I’m a damn dirty ape switcher. I am now the proud owner of a 15 inch Apple PowerBook. It’s only been a couple of weeks, but already it is “home.” I still have my uses for Windows and Linux, but OS X is where I’m going to do the majority of my computing. OS X seems to have just enough “linux flavor” for my liking.
I’ve gotten fairly comfortable with some third party software that is really nice. For IRC, I’m using Colloquy (free), which is very pretty, and behaves out of the box quite similarly to X-Chat. For FTP, Transmit ($29.95) is quite nice. For some of my P2P needs, Acquisition ($17.99) is handy, although there is apparently some issue with the author not releasing source code that may or may not be bound by the GPL. TextMate ($47.36) is quite a handy text editor, whose potential I’ve not even begun to unleash.
Quicksilver (free) is, without a doubt, the most useful application I’ve ever seen. Ever. It is a bit hard to describe, but here goes: Quicksilver is a graphical, keyboard-driven interface that connects your computer directly to your brain. Or something like that. It all starts with an activation key. I have it set to activate when I double tap the caps lock key with my left pinky finger. Then, I simply start typing. I could type the name of an application, or a folder, or a file. I could press “.” and go into text input mode and type an e-mail address, a website, or a phrase I want to search for on Google. I could press “/” and browse the contents of the hard drive, burrowing down as far as I want. I can press “,” and queue the selected item, and continue looking for more items. I can choose a multitude of actions to run on the selected item (and depending on the type of item selected). For instance, let’s say that I have a connection to my Windows PC mounted as “PC documents.” I could start typing “P-C-D-O-C” and very quickly, the “PC documents” mounted drive would come up. I’d hit tab, and then start typing “E-J-E-C” for the “eject” action. as soon as it comes up, I hit enter, and the connection to the network resource is terminated. For finding something on Google, I can either press “.”, type the search term, press tab, type “F-I-N-D” for “find with…” and then type “G-O-O” for “google”, or I could work it backwards, by typing “G-O-O” first, and then using the “search for…” action, and then end it by typing out my query. I can also use it to control iTunes, searching for songs by artist, title, album, genre, composer, etc, and then either queuing songs up, or playing them immediately. At any time, I can type “P-A-U” for the “Play/Pause” action. At any time I can type “N-E-X” for the “next song” action. At any time I can type “M-U-T” for the “mute” action. If you run OS X, you must try this out.
Another application I’ve found useful is Path Finder ($34.00), which is a drop-in replacement for OS X’s built-in and severely lacking Finder. Basically, it’s your file-browsing and manipulating program. Path Finder is miles ahead of Finder, but there are some problems: it can’t completely replace the Finder. You can, actually, rename
Path Finder.app to
Finder.app, but some things won’t work as well. For instance, my Automator scripts were throwing errors. So now I have the two running in unison. It’s not a big deal, but I’d definitely like Path Finder to be able to completely replace Finder.
I got the PowerBook with a GB of RAM, and I’m more than happy with the speed. Things don’t get bogged down even with multiple programs in memory, and things start up quite quickly. It is rather amazing to see how smooth things are even with 30 windows open at a time (which would be an unusually high number). It runs a little bit hot when plugged in, but I usually just unplug it, as it runs for over 4 hours on battery power, and only takes about an hour to an hour and a half to recharge. The keyboard is nice, and the touchpad is the first touchpad I’ve actually been able to stand. In fact, the two-fingered scrolling is quite handy, and the drag-lock feature makes it easy to move files around without fear of dropping them.
I love how a web server is built in. I love how easy it is to enable PHP and MySQL. I love how OS X makes use of
sudo. I love how simple it is to connect to my Windows PC (either connecting to its drives, or actually controlling it remotely). I love Automator, which is basically like a drag-and-drop script editor. I made a script that takes the “Picture 1.png” file created when I take a screen shot, rename it according to the date and time, and upload it to my website, and put the address in my clipboard. If someone says “show me a screenshot,” I can literally paste a link in 5-10 seconds. I love ExposÃ©, and Dashboard widgets. Basically, I’m home, and I’m wondering what took me so long to get here.