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New Laptop, "tinker" [Aug. 22nd, 2005|01:53 pm]
[Current Mood |shiny-grabbin']

So, finally, I've bought a new computer. And it's a laptop (my first). And... an Apple (my first since the IIgs).

It's a nice little iBook 14". I got a good deal on it since it's the recently-discontinued model and my wife's a teacher (yay, educator discount). It's basically like the listed 14" iBook except that it has a 1.3 GHz CPU, no Bluetooth, and only a ComboDrive. Well, those are fine with me and it made the purchase considerably cheaper!

I started seriously considering buying an Apple when I saw OS X. Really slick interface plus a full-featured bash shell. Rock.

The unexpected thing that I think I'll really like: Dashboard. This is new to the latest OS release (IIRC) and it allows fast access to mini-applications. This provides something on my virtual desktop that I live by on my physical desktop: sticky notes everywhere!

Anyhow... I've been really pleased with it so far. I think this'll be very handy when November rolls around; it'll be my NaNoWriMo laptop. :)

[User Picture]From: twopiearr
2005-08-22 09:09 pm (UTC)
dashboard is indeed a new appearence in 10.4; though many believe it was based on Konfabulator, a javascript runtime engine with essentially the same ease of development and functionality (it even called it's applets Widgets). Konfabulator is now associated with Yahoo and has gone freeware/open, and some reports I've heard suggest that konfabulator actually has a lower RAM/CPU overhead than Dashboard. As I'm still slogging away with 10.3.9, I can't comment.
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2005-08-22 11:10 pm (UTC)
I haven't analyzed CPU load or anything, but Dashboard seems light and snappy... except, oddly enough, the analog clock which is a default system widget. That had huge thrashing problems coming up (Dashboard took 10-15 seconds to load!). Having removed that, Dashboard is now really responsive, even after it's been swapped out.
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[User Picture]From: chipuni
2005-08-22 09:31 pm (UTC)
Welcome to the Dark Side... errr... I mean...

Welcome to the world of Apple!

(I'm a little weird; I tend to use XWindows as much as I use the standard interface on my Macintosh. You mentioned the bash shell; if you're looking for a more UNIX-y experience, try installing fink. There's three different brands of X Windows; your install disks may have Apple's version, which doesn't require the heavy compilation time.)

Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2005-08-22 11:17 pm (UTC)
Actually, the provided shell is sufficiently UNIXy for my tastes. :) It's the right mix of GUI/bash for the sorts of things I do.

Why, out of curiosity, are you running XWindows? (X on X!) Cross-platform consistency?
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[User Picture]From: chipuni
2005-08-23 01:52 am (UTC)
Mostly because there's some XWindows programs that I love (XEmacs, DDD, Kile, and the Gimp), and that I can't imagine being without.
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[User Picture]From: porsupah
2005-08-22 10:51 pm (UTC)
Have you played with Exposé yet? ^_^ It's one of those really simple ideas, done well. f9-f11 by default, which: shrink and rearrange all open windows so they can all be fully viewed; similar, but highlighting those windows belonging to the frontmost app; and the one I use most by far, slide everything out of the way, so the desktop's fully visible. For no particular reason other than it's fun to do so, holding shift down as well does those all in slow motion. ^_^

Spotlight's also rather nifty, covering just about every file, and very quickly.

Definitely, while I was fine with old Mac OS, I was absolutely thrilled when the news of the NeXT takeover came out, having enjoyed NextStep from the moment I began with Trilobyte. Now, I've got access to old Mac OS programs, current stuff from the Unix side of the family (eg VLC, Mplayer, Xine, and MKVtoolnix, let alone stuff like perl, which was always something of a straggler beforehand, not belonging to the main tree), excellent multilingual font and keyboard entry, lovely devtools (for free!), all in a package that looks sleek and performs very nicely indeed.

Did you get the iLife package included with the 'book? I think they normally come with it as standard, but that might be different for an educational sale.

(Now, if they'd only do away with that daft requirement for a QuickTime Pro key to enable full-screen in the Player, and its basic editing capability.. still, there's plenty of alternatives, QT-based and otherwise. And the QT7 Player's actually not bad, though still pricey at $30 for said key)

BTW, whilst there's always Firefox, Safari, iCab, and Opera, you might like to take OmniWeb for a spin. It's not free, but you might feel it worthwhile; the tabs are especially slick, and the workspaces are very nicely implemented. The latter permit any arrangement of windows and tabs, either constantly preserved as you go (so you never lose what you're doing if there's, say, a power cut, even including text in entry fields), or preserved as a snapshot, as in the one I have set up for the daily comics. (Even scrollbar positions are maintained :) It's also rather more configurable than Safari, including quite a few useful site-specific preferences.
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2005-08-22 11:30 pm (UTC)
Expose is nice but not a major feature for me. I'm used to looking at open app windoes by Alt-tabbing, so Cmd-tab spinning is already ingrained. But I do like the ability to use it to quickly clear a view of the desktop; that's very handy (particularly since Mac apps seem to like to drop things on the desktop as a default destination). Didn't know about the pointlessly-cool shift trick, though! :)

Haven't really played with spotlight, yet. Looks useful.

iLife is iPhoto, iDvd, Garage Band, etc., right? Those are included. But this was a store purchase; online might be a different story. The sales guy just pulled a boxed machine from the back for me.

I'll probably buy the QT Pro upgrade. It does suck that it's not included (since it's only $30 more, c'mon...) and it has all the useful features.

OmniWeb looks interesting. I haven't heard of it before. A quirky question: can you stack tabs vertically (i.e. tab bar on the left/right)? I've come to really like this feature since I often browse with several dozen tabs open. A horizontal tab bar makes no sense in terms of screen real estate. I see they've got screenshots with what are apparently a stack of tab thumbnails?

Let's take the time to find out what's inside,
Away from all the wind and rain.
The six arrive, the fire lights their eyes,
Invited here to learn to play
The Game.

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[User Picture]From: polrbear
2005-08-23 12:38 am (UTC)
Now you can join the cool kids with the laptops at the FC meetings. :)
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[User Picture]From: aerofox
2005-08-23 02:11 am (UTC)
Yay, another convert to Apple!

I started off with a 14" iBook too! Though, I did have an old Performa 6400
which ran OS 9.1 that i played around with a little, but I never used it as my
main machine.

I hope you have as much enjoyment as I have..plus, you don't have to worry about
spyware, adware and other nasties that plague Windoze. ^_^
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[User Picture]From: loranskunky
2005-08-23 05:48 am (UTC)
One of Us! One of Us! :)
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[User Picture]From: marko_the_rat
2005-08-23 12:31 pm (UTC)
Yay for Nic! Some people will hate you and swear blind you wasted your money... but I don't think so. The last DOS box I bought was exactly that--the last.
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2005-08-24 06:20 pm (UTC)
Well, I've had a chance to play with it since both my housemates have Mac laptops. I was always borderline about OS 8 and 9... But OS X really impressed me. It's a slick design. I don't know if I'll become "Mac-only" but I'm definitely happy with my iBook so far. :)
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[User Picture]From: gingerdavid
2005-08-23 04:19 pm (UTC)

Really slick interface plus a full-featured bash shell.

Or even /bin/csh, if you want to be a little bit kinky ;-)
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2005-08-24 06:21 pm (UTC)
Well, I turn on "vi mode" in bash so I can edit my command line typing with vi commands. How's that for kinky? :>
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[User Picture]From: gingerdavid
2005-08-24 06:33 pm (UTC)

A fellow vi user salutes you

Ah, vi. Where would we be without it. Emacs is for wimps. Real programmers use vi.

Mind you, I've been around long enough to remember line-mode editors. Not actually ex, but the same kind of thing on GEC, IBM and VAX systems over the years.

However, that's unlikely to impress someone whose icon incorporates code fragments in C++ and x86 assembler :-)
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