Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas or yule-time holiday of your choice. For Xmas, I treated myself to a shiny new MacBook, or rather I bought a shiny new MacBook for my freelance writing/editing business. Also got some stuff from the family, as you would imagine: couple books, some DVDs, hand-knitted scarf, etc.
But anyway, this is a post about Macs, so if you have no interest in that, feel free to move along. I’ve always been a Windows guy, never used a Mac before, but my recent acquisition of an iPhone and my befriending of several folks who own and evangelize about Macs got me thinking about them when the time for a new computer came. Really, it’s all Vista’s fault, though–I would have remained a Windows user solely because of the familiarity, but I really did not want to switch to Vista after all I’d heard about it, and especially since it seems to be a dead-end now, with talk already of what MS’s next OS will be.
Loving the MacBook so far. I got a maxed-out 2.4 Ghz duo 13 inch MacBook. The touchpad on this thing is made of awesome. I’m going to start using this as my primary computer, so I was planning to hook it up to a monitor and get the external keyboard and mouse, etc. for when I’m hunkered down doing serious work. But since there doesn’t seem to be a standalone external MacBook-style touchpad, I don’t know that I’ll be able to bring myself to abandon it for something so clumsy or random as a blaster mouse. I’m still going to hook it up to a monitor, but the touchpad issue is vexing me.
One of the reasons I wanted to write this post is because I wanted to reach out to other Mac users to see what sort of apps they recommend, and I’m especially interested in hearing from PC-to-Mac converts, since that’s what I am.
I’m writing this blog post in MacJournal. It seems okay, but I’m not sold on it yet, and if I want to keep using it, I have to buy it, so I’m interested in some recommendations there. On my Windows machines, I would use Windows Live Writer, which I like quite a lot, but it’s not available on Mac.
One of the funny things you encounter when getting a new computer is how much stuff you’ve got on your computer, and how much of it is unnecessary. I transferred over about 100 GBs of data from my old machine to the Mac, but it was almost all music and audiobooks, so very little of that was actually like important work or whatever. I used this external USB drive I got for Xmas to transfer the data from my old PC to the Mac, and it took like all day to load it up onto the drive, but then when I hooked it up to the Mac, it transferred everything over in like an hour. Because I didn’t want to create all new playlists, I ended up buying iGadget again, for the Mac this time, to grab all of my playlist information off my iPod. Since I did that, I could have saved myself the trouble of copying all that music and could have just downloaded it off the iPod with iGadget. (Which is, incidentally, a super-handy program to have around if you ever need to take stuff off your iPod, like if your hard drive crashes or something.)
I’m currently running this program called BeaTunes that calculates the beats-per-minute of every track. I didn’t even realize iTunes had a category for that; it does, but for some reason there’s no way to calculate it from within iTunes–you have to get another app to do it (or do it yourself, I suppose). I was not surprised to see that the majority of my collection had a rather high BPM number (between 100-140), though I was pretty surprised to see that several Mozart tracks were among the highest in BPM; if that’s accurate, perhaps that’s what it is about it that appeals to me, given the extreme difference between classical music and the metal I typically listen to (though, of course, there are some other parallels).
So between BeaTunes and loading all my music into iTunes in the first place, I’ve been waiting and waiting for those things to finish, though happily this processor is robust enough that I can’t even tell it’s running in the background (whereas my PC would be crawling, I imagine). Of course, I also setup the Mac mail client to download my mail, so that’s been downloading for a couple days now–I’ve had my Gmail account since 2004, so that’s a lot of archived mail. I’m not even going to use the program for managing my email, really; I might use it when I’m offline to read and/or write emails, but primarily it’s just a backup in the event of a Gmail apocalypse. It’s up to about 40,000 emails, and it’s only up to August 2007. Man, how did we ever get along without email?