The Power of Mac

My iBook, Part 1

Eric Schwarz - 2002.03.06

I decided it was time to retire my almost ancient computing duo (540c and 7200/90) from my main tasks and go buy a new iBook.

Why? Well, first of all, the prices have dropped since the 14.1" iBook came out. The other reason was just that it was time for something new. It was time to go to X. This article is part of an ongoing series (since I'm supposed to be receiving the iBook later today) sharing some of the things I learn and some thoughts to other new Mac buyers.

Research

I wanted to see where I could get the best price. Sure, the catalogs had deals of free printers and RAM, and Circuit City was clearing out the May 2001 models, but I decided that I would order direct.

Ordering

After having some "fun" experiences with Amazon, I decided that ordering over the phone would be the best method. I called Apple on Saturday, February 16, and placed an order.

I decided on the iBook with the 12.1" screen. I bought the model with the CD-RW/DVD combo drive and iBookupgraded the RAM to 384 MB. Right off the bat, I got a $50 discount from Apple since I was affiliated with an educational organization. I also added the various video cables and a Zip drive to my order. Ground shipping was free (via FedEx), and I was told my order would go out in about a week.

Waiting

Let's just say that I waited for quite some time, checking the status of my iBook on Apple's site, waited some more, read reviews of iBook accessories, and waited some more.

I also called Palm right after I ordered the iBook and ordered a USB adapter to allow my serial Palm Vx to connect to the new iBook. That came on that Thursday.

Hooray?

I got a confirmation email from Apple saying that my iBook had been sent late Monday (2/25) night, and there were three tracking numbers for FedEx Ground. The first two were for the cables and Zip drive, and the third was for the iBook itself. The three packages sat in Sacramento for a day before making their way across the country.

On the tracking Web site, the estimated delivery was last Saturday (3/2). Since we had bad weather, I gave FedEx the benefit of the doubt and waited some more. After all, it had registered in Chicago and left on Friday, so I was guessing that it would get here soon (Chicago is only about 2 hours from my house on a good traffic day).

Monday rolled around. No dice. Apparently the delivery date had been moved back to today. I called FedEx and was just curious what was the holdup (a 2 hour distance turning into 2 days - not counting Sunday). They were very helpful and said that it will most likely be delivered today, but they'd run a trace to see if anything happened (there were a few glitches on the tracking site).

Skipping Back

Well, I decided on Saturday that I'd go out and get a printer. I looked around at the various stores (Walmart, Sam's Club, Staples, Circuit City, Best Buy, Office Max, Office Depot, etc.). I read some reviews on inkjet printers and noticed that the Epson C60 and C80 were well-liked, as well as Hewlett-Packard's offerings.

There was an Epson C60 for $79 (after rebate) and an HP for $70. Both had the same resolution, same priced ink cartridges (retail), and were identical in almost every way. I liked the Epson's design a little better (and it was quieter), so I decided to spend the extra $9.

Right now, it's sitting where my ImageWriter II sat ready to connect to the "digital hub."

Apple Store

Of course, I could've gone to the Schaumburg, IL (near Chicago) Apple Store and bought an iBook, but then I wouldn't have gotten the school discount. I also would have to pay for the gas to drive there (more than 2 hours, since traffic is not pretty), and would have to pay the Illinois sales tax (7%) as opposed to Indiana sales tax (5%).

Overall, I'm pretty happy (although rather bored from waiting) with the whole experience so far. Let's hope I get a box later today.... LEM

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