In June 2012 I purchased my first ever Macintosh - a Mac mini - to work more closely with developers I hired for another project. Shortly thereafter I bought a very high end MacBook Pro that is now my primary laptop. (Hardware specifications are at the end of this document.)
I did not do this out of frustration with Windows. In addition to the specific development project I wanted to reduce my overall Mac ignorance and to be able to support this increasingly used platform. (Well, OK... and buy myself some spiffy hardware. Can you say gadget lust?)
I've consistently said since the 80's that Mac's "cost more (than PCs) and do less (for me)". They certainly still cost more but now seemed to be able to do more too. The question was how much more.
o no big surprise there
o the "Mini" at $730 was a far better deal than the MacBook Pro at $2500
o spending 2 to 4 times extra for a laptop (based on equivalent hardware) is hard to justify
o well... so is driving a BMW instead of a Toyota. Sigh...
o This seems mostly due to the file system and bash shell with all the familiar utilities.
o e.g., using Ruby on Rails is essentially identical (especially compared to RoR on Windows).
o Describing Mac OS X as a "clean" UNIX with a pretty GUI seems about right.
System administration (e.g., user administration) differences are
o That said, I am far more interested in OSX and Linux than I am in other *n*x variants - especially *BSD ones.
o This is especially hard on a very keyboard oriented user such as myself. [Windows is very productive for me and I am extremely well versed in the capabilities. I am especially knowledgeable about controlling Windows and Windows applications from a keyboard with dramatically more efficiency than with a mouse.]
o However, just about every new laptop brings keyboard pain due to various decisions on key positions. That's why I use almost all my laptops with a standard external keyboard.
Particularly maddening is the different arrangement of the four keys
to the left of the spacebar:
o Furthermore, the minimalist approach to labeling keys on the Mac doesn't help. You have to learn that Fn-UpArrow is PageUp, Fn-LeftArrow is Home, Fn-Delete is Del (forward), etc.
o There are even more sources of frustration when remote controlling the Mac using VNC due to weird key mappings - only the right Alt is Alt while the left Alt is Command.
o Both systems have a rich set of keyboard commands to move between Windows - Command-Tab/Alt-Tab between applications, Command-'/Ctrl-Tab between windows in an app, Command-Q/Alt-F4 to quit an application, etc.
o OSX has no keyboard mechanisms to size or position windows unlike the IBM SAA CUA upper-left corner Window menu reached with Alt-Spacebar or Alt-Dash. I added Mercury Mover in 2013 to solve this problem.
o RealVNC Personal allows display of main screen at native resolution - typically full-screen on 1680x1050 20" monitor. Biggest issue is that Windows Key and Left Alt are both Mac left Command key so to get Alt you have to use right Alt.
o Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDP) allows display of Windows screen (from VM - usually - or direct boot - on occasion) at any resolution - typically full-screen on 1920x1080 27" monitor
USING MY MACBOOK WITH WINDOWS:
o It was brilliant of Apple to have moved to a PC compatible platform.
o It was also very savvy of Apple to work with Microsoft (and VMware) to explicitly allow Windows use on Apple hardware. In other words, it really works and is not just some lame fulfillment of a marketing promise.
o If you need both Windows and OSX, it is a path of much less resistance to start with a Mac and also run Windows than to bootleg OSX onto PC hardware or (as I did) VMware.
o While OSX is not sanctioned in a VM on other host OS, it is explicitly allowed to run OSX as a VM hosted on OSX.
o Bootcamp worked flawlessly to allow dual booting to Windows with drivers provided by Apple for all the Mac specific hardware.
o VMware Fusion is able to use the Bootcamp partition to create a VM on the same file system. The VMware tools additions to Windows 7 coexist with the drivers provided by Apple for direct booting to Windows. It did take some support from VMware to get the Windows 7 Bootcamp VM stable. Until changes were made at the advice of VMware support (just having one vCPU and simplifying the logging), the Windows VM would periodically just stop running. It has been 100% stable since the changes.
o I run Windows in Fusion much more often than I boot directly to it. It just works (after the stability upgrades).
o I also use Fusion to run Linux and Windows XP (for a project that requires delivery there).
o I have not tried Parallels or other virtualization software on OSX.
o I have also not tried triple booting to Linux but I do run several different variants of Linux under Fusion.
o Apple already provides read-only drivers for NTFS from OSX and for HFS+ from Windows 7. So you can see the file systems for either system from either system.
o Extended drivers from Paragon Software for about $40 give read-write access to each file system from the other OS.
o VMware Fusion Host Guest File System (HGFS) makes is extremely easy to share files from the OSX host to the Windows guest (or Linux guests).
o I have one or more USB 3 drives attached most of the time - even when travelling.
o Time Machine backs up seamlessly to it.
o Windows 7 file backups used to go to the same drive as Time Machine but now go to a separate USB 3 NTFS drive.
o Neither network drive is not usable as a target for Windows 7 image backups but I don't really know why.
o I should learn more about Carbon Copy Cloner to have better image backups.
o Excel and Word used a lot already
o Never bothered to setup Outlook - Apple Mail application is good enough (and extremely similar to the Mail App on iOS).
o Also loaded Microsoft Remote Desktop client for full remote control of Windows systems.
o Works better than Safari
o Signed into my Google account, bookmarks, form-fill data, etc. are all synchronized with other instances of Chrome - this is a HUGE win.
o My existing license works just fine with the Mac OSX version
o With some pain I was also able to copy my "address book" from the PC version. One bit of dementia is that I had to create a C/ directory in Applications and put LCB in it to make references to C:\LCB in some of the configuration work.
o The Enterprise VNC license purchased for Linux also works with OSX
o Address book export and import via XML was completely painless (unlike SecureCRT)
o A terminal (curses?) Emacs came with OSX.
o I installed a free AquaEmacs that provides a Mac looking Emacs that's OK.
o Later I found the real GNU Emacs GUI version which I prefer to AquaEmacs.
o SmartSVN has an OSX version and works in Professional mode with my license
o SmartGIT has an OSX version and works in Professional mode with my license
o Eudora is still used for POP access to my own (non-IMAP) mail server. Sigh... Runs fine in the Windows VM
§ possible alternative - Thunderbird. Sigh...
o PaintShop Pro 5.0.5 is still my bit map image editor of choice, so I run it in the Windows VM.
§ possible alternative - surely exists, maybe learn PhotoShop. Sigh...
o TeamViewer - multi-platform remote control usable for Free or for $750/system or for more. We use Free.
o Xcode 4.6.3 at this point - OSX and iOS integrated development environment
o Skype - works but has a weird UI
o Yahoo IM - works
o Microsoft Messenger (whatever it's called today) - came in with Office
o Sophos anti-virus - caused some problems when it saw viruses in email attachments in old backups on the external drive.
o Music Manager - for Google Play music - brought essentially all of my iPod/iPad/iTunes Music to the Mac via the Google cloud
oOracle VirtualBox - because VMware Fusion had some fatal problems for awhile - since fixed.
o Paragon Software HFS+ for Windows - $19.95 - read-write access to HFS file systems from Windows
o Paragon Software NTFS for OS X - $19.95 - read-write access to NTFS files systems from OS X
o VMware Fusion Professional 5.0.2 - $99 list - could have been $80. Paid ~$46 (to distributor) then $40 (to VMware directly - 20% discount) to upgrade in order to get virtual network editing. Warning - the evaluation version is Pro. No way to evaluate the non-pro version.
o Carbon Copy Cloner - ~$40 - disk imaging tool that probably wasn't necessary but made it easy to create an OSX installation boot disk as was as bootable USB drives.
o Navicat Essentials for SQLite - ~$10 - visual inspection and modification tool for SQLite databases. Used in Ruby on Rails project
o MercuryMover - $20 - allows moving windows with keyboard commands.
o Already present: Python 2.7.2
o Installed: Ruby Version Manager - rvm 1.15.8
o rvm allows use of newer Ruby 1.9.3 than that already on OSX (1.8.7)
o rvm and bundle used to obtain all necessary "gems" needed in rails for Ruby on Rails project. Very auto-magical.
TABLET VERSUS COMPUTER SCHIZOPHRENIA
o Four finger drag right to "Dashboard" desktop of Widgets - Windows sidebar anyone???
o Four finger lift to show Dashboard versus Desktop
o Five finger pinch to desktop of iOS style Icons - Metro TILES anyone???
o Three finger drag between screens of iOS style Icons.
o Two finger zoom
o Two finger scrolling by pushing the window
o I think there are others
Tuesday, November 26, 2013, 11:08:23 GMT-0800