For Mac Noobs

Posted in Apple, Tech at 1 pm

So a friend of mine recently got his first Mac. A 17″ MacBook Pro and he’s figuring it out for the first time. He’s been stuck on Winders for a long time and had taken the plunge but wants to find some good software. Here’s what he’s looking for and my recommendations.

1 Text Editor for developing websites

I’m old school but in this department, BBEdit has always been the way to go for me. Other popular editors are TextMate and SubEthaEdit. I’ve seen Taco talked about here and there and it looks decent. The one thing that might really trip someone up about BBEdit, coming from the Windows world is that the keystroke for indenting and unindenting a block of text is Command-[ and Command-], rather than the common tab/shift-tab that I’ve seen in lots of Windows editors. The other difference is that the GREP search and replace is robust, effective, efficient and predictable. Regex is your friend and BBEdit has Regex in spades.

2 FTP tool for uploading said website pages

“And now these three remain: [Fetch], [Interarchy] and [Transmit]. But the greatest of these is [Transmit].” First Macinithians 13:13.

3 I-tunes – To move my music, just load to an IPod and drag it off on to the new machine?

Not quite. Couple of things here: 1) iPods for Windows are formated FAT32 (Maybe NTFS?) iPods for Mac are formatted as HFS+. This can cause some problems when switching over from one platform to the other. The transferring you’re talking about works best if you don’t use iTunes. Enable the iPod to come up as an external drive, drag all of the music files onto the iPod using the Windows File Explorer interface. Plug the iPod into the Mac and enable the same access. You should be able to copy the files off the iPod and then drag them into iTunes. Remember the iPod philosophy: the iPod is simply a local cache of iTunes. iTunes is where you manage all of your songs and playlists. the iPod is a slave to that.

4 Can I load I games like Diablo, Starcraft, etc for the PC?

Yes. You’ll need either BootCamp or Parallels Desktop. Entering the world of running Windows on Apple hardware is a strange place where up is down and black is white. Prepare yourself.

5 If so, is there anything special I need to do to play them?

You’ve just bought an Intel-based laptop. You can install Windows XP and use it as such. Nothing else is needed to my understanding.

6 How do I find other computers via our “network”? Does she have to “share” a drive or something for it to be visible?

Yes, you enable File sharing via the Sharing Pane in the System Preferences. Once you’ve turned on Sharing, everything that’s put in the Shared folder should be visible on the network. If you connect to the remote machine with an admin user name you can mount the whole drive as if it were a local drive. If you want quick access to that machine later on, I suggest dragging it to the Dock or making an Alias (c.f. Shortcut) and keeping that around.

If you start sharing stuff, you might flip on the Firewall as well.

7 I tried to install InDesign 2.0, but it said I had to have a “classic” environment. Does that mean OSX is just too advanced for that version of InDesign?

So InDesign v2 came out in early 2002. It ran under the ‘Classic’ environment, which meant it was great for Mac OS 9 and could be run poorly under Mac OS X, as long as you had a PowerPC machine. Apple, for some reason, decided that Mac OS 9 (aka Classic) an operating system that hadn’t been updated in 7 years and had been replaced entirely, didn’t need to be ported to Intel machines.

That said, there are some work arounds but I can’t say I’d recommend them. I’d really suggest getting an up-to-date version of InDesign. Adobe has made a lot of big improvements to InDesign over the last few releases.

8 We need a printer. We’d like high quality color print ability. do you have one you’ve had good luck with, and is networkable?

Virtually all of the printers out there are ‘networkable’. Windows and Mac both have Printer Sharing capabilities. If you’re looking for a printer that has built-in Ethernet or WiFi, there are a lot of options out there. I don’t have a broad range of experience with printers in recent years.

HP generally has good Mac drivers, and I’ve heard good things about Epsons as well. The best way to find a good printer is to see how they print. I’d recommend a trip down to Best Buy and see how they all fair. CompUSA has a good range as well. For more product reviews, check out MacWorld or maybe C-Net.

Amy’s been wanting me to find a good photo printer. That’s on the list for the new year.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URL

Leave a Comment