I’m not looking forward to switching to Vista. From the initial reports I’ve heard and read about, it just seems like the same old overpriced patchwork of an OS that M$ puts out every few years. The main reason why I’ve stuck with Windows for so long is because I have a pretty big selection of software and games that would be either difficult or impossible to use if I switched. But after some deliberation, I realized that I don’t use most of that software anymore anyway. I mulled over Linux (sometimes can be an absolute pain to track down drivers) and decided to take my first step away from Redmond by buying a Macbook.
It just came in yesterday and I haven’t had much time to play around with it and mostly I’m trying to painlessly figure out OS X. The last time I really used a Mac was in college when the computer science labs only had really old Macintosh and Sparcstations. Typical, us computer science majors were struggling with ancient hardware while the business majors had fancy new Pentium 3s (They were fancy at the time!)
My first impression of the Macbook and OS X is that I spent almost zero time getting it setup and on my wifi and personal network. The usual pain of turning off needless features on Windows was thankfully missing(I remember having to search forever to turn off those damn notifications that pop up on XP.) Dashboard and Expose are a beautiful thing.
The only complaint I have is a lack of a right click on the trackpad. I usually use a mouse when on a notebook computer (my hand cramps up with any trackpad) and right click will work fine with a mouse but I don’t understand why Apple is obstinate when it comes to right clicking.
It’s too early to tell if I’ll go all Mac but my first impressions are favorable of OS X. Any other switchers out there?
Flip from Alkaline Earth wrote a bunch of helpful hints in the comments that I thought deserved to be in this post.
I moved from PC to Mac — and I am a big giant computer geek with massively ingrained protocols amassed over 15+ years of PC use — and I couldn’t be happier. I had to rebuild my sis-in-laws dell notebook OS the other day, and all I could think during the 8+ hours to get the system going and the drivers installed and the 6-10 trips through windows update to get the OS locked down was how glad I was for switching.
A few transition tips:
* Under windows, I launch all my files from the taskbar. Until youget fluent with Quicksilver, you’ll want to have something that mimics the taskbar. Just drag your applications folder to the dock; you can then right click or control click on it to see a hierarchical apps menu:
* Instructions / one-time-fixer-script to make home/end go to start/end of line: http://www.starryhope.com/tech/apple/2006/keyfixer/. You can follow the DIY instructions to also fix control-arrow to move left/right by words.
* I use gtalk, which is not mac’ed yet. So instead I run google notifier http://toolbar.google.com/gmail-helper/notifier_mac.html and adium http://www.adiumx.com for IM.
* I stay away from the “uber-haxxor your system to run 1% better in border cases apps,” but FileBuddy http://www.skytag.com/filebuddy/ gives you good fine-grained access to your file system, including letting you mark files (in)visible from the finder. (See also SetFile below.)
* Put quick access to the character palette in your menubar:http://www.apple.com/pro/techniques/glyphspalette/
* Last.fm client for itunes (means you don’t have to run the crappy last.fm app): http://www.last.fm/group/iScrobbler
* Parallels 3.0 lets you run your legacy Win apps. The next BootCamp is sposda be almost as good.
A few great apps:
* Quicksilver is like the greatest thing evar. Install now. At some later point go through some tutorials
* Growl for system notifications
* VLC for video playback is good, enough that I don’t miss Zoom Player
* Azureus or Transmission for BitTorrent
* TVShows to Torrent-Subscribe to a TV show
* Chicken of the VNC / Remote Desktop Connection (from MS) for VNC/Windows Terminal remote control. Enable Apple Remote desktop, set up DynDNS, and poke a hole through all your router/firewalls for TCP ports 5800&5900. If you’re not comfortable leaving remote access on permanently, see http://lists.apple.com/archives/Macos-x-server/2005/Sep/msg01405.html but note that you have to restart to get a conxn.
* DynDNS widget (hit F12 then “get more widgets”) for DynDNS
* Cyberduck for graphical FTP
* Cog is like a winamp for mac if you need “just play this one damn mp3 I don’t need the awesome power of iTunes”
* Corripio can help with cover-arting your music, but is a work in progress
* Mozy for remote backup
Here are a few things that windows does better than mac:
* VERY IMPORTANT: when you copy a directory over another directory,it does not “match and overwrite moved files, leaving unmatched files alone” as do windows and unix. It overwrites, irreversibly, the target directory.
o Specifically, this means that if you are copying/moving adirectory, and the copy fails halfway through, you CANNOT just drag the directory over again. You have to move the CONTENTS of the old into the new, then delete the old container.
* NTFS and NFS shares are NOT READY FOR PRIMETIME on the mac. Sharesdon’t appear seamlessly in the filesystem, and can cause problems if they are unavailable (because, say, the remote machine is off). Sharity helps a lot with the mounting, but there are architectural issues I hope to hell are fixed in 10.5 leopard. Sharepoints makes sharing OUT your system fairly easy.
If you’re the triple-threat Unix type,
* follow instructions to install X.11, developer tools, and THENfink. I’d go to the fink homepage and do what they tell you.
* Enable SSH in the Sharing sys prefs panel.
* more resources
* You may run into some keyboard / clipboard issues. Make sure”Enable Keyboard Shortcuts” is checked on X11.app’s preferences: it enables cmd-C to copy AND clipboard autopaste. Also install the fink autocutsel package. Missing meta-X in emacs is a problem; I remapped to alt-control-X but I haven’t retrained yet. You can also use X config to make the command key your meta key, but you’ll have to do so on your other unices as well.
* Consider moving your home dir: http://www.bombich.com/mactips/homedir.html (but CAREFULLY)
* To make invisible:
o $ setfile -a V syncflip.txt
o To make visible:
o $ setfile -a v syncflip.txt
* to show/hide invisible files in the finder:
o $ defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
o $ killall finder
* mdls is metadata ls.
Chris, I just wrote a simpler, and possibly more up todate way to move your home directory., But like its been said before, you need to be careful doing it.