I’ve gone Mac

It’s been a busy month for a number of different reasons – mostly I’m still trying to come to terms with the death of my father – I’m not entirely sure if burying myself in work is the best way of dealing with it but so far it seems to be working, everyone @ Talis has been really supportive and the current R&D project I’m working on with a small team has helped me to totally immerse myself in a single problem and that’s made it easier to deal with things … plus what were working on is very innovative and so it feels really rewarding at the moment.

Anyway, as the heading of this post suggests I’ve gone Mac! and I love it!! When I returned to work this year I had a shiny new 17″ Mac Book Pro waiting for me. I have never used a Mac before I’ve always been firmly entrenched in the PC world, and for most of my development needs I would often run flavours of Linux inside of VM’s. The problem with this though is Windows has a host sucks and there’s only so many VM crashes I can put up with. Many of my colleagues chose to go down the route of wiping Windows off their laptops and installing Ubuntu. I seriously considered doing this but was convinced, primarily, by Rob and Chris and pairing with them or watching them do development work on their Mac Book Pro’s that Mac’s are a great alternative.

I spend a lot of time inside a terminal window and with Mac you have a fully featured bash shell which makes a huge difference in terms of productivity, on Window’s to get anywhere close I had to run CYGWin, or work in a Linux VM, … anyone who thinks that the Windows Command Shell is comparable needs to seriously seek help!

I spent a fair bit of time getting development tools installed and getting used to how different Mac OS X is to Windows or anything else I have used. So far Leopard has been a pleasure to use there’s been the odd quirk now and again, but nothing worth mentioning. Rob published a wonderful list of tool’s he installed on his Mac, which I basically used as a check list to get up and running. To his list I’d like to add the following:

CCMenu 1.0
Displays the project status of CruiseControl continuous integration servers as an item in the Mac OS X menu bar.

Lab Tick
Have you ever been annoyed by the fact that you could not turn on your PowerBook or MacBook Pro’s keyboard illumination in daylight? If so, here’s your solution. Lab Tick gives you total control over the backlit keyboard.

iComic Life
Only really started using this recently, but it’s a wonderful tool for quickly storyboarding scenario’s as Comic Strips. If you do choose to you this you might also want to download this set of stock images produced b Sun’s User Experience Team.

BatchResize’em all 1.1
A great little tool for quickly resizing a batch of images.

Dock DR
Wonderful little utility for customising your dock on Leopard.

There’s lots more which I’ll post up from time to time. If there’s one thing I do miss though, its Windows LiveWriter, which for offline blog editing was a wonderful tool and sadly isn’t available on the Mac. Instead I’m using Ecto which is good but nowhere near as simple to use or nice as LiveWriter was. Sad isn’t it? That’s honestly the only thing I miss … after spending the last few weeks developing on my Mac I don’t think I will ever go back to a Windows based machine.

2 thoughts on “I’ve gone Mac

  1. I haven’t tried it, but a lot of people seem to recommend MarsEdit (blog editor). The only reason I haven’t tried it is I’m almost always connected! My latest favourite Mac software is Things, for keeping track of all my to-dos.

  2. Just had to agree with your last comment. Like most others, I have always assumed there was no alternative to PCs, and we just had to learn to live with the crashes, bugs, viruses and the poorly designed, clunky user interface that is Windows in it’s various poorly designed guises. However, we recently went over to Macs at work. I spent a fortnight hating them because they didn’t run software I was used to using, but after two weeks away from Windows (they say it takes two weeks to break a bad habit) I fell in love with their intuitive controls and ease of use (not to mention IMacs just look SO cool). Like you, I could not imagine circumstances that would make me willingly start using a Microsoft machine again.

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