I'm a Mac and its about time!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Xephrey, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. Xephrey macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2008
    Hello friends, my name is Xephrey and I am now a Mac. This is definitely the most money I've ever spent on a computer, but I seriously consider the Macbook Pro Oct 2008 model VERY worth it. I've wanted to switch to Mac for about four years and until now, I just wasn't feelin' it. If I was going to do it, it'd probably be at the beginning of a new product cycle (despite the majority of tech experts advising against doing that). I'd always go to a friend of mine's place and mess around with his macbook pro, noticing all the subtle (and a few not so subtle) differences between apple laptops and the competition's windows laptops. Everything from the way it opened without having to secure the base of the unit - yet it still having enough friction to stay firmly in place, to all the revolutionary ways the software and hardware architectures work so well together to give the user a smooth, incredibly capable - zero bottleneck feel. Then bootcamp started to come standard, then the new unibody design with the nice nvidia boost. Eventually, with all these constant improvements I figured that it was time.

    If anyone has any advice for me - a new comer to OSX and the Mac universe, please speak up! I usually make it a hobby to, when I buy a nice new piece of hardware, make it as efficient and capable as I can; whether that be custom scripts or implementing home-made software, I'm down with anything. Please let me know which software packages are a must have and which are to be avoided. Anything that any of you think could help me out.

    I hope I can contribute something to ya'll as well (although I'll probably only be able to offer my opinions, which may not be considered much of a contribution)

    Thanks so much! I'm so happy that I'm finally a Mac user!!
  2. macrem macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2008
    Welcome to the world of Macs Xephrey. I'm a 3rd, soon to be 4th gen MBP user once the new one arrives. My advice:

    Try the native OS X software before rushing to download other programs. OS X bundles quite range of really great software. That said, AdiumX is a very nice IM program.

    Get an external HD and use TimeMachine.

    OS X is pretty secure OOTB but more can be done like setting a firmware password so not just any user can boot into single user mode, enable stealth mode, only give users including yourself standard privileges (sudo an admin account when higher privs are req'd., for which you'll be prompted seemlessly via the GUI).

    Go into system prefs and enable hot corners in Exposé. "All Windows" and Spaces are the two I use the most often.

    In Spaces, put iTunes in "every space" and put the mini player somewhere convenient, listen to lots of music.

    Get familiar with trackpad gestures, probably some need to be enabled via sys prefs.

    Become pals with the command line, you won't regret it. I used to recommend a 3rd party terminal app but the Leopard version of Terminal.app blows everything else away IMO.

    Try the Dock on the right. IMO there is plenty of horizontal space and nice to free up some vertical space.

    Here are some free software recommendations (very nicely written):

    If you plan to tinker with a wide range of open source *nix software, then I recommend Macports, others will probably swear by Fink.

    Growl is a nice piece of software to install for application notifications.

    I recommend trying the latest OpenOffice 3 Aqua build.

    Cyberduck is a very nice and free FTP client.

    Handbrake is great for ripping DVDs.

    The latest Aqua build of GIMP

    Poisoned for P2P

    sshfs is an excellent and secure alternative to sharing files if you transfer files with other *nix machines. Oh, install Linux on the PC you're retiring and use it as a server.

    TextWrangler if TextEdit does not meet all your needs

    Transmission for torrents.

    The Unarchiver is useful if you get any compressed files that OS X cannot handle natively like SIT files.

    I won't claim which browser is best. Safari integrates the best with OS X. Then I'd say Camino does a pretty good job. Opera seems to be a fast, well written standards compliant browser on OS X. Many users cannot cope without their Firefox extensions. I tend to use one for awhile, then another, then another...

    VLC is a must have.

    VirtualBox for OS virtualization.

    Application Update is a very nice Dashboard Widget that checks for non Apple software updates. If you start it searching for new software, then leave the Dashboard while its running and have Growl installed, Growl will let you know the results. iStatPro is also a useful Dashboard Widget.

    Skype and Joost do not seem to be the most efficiently written but are handy too.

    BatChmod is a decent utility for changing file permissions.

    Stay away from Adobe Reader if possible. The built in Preview.app is much better if it meets your needs.

    If you use gmail, set up your account to use IMAP, which works great with OS X Mail.

    If you use OS X at work, get on Mac aliases or access to Mac wiki, get to know someone from IT who uses a Mac. They may hook you up with really cool stuff like openvpn ;-)

  3. Tex-Twil macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2008
    macrem, thanks for this list. I've actually also just switched and this might be useful.

  4. andrewdale macrumors 6502a

    Jan 28, 2008
    Memphis, TN
    That is a great list. Good for all the new mac users or even for some oldies that are looking for a refresh.
  5. HawaiiMacAddict macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2006
    On one of my Macs of course
    Aloha Xephrey,

    Welcome to the light! You sound just like I did when I switched over in 2006. I first got an iMac, then a MacBook Pro. I recently sold that MacBook Pro and purchased the new MacBook Pro (GlassBook Pro) and I absolutely LOVE my new laptop. That being said, use what you have first and learn the ins and outs of the Mac OS. There is a bit of a learning curve, as you'll have to do things "the Macintosh way" as opposed to the Windows way.

    One of the first complaints is with respect to the green zoom button (next to the red close and yellow minimize buttons on the top left of your app windows). That button zooms the window as wide as the content contained within, and no more. In other words, it does not by default expand over the entire expanse of your desktop, unless the content is that wide. In that way, the Mac OS is more intuitive than Windows, but that's my opinion.

    With respect to the dock, you can try it on the right or left-hand sides, but you can also display it in 2D as opposed to 3D. Using Mac is a great site for learning all kinds of things about your Mac and its OS. Look for links to terminal commands (I would give you a direct link, but they've undergone quite a bit of website renovation, and I have to hunt for everything myself :eek:) The easiest way to change your dock appearance is via the command line, but that really freaks some people out. Just be sure to type everything in exactly as you see it - case is important - and you should be OK.

    Keeping with the dock, depending on how many app icons you end up having there, you may want to make it a bit smaller and use magnification. Open System Preferences and look for the Dock section (in the top row), and you'll see what I'm talking about there. You can also choose to hide the dock if you don't want to always see it on your desktop.

    I also advocate using Spaces. I have my web browsers on destop 1, mail.app on desktop 2, Photoshop and Dreamweaver on desktop 5, MacTheRipper and Toast on desktop 7, XCode and Interface Builder on desktop 6, etc... That way, I know which desktop shortcut will take me to the desired app when I have lots of things running.

    I mentioned MacTheRipper - I don't know if you plan on ripping DVDs, but that is the best ripper for Mac OS X. You can also use HandBrake, but I normally rip with MTR and use Handbrake to encode the movies for iPod/iPhone and import them into iTunes that way.

    As for FTP, I also use Cyberduck and highly recommend that app to all other Mac users. You can simply drag and drop, as you can with most Mac apps, and set it to keep up the connection if so desired.

    The iLife suite comes preloaded on every new Mac, but you may also want to consider taking a look at iWork as well. There's nothing in the Windows world that can touch iLife, especially at only $80.00 and while iWork is no Office killer yet, Keynote by itself more than justifies its $80.00 pricetag.

    With respect to burning DVD movies, either ripped movies or external MPEG-2 movie files, you have two choices: Toast or Popcorn. Both are Roxio products, but Toast costs twice as much (but also does a lot more for the money). Either is perfectly fine to use, but I prefer Toast myself.

    You also mentioned Bootcamp. There are good things and not so good things about using that app. One of the negatives is that you either boot into Windows or boot into Mac OS X. That is not so bad, but on your MacBook Pro, you only have nVidia 9800M GT graphics while in Windows via Bootcamp. I will warn you that the bottom of your MacBook Pro will become VERY hot - as a matter of fact, it burned my thighs a little before I really noticed it. You should also consider using a Virtual Machine environment, such as Parallels for Mac or VMWare's Fusion, to run Windows. Both apps cost $80.00, if memore serves, but are well worth their price. One thing to remember about VMs versus Bootcamp is resource utilization. While in a virtual environment, system resources will be shared between it and the Mac environment, which could result in slightly sluggish behavior. In Bootcamp, all system resources are devoted to Windows. That is something to consider when contemplating running Windows on your Mac.

    I think I've given you enough to chew on, at least for now. Welcome to the Macintosh world and may your computing experience be at least as good as mine, if not better!

  6. nope7308 macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    I just bought my first Mac too... the only difference is that I'm still a human being.

    People, please stop buying into this stupid marketing hype... it's a ****ing inanimate machine.
  7. Xephrey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2008
    Mac isnt an object... its a RELIGION.

    lol just kidding, point taken. Thanks for the tips, guys! I like these forums already.
  8. macrem macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2008
    "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

    "This aggression will not stand, man" :D

    (what a great flick!)
  9. warrior15r macrumors newbie

    Nov 2, 2008
    I'm a new macbook pro owner as well. Formerly a PC lover and I have to say, this thing is AWSOME!!!

    I downloaded poisoned to use as a P2P but I can't seem to get it to connect to ANY of the networks. I have not changed any settings. Do I need to do anything special?
  10. warrior15r macrumors newbie

    Nov 2, 2008
    Nevermind. As soon as I posted this, everything started working. This macbook pro is awesome!
  11. nope7308 macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    Indeed... you ever watch that movie baked? You must have, you're from Amsterdam!

    "8 year olds Dude."
    "This is what happens when you **** a stranger in the ass."
  12. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    some good info in that post! Just downloaded some of those programs.

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