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 love using full-screen apps, and with a three-fingered-swipe, I can switch between them. It’s 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!

The NaNo Countdown

November the 1st is tomorrow, and my enthusiasm for the task ahead is… shall we say “changed”? I don’t really know what happened, but for the last couple of days I have been very warn out (lack of sleep) and I just haven’t been looking forward to it like I had before the weekend.

It may have something to do with the “Weekly Drinks” I attended last Thursday with other NaNo hopefuls. It was an interesting experience which I mostly enjoyed, but it had some downsides. When I arrived I was introduced to a few people (gee I’m terrible with names), and had about ten minutes of chatting before we had to move from a round table, to a longer thin table. This was complimented with a crazy extrovert who stole the conversation and essentially forced myself and two others into a 4-person conversation with him for the rest of the night. It just wasn’t as awesome as I had hoped it would be.

For the last few nights I have been trying to go to bed early to beat the previously-discussed “tired” issue, but it doesn’t seem to have been working. I have had 8 hours of sleep or more for the last two nights, and I’m still feeling like crap by midday. I guess this hasn’t really been helping with the optimism for the task ahead. I might try getting to bed even earlier tonight (maybe 9pm?) get in early to work and do a little writing before-hand.

The 2000 words a day push is going to be hard for me to hit during the week, with so much stuff I usually have on weeknights, and not being 100% sure of my plot. I am 95% sure I’m going to attend a bunch of write-ins over the month, and really push myself to do a lot of work on those days. If I can do 5 or 6 thousand words a write-in, that would probably get me half way to the finish in about 4 or 5 days throughout the month. the rest will have to be hit and miss during the week.

Patrice has been really pushing for me to do it. She wants really wants me to enjoy what I do for a living, and realises that what I’m doing professionally at the moment is not my ideal long-term occupation. I’m really glad she is, but I don’t know if writing is what I want to do long-term either. That, and I don’t know what sort of outcome I’m going to get from NaNo. There seems to be a lot of people saying that a “Draft 0” is all you get, then you have as much work again to get it to a readable, editable level. I know it’s all about word-count during November, but does that mean I am going to have to let quality slide? Can I even write quality in the first place?

What else have I been doing recently? Pokemon X and Y came out on the 3DS, and I have been playing through Y. It’s a great game, but quite frustrating at times. The japanese grind has always kinda got me down. I just want to progress but I’m stuck in a cave getting attacked by bats every 20 seconds, and I don’t even know if I have to be there. At least it’s a distraction from worrying about NaNo…

The First Six Months of the Rest of My Life

So today is my 6 month wedding anniversary. I have to say, I love my wife so much. While I find myself flawed more often that I should, everything about her is perfect. Living with her has been the best time of my life. I can only see that continuing.

The holidays were great. We had Christmas with the In-Laws for lunch, and my parents for breakfast. New Years was spent with friends, and the rest of the holiday has been spent relaxing. There was even a 12-hour Lord of the Rings marathon in there somewhere.

The other part of my life at the moment is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. What a spectacular game. I have invested about 70 hours so far, and I feel like I’m only 2/3 through it. There are so many side quests, and things to do. Not to mention you can just start a new character, and choose all the other options. It’s almost a whole new game.

Work starts again tomorrow, and it’s going to be the end of my acting Team Leader position. I look forward to the lessened responsibility, but am a bit sad about the lower pay grade. Considering I never actually received a pay at my “new” level, it was all just back-paid at once, it won’t be that much of a shock.

Life keeps on moving. I might keep you informed, however because “you” is basically no one, I might not. Who knows.