Update on the laptop situation

I found a cheap LCD inverter and keyboard for the Dell on eBay and just now finished replacing them. The backlight now works, as does the keyboard. I’m going to run some unattended diagnostics to see if anything else is damaged and then start transferring applications and data over to the Mac. After that, I’ll wipe the Dell and reinstall XP; it’ll either go in the living room, connected to the TV, or to Jen (or both).

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Confessions of a Switcher

This is part 1 of a theoretically infinite series.

As noted last week, upon the sad, premature soup-induced demise of my four-year-old Dell Inspiron 600m, I purchased a new 15″ MacBook Pro. I justified this to myself by noting that the MacBook Pro has been called the “best Windows notebook“, but, and here’s the first confession, after setting up Boot Camp and installing Windows XP on the first day… I haven’t touched Windows on the machine since. It’s been all OS X all the time. And I haven’t had to reboot once.

To be fair, there are still a couple of Windows applications for which I’m looking for alternatives: Picasa, Paint.NET, ActiveSync (to sync my Windows Mobile phone, which I will not be replacing with an iPhone). I know about iPhoto for the first and Missing Sync for the last; I plan to copy some of my very large photo library over and let iPhoto convince me, but I’m turned off by the nearly $40 price tag for Missing Sync. Meanwhile, I’ve set up Bluetooth file transfer between the Mac and the phone — something that never worked on the Dell — and have managed to do backups of a sort for the time being.

I really don’t know where to begin for a good Mac OS alternative to Paint.NET. OS X doesn’t appear to come with an image editor and I don’t need anything as complex as Photoshop or the GIMP. Suggestions welcome!

As a longtime, dedicated Opera fan and user I’m rather surprised at how quickly I’ve taken to Safari. I had the Windows version of Safari on the Dell as a backup and testing browser, so I was familiar with it, and I do have the Mac OS version of Opera on the Mac but it’s sitting, forlorn, unused in the Dock. I found a HOWTO on getting iChat to work with Yahoo (it already works with AIM and other Jabber services); I’ve set up Mail with my email accounts and RSS feeds; I’ve imported most of my music into iTunes; I’ve recorded three podcast segments in GarageBand so far.

To use an over-used cliche, everything — or at least almost everything — just works. Want to wake up the machine? Open the lid, it wakes up. It doesn’t click and buzz and hum and whir for a while before deciding whether this will be one of the approximately 25% of times when, like the Dell, it will refuse to wake up. It connects to WiFi almost instantly. Bluetooth, mentioned above, works the way it should; in fact, I’ve been able to pair a set of Bluetooth headphones I bought to use with the phone to the Mac, and that never worked on the Dell (or even my company laptop, a Lenovo ThinkPad).

Things work the way I instinctively think they ought to work.

The point here is that I’m really quite happy with the Mac and, contrary to my expectations, I’m having very little trouble in learning to be comfortable with OS X.

Edit to add: I think I have my first downline. I’ve been bringing the Mac to work (I always brought the Dell to work) and a couple of the other engineers have been admiring it. One in particular just spent ten minutes asking me very specific questions about “how to do stuff” on the Mac, Web browsing, email, the usual. He seemed interested.

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