From PC to Mac and back again

For the past month or so, I’ve been using a MacBook Pro that was assigned to me at work, since the systems I’ll be working on are all Mac-centric (and let’s be real, Ruby on Rails development is easier on Macs anyway — Ruby comes preinstalled! wow!). It took a little getting used to, but I was grateful to have the laptop especially because several keys on my Lenovo laptop had stopped working and I had sent it into the service center (which was a drag-out, complicated, monthlong debacle) to get it fixed.

I finally got my Lenovo back on Friday, with most of the stickers intact (sadly the ones near the keyboard had to go as they replaced most of the bottom part of the laptop), and I was very happy.

That is, until I started using it again.

Let’s just talk user actions, first. It was a little difficult to get into the flow of Windows 8 again, after being used to cmd-tab and cmd-` to navigate and pulling up terminal (which actually is a full featured command line interface!) or any other app with spotlight. Windows 8 might look more organized, but out of the chaos of windows that makes up a Mac screen, a workflow was born. And I love it.

Moving onto actual functionality — I had, in Don Norman’s terms, made affordances for the jumpiness of my trackpad, which even for PC laptops isn’t very good (my old HP laptop had a better one). Then look at the beautiful functionality of my loaner MacBook which is a few years old now, with its seamless multitouch gestures, and the contrast is stark. Not to mention the fact that on OSX a window doesn’t have to be active for you to scroll through it — this really saves a lot of time. (Someone tell me there’s a way to turn this on in Windows 8.)

I still love my little Lenovo, and it’s more comfortable to use since it has all my software and I can finally stop watching Netflix on my phone (since it felt too guilty to use it on the Mac). Plus, it is way lighter than the MacBook and definitely gives my shoulder a break. However, I can see where all the fawning over Apple products comes from. It may be taken to extremes, but the fact is that Apple continues to work on and improve a core line of products while competitors crank out new laptop after new laptop, none of which really hit full marks in all categories. I mean, Apple isn’t without its fault, and it takes some getting used to but the user experience I’ve been having has been very positive.

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Long Absence

So my blog has been functionally dead for some months now, and in the meantime a lot has happened: I graduated with my bachelor degree in computer science; I went home for the summer and had some great diving adventures; and I started my master’s degree in computer science in August.

I drafted a couple of blog posts over the summer, but due to the lack of internet access back home they never saw the light of day. One was a scuba day highlight reel, and the other was a review of a local internet cafe. Not sure if I’ll post either, but I may post some photos from the summer in the near future (once I can dredge them up).

Anyway, I am back, and I’m starting to use a lot of new programming tools and — dare I say — languages in the graduate assistantship I have started. I’d like to talk about that journey in particular, to help myself puzzle out and document everything I’m getting into. That post is forthcoming, but in the meantime, take this image as a hint:

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