Where did that month go! It seems only 2 weeks ago I was opening the box of my new macbook pro but it’s actually been a month already. So, what have I learned?
Remember how I said how I found it strange the mouse wheel direction had reversed? Well, that’s a new ‘feature’ of OS X Lion. It’s called “natural scrolling”. Well, it might be natural if your on a touch screen grabbing the page, but I’m still used to considering the scroll controlled by mouse as moving the scroll bar down the side of the page. Fortunately, there’s an option to turn that off. Now I like keeping to as many software defaults as possible so that when I use someone elses machine things work the way I expect, but this change doesn’t seem ideal to me. It feels like a change for the point of change rather than a thought out user interface decision. That is, a nice idea in theory, but everyone is used to the standard so don’t change it. To me, this would be the same as changing the keyboard number pad (number 1 is at the bottom) to match a telephone keypad (number 1 is at the top). Or, why not make a desk calculator the same as a desk phone (calculator number 1 is at the bottom). That difference has been a minor irritation of mine for years, but I wouldn’t change it – not when so many devices are set that way and I’m used to it.
What else? Ahh, disk and memory. So, I knew I need to put windows 7 on the mac, but I hadn’t realised just how much memory the two together would need. Some irritating slow performance of the Mac software has been caused by limiting it 3GB for the Mac, 1GB for Win 7. I know, that’s not a lot for Windows 7 but for the design software and MS Access database I use that should be sufficient. Maybe it’s not, maybe Parrallels is letting Win 7 use real memory as virtual memory (that would be clever), but I was constantly over the 4GB and noticing slow performance due to pages swapping in and out of Virtual Memory. For the geeks, on Friday after a couple of days use (I’m getting used to suspending the laptop, rather than not shutting down – I like that feature!) I had Page ins and outs of something like 20GB. So, I spend 35 on 8GB of memory chips (2 x 4GB) and after a day I have page ins of 3GB and page outs of 3MB (or 0.003GB). I haven’t noticed any slow downs either but the proof will be a full day of design work, rather than just opening a load of programs.
Ruby, on the other hand, has been a pain in rear. I have at least become familiar with RVM (and I like the idea), JewleryBox (a GUI for RVM, which I like a lot) but I’ve yet to get one of my Ruby on Rails applications running. Things are falling down because Xcode 4.2 didn’t include C compilers, I spent the time installing 4.1 and I still can’t install Ruby. While I type this I’m downloading another set of compilers, uninstalling then reinstalling RVM and feeling every bit that all the people that rave about how Mac is great and doesn’t go wrong, simply don’t push their computers hard enough or far enough to experience the problems. That, or they accept the problems and don’t find ways to fix them. Pretty much the same as me and my car – having spent about 2 years without a light behind the rev counter simply because it didn’t really bother me a night knowing how many RPM’s the car was using, especially as it’s an automatic.
Oh, I gave up using the windows keyboard, had to buy a Mac keyboard. It’s wired because I need the numberpad in my job. Although the wireless small version looked nice. I also have yet to get the Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter working. It may be my TV, but there’s video and no audio. Another work in progress.
I’ll leave this post with a picture. This is my desk last month, with new Mac, existing monitor and old laptop. When seen together I realise why it was getting so hard to use my old laptop – the screen had dimmed so much. It will be interesting to see if this Macbook lasts as long (5 years).