Mac me!

Joining the 21st Century

After a few years of saying “I’m going to get a Mac next time,” I finally did it. I just took delivery of a 15″ Macbook Pro that is slated to become my main computer.

The Mac interface is fairly intuitive and I was able to figure out quite a few things without consulting the little pamphlet that comes with the unit, but I hit one snag that’s amusing, in hindsight.

During the intialization process, I was asked several questions and had different options to choose from. I could use the track pad to put the arrow in the right place, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it “click.” I’d tap the touchpad and nothing would happen. Pressing “Enter” seemed to work sometimes, but not always. Stumped, I plugged in a wireless USB mouse I already had and the Mac picked it up right away and let me use it to finish.

Only a day later did I discover, by accident, that the touchpad depresses, and that’s how you get it to “click,” at least initially. I now have it set so I can tap it, the way I do the touchpad on my other laptop. Unless I missed it in the pamphlet, I think it should be more explicit about how to click.

There are many things I’ve yet to figure out, like the Dashboard thingie that pops up and shows me the weather in Ottawa. It must be adjustable somewhere.

I found Terminal and had a look around the file system. There’s a lovely BSD flavour to it, and I’ve always been a fan of BSD so the underlying “Unix” facilities look enticing.

Because the Xmarks plugin works with Safari, I’m trying it out as my main browser. I’ve downloaded Firefox, which is my normal standard, just in case I find limitations in Safari.

I purchased and installed Scrivener. It will become my main writing tool for larger, or complex, writing projects

I quickly discovered that Text Editor, like Windows Notepad, is a little feeble. I couldn’t find a word count function in it. A Google search led me to TextWrangler, which has a better feel as a text editor. I may also experiment with an old favourite: Emacs.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time moving parts of my MP3 collection to the Mac and getting them into iTunes. I had trouble with the adding them to the library — several of the albums showed up in triplicate. After several frustrating re-do’s, I discovered, in the Advanced tab, that iTunes was copying my MP3’s into its own directory. I clicked this off, deleted all the iTunes media, database files, and XML’s and started fresh. Bingo. Just one listing in iTunes. (Aside: I’ve never liked iTunes and I don’t find it to be any better when running on a Mac.)

Next steps: getting some photo editing software and word processing on the Mac.

5 thoughts on “Mac me!

  1. Hi Gene, great article…looking forward to more..the statement you made about the weather “There are many things I’ve yet to figure out, like the Dashboard thingie that pops up and shows me the weather in Ottawa. It must be adjustable somewhere.” Must be an Apple thing…it appears on my iPhone and I can’ see where to adjust it for Mississauga..YET..Glad your having a good time with your Mac..

  2. Gene, congrats on your Mac. Here are a couple of things that are must have on your Mac:

    1. Quicksilver by Blacktree. an application launcher that can do anything.
    2. Visor – Terminal on your menubar. Use a hot key to directly open terminal.
    3. Porticus/MacPorts – all the goodness of Linux software on a Mac. This is very nice if you are a programmer and want the latest versions of software like Python, etc.
    4. Adobe Lightroom – this is my favorite photo editor now. It has more control than Photoshop and much more intuitive.

    Suzanne: you need to hit the “i” on the top right corner. This one will flip the app to show you the city selection menu. Same goes for you Gene. 🙂

  3. Suzanne, Ashwin has the goods on getting the right city!

    Ashwin, thank you so much for your suggestions. Porticus / MacPorts sounds great. I’ll have a look at them all. I’m a long-time Photoshop user and quite like it.

  4. Take a look at BBEdit for text editing. I think there’s still a free BBEdit lite version.

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