I’ve done it. I’m ditching Vista for OSX. You may think I’m a switcher, you may think I was a fool for using Vista at all and if you’re like the rest of the world, you probably think I’m a fool for sticking with it for the 12 months I did. If you think any of those things, you’re wrong. I still love Vista, but have decided that it just doesn’t run well enough without a beefy dual or quad core cpu and I have no intentions of upgrading right now. So what am I using? Well bear with me, there’s a bit of background to this one 🙂
I am by no means a switcher, or if I am I switched years ago. Despite never actually owning a mac, I’ve been saying ever since I left uni that if I buy a laptop it would be a mac. Unfortunately, I’ve had absolutely no need to buy a laptop and my desktop machine is for games which means macs are out. I did however convince my mum to get a mac laptop in 2003, which she loved and has stuck with macs through to what is about to be a second replacement laptop.
Which brings me to today’s story.
Over the christmas break, the screen on my mum’s iBook G4 went dark. It didn’t take me long to figure out I could still see the screen if I used a torch, but a quick hunt around google revealed it would be a monumental pain in the arse to fix – most likely a broken inverter cable (an apparently common problem in this model of laptop after 3 years of use). The worst part is that in what I can only describe as a fit of stupidity, when I helped her buy the laptop in 2005 I neglected to make sure she bought the extended warranty which would’ve covered this.
I knew it would work fine with an external monitor, but mum doesn’t travel with the adapter nor did she want to buy a monitor and tether the laptop to a desk. So mum took the lappy to her local apple shop, they refused to believe it was the inverter cable and charged her $100 to say “We will only fix this with a new screen, which will cost you nearly a thousand dollars to fix. Buy a new laptop”.
Buying a new laptop is what’s going to happen, that’s for sure, but not from those idiots. Said laptop was sent down to me (including the external monitor adapter) via an uncle who was visiting Brisbane, and now sits on my desk. I’m heading up to visit mum later this year and my task is to buy a new MacBook and do all the data transfer legwork so the new mac has all the photos, music etc from the current one. In return, the iBook is mine to do whatever I want with.
So you can see why this was an opportunity I just couldn’t resist. I spent most of last week testing the water for using this laptop as my primary machine, and all I can say is it never ceases to amaze me how lightweight unix feels. I have a linux file server and MythTV box so this is nothing new to me, but we’re talking a 1.2ghz G4 with 512mb ram here. I have 6 apps running + a temperature monitor, this works because the only apps using more than 50mb ram are Safari and NetNewsWire. There’s no free ram but it has 130mb inactive and there is no swap activity as I switch between apps. Things can get hairy if I go nuts with installers or other cpu heavy tasks in the background, but I
Not to mention the fact that it has a 3 year old graphics card designed for a 1024×768 screen – but I’ve installed a hack to run the external monitor at 1920×1200 on my 24″ lcd. I figure it’d hate that for sure, but it’s surviving admirably. Most of the fancy graphical effects are horribly slow due to using the CPU to render them, but they’re all either rare or avoidable.
Overall I’m amazed at how much this little machine can handle, which is why I’m migrating. I was already running my mail and documents off the file server and use Newsgator to sync my RSS feeds, so the only thing left to migrate is my iTunes library (which I doubt will be much fun, but I’m up for an adventure).
Having used a mac plenty of times, the only real issue I’ve had so far is the keyboard shortcuts. I was willing to put up with the pain of re-learning the text navigation keys, but while looking for a way to fix the terminal keys I discovered a way to enable windows-style keys (although making it work on leopard requires info from one of the comments). Yay for windows shortcuts and muscle memory! It even has old DOS favourites ctrl+insert, shift+insert etc.
I also need to buy a new blogging client, I’m leaning towards ecto but there are still a few options to consider. I noticed MarsEdit 2.1 making some waves on my rss feeds but I can’t stand editing HTML with tags anymore. I’ll rant about that later 🙂
As for my desktop machine? Well it was already dual booting to XP for intensive games due to the vista speed issues. XP will now be the only thing it runs.