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Friday, October 12, 2007

I'm Bein' Macified

Through a series of more or less accidents I came to have physical possession of Really Strategies' one and only MacBook, purchased in order to support testing and delivery of software to a Mac-based client (which, considering that most of our clients are publishers should be most of them, but apparently hasn't been to date).

After some soul searching I have decided to make this Mac my primary development machine, giving up my oh-so-familiar Dell Windows-XP-based laptop.

We'll see how it goes. I must say that it's been quite an adjustment for me, somebody with nearly 20 years of Windows brain damage, to move to a Mac.

Of course it helps that most of the development tools I use are completely cross platform: Eclipse, Java, OxygenXML, Syntext Serna. It also helps that OS X is an *nx-based system under the covers, so I can get a command line that is familiar, although the configuration details are not (I've been using Debian-based distributions for most of the time I've used Linux). And other key tools have solid Mac versions (e.g., all the Adobe products).

I will even be able to get an RSuite server running on this machine, using an unsupported OS X build of MarkLogic.

I'm even starting to get used to the bizare control key mechanism, although it's still a struggle--it feels like trying to learn a new musical instrument that is just enough different from one you know to really hose you up.

I'm even writing this post using Safari, rather than Firefox, which I would normally use, but it's acting up this morning.

So wish me luck as I start on this new adventure in computing....

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5 Comments:

Blogger FARfetched said...

Congrats! Plug your wheelie mouse in — you'll be able to right-click just like you used to on the Dell. I can imagine that the Unix CLI is giving you some fits; OSX is a BSD box, while Linux is a SysV clone. Fun, huh?

I've found that keeping both Safari and Firefox around is a good strategy: there are things that work better on FF, and others (strangely enough) that work better with Safari.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Jessifer said...

As farfetched suggested, a having that right click handy is tops. I've used wheelie mouses since mac os [finaly] added context menus in '97. In 2002, a modified trackpad driver was released: iScroll2. This gave iBook G4s what PowerBooks got from the OS, two-fingered trackpad scrolling—both horizontal and vertical—plus an additional option… two-fingers down + click for secondary [i.e. right] click. With this minor software tweak, the trackpad became, to my mind, the best input device (for most tasks) ever invented. I wrapped up my mobile mouse, put it in a drawer and haven't used it since.
Visit System Preferences → Keyboard & Mouse → Trackpad to configure, and let intrigue grow with the “…zoom…” option.
In fact, visiting each PreferancePane is a great way for an experienced switcher to learn about the OS.
To really take advantage of your new environment, I'll skip right over ⌘ key sequences and suggest learing about the option key and how it's used to open up many more keyboard characters.
For Windows programs on a MacBook, Parallels in Coherance Mode beats all. I've got nothing bad to say about VMWare, although it's strengths seem to play out only on more powerful machines.
One last quick Mac delight: check out the Character Pallete (under the Edit menu).
Good luck!

12:57 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I've been thoroughly Macified after making a Macbook my primary machine for the last year. I struggled with the ctrl- alt- and Apple key differences, but now find it second nature (even though I still regularly use Windows using Bootcamp and Parallels). To understand why Windows and OS/X are different in this regard is a fascinating history of another way Microsoft twisted logic while copying Apple: http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2007/08/11/how-apple-keyboards-lost-a-logo-and-windows-pcs-gained-one/
Chris Hill

3:48 PM  
Blogger rvb_texas said...

Welcome to the bright side! :^)

Of course, you can do what I've done with my MBP and add windoze via Parllels or VMware. 10GB+ of hard drive space chewed up just so I can use Outlook to check our corporate email...

But on the positive side, with the virtualization layer in place, you can then flip back to our favorite Linux distro (I've got OpenSUSE 10.2 on mine).

Have fun,
Bob

9:43 AM  
Blogger Eliot Kimber said...

I'm using VMWare Fusion to run Win XP (and also various Linux flavors so I can test our RSuite CMS product).

As far as I can tell, the only way to really interact with Outlook calendars is via Outlook. So while I'm getting good results with Thunderbird on OS X for Exchange-based mail, I have to run Outlook under Windows to do calendar stuff properly (I tried the calendar plug-in to Thunderbird but had at least two problems, including it getting very confused about meeting times when I changed the time zone on my laptop).

I upgraded to 3Gb of RAM and now everything seems to be working pretty well--with Oxygen and Serna and Eclipse all running on the Mac side and Windows in a 512Meg VM, the machine seems to not do any memory paging. With 2Gb it would slow to a crawl.

I'm even learning to write shell scripts....

10:54 AM  

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