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March 12th, 2014

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Mac Attack

Back in October, when I was first making my transition to stay-at-home writer/artist dude, the always-awesome laurie_robey bought me a new laptop for my birthday/new career. The choice was entirely mine, and being an airhead, I naturally chose wrong.

Well, sorta. I got a Macbook Air, a lightweight and zippy laptop, on the reasonable assumption that I would only be using it to write, while the more heavy-duty machine that would be required for me to do comics on was 33% more expensive and I had a perfectly serviceable PC that I had been using for art for years.

Of course, once we were past the return period, my perfectly serviceable PC started to go south. ¬.¬ Strange hangups, DLLs getting lost, BSODs, etc. Malware and anti-virus programs helped, but did not fix the problem completely, and one of those BSODs created a recurring problem where Outlook crashes on startup and you spend the rest of the day being notified that it can't start Outlook every 10 minutes whether you asked it to or not. Productivity was dropping fast, and I was constantly paranoid that the machine would die on me while I was fighting a deadline.

So, yeah. Had I known that was coming, I would have gone with a Macbook Pro. -.- But the thing with the game of life is, you can only move forward, so I started looking at ways to finance a PC replacement. One idea that came to me was to add "Buy a Macbook" as a goal on my Patreon campaign. I have to admit, I never actually expected the goal to be reached.

It was reached within a day. O.o I nearly had (more) kittens.

So, Macbook Pro get. :) It's a "certified refurbished," which is sort of like going to the auto dealership and getting last year's model-- which in the case of a Macintosh, puts it at a comparable price to a similar PC. And it's a beefy little laptop! I spent last night and most of today getting it up and running, as well as figuring out how to avoid all the little traps along the way. ("Do you want to erase everything from your iPhone to sync with this computer?" "Hell no, what are you THINKING?") Hooking it up to the PC network was surprisingly painless, although completely nonintuitive.

The main lingering issue now is one of software. The copy of Manga Studio I have came with both PC and Mac versions, and that's my comic-creating workhorse, but there are still some things that Photoshop is just much easier for, especially when it comes to text and certain painty effects. But older (i.e., non-subscription) versions of Photoshop still go on eBay for $300+, so I'm going to have to either wince and put MORE on the credit card, or spend time hunting down a Photoshop-killer.

The other thing is cross-platform gotchas-- the scroll wheel on the trackball is reversed-axis from the PC, for instance, so I keep scrolling the wrong way. CTRL+uparrow might do anything, nothing, or several things, all dependent on the app-- there's no dedicated and consistent "Page Up/Page Down".

So, still some stuff to shake down, but I think that for this lappy and me, it's the beginning of a beautiful friendship. laurie_robey is going to take the Air as a replacement for her old never-really-liked-it PC and see how well that goes.

So, thank you, Patreon supporters! I'll make good use of it. :)

-The Gneech

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