The Sweet Spot
On software, engineering leadership, and anything shiny.

On selling my soul and switching to Mac

A month ago I bought an ‘07 MacBook on Craigslist. No, it’s not one of those sexy aluminum hot rods, but it sure is pretty.

I was full of mixed emotions. I had finally joined the Tribe! I had sold my soul. I can now develop iPhone apps! I am property of SJ. Yes, I had interned at Apple in the summer of ‘08, but I haven’t really paid much attention to OS X until I’ve owned one of these suckers for myself.

It’s not easy making the switch. Here are some of my gripes with OSX and some stopgap replacements I’ve found:

  • No keyboard shortcut to maximize windows. (Solved with RightZoom)

  • MacPorts really sucks (that is, having to compile everything from source is really slow). (Still outstanding)

  • Switching windows between spaces is really clunky. (Sorta solved with Hyperspaces)

  • No keyboard shortcut to “move active window to space”. (Still outstanding)

  • No way to force windows to a grid. (Solved with Divvy)

  • No right Ctrl key makes things really painful in Emacs. (Remapped right “Enter” with DoubleCommand)

  • Aero Snap is cool. (Check out Cinch)

  • The MacBook keyboard keys feel cheap compared to a Thinkpad. (Still outstanding)

  • Really annoyed with Command-Tab switching. I just want to switch to a different window! (Still outstanding).

  • Expose feels limited compared to Compiz’ Scale plugin. Cannot Expose all windows in all spaces. (Still outstanding)

  • Closing window doesn’t kill the process. I suspect this is just a design philosophy I have to deal with. (Still outstanding)

  • Not sure why, but my wrists generally tend to hurt more after using the MB rather than my work Thinkpad.

Okay, I’m not going to do all complaining. Some things I really enjoy:

  • Drag-and-drop installation is totally elegant.

  • Time Machine just works, and the zoomable interface is totally slick.

  • Helvetica Neue, I love you.

  • Something about the font rendering is just amazing.

  • I get to look cool (and slightly cliche…) at coffee shops

  • Desktop graphics & animations render smoothly with CoreAnimation. This stuff just looks slick.

I guess it’s not as bad as I’ve made it out to be. Well here I am. Swore I’d never do it, but you got me with all that shiny, Mr. Jobs. You got me.