Sunday, March 15, 2015

Escape from Mac-atraz

In recent years I always felt an Inferior for using a Windows-based laptop vis a vis most of my VERY-PROFESSIONAL colleagues using a Mac.

I felt like an old Indian Chief trapped in a cage for display in a Circus.

When I received a brand new Mac for my new job, I felt like AT LAST I could be one of the Elected who will receive Ethernal Grace from the God of Technology.

To be honest it was quite easy to master the beast. I had used a Mac in 1990 and I felt lot of things were still the same. Amazing, uh? 25 years later...

However, I didn't feel like such a huge advantage compared to a PC. Most of my work has to run on a Virtual Box anyway, so the Guest OS is rather irrelevant. The only VERY nice feature is having a Linux terminal - but then again not such a big deal, given that in any case I always have some Linux VM running around.

Besides, there is some Windows software that I really miss on a Mac: like "Search Everything", Notepad++ and "TextAloud". there might be Mac alternatives but could not find so far.

So, the message for the dispossessed masses of Proletarians running Windows is: Mac is Not Heavens, stop having a small penis inferiority complex towards consultants showing off the Apple icon (besides, I want to place a picture of Marylin Monroe on it, she is far more attractive than a Corporation Logo).

I hear once-Mac-fanatics colleagues saying "since I am running Ubuntu on a PC, I am almost not using my Mac any longer". So there you are: if you really hate Windows, and you hate Corporations, then don't put yourself in the hands of another Corporation, you have Open Source alternatives.

Ah and yes, if I could get a dollar for every time the stupid magnetic power supply plug got inadvertently disconnected from my Mac, I could retire by now. Just a silly posh useless gadget. Real men have mechanical plug-in plugs, sissies have magnetic dongles.

PS one more rant: the default keyboard really sucks! It takes a really cruel brain to ship a hi-tech product without square and curly braces, and no pipe sign !!! Not to mention the Holy Mystery by which Function Keys should be activated by pressing "fn" at the same time: what if I had lost a hand in the Second World War??? Try pressing f10 and fn with ONE hand if you can...

Me on a Mac.... wow, what a great fun...gimme back a horse please!


Minnen Ratta said...

Ciao Pierluigi,
as a long-time Windows, Linux and Mac user here's my suggestions to live well in Mac :
- Everything : cmd+space is usually more than enough for search in my everyday use, if you want something more feature rich I may suggest Quicksilver.
- The magsafe is there to save your power cord and especially the power port in case you (or someone else) wrench it by mistake. In an office space with good power distribution the magsafe seems just a bother. At home it has saved my laptop cord, port and the laptop itself as it avoided it bodily flying down from the table. At least a dozen times.
- TextAloud : try cmd + space, type "Dictation" and then enter, have a look in there to see if it does what you need.
- Fn : try cmd + space, type "Keyboard" and then enter, select "Use all F-keys as standard function keys"
- For the rest about keyboard... yeah, it's awful.

vernetto said...

thanks a lot Minnen, very nice of you. Please don't get me wrong, the Mac is an excellent piece of engineering. What I question is whether it really is better than a PC in my job as a developer. Well, honestly not, the tools I use are basically the same on the 2 platforms! So what's the fuss, for the same money as an average Mac I get get a MONSTER laptop and be happy (in fact my PC has 32 GB Ram and I feel blessed when I need to run 5 VMs at the same time :o) ).

Besides, I hate snobbish people strutting around with expensive hardware. I have developed marvelous applications on crappy laptops. Brain is the bottleneck 99% of the time....

vernetto said...

ah and I forgot: being an Italian, I really LOVE to RANT about just about anything! Don't take me too seriously.

Luciano said...

To replace Notepad++ go for Sublime Text, best text editor after Vim.

For a launcher/searcher, you can use Alfred, my most used software on the mac