Testing A Mac

The Background

I have always seen people use MACs, but I have never personally owned, or used one at work. Most of the jobs I have ever had no one really had a MAC, it was always a Microsoft heavy environment. Swap out the virtualization environment between VMware or Xen. In the worst cases there would be a hyper-v server or two running.

Cut to my current job, and I would guess that maybe half the users or more may be on some sort of MAC device. Working in a non-profit research company, grants and money coming in allow the researchers to pick and choose what they want to use. Also being mildly heavy into the Linux server side of things, I guess they find it easier to work on a MAC and interact with those servers.

The Testing

I know that might seem like a dumb section name, but it’s true. I decided that to really work and fulfill my job duties, I need to start working on one and see what the fuss is all about. I asked one of the Service Desk guys if they had any spares, and my journey started.

From what I can tell, and the small amount of time I spent digging, this appears to me a 13” MacBook Pro. 16GB of RAM and a 2.7Ghz Core i5 processor. Not a bad machine to start with, seeming I don’t even know what I am going to be testing. My plan is to see if I can fulfill my normal job requirements, and if I can get used to both the interface and the shortcuts. I will be the first to admit that I have no idea how this thing works, nor do I really know what I am doing. Perfect example is I was holding down the ‘control’ key and hitting ‘C’ to copy something. Turns out you can’t do that on here, or I am missing a setting I need to change.

What I Like So Far

While I have always been hesitant to use a MAC since I have grown up on Windows, I thought it might be good to share some of the things I like.

  1. The device itself is very nice to use. Both the look and feel just seem very well thought out. While the laptop itself it a bit heavy, it is still easy enough to cart around with me.

  2. The interface, while hard to get used to at first, is very clean. The animations are pretty smooth, and the buttons make sense. Also transitioning from something to another something just feels and looks smooth. I have to stay it is very pleasant to look at.

  3. While other companies and devices have adopted the style, the keyboard on this thing is nice. The buttons have just the right amount of give to them, and the sound when you are really typing or writing code and get into the zone, is super satisfying.

What I Don’t Like

  1. This is an odd complaint, and maybe I am missing something. When I expand a window to use fullscreen, I lose site of everything. The navbar at the bottom (Whatever it is called) and the status bar at the top. I really like being able to quick look at things like the time or switch to another app with ease. I get this is some kind of distraction free mode, but I am fine without it.

  2. When you close a window, it doesn’t always close the application. This is a problem for a guy like me coming from windows where I use the ‘X’ to close a window and kill the app. I can see how later on I might start eating into the memory of this thing by leaving 50000 applications open and running.

Final First Impressions

I will continue to use this and see how things go. While I don’t think I will switch to it as my daily driver, I do think it might come in handy when I need it. Since I still work in a large windows environment, I know it would take a few special apps to get this machine to where I have my windows laptop with all the special tools I need.

Until all the apps I use cut over to an HTML5 version, I might be stuck working with what I have.