So, I got a MacBook. I've been using Mac OS X for two weeks now, and I can post my impressions, as a previous 100% Windows XP user.
General & Display
The MacBook is a cool little machine. I use it mostly with an external screen, keyboard, mouse, speakers, usb hub so I will not comment on the build quality, keyboard, trackpad, screen etc. You can find all these kinds of comments all around the Internet. I only have to say that the screen is very bright, in my setting I have no problem with the glossiness. There are a lot of configuration options for the screen arrangement. I have my Samsung SyncMaster 205BW as my main screen in its native resolution (1680x1050), and to the left I have the MacBook propped using its display as a secondary, in its respective native resolution (1280x800). Very nice.
I find the responsiveness very fast --- a lot faster than my old laptop that had a Pentium M@2 GHz. I have 2 GB of memory, and I only find I'd like more when I have VMWare Fusion running, which allocates 512MB of RAM to the virtual machine. Hard drive performance is as expected from a laptop drive: bad :)
I've used two external drives (had to reformat one to FAT32 and the other to HFS+ in order to be able to write), an iPod Shuffle, a Sony Ericcsson K750, two MS Keyboards (2000 & 4000), an MS Laser Mouse 6000, a Canon Pixma iP4200 printer and a USRobotics 9108 ADSL Modem/Router/Print server.
- Drives work well. You can only read NTFS, not write, that's why I reformatted.
- Shuffle works well (duh!)
- The SE K750i syncs over Bluetooth, and via a hack I can send/receive SMSs and dial contacts in Address Book. The USB cable allows me to mount the filesystem natively, but I get some weird kernel panics so I'll have to look into it.
- MS Keyboards and Mouse: I actually find that the Mac version of the IntelliPoint and IntelliType are actually better than the Windows versions! All the extra keys can be remapped to most useful functions.
- The Canon iP4200 printer works well plugged in (using the Canon drivers). However, I've had major difficulties using the printer when plugged into the USRobotics print server - I've searched around for a solutions, I'll post my results here.
- The wireless router works fine.
I've studied a lot about the differences between Mac OS X and Windows, so I was prepared for most pitfalls. Some that got me (and still get me):
- The behavior of Home/End/Page up/Page down. I hope I'll get used to it sometime. I know I can change it, but I don't want to (yet).
- The modifier keys. Ridiculous. Ctrl is Control, Alt/⌥ is Option, ⌘/ is Command. The fact that I'm using a Windows keyboard doesn't help, though the IntelliType software supports switching around the keys so that they match the physical layout on the Mac keyboard.
- The Finder is a bit wonky - I now understand the FTFF crowd --- I hear that come October it'll be better.
- I've had a few problems with Greek support --- mostly font issues. It seems that most of the built-in fonts don't have Greek glyphs, and this is very annoying, as Firefox doesn't replace the fonts but instead displays "?". The first run of MS Word test drive installed some more fonts, and this resolved all of my issues about Firefox. Still, the lack of built in fonts makes some applications awkward to use as I only get one or two fonts for everything. I'll have to look into this further.
- I got some Kernel Panics (the equivalent of the Windows BSOD), for no apparent reason --- not good.
However, overall I enjoy the experience, and I think it is indeed a better system than Windows for my daily use.
I've had no trouble. The only apps I haven't used before in Windows are the iLife suite, the iWork suite, Transmission for torrents, Textmate for editing (very nice), XCode and family. I also use QuickSilver, mostly as a launcher for now.
I've found that Python is a first-class citizen on the Mac, as there are a lot of bridges, such as an AppleScript bridge , the PyObjC bridge and a lot of other stuff I haven't looked up . I had to install the latest version of Python but it was really very simple.
I really love Interface Builder. Once I figure out how to use the PyObjC to use Python instead of Objective-C I'll be very happy. I'll wait for Leopard before I dig into Objective-C programming, as I don't really want to use a non-garbage collected language right now...
I like it :) I'll post of my findings and thoughts here, so keep your eye on this blog...
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