The Switch: From Windows XP to Mac OS X Snow Leopard

Been working with the iMac now for about two weeks, and I’m quite pleased. Sure the interface looks different – and yes, I could have received a $9 upgrade (or whatever) to Windows 7 when it’s released but … enough already. I’ve been on Windows for a long, long time. Windows 3.1(1? was it?); Windows under OS/2; Windows 95; Windows Me (Gack!); Windows 2000; Windows NT and Windows XP.

I have no major complaints about Windows XP. I’ve done OK with it. I’ve run Cakewalk’s Sonar 2.0 through 8.0 (mostly) just fine; I used Macromedia’s (now Adobe’s) Fireworks for graphics for years.

But when I really wanted to build up a development environment that could really handle serious web development – specifically Open Source style web development -well, we already had 2 Macs here in the house and I decided, enough.

Mac OS X looks great and so does the hardware. I ended up with the tiny little keyboard with no number pad, and I don’t care – word of warning, though, you might. I’ve always been a good typist and know where the numbers are. There is a real command line: real tools like php, bash, ruby, python.

So here’s the main stuff I needed, and what I’ve done under Mac OS X to make the transition:

Need

Windows

Mac OS X

Office Suite OpenOffice.org
Google Apps
OpenOffice.org
Google Apps
Email Client Gmail Gmail
Development IDE Aptana Studio 1.5 Aptana Studio 1.5
Virtualization Sun VirtualBox Sun VirtualBox
SSH Client putty.exe Terminal’s ssh
FTP Client FileZilla FileZilla
Text Editor vim vi
Graphics Fireworks 8 Fireworks CS4
Photos Picasa iPhoto (I guess; haven’t done much here yet)
Music Production Cakewalk Sonar 8 Producer GarageBand
Soundtrack Pro 3
— and hopefully Cakewalk Sonar 8 Producer using Boot Camp!

Just Don’t Work:

The following just don’t work:

  • My ancient (circa 1996!) Artec 1236 USB Scanner. Oh so sad! That thing has served me well! It’ll just have to run off the XP box for the time being.
     
  • Tascam USB-122 MIDI/ Audio Interface. Judging by the Google results, this thing has been problematic at least since OS X 10.5. I’d like to get a small firewire Interface. I would like an interface with audio and MIDI. Not so sure I care about a pre-amp. Hooking up my M-Audio Oxygen 8 keyboard worked just fine. I have yet to try my 88-weighted key StudioLogic controller, though :).

Just Does Work!

Much to my pleasant surprise, some of my old PowerPC based packages came over just fine. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as “Rosetta,” the Apple answer for helping you transition from PowerPC-based boxes to the Intel-based boxes.

  • SoundTrack Pro 3
  • LiveType 2

Final Cut Express HD did not work – it complained that it wanted an AGP graphics card. But Apple is decent enough to provide a $99 upgrade to Final Cut Express 4 if iMovie should fail me, which it might. It’s a nice application, but I’m so used to working with track-based tools like FCE and Cakewalk that I might spring for the upgrade. Or, maybe I’m just a dope and don’t understand iMovie well enough.

Hope this helps you sort out if you want to get a Mac. I bought mine refurbished (as was Lisa’s) and it comes with a 1 year warranty. Lisa’s has been running strong for about 6 months now and she loves it. Trent has inherited the old eMac, and he loves that.

And surely I’ll always have my share of Fedora Core and Ubuntu boxes about 🙂