30 Jan 2010

The Dark Side

Yeah, so I finally defected to the Dark Side and got myself a 13.3" MacBook Pro. Now that N3 runs on all 3 console platforms I'd like to explore the iPhone/iPod/iPad platform a bit. And iPhone development is only possible from the Mac, so the MacBook actually serves as some sort of hardware dongle.

Overall, the MacBook is a great device. It (still) looks slick, has a great display, and is relatively light weight. I considered the MacBook Air, but finally went for the Pro, because it had twice as much hard disc space and RAM, but was still cheaper then the Air. And since I also want to run Windows on the machine, hard disc space is precious.

The keyboard sucks ass though. I don't like those ultra-cheap ZX Spectrum keyboards which become more and more common on laptops. And the most important key, the Return key, is the smallest and easiest to miss. WTF?

Surprisingly, I'm not a big fan of the user interface. I've only used the machine for a day or so, and while the UI certainly looks slick, I had a quite a few WTF moments. The most puzzling thing is that I have no idea where to find an application after it's installed. The XCode installer for instance simply finished and I was left wondering how to find and start the damned thing. It's not in the dock, and its not under Applications. Turns out its "somewhere" on the hard disc under the /Developer directory. I was looking for something like TortoiseSVN, found a Finder plugin, and pretty much failed to install it. The read-me file told me to find some files and manually drag them somewhere onto the Finder tool bar, and to drag something else somewhere else to start it automatically after login. However, those files where nowhere to be found after the installer was done. Why doesn't the installer take care of all that crap? I'm pretty sure I could have fixed it after investing some more time, but something like this shouldn't happen these days. I'll see how the Subversion integration in XCode works.

I haven't found something like Live Writer to create blog posts (only some commercial apps, come on paying money for a blog editor? A good blog editor should come free with the OS like a web browser or a mail program).

I tried Safari and I was shocked to see the web pages I usually visit cluttered with blinking ad banners. Not Safari's fault of course, but the next thing I did was installing Firefox with AdBlock Plus.

I've dabbled around with MacOS from time to time during the 90s a bit, and at that time, usability was so much better compared to Windows. Today, I'm not so sure which one is better. Of course I've learned to get used to Window's quirks over the years, but I was honestly expecting myself to say something like "yeah, that's how its done" after playing around with OSX. But I didn't. Things are different, but not better. I'm still extremely excited to dive into Mac and iPhone development though :)