Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

More Mac Stuff

If you’re not in the least bit interested in my experiences with my new Mac then you can safely skip this post. Otherwise, read on…

The good bits

  • Bootup and shutdown are very fast in comparison with my Wintel laptop, but this may be because my laptop has quite a bit of software loaded on it and a number of things which run on bootup: virus scanner, memory manager, ActiveSync, phone manager utilities, Microsoft Antispyware and a series of hotkey/background utilities for managing my sound and video. The majority of those won’t be needed on the Mac.
  • Despite mice with more than one button being a rarity in the Mac world, my two-button wireless mouse with scroll wheel works just as it did in Windows. If you’re only used to one button then trust me, you don’t know what you’re missing.
  • Not really tried it yet but installing and uninstalling applications looks like a sinch.
  • iPhoto is an awesome tool to have out of the box. Not quite as powerful as Picasa for Windows but a nice tool to have.
  • Seems to work fine with all of the hardware that I’ve plugged into it thus far.
  • Preview works well as a PDF viewer. And I appreciate native support for creating PDFs when printing, rather than installing an add-on like PDFCreator (or the full Acrobat package, obviously).
  • The Terminal, and all its Unix command line goodness.
  • Nice to see iChat making the first steps into cross-network support by allowing connections to Jabber and Bonjour as well. That said, I’ll be downloading Adium X to enable the other networks.

The bad bits

  • OS X is still not properly respecting my keyboard layout. Sure, I’ve found the options that let you change it, but what it thinks is a UK layout, um, isn’t. When I press Shift+2 I should be getting “, not an @ – that’s what it’s labelled as.
  • Closing applications takes some getting used to. Clicking the red X doesn’t actually close it – it just sends it to the dock. You have to press Alt+Q or right-click its dock icon and choose Close. Minimising sends it to the right-hand side of the dock, incidentally.
  • Though it’s not as bad as many PC manufacturers (see Ed Bott’s weblog entry) there’s still a bit of bundled crap that I don’t really want, namely trials of Keynote and Microsoft Office:Mac 2004. I’ve downloaded NeoOffice to replace the latter.
  • iSync doesn’t support my phone (Nokia 7250i) or PDA (Dell Axim X50v). Though I will be getting a better phone soon (next 6-9 months, I reckon) and The Missing Sync fixes the latter problem, albeit at a cost of $40.

Software I have lined up to install

  • Deer Park Alpha 2
  • Thunderbird 1.0.6
  • Adium X 0.82
  • NeoOffice/J 1.1
  • VLC 0.82
  • Flickr Uploadr for Mac OS X
  • Flickr plugin for iPhoto

Any other suggestions? I’m considering buying Transmit but would appreciate some free alternatives. I might give FireFTP another spin once DPA2 is running.


  1. Some Mac suggestions:

    • Get rid of Adium; it stinks. Proteus is better.
    • I use PictureSync instead of Flickr Uploadr, although I think flickr uploader is good.
    • NewNetWire Lite (RSS reader)
    • Transmit is good, worth the price
    • I use LView Media Pro instead of iPhoto
  2. The keyboard thing is a mac thing, as opposed to a us/uk thing – we have different layouts on our keyboards. I don’t know if you can change it, but if not you can always get an apple keyboard 🙂
    Clicking the red button (the close button) closes the window, not the application. This means you can keep applications running without having any windows open, and an application can have multiple windows. It’s the one major thing that seems to confuse windows switchers, in my experience.
    Oh, and Adium rocks, Proteus sucks 😉 Also, install and play around with Quicksilver, it seriously rocks 🙂

  3. I suggest an email to Apple about the keyboard, or to check your settings. It is set to a US keyboard.

  4. Glad you’ve got a MacMini. I’ve been play… ehm, working with it for three months in my office 🙂
    My main complaint (and I’ve seen it’s a normal thing) is about the memory. I have Mac Mini 1.42 GHz with 512 MB of memory. It’s not enough.
    Just play a little bit with NeoOffice, and you’ll see.
    Talking about speed, the comparison with my laptop (Amilo M 7400, 1.6 GHz, 512 MB of RAM) is fairly won by the latter.
    I was really surprised about that. Many people told me it is because of Tiger. In the software package included there is also Panther, but I don’t think I want to step backward at all.
    About software installation: fantastic. Or better said: it doesn’t exist for many programs. You just have to unpack them and copy them to one directory!

  5. Would I be remiss in suggesting Virtual PC?

  6. Uh, the keyboard thing. Pushing Shift+2 on a UK layout keyboard should result in “. Not @.
    As for comparing it with a laptop booting: that’s a bit unfair, don’t you think? 🙂
    Doubt it’d boot faster than some of the “uber-PC’s” that are around.

  7. * Transmit for FTP
    * Colloquy for IRC
    * Adium for chat
    * NetNewsWire for RSS
    * SubEthaEdit for text editing
    * Ecto for blogging
    * FlickrExport for Flickr
    * Quicksilver for transforming your life 😉