Thursday, December 25, 2008

Moving to the Mac

I set up my iMac on Christmas Eve and have been using it for just over a day now. It's amazing how quickly you just "click" with OS X. There are a lot of little differences to Windows that take some time to get used to, but we're talking a day at most.

Stuff like:
  • The command key is used instead of the CTRL key to cut, paste and copy.
  • The Menu bar (with File, Edit, etc) is actually disconnected from each app. Luckily I always kept my menu bar at the top of the screen in Windows - as I was wanted to keep it this way when I moved to Windows from the Amiga. So the Mac feels just right with the menu bar at top!
  • The close button (a little red X in a circle) on each app doesn't actually quit the app, just closes the window. And these buttons are to the left, not right of the app.
  • You use option arrow key to navigate a word at a time, not CTRL arrow key.
  • Installing software requires you to drag the application into the Application folder. Once you get used to this concept it makes the Windows way seem really, really complicated. All my apps are in my Application folder. How simple is that?
But there are so many amazing things straight out of the box that make you say "Man, this is so simple and obvious - I new Windows was bloated and complicated, but I didn't quite realize it until now."

Stuff like:
  • The Dock is a graphic representation of all your favorite apps on the bottom of the screen. Click once to launch. It's easy to add and remove favorite apps. Active apps have a light below them and the mail app will bounce to let you know you have new mail.
  • The Finder is a cool piece of software that lets you find any app, document, photo or movie within seconds.
  • The Mac environment is so simple - and Finder makes it really easy to navigate. You have Devices and Places. Devices are hard drives, external stuff like iPods and cameras. Places is where your stuff is - it consists of the desktop, your home, applications and documents. Just click on one of these to see the contents - and you can view the contents as lists, icons or in cover flow. Unlike Vista which I have on my laptop and still find it hard to navigate, with OS X I just know where everything is. Amazing!
  • The iMac comes with so much cool software pre-loaded like iTunes, iMovie, Garage Band, iChat, Safari, etc.
  • In the Finder you can see all your documents and quickly search for things using the search bar. And you simply have to click on a doc then hit the SPACE bar and you see the contents of the doc instantly. No loading Word or PowerPoint - it just appears in a window for you to read. Magic.
  • It's blisteringly fast to power on and power off (you can put it into sleep mode with one press of the Power button).
  • Expose is really cool. It lets you see all your open apps at once and choose the one you want. Vista has something like this but I could never work it out. On the iMac you just hit the F3 key to activate.
  • The number of cables is staggeringly small. You plug one power lead into the wall. You plug the keyboard into the monitor. You plug the mouse into the keyboard. That is it. No mess, no clutter. It also has a number of USB slots and other cable slots behind the monitor that are super easy to access - unlike most PC boxes.
So, I've migrated my docs, my mail and my music across. I've also moved my Flash environment over and downloaded the 30 day trial Mac version of Flash and everything works fine. I just have to cross-grade from my Windows license to a Mac license and I'm done.

I was going to install XP using Boot Camp, but at this stage I don't see the point. All my dev is done in Flash at the moment and if I need to create a Windows program I will boot up the old PC box.

Well, those are my thoughts after a day of use. I'll let you all know what I think in a weeks time!

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