A Month of Mac
It’s now been a month since my shiny new Mac arrived. Overall, I’m still really, really happy with it. I’ve bought NetNewsWire for feed reading and textmate for editing. I’m a little concerned that I don’t have the source code for my editor, but we’ll see how that goes.
I’m normally a devout Emacs or Vim user, but Aquamacs turned out to be just too different, despite what Tim Bray says about it. Carbon Vim was a bit better, but still felt a little clunky. TextMate just felt right, and after the recommendations from the rails people, it seemed like a good idea.
The main irritation that I’ve been having is with the keyboard. Apple keyboards don’t come easily to UK Unix users. The tilde is in the wrong position to start with (it’s been swapped with backslash), and I find myself continually hitting the wrong one. Worse is the fact that there’s no hash key on the keyboard in the UK layout. Oh all right, you can hit ⌥-3, but that pastes into the shell as UTF-8 meaning that you can’t comment things out properly in Vim. Why? I have no idea. But it’s meant that I’ve stuck to the US keyboard layout for now, which sucks.
By far and away the worst problem, though is the simple fact that you can’t copy CDs easily. The damned machine comes with a CD burner. It should be a piece of cake to say “take the bits off of this one, then right them on to this blank disk instead”. But no. The only option is to import into iTunes (converting into MP3) and then write the low-fi tracks out from iTunes again. With a 2-second gap between tracks. That really, badly sucks. Particularly when I found out that a previous version of OSX used to come with a “disk copy” utility. Thanks a bunch, Apple.
Shiny New Toy
I’ve been so busy with my shiny new toy recently, that I completely forgot to blog about it. I’ve recently acquired an iMac G5. I love it. I promised myself that I wouldn’t buy another PC because they’re generally rubbish, error prone and don’t come with much good software. The iMac comes with Emacs, Vim,
Perl, and Apache. What more could you ask for?
On top of that, the display on the iMac is superb. Lovely, bright and colourful. I’ve seen lots of macs around in the Perl community and consequently I’m pretty happy with the interface. The only slight downside so far is the odd keyboard layout, which has double-quote on the right hand side of the keyboard (american style) instead of on Shift-2 like every other british keyboard. But that’s minor.
When it comes to software, I happily downloaded everything I needed pretty quickly: graphical Carbon Vim, Aquamacs, Firefox and Thunderbird. Everything worked like a charm. And it’s all incredibly nippy compared to my old laptop.
However, I was particularly pleased to see that the copy of Myst IV Revelation also supported OSX. On the same CD. Bonus! And so did World of Warcraft when we bought that a few days later. Overall, the mac is an excellent gaming machine.
I’d definitely recommend getting one of these. With a bit of luck, they’ll only get cheaper as Apple release the new Intel products later on this year.