So you’re a switcher?

22 05 2006

You’ve taken the plunge and switched to the Mac platform, so what now? I plan to write my own little list of tips for the most common things Windows users will find strange, different or even maybe annoying, but for now, I came across an article about the ten things all switchers should know, over at PlasticBugs.com.

There are some good points in there, for example, the author talks about the way the mouse tracking feels ‘different’ on the Mac, which is due to the way OS X handles the tracking speed and acceleration. Many long time Windows users (myself included) notice the mouse feels ‘different’. My own experience was that it felt like it was moving through a denser material than the Windows equivalent.

I solved this myself by just upping the tracking speed until the difference was les noticeable, but the article points out some other solutions.

It also mentions how when applications crash or freeze, very rarely does the system become effected by this, and you can force quit an application to get rid of it instantly – no waiting for the End Processes command to actually do as you ask! The only thing I would disagree with is the claim that applications crash just as frequently as Windows applications, as my own Mac experience has been crash-free, but it just goes to show you there are variations in people’s experience.

The article can be found here:

Link: http://plasticbugs.com/?p=312

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11 responses

22 05 2006
Oliver

But of course you know one person personally whose Mac crashes a lot πŸ˜›

22 05 2006
RyanC

Yes I would agree that I know someone who *claims* his Mac crashes all the time, but said iBook G4 seems perfectly well behaved whenever we’re there with him, and you have to remember his opinion of Macs. The actual owner of the laptop seems impressed by it at least πŸ™‚

23 05 2006
Atariboy

Laurens laptop doesn’t seem that different, although the dock is pretty annoying, popping in and out like a rabbit, and whats with the closing programs, but they dont really close?!

23 05 2006
RyanC

Yeah, the dock can be annoying if its set to autohide, just like the taskbar in Windows can be, I just set my dock to smaller icons so its less intrusive but I don’t have it set to autohide.

The thing about closing programs gets all new switchers I think. The way you have to remember is that in Windows, the program *is* the window. On OS X, it isn’t; the application is the menubar at the top.

Once I remembered that subtle difference its very easy, and I prefer having stuff remain open until I tell it to close, so its instantly available next time I need it. Just a right-click->Close from the dock will quit them completely when you’re done with them, or just ⌘+Q them as you move through.

24 05 2006
Oliver

Actually in Windows, the program isn’t forced to be the window, it just usually is by convention – programs can bind other things to the window close button…

24 05 2006
RyanC

Yes I experienced that when coding in Visual Basic, but the convention for Windows, as you said, is for a program to close when the window is closed (unless it has a system tray icon). The convention on the Mac doesn’t work like that, but as with Windows, there are exceptions, for example iPhoto quits when you close the window.

I still prefer the Mac convention, as I like it to be my choice what stays running, if I want to keep it running I can, and it saves time when I next need it. The Mac has very little difficulty running loads of applications simultaneously, so its not really a problem.

25 05 2006
Oliver

Well you have the choice in Windows, that’s what “minimise” is for πŸ˜›

25 05 2006
RyanC

But then you’re taking up space on your taskbar, this way its gone, apart from a small indication in the dock. Plus a full taskbar in Windows results in multiline taskbar scrolling which makes it difficult to find which window you’re looking for.

Plus, even when minimised, its still taking up the same memory.

25 05 2006
Oliver

Actually that last point is dependent on the program and seems to be generally not true. Firefox when minimised took up the same memory. IE7 dropped from 10MB to 2MB, EditPlus went from 6MB to 700KB and Opera went from 6MB down to 1.5MB.

25 05 2006
RyanC

Oh interesting point, I hadn’t experienced that sort of behaviour on my computer, but you have to concede the other points made.

26 05 2006
Oliver

Well that’s just dodgy taskbar design. Personally I think minimised programs shouldn’ be differentiated (and smaller on the taskbar).

The best part of course is the one program that doesn’t use less memory when minimised… πŸ™‚

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