iTunes Finally Converted to MacBook

iTunes Converted - Song List

Well, after about two days of file copying, I finally got all of my iTunes stuff moved over to the new Mac. Why did it take so long you ask? I’m not really sure.

Copying between the Windows box and the MacIntosh using Windows File Sharing just didn’t work unattended. It kept failing for some reason. After about three tries at that, I decided to install cwRSync so that I could restart incrementally, but for some reason, this would not run unattended either, and I didn’t want to spend forever running back and forth between the family room and the living room (where my desk is).

Finally I decided to copy my iTunes library up to the Linux server. I started it at about 7:00am and by 7:30-8:00pm on Tuesday the file copy had completed with no interruptions. On Wednesday, I started an rsync from the Linux server to the MacBook. Another 12 hours later and that was complete.

I had heard horror stories about moving this stuff around if you had purchased music and was a little worried that I would have to spend a lot of time getting the machine authorized and stuff like that. Not so. As a matter of fact, I found these instructions on moving your iTunes library with metadata and they worked without a hitch. I now have all of my music on the MacBook. Nice!

I really do like this environment a lot better than anything I’ve used in the past. I’m not clear as to why I had all of the copy failures I had from machine to machine, but thankfully I’ve got the trusty SuSE server to back me up.

Its the little things you notice …

Now that I have a few days on the Mac using it full time, I figured I’d post up some first impressions from a new user. More than that, observations from a new user who resisted the Mac when all his friends told him to go that way in the first place.

  1. When the light in the room gets too low, the keyboard lights up. At first glance this seems completely insignificant, but again, one of those little things that shows the care that goes into the design. It was definitely a pleasant surprise. In a normal company, something this “frilly” would have been cut to remove costs – but as a customer I was absolutely delighted by it.
  2. I like not having a key on the keyboard for every little thing. The modifier key thing is totally working for me for page up / down, etc. Its extremely intuitive once you figure it out (and it doesn’t take long to figure it out).
  3. Using two fingers to scroll with the mouse. Tom the Architect told me about this one. Much more intuitive than a touchpad with the right side dedicated to scrolling.
  4. For years I’ve been irritated with people turning auto hide on the Windows taskbar. For some reason, auto hide makes sense to me with the dock bar. Not sure why, but the whole metaphor of the docking bar works for me on levels that I couldn’t get with Windows
  5. I love the idea of one menu at the top of the screen, rather than a menu in every application. This also works for me on a number of levels.
  6. The overall look of things on the screen is beautiful compared to my Gateway box. Same applications, completely different feeling when looking at them.
  7. Installing software is really a brain dead process. Its the way software should work. On the other hand, I’m going to have to get used to not needing so much detail to get something working. I think I’m finally at the point where I’m ok with this. Must be a sign of getting old.
  8. There is absolutely no need for a “View Full Screen” option on any of these applications. I have enough of the application visible whenever I need it. I can even collapse the top of the window to get more room. Its a little thing, but another one of those “Wow” moments.

Overall, I’m completely impressed. While my initial resistance to going Mac had a lot to do with the price, there are so many little things that I’m finding that are valuable enough to make me feel better about the purchase price. You get what you pay for and I’m quite happy with the new purchase.

The Labs Adds A Mac

MacBook Pro

Your looking at the first post to this web site completely written on a Mac.

Yep, thats right. A Mac.

Since the release of OS X I’ve wanted to make the leap to the Mac. The idea of a Unix based system with the useability of a Mac intrigued me to no end. I also have a couple of friends that have used Macs from what seems like day one, and have always told me that I was missing out on something cool. I just haven’t been able to justify getting one in my own head.

I think the clincher for me that a Mac was in my future was when Jonna started bringing one home for her testing work and I was watching her use it. It just looked so cool! Its been on my mind for a couple of weeks now, so yesterday we decided to take a road trip out to the Apple store and “just look” at the Intel based MacBooks to see whether it might be something I want to commit to as my next machine.

Well, I wound up walking out with one with the voice of an Apple customer from the store ringing through my head, echoing softly, “Once you make the move, you will never go back …”.

I got the machine home and booted it up. Within literally 15 minutes or so, I was hooked to our wireless network here at the Labs. Another 25 minutes or so and all of the software updates were downloaded. A few trips to grab the software I use most, like FireFox, the Flickr uploader, etc. and I already felt like I was home.

Of course, being a developer at heart, there are a few things I just had to do as soon as I got the base software like my favorite browser installed. I had to dive to the Terminal window and see what was out there.

  • Perl? – Check.
  • Python? – Check.
  • Ruby? – Check.
  • Java? – Check
  • Subversion? – Nope, but a few clicks and it was installed.
  • Screen Capture Tool? Kind of – only supports TIFFS. I need JPG for Flickr. A quick Google search got me to Snap N Drag, a free screen capture utility that supports JPG files.
  • iTunes – Check.
  • Office Suite? Nope – not there. Have to install OpenOffice, which requires X11. I’ll do that tomorrow.

Here’s the great thing about the whole experience. Every scripting language I use for every day work is on the machine from the moment I opened the box, even my old familiar friend, the bash shell. The important software I use day to day is at least available for me to install.

My email, calendar and news reader? I use Google, for all of that, so there was no setup or importing of data required. I just log in and feel at home.

The loose ends I have to tie off at this point is moving all of my iTunes stuff to the new machine. I’ve found a few articles on this around the NET, but the volume of data I have to transfer is becoming prohibitive. For some reason, rsync just stops part way through the sync — but I’ll get this worked out.

I’m extremely impressed with the machine so far. It has all of the utility of Unix and all the beauty of a Mac. I’m really not sure what else anyone could ask for.