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Thursday, August 18, 2005

First Impressions

I write this from a Mac. Frankly, though, at this point I think I'm more excited about just having my own laptop to use. I've got my IM programs, NeoOffice, development tools, and Remote Desktop Client installed and working now, so I've got all that I need to get started with. Everything else I guess I'll pick up as I go along.

So, what are my first impressions? Hardware-wise, the screen can only be described as outstanding...three years ago. It literally pales in comparison to similarly sized PC screens. It's about on par with the screen on Heather Marie's Dell Inspiron (circa 2002). Apple has really been left behind in that area. Other than the screen, though, it seems to be a solid little machine. And I do mean little. Closed, it's about the size of a standard sheet of paper, and about as thick as half your pinky finger. It weighs in at just under 5 lbs, or about half the Dell.

I'm not sure I like Safari. I've grown very fond of FireFox on Windows, so I may have to give it a try here, too.

Like many Switchers, the Menu-Bar-at-the-Top thing throws me. I'm constantly closing windows rather than exiting applications. I understand the reasons for it, but it just seems rather awkward to me right now. With multiple programs running, it's like I have a woodworking shop, complete with table saw, planer, and all the other normal tools on the floor, but the controls for all of them are located on the wall by the door. Seems like lots of back and forth.

More to come as I go along, although I plan to avoid turning this into a Mac blog.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My First Mac

So, after weeks (months even?) of hemming and hawing around about it, I ordered a new 12" iBook yesterday. It arrived this afternoon, and it beat Andrew's new digital camera to the office, so he has to buy him lunch!

As for many people, buying an Apple is something of a homecoming. My elementary school classrooms had an Apple IIe in them, on which we learned all about trials and tribulations on the frontier. (In text-only, thankyouverymuch! Type BANG! to shoot!) The last contact I had with Apples for a long time was an Apple IIe in my 8th grade algebra class (which we managed to irrevocably crash). That was in 1990, and it was already a near-antique at the time. I didn't use an Apple again until the Macs in my dorm computer lab, since they were the only systems with graphical browsers installed. They were old, slow, and abused, so needless to say they did not leave a favorable impression.

Somewhere in the meantime, during shopping for a home computer, the two systems we came closest to buying were the Apple IIgs and a Tandy 1000-something (if I recall). Unfortunately, both of them, especially the Apple, were just too expensive at the time. My new iBook is about 500 times faster than the IIgs, with 2000 times as much stock memory. Wow.

I briefly considered posting a photo blog of the various stages of package opening, but frankly that struck me as just a little too fetishistic, and it's already been done by plenty of other people. It was well-packaged, though, and opening it was very much like unwrapping a Christmas gift of some kind. Definitely a change from the utilitarian Dell packaging we deal with at work.

Unlike a lot of people, I've never had much trouble with viruses and spyware on Windows, I guess due to a combination of paranoia, caution, and luck. So the main thing attracting me to OSX is its Unix underpinnings. I've really tried to like Linux, but I typically want to spend more time productively using my computers than administrating them. Of course, there's a fair amount of security that comes along with having BSD as an ancestor, and I'm glad to have it.

Honestly, I'm more than a little nervous about the Mac thing. There's no question that I fall into the Windows Power User category. Now I'm suddenly faced with starting over from scratch. The last time I had to do that was circa 1995 when I started using Unix (although I did eventually become a power user there, too).

When I'm setting up a new (or recently formatted) Windows system, I know what do to. I know which programs to download and install first to setup my typical working environment. I know which settings and preferences to change. I know all the stupid stuff not to do, etc. Now I'm completely starting over. There are tools on Windows that I depend on day-to-day, but I'm not even sure what their equivalents are on OSX. What are the best text editors for programming? Image editors? Word processors? Preferably inexpensive.

This must be how 80 year-old grandmothers feel when they get one o' them new fangled 'puter things for Christmas.

I keep telling myself that stretching beyond my comfort zone is good, and important, and healthy, but that doesn't stop it from being kind of scary.

And, yes, now that you ask, I am being a bit melodramatic.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

My Awesome Wife

Heather Marie never ceases to amaze me...sometimes in good ways! ;-) This is one of those times.

For the past three years or so, she's been taking bellydance classes, and this fall she's going to begin teaching them. As a part of that, she's built a website for her troupe:

With the exception of my tweaking some images, fixing some tricky links, and setting up the server for her, she's done it all on her own! A geek husband couldn't be more proud!

Of course, now all my friends are saying, "Dude, how come your wife has a website and you don't?" Guess I'd better get to work on that....