Switching to OS X, Obstacle 1: Where the heck is that button?
When the new cool MacBooks came out, we who are not a part of the Apple cult got a nice benefit. The older style MacBooks, that does not have the glass screen, became quite cheap. A new aluminium-body glass-screen 2.4Ghz MacBook cost €1500. The white MacBooks, still with 2.4GHz Core2Duo costs €1000.
Yes, I know the new MacBook has DDR3 memory and faster graphics. I’m sure that’s very handy to have if you intend to dualboot to XP and play GTA IV on it. I don’t. As a Python/Zope developer, almost everything that counts is processor speed. And for €1000 you can get a 2.2GHz machine from Asus or HP. And now, for a limited time, a 2.4GHz machine from Apple. And as my trusty HP Pavilions fan is starting to make some (still discreet) noises, I decided this was the time.
Now of course, before I delete everything on the hard disk and install Ubuntu, I really should give OS X a proper shot. So that’s what I’m doing now. And I have to admit it, Apple is not doing this easy. I’ve encountered a long string of troublesome obstacles. The first one is simply lack of proper technical documentation for things you might like to know. Like how the keyboard works. There is newbie “Switching to Mac” documentation, but it’s aimed at typical Windows Office users, not for a Unix user or programmer. I guess Macs are still not very popular in the developer world, even though they are everywhere in the Python community.
I quickly noticed that in Finder, if I pressed [Enter], I would start editing the label. That, honestly, is a pretty daft keyboard assignment. The MacBook keyboard also do not have things like Home, End and Page Up/Down, which is really annoying. Or a delete key. I had to Google around a lot to figure out that Delete is Fn+Backspace (logical) and that you can open things in Finder with Cmd+O (I’ll get used to it). So as a help to other that evaluate Mac, here a the page that I finally found that lists most of the shortcuts. It doesn’t list the Fn+Something keys on a MacBook though, a reference for that would be nice too. But I’ve figured out these:
Fn+Left arrow: Home
Fn+Right arrow: End
Fn+Up arrow: Page Up
Fn+Down arrow: Page Down
Well, that was easy. But it ain’t over yet. In fact, I’m not even finished with the keyboard-related part of my troubles.