The Mac Migration

The journey of a rabid PC user into the land of OS X. This is not a blog about "why" you should switch. It is a guide for those who "have" switched.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

First Post

"I never thought I'd see the day" said my friend over the phone. The phone was a Microsoft PDA phone that synched to Outlook on my Dell Latitude. I am a computer professional. My entire life revolves around using computers, more specifically securing them in a networked environment, and at least half of my personal computers ran some sort of Windows software. When the time came to buy a new laptop I made the rounds on Dell, Toshiba, Sony, and IBM. In the end a Powerbook 15" landed on my doorstep. This blog is not about "why" you should switch to Mac. I don't care one way or the other if you want Solaris, Windows 2003, or Mac OS X. This blog is to help those that "have" made the choice. Migrating is not the easiest thing to do.

The first thing I found is that many of the applications which are not industry standards to not exist for Mac OS X. The big titles of course exist, Adobe, Macromedia (same thing now really), even Microsoft to a certain degree (think Office). Smaller titles generally have "mirror software" which to a degree are better then their counterparts. For the most part one will find a comfortable level of compatibility.

My first task was to get back on IM. As sad as it is to say I need to communicate via IM. It's the new IRC. While I do lurk on several IRC channels still I tend to communicate on a daily basis with people I know via AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Jabber (Google), and ICQ (I have a few friends who are hold outs). Dealing with so many protocols can be a nightmare. Even in Windows a person would literally have to run seven or eight different programs to deal with each protocol at a native level. To solve this problem I used Trillian on the Windows platform. There were occasional glitches of course as the protocol providers decided to change up their specifications. Generally these changes are not communicated to companies like Trillian ahead of time. The convience of all of these protocols under one application (Trillian even handles IRC) was enough to convince me to deal with these slight and intermittent inconviences. Upon switching to OS X I realized that Trillian didn't exist for me anymore. After googling for a few minutes I found not one but two mirror applications. I went with Fire which was supposed to have better support for certain things. Things which I can't even remember now but were important while I was clicking around on the review site I found. After 15 minutes I was up and running. Luckily IM services keep buddie lists online so I don't have to export anymore. And Fire even had encryption support! Encryption is one of the main reasons some of us still use ICQ.
There are many other aspects that need coverage on this blog of course. But I don't want to expend all my energy at once. This first post is done and I've covered the topic of IM applications. I'm sure iChat is really great but I will have to check it out on some rainy or snowy day. For now Fire does everything I need and I can spend more time figuring out the oddities of the Mac OS.


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