Switching to Mac, Part 2

It’s already more than a month since I switched from Windows to Mac. Time Flies. I’d meant to post a lot more about how the switch has gone, but I’ve just not had the time. But anyway…

So far, I can say that I’ve not had any problems with the change-over. Apart from cursing the pretty rubbish trackpad every now and again – and I installed Sidetrack to take care of that little gripe – everything has been pretty darn good.


I’m starting to work out the applications that I like best for OSX. The general quality of OSX software is great, it must be said. Here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve been using:

  • Textmate – I doubt I could live without it now. Brilliant.
  • Transmit – Bought version 2 just a few hours before version 3 came out. Doh! Thankfully they had a special offer that gave me a free upgrade!
  • MarsEditThe way to update a weblog.
  • iTerm – A better command-line terminal for OSX.
  • CocoaMySQL – easier to use than installing phpMyAdmin locally.

Browser-wise, I’ve stuck with what I know: Firefox. I use it at work, so it’s easier to keep using it at home. Mail is handled by Gmail/Mail.app.

Local Development Setup

One of the great strengths (and one reason I switched) of OSX, is that it’s a great environment for developing on – particularly web development. It comes with Apache, PHP, Ruby and more, all ready for you to use.

So far, I’ve setup Apache with a number of virtual hosts, so I can run multiple development sites. I’ve also upgraded Ruby and installed Rails (and setup a couple of the virtual hosts to run it), upgraded PHP to PHP5, installed MySQL and installed a Subversion command-line client. This has given me everything I need for the moment.

Ideally, I’d like to setup a local development server, complete with SVN repositories, and move everything to there – just use the iBook for writing the code, rather than code + testing. Who knows, I may buy a Mac Mini when I can afford it. But for now, the RAM upgrade I bought means that there’s been no noticeable performance hit from running all this.

General Notes

In brief:

  • I now keep reaching for OSX keyboard shortcuts on my XP machine at work.
  • Sleep mode is great. I’ve only had to switch the iBook off after a Software Update.
  • I’m still working out my favoured method for reading my RSS feeds in OSX I’m not quite sold on any one solution yet. Your thoughts?
  • I need to better organise my Applications folder…
  • The dock is best (for me) when shrunk down and set to auto-hide. It gets in the way otherwise.

Oh, and my sister liked my iBook so much that she bought one for her college work. Result.