MacBook Pro: Week 1

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MacBook Pro

If you follow me on Twitter or grace us with your presence in my IRC chat room, you know that I'm beginning the change from XP boy to OSX man. My text-reader voice is changing and I'm finding apps where there were no apps before. I thought I'd give you a few thoughts after one week of Mac fanboy-hood.

  • First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for the tips they've given me. Thanks to everyone that posted tips in the comments of this post. Thanks to Valerio Proietti for coercing me into getting a MacBook Pro. Thank you to Thomas Aylott for his help with TextMate and its bundles. Thank you to Jeremy Parrish for his tips and help. I'd be nowhere without you!
  • I love it. I absolutely love this machine.
  • I know that Apple installed the OS for me, but I still think it's great that I was up and running in 5 minutes.
  • For the longest time, I thought the OS' animations (maximizing and minimizing from the dock, attention bouncing, etc.) were all about cuteness. Now I know what's it's called: user experience.
  • I love how easy it is to install an application. With Windows, you generally have to go through an ugly installer and then go into C:\Program Files to access application files. No more of that. Drag it into the applications folder and move on....
  •, how do I safely uninstall an application? Sorry GIMP...
  • AppFresh is outstanding. Can you see a Windows program doing that? Hell no!
  • I think it's great that I can fire up VirtualBox to install any OS under the Sun with ease. I had Windows 7 on a virtual drive in no time.
  • My girlfriend's jealous of my MacBook Pro.
  • In speaking with everyone, I realized that there was less variety. Everyone recommend Adium for chat, for example. And in this case, I've found less variety to be a good thing.
  • TextMate rocks...
  • ...but the transition from jEdit will be tough. I'm a jEdit powerhouse and I'm much slower with TextMate. I love some of TextMate's functionality, understand it's a superior product, and will continue to work with it.
  • I did install and customize jEdit though. In this case: Java FTW.
  • Someone told me the next version of the OS will only be $30. That's outstanding business on Apple's part.
  • I love using iTerm. The terminal has been a huge asset already. I've always used Cygwin but never felt comfortable with it. That's not a knock on Cygwin....I simply feel like it's a forced product.
  • The video/webcam that's built in is really nice.
  • The number of buttons involved in shortcuts is a bit daunting. Shift, Option, Control, Fn, and Apple keys. On XP it's only Shift, Control, and Alt. I know that sounds weak but it's been a bit hard for me so far.
  • I look forward to continuing to learn the Mac way of things.
  • Here's what I've installed so far: . Let me know what I still need. Let me know what I don't!

So those are my impressions so far. I can't wait to hear your impressions about my impressions.

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  1. AppCleaner (Free, Google it, icon is apps in a bin) uninstalls the right way.

  2. Typically just dragging the app to the trash is enough, but there will probably be lingering preference files and stuff. I use AppZapper, which catches that stuff and makes a cool zapping sound.

    Two of my favorite TextMate commands are Cmd-Option-[period] which “close” whatever the closest tag you have open is, like inserting a </li> or something. And Cmd-Option-/, which put in “comment” tags in whatever type of file you are in.

  3. AppUpdate:

    Sits on the dashboard, when you want to ensure you’re up-to-date you press F12 then click “update” and it automagically checks your applications against Macupdate and other Mac software sites.


    Comprehensive vital statistics about your toy.

  4. OMG! I didn’t now AppFresh ^^” shame on me!

    Congrats for your new toy David, I’m sure you’ll continue to enjoy it =) As of today, I already bought the new MBP and will sell my macbook white to get it paid… I have to say that i don’t plan on coming back to windows, OS X has satisfied me and surprised me as well…

    And yes, I’m a mac fan now! Became one since I tried using one… It’s user experience (as you said) is one of the best thing about Mac’s! But you’ll miss Windows a little if you like games (it has gotten better, but not as nearly as windows) and if you like Winamp… I don’t like iTunes and would really appreciate if anyone point out a good player…

    Regards! and let me take a look at AppCleaner… =)

  5. My wife has an air, and she loves it… I’m still not entirely convinced on how efficient I can be on a mac. Will be following your experience closely :)

  6. You say the computer was running in 5 mins – mine came with Tiger and the Leopard install disc. The computer was entirely finished with the OS upgrade in about :30 mins and I was online.

    Beat that, Windows!

  7. Let the smugness begin :P.

    In the coming weeks, we’ll find out you’re driving a hybrid, and living in coffee shops.

    Totally joking of course.

  8. Hahahaha.

  9. kyle

    Perhaps MAMP and Transmit are worth adding? Not sure how happy you are with cyberduck, but I really missed having two panels. Ctrl+Shift+F in Textmate will upload the current file to the active window in Transmit, which I use a boatload.

  10. Brendon

    take a look at macports
    makes installing oss really easy.

  11. emehrkay

    I made the move about a year ago, I will never go back to Windows. I’m still looking to setup a good dedicated Linux machine (sidenote: I know that you do some php. Yesterday I ran into an issue with how Ubutntu handles rand() differently than OS X — watch out).

    Did you install the Entrophy php package and use the built-in apache with namedvirtual hosts or did you go the mamp route?

  12. emehrkay: I haven’t touched the native Apache or MAMP yet but I will soon. I’m told Macports can screw up the native apache.

  13. nabo

    For me it’s Month 3 with MacBook Pro and I’m not so happy like you.

    Textmate has got a horrible interface and a strange and fastidious bug on “Save as”. I recently found Komodo Edit and I think it’s better (and it’s free!)… but Notepad++ or Homesite are both superior.

    I HATE Finder… how can you treat directories like files… bah…

    For my job Cyberduck is completely unuseful so, luckily, i can use Filezilla for Mac (even if I had to install twice because I need two clients open at the same time).

    Ok MAC has some things Windows doesn’t…. but I consider them not decisive and for sure they don’t improve my work so… I hope to switch back to Windows.

    Anyway… i’m happy for you! :-)

  14. Simon

    Microsoft has clearly much to learn from Apple !
    But about the
    “Someone told me the next version of the OS will only be $30. That’s outstanding business on Apple’s part.”
    Yes it’s true, but it’s not as outstanding as some may think. It’s not a new OS but sort of a big big rocking damn nice Service Pack. Don’t worry, Apple never forgets to make their customers pay… ;)

  15. Chris

    Missed your thread on what to install but I see that a lot of people use the same editor as me – Panic’s Coda.

    I too recently moved over to a mac from Windows and am loving it.
    I probably tried about 10 differnent editors including of course textMate but, for my needs, Coda beat them all.
    It fits my needs personally – built-in ftp and direct server file editing, files in tabs, preview etc.
    I know that most people recommend textMate but it just seemed so messy – seperate ftp, files in new windows, need to install endless bundles…. Maybe I should give it more time, but Coda just let me get on with it!

    One of the things I love about my mac – spaces – it makes working with various programmes at the same time so easy :)
    Other than that I don’t actually need much else, still using photoshop and Fireworks via Parallels until the budget allows some new versions.

    Enjoy your mac and keep up your great work!

  16. kyle

    Just a note that I believe I read somewhere that the Snow Leopard upgrade will only be $9.95 if you purchased your macbook after June 8th.

  17. “Someone told me the next version of the OS will only be $30. That’s outstanding business on Apple’s part.”

    Like Simon pointed out, the upgrade will be from 10.5 to 10.6, or whichever is the next version. It’s not like going from XP to Vista, or a leap like that.

    It’s more like a Service Pack… that Microsoft gives us for free. shrug

  18. Oh, lame. I shall find the person that told me that and say “You, kind sir, are a liar.”

  19. Have you guys read about the advancements in Snow Leopard vs Leopard? It is a full 64 bit upgrade (getting rid of all of the legacy stuff), has built-in support for programmers to fully take advantage of parallel processing (handing off tasks to video cards and whatever processing unit you may have), all of the core applications are rewritten to take advantage of those features, and to top it off, the size of the os will decrease.

    Bottom line is that the upgrade will be better than that of Vista to Windows 7 (which to me seems to be all UI). Well worth the 30 bucks

  20. CSSEdit. You must get it. I have no idea how anybody does any web design without it.

    Fluid App is another of my favorites I didn’t notice in your list.

    I find iChat to work fine for IM (once I got my MSN contacts via jabber). I’ve got AOL, MSN, and Google all up in it. I use video chat and screen share regularly with other designers. I’ll have to check out Aldius though.

    Your screenshots from windows always made me cringe and remember the miserable days of pixel fonts. Those miserable pixel fonts in windows … 14px Verdana still renders in 1 pixel lines!

    Anyway, congrats! I’m glad you love it so much already. I convert everybody who has ever had a desk next to mine.

  21. @Sean

    I thought that the move from Tiger to Leopard was more significant than xp to vista.

    Vista gave me some flippy triangles, a 3D version of alt+tab, and lots of transparent stuff, but not a single thing that made me use my machine differently.

    Leopard gave me Spaces (can’t live without), coverflow (I love it for my img folders), quicklook, bootcamp, and time machine. All things that significantly changed the way I use my computer.

    That said … snow leopard isn’t about new features, but I’m excited to get 5 gigs back since it’s got a smaller footprint.

  22. Nice to see you going the Mac way! I switched to Mac just a month back and I absolutely love it.

    Here are a few app suggestions from another emigrant:

    Espresso for one-window web development. Got it as part of the MacHeist bundle and is indispensable for me now. A lot of people hail Coda but I’ve found this to just work for me.
    iChm, one of the better CHM viewers for Mac. I just can’t do without this and the PHP Manual in CHM format. You might also want to give PHPfi from Artis software a try specifically for PHP reference.
    MindNode, mind mapping tool. Never thought mind mapping could be this easy.
    Sequel Pro, database client.
    DiffMerge, file/folder comparison and merging. At least until I find a better way to compare files/folders. Though Xcode’s FileMerge is good enough for file comparisons, it looks confusing when comparing folders. A paid alternative is the Changes app.
    NeoOffice, I prefer this mac optimized version of OpenOffice.
    Intel Mac optimized version of Firefox, Minefield from
    Fluid for creating site-specific browsers that I can launch from the Dock or the menu bar. Really takes toolbar clutter away from the browser for those sites where they make no sense.

  23. Really, try Coda alredy.


  24. I played with coda and espresso for 2 weeks each, exclusively.

    I pulled TextMate + CSSEdit back off the shelf they’d been on for a month. Don’t get me wrong, one window development is pretty sweet, but I just missed too much from my two favorite apps.

  25. I always used JEdit (PC or Mac) and I’ve had my macbook pro for just over a year – I’m not sure if you did, but I’d suggest getting AppleCare – the majority of people I know with any laptop have had to use their extended warranty.

    This has given me a list of new tools I need to play with to see if it’ll change what I’m using now…

  26. Hey David,
    Smashing mag blogged today about 25 free app to boost your mac

    Enjoy :D

  27. I’ve begun using Meerkat and ExpanDrive together.

    Meerkat lets me easily create ssh tunnels to various remote databases. Because the tunnels make my script appear to be running on the remote machines, I don’t need to use wildcard (%) grants on my mysql databases or grant rights for my ever changing IP address. So, now my database is a little more secure.

    ExpanDrive lets me access remote files as if they were local.

    Now, I can do local development without having to build local databases and copy files to process from remote servers to my local machine.

    Meerkat and ExpanDrive are proving to be very useful tools.

  28. Hey David, this folder merge app can save a lot of pain if like i did you copy a folder expecting the contents to merge (as they do on windows) rather than just replace the whole folder – a life saver when applying upgrade patches to open source cms systems. another vote for MAMP if you decide to go that way – it just works.

  29. Nahn

    So I have gimp photo manipulating program….And I want it gone. I hate it! So I tried dragging it to the trash can, but it says it can’t be deleted because it’s in use, which it isn’t. and then there is the gimp universal w//e in the trash from the download but I can’t empty the trash because and unexpected error occured! HELP!

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