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Back to Mac

I’ve had a long term aim to move away from a big ‘box’ of a computer to a smaller laptop with a nice big storage system. Last week I took the last step towards that goal. I’ve been waiting several years for this and, in retrospect, should never have bought the last Dell machine I did (it’s a good enough PC but I was already thinking about going ‘laptop’ at that point).

It will also mean that, for home use, I will be completely Apple Mac based, MacBook Air, iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Airport Extreme, Airport Express (and, errr… a Synology NAS box).

Oddly, one of the main reasons for this switch isn’t actually anything to do with technology. It’s more about simplicity, minimalism and the desire to have ‘less’. A slim sleek laptop , a minimal desk setup, with as much as possible tidied away.

And yes, I was very VERY tempted by the retina display but, as yet, can’t really justify that extra cash… anyway, in a few years time when I’m ready to upgrade, EVERY laptop will have a “retina” style display.

Just for kicks, and because I asked for suggestions on Twitter (and someone obliged with a blog post), I’ll post about the apps I pick up to get my Mac running the way I need it. I’ve done this in the past and it’s good to have it all written down somewhere as I have a shockingly bad memory.

Roll on the 16th July, delivery day!!

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Muscle memory

As I slowly transition my home computing setup towards Mac OSX, the main thing that is slowing me down is my lack of knowledge around the keyboard shortcuts.

Having used Windows for so long now, many of the keyboard shortcuts I use are now deeply ingrained and I my fingers find the correct combination effortlessly. Whether I’m moving a window (Alt+Space, DOWN cursor key, then cursors keys to move), minimising all windows to get back to that file I’ve left on the Desktop (Windows button + D), then restoring them all again (Windows button + D again), or just the basics of CTRL+V, CTRL+Z and so on (Cut and Undo, if you were wondering) the bulk of my time on a Windows computer is spent without touching the mouse.

However, on OSX I’m still heavily dependant on the mouse and that is beginning to become an issue as it’s stalling my productivity. I’ve found plenty of guides to help me learn them but as my day is spent on a Windows machine, I’m finding the nightly transition to OSX still causes me some grief.

My brain isn’t helping at all, as it currently equates “laptop” with “OSX”. Which was fine up until last week where I got a laptop at work, and I know finding myself in a quandary as the Command key on my MacBook (used for cutting and pasting in OSX) is where the ALT key is on my Windows laptop. That’s been fun, with (seemingly) random menus appearing when I’m trying to cut and paste text!

I’m persevering though as it took me many years to get to the level of efficiency I have with a Windows machine, so I know it will take time and the fact that using the Mac is sooooo much nicer than Windows makes it all worthwhile.

Although I’ve still to try Windows 7, so maybe that will change too…

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Previously on 24… er.. this blog…

One thing I don’t do very often is revisit previous, recent, posts and offer any closure or update. However I think the following are worthwhile revisiting:

1. My iPhone Apps
In the process of writing that post, I realised that the some applications I did have on my iPhone weren’t quite right. So I spent a little time hunting for better alternatives and on the way picked up a couple of new applications.

Replaced applications include:

  • Tweetie in for Twitterific – Twitterific was great when it first came out but seems to have been left dormant, Tweetie is far more complete.
  • Remember the Milk in for Zenbe lists – Zenbe is a good, web aware, list app but it’s not as good as RTM for task management. I’ve had a badly used RTM account for ages so this was a good push to get me focussed on using it, especially as I’ve now put money behind it (you need a Pro subscription to use the app on your iPhone). Working well so far.

New applications, some of which I’m still evaluating, include:

  • CameraBag – a simple photo manipulation app with presets that mimick various effects. Very much a one trick pony but kinda fun nevertheless.
  • Tumblrette – I have a Tumblr account, and this app might help me make better use of it rather than just recycling blog posts and Twitter statuses.
  • RunKeeper Pro – I had the lite version of this but the Pro version was offered free for one day, so I’ve nabbed it and put it back on the iPhone in the hope I get back to jogging sometime this year.
  • MMS – which provides MMS capabilities on my iPhone, not done much with this yet
  • SaiSuke – which gives me direct access to all my Google Calendars. Not quite sure why I have this, think I thought it did more than it does!

I also re-jigged my home pages some, and they now look like this (click for bigger):

iPhone Apps

2. MacBook screen issues.
I reported a weird glow, right in the centre of my MacBook screen, that would appear and disappear, seemingly, intermittently.

The circumstances of when I first noticed this was when I was sitting on the sofa with the laptop, I was facing the window and it was a nice sunny day outside. I was dropping the brightness to eke out a little more battery life (too lazy to go upstairs and get the power cord) and when I dropped the brightness to 0 (a black screen) there was the weird glow right in the middle of the screen. I tried to replicate this effect later in the evening but couldn’t.

Got all that?

Now take a look at this photo of the case of a MacBook. Notice where the Apple logo is, that translucent section of the casing? Right in the middle of the screen.

Yup. That’s right. Sunlight streaming through the Apple logo onto the back of the ‘darkened’ LCD screen.

Thanks to Matt for figuring this out.

So, apparently, it’s not just my Mother that is an idiot.

Speaking of which…

3. My Mother is an idiot.
At Christmas we got my parents a Wii Fit board to go with their new Wii. My Mum has been using it and enjoying the various mini-games, one of which includes using the position of your body on the board to help balance a tight rope walker as he walks between two buildings (on the tight rope).

You lean left on the board to make him lean left, right to go right. It’s pretty basic but quite tricky.

So I could understand when my Mum said that she couldn’t complete the task, that she kept ‘falling off’. It is quite a tricky game.

However it was only when she mentioned it to Dad that she realised why.

She had the Wii Fit board round the wrong way. Lean left to go right…

Sorry Mum, but I need to do SOMETHING to distract from my moment of idiocy!

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