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Switching To a Mac

06.20.07 | 1 Comment

Apple Logo

I’m halfway through my third week in a new job. I’ll write more about that in the next post. The new place is primarily a web design shop and everyone here uses a Macintosh notebook. Not one to buck a trend, I have switched, professionally at least, from a Windows PC to a MacBook.

I chose to use a new MacBook. I was fortunate in that the week before I bought one, Apple release a new revision with faster processors. I have a black MacBook with a Duo Core 2.2 GHz CPU, 2 GB of memory and a 160 GB disk drive. The MacBook sports a small 13” screen running as 1280 x 800 resolution. I have been interested in downsizing from a 15.4” screen for a while, and after thinking long and hard, I went small. I really wish that the screen ran at a higher native resolution as I don’t have vision problems and really prefer a high-res and tight pixel count. My last PC was running at a super-high 1920 x 1200 pixel count and I loved the reaction of people… “how can you read that thing?!” I have adjusted to the screen size and resolution and since I now travel to and from work on a train, I can appreciate the smaller size and lighter weight.

I have been battling the learning curve in jumping from Windows to Mac.

  • Things are in different places.
  • Different keys do different things.
  • Things are different things.

I am finding the learning curve to be much simpler than expected and I attribute some of this to my outlook. I am making the switch with a extremely optimistic outlook as I am actually excited about making the switch. I have been very, very interested in moving to a Mac for a few years. Originally the Unix underpinnings of MacOS X was appealing to me as I know Unix syntax pretty well and having it on the desktop attracted my inner geek. More recently, the fast Duo Core procs and the the ability to run Windows was an added attraction.

I decided to use Apple Mail as my mail client. I tried Thunderbird, but it ran into difficulty import my corporate and Yahoo! address books. Also, many in the office use Mail. I am using iCal as my calendar client. I am not thrilled with either and will probably try out a few others including Microsoft Entourage and Zimbra over the next month. I was going to use Safari as my browser by Y! Mail doesn’t support it and it’s got a pretty bad opinion amongst those who work on Macs.

For web development I am excited to try Coda. Historically I have used EditPlus and Dreamweaver. After using Coda for a couple days, it is really built for the way that I work. There’s no design view, which is fine. It uses a tab-metaphor for working on multiple files and also has a built-in terminal for working on local and remote Unix servers. Code has a built-in JavaScript debugger and reference books as well. I found myself previewing in FireFox and using the FireBug extension instead of previewing with Coda today since it doesn’t do pop-up windows and the JS debugger seems immature. Coda licensed the SubEthaEdit engine for code sharing, so I’m excited to try that out soon.

Let’s see, some other software that I’m running in no particular order:

Sorry Steve Jobs, but a single button mouse is just dumb. The mighty mouse is a step in the right direction, but still no good for me. My hand have expected all mice to fit like the Microsoft Optical Mouse 5000, so that’s what I am using when tethered to a desk. I’ll tell you though that I do like the two-finger gesturing supported on the trackpad for scrolling and such. I am also using an external 20” widescreen flat panel at my desk and this is something new since I opted to just use the 15” screen of my laptop as a primary display for over a year.

Wndows Logo

Of course there’s those one or two apps that only runs on Windows and for that, and for browser testing, I am running Parallels. Coherence mode is freaking amazing. The ability to drag and drop files between Finder and Explorer rocks and the ability to have both Safari and IE up side-by-side is a terrific. So far, the performance of Windows XP under Parallels virtualization has been great. My big test is to install some graphics and memory intensive games and see how they perform.

In coming up to speed on the Mac, I have referred to friends and colleagues and to the web. I found sites such as iusethis and Marc Andreessen’s blog helpful and have subscribed to mac-heavy feeds like 43 folders. I am listening to the MacBreak Weekly podcast and just immersing myself into the Apple world. Will I become a Mac fanboy? I doubt it. I was never a Windows fanboy. I’m not one to spend a lot of energy on the religion of computing since I can typically see both sides. I am just one who is always wanting to try out new things ad what could be more new than a switch from Windows to Mac?!

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