Going Mac

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?


Update:

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.

Some resources:

* http://www.apple.com/pro/tips/
* http://www.macosxhints.com/
* http://lifehacker.com/software/mac-os-x/
* http://www.tuaw.com/

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:

o http://western-skies.blogspot.com
* 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
* FlickrExport

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
o http://www.astro.cornell.edu/staff/loredo/unix2mac/
o http://bhami.com/rosetta.html
* 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.

Update 2:


Stretch writes:

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.

http://www.insidestretch.com/2007/07/10/moving-your-home-folder-on-os-x/

55 Comments

  1. I switched from PC to Mac almost two years ago, and I love it! At first I was resistant, but now, i hate having to go to work and use a PC. I’m constantly trying to use my hot corners to get to Dashboard, which obviously doesn’t work on a PC. Though I’m not too tech savvy, I am so, so happy that I made the switch. And hey, if nothing else, Macs just look cooler.

  2. I’m a college teacher and I made the switch about a year ago. I was hesitant at first but now I’d never even consider going back. I would predict that within 6-8 weeks, you’ll look back and wish you’d jumped sooner.

    BTW, you probably already know the two finger trick with the pad but, just in case you or anyone else doesn’t, if you rest two fingers together on the pad and then click with your other hand, it acts as a right click. This wouldn’t be my preference either, but you get used to it.

  3. The software argument makes a good deal of sense for me, too. Most of the stuff I use is Mac friendly or has equivalents.

    I’d consider a Mac when it comes time for me to score a new PC in a few months.

  4. Once you go Mac you will never go back.
    Option click does the 2 button mouse thing, or the real genious of Mac is you can use a 2 button mouse!
    Enjoy.

  5. Use two fingers on the track pad to right click. You may have to go into preferences to set this. Two fingers will also allow you to scroll around as you drag them. Macs are not perfect, but they sure come close.

  6. I switched 8 months ago. I do software development for a living. One of my clients has software I need to use that only works with Windows. For this I run XP in Parallels and I find this to be a perfect setup – full speed of the processor with the ability to easily have multiple “machines” available. I have a full development system in Parallels with Oracle and SQL Server databases, a large Java IDE and webserver. Even with all this running the Windows environment is more responsive than my old Windows system.

    For the right click just use two fingers on the trackpad while clicking the button. I fumed about this for a few days too, but it is now second nature. Maybe someday they will put two buttons on their mice and trackpads.

    I really can’t come up with a single thing I like about Windows better than OSX.

  7. I’ve had to deal with both all my life, (like most people). Macs at home and for personal use and PCs whenever I was at school or now at University.

    Personal use has evolved over time into professional use as I’m now a self-employed graphic designer and so I thankfully don’t have to use a PC (windows) all that much at all.

    I’m not someone who takes sides like with a sports team. I just look at the facts and my head says Mac. The bonus is that it looks pretty nice too.

    Even though I understand that millions of office-type companies buy PCs by default, I’m still amazed when I hear that the computer market for Mac is very small. The media give out a false impression I guess, because if there’s a computer on TV it’s bound to be a Mac… for obvious reasons.

  8. LL, I probably wouldn’t have made the switch if not for them going to Intel for the very reason you just mentioned.

    The right-click is a habit that will take some time to get used to for the track pad….. I’ll try the two finger trick and I think it is a setting. But when using a mouse it won’t matter.

  9. I love counter strike:source too much, and will probably have an addiction to Team Fortress 2 when it comes out. Sadly, there’s only 1 real option for me, but I’ll survive.

  10. I switched 4 years ago and have never looked back. Honestly, you may go either way though. I got my dad to switch from PC to Mac and he enjoys it, but is really entrenched in PC thinking which makes it harder to switch to the ideology of mac (i.e. economy of effort a la, why no right click). So having said all that, enjoy, I hope it goes well for you.

  11. I never switched, because I’ve used Macs since 1988 -right after the Apple II. But recently I bought a new optical mouse -the first mouse I ever had with TWO buttons AND a scroll wheel! The right click on this mouse works just like the old apple/click I was used to. You might try another mouse, but I don’t know a thing about laptops.

  12. I switched over as soon as they added the dual boot option. I play a lot of PC Games that can’t be played on a Mac so I use a Mac Pro now, it’s just the best (and fastest) computer I’ve ever used. I use OS X for everything but gaming, it’s just more user friendly.

  13. Welcome to our side! I made the switch 2 years ago. Like everyone else is saying, I agree, you will NEVER go back. It is frustrating that software and downloads are often not up to par with their PC counterparts if they are available at all, but the pros definitely outweight the cons. I’m excited for you!

  14. I have a pc at home and the wife is agitating for a mac, which will happen sooner or later i’m guessing. But i used to use a mac at my advertising job (back in the day, back in the day pre os-x) and I had one of those super pimped out four button mousies and i could program all the buttons to do whatever I wanted. I could right click, i could side click, left click, other side click. It was just plug and play, as it were, but try whatever the Mac control panel feature is these days and see if there isn’t some way to program your mouse to do what your pc mouse did.

  15. I have always been Mac at home and since my day job is supporting Windows computers and networks it’s a relief to just go home and it works.
    I do some gaming on my old iMac, mostly some Quake 3 engined games so nothing fancy but I did get a Logitech 5 button mouse and a nice little shareware app called ‘Steermouse’ that lets me program up the buttons just like Logitech’s own program but better 🙂
    For The Critic I suggest taking a look at Steermouse.
    Next year will be Tech Refresh at home for me, probalby a new iMac with the 256mb of video memory.
    Version Tracker is a good source for looking up Mac software, as is the downloads section at the Apple site. Dashboardwidgets.com is good for looking up new widgets.

  16. For RIGHTCLICK:

    – control-click acts as a right click. If you park yr left hand on the left side of the keyboard, its negligibly easy to r-click. Also, you pinky will be right next to the FUNCTION key; FCTN+down/up arrow gives you pageup/pagedown, which is really nice for quickly navigating a page…give it a try…

  17. I’m not a switcher, but would strongly advise that you do so if you can afford it. I have been a Mac user ever since I first saw the GUI when the Mac first appeared (and I used the Apple II before that).

    I currently use a dual-G5 PowerMac (PPC), but I masturbate thinking about a MacPro Intel 8-core. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to consummate such a union until prices drop.

    Apple makes great computers, but their mice suck. I just buy a third party mouse and use it. I also use an external mouse with my ancient G3 Powerbook (when I can) so I don’t have to mess the option-click problem.

    CULT OF MAC and PROUD!

  18. i have to put in a plug for having more than two buttons. i use a four-button plus scroll wheel trackball (kensington expertmouse) with my mac, and love it. with the software you download from kensington (which installs just where you’d want it, as a preference pane in system preferences) you can even set the button behavior to change dynamically based on what application is active. single-clicks for copy and paste in addition to right and left click. when i’m in a unix terminal, one of them changes to middle click. when in my mail app, clicking the top two buttons together checks my mail–in all other apps, it hits the return key. clicking the bottom two buttons together pauses/plays itunes. and if i hold down the shift key, the scroll wheel scrolls horizontally instead of vertically. this thing shaves a split second off three hundred repetitive tasks per day for me, and i love it.

    and i love macs. but i’m also not a switcher. i grew up with them since 1984. it’s funny how fanatical people get about them. i myself am strongly anti-big-business and fairly anti-marketing, but i have tremendous brand loyalty to apple and to almost no other company. i wonder if this speaks to their marketing savvy, the genuine superiority of their products, or to some deep aspect of human nature, supporting the rebellion against the evil galactic empire?

  19. Yes, the comments are pretty one-sided. It’s not like Mac users purposely switch back to Windows, unless they have to for professional reasons. (eg)

    I switched to a MiniMac two years ago, and progressed my dependence slowly. Still use the Windows laptops for work, but the MiniMac is now my heart and soul, and the Windows machines my soulless connection to the rat race.

    I could run parallels, but I don’t want or need to contaminate my MiniMac.

    Lifehacker has some tips for the recently converted, including my favorite Double Command which lets me use some ingrained PC keystrokes on the Mac.

    Good luck and have fun with the new machine.

  20. Plenty of people have already brought up the control key + mouseclick trick, which Apple have had for years, so I’ll just ignore that and mention Apple’s Mighty Mouse – multi-button, Scroll Ball (sort of like a scroll wheel, only not just up and down)… it even comes in wireless or wired versions (the wireless one will need battery power, since it can’t get power from the USB socket)…

  21. Mac user here, as well. I switched (completely) about two years ago. I now own a brand new Macbook as well as a highly upgraded/customized mac-mini. Like everyone else has said, once you’ve used the OS-X GUI for more than a week or two, going back to the PC/Windows format becomes the most frustrating and infuriating task ever!

    I’m happy to see people recommend the two-finger track pad equivolent for “right-click” (it’s in the system preferences/mouse/trackpad section), but I’d like to point out that Apple’s “Mighty Mouse” has a right-click button. The mouse doesn’t physically look like it has *any* buttons, but it does have sensors which, quite accurately, tell whether you are right clicking or left-clicking – as well as 3 other buttons, all of which are customizable by default. Seriously, Mac’s are the most intuitive machines out there. If there is something you desire your machine to do, there is a way to do it — and often, it’s quite simple.

    A site that may be interesting to you in the future is: http://www.iusethis.com – a site that promotes Mac software, most of which is freeware, and quite good.

    Also, if you don’t feel like using Windows on a partition of your new Mac, but sometimes need to run a windows app, there are alternatives (many), and more being introduced daily.

    As an aside, in the years I’ve been using Mac, the only programs that I’ve ever had “crash” on me were, ironically, Microsoft Office For Mac and Microsoft Entourage. They freeze up, lose info, etc. on just about a monthly basis, which helps to remind me that I never want to go back to M$.

  22. I’ve used a pc all my life but tonight I am buying my daughter a macbook for her 16th birthday – she has a lot of difficulty moving her work from school (mac) to home (pc) and I’m hoping this will take her through a couple of years of college. I’m splurging and getting her the one with the larger hard drive and 2GB memory! I watched her use it at the mac store and couldnt believe what she knew how to do with it!! kids are so cool these days….

  23. I hate Macs. I’m special apparently 🙂

    To be honest I expect I wouldn’t hate them I ever gave one a fair go, but I really hate learning new software let alone new OSs. I’m just not willing to using a machine I despise for the time it’d take me to change my mind.

  24. I just switched back to Mac a couple of weeks ago after years with a PC.

    You can configure the mighty mouse to right click on its right side.

    What I miss is the mouse button click for browser back page.

    Also, Quicken for the Mac isn’t as good as Quicken for the PC.

    Otherwise I’m happy.

  25. Schmoo, try one at the store. You will find it’s very easy to use. If you are a power user you will find the unix core most refreshing after coming from Windows. If you are just a basic user it should take you just a few days to learn all you need to do to efficiently use the thing. After that you will be saving time and frustration. And, if after a few weeks you find you still like Windows, install boot camp and a Windows partition and you will still have one of the nicest Windows machines made – the hardware is as nice as the OS. I have yet to see any Windows hardware that comes close to the feel of the MacBook.

  26. I have been planning on going for a Mac Book Pro for a while. I’m saving up. I’ve never used a Mac but people have persuaded me they simply just work better. I have heard some techy people complain that a Mac is “slick”.. “they are good at GUIs” but their biggest technical complaint is that when it installs software, it is hard to track down all the places it puts it – like that’s just so cut and dry in Windoze.

  27. Welcome Chris. I’ve been using a Mac since 1990 and have had 11 of them so far! And Ihave the joy of using Macs in my line of work. Our office has two PC’s which we only use to test videos we send to clients. Every person I’ve loaned a Mac to has ended up buying one – because they work.

    Hpe you enjoy the switch!

  28. Chris

    I bought a G4 powermac off ebay earlier this year for the dragon and her graphic design course – and I love it- found bits to upgrade it i had around the place (though it’s finiky about clock speeds on mem and the need for “special” optical drives with boot chips).

    While it didn’t come with a mouse I used a usb “PC” mouse AND LO & BEHOLD the RIGHT BUTTON WORKS!!! you get menus when you right click.

    So now when she uses it, the “nipple mouse” (hmmmm nipples!!!) or mighty mouse gets plugged in – and when I use it – swap to the PC mouse.
    (this is a pc network manager raving about a mac here – how sad does it get!!)

  29. well i can’t add much that anyone else hasn’t already said, but i was strictly a PC user in the US back in 2005 with an ignorant hatred of Macs, came to Australia for university, was forced to use Macs for heavy Photoshop work related to my degree, and long story short, I bought a 12″ PowerBook, and now whenever I’m forced to use a PC, I feel like I’m back in the stone age.

    Almost never have problems with hangups with the Mac, it’s so user friendly. Love everything about Macs except the price and their fucking region code change limit with the DVD Player (I use VLC Player for out of region DVDs but it doesn’t work with all the movies).

  30. Well, I switched from Apple about 8 years ago. I’d just purchased my 5th Mac and was having trouble with it. Apple’s telephone support person was downright rude and hung up on me. I resolved right then and there: Apple, you blew it. I was a loyal user since 1984 but after they treated me like a disposable napkin, no more. From then on I’ve used PC’s.

    Yes, Apple’s OS is superior to Microsoft’s. When you choose the parts and pieces that go into your computer, you can QC the drivers and other software for stability and compatibility.

    I considered Apple about 6 months ago when I needed a new notebook computer. At the time, a 17″ powerbook was almost twice as much as an equivalent Dell when equipped with the same processor, same memory, and same hard drive, nor did it have the wonderful 1920 x 1200 screen on the Dell, nor was it’s graphics processor as fast.

    Yeah, the Dell is a butt-ugly computer compared to the Apple. So what. My wife is beautiful, that’s what matters to me.

  31. LL: You miss my point – I have no desire at all to change to a mac. I’m aware I might be happy with the descision if I made it, it certainly sounds like I would from this thread, but it’s by no means guaranteed and I’m not willing to go through the change to find out. Half of my life is on a computer, it would be no small thing to swap.

  32. Fuck mac Fuck Microsoft

    UP GNU!!!

    cynicals using macs?? You are just rich bastards
    Recycle your computers from the rabbish, use frre software or depend of propietary software and big bastards companies..

    Eat the rich!!

  33. Dave said

    At the time, a 17″ powerbook was almost twice as much as an equivalent Dell when equipped with the same processor, same memory, and same hard drive, nor did it have the wonderful 1920 x 1200 screen on the Dell, nor was it’s graphics processor as fast.

    I have never heard of this. Actually, just take a cursory search of comparison sites and you find that Apple beats out, or is sometimes equal to, all comps based on performance and hardware to price ratio, not to mention included software packages. I think maybe you were looking in the wrong places, or at erroneous data.

  34. I switched to Ubuntu in summer ‘05.

    Me too and I don’t want to look back. Now just seeing a Windoze desktop gives me the creeps.

    Yay Ubuntu! Yay Beryl!

  35. It’s been a little over a year since I switched and I don’t think I will ever go back. I always worked on Macs and even had one of those swivel-head iMacs at my old job, so it wasn’t a difficult transition.

    I’ve found with VMware that I can run Windows XP if I need to anyway! The ONLY downside is gaming, because with all the stupid DirectX/OpenGL business, and the insane variety of drivers and graphics platforms… I’ve found some games just won’t work on this machine. Oh well… I have better things to do with it!

  36. My history:

    – VIC-20 (Commodore-64’s precursor)
    – Commodore-64
    – Some CP/M thing
    – Some strange, Swedish proprietary thing
    – IBM-PPC (Portable (luggable) PC — 9″ amber screen)

    At this point, I’d gotten into assembly programming, and Intel CPUs were completely inferior to Motorola’s and I had three choices: Mac, Amiga and Atari-ST. I’d played with the Mac when it originally came out in ’84 (the 128K model) and absolutely LOVED it — but it was way too expensive. The Amiga didn’t have enough software (except for games), so it was the Atari-ST 1024 for me. Then, the Mac Plus came out — the first truly useful one, with 1M memory, and the prices dropped, so I switched. And I’d never been happier.

    When people asked for advice, I told them to get a PC if they had a PC at work, otherwise go Mac. The Mac was just completely superior at that point — particularly for non-computer nerds.

    When Windows 95 came out, the Mac was still better, but the convenience of having a much more common computer outweighed it. Ever since, I’ve been PC — although I’ve used a ton of different system in my work — including Macs.

    Problem with Macs is, they’ve always been more expensive. And you’re locking yourself in with a single vendor — never a good idea. Especially with a vendor headed by someone who is as certifiably batshit insane as Jobs.

    Once upon a time, the Mac was the only machine that could handle graphics properly, but the PCs caught up at least a decade ago. I’m pragmatic about it; I’ll use whatever gets the job done.

    Mac users used to be reasonable people, when I was into Macs. But since those days, it seems they have grown into some goddamn cult.

    I’m not looking to switch, but the only route I could imagine would be towards Ubuntu…

  37. Neil,

    You don’t need to go to a third party site to compare Dell vs. Apple, you can do it yourself by going to their respective sites and configure each computer similarly. When I purchased, I configured the Macbook Pro and Dell Inspiron similarly – The Macbook pro was over $3,000 and the Dell was $1,600 from an ebay reseller. And it wasn’t a fair comparison because Apple didn’t offer the high-resolution screen or the faster graphics processor. At the time people were arbitraging Dells by taking advantage of coupon stacking, and then reselling the systems on ebay. Dell is no longer selling the Inspiron, it looks like it’s been replaced by the Vostro, but you can still configure them similarly and you’ll see a marked difference in price. Conversely, load up a Vostro and see how much more you get for the same price as a Macbook Pro.

    If you’re a smart shopper, you can almost always find more horsepower for you dollar in the PC world. Since switching from Apple 8 years ago, I’ve found that I can upgrade to a new PC twice as often for the same dollar outlay.

  38. …it seems they have grown into some goddamn cult.

    Yep… plus I reckon at least half the population of mac users are more PC-haters than mac-lovers. Half the ones I know are anyway 🙂

  39. 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.

    Some resources:
    http://www.apple.com/pro/tips/
    http://www.macosxtips.com
    http://www.bombich.com/mactips/homedir.html
    http://lifehacker.com/software/mac-os-x/

    A few transition tips:
    – Under windows, I launch all my files from the taskbar. Until you get 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:
    http://western-skies.blogspot.com/2006/07/tip-managing-applications-on-os-x.html
    – 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.
    – 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.
    – 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
    – 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 teh 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.
    – Specifically, this means that if you are copying/moving a directory, 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. Shares don’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 THEN fink. I’d go to the fink homepage and do what they tell you
    – more resources
    http://www.astro.cornell.edu/staff/loredo/unix2mac/
    http://bhami.com/rosetta.html
    Do this even if you don’t program; the dev tools have many useful utilities.
    – 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.
    – To make invisible:
    $ setfile -a V syncflip.txt
    To make visible:
    $ setfile -a v syncflip.txt
    – to show/hide invisible files in the finder:
    $ defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
    $ killall finder
    – mdls is metadata ls.

  40. Since you mentioned it, how do you turn off notifications in xp?

    I recently got a refurbished Dell with XP to avoid Vista. My guess is that it’s full of “smart” features that make doing things more difficult.

  41. Welcome to the world of Macs! Like others have said here, I too predict you will soon wonder why you didn’t switch earlier. I resisted for years against Macs but my husband convinced me and I have never looked longingly at a PC since! We have five computers in our house–all Macs of varying generations. We even got my inlaws to switch after they were having so much trouble with spam and viruses on their PC. They have no regrets about switching, especially when they’ve realized how easy it is to plug and play.
    Still working on the other relatives….

  42. Before I bought the 17″ Macbook Pro I did the price comparison thing with Dell. This is from memory, but at the time the Dell came out to be about $100 cheaper, with mostly equivalent specs. On a $3200 machine this was insignificant. Doing the same thing today with the M90 they are still roughly the same price, but my Macbook will drive my 30″ screen (a Dell).

    The nice thing about Dell is they make machines that are in between the Macbook and the Mackbook Pro as well as lesser machines than the Macbook. However on Dell’s cheaper hardware you frequently get subpar screens and build quality (judging by a relative’s recent purchase).

    My point isn’t that Mac is better priced, just that when you configure a high-end machine from either the price is about the same. Apple doesn’t build low-end machines, so you won’t find the cheapest hardware from them.

  43. I had a mac back in the early 90’s and sort of moved away from it when I got a free PC in 96 but about 2 and a half years back I got a Mac Mini G4 after deciding to give Mac a try that year… I’ve never looked back, I was a fool for spending so long tossing over switching or not since it was worth it in every single way. Good choice Chris on the switch. 🙂 It may of costed a little more hardware wise but it is worth every dollar.

  44. I own 4 Macs, and like you with your sister’s Dell, I had to rebuild 3 of them. My PowerBook I had to rebuild 3 times and my MacBook and Mac Mini 2 times. As you start to frequent Mac forums, you’ll notice there’s a comparable percentage of people with Mac issues as there is with Windows issues.
    Also, a lot of Windows updates were to fix things that general users aren’t intelligent enough, or don’t want, to fix on there own – it’s like hand holding. I liken the mentality to changing a car’s oil. So, if I don’t change my oil, should I be upset with Dodge, Ford, or Chevy, because my engine seized? When should the user start to take responsibility?
    That being said, each system has benefits over the others. So I think it comes down to personal preference. After using Macs for almost 3 years, I can really appreciate Vista, compared to a typical XP/non-mac user. So I hope you enjoy your transition.
    For Vista/XP fans who want a comparable Quicksilver for Windows, try http://www.launchy.net/

  45. I just switched to MacBook two months ago. I think Mac is so much better, both user friendly, secure and come first with smart solutions.

    Hmm… MacBook does not offer right click?

    Wrong… CTRL+click is right click…
    If you buy the Mac mouse, it offers you four different types of clicks. It’s not a problem if you use an external mouse. I don’t consider it problematic at all, as I first feared. Most is done by using shortcuts on the keyboard.

    fn + backspace is delete…
    @ is a button.
    ó and é are easier to type.

    OSX do require less memory to run several programs at once.
    The speed is faster than the specifications may indicate.
    It’s nice and smooth.

    And best of all: No virus or unnecessary errors.

    I recommend MacBook as laptop.

  46. As far I consider, one can buy PowerMac (stationary) with eight cores, each of them 3 MHz…

    …and install Vista on it…

    If problems occur, one can always reinstall Vista… without loosing any content on the hard drive…

    And I think 2,14 MHz x2 is nice.

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