First, if you’re a Mac user and you aren’t using Quicksilver, you’re missing out.

What does Quicksilver do? With a quick keyboard shortcut (I usually define mine to be ctrl-space), a little window pops up. You simply start typing the name of the program or file you’re looking for and it finds it automatically. So, instead of hunting around to find the program you want to run, you can use the keyboard shortcut and get to it in less than a second. It also learns your frequently used shortcuts to make it even quicker. On my computer, if I want to run Firefox, I hit ctrl-space, type ‘f’, and hit enter. Much quicker than the mouse.

So, one of the things I had missed when using Windows machines is Quicksilver, which is a Mac only program. I longed for the quick access to all my programs. Then one day, on lifehacker, they did a quick post about Launchy and my dreams were realized. Quicksilver for windows!

launchy

Anyways. If you’re a Mac user, download Quicksilver. If you’re a Windows user, download Launchy. Your computer use will never be the same 🙂

I'm back?

June 9, 2006

Whew, I realized today that I haven’t blogged in almost a month. So much to say! 😀

Don’t worry, I’m still alive and kickin’; I’ve just been suffering from Mena’s Syndrome, being too busy to blog. Here’s what’s been on my mind lately:

  • Got a new pair of headphones – Shure E4cs. Awesome; I’ll post up a review sometime soon.
  • MacBook Pro was getting so hot, it was slowing down (and I suspect heat was causing some of the crashes); so I got a LapCool and it’s been much cooler and faster.
  • Hosted some guys from the Michigan Men’s Glee Club when they were here in San Francisco. It was great to catch up with some of the other clubbers in the area at the concert too 🙂
  • Lots of stuff happening at church. I’ve been helping out with graphics, production team on Sundays, and various other things for a long time and now I’m helping lead a small group too.
  • Had a good time at zvents when they hosted Lunch 2.0 a few weeks ago (I’ve got a flickr photo set up). Thanks for hosting us Ethan!

P1040442.jpg

yum!

Ah there’s so much more that I’m probably forgetting; but hopefully I’ll be able to post a little more often over the next few weeks.

Blogging on the Mac

April 21, 2006

I’d been using w.bloggar on my PC and was hooked on the ease of a desktop blogging tool. So when I switched to Mac, one of my first requests to Terry was for a recommendation on a good Mac desktop blogging tool. He recommended Ecto, which I’ve been using for the past few weeks.

I’m pretty satisfied with Ecto so far; it’s much more powerful than w.bloggar (it actually syncs your entries down and makes it easier to manage multiple blogs) and it does well at the basic stuff too. Overall, I’m quite pleased with the experience. Here’s a quick screenshot of Ecto in action 😀

ecto

I haven’t found a good replacement for the Flickr Uploadr tool though. Yes, there’s the Flickr Uploadr for Mac, but I’m using Aperture now to manage my photos and there isn’t an Flickr export plug-in (or I haven’t found one yet anyways). I’m currently trying out PictureSync, but it leaves a bit to be desired. I can’t upload a batch as a Flickr set to select the pictures I want to upload I have to go through a strange roundabout way – you put the pictures in a special Aperture folder and then PictureSync grabs them from there.

Aperture is a great tool for organizing photos, but I wish there was a tool that made upload to Flickr easy, like Uploadr did on the PC. I suppose if I can’t find something relatively soon, maybe I’ll just code up what I want. That would probably be a fun exercise, but challenging since I’ve never coded on a Mac before… is Xcode just like VS.NET? Do I dare find out? 😀

Well, it’s been just a little bit over two weeks since I made the switch to Mac. In the meantime, I’ve been using the Mac as my primary workstation at home and at work. I figured the only way to understand our Mac users was to become Mac and perhaps now I understand their frustrations a little too well 🙂

There’s always the obvious ones: websites that only work in IE, utilities that are only written for Windows, and the lack of a good docking station!!
Before I draw the wrath of all the Mac-heads out there, I’d like to say that overall the user experience is pretty good. A lot of things make more sense than in the Windows world; but of course, I think a lot of things make less sense as well – but maybe that’s just because I’ve been using Windows for 15 years or so…

Anyways, here we go!

  • The idea that Macs don’t crash is a myth. I’ve had mine crash outright (a grey overlay appears and an error telling me that I have to hard reset my computer) and I’ve also run into the spinner wheel of death, where one application stops responding, then the rest of my applications stop responding – even after I “Force Quit” the offending applications. Yes, I ran some beta apps (for example, starting up Parallels is always a gamble), but then again, I ran questionable apps on Windows too. I probably ran more random applications back when I was on Windows than I do now on the Mac (I always ask Terry what the best program is for any particular task and he’s usually vetted them pretty thoroughly 🙂 )
  • My Mac is slow… or maybe it’s not as fast as I thought it was going to be. My Mac friends had always made fun of me when I said my PC was slow, they laughed and made fun because my NT kernel was so much less efficient than their BSD kernel. They made fun of the Windows renderer and how it still wasn’t fully hardware accelerated. But at the end of the day, I still end up waiting for the MacBook Pro to crunch away oftentimes. Now, I understand that I’m running many applications under Rosetta, so maybe I’ll take this one back when universal binaries come out for Office, Adobe CS, and Macromedia Suite, but as of right now: it’s slow 😛
  • The thing is HOT – and right now I’m not talking about it’s sex appeal. My MacBook Pro runs like a nuclear reactor. I have a sweaty palm problem and this brick of wattage isn’t helping 😉 Before you ask, yes, I have a Rev D. with a serial number starting with 8612. The area above the F keys is insane – hot enough to burn me – when I’m working the machine hard (which is pretty much always). At least I don’t have the high pitched whining noise problem 🙂
  • It desperately needs a second mouse button. Don’t tell me it doesn’t, because every other thing I do in Adobe CS, Microsoft Office, and even around the OS needs a ctrl-click. Yes, I can connect up an external mouse or a bluetooth one (which I do when I’m at my desk at home or work), but when I’m mobile I just need a second button on this huge spacebar of a mouse button.
  • There don’t seem to be any conventions on command key-arrow, ctrl-arrow, option-arrow, and fn-arrow. Maybe this is because there aren’t dedicated home/end/pgup/pgdown keys, but when I can’t seem to figure out what the convention is for moving my cursor over words vs. hitting the beginning/end of a line vs. hitting the beginning/end of the entire page. I usually just end up guessing and I have a 50/50 shot of getting it right. But then when I move into my next application, it works different – argh!
  • The audio quality from the headphone out jack leaves much to be desired. Maybe I’m spoiled since I hear the audio out from the iPod Shuffle is really top notch, but when I listen to music in iTunes it just sounds flat vs. on my Shuffle. (I’m using the same Etymotic ER6is on both the MacBook Pro and my Shuffle, so I don’t think it’s the headphones)
  • This one’s for Microsoft: I hope Sharepoint 12 has better support for Firefox/Safari 🙂 We use Sharepoint pretty heavily here at Plaxo and it’s been pretty much death on the Mac. I usually just remote desktop into a Windows box and run IE.

Well, there’s my rant section. Maybe I’m just too early of an adopter, maybe I should’ve waited for the next version of Mac Office and Adobe CS… but oh well, now I’m just another voice in the Mac crowd hoping for improvements 🙂