archive for August, 2008

Two Weeks with a Mac

Tomorrow will be two weeks of me owning and using a Mac.  I bought a Mac Mini (the cheap one) so that I can see if I’ll actually use it (especially for developing apps for the iPhone).  I have been using it, but haven’t gotten much development done.  I’m a bit surprised by how much time I’m spending learning about the new environment.  I spent more than a few days reading about iPhone development and Xcode.  More time was spent just learning about OS X and how it’s different than Windows (I could have done less, but I wanted to do more than just get by).  I’ve also spent a lot of time just evaluating new applications and services.  Overall, it’s a very pleasant computer.  I now go days without using my Windows box.  And now, for some more details.

Specific things I DON’T like:
Learning new keyboard shortcuts, lack of games (not that I could run much on this little guy), lack of good, free, text and image editors, lack of IE for testing web development.

Specific things I DO like:
Sleep mode with a quick restart, stability (I ran 10 days without restarting), quiet hardware, Spaces, Xcode, Spotlight and application help search, installing a printer in one step, ease of installing applications, clean look and feel, lack of IE.

Some especially helpful links for people switching from Windows to Mac OS X:
How to Switch to the Mac
A guide for switching to a Mac
Getting Started with Mac

Here are some notes on what I’ve found useful for different applications:
Web Browser: I still love Firefox, but Safari isn’t too bad either (certainly better than Internet Explorer).
Instant Messaging: I’m loving Adium.  If it worked on Windows, I’d use it at work.
Music Player: iTunes seems to do the job, but I’m not completely thrilled with it.
Mail Client: The built in Mail app doesn’t seem too bad.  I’m still thinking about installing Thunderbird.
Software Development: Only Xcode so far for Objective-C.  I’d like to try out Python and Ruby soon.
FTP Client: FileZilla, just like on Windows.  I’ve also looked at Cyberduck, but didn’t really like the interface.
Text Editor: I’m evaluating TextMate (it looks like it might be worth the $60).  I also tried Smultron and jEdit, but it didn’t seem to be quite enough.
Subversion Client: I’m using SCPlugin as my TortoiseSVN replacement.  From what I can tell, it works.  I’m also trying svnX, but I think I like the more integrated style of SCPlugin.

If you know of a must-have app that I’m missing, please let me know.  I’d love to get an image editor that I can love as much as Paint.NET.

As far as services go, I’ve been looking for a nice hosted Subversion service after hearing about Beanstalk somewhere.  After reading about at least 20 different services, I ended up trying out assembla and DevjaVuUnfuddle also came in high on my list.  They all seem pretty good.  Which one is best probably depends on your requirements.  I’m liking how much space (1GB) that you can get for free from DevjaVu.