Switched to Mac

I’ve re-started this post three times now trying to think of something witty to say.  Bottom line, I’m typing this post on my sexy new Macbook.  Yup, I’ve succumbed to the allure of the Mac.  I’m not sure if its those clever but over-played “Hi I’m a PC and I’m a Mac” commercials that I always skip through for some other cosmic factor, but here I am. 
Mac desktop

I figured it would be a pretty easy transition.  I frequently flip operating systems (Windows and LInux).  Pretty much every app I rely on is either open source (Firefox, Tunderbird, Open Office, Apache, etc), or is available on the Mac (the Adobe suite).  The ones that aren’t have nice Mac equivalents (I liked HeidiSQL on Windows.  The Mac has CocoaSQL).

It’s been about 24 hours, and I have to say that I’m already much more enamoured of it then I was with my last Linux experiment*.  That said though, there is a learning curve here.  Despite the shortcoming of Windows, I was extraordinarily productive in it.  Last summer I hurt my right hand, and needed to use the mouse with my left for a bunch of days.  Try it for 5 minutes when you’re done reading this.  If you’re like me, you’ll find it just feels “awkward” at first, but you get pretty good at it after a while.  That’s kind of how I fee about the Mac right now, like I’m trying to use my off-hand.  Everything is just a little bit off for me.

For example, I installed a bunch of software, and out of curiosity I wondered how much disk space I had left.  No problem I’ll just… um… ok where is that on a Mac?  Expose is freakin’ brilliant.  I hardly miss the taskbar, but I do like being able to tell at a glance what’s open.  I’ll have to get used to that.  I’ve got a 5 button mouse.  Hmmm time to figure out how I can make the left side “copy” and the right side “paste”.  These are the types of little things I’m working with.  Yes I know that they are “simple” - these are just small examples of the little things that you get used to on your own system.

On the plus, the little hardware touches are great.  The keyboard feels terrific (and its quiet), the magnetic monitor and plug rock my world, and it is true that things have tended to “just work” for me.  Wireless?  A treat!  My Linux wireless… well, it sucked.  I can “grep” and “man” with the best of them, but even I hated that labyrinth of technical confusion.  Wireless on Windows… well, I guess I figured it out, but it still felt awkward.  I needed to use some an Intel Wireless program, and it pretty much decided which network it would connect to (if it would connect at all) based on astrological signs as near as I can figure.  The Mac?  Simple, elegant, functional.  I like it very much.  Makes smart decisions.

So I’m looking forward to this little Macbook becoming my main “work” machine.  I’ll try to post a few more experiences as I go forward.

* Incidentally, I love Linux (Suse rocks) and I love the ethics and philosophy around Linux, but I tried it, and I just couldn’t get to a point where I was comfortable.

This entry was made on and filed into Mac, Noteworthy.


Yannick wrote on

Am I like the only one now who hasn’t got a Mac? j/k I k now there are many who haven’t. I’ve often thought about getting a Mac, but until that day comes, I’ll be rolling with Linux at home and Windows at work. Well…at work I really don’t have a choice.

Enjoy Derek! :)

Gilles wrote on

No Yannick, you’re not! I am too! :) I use Windows on my laptop (forced, because it is incompatible with Linux) and Linux on my home PC. I love Linux and use it for a while (yeah! SUSE Rocks!) but my next laptop will be a Mac. This operating system is much more productive and sexy than all others. Like you, Derek, I love the ethics and philosophy around Linux, I love “geek” things, I will continue to use Linux for geek things and networking/hosting stuff but now I need a simple, stable, elegant and __functional__ operating system to save time and make my eyes and my brain happy :)

Derek, your post makes me envious! And nice wallpaper! ;)

Yep, enjoy! :)

John wrote on

Phooey to macs i say! A chum of mine is a re-toucher and has done very high profile stuff, he uses a really really beefed up mac at work and has a pc and mac at home.
He does like macs but he doesn’t get into the whole mine is better than yours thing. Why? Because when you get down to it PC’s and macs are as buggy as each other when it comes to doing the big stuff. He says his work mac crashes fairly regularily, hangs, comes up with random errors etc etc etc. Mydelf, i think that any operating system that comes with a one button mouse as standard is the work of the devil….

James Nicol wrote on

About freakin time Derek!! I have one word for you MAMP, a really great open source LAMP install.
I really want to get a Macbook as well, but for now my Intel iMac is just so useful. I will never go back….never you hear!!!!

Lewis wrote on

...and it’s at this point that I’m forced to remove you from my Netvibes feed reader :P

Madz wrote on

Aha! There you are! Enjoying the new baby I see…lol. I have had the opportunity to work with Mac before and I quite miss it. It was the older mac but still I loved it and miss it. It did take a little bit of adjustment but it’s very intuitive (for me anyways) that you can figure out exactly where you are. Like you said, you had gotten used to PC knowing where to go when to check your drive space. But with MAC, you will see…it’s quite easy. I have the tendency of having a clean desktop with my PC, I hate shortcuts esp. ones that you can get easily. Why would there be duplicates of shortcuts? One thing to warn you though, watch out for those pop-ups. I’ve heard of them…lol. Have fun with the Mac!

btw. this is a left handed mouse user (since mid 2006)

Matthew Pennell wrote on

I use a Mac at work and a PC at home, so I get to look down on both groups of users. ;)

Derek - what code editor are you using, out of curiosity? I’ve settled on Aptana because of its cross-platform availability - I don’t need to learn a different interface on PC and Mac.

It’s also a great JavaScript IDE, which really speeds up my JS coding. Shame it sucks a little when faced with PHP, but you can’t have everything…

Cliff Persaud wrote on

Another one falls to the dark side.  One question how’s transferring files that you’ve worked on in your MAC into the install of windows?  Are there the same issues as before? Can go PC to Mac but not the reverse?

Derek Jones wrote on

Welcome, Derek, we have been waiting for you. ::evil grin::

We can talk details and such later, but to at least address what you have posted about, click on your Desktop in an empty area, and hit CMD+J (View / Show View Options in the Finder menu).  Check the “Show item info” option and the details of your attached drives and image file sizes, etc. will be right there at a glance.

Ethan wrote on

Congrats!  I second the MAMP application, and add Headdress and CocoaMySQL and of course… TextMate!

Derek wrote on

Thanks All!

@James: Yeah, actually MAMP was among the first things I installed… firefox, thunderbird, MAMP, then parallels, the Adobe apps and then Open Office (which actually runs pretty sweetly despite its “beta” status on the Mac).

@Matthew: Boy you got that right… Aptana’s PHP support is the pits, but as an open source editor its pretty nice.  I might go the way of textmate some day, but I tend to use Dreamweaver for all my coding needs, and I can’t imagine that changing anytime soon.  If you (not YOU Matt, just anyone reading this) still think of Dreamweaver as a crappy wysiwyg tool used by newbies, well give it another shot.  There is nothing I can find in that any other editor has that DW lacks, except for the custom ExpressionEngine lanugage pack created by Chris Ruzin (which does rock).  As an editor though, its top notch - and yes expensive… but we’re talking about my living here, I’m not getting cheap now.

@D’Jones: Thanks man.  Funny, before I blogged I mentioned the disk-space thing to 2 Mac-heads that I see every day, and I had that one answered 3 ways in less then 30 seconds!  Mac users rule.

Wonder Monkey wrote on

Hey Derek, that’s awesome. I remember I was going through exactly what you are now, about 18 months ago. Aww, that was a special time.

In the mean time, check out these tips for switching which I wish I’d read on the second or third day of Mac user ownership. So yeah, now’s about the right time I think.

Derek Jones wrote on

Open Office or NeoOffice?  The latter doesn’t require X11 and works a bit more like a standard Mac app.

Chris Ruzin wrote on

I use NeoOffice instead of OpenOffice. No need for X11, and it works quite well. I’m not a heavy Office user though so your mileage may vary.

Shadowhand wrote on

Personally, I think that Mail(.app) and Camino are much faster than the usual “bird and fox” combo.

I also recommend NeoOffice over OpenOffice, as others have mentioned.

I hope the switch works out good for you, I’m quite pleased with my MacBook!

Eric wrote on

I am a recent switcher as well and I absolutely love my mac. My daily working environment   is Firefox, PHP Eclipse, and Fireworks. 

But I will have to check out NeoOffice because I am sick of open office taking forever to load with xll.

Anthony M wrote on

Welcome to the Mac fold. I got a MacBook a few weeks ago too.

I’m still getting used to it. I sometimes feel like I’m burrowing through windows when I want to drag and drop stuff.

I haven’t figured out the best PHP editing to SCP/SFTP workflow yet. I’m cheap so I’m not all that excited about BBEdit and FUGU doesn’t have great options of integrated text editors…I guess it would help if I was cmd line literate…

crimp wrote on


Leave your dock visible and you basically have your taskbar for running apps…

Me, I like every pixel of the screen to be more productive ;-)