Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Air, OSX and Me: Simplicity can be beautiful (part 2)

well, i admit that the first few times using OS X Leopard (on a hackintoshed pc or the macbook air) was kind of frustrating originally.

being a windows poweruser/geek, i have become accustomed to installshield guides and registry hacking to get my settings and programs running.  however with OS X, installing applications is almost too easy.  just open and drag the app to the Applications folder.  wait? thats all?

yes, simplicity can be a beautiful thing.  this simplicity is shown throughout the whole operating system and applications. in this part 2 i will detail my personal experiences with OS X and the software side of things. again, this is probably a pretty boring read for any OS X hardcore users or power users. 

in my part 1 post, i basically outlined my impressions of mac hardware (macbook air).  its nicely designed, expensive, and for the most part pretty reliable.  for the most part it seems to me that most of the hardware is probably more power than most everyday users would ever need and in turn would explain why mac users never/very rarely complain of slowness or freezing (given it isn't a failing hard drive).

so this post is more centered around me and getting myself familar using OS X Leopard from a windows power user/elite standpoint.

the first thing i've noticed from the start is that OS X is VERY INTUITIVE.  its almost too intuitive, especially for us windows users who are accustomed to using Installers, self-extracting .exe installers, .msi installs, etc.  installation of most programs is just a matter of mounting the .dmg file and then dragging the actual application to wherever you want it installed.    also, the application itself is an object not an individual file however the way it is presented to the end user is that its a single looking file.  this is pretty nice for the non-power user who just needs to install the application.

one of the biggest problems i have had with OS X is finding appropriate mac software that can replace what i've been using in a windows environment. however i realized that the easiest way to get around this was to just use VMWare Fusion and run a virtual XP on it.  i used Nlite and created a custom, slim-streamlined XP iso installer removing most of things i didn't need (ie outlook express, msn messenger, msn explorer, extra device drivers i'd never use, etc).

apple's own software suites are very nicely built and accessible (iwork and ilife). imovie is much more accessible for most users; i know i am still struggling to figure out premiere so imovie is a nice relief in its ease of use and features.  apple's included templates in iwork are nicely done and fill most basic/general tasks.  garageband 09 is a pretty amazing piece of music software.  you can now use magic garageband to quickly craft a random mix based on a few template/genres.

and finally, i love being able to make a dashboard widget from any webpage or part of a webpage using Safari.  since minneapolis, mn is part of google's transit web app, i decided to make a google transit widget that lets me find public transportation from any address that has bus service/routes. very handy!!

so yes, simplicity is beautiful.  now lets get some visuals! see some vids of os x in action on my macbook air.

Making your own google transits dashboard item in Leopard w/Safari

[youtube -5xD8L7uCRU]

Front Row, Itunes, VMWare fusion demos

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Itunes and Visualizer in action

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and yes, the kool-aid is good but doesn't always quench this geek's thirst.  don't worry windows, i still love you for your dvring and in turn i cannot see myself leaving microsoft as a main os in my household but rather i see a newly forged co-existence of os x and windows in this geeks world.