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Diary of a Mac man, 1

I'm typing this entry from my new iBook. Yes, I've joined the legion of Macintosh users, or as Branko Collin calls them, wankers. While I was staying in Denmark, Sven lent me his iBook to stay in touch with the home front, and I liked it so much I started thinking more seriously about giving the Mac a serious try. That's a lot of seriousness but then I'm a serious guy.
I picked the iBook over the technically more advanced, cheaper and more obviously designed for newcomers Mac Mini because I had more use for a laptop, and once I factored in the cost of adding a monitor (because fiddling with monitor-router devices gets tired quickly), the price differential wasn't major anymore.
I won't start using it as a production machine just yet. My aim for now is to learn how to use the system. As you may have noticed, I've been getting a bit fed up with both Windows and linux, so I'm hoping that this system will be more cooperative in the long run. Will be a while before I can afford Photoshop though.

Impressions so far:

Good: I could buy it off the shelf with OS X (Tiger) preinstalled, and everything worked out of the box. Installing new software, for the most part, was easy; I had Firefox, Opera, MSN Messenger and one or two other little things on there in no time. In addition, I've tested the DVD player, and found that running more or less smoothly. Don't like the region coding, but that's unlikely to be a real problem for me. Glad to have a DVD player at all, because I'm without a TV at home again.
Getting used to the different keyboard functionality has been easy, but I will need to hook up the WACOM pad because like all Laptop "mice", the mouse is a bit crappy.
Bad: I need to get used to the persistent menu bar. Its behaviour - the way it isn't visually connected to any program, and keeps programs present even after all the program's windows are closed, trips me up a lot. I'll get used to that.
Installing GIMP was a big hassle. Or rather, getting X11 to run. The problem was with documentation: it took me several tries using several different methods recommended by the GIMP website before I found out that the X11 I needed was on the installation CDs (and that it was accessible through the Finder, but not through the autorun). Using the packaging system on the installation CD, I ended up installing a load of stuff that I didn't need. Uninstalling that was a bit of a hassle although the uininstallation method itself is pretty easy.
The GIMP now runs though, so I have the most basic functionality available to use the laptop as another emergency machine.

Still to do: getting a Bittorrent client, an IRC program (although Opera should be able to handle it if it must) and something to extract CDs to MP3/Ogg as iTunes seems to use some proprietary format.
Oh, and hooking it to a scanner, finding some alternative graphical software to play with, stuff like that. Because, dammit, the only thing I like more than a big toolkit is a bigger toolkit. That's why I have all three major OS'es in the first place.

Update: Xchat Aqua works, rather well. Getting my XVid files to work took a little while, because two separate codecs needed to be installed, the XVid Delegator itself and DivX5. To do those things, I needed to figure out how to switch to Super User mode within Finder (I missed the "User Authentication" button in the error screen the first time I tried to copy the codecs. It's still a lot easier than getting codecs to work in linux though.
The Wacom tablet kinda sorta worked (in the way it worked on my linux install) without installing the software. After rebooting, it should work properly.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 9, 2005 1:57 PM.

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