Singing the Praises of the 12" PowerBook, Yet Again

People keep asking me about my laptop, so I thought I’d post one of the latest detailed replies. The end conclusion: strong buy ;>

Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 08:26:53 (PDT)
From: Coté
Subject: Re: PowerBook
To: Zane Rockenbaugh

> I’m going to go on vacation soon, but don’t really
> feel comfortable not working for 5 days, so am
> probably going to get another powerbook. You got the
> 12.1″ version, right? Let me pose you a few questions…

I love my laptop: it’s the best computer ever! The only potential
problems are the hardware trade-offs you make for the small size: that
is, to make a really good 12″ laptop, you have to give up a few
things. I think it’s easy to get over those things, but you
should make sure you can too.

I like the 12.1″ a lot, but I like my computer stuff small so as to
never make me think “hmm…this is too big to take along with me.”
That is, I want all my gizmos to actually be portable, not just

My previous laptop, a Dell Latitude something, wasn’t portable by
my standards. Also, the battery life is important: the Dell would
only last an hour at best, the Mac lasts for 2-1/2 or so hours.

On my JavaOne trip, I never had any problems using the laptop: it
was always the perfect size for travel, for sitting in the conference
room (or in the hallways) typing, or for carrying around. On that
note, it’s size and weight allow you to get a smaller laptop bag: you
don’t need one of those boxy, foamy ones anymore.

I went over to REI and bought the “Pee Wee” Timbuk2
. It’s a perfect fit and I don’t look like a dork when I carry
it around.

The problem with the 12″ is upgrade limitations: I can only upgrade
to 640 megs of RAM, which I have. The hard drive only goes up to 80
gigs, though I stayed with the 40. I really wish I could get a gig of
RAM and a faster processor in it. HOWEVER, given everything else, I
think the trade off’s are acceptable.

But, if you’re more of a power use than I am — that is, if you
obsess over CPU speeds and caches and all that — you might feel better
buying the 15″: you can upgrade the RAM more, get a faster processor
(?), and it has a PC Card slot.

And, be sure to get the Airport card: it doesn’t come with the
12″. I’d also recommend maxing out the hard drive; I never did much
multi-media stuff (pictures and MP3s) with my PC because it was just
tedious and difficult: but with the Mac it’s so easy, and I can see
that I’m going to fill up my 80 megs fast.

As far as other accessories, I bought the iGo Juice AC
. It’s pricey at $100, but it has US A/C plug,
auto-adaptor, and airplane adaptor. On the North West planes I took,
there weren’t any airplane power outlets, but having a car adaptor is
nice. The whole thing is quite compact and well designed. Make sure
you get the one with that’s Apple compatible.

So, that’s about it: I say get a 12″, max out the RAM and HD, get
the AirPort card, and then get the iGo thing if you want an extra
power adaptor with car feature. I’d get the laptop, HD upgrade, and
airport card from — I think the prices are pretty much the
same as you’d find elsewhere, and you probably don’t have a choice
with the HD. I bought my RAM at, and it was
about 30-40% cheaper than Apple (I think); so I’d buy that after

Get one: they’re great!

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