Light Laptop for Writing

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by adamyoshida, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. adamyoshida macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2006
    Basically, as things stand today, I've got an older Powerbook, which I think is on its last legs (a TiBook), and a brand new high-end Dell, 17" Media Centre, etc.

    Here's my issue: I love Microsoft Word. Well, maybe "love" is too strong a word (but not really), and I find its performance (and, to a lesser degree, that of Excel) to be really, really crappy under OSX - even (though, of course, this is through Rosetta) on a MacBook with two gigs.

    I want to run Word, iTunes, and Final Draft. Two of them at the same time.

    I'm looking for a "light" computer - and a disposible one. I want to carry it with me to work and take it to Starbucks.

    So, I'm thinking either one of the early 12" G4 Powerbooks or a 12" G4 iBook. What would be a fair price to pay for one these days? Also, is there any particular reason (other than looks) to prefer the Powerbook for the purposes that I've outlined?
  2. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Have you tried them both? I far prefer the PB keyboard to the iBook keyboard (since you mentioned writing.) Performance-wise they should be about the same, and the iBook has a longer battery life.

    Keep in mind that the new Mac Office will come this year. A MacBook running a universal Word should run better than a G4 notebook running Word 2004.

    I say that because PowerBooks still get a premium price on EBay.

    I personally prefer using outlining type programs as a precursor to something like FD, but I guess that's neither her nor there. It does minimize how often I run Word on my MacBook though. ;)
  3. adamyoshida thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2006
    Yeah, but I want a semi-disposable computer. A new $1000 MacBook wouldn't really fit the bill there.

    Yeah, I had a Dual USB iBook at one point in time, and wasn't all that hot on the form factor. It was ok, not great.

    My recollection is that the Powerbooks and iBooks had a different variant of the G4 in them.

    Tell me more about "outlining" programs. I'm new to this stuff (well, I used Final Draft back in school, half a decade ago), so any recommendations you have would be appreciated. I've always wanted to work in the area, so I'm going to put together a pilot and a trio of spec scripts.
  4. ITASOR macrumors 601


    Mar 20, 2005
    In my experience, Word 2004 running under native PPC (not Rosetta on Intel) runs like crap. I would try to hold out until the universal Office comes out. Here's an idea: you could buy a refurbished MacBook or used MacBook and run Windows on it until Office becomes available for intel Mac.
  5. adamyoshida thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2006
    Well, I've already got a copy of Office 2004 (and, for that matter, 2003 for Windows), so I could do either one (work purchase discount).

    My one issue with the MacBook - I've had one before and returned it - was that the heat made it unsuitable for use in a lot of the ways that I would use it - IE, sitting on the couch with it on my lap (and, yeah, I'm aware of the whole 'laptop/notebook' distinction, but nonetheless, when I've got a light notebook, I want to be able to sit in a lounge chair with the damned thing).
  6. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    If you want something 'disposable' (which I take to mean sub $500), then I think you're going to have to go sub-1GHz for a PB. Unless you find a good deal on the Classified board here.

    At that point, I think a refurbed MacBook is a much better deal (though you'd have to up the RAM for Word), and bide your time for the next Office. I used to own a 12 1.33 PB, and just got a refurbed basic MacBook, and really love it so far.

    Or go iBook to save money, which we both seem to agree is less desirable. The MacBook is definitely nicer than the iBook IMO, and has a pretty nice keyboard.

    As far as other apps go, I've used both Circus Ponies Notebook and Mori-

    Notebook has more eye candy with the notebook interface, but I find Mori snappier and easier to use. (Also be sure to check out WriteRoom, very cool app!)

    There are a TON of such apps on the Mac, which is a very cool thing. This site has a great series with a lot of reviews, info, etc.-

    A couple of other noteworthy apps geared for writers-

    I'm sure others will post with other suggestions. I think these programs are much better for gathering and working on ideas (fiction or otherwise) than Word, since you're ultimately going to take that work and put it into Final Draft anyways.

    If you haven't already bought FD, there's a free scriptwriting app called Celtx, I've read some good things about it-
  7. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    My personal experience has been that my MacBook runs cooler than my Alu Powerbook- all the alu PB models tended to get hot due to the heat-conductive case. But YMMV of course.

    I guess the iBook is probably the coolest-running of all though.
  8. adamyoshida thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2006
    The early MacBooks (I bought a week in) seemed to run really, really, really hot to me.
  9. MacsAttack macrumors 6502a

    Jul 2, 2006
    Runs perfectly on my G4 Mac Mini. Trick is get the memory up to 1GB. Apple never puts enough memory in the Mini.

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