I recently switch to using a Mac for my main computer. I decided I didn’t want to move to vista and while I love ubuntu I don’t really want to use an os which still requires me to edit files in /etc to hook to a secure wifi access point. I do have a gutsy box I play around with and enjoy and there are several windows XP machines still in the house but we are definitely moving in the direction of Cupertino here at home.

I got a mac book pro and I have to say its the nicest piece of PC hardware I have ever owned. Its quiet, well built, and has lots of nice little touches that make working on it very satisfying. Most of the differences were expected. Its not like I have never used a mac before but some things suprised me both good and bad.

Unix like os underneath – By far the biggest positive surprise is how much this has helped my productivity. The shell in windows has always sucked and having the option of doing things with a nice gui or nice shell has really made things easy. Having all the linux tools like rsync etc available can be done on the pc via cygwin etc but it always seemed like a kludge whereas this is much nicer

Parallels – This suprised me in some good and some bad ways. First It seems to work very well even in Coherence mode where its liking having a PC and a Mac on the same desktop. I wanted parallels for testing with things like IE which don’t really exist on the mac. I figured I could just run the server for the Web app I’m making on the mac and then use IE/Paralles to talk to it as localhost. I haven’t been able to get that to actually work but it hasn’t really been a problem. Most of the time I just remote desktop (using a MS provided native Mac app) to a pc and do all the work there. I find I use Parallels alot less than I thought I would.

Firefox – sucks really bad on Mac. This one really surprised me. The Windows version of FF running under Parallels totally rules compared to the Mac version running native on the Mac. Camino is maybe a little better and you get shiny buttons but its still slow.

Safari 3.0 (beta)- Is really fast. I like it and if I ever get a mac with 10GB of ram I will like it even more.

Preview.app – starts up so much faster than Acrobat that somedays its enough reason to buy a mac all by itself.

Adium – I figured I would be using iChat on the Mac but some friends turned me onto Adium and I have never looked back. Maybe I’ll check out the leopard version of iChat but Adium is really pretty sweet. I don’t miss trillian at all.

Expose/Dashboard – I use and like these more than I thought I would.

Tethering with a Windows Mobile phone – Works sweet.

Mouse Buttons – While I still think its idiotic that macs ship PRO laptops with 1 button, it hasn’t been as much of a pain as I thought. The two fingers touching the trackpad while you click thing is pretty easy to get used to and works fine. I’m already finding it bugs me when PC laptops don’t work this way.

Control Keys – The placement of Ctrl-Option-Apple etc are pretty different and I’m still in transition here. Overall thought I think I’m pretty used to it. The first week or so was pretty rough. I have never been an expert key user and use the mouse for lots of things that most experts would do with key commands.

I’ll probably try out leopard this weekend but from the little time I spent with it at the store so far I’m underwhelmed. The big selling point for me is the development enviroment changes which proport to include better python support (yay!).







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