14 May 2008

Toto, We Are Not In Kansas Any More

So my colleague Lone Gunman became a Mac owner for the first time. He's been living with Windoze for the longest time and naturally there are differences to be felt when he made the switch. At least he said it's just different, nothing bad.

Here goes another entry that I can refer my current and future Mac converts to:

  • The Start button is no more. Back in 1984 when the first Mac came out, there was already an Apple menu to reach "special" things, like Recent Items and Control Panels. A new Mac convert may think of the Apple "button" as the equivalent of the Start button, but in reality it's really the Dock. To me, the Start button is where you mostly go to to launch apps, whether from Programs or some shortcuts above that. The Dock is where shortcuts to apps are supposed to live in.
  • No more C: or any of its alphabet brethren. The hard drive is whatever you call it, on the desktop and everywhere else. I stressed that fact because in Windoze, on the desktop you may have My Computer but if you go to some Windows Explorer open window you may see it as C: drive, in addition to being My Computer. The nice thing with not using the alphabet for your drives is that you are not limited to the 20 or so letters of the alphabet. I know of a company that uses a letter of the alphabet for many network resources and is constantly out of drive letters or has drive conflicts. I wish I have the pleasure of working in a large Mac network but I can guess that it is not an issue. Whatever network resource to be connected to would be referred to through its name and would appear as such, like MP3 Collection, not as F: drive to some and Z: drive to others.
  • No right mouse button. Many people complain about the lack of a right mouse button on the standard Mac. The key word here is "standard". I think it's a good thing not to have right mouse button by default. I cannot recall the many times I have to tell Windoze users to press the left mouse button and not the right mouse button. There will always be more inexperienced computer users to the less they have to learn the better. If the mouse has only one button, how hard can it be to press it, instead of having to even think about which button to press? There's only one button! Months or years later, the beginner becomes an expert and by then he can move on to some fancy programmable mouse or trackball.
  • No DOS box. So you are an intermediate computer user and occasionally go into the belly of the beast to compute purely via the command line, i.e. you have to type exactly what you want or get the dreaded "Bad command or filename" or whatever the error message is these days. Mac OS X, being based on Unix, has the Terminal to handle your archaic desire to type. ls is your DIR equivalent, cat is TYPE's cousin, and grep is synonymous to FINDSTR. Note that I listed the Unix commands as lowercase because case matters. At some jobs I once had, I spent a little time on the Unix workstation customizing the command line to suit my DOS-oriented brain. dir (upper or lower) would automatically translate to ls with some switch, etc. On the Mac, I rarely find the need to go into the Terminal. On some rare occasions, certain apps would require doing tweaking some config file, but chances are those apps don't deserve to be used. On the Mac, that is.

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