Hi guys, I'm way ahead of myself posting here, you see, I'm not planning on getting a powerbook until *October* when I start my phd and get some funding But anyway, researching these things is just plain fun, and if I have to wait so long, then I may as well enjoy the wait. Oh yes, and this might get kind of long - just a warning that I tend to ramble, and since this is my first post here, none of you will know what you're getting yourself in for reading So, like I've already said, I'll be starting my phd in October and I'd quite like a nice new 17" powerbook to "celebrate" the occasion. I've currently got a laptop PC that *just about* meets my demands at the moment, but something with a bit more...presence, would be appreciated. I've spent the last few months looking at laptop PC's and I've not been *too* impressed, though any would be an improvement over what I have now (I have the added problem of my next laptop having to out-do my boyfriends current laptop, a Dell Inspiron 8600 ) and when I finally thought of Apple, I completely fell in love with the 17" powerbook. So, my (many) questions to you all are these: ---Newbie Mac Questions--- 1) How would the 1.33 G4 processor compare to my current laptops 2Ghz pentium 4 mobile (its not a fancy centrino, its intels pre-centrino laptop processor)? - I'm going to have to do rather a lot of programming and I'd rather not have to wait around for things to get going 2) Do macs have any specific advantages over PC's for programming? - it's an expensive machine and it'd be nice to have extra reasons for having one of these beauties, newbish question though it may be! 3) Could anyone point the way to a decent OSX tutorial/walkthrough that I could flick through? ---Powerbook Specific Questions--- 4) Keyboard - It'll have a fair bit of typing going on, on it, so a comfy keyboard would be nice. Probably I'll end up getting an external one, but if/when it gets taken up to the department, the laptops keyboard will get used then. Basically, I can't stand flimsy, rattly keyboards - can anyone give me their opinion on the powerbooks keyboard? 5) Speakers - my current laptops speakers can be summed up in one word "tinny", ok, two words "extremely tinny". So the powerbooks speakers follow this suite, or can you actually get some tone from them? 6) Spec Lastability - since its such an expensive laptop, it really *is* going to have to last me about 3 years before i could upgrade it.. Is the 17" powerbook going to be completely obsoleted within a year or so? (The main uses of it will be programming, one hell of a lot of typing, photoshop-ing and a bit of gaming on the side - mostly counterstrike and some semi-recent games like Morrowind/neverwinter nights etc...) I suppose it's more down to me being greedy and wanting the "latest" 7) Are there any "big issues" with the 17" powerbooks? Are they sturdy reliable machines, or is it quite often that people get sent duds or have to send them back to apple for one reason or another? ---Misc Questions--- 8) latex support - just about everything I write is done with latex, not office-type programs. Does anyone know if there's a suitable way of doing this on the mac? Linux has a nice program called Lyx, a kind of graphical frontend for writing latex...so it'd be nice if there was something similar for the mac 9) Gaming - OK, so I know that games don't come out on the mac as soon as on the PC, and I'd also rather not have to go and buy all my games that *are* on the mac again.. So my plan was to have the computer as a dual-boot mac osx/linux box, and use winex to play games, rather than a windows emulator on the mac.. Has anyone else tried this? It'd be interesting to know what happens. 10) OSX/Linux - I'd rather *not* have a dual-boot machine if possible (I get absolutely sick of linux not recognising my modem, and having to switch back and forth to windows when i want to go on the net!), so if anyone has any ideas concerning me migrating completely away from linux..then they'd be very welcome - hence macs suddenly becoming a very serious consideration for me since they're both unix-based (and share some of the same apps?) I think that's everything, even though I'm *sure* I haven't asked half and a quarter of the things I wanted to ask when I started writing! Anyway, *any* help/comments/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.. If I do go ahead with this, it'll be my first mac, and also my first real exposure to the mac (no-one I know has one to go look at)... It's still a long way off to October, so I'm pretty sure the hardware specs should have improved *slightly* by then, but assuming that they stay roughly the same, I'm curious as to what I'd be getting for myself *besides* a beautiful laptop with a nice large screen Thanks for listening, Eo.