This seems to be a perfect time to review my new Macbook that I’ve been using for the last several weeks.
Some background first. I haven’t used a Mac since college where us Comp Sci majors had only two computer labs where one was all Mac and the other was running Sparc Stations. Both were far from state of the art and I haven’t had an opportunity to use a Mac since. I was a MFC developer after college which meant I really needed to run at least one Windows platform at to run Visual Studio and my other computer was an early Linux box. (I can’t remember what flavor, but probably Red Hat).
The learning curve for switching from Windows to Mac isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I think one of the most trickiest parts for me in the beginning was remembering that OSX has a Unix foundation and that drives, dvds, etc need to be mounted in order to be used. This was the biggest difficulty I had when connecting to a shared folder on a windows drive when I kept clicking on the share expecting it to show up in finder and forgetting that it had mounted to the desktop. The other hurdle was on installing programs. Most programs on Macs are installed by clicking on the .dmg file and dragging the icon to the applications folder. I kept waiting for a status bar to pop up. Uninstalling was something I wasn’t used to either. Wait, I just have to drag the icon to the trash? What about the Mac registry? There is no registry? WOOO HOOO. As someone who has programmed windows applications including Installshield scripts, the windows registry has been the bane of my existence for years. Instead of doing away with the registry, it seems that M$ just adds more things to it every year. And to make matters worse, a lot of programs that you install have a crappy uninstallation script which means the registry gets more cluttered as your computer ages.
The Macbook itself is a nice piece of hardware. Small, lightweight with a camera built into the top. There are several small features I’m in love with. The power cord attaches to the Mac by a magnet which breaks away cleanly if you accidentally trip over it without taking the computer with it. Cynikitty has already tripped over it twice (I think he does it on purpose) and both times the computer stayed on the table. You can check the battery charge without turning the computer on which is a very nice touch.
OS X runs fine right out of the box with minimal tweaking. I hated XP for all the little things that you had to turn off once you got it. The pop up tray notifier is one of the most annoying things since Clippy. For some reason, MS has messenger turned on as a default which means as soon as you turn on your computer, Windows Messenger is online. And it’s been a while since I turned it off but I remember it being a bit of a chore on figuring out how to turn the damn thing off. Not every time I go on my computer do I want Messenger on. Call me antisocial.
There are some beautiful features in OS X. I’m in love with hot corners, the dashboard’s desktop applets, and at how intuitive the options for configuration are. I haven’t had any problems in crashes or quirky behavior so far. (I had managed to crash Windows XP on my notebook in a matter of 3 days. And a crash that was so severe that I couldn’t recover and had to reinstall). Just about all the programs that I use are available for OS X (Firefox, Thunderbird, MS Office), plus several that aren’t available for Windows (Final Cut Pro which is a big one). I was a bit unhappy that Trillian doesn’t have a port for OS X and very unhappy that IrfanView didn’t either.(My favorite lightweight graphic application)
Mrs. C. is due for a computer upgrade soon and it looks like we’ll be going for an iMac. I guess once you go Mac…