Another new MacBook post

So last November 30, I braved the Singapore IT Expo (SITEX) to purchase my first ever personal Mac. Almost a month prior to this, I had received my first Mac in the form of my work machine, a MacBook Pro, and after a lot of deliberation, have decided to purchase my own.

OS X Leopard If you want to see my first few thoughts on working with a Mac (and OS X), you can visit the aforementioned entry. The first few weeks of working with the “new toy” was exciting, if a bit nerve-wracking. As loadx correctly pointed out, I’m not a hardcore BSD (or any UNIX flavor) user, and I do rely heavily on Windows binaries for my PHP, Apache, and other geeky development application needs. Were it not for the sheer niftiness of the Mac, and the amazing colors, I would probably wailed about my choice for the work machine. I’m still learning the works, but so far I’m enjoying.

At the moment, I am:

  1. Learning the ins and outs of iPhoto.
  2. Hunting for a good LiveJournal client that’s up to par with Semagic.
  3. Re-assessing Mail; just because I use Mail for work, doesn’t mean I need to stick to it for my personal email.
  4. Needing to get another Windows license to set up dual booting.
  5. Still deciding about using iCal.
  6. Still hunting for a good personal finance application that will easily let me import my GnuCash data. Would prefer free, but depending on feature set, I don’t mind if I have to pay a bit.
  7. Loving Stacks Overlays.

There’s more, but those are the pressing things. Through the advice of a friend, I have also started using MAMP for my development web server. This is new to me: I’ve always installed Apache, MySQL, and PHP one by one. We’ll see if I get the itch to give myself a hard time and install everything one by one.

More insights on my new MacBook soon. I still need to decide on a name! Continued application suggestions are welcome.


  • Hey Angela! Congrats on getting a MacBook! I just got a Mac too. I was going to get a MacBook (I really wanted a MacBook Pro but since my parents were buying it for me, plus, paying for school and everything too I didn’t really think that would happen) but I ended up getting an iMac. After discussing with my dad about it, that’s what we decided was the best choice for me since I wanted a Mac for my own personal use, and since I’m dropping out of the Multimedia program and switching to Computer Information Technology, we figured it would be kind of dumb for me to have two laptops, because I’ll probably be using Windows more in CIT than Multimedia. If I was staying in Multimedia we probably would have gotten the MacBook and I would have given my other laptop to my parents, or it would just sit in my closet and not get used lol. This way I still have my laptop with XP, and then I have my iMac. I’m going to have to do some major fixing up on my laptop though because it’s been having so many issues lately. I have to get some crap off of it and fix a few other problems. I’ll do it one day when I’m really bored. Lol. I don’t really want to have to do it, but I’m going to have to at some point, before I go back t classes haha.

    I actually didn’t know that iPhoto could do as much as it can, but I never really looked that closely at it until I got my iMac and I hadn’t installed Photoshop yet, so I was using it to touch up a few new photos that I had taken because I was too lazy to open Photoshop on my laptop lol. The graphics on the Mac really are amazing though! My dad had me take some pictures of his train table and when I put them up on my iMac, before I had even fixed anything on them, he said they looked better than in real life. It was kind of funny how impressed he was.

    Unfortunately, I can’t really recommend any applications yet since I’m still trying to figure things out myself. The last mac that my family owned was, we’re thinking OS 7 or 8, but we’re not really sure. That thing was so old! And since in class we were only learning about Multimedia stuff, that won’t really help you much. Lol. I’m sure if you look through the Apple store website you might be able to find something useful though. That’s what I’ve been doing. But of course, they only really sell their own software.

    Anyways, good luck with getting your applications and whatnot. Hopefully you can find stuff that works for you!

  • I’m not too pleased with MoneyDance, it’s definitely not as pretty. Ah, decisions decision! I’ve installed Cha-Ching, and it’s so nifty, but unfortunately I can’t find where to set multiple currencies. :( I work with up to three different currencies (PHP, SGD, and USD) so multiple currencies is a big deal.

    I saw on the forum that multiple currencies was going to be added in the feature set at a later date?

  • Oh yes – I definitely tried iBank before at some point, I remember it….but it’s not currently in my Applications folder anymore so there must have been a reason I liked it significantly less. I don’t remember what it was though lol! MoneyDance is new to me – must give that a try too lol!

    And as for Cha-Ching, the best thing to do is just to download and try it out. I don’t know about stocks, but they def support multiple currencies, because I do everything in GPB. :)

  • Oh, I saw Cha-Ching while I was trawling, and I have to agree — it’s sooo pretty! Makes me want to use it. Only I’ve read a few reviews that go along the lines of, I wish they focused on more robust features rather than making it pretty. I would have also downloaded it to try it out but I was looking for a list of features I can probably check with — stuff like multiple currencies, stock stuff. Their website is one prime example of something pretty but I have no idea where to go to get more in-depth information :P

    The ones I have been looking at are iBank and MoneyDance. I’ve downloaded both but have yet to successfully import my data to get a feel how it works! I’ve read the former is prettier (and it is!) but I don’t even understand how to create a transaction… argh. D:

  • Yw!

    Hmm – to be honest, I haven’t quite settled on the perfect program for my own personal finances yet either lol! I’ve played with both Cha-Ching and Checkbook quite a lot, and although both are good, I haven’t found one that made me want to trash the rest yet, you know? Cha-Ching looks sooo pretty I just WANNA use it (and motivation is good because I freaking hate doing finances), but sometimes it also feels a little cluttered and confusing. Checkbook is simpler and probably better used for my needs….but it’s not as attractive or motivating lol!

    And yes, Headdress is very cool! yes, it allows you to setup domains like that, and without digging into config files, it’s all via a GUI which just makes things a lot faster and easier – for me, anyway lol. Their demo is free so you can test-drive it. :D

  • Thanks, Sasha!

    I’ve been spending most of my night looking at Mac financial applications D: it’s such a pain! I’m actually itching to move away from GnuCash — it’s huge and painful and it’s buggy in the stuff I need it to work for. Plus, Fink’s required to run it (not required per se but it’s the easiest, apparently) and Fink for Leopard needs to be installed from the source. This is such a pain. I’m feeling rather sad about having to start everything from scratch again…although I guess it’s the new year, right? *wry smile*

    Headdress looks interesting! So basically what happens is instead of just localhost/aking-mahal/rxj (or something) I can go… aking-mahal.localhost/rxj? (I’m assuming not something exactly like the real url, haha.) I’ve never actually used virtual hosts in Windows but I’ve been toying with that idea.

  • Woohoo – congrats on your personal Mac!!

    Here’s a few more bits of personal experience from me lol!

    – regarding Mail and iCal. I’d definitely recommend keeping the two together, because it makes everything so much easier to organize. However, i work from home, so my home computer is also my work computer. But, I hate my work and personal life mixing – I already work so many hours a day – when I’m off work, I do NOT want to see work emails coming in. So my setup is like this: I use Mail and ICal for all my work related stuff. Meetings & deadlines go into iCal, all work email into Mail. When I’m done with work for the day, I simply close both applications, and that’s it. Using a Dashboard widget, I can still see if I have meetings or deadlines for the next day/week. For all my personal stuff, I use Gmail and Google Calendar. Again, I love the integration between the two, and it’s handy to have all this online – I sometimes check my personal email from other computers too (but I never do any work on other computers, so don’t need this for my work email). Mail has its limitations, as does iCal, but both do a very fine job for work, especially with notifications and reminders, the way it handles Outlook Meeting Requests, etc. :)

    – I use XJournal for LJ. I’ve never used Semagic, so can’t say if it’s up to par, but Xjournal does everything I need it to do, including support for multiple accounts:

    -GnuCash: I did a quick Google search and it seems as if people have found ways to get it running on Mac OSX:
    If that is no good to you, what format is the data in? I am not familiar with GnuCash – can you export the data in CSV or XML? If so, wouldn’t most finance apps be able to import it?

    – I’m using MAMP too – have been for a while now, and it works perfectly! I also use Headdress to make my development a little easier:

    Hope all that helps a little!! :)