MacBook, and I can see how it would make a great writing machine. But the touchpad is odd. It doesn't always respond to my fingers. And, it feels really slick. Too slick. No one else has problems with it, so it must be me.

- Mac OS X makes it virtually impossible to be an authoritarian. I like to turn off the wireless so that homework doers aren't tempted by the Internet. So I turned off AirPort and made sure you needed a password to turn it back on. However, all an enterprising young student has to do is go through the Network Troubleshooter and it will turn wireless back on. Without a password.

I could try making Safari a non-allowed app. I've done that before. But, it turns out that an enterprising young student just has to go to the Desktop Widgets and type something in the mini-network searcher. Up pops Safari!

Darn those freedom-loving Apple designers! At least my kids are learning problem-solving skills.
G. Julesgjules on March 27th, 2009 10:56 am (UTC)
Re: touchpad: I have issues with the MacBook touchpad too, although to be honest, there aren't many touchpads I don't have issues with.

Anyway. I gave my MacBook an external mouse. Problem solved.
jeffsoesbe: bald man thinkingjeffsoesbe on March 30th, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
Good solution. A pain to haul around, but it would work well.

prusik on March 27th, 2009 11:11 am (UTC)
It's hard to tell from your description if you're doing any of these things or not, so just in case...

Are your kids logged into an account that has administrator privileges turned off? (Also, the lock icon at the bottom of any System Preferences panel needs to be in the locked state for any system configuration changes to require a password. If you'd made changes, but didn't click on the lock icon again to relock and also didn't change users, then whoever is sitting in front of the laptop will continue to be able to make changes without a password prompt.)

If your children are using an account configured with administrator privileges turned off, you may want to turn on Parental Controls for that account. That allows you to disable access to System Preferences and to whatever programs you don't want them to run. (Yes, obviously, they'll be able to see the icons for those programs. The OS just won't let the user run them. Being able to see a file and being able to use it are two different things.)

Then, of course, you have to make sure your kids don't have the administrator's password.

jeffsoesbe: yeff southparkjeffsoesbe on March 30th, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
I did indeed do both those things (non-admin account, Parental Controls) when we set up the iMac. I had successfully turned off use of Safari, but then the older child figured out that the Desktop Applets allowed Internet access and then brought up Safari.

Hadn't tried turning off System Preferences yet. I'll have to give that a shot yet.

I'd really prefer that she learns how to manage her own time and get homework done at a decent hour without noodling around, but I might be hoping too much right now.

Of course, if *I'd* had Internet and a cell phone in high school I wouldn't have gotten anything done!