Shiny Alien Technology

· by Steve · Read in about 3 min · (569 Words)

So, I finally took the plunge to become a somewhat disoriented owner of a Mac, just over 24 hours ago. It seems a lot of people are losing their OS X virginity these days, perhaps it’s something in the water. Perhaps it’s disillusionment with Vista, the iPod halo effect, the Intel switch and Bootcamp / Parallels, technical bi-curiosity, or most likely a combination of all of the above, but I could tell that I was not the first person that day in our local Apple store who answered ‘Yes’ to the ‘Is this your first Mac’ question.

For me, the primary reason was OGRE, and helping Justin out with the OSX support generally. I’d like to take a minute to thank all the people who donated to OGRE to help pay for the machine, if it wasn’t for those donations I could not possibly have justified the price tag; I would have ended up getting a regular Vista laptop when I eventually came to upgrade my 3-year old Vaio. With the donations, the cost was about the same as I would have spent on a ‘regular’ laptop. As it is, this machine will serve as both OSX test bed and a Dx10 development box once I sort out Bootcamp so it should be a good investment.

The first thing that struck me was how light it is. I’ve been used to a 17 inch monster Vaio which weighs only slightly less than a small child, so this 15 incher is like a feather. I’m semi-regretting not going for a glossy screen (they didn’t have any of those in stock), because I’d got used to that on my Vaio, but I’m sure I’ll adjust. I had a few issues getting it connected to the wireless to begin with (surprising since I thought Macs were supposed to be easier) but a few Mac-pleasing access point tweaks sorted it out.

Since then (evenings only until I’m productive with it), I’ve been mostly installing stuff and getting acquainted. I like stuff like Expose and Dashboard, the dock, and how installing apps is mostly mounting and drag-drop. I’m not so keen on the location of the @/” keys (damn American layout even though it’s a British keyboard!), the fact that you can’t resize windows at all borders, just the bottom-right, and that folders in Finder aren’t grouped together. But I’m learning. Here’s some apps I’ve installed so far:

SmartCVS - since there’s no Tortoise on OS X

SCPlugin - Finder plugin for Subversion

Cyberduck - FTP / SFTP

Firefox - because I can’t live without those extensions

Thunderbird - because OS X Mail is missing too many features like multiple identities

Skype - because so many friends use it

XCode - obviously

Stuff I still intend to download & install when I get time:

NeoOffice - because I don’t want to install X11 to use OpenOffice and the Cocoa version isn’t done yet

Quicksilver - because it looks like Launchy on steroids

Seashore - because I can’t afford to buy Photoshop all over again

I haven’t even started looking at XCode yet but will do soon (although this weekend is a busy one, thanks to my wife’s and my own birthdays). Once I’ve built OGRE and I’ve estimated how much space I want to allocate, I’ll have to get Bootcamp & Vista sorted out. I can see quite a few hours going into this…