My thoughts on OSX

So here I am, typing this post on a bloody Macbook Pro 13″. Who would have thunk it? My Brother-in-law bought a new Retina one and I bought his current one off him. It’s a machine I know pretty well, as I helped him upgrade the RAM and put a hybrid HDD in it a while ago now. My experience hasn’t been bad so far. I have to say that it’s been kinda fun having a new set of problems to overcome to get it set up how I like it, and my experience with Linux has been fairly helpful.

When I first got it I had to completely reinstall the operating system from scratch because it wouldn’t let me just reinstall 10.9, as I didn’t have an Apple ID with that assosciated with it. I had to go back to the version that came with the device (10.6) and then update to 10.6.8, finally getting to the “App Store” and purchasing the free upgrade to Mavericks, then waiting the number of hours while it did it’s reinstall. The beginning was a little messy, but since then everything has gone fairly smoothly. I installed all my standard applications, such as Chrome, Google Drive, Steam, Battle.Net and KeePass (which might warrant an entire blog post to itself, it’s so cool) and am really starting to get it set up how I am finding I like it.

The best advice I can give anyone looking to move from another OS to OSX is simply, Command+Spacebar. This keyboard shortcut opens a “Spotlight” search which can be used to find applications, documents, settings, everything. It’s like hitting the Windows key in Windows 7 or later, but it’s actually a bit better than that, as it gives you some context on the results such as which application or folder they are found in. Secondly, get to know the gestures. I loveĀ using full-screen apps, and with a three-fingered-swipe, I can switch between them. It’sĀ almost as easy as alt-tab (or Command+Tab).

Something that OSX does really well is backups, and if you can use the Time Machine to get network backups running, it’ll keep hourly, daily and weekly backups for a long time, all incremental which you can jump back to at any stage. This took a little bit of doing (read: forcing with a large, digital hammer) as I have a Windows Server which I wanted to back up to. Normally Time Machine only backs up to a portable hard drive, or an apple-based NAS. I followed a guide online which allows you to use Terminal command lines to create a dummy-disk, format it, move it to a network location then mount it so that Time Machine doesn’t know any better. There’s nothing quite like pulling the wool over a computer’s eyes!

Another really, really cool thing which the Macbook lets me do is Steam In-Home Streaming. Because I now have two computers on the same network with Steam installed, it allows you to run you game collection on one device (my desktop, with the better hardware) and “stream” the resultant output to my Macbook, which controls the user input. It’s pretty crazy! It means I can play all the latest games I have bought on the laptop without running it hot, or having to turn the graphics down to Low.

I’m pretty excited about this. Hopefully I don’t decide I need a better one anytime soon!