Monday, March 28, 2011

Visiting a Foreign Land

This past week I took a trip to a foreign country, MacLand. I have many friends who either live there or are frequent visitors and they all love it, despite the very high cost of living there. I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about.

When I first got off the plane and opened up my new 13" MacBook Pro, it was welcoming. I was through security and on the internet in almost no time at all. However, it didn't take long for me to become discombobulated. The customs here are strange, like the fact that they drive on the left side of the road here with their window controls and they don't leave the menus at the tables as I am used to. I'm obviously going to have to learn the local dialect. What is a "Finder" or "Preview" anyway, and what are the funny symbols (arrows and cloverleafs?) I am seeing on many of the menus? And my instincts as to what to do in any given situation tend to be wrong. I am worried that I'll commit a serious faux pas and end up in trouble. Well, I guess I'll just have to trust that my friends that live here will bail me out if that happens.

To achieve some level of comfort, I installed Chrome and Emacs. It's always nice to see a familiar face when abroad. In the lobby of my MacBook there are a number of brochures of local activities, like going on Safari, that I suppose I should try out. When I get up some courage, I guess I will try to branch away from the strictly familiar.

So why did I decide to take this journey? Well some years ago, there was a revolution in MacLand, and the new government, OS X, was based on Unix. I have long preferred Unix to other approaches, but historically, Unix run places were not places for individuals to dwell, unless they had a strong Do It Yourself mentality. My own hobby interests lie elsewhere, I just want my infrastructures to work. My couple personal trips to Unix resulted in more hassles than it was worth to me. With OS X, MacLand promised the power of Unix while also providing a nice friendly infrastructure that just works.

Between this promise, the numerous friends I have who love it, and the fact that Ruby on Rails is supposed to be easier in MacLand, I decided it was time to take the trip. We'll see how I like it, but so far I am cautiously optimistic that this will be a good land.  (as long as there are no betrayals)

3 comments:

Jessica said...

Interestingly enough, I was on a newer Macbook last week and found the trackpad controls confusing. I'm used to using my trackpad like a mouse (go down when you want the page to go down) and this was more like the iphone (push the content up to go down). Then I got so used to it that I did the opposite on my Ubuntu netbook :D

I'm guessing you figured out the symbols for the shortcuts by now. If not, holla.

As a huge fan of Apple products, I say welcome! (And am very thankful not to be the only one of *those people* in meetings anymore.)

David Barr said...

Welcome to the cul...err...club. I recommend QuickSilver (fast app launcher application) and Clyppan Lite (if anyone has a superior "clipboard history" type app I'm open to suggestions).

Michael Haddox-Schatz said...

Jessica, that must be configurable. A two-finger swipe down scrolls down for me.