Warm Fuzzies

Mark Morford's Lick Me, I'm a Macintosh is a great account of the Apple out-of-box experience. It saves me the trouble of having to describe the experience, since mine matches his, word-for-word.

For those of you that look confused right now, I realize that I have been talking about switching to Linux and here I go and buy into the Mac? Well, perhaps I should have been more clear-- I'm leaving Windows-land for Un*x territory. For PC hardware, that means running Linux. But I decided to buy a Mac because it's the best packaging of Unix out there. FreeBSD at that. Looks, brains and brawn. That's what I love about my PowerBook.


Powerwise, I'm very pleased. CineBench 2003 shows it's 1.25 GHz processor outpaces my former 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 laptop (non-mobile processor at that). It also runs cooler and unbelieveably quieter than any Intel laptop I've ever seen. And it's 3 pounds lighter (at 5.6 pounds) and has a smaller footprint.

I'm still learning all the keyboard shortcuts. One thing that puzzles me about Apple is that they adore the simplicity of a single-button mouse (and trackpad which I'm stuck with), but in order to use the context popup menus, you have to hold down the Ctrl key and press the mouse button. Wouldn't it be simpler to press a second mouse button instead? Seems more accessible and less confusing to me. I have a notebook mouse that I use and the 2nd mouse button works just fine, I'm just arguing that Apple should rethink just how user-friendly it is to make single-button mice these days.

I'm also a little annoyed that the keyboard on the 15" PowerBook is identical to the 12" one. It would have been nice to have a "Del" key that deletes the letter at the cursor instead of having to do Fn+Delete to do that. And can someone explain the extra "enter" key down by the arrow keys? That would been a good place for the "Del" key. Is anyone ever going to use that to press "enter"? Are there any good utilities out there for doing key-remapping?


I've started gathering software, and so far I've registered NetNewsWire -- that was a no-brainer. I've also downloaded Clutter but for some reason it's not wanting to run (Updated StuffIt to 8.0.1 and re-extracted Clutter, all better now). Fire is a great multi-service IM client. I wish GPG-keyed messaging were more common place in other clients though. John Gruber pointed at LaunchBar the other day and I'll be registering that too. My OS X media for Photoshop should be here soon (Adobe has a process for switching from Windows to Mac or vice-versa. You just pay the shipping on the replacement media). BBEdit looks like the best native editor, but it's pricey (jEdit is a good editor, but it just doesn't have that native Aqua look and feel). And hopefully OpenOffice 1.1 will be released soon for OS X. Firebird is installed, but I find myself using Safari more because it's just so fast. Suggestions for other must-have Mac software are welcome!


I still haven't found a good replacement for Listen Rhapsody. I wish they would port their client to the Mac -- given the success of the iTunes Music Store, maybe they are. While I'm at it, let me say that the iTunes Music Store is very nice and a good way to buy music, but I'm really annoyed by the fact that you can't buy MP3s or convert purchased AAC files to MP3. Come on, Apple. You might as well make it an option. I can do it anyway by burning the AACs to CD and then re-importing back into iTunes anyhow. Given that, what is the point of the DRM stuff at all? Am I missing something? Oh yeah, the RIAA would flip if Apple sold uncontrollable MP3s.

Anyway, I'm having fun with both my new Linux and OS X systems. They play very nice together too. If you're afraid to switch, don't be. The water is fine.


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» jan 7 from N.B. When in doubt, TIDY UP.
Hour One: Up and at them! (like Reiner Wolfcastle's acting coach.) Overslept, gotta hurry. Good oatmeal, with nuts and raisins. Nice to talk to my baby. Shower, dress: capilene longjohns (weather: 19 deg!), tan cords, black shirt, black cash sweater,... [Read More]


Ryan Abrams said:

There is an app called uControl that apparently lets you do crazy remapping of keys and such.. (i think he specifically mentions the delete key iirc.) Get it here: http://www.gnufoo.org/ucontrol/ucontrol.html

pete said:

Welcome to the other side!

If you're a fan of virtual desktops, check out Desktop Manager: http://wsmanager.sourceforge.net/

Also, did you download the Mac OS X version of jEdit? It then uses an Aqua Look & Feel rather than the standard Metal (or Windows) look you might be used to (as well as some other Mac-niceties.) Here's a screenshot of jEdit on my Mac: http://jedit.org/index.php?page=screenshot&image=10

dda said:

Don't touch my enter key!!! :-)
the key right of the apostrophe is a return key, which doubles as enter key when fn is pressed. But return and enter have different uses in Excel, for instance, and I couldn't live without an enter key (apple-c to copy, navigate, enter to paste).

Of course not everybody needs Excel...

Pat said:

BBEdit is worth it. You can get the "upgrade" price from BBEdit Lite I think. So it's down to $79. You'll love the perl/cvs integration and emacs key bindings ;-) . Fugu is great for editing remote docs with BBEdit via sftp and it's free. Transmit from Panic is also something I bought and loved.

dda said:

* PHP 4.3.2R2/MySQL 4.0.15/Apache 2 from http://serverlogistics.com/
That's the best Mac OSX distro set
* Perl 5.8 from the same
* Python 2.3 http://www.python.org/ftp/python/2.3/Python-2.3.tgz
* Some "shopping" chez Marc Liyanage http://www.entropy.ch/software/macosx/
never hurts either...
* ImageMagick: http://www.imagemagick.org
* Installing Fink is also a good idea: http://fink.sourceforge.net/
* XDarwin 4.3 http://www.xdarwin.org/ to run some of the stuff installed via Fink
* Konfabulator http://www.konfabulator.com Greatest virtual geek toy ever!
* RBrowserLite http://www.rbrowser.com/RBrowserLite/RBrowserLite.html
Excellent FTP tool
* IPNetShareX http://www.sustworks.com/site/prod_gnat_overview.html
transforms your machine into a router.
* NFSManager http://www.bresink.de/osx/NFSManager.html
* CSSEdit http://www.macrabbit.com/cssedit/download.html* TigerLaunch from ranchero software
* DesktopManager, on sourceforge. Gives you four desktops to spread your windows on.* GLTerm. A very very fast Terminal app. Uses OpenGL to draw text... http://www.pollet.net/GLterm/

Oscar said:

Yeah, BBEdit is deinitely worth the outlay. It's one of the few apps that has survived the natural selctive pressures of my list of login startups.

I agree that the one-button mouse is pretty much a stubborn vestige at this moment in time ... but I've learned to live with it ...

You should also consider Hydra, now subethaedit as a text editor. It's free...

Moz is a fantastic browser on OS X. Safari is a bit faster but I think the features of Moz (password saving and rendering) are better. Firebird is close, but still too alpha to use daily.

NetNewsWire is a great one. If you like wiki style notepads, you might also like VoodooPad.

I second the comment on Transmit. Best $25 I've ever spent!

Welcome to the good side Brad!


Forgot to mention, if you have Toast, you can import the ITMS AAC files and then import then back into iTunes as MP3 files.

Transmit is a killer FTP app - I would add my vote there!

I just got a new 15" PowerBook after deciding to break free from a Windows world. I'm also trying to get acclamated to the single mouse button, but I've gotten used to just holding the mouse button down for a second to get the "right-click" menu to appear. I guess if it was a big enough problem, I could just plug in a USB mouse. Anyway, enjoy your new Mac!

dda said:

> Moz is a fantastic browser on OS X.
Right. My default browser (although all the other... :-). If you use Moz, make sure to pay a visit to http://www.mozdev.org/projects/active.html and check out the extensions. My favorite is the googlebar: http://googlebar.mozdev.org

Bob Collins said:

Conversion of AAC to MP3 (by way of burning to CD) involves a pair of lossy compressions that do not act nicely with each other. AAC and MP3 "lose" different musical information and the conversion will include both sets of "losses." So you are not going to get anything near close to an MP3 version generated directly from source with the iTunes Music Store.

Hence no complaints from RIAA and the big five music corporations.

BBEdit, well worth it, but undergoing inflationary price increases in the last couple of years, probably because it is so good. I've used it for ten years or so (originally a freeware product) and nothing compares, not emacs or any Windows text editor.

brian hess said:

Welcome to the cult ... er, family! :-)

*To customize that trackpad, consider "SideTrack":http://versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/20854
*For multi-service instant-messaging, consider "Proteus":http://www.indigofield.com
*Marc Liyanage's "OS X packages":http://www.entropy.ch/software/macosx/welcome.html
*To manage iTunes from the menu bar, "Synergy":http://synergy.wincent.com/
*To modify shortcut keys in any app, there's "Menu Master":http://www.unsanity.com/haxies/menumaster/

And a hearty "aye, aye" to the recommendation of Transmit and BBEdit.

Ryan Abrams said:

A word of warning on SideTrack - I used the latest release on my powerbook G4 1.25ghz last week... it causes a kernel panic if you touch the trackpad before the cursor when waking from sleep. That was enough for me to remove it and wait for a release that fixes that bug. YMMV.

Oh.. and Synergy is worth the $5. That pop up for now playing is the coolest thing ever. ;)

bitweever said:

Did you get Fink yet? It's a necessity to get all your favorite Debian packages on OS X. It works just like 'dselect'.

vlad said:

as far as necessary software goes, camino.


has that aqua look and feel, hella fast, and all that mozillaness we've come to love. unfortunately not many new releases, but everyone i know who's tried it likes it better than safari, including myself.

also, a nice mac browser comparison article (albeit a little dated):

Norm Jenson said:

Dont miss IClip from http://inventive.us a wonderful multiple clipboard. Try it you'll like it.

finn said:

It would have been nice to have a “Del” key that deletes the letter at the cursor instead of having to do Fn+Delete to do that.

Don't forget you're using a unix machine. The ^D combo will do what you want in most applications (it may be restricted to Cocoa based apps?). If you have uControl installed so the control key is in the proper position, this is very convenient. (I wonder if uControl is slightly flaky on the new pbs as it is on my old model variety...) Many of the other emacs-style combos work as well: ^F, ^B, ^A, ^E, etc.

I think that Safari + PithHelmet is the best browser combo on the Mac.

chris said:

It is astounding to me that there is no windowshade option in Mac OS anymore. It's a must have. Unsanity makes Windowshade X. You NEED it.

Transmit is the best FTP app I have ever used. It makes WS-FTP for windows look like a school project.

TinkerTool adds a number of great customizations for the OS. It's really a must-have.

I recently installed Acquisition for downloading via the Gnutella network. It Cocoa native. It's really very nice.

I use Kung-log exclusively for MT blogging. It's very, very good.

Good luck with your new PB. Welcome to the family.

Oliver said:

I second the notion of Hydra, err. SubEthaEdit as editor of choice. It's free and it won the Apple Design Award this year. You can find it here: http://www.codingmonkeys.de/subethaedit/


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