New MacBook owner progress/frustration report and keyboard rant

It turns out that I have been told a couple of lies about Macs. The first is that they don’t crash. Don’t believe it, I had to figure out how to “force quit” and use that facility quite a lot. And no, not on Microsoft software. Apparently they even do a Mac equivalent of the Blue Screen Of Death.

Secondly they are not all that intuitive. While I really ought to RTFM I was convinced the fabled Mac ease of use would make everything obvious but it doesn’t.

I guess a lot of the confusion comes from never having used a Mac much. Years back I would help people who were stuck on the “classics” etc they had in the design and media parts of the college where I worked, but that was the software rather than basic computer operations so most things were quite familiar. After that I only touched a Mac to change the music on the one in the office or when I went over to Canada and visited my Uncle Marian. I’m sure he will be really pleased that he was partly responsible for convincing me to move to the dark side!

Just typing out this blog post has been wierd – the keyboard is slightly jumbled up! Why is the quote symbol over by my right hand? It’s like they changed it just to be different. Programming is a pain, I have to Alt-3 to get the hash (“#”). “Home” and “End” on a proper keyboard are their own keys, here I have to use the Apple key on the cursors. I keep catching the caps lock by mistake because if I touch type I am pressing all the wrong keys. Productivity is waaay down.

Installing software is weird. I have managed it but I keep getting crap on my desktop. A couple of times I downloaded and installed stuff and the icon disappeared. WTF does it mean to “eject” an application? I am used to running an install program and the installer placing everything where it is meant to go and putting an icon in a menu where you can find it later. There is the doc thing which is ok and an applications folder, I’m sure on Macs I have used before there was a kind of menu also?

Don’t let anyone tell you these things are better quality than comparable PCs either. Yes it does have nice build quality but the base of it gets mega hot. Burn-your-lap-skin-graft-hot. My PC laptop gets *warm* – still-own-a-pair-of-nads-warm. The keys on the keyboard feel fragile, like they will fly off and land in my cornflakes at any second. I’m thinking it was a mistake to get white. Even though it looks pretty with two cats and a small child I don’t think it is going to stay that way. Biggest complaint is why the hell hasn’t it got a monitor port or worse a PCMCIA slot? I just spent a bundle of cash on a 3G card I can’t use.

Lots of the apps seem to be cut back versions of PC apps. Skype and MSN Messenger for eg. MSN doesn’t have a video option that I can see? Why have a built in camera and not be able to use it. No point in me trying iChat, I don’t have anyone to iChat with and I don’t need or want to pay for .mac accounts.

There it goes again, wtf are all these strange noises this thing makes? It’s like a notification but I don’t seem to have any emails or IM messages that I can see. It’s doing my nut in!

The good stuff is really good but it’s mostly on the fun side right now. For example the remote. It’s exactly the same as the iPod one, looks like a shuffle. I was like all “wtf do I need this for?”. Whoah was I wrong. I hit the menu button and up pops this 3d menu. Amy and I watched some film trailers, nice. Then I hooked it up to play my shared iTunes music off my desktop upstairs. I ended up using the MacBook as a hifi while I got my work done on my old laptop! I need to get one of those Mini-DVI to TV dongles. The Apple store is confusing as to exactly which one, none of them say they are compatible with my MacBook, they only seem to mention the Pro …

To be productive I am going to need to sort this environment out. Most of all I need some decent applications on here. I got SVN and BlogBridge installed, going to get Apache, MySQL, a PHP IDE and go in search of a decent email client that doesn’t require buying MS Office. Any suggestions?