Giving up on Microsoft software for work – Mac Book Pro arrives

After a long wait, it finally arrived last week. I’m now the proud owner of an Apple Mac Book Pro.

I had ordered close to the top of the line Mac Book Pro (MBP), 4GB of Ram, High Resolution 17" monitor, 7200 RPM 200GB hard drive.  This meant that the order had to be assembled in China, because it was a CTO (Configure To Order) as there was no stock in Australia. It did take approximately three and half weeks for it to arrive. Maybe the earthquake in China had impacted on production.

I unpacked the machine, plugged in the power and turned it on. I watched the introduction animation, and then proceeded to fill out the details for it’s setup. It all just seemed to work. The monitor was very crisp and the LED backlighting makes for a very bright and readable display. The only mistake I made, was that I should have shortened my home directory name to nick, instead of using the default of the concatenation of the first and last names giving nickhortovanyi (if anybody knows how to change this, please let me know).

I turned on the Wireless Mighty Mouse and connected it. You have to change the configuration, to get the right mouse button to work. I also noticed that with the touchpad, that by default, not all the new touch movements and gestures are available. You need to enable them manually, which was a good thing as I could see the video instructions on how to use them.

Now for some connectivity, I turned on the Time Capsule and installed the AirPort Utilities program that came on the Timecapsule Disk. Started the AirPort Utility and configured network connectivity on the Time Capsule, established WiFi security and then I had internet access from my MBP. I proceeded to download some videos, (no guess here, it was the PC vs MAC ones in HD) to test out the connectivity speed. I was getting near maximum throughput of the ADSL 2+ link, so was happy with the WiFi performance. I had also plugged my Cannon printer into the USB port of the Time Capsule, where the printer was immediately recognised.

Next, I turned on Time Machine and pointed it to the Time Capsule. There was ~18 GB to backup, which got interrupted a couple of times as I was playing with the machine. It had completed by the next morning and every now and then I do notice the icon moving, signaling that it is backing up. One hopes, that in the advent that it is really needed, that I will be able to use it for recovery.

I installed and setup all the software that I need for daily work, such as Sametime, Twhirl (a twitter client), Open Office and Firefox. I choose to use the current Open Office 3 beta version, as it is Cocoa based, and also for Fire Fox, version 3 Release Candidate 2. The main reason I prefer Fire Fox over Safari, is that I could not find good integration with del.icio.us in Safari, for my shared bookmarks. For email, I decided to try the standard Mail client, instead of installing Thunderbird. Am still at this point trying to work out how to add a HTML email signature, but believe I may have a means through a link from the Feedburner site.

The Address Book and iCal (Calendar), integrated nicely with my Nokia N73 through the USB cable using iSync. I downloaded the latest software from the Nokia site and was then able to also gain access to my music and photos on the Nokia phone. Now, one thing that I wanted to do was integrate, my Google Calendar and found this article. It worked, I now had my Google Calendar entries on my phone. It would be nice, to be able to add a calendar entry locally and have it also sync with Google Calendar.

Having also purchased iWork ’08 (for the price why not?), I thought I’d best install it. The applications Keynote, Pages and Numbers all seem to do their respective jobs with the Apple elegance that you expect. As I’m giving up on Microsoft software, I decided not to purchase and install Office 2008 for the Mac. I haven’t proven a need for it yet. Open Office and iWork should be more then sufficient for my work activities. I’d already proven that Open Office on the OpenSuSe linux desktop was a viable alternative.

The Finder in Mac OS X 10.5.3 picked up the Samba shares, that our Linux server were publishing and I was able to mount the drives. I could also access all the web based applications that I needed.

The big question that I needed to answer, was could I use my new MBP as my primary work vehicle? The answer was Yes, if I used a Linux virtual machine for Java development for some of the IBM software that I support. Thus I tried out VM Ware Fusion for the Mac. I didn’t try Parallels as it does not have support for multi-cores CPUs, that I could find.

There are a few less keys on the keyboard, and some difference for where the menus are located on the Mac for a particular application. Thus I’m finding that I’m using more keyboard shortcuts. I asked on twitter how to do alt+PrtScr and was pointed towards this handy link.

I’ve had no need to power on my old Windows XP based notebook. In fact, I’ve unplugged it and put it to one side. Having taken the plunge to give up on Microsoft software for work, I’m finding a wealth of new software that works and enables me to achieve the tasks I set out to do.

All in all, I have found my new Apple Mac Book Pro to just work.

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