Open Source Everything


Linux vs Windows vs Mac

A few months back, I gave up linux after a 3.5 year love hate relationship, and went back to windows for a while.

It wasn't horrible, but there were lots of things I missed. I missed the fact that I had a solid unix system underneath. I missed having SSH, SFTP, and VNC built in for remote access. I missed the ease of installing things with yum and all my beautiful, free applications.

I also had to relearn to think in terms of "this machine is vulnerable" and was careful with every file I downloaded and opened.

I have to admit, I loved the fact that dual-screen just worked. I loved that our printer at home finally functioned as it should. I loved sharing files easily with the click of a mouse.

After seeing Noel and some of the Ruby Guys at BarCampNYC2 work their magic on their macs, I started to realized that Mac combined the power of unix with a slick interface that generally just works. I could run apache, php, ruby, and mysql all locally and have a beautiful interface and my periphrasis work without endless .conf file hacking. And, watching these Mac experts fly around on their machine really piqued my interest. I've got the windows side of things pretty well mastered, but even still, it can be clunky to find your away around once you've got more than a few windows open.

So, last week, Kelly graciously accompanied me to the Mac store so I could take advantage of her student discount, and I came home with a shiny new MacBook Pro.

I haven't been a fan of every little piece along the way (where's the delete - not backspace - key? Where are home and end?) but I have found that most of my complaints can be tweaked and configured away, or are combination keystrokes to keep the keyboard big and simple. The more I play on this machine, the more I'm starting to love it. I'm starting to get the hang of the key commands and hot keys. I'm especially loving quicksilver, and the fact that I can almost instantly start a new application or trigger an event.

My one biggest complaint so far was the lack of an included OS X manual. If I hadn't already known to drop an application into the applications folder to install it, where would I have learned that?

Tonight, Sara pointed me to the great documentation at , and I've been reading along and just soaking up the info. I've already got a few new tricks up my sleeve, and I'm especially looking forward to mastering iMovieHD and GarageBand.

I'm going to do my best to keep some notes of the things that I've learned and how windows and linux/unix users can make the most of their new mac, but for now, I'm just enjoying the experience.

One final question for any mac guru's out there. I'm desperately missing my multimedia keyboard's "play/pause" button when listening to music at work. Is there a way to set a global hotkey for itunes that works even when iTunes is hidden or behind the active window?

Quicksilver comes through again. I set a trigger key for "play/pause" and I can start and stop the track from any application. Just hitting the quicksilver hotkey and typing itunes->TAB->next jumps to the next song, and tons of other commands can be triggered that way. Brilliant.

Comments (6) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I don’t use iTunes to play music that often (I am not in one place long enough to get through anything.. I tend to just use my iPod). I found this and have no idea if it will help you or not.

    also, there’s a nice little wordpress plugin which will automatically unselect the default category when you select another one.

  2. if you havent already installed it, get quicksilver. its an app launcher/stuff doer that absolutely rules. one of its built in features is global itunes hotkeys, which i use all of the time.

  3. re: itunes hotkeys

    There is Synergy ( It does what you want plus a few other things like controls in the menubar and transparent popups with track info/album art. I dig it. It costs 5 euros.

  4. skiffy! i should update this, but this is a good place to start…

  5. My daughter uses a Mac (she is a student at SD State) and I must say she never has a problem with it.

    In any case the PC that is toiling away on your desktop is obsolete, with MS, Linux or whatever.

    The future is mobile computing with wireless broadband and applications that are run from remote servers. Your PC will do everything a cellphone can do, but it will have a keyboard and access to all desktop applications: web-browsing, e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets and media stuff like mpg, mp3, etc. The files will exist on a server somewhere, not on a local drive.

    When such a thing costs $200 to own and $20/month for the connections, I’ll buy it.

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