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Posts Tagged ‘osx’

For those interested in reading about my journey into Apple-hood, please go to my other blog, Confessions of an Ex-Windows User. I plan to update the blog a few times a week with notes about features I’ve discovered or Apple products I’ve bought or tried that I enjoy. It’s for the beginner Mac user who isn’t looking so much for a guide on features as they are wanting to read an honest man’s opinion about his transition from Windows to OSX.

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I am now guilty of Apple snobbery.

This revelation came to me at work. It’s not that I think I’m better because I use a Macbook and OSX, it’s just that I now understand **WHY** people make “the switch”.

Ever since I bought my Macbook, I haven’t been on my Windows machine. It’s a bit out of date, which would lead me to snubbing it, and it’s also in the office, and the benefit of the Macbook is the ability to bring it anywhere. It goes beyond that, though.

One of the best features that OSX offers is Expose. It’s a feature in OSX that allows you to separate all of your windows. (See below)

Picture 4

The benefit of Expose lies in the way it quickly displays all relevant information so you can quickly get to and from any program you like without resorting to Command+Tab (or Control+Tab in Windows). Windows XP, the more stable, albeit long in the tooth version of Windows, does not offer anything remotely resembling this. I’m not as studied on Vista, so I can’t comment, but the way OSX does this has been a godsend.

At any given time, I have between 4 to 6 programs open, those being my web browser, email, NeoOffice, Adium, and sometimes Flickr Uploadr or some other. Command+Tab is a mess, though OSX displays exceptionally clear, beautiful icons when you use this method. Expose eliminates that, quickly bringing all of your windows up so you can look through them. Hover your mouse over them to see exactly what a window is.

This goes one step further when you use Spaces. (See below)

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Spaces allows you to quickly create separate desktops so you can place items there. I’m currently writing this in desktop 2 while my email, chat program, Finder windows, and other assorted goodies are in desktop 1.

In conjunction, Expose can be used to move program windows from one desktop to another in Spaces. This requires only 2 button presses.

A final thing about Expose that has changed the way I organized and interact with my desktop is the “Clear the Desktop” mode. (See Below)

Picture 3

Under the Expose Preferences in your System Preferences, you can set up Expose to regulate specific duties to the four corners or keys that are pressed. I have “Desktop” selected for my lower left corner. When I roll my mouse into this corner, all of the programs move out of the way and I can immediately see and interact with my desktop, which includes allowing me to grab icons. At this point, I roll my mouse back over the corner. If the program I want to drop the Icon into isn’t in focus, I press my Expose key, highlight the program, press it again, and drop it. It’s that simple.

We use Windows XP at work and, while I have been a Windows user all of my life, the little things about XP that were a tinge of annoyance before have begun to feel like someone stabbing me in the eye, particularly in the way it handles program availability. Because I’m so accustomed to Expose and Spaces in the few short days I have been an OSX user, I find myself struggling with the XP interface and it’s lack of finesse. This becomes particularly annoying given the fact that I have far more windows open at work than I ever do at home.

Today, while working, it dawned on me that I hate Windows XP. I hate it with a passion. It feels like a complete step backwards. Working with the OS makes me think of the days I was working in DOS, trying to get things to run while maintaining some sense of sanity as the command-line interface spat out error messages that were nigh incomprehensible except by the most studied of MS-DOS users. OSX is just a cleaner, more usable interface.

I will be a snob. I can’t help it. I’m rebuilding our Windows machine, which is mainly used so my fiancee can do graphic work on a bigger monitor. I don’t see that happening too often, however. Unfortunately, I see us hooking our 19” flat screen to the Macbook and just using the Macbook for all our graphic needs while the Windows PC sits lonely in the office until it is eventually replaced with a beautiful 24” iMac. That is the way of the world… Apple has ruined me… and I think it has ruined me for the better. Lord help me, I’m turning into the people I used to hate… and I think I like it.

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I’ve been hungering for a Macbook for a long while now. I fell in love with Apple last year, after finally deciding to see what all of the fuss was about. I played with OSX on both a Macbook Pro and an iMac and I was blown away with how smooth and beautiful it was. From that moment, I knew I had to have a Mac.

 

I waited and saved. I planned on getting one when my tax refund came, so I bided my time by looking at Apple.com and other sites to see what sorts of deals they would have. It only fed the hunger.

 

Earlier this week, our tax refund came. I’d been checking Apple.com religiously the week prior, looking at the price of the refurbished units and plotting which one I would get. I’d decided to get the standard Macbook instead of the Pro. Though I will eventually buy a Pro because I will want to dip back into PC/Mac gaming, it’s not a necessity at the moment. I just need something that is portable so I can do my freelancing and novel writing in a place other than my office. The standard Macbook is a perfect fit.

 

Ordering the Macbook was easy but we ran into a few problems because of rules our bank had. Unfortunately, Apple.com and the customer service providers weren’t helpful in remedying our problems, which I won’t get into here. Suffice it to say, instead of waiting to get the Macbook next week, we were forced to go to our local Apple Store to make the purchase. Though I had to spend $100 extra that I didn’t want to spend, I still got 6% off because of my corporate discount. We walked out of our local Apple Store on Friday with a brand new Macbook and the standard 1 year warranty.

 

Starting it up was amazing. It loaded extremely fast. We were able to create two accounts with ease and it connected to our network without a hitch. I started immediately fooling with the preferences and ironing out any little kinks. Since I come from a strictly Windows background, there are things that will be hard to unlearn. Fortunately, OSX is a very flexible OS and has been a joy to use. Spaces and Expose have opened my eyes in terms of screen real estate.

 

After finishing some basic things, I started transferring my more important files. I wasn’t sure how hard that would turn out to be but thus far it’s been simple. Simple enough, in fact, that the standard organization I used under Windows now feels archaic and messy… and I was a very organized guy.

 

Once I transferred my writing and graphics, such as wallpapers and photographs, I started fleshing out my applications. I have iWork and MS Office for free for a month but I don’t want to become dependent on them, so I downloaded Neo Office instead. Neo Office is extraordinary in terms of features. It’s everything I could ask for. I was hesitant about using it for my Excel files, since my spreadsheets hold our financials, but it’s been a blessing. I also grabbed a few other applications that people on Neogaf suggested and each one has been an eye opener.

 

The switch is essentially finished now. I have everything I need. The rest of my things are on our two 120 GB hard drives in my old computer, an 80 GB hard drive in Allie’s, and a 30 GB hard drive in our spare computer. At the moment, I’m moving roughly 40 GB worth of information to Allie’s computer and restructuring the other two hard drives. I plan to get enclosures for the 2 120s and the 30, leave the 80 in our Windows machine, and hook the other three up to a USB hub. Once we get a new router, I’ll let them stream off the router. Since we’re not dependent on streaming video, the lower throughput shouldn’t be a problem.

 

I’m the owner of a brand new Macbook and I couldn’t be happier. I’m finally sitting in my living room on the floor, where I’m most comfortable, and typing to my heart’s desire. Life is good. What more could I ask for?


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