Sunday, May 16, 2010

Adventures in Macdom

Whew! Almost half a year since my last post... let me just wipe some of the dust off the ol' blog here.


There all better! I've been taking Reactine for my allergies all week, so that should keep the coughing down to a minimum.

Anywho, on to the point. I've been using the fella's old Macbook for the last month or so, after being a Windows user for the last 15 years (and an MS-DOS user before that!). I did have some exposure to the old Mac Classic boxes back in high school, but it's pretty much been Windows all the way since then. I've used Mac OS X maybe a handful of times prior to this transition, so it has definitely been a learning experience.

There are definitely some things I really like about OS X, and quite a few things I don't like at all:

The Good
  • Spotlight. I love Spotlight. It automatically indexes all my files, including names, content and meta data, and does a much better job of it than Windows ever did. Even Windows 7, which has search capabilities far, far beyond any previous version, doesn't come close to Spotlight.

  • Application installation. All I have to do to install an application is drag the .app file into my Applications folder? Really?? And to uninstall I just delete the .app??? This pretty much blew me away at first, and I'm still incredibly impressed by it now that I'm more used to it. OK, there are still a few preference files and whatnot stored in various places by various programs, but compared to the thousands of registry entries and support files that Windows programs scatter all over the place, this is pretty sweet.

  • Application / OS cohesiveness. Apple likes to have full control over all aspects of their produces, and it's very evident in a Macbook. First of all, since Apple controls the hardware, there are no driver compatibility issues. As Apple likes to say, everything just works. Second, software designers are given a relatively strict box within which to create their programs. The result is that applications generally work well together, look good, and don't typically cause problems.

  • Multi-touch trackpad. Two-finger scrolling took a couple days to get used to, but I find myself missing it when I use Windows laptops now.
The Bad
  • I've never had a laptop that didn't have Home and End keys before, and I'm really missing them. I never realized how much I used them when I'm typing. I'm also missing the forward-delete key.

  • There are certain things that just don't work the way I expect them to. A lot of this has to do with my learning curve as a former Windows user, but a lot of it is just downright unintuitive, too. For example, using ⌘↑ to execute files from the GUI interface instead of Enter. I know it's Apple's OS and they can design it any way they want, but every other operating system uses Enter to, well, enter commands.

  • Closing windows does not quit the program. I find this incredibly unintuitive. If I'm done with a window and I close it, it's because I'm done! Why should the program still be running?
The Ugly
  • This is Apple, silly. Nothing is ugly.
This list is by no means comprehensive... every single day I find myself saying "This is so cool!" about some things and "I can't stand this" about others. I'm sure there will be similar follow-up posts in the not-too-distant future.

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