Finding My Inner Mac

Hello everybody out there! About two weeks ago, I bought my very first MacBook. It’s not much better than my old VAIO Z, hardware-wise. But man, can it work.
The OSX runs in about twenty seconds and the logon process takes about 5 seconds (compare it to a 95 second startup time on Windows 7).
After the initial confusion of finding my way around, everything was a piece of cake. After only three hours, I had said goodbye to my old VAIO Z. For nearly any application I had on my Windows, there is a – sometimes better – replacement for my Mac. More than that, I now have the luxury of enjoying a native Persian calendar, the lack of which I always felt on Windows

Everything looks perfect and elegant. At 2kg – about 500g heavier than Z – it’s just barely heavy enough to make me notice the weight.
What I have installed on the OS include:

  • calibre; to manage my eBooks and also to have something to work with my Nook. Also, the interface was familiar since I had used it on my Windows already. The real disappointment here, was that I couldn’t satisfactorily manage my eBooks’ collection with iTunes. I liked the interface very much, however I couldn’t get it to work with the Nook as well as I wanted to.
  • IntelliJ IDEA; currently my favorite IDE for developing anything, from C to enterprise Java applications.
  • MacJournal; the all powerful note-taking, document-organizing, blog client, etc. that I use right now. This post is written in MacJournal by the way. Up until this very moment, I think I like it.
  • Nambu; for tweeting madly day and night.
  • Firefox; my browser of choice for the moment, since I couldn’t find anything like Foxyproxy for Safari.
  • Skype; no comments here, I gather.
  • VLC; the awesome all purpose multimedia player. The only thing lacking a bit for me is the fuzziness of videos for my RMVB videos.
  • Vuze; the great, cross-platform Bittorrent client, written in Java.
  • Keka; the very cool compression utility capable of decompressing GZip, BZip, 7zip, RAR, etc., developed on top of 7zip.
  • JDiskReport; since I am a hard disk usage nerd. It provides me with excellent, detailed reports of exactly how I have used my hard disk.

Also, I have come to believe that Mac is all about integration. I am now enjoying a level of integration and cooperation of applications I never had experienced before. My iPhoto, Address Book, Mail, and Skype are inter-connected. I can sync my Nokia E52 mobile phone with my Mac as easily as I would take a look at it. And it’s just the beginning.
Well, I guess that’s all for now. Have a good time folks.

Windows 7 on my VAIO Z

Yesterday I upgraded my Windows Vista Business to Windows 7 Ultimate. And I have to say, it made a real difference.

First of all, the waking time has shortened by lots. When I wake my VAIO Z530N laptop from standby, everything is just there; no waking up message, no delay, nothing. And resuming Windows from hibernation is also a lot faster. With Vista, it took about 2 or 3 minutes to actually get the system running. With 7 it is less than a minute.

And top all of that with cool new features lake "shake", "snap", "pin to taskbar", "live taskbar", etc. Paint and WordPad have also been equipped with the new 2010 Ribbon.

All in all, I don’t regret having updated it. The only thing I have a problem with right now, is my built-in MotionEYE webcam, which is not recognized by Windows.

GNOME Shell: A Sneak Peak

Hi all. This is my last post – hopefully – with my Toshiba Satellite, which is a borrowed laptop. I’ll be getting back my own Vaio-Z laptop tomorrow after about 90 days, and already my fingers are itching to touch its smooth and easy keyboard.

Anyways, as I am going to give this laptop back tomorrow morning, I installed the new Ubuntu release, Karmic Koala on it. It runs very satisfyingly. Of course, I’ve not had the time to really test things in it, but almost everything works out of the box, and the boot time is a real boost. I was skimming through GNOME live, as is my habit, when I saw the article title GNOME Shell. Now, I searched a bit here and there, and found out that it is actually supposed to replace the original GNOME desktop by GNOME 3.0.

To test it under your Ubuntu, you have to install it:

Then, you have to run it as a replacement for the original GNOME desktop:

After that, you will see something like this:

GNOME Shell in action

As you can see, there is now only one panel available, and it’s placed on the top of the screen. There are two main hot spots on the panel:

  1. On the left side you can see the “Activities” button,
  2. On the right side you can see the user menu.

Hovering over (or clicking on) the “Activities” button/area will bring up the Overlay view, a full-screen view which will give you some interesting new ways of interacting with your PC. It looks something like this:

GNOME Shell's overview area

On the left side, you have a flat sidebar featuring a search box, an applications’ pane, a places area, and a recently opened files list. On the applications pane, you can use the “More” button to see something like the old Applications menu in the traditional GNOME desktop. On the right side, you can see the “Overview” area which gives you an overview of all your workspaces and all the applications running on them.

All in all, it has a rather neat design and shows promise of a more innovative desktop. However, it is still ways from what Jeremy has proposed. Also, I think the whole top panel is a waste, as it is. I have seen it being put to very good use by the netbook-launcher application which uses it as the common area for the maximized windows’ title bars. Also, with GNOME shell we cannot switch between open windows without the keyboard and without going to the Overlay perspective, which can be amended by placing the icon’s of these application in the top panel.

This shell also features a sidebar, which is very much a work in progress. In fact, I think of it more as a draft of something which might become available in a future not so near.

All said, I like it. It is creative, it is simple, and man, it is cool! And I’ll definitely be looking forward to working with it when GNOME 3.0 is released.