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30 November 2005 @ 08:04 pm
A Day On The Mac  
Okay, I've had it most of a day, I've charged it up, drained it down, and am charging it up again as we speak (to calibrate the battery, of course -- for the record, I drained it in a little under four hours, but I turned up all the power settings to speed that up. Not actually sure how long it will take under normal use -- five hours seems quite possible -- but four hours is plenty for me).

Man, but my TCL/TK code looks weird on MacOS X, with all those Mac-y buttons and stuff. And it almost works right (it hangs on exit for some odd reason -- I'm not sure if I actually care). Ruby Tk didn't work, though, I'll have to fool around with that at some point down the road. I imagine I'll have to do some cleanup there to get rails to work, anyway. Overall, though, MacOS X is pretty darned slick. Way slicker than Windows is or will ever be (although I must admit that as file browsers go, Finder is just adequate). And powerful too -- oh, the joy of running TCSH at whim.

But anyway... Now I'm looking for some suggestions -- specifically, what software I should get for it (especially Japanese language software, dictionaries and the like)? Is there anything anyone finds particularly useful? Any "must-have" dashboard widgets? Anything?

I've already got all of the standard UNIX stuff, of course, like Emacs and so forth. I'm probably going to grab the GIMP and OpenOffice to fill those niches (unless someone has any better suggestions -- as long as they work okay, I'm not that picky, I'm more looking for free and basically functional -- well, on the Word Processor/Spreadsheet side, anyway, the GIMP is a little more than just functional). Probably Firefox (although Safari is fine, it doesn't hurt to have something else installed). The Mail program looks fine there (I'm not going to bother downloading Thunderbird or anything). I haven't actually used iChat, but it doesn't look that impressive -- I'd like to find something more "Trillian-like," not in terms of interface or anything, but to get Yahoo, ICQ, MSN and AIM all in one place if at all possible. Does any such beast exist for the Mac (besides GAIM)?

I don't particularly like iTunes (although being forced to use it today, I warmed up slightly to it -- at least the "Party Shuffle" is a cool feature), so alternate music programs would be nice, too.

And, uh, there it is.
In the mood: working
Laurel Amberdine: mangaamberdine on December 1st, 2005 01:59 am (UTC)
Open Office 2.0 works pretty nicely. I assume you already have X11 loaded (it needs that).

Your iTunes may be an older version, and yeah, it does take a bit of getting used to. I believe you can get XMMS to work if you prefer that.

I haven't run anything that didn't come with the OS other than Open Office and NeoOffice. Chris looked around for some IM/chat stuff; I'll ask him what he found.

There was only one Linux program I wanted to compile for OSX, and I never got close to making it work. I'm not much help!
Douglas Triggs: apple lightdoubt72 on December 1st, 2005 02:08 am (UTC)
X11 -- is there an easy way to install that? That was something I was thinking about, too... Maybe running X instead of the MacOS WM sometimes.

I'm pretty sure iTunes is up to date -- it updated everything on the system after I started it up. And it has video, podcasts, and all sorts of stuff included. Doesn't look like it's changed much -- I do run it on my Dell, but only to load up my iPod. XMMS is a thought.
Laurel Amberdineamberdine on December 1st, 2005 02:12 am (UTC)
X11 is on the OSX disk, in the "additional applications" or something. It's very easy to install and use, and it doesn't do anything noticable when run, other than sit as an icon in your dock. (I was expecting graphic ruin.)
Douglas Triggs: apple basicdoubt72 on December 1st, 2005 02:16 am (UTC)
Oh... I need to go through the disks, then. I'm surprised you can't install these off the HD -- it's not like 80GB isn't enough room to put those things.
ricekicker on December 1st, 2005 10:00 pm (UTC)
X11 comes on the install disk -- you'll have to hunt for it but its pretty simple (decent compile time, though)
Douglas Triggs: penguindoubt72 on December 1st, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
Yeah, found it, it's all installed and stuff.

Oops, a sneaky penguin.
Douglas Triggs: apple basicdoubt72 on December 1st, 2005 07:43 pm (UTC)
So, which do you like better, NeoOffice or OpenOffice? I've downloaded both of them, but haven't installed either yet (and from what I can tell, uninstalling programs isn't exactly trivial -- something MacOS X shares with Linux, sometimes).

For the record, I've installed the GIMP (it works weird, being pure X, but it works) and Firefox. It took all of ten minutes for me to decide that Firefox was the way to go -- Safari's still in the dock, but Firefox is just a lot "cleaner," somehow. That's all I had time to fool with, though, having had real work to do.
Laurel Amberdine: mangaamberdine on December 1st, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC)
I like Open Office 2.0 better than NeoOffice, which is based on OO 1.3, I think. If they Neo-ize 2.0, it might be better.

Both are kind of slow on my machine; might be better on yours. I prefer Pages.

Installing GIMP on a 12" laptop is silly. OTOH, I did get into some not-able-to-edit-graphics trouble, so maybe you have a point.

I haven't tried Firefox on the mac. I'm not supposed to be doing online stuff with it... ahem.
Douglas Triggs: apple lightdoubt72 on December 1st, 2005 08:52 pm (UTC)
Pages costs money, don't it? I'm not going to be doing much word processing (frankly, for writing lots of text, I'd use Emacs), but want to be able to export Word (or PDFs, or whatever) for things such as resumes and the like, and I want a basic spreadsheet. The rest I don't care about.

Installing GIMP: No it isn't... Where do you think all these icons come from?

Firefox: it's nice, and seems fairly well integrated into the OS. Safari is okay, I guess, but I just aborted the learning curve on it when I installed Firefox.
Laurel Amberdine: mangaamberdine on December 1st, 2005 10:32 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Pages is not free, though I have kept running the demo by not ever shutting the program down. OO 2.0 would probably suit you better. It exports to pdf too.

Douglas Triggs: apple spiffdoubt72 on December 1st, 2005 11:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I use it under Windows... The old version even. It's fine.
ricekicker on December 1st, 2005 09:58 pm (UTC)
Got lots of recommendations for 'ya
For office applications, I'd definitely recommend the Mac OS X specific port of Open Office which is called NeoOffice/J (I'm running 1.1). I've got mine running in Japanese mainly because I can.

Don't mind iTunes personally, though if you haven't already updated to version 6, you may want to surf on over to the JHarmony site and check that out.

I'd highly recommend python for something to look into (which is to say, you've actually got it installed on your system). It comes with tkinter, the python Tk interface. I would recommend checking out the goodies that are available from the MacPython install http://undefined.org/python/ -- the TkAqua install will probably remove the "funkiness" on your present gui. You also probably want to check out PyObjC -- don't worry, you don't actually have to do any objc but it lets you connect python to all of the cocoa Aqua widgets etc. You can then make an .app executable for people to run stand-alone. If you're going for the cross platform angle, stick with Tk or try wx (wxPython). OK, enough of the python advocating.

Other software: scribus (http://aqua.scribus.net/ a desktop publishing program), inkscape (vector graphics), gimp (yes, definitely get it), VLC player (if you want to play anything that quicktime can't), JEdit for doing any coding, BitTorrent for Mac OS X (python based by the way), Tensai (THE dictionary program to get for Japanese on the Mac), CronniX (if you like scheduling with cron), cyberduck (awesome FTP program -- even if you don't like it, the icon rocks) etc.

Been very disappointed by backup software for the Mac. SuperDuper is marginal. Carbon Copy Cloner looks decent but skipped it because it doesn't support Japanese currently (tee hee hee) http://www.bombich.com/software/ccc.html

In terms of dashboard widgets, I kind of liked the accuweather one myself. Skype is absolutely awesome for computer-based voice and has decent other features. Check out the little things on your system as some of them are kind of cool and you'd never know they're there otherwise (kind of liked Sherlock.app -- simple concept but nice if I'm trying to check movie times, etc. and Garage Band is neat, too)

By the way, I've got one more browser than you do -- Lynx, yup, I'm cool. =)
ricekicker on December 1st, 2005 10:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Got lots of recommendations for 'ya
Just thought of one other thing, too. I can't recommend Fink but ports (from darwinports) is a nice bsd-like package management tool that can really streamline the installing/uninstalling of your favorite mac os x compatible unix app.
Douglas Triggs: apple spiffdoubt72 on December 1st, 2005 11:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Got lots of recommendations for 'ya
- I'm not going to go hard-core like you and do everything in Japanese, I don't think. It's enough that I can read and write in it... But I'm not sure what way I'm going on NeoOffice vs. OpenOffice -- I've gotten one opinion each way so far.

- Pretty sure iTunes is up to date. It updated on install, and it's got all the new video stuff.

- Python... Ah, you evangelical Python users. I like Ruby, and it's working just fine now. Might look into TkAqua, but while it looks weird, that's only because it looks like the rest of the MacOS interface (which doesn't have menu widgets, since that's normally at the top of the screen, so this results in an odd but perfectly servicable pulldown instead when you use the "menubutton" under TK). Speaking of which, I did install the XCode stuff, so who knows where I'll end up eventually. In the interests of portability -- and because I'm getting paid to do it -- I'll probably be sticking with Ruby for the time being.

- Got GIMP (there was never any question, I'm a hard-core GIMP user), will probably get BT eventually (the wintel box will remain the heavy lifter there, though), Emacs is already my preferred editor of choice that I doubt anything will ever displace, I can handle a crontab without a GUI fine. For the rest -- cyberduck sounds interesting (for the icon, I can handle the command line already), Tensai sounds super groovy (which is exactly why I was asking you :), and the others don't fulfill any pressing needs for me (I'm a 3D artist, not a line guy, and don't do any desktop publishing whatsoever).

- Backup software, well, I'll probably stick with gzipped tarballs of my home directory, and periodically dump those on DVD and my external USB HD. It's low-tech, but some variation on that has always worked well enough for me.

- Skype... Well, Steve's been trying to talk me into that for a long time. Maybe. Garage Band I have no idea what to do with.

- Browsers -- on one computer, or on all of them? Right now, I've got that, Firefox, Galeon, IE, Safari, maybe a couple others...
Steve Eleysfeley on December 1st, 2005 10:59 pm (UTC)
It's not free, but I recommend DiskWarrior for the inevitable day when your main drive chokes up, or an external drive does, and you need to recover data that Apple's Disk Utility (really a barely usable shell over fsck) can't find.

Ask me how I know this.
Steve Eleysfeley on December 1st, 2005 11:11 pm (UTC)
Oh, and you should get Skype, because I'm barely ever on AIM anymore, and it's a better IM program anyway. (Never mind that it's also the leading voice chat application as well; I mostly use it for text messaging.)

If you do intend to still use AIM, iChat is decent. It's not great, but it's unobtrusive and does the job.

You will want VLC for occasional video that Quicktime can't handle. You may want Camino if you consider Firefox too ugly and Safari too incompatible with the Web.

You may like Ulysses as a writer's text editor, but it's too expensive. (That's one for you to glance at too, Laurel.)

Oh, and look what I just found! A Ruby on Rails development environment for OS X.

I found it on OpenSourceMac, by the way, which you should definitely take a look at.

Office suites are a matter of preference. I actually like Pages, though it's been pointed out that I'm nuts. And if you cared about sound production I could talk your ear off about what's out there for the Mac.

But mostly, Macs come pretty damn functional out of the box. Safari's a good browser, all the iLife applications do their job well, and Mail.app is the best mailreader I've ever used, despite some minor annoying quirks. It's really about the software.

But yeah, the Finder sucks.
Douglas Triggs: apple lightdoubt72 on December 1st, 2005 11:38 pm (UTC)
Having actually used iChat, I've decided it sucks moderately. Might go GAIM, I don't know. As for Skype... Why is it that it seems that the number of chat protocols out there seems to grow to accomodate the fact that every friend I have seems to want to use their own? Geez. In practical terms, I would have to use both if I used Skype, because approximately two people I know use Skype, and dozens upon dozens use AIM, with slightly smaller numbers for Yahoo, and ICQ, and MSN, etc. This situation is exceedingly annoying, and could be solved if everyone would start using the same damned thing already.

Firefox is fine. 1.5 isn't even that ugly, dunno what earlier versions looked like.

Knew about Ruby on Rails for MacOS X.

As for Pages, looks like it costs money. And these days, I don't pay for software if there's something basically functional for free and/or the use isn't critical to me. Office suites are something I only use occasionally (and a spreadsheet matters a lot more than the word processor, since if I'm writing text, it's probably going to be in Emacs anyway. The word processor would be for the -- exceedingly -- occasional times I have to produce formatted text, ala resumes, etc). For the rest... Will be looking into them. You're quite right -- the Mac is more or less functional out of the box (but most all operating systems are these days). It's mostly about customizing it for what I do.
Douglas Triggs: apple basicdoubt72 on December 2nd, 2005 01:16 am (UTC)
Oh - OpenSourceMac rocks. I think we've found a serious winner there.