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Ahad Bokhari

OSX - Partial Observations

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I’ve been using the Mac near to a month. As I boot up my machine, I already feel a sense of satisfaction, one which over-shadows any experience on a Windows or Linux box. It must be the notion of knowing that my computing experience will be inundated with a compelling user experience, coupled with speed, ease of use and of course – apps. I have however come to notice some intricacies in the OS which I’m trying to get used to – somehow I try and blank my mind, but am partial to compare with the OS that I’ve used for decades now.

Looking back in this brief amount of time, one thing stands out and that is Windows and OS X have borrowed a lot from each other (of course, this isn’t something new – Samsung has stole from Apple, Apple in turn has borrowed the GUI concepts fro Xerox PARC)- I dare say that the transition has been anticlimactic, it’s been joyful and full of new experiences that have made me love the Mac. I’ve taken a heuristic approach thus far, and avoided too much of what the internet has to say about the transition.

There is no questioning that I am here to stay.

However as I make myself more comfortable with the OS, I feel this overwhelming need to note down some of my observations. As a public servant, actually I feel it’s my right.

Business: I see Windows more of a business-centric operating system. It’s ironic that Microsoft has been the worst problem for the Mac in business – The Microsoft Office experience is best left for users with Windows. Ultimately it’s the world the programmers create for you in any type of software and it’s apparent to see the difference in captivating audiences between the two operating systems.

Applications: I tend to use Mission control to switch between apps, admittedly i do somehow miss clicking on the task bar to flip between windows and programs – I’m constantly using the mouse gestures to get where I want. This is probably the reason that apps like LaunchBar, Alfred and QuickSilver do so well in the Mac community; I’ve learned to embrace these apps and they assist incredibly in my daily productivity and have replaced Finder in many ways

TrackPad: One of my most favorite trackpad gestures is the the three finger pinch to fire-up Launcher, however I’m not too excited with some of the gestures you get within the browser – especially the 2 finger swipe which happens by mistake quite a bit. Maybe it’s just me? I have a Magic mouse, yet now feel that using the trackpad is far superior in terms of easily traversing the OS. My problem is I never liked using the touch / track pads in laptops in either OS.

Menus: On one hand, I simply love the menus in Apple – visual indicators, icons and separators make them a pleasurable user experience. The Apple menu is a constant, since I use another display i simple adore the translucent menu on either side corresponding to the program you’re using. On the other, it annoys me that the icons for closing apps are so small and hard to hit and there placement on the top left side feels somewhat alien to me – I know it’s just a matter of getting used to.

Others: I don’t have much to say about the doc at the present moment, but to me it’s like the start menu, only a much prettier version. Stacked apps seem to be pretty versatile and in the future I’m sure I’ll be grouping related items together.

I’ve found bliss in using apps like Quick Silver and LaunchBar which has replaced much of the native UI in terms of traversing through the OS. Ss a matter of fact I’ll note that these are apps I found out about very, very quickly.

Touching on a few experiences and hopefully more when I have more bandwidth. I am however compelled to share with you some of the apps I’ve used thus far. Of course I use the terminal in many ways, it’s always open when I’m on my machine and of course work with several packages. I’ve been playing with productivity apps like LaunchBar, Quick Silver, Keyboard Maestro and Alfred. Let’s see what takes top shelf :-)

For development I use Sublime Text and Vim at times. Of course I’ve got Node installed and use that as my primary compiler for JavaScript (along with V8). I use Git Tower as a GUI client, Homebrew as a package manager, Dropbox for the go. I’ve been tinkering around with p5js lately and it’s great for visual work.

Elsewhere I use MarsEdit for blog posts, News NetWire for RSS and Tweet Deck for Twitter (yes Tweet Deck). I haven’t had the time to tinker around with too many social media apps, I just use what’s necessary to get the job done and ensure I have a good signal to noise ratio.

I’ve recently been thinking about a good image editing program. The defacto standard for me will always be PhotoShop, couple with Illustratore but I’ve been stalking Pixelmator and Acorn. For UI stuff I’ve also been looking at Sketch.

Last but never least for password management I just paid for 1Password last night. All that said, I will build a more terse list in the near future, I really don’t feel the need to bloat my MacBook Pro with too many apps. I revel in functionality and a minimal approach.

I’m definitely opinionated and don’t fall into the hive-minded folk who download apps at the drop of a hat. I don’t like the clutter, not just visually, but theoretically as well. I thoroughly research before I will ever mount or unzip anything on my machine :)

I’ve become an Apple snob of sorts …