I don't know how this stupid thing works (aka, me and my new Macbook)


(Daniel Hollands) #1

Yesterday morning I took delivery of my brand new 15" Retina Macbook Pro. I went for the top spec model (without any of the extras or upgrades) and used my Sister’s NUS discount to save myself £300 (which was very nice).

Anyway, to anyone that knows me, the fact I’ve succumb and purchased an Apple product will no-doubt be a bit of a surprise - and to be honest, I’m a little surprised myself! I really dislike Apple and their business practices, and I the dislike the Apple-fanboys who will throw all their money at Apple without giving a second though as to if it really is best for their needs…

…but before I alienate all of the people that I’m hoping will be able to help me ;), lets shut up about that, and instead focus on the fact that I’ve obviously had a change of heart, else I wouldn’t be typing this very post on my Macbook.

So what’s different? Well, there is a long after to this question, and a short answer. If you buy me a drink some time I may tell you the long one, but for now, lets stick with the short - specifically that I now recognise that all the latest tools to play with as a web developer are focused at Macs - it’s as simple as that. Macs are not better computers - but then again, neither are Windows PCs or Chromebooks - it all boils down to your requirements, and for me, Macs simply offer the tools that I need.

Anyway, getting to the point…

…would someone be able to show me how this stupid thing works?

I’m so used to using Windows (and to a lesser degree, Ubuntu) so OSX is a totally different experience, and I’m getting a little lost with it all. Given time I’ll no doubt pick it all up (and I plan on going down a total exposure route - i.e. not letting myself use my PC for anything), but if anyone has any pointers, advice, suggestions for good software, or anything else they want to share with me, I’d be more than happy to listen.

Thank you :blush:


Hello Microsoft, my old friend
(Tajinder Singh) #2

@LimeBlast :smiley: mate, I made the switch 2 years ago and I must say am so glad I did. Macs are optimized, so no more silly crashes or out of mems (well leaving the odd one). Was a Windows user since the beginning of time, but sparingly use it now. The transition takes a bit of time and practice nothing much with the cmd key and some of the flashy features. But if you have used mac themes/customizations on Linux, you’ll sail through.

As mentioned, you have used Ubuntu, most of the command line functionality is similar, packages, profile, bash and stuff.

I can help (in most cases but don’t ask me about shell scripts, not my biggest strengths)

PS: not an Apple fanboy myself, just own a 13’ MacBook and my work place provides for an all Apple work environment (15’ MacBook, big Mac screen and mouse/trackpad).


(Ben Paddock) #3

I would install Homebrew to manage OS packages. Coming from Linux, I found that a lot of BSD-style tools are either missing or not there by default. Homebrew makes managing this a bit easier.

Useful software I would recommend getting is Dash for offline documentation. You have to pay if you want to remove the annoying wait dialogs that popup on ocassion.

I don’t have anything else to add to that - most people I know on Macs spend their life in Vim and it’s no different to Linux in that regard. It is nice that everything does just work (most of the time anyway). The biggest thing for me is the battery life - I can survive over half a day coding away without battery.


(Daniel Hollands) #4

This is pretty much the same with me.

It’s mostly because of the CLI stuff that I got a Mac. Linux has the better CLI support, and Windows has the better software/applications support, but Mac sits nicely in the middle as a best of both worlds.


(Daniel Hollands) #5

This was one of the first things I installed, and I love that I did - makes things so much easier.

This is also another really cool piece of software - I think the biggest issue I’m going to have is remembering that I have it, rather than just going directly to, say, php.net.

I’m not quite ready for vim yet. I’m a huge fan of PHPStorm.


(Tajinder Singh) #6

yeah mate, I also tried Ubuntu and Linux Mint for sometime. Might just format my Windows laptop to just run Mint.
Have Windows 7 Home ed on the laptop (AMD 64 bit 1.7GHz, 2008 era) lying around, doing nothing, want to put it to use but haven’t figured it out yet.


What to do with my old laptop
(Paul Tibbetts) #7

It’s almost been three weeks now, changed your mind yet? :smile:

:+1: In the 5+ years I’ve been on a Mac I’ve only had one out of memory and to be fair, I hadn’t turned it off or closed any apps for a few weeks (I’m not a fan boy I swear)


A few apps I (now) can’t live without:

  • Alfred - [cmd] + [space] by default opens Spotlight (magnifying glass searcher thing in the top right) but I found myself using it mainly to open apps. I’ve installed Alfred now and replaced that key binding to open it instead.

  • F.lux - Not sure how to describe this other than it changes the colour of your screen to better match the sun so that late night coding doesn’t hurt your eyes and intrude on your sleep after you’ve gone to bed.

  • GPGTools - OK I could probably live without this (since I’m the only person in my address book wearing a tin-foil hat) but if you wanted to use the default Mail app to send encrypted mail I’ve downloaded this.

  • 1Password (NOT FREE) - If you’re in the market for a password manager 1P is great. Was using LastPass at work which is great for the price (free) but found a copy of 1P and think it’s designed better.

  • NetNewsWire (has unlimited free trial) - RSS reader. I haven’t used other RSS readers to be honest but I like this.

  • Pocket - Previously Read It Later, it’s got a good interface and integrates with Twitter.

  • DuckDuckGo Safari Extension - Changes the search engine for the address bar to DuckDuckGo for when I’m in Safari.


Just curious, which apps were you referencing?


(Daniel Hollands) #8

Hahha, nope!

But it’s all about context, and what you want to use the computer for.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really enjoying using OSX (now that I’ve fixed some of the things which annoy me about it) and the trackpad is amazing, but that’s all within the context of using it as a web developer…

… within the context of someone sat on the loo :toilet: trying to catch up with the worlds’ events, that’s where my trusty Nexus 5 comes into play…

… or when teaching thousands of school children about computers and how to program them, the Raspberry Pi is king, etc…

  • I’m using Alfred (not that I’m using it to any degree more than I could spotlight, but I’m sure that behavour will change over time).

  • I’ve seen lots of people mention Flux, but I’ve mostly skipped it - I’m guessing you’d say it’s worth using?

  • I’d probably lock myself out of my own computer if I used PGPTools.

  • I’m using Inoreader myself, I’m not sure that I like being tied to one specific computer for keeping track of my RSS.

  • I’m using pocket - I didn’t realise they had an app too, or do you mean the web-based system?

  • I’m a chrome guy :wink:

This was meant in relation to Linux, where things like Microsoft Office, PhotoShop, and a whole ton of other commercially supported applications just don’t exist. As I mentioned, it was the better commercial support for OSX (for better or for worse) which makes it the perfect middle ground between Windows and any flavour of Linux.


(Paul Tibbetts) #9

Oh yeah. I notice the difference if I’m on my laptop late at night (most nights) and get a message on my phone, it blinds me it’s that bright (even on the lowest setting).

Good suggestion, I’ve just signed myself up. I also didn’t like being locked in to only having my feeds on my laptop but I will miss the browser extension I had that subscribed me to the feed, instead of having to copy paste the address in (or am I missing something?).

They have an app and I think it’s good. It then adds a “save to pocket” to the context menu (is that it’s name, when you right click?)

The tin-foil-hat-wearing-side-of-me feels obliged to share this video and remind everyone that Firefox has recently had a makeover.

(I’m trying to wean myself away from Google and it’s spying business models)


(Daniel Hollands) #10

I’ll give it a try, cheers. It’s based solely on time of day, right? It’s not a light sensor thing?

If you’re on Chrome (which I know you’re not), you can use the Inoreader Companion for that, otherwise I think you’re on your own.

I’ll have to watch the video later (our wet-string-based internet connection isn’t very good in the office).

As for Firefox, I still love it for development, but I’m so indoctrinated into the chrome way of doing things, with all the tools they provide, I might find it hard to move away from them.


(Paul Tibbetts) #11

I found the browser extensions, I’d tried looking in the app itself and there was no mention but thanks for giving me something to search.

Yeah Flux is based on time of day so I don’t think it has much of a performance impact (just checked, 0.1% CPU, 5.6MB memory and 0.1% energy impact so very little). Once installed it becomes an icon in the top bar that allows you to disable it, disable it for the app you’re in (I do this for photo editing apps) or disable for an hour.


(Andy Henson) #12

FWIW I’ll also give a :thumbsup: for F.lux. I use it when I’m working late at night, it’s quite amazing the difference it makes. Well worth it for a free app :smile:


(Rob Williams) #13

I pair flux with screenshade, it allows me to reduce the brightness further than os x will allow. (also free :slight_smile: )


(Daniel Hollands) #14

I installed F.lux yesterday - makes the screen very red, doesn’t it? I’m not sure I like it, but I’ll give it a week or so. As for screenshade - tbh I’ve not touched my brightness too much, and if I do need to, I’ll just use the function keys (normally for the purpose of turning it as bright as it can go ;))


(Ben Paddock) #15

This is a great find, thanks! I’m trying it out now as the sun sets. I can see this making a positive difference.


(Andy Wootton) #16

I got me a Mac now, a 2010 Mini Mac running OS X Snow Leopard 10.6. It needed bringing up to date, via 10.11 El Capitan, to macOS Sierra 10.12 which was free.

My experience so far is that they REALLY want me to use a lot of Apple stuff and don’t like taking “no” for an answer, or even “not yet!”. Mac Mini doesn’t have camera or mic and the speaker is awful so no chance to play with Facetime yet but my Microsoft HD camera works. My last Apple adventure was when my son went to New York and we video iChatted over a Google Talk transport. It would only video chat to other Macs but could text chat to Google Talk on my Linux boxes. That obviously wasn’t proprietary enough for Google OR Apple.


(Tom English) #17

I used to really like my MacBook, until I spilt a glass of wine over it.

Tried sourcing a new motherboard for it, and no one could get me one.

BUT… I recently had a go at fixing it - and it worked. So updated to the latest macOS, and all is running well again. I prefer to use it over my work laptop (win 7).

I get what you mean about using the Apple software. Mine keeps telling me I need to try the latest version of Safari.


(Andy Wootton) #18

My kids are both Mac users. If Mac’s break, out of warranty I think you are supposed to buy a new one. An iMac DVD drive broke. It was a Panasonic and the same device for a PC was half the price. The only difference seemed to be some firmware to confirm that you’d paid the Apple tax. I don’t understand why it is legal.


(Marc Cooper) #19

Mine survived the wine experiment. Two days on its side dripping onto a towel and then a nervous prod at the power button. The function keys were a bit sticky for a few months.

Not sure why you are getting the Safari nudges. I use Firefox mostly, and it doesn’t complain. Perhaps just an update waiting to go?

I have loads of non-Apple stuff, and don’t experience pestering to use Apple stuff. I’d be interested to hear what these are exactly. I’m pretty brutal with notifications, though, so that may be it.

“paid the Apple tax” => “paid the Iron price” - Too much GoT!


(Andy Wootton) #20

Sorry I didn’t reply to this @auxbus. I think mostly I was opening up apps like ‘Messages’ and they were trying to get me to sign up for an Apple ID. Whatever it was, I seem to have learned not to do it. I hadn’t seen one for a while until I just forced it to happen.