Musings of a new Mac user

A few days ago, I finally received my actual work machine: a sleek 15.4″ widescreen MacBook Pro. This is the first Mac machine that I will be using on a regular basis, having never owned one before. So, I am slowly re-learning how to be productive on a laptop, but what I can say so far is: the odds are high that my next personal machine will be a MacBook. (We’ll see if I can stretch my budget for a MacBook Pro… if they release a smaller one, then it’s probably a definite yes :P)

I’ve still a ways to go, I’m sure, but so far I’m doing good in terms of personalizing how my machine works. The trackpad now works the way I’m used to it working; I have my trusty Aptana IDE with me; I have installed QuickSilver (but have yet to really get used to it); and I’m slowly learning the shortcut keys and whatnot, which is a big must. I suppose I’m moving along just fine; proof of this is when I sit down after a day’s work at my own laptop and end up hitting Alt+S for saving and Alt+Left Arrow Key to go back one word when typing. ;)

Now, I’m still weighing the pros and cons of going for a Mac for the next personal machine. In a nutshell, these are:

  • Web development (read: PHP) should be easier on Macs because UNIX-compliant. I have not tried this out yet since I don’t use PHP when at work.
  • Oh my gosh, the colors! The clarity! It’s absolutely breathtaking. I am in love.
  • If I’m working on a Mac machine the whole day and go home to do some hobby coding on my Windows machine… I end up having around 10 minutes of re-learning the shortcuts and the keyboard. Yes, my mind is apparently rather malleable that way. It makes for slower hobby coding!
  • I love the fact that the screen brightness dims when the surrounding light dims. Way to go, Apple! (Have Windows machines done this too?)
  • Games. Seriously, people, this is a huge disadvantage, and I know that I am not the only one. I like my games. Right now I am delegated to the smaller games that don’t suck you in and make you play all night long, but I still have that inner yearning to go back to my gamer days. :P
  • I’m still trying to get the hang of things not maximized all the way, which apparently is “the norm”. Now I don’t have a problem with multi-tasking in that way (i.e., having a code resource in one window on one side of the screen and the actual IDE in another side) but more often that not this just feels a little messy and disorganized to me.
  • Expensive! Okay, the MacBook isn’t too expensive over a high-end laptop, so it’s probably more of a psychological thing.
  • I need IE on Windows for web design. Let’s face it, lots of people use IE, so I have to design for IE as well. I know about Parallels, and I will have to take that into consideration, and make sure that it does work exactly like a Windows machine (or that IE does, anyway).

This isn’t saying that I’m completely won over, as there are still times when I feel like, oh but this is so easy in Windows! I am missing TortoiseCVS (is there a similar Mac OS X equivalent around that I don’t know about?) and I’m still slowly inching my way around Terminal. But this might all just be because I’m still a newbie, but I’m sure in time it will all feel like second nature.