From 5/30/10

On December 29th, I became a Mac Convert.  On that date I went to the Apple Store in Portland, Maine and purchased my MacBook Pro.  It was a very good decision.  I do not regret leaving the Windows based world…after I found where Apple has hidden the Commands I use most (at least most of them), it has been a pretty seamless transition.
When I go back to use a Windows computer now, it just isn’t the same, I have to think about what I am doing, instead of just doing it.  I really think that is the difference with my Mac, I just do it (or actually the Mac just does it), not too much fussing around, trying to figure out which program to use or how to find it.  
The software selection for the Mac is a little different and expect to pay for the software versus getting lots of free stuff.  Which took some getting used to, but now that I have most of what I want, it really doesn’t bother me as much anymore.  So what is on my laptop for software?
Firefox 3.6x is my primary Web browser, with the add-on and a renewed stability, I find it meets my needs with everything I do except for Infinite Campus’s gradebook which I have to use Safari or Opera to get it to work correctly. The other browsers all work well, but Firefox does a better job of browsing the web the way that I want to right now.
Evernote I have tried this off and on since it came out, but since I started using theiPhone this note and so much more application has really shown why it is head and shoulders above the rest.  It integrates easily between mobile devices, Firefox, multiple computers, etc.  It just works for me.
Apple Mail, Address Book and iCal while having separate icons these programs are actually quite integrated and I use them everyday. I haven’t had any problems with any of them and they just seem to always work, which I cannot say for other programs like this.  They are easy to setup, but I wish there was an easier (cheaper) way to synch to the cloud Mobile me is to rich for my purse right now and synching with Google can be “interesting” sometimes.
TweetDeck does everything that I want from a Twitter client, enough said.
Keynote:  I just like the way it works on the Mac and how easy it is to add media to it.  I am not a big Slide show proponent, but they do serve a purpose.  I still have a lot to learn about all the different things that I can do with Keynote, but it will come.  Many times, I have to use M/S Powerpoint because of the formatting issues with presentations that I download and want to show or view, but that is becoming less of an issue.
Word:  Due to the requirements of some of my State Special Education forms (check boxes and some other advanced functions) that only render correctly in Word, I have to use Word for that major part of my SPED work.  For classwork, I have found that Google Docs does 95% of what I want/need to do in class.  I really like the direction that Pages is going and will probably move to it once it renders the State SPED Forms correctly.
iPhoto:  Easy to use and it integrates quickly/easily with other Apple programs in iLife/iWork.  Sometimes it is a pain to find where the photos are if I just want to add one to a blog program or insert into a document.  I found it easier to just drop and drag a picture to the desktop and work with them there, then delete the desktop copy.  Not ideal, but it works. 
Games – Diablo:  This is one area that was a little disappointing for me – finding RPG games for the Mac.  Many stores don’t stock for the Mac and I don’t really like buying them online, but guess that I might have to in the future.  I play the Diablo series right now when I feel the need to “kill some Orcs”, but it is strictly a hack n slash game and gets a bit boring after a little while.  I guess that I have to find NeverWinter Nights for the Mac and order it someday. In reality, I don’t have all that much time to play my games during the school year, unless it is vacation, so it really isn’t all that big a deal.
Photobooth:  Great easy to use photo program for creating quick photos and videos, that can be quickly and easily saved.  The students love it too much sometimes.
Skype:  Great and easy way to video or teleconference for free over the internet. 
Preview:  Is basically a PDF reader and more.  It has a lot more functions than what I use it for.  I have used it to drive my old scanner when I didn’t have the proper driver installed on the PC and it worked like a charm.
iTunes:  Not too crazy about the U/I, but have to use it to manage my iPhone and when I had my iPod.  It works and as I get more and more used to it, I am figuring it out.
Blogwriter:  This is about the only area that I really miss Windows…I love Windows Live Writer and believe it is the best blogwriter out there, it gives a true template of what your blog will look like and integrates with Zemanta.  Too bad it will never be ported over for use on the Mac.  So I use Blogo a little bit and would use it more probably, if it was integrated with Zemanta, but I am not crazy about the lack of being able to see the photo or resize it by grabbing an edge in the draft blog itself and have to use work-arounds to get what I want. 
So most of the time now that Google Docs no longer posts to a blog, I use Zoho Writer to prepare a draft blog post and then go to Blogger’s editor to integrate the post to Zemanta.  It is a bit more work, but does most of what I want it to.  Even this system lacks the features of Live Writer.  If I do ever go to a system where I use Windows 7, (Parallels or Bootcamp) it will be because of Windows Live Writer more than any other reason.
You can see that I have changed a few of the icons to personalize the dock and make my Mac more mine.  I like the dock and it is now just part of my system, instead of cluttering my desktop with application icons or having to search for them.
These are the software programs that I am using now to meet my needs.  You will notice that I don’t have a traditional TODO software, I haven’t found one that really meets my needs and does what I want it to do.  OmniFocus is extremely powerful, but I seem to always forget to keep it up to date.  So I need something that is rather “idiot” proof.  Right now I use a TODO notebook in Evernote and it seems to be working as well as any of the other systems I have used.
I guess the biggest difference between a Mac and a Windows based computer is that the Mac is more for someone who just wants to get in and use their computer. As you can see by the changing of the icons, I do go in and tinker a little bit, but that is because I want to, not because I have to. Many of use are end users and just want the computer to turn on, get us to where we want to be and let us start working.  
It seemed with my Windows PC’s that I was always having to do this or having to do that to get it to run the way that I wanted it to or try to figure out which program to use to do what I wanted (sometimes more choice does not mean that they are better choices).  
Would I go back to a Windows based computer, not if I didn’t have to at this time.  I love that I can simply turn on my Mac, login and start working on what I want to do.    I love my Mac, because it just works.
Have you made a difference today?  How?

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