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Switch to Mac

Quicksilver roadmap at the end

In an earlier post, I mentioned how i’d been an admirer of the Quicksilver application and its workflow. Having finally picked up a Mac for full time use (work & play), it was I think the 2nd application I installed. It’s definately a great productivity tool. I’m not keen on the way OS X has all of it’s apps in one folder – I hate scrolling using a track pad, even with Apples two finger “gesture” method – and the Stacks feature of OS X Leopard doesn’t cut it for me.

So, with all that, I was gutted to read today that it is almost certainly in it’s final state – certainly from the developers POV according to this interview on Lifehacker.
Hopefully there is a community out there that will pick up the Open Source project and take it on.
I’m still looking for a decent Dictionary plug-in that works with Leopard…

Shortcuts and Quicksilver

I’ve always preferred to use the keyboard more than the mouse so i’ve been intrigued by QuickSilver for a long time. It was almost a weekly subject on the LifeHacker RSS feed for a while earlier this year. Being a Mac only app, I was pretty jealous, but was fine with the CTRL + R shortcut to bring up the Run box in Windows…

I’ve been using QuickSilver for a couple of weeks now and haven’t really scratched the surface of it. I only use it to open apps quickly (Terminal, Eclipse, Textmate) and haven’t gotten around to seeing what the right hand box can offer just yet. It certainly beats having a massive Dock or trawling through the Applications folder.

On another but related note, what’s the deal with Firefox (Mac), Safari and webpage check boxes?
I’m used to being able to tab down a web form and submitting without having to use the mouse at all. However on my Mac, neither browser will tab to the checkbox. It’s so much quick to tab to it and hit space than to muck about with the mouse/trackpad.

Is this just a config thing or is it really by design? To me, it seems a bit of a usability issue. Of course i’m no expert on that subject really.

Laptop consolidation

Continuing my “Switch To Mac” project, i’ve been trying to work out how far I can go in replacing my work laptop with my own Macbook.
Now, my work laptop is a real bone of contention. It’s a piece of crap Dell Latitude D600. In the past 9 months, the HD has gone three times, a memory module has bust and it has had to be re-imaged by the internal IS&T team 4 times in total. Each time it is re-imaged is two days of almost 100% downtime.
Unfortunately this re-imaging can’t be done myself as our VPN solution requires a specific AD tied RSA token and without AD domain admin style access I can’t generate a new token and assign it to my account.
I was checking out the ‘Black Friday’ sale that Apple ran for the UK yesterday (30th November) as i’d decided to pick up a license for iWork ’08 whilst it was on sale, when I saw VMWare Fusion on there also at a discounted rate. (more…)

Skitch

Taking screenshots on XP was always a bit of a pain in the ass. ALT+PrtSc, paste into MS Paint (I don’t get Photoshop at work and I never really got to grips with GiMP), crop, resize, save as jpg (unless XP had gone up the spout in which case it was a bmp), email to QA/Dev or add to the defect tracking system… <yawn>

A good few months ago, I read about a startup called Skitch. At the time I was a 99% XP user and they haven’t got a Windows version just yet.

I installed this to my Macbook a couple of days ago, it’s fricken ace. Not only is it quick and easy to grab screens, you can overlay text or other simple graphics (arrows, boxs etc..), export to pretty much any filetype and even upload to your own space hosted on their site. It’s brilliantly productive, infinitely better than anything i’ve used before.

Here’s a video that explains it all in less than 3 mins. I don’t know if the beta is public yet but my account says I have some invites if anyone wants to give it a test drive.

[tags]Skitch, OS X, Productivity, Switch To Mac[/tags]

Ruby on Rails, mySQL, Mongrel and OS X Leopard

For the majority of my RoR development, i’ve used a Windows machine running Instant Rails. Apparently, the Mac is the so-called “favoured platform” for Ruby on Rails development so i’ve been looking forward to getting rolling with this on my shiny Macbook. However, i’ve spent a couple of days scouring Google and Groups trying to find the optimum way to get everything set up and running. There isn’t much information where Leopard is concerned, most of the posts and articles are geared toward Tiger and involve building and compiling Ruby from source with XCode.

Well, i’ve got mine environment up and running so hopefully this will save someone else a bit of time. Of course, that does assume that i’ve done this all in the correct manner! Any corrections or updates welcome! 🙂 (more…)

Switching to Mac

After months of contemplation i’ve finally taken the plunge and picked up one of the new Santa Rosa based 13″ Macbook (2.2GHz C2D). I was tempted to go for the black one but TBH, it seemed a little excessive to spunk an extra £120 for just an extra 40GB and the blackness.
I was also a bit surprised at the cost of upgrading the RAM, they want £539.99 to increase from 1GB to 4GB! I’ve just ordered 2x2GB sticks from Crucial for <£90 delivered. Mental!

I’ve not really stumbled across any major problems TBH, except that it took me a while to work out the keyboard shortcuts for Copy (Apple+c) and Paste (Apple+v). I’m still stuck in the world of Ctrl+..!

Although my work laptop is going to have to stay, i’m going to start trying to use the MB at work more and just rely on XP for email (I prefer Outlook to Entourage).
Does anyone have any recommendations regarding iWork vs MS Office Mac? What about Open Office?

Any tips for a switcher greatfully received. 🙂