Using Laptops when Working Full Time

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by weizilla, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. weizilla macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    I am a graduate student who will be graduating soon (May/June) and I'll start working full time at a typical 9-5 computer programming job in July. Right now I have an IBM T40 which I brought freshman year in college about 4 1/2 years ago. The computer's working perfectly fine except the battery only lasts about 20 mins and I use it for programming with TCP/IP sockets and POSIX stuff in C/C++/Java for my thesis and the usual web surfing/IM/writing papers, all in Ubuntu Linux (for the C/C++ stuff)

    My dilemma right now is that I want a new macbook (maybe MBP if the new updates are really nice) but I've asked some of my friends who graduated and they all say they don't use laptops or if they do, it just sits on their desk plugged in all the time. The impression I get is that once you work full time, there's really no need for a portable computer as opposed to in college when you bring it with you everywhere. I also have a really good desktop (with 24" + 19" lcd monitors) so if I'm at home, I don't think I would use a laptop or one I where I couldn't just plug into the wall (aka I'd just use my IBM).

    So i'm wondering how often do people who work a full time job really use a laptop as a portable computer if they have a desktop already or do they just leave their laptops plugged into the wall most of the time? I will not be traveling a lot (probably 2x a year).

    I also use Linux a lot so I'm also wondering if programming in C/C++ on a Mac is exactly the same as programming in Linux or if there are differences between C/C++ in Unix and Linux. This is a big deciding factor as I wouldn't get a Mac if I have to put Ubuntu on it just to do my thesis work. I would also need to do some C# development with some application framework stuff like with Spring so I'm also wondering if that's possible on a mac and how compatible the final code would be on a windows machine.
  2. mavherzog macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2005
    Columbus, WI
    Don't forget that when you work full time, you don't typically have to provide your own computer. So, if you have a decent home system and don't believe you'll need a personal computer for being "out and about", I say don't buy anything.
  3. ajl1924 macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2007
    My work provided me a laptop (dell). I only travel occasionally for work, but have to bring my work laptop with me. When I travel for personal time, I also have to take my work laptop because it is the only way I can check my work email when I'm on vacation (which I have to do).

    Most of the time my work laptop stays in my cube at the office.

    I did buy myself the 2.0 white macbook because I really liked it. Tough I never get to travel with it or take in anyplace since I have to take the dell.
  4. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    Sometimes portability is a matter of being able to work from your bed or work from your desk. You will never get that with a desktop, which is why I will never purchase but a laptop.
  5. tip macrumors 6502


    Mar 9, 2006
    I work in IT (degree in CS) and the companies were I have worked (from small consulting, to large corporate, to non-profit) have all provided me with a laptop. It was against company policy to use personal equipment at the workplace.

    I now work at a research laboratory and they didn't get me a laptop (a desktop instead), but I'm allowed to use personal equipment. Go figure.

    If you're gonna strictly use a laptop for work-related stuff, I'd wait until the job starts. Now, I like separating personal stuff from my work machines, so I'd be inclined to buy a personal laptop - but that's just me.
  6. Icewind macrumors regular


    May 23, 2006
    I'm an IT Specialist for IBM and have a company issued Thinkpad T41. I also travel a lot to client locations on a Mon to Fri basis and have to live in hotels every week. I'm not allowed to use personal equipment in the office, or on client locations, but that didn't stop me buying an traveling with a White MacBook 2.0Ghz C2D (and a little 12" iBook before that). I hate using the Thinkpad for anything personal. It's downright fugly and means I have to suffer XP. I love my Macs and always drag the Macbook with me when traveling. It means I can sit in the comfort of my hotel room or the hotel lounge in the evenings and surf the web, chat or whatever (and actually enjoy the experience :D ).

    If I were you, I'd get a cool little Macbook and use that for your own personal pleasure. It's not that much of a deal to thro it in your backpack if you have to travel for work.
  7. Toxman macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2008
    *rant begins*

    It always makes me shake my head in wonder. Any other profession where tools are required, the tradesman brings their own, which he has purchased over time to fit the job at hand. In IT, you're expected to use whatever piece of crap that the company supplies you, which is typically some under-specced windows PC that has been used by 20 people before you and runs like a dog. All the new high-spec machines are used by management for reading email and producing word and excel documents. This makes no sense to me at all. It's like getting a plumber out to your place and he gets out his toolbox and you say "no, sorry pal. It's against my policy to use your own tools. Here's a hammer and a set of multi-grips - get to it.". It's ridiculous! IT Professionals (that's right, Professionals - that's what we are) should be able to show up with their own gear, using the software that they're proficient and productive with. As long as your work is getting done, your machine can be shown to virus/trojan free and you have licenses for your software, where's the issue? If I were a boss... one day...

    Java developers get shafted even further. There's so many free IDEs out there, that most companies settle on eclipse and make you use that (not intending to hijack this thread for an IDE flame war - but MS developers get VS licenses bought for them... try and get a company to buy a license for IntelliJ - and at a fraction of the cost!!).

    I've just got my MBP and loving it. I take it to work and use it for producing my design specifications. I use it for browsing the code base and I use it for email. Thumb drives and external hard drives for transferring information. I don't see what the issue of me using my own personal laptop is. I can work from home with a minimum of fuss. What's the danger of connecting a Mac to the network? I can understand concerns about letting any old windows machine on to the network, but where's the danger from a Mac?

    The thing that saddens me is that now my design docs are complete, I know that I'm going to have to go back to my crappy desktop and develop with a slow and irritating IDE, using an ancient version of java.

    *rant ends*
  8. tip macrumors 6502


    Mar 9, 2006

    I understand your point, but there are many other issues to consider, from security policy, to what software is (or should be) supported, to licensing, etc., etc. It gets way too hairy when people starting using their personal machines.
  9. mistafreeze macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2006
    Back a few months ago, I had macbook pro 17 inch, mac pro, and my own custom PC.

    Used the macbook pro maybe 10-15 hours tops (had it back when Core Duo was new)

    Why use the laptop, when you have a desktop. The only time I would use the laptop at home, would be to check email early in the morning, and / or to browse the web when I was rendering something on my 2 other workstations.

    I'm now moving, and will be getting rid of my desktop, and will just use a laptop.

    They are powerful enough that you do not need to worry any more.

    Also you can use emulation software and run linux while you are using os x, incase you want to test code, or whatever. With spaces it is really easy (similar to the cube with compiz)
  10. harrymohan macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Syracuse, New York

    I am also a Graduate Student of Computer Science. I too was in same boat but as far as C, C++ programming goes theres Xcode IDE and GCC and G++ compilers to take care of and for debugging theres GDB built in Xcode, Java is also supported in XCode but unfortunately you have to install Windows XP or Vista thru bootcamp if u r into windows programming paradigm such as C#, COM, Active X, Win32 and

    If u follow C++ standards, u will never have any problem whether its Linux, Unix, Mac or Windows!!
  11. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    May 29, 2007
    I'm a software engineer & have used laptops for work the last 5+ years. Right now I have a 17" MBP. A work I connect it to a Samsung 24" display and at home I connect it to a 23" ACD (I telecommute at least one day a week). In both places I run the MBP in clamshell mode and have the new Apple wired keyboard and wireless Might Mouse. I love this arrangement. Works well and is very flexible. Never a worry about synching up data anywhere.
  12. weizilla thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    It seems like the programming issue isn't really a problem so I'm not worried about that anymore.

    I'm pretty sure my company will provide me with a new computer but I will definitely only use it for work-related stuff. All of the internships I've had all provided me with up to date computer models to use so it never actually crossed my mind that I could end up with a outdated slow computer to use at work.

    Having a new laptop to use would be nice for the next four months until I graduate but I'm still trying to justify spending $1800 (blackbook + applecare) on a new laptop when I have a working one now. I think i'm going to wait to see if this rumored event at the end of the month produces anything worth wild and make my decision then. I might have to start taking vacation days all the time after i start just so i'd have a change to use my new laptop.

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