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I’ve had my iMac for a few weeks now and wanted to give a quick update on my transition.  I’ve not used Windows at all at home (besides transferring files from the PC to the Mac) since I’ve gotten my iMac.  I’m familiar with most things on the Mac OS, as I’ve had a MacBook for a couple years now.  There were a few things that were bugging me about the iMac that I never came across on the MacBook.

One issue I came across was how my iMac wouldn’t stay asleep.  I never messed with the default settings on my MacBook, but on my iMac I wanted the computer to stay awake longer than I would a desktop.  I changed the settings and all was well for a few days.  Then one day, the computer kept waking up. It appears that it was because of the SMC.  My air conditioning went out one day and when they were fixing it, they shut off power causing the iMac to shut down improperly.  Resetting the SMC fixed the issue.

The second thing that bugged me was the Mighty Mouse.  I gave it a fighting chance, using it for weeks before giving up on it.  The mouse feels cheap in your hands and felt like I was going to break it just by clicking.  Not to mention it didn’t always recognize the right click when I would press down on the right side.  I went back to my Logitech mouse.  It worked out of the box, but it wouldn’t let me configure the buttons, so I downloaded the Logitech Control Center for OSX.  What a piece of crap that was.  Luckily, I found a great solution: Steermouse.  Steermouse gave me all the configuration options I needed for my Logitech mouse.

I’ve also found some new software I didn’t know about or use on my MacBook.  Google’s Quick Search Box is a great alternative to QuickSilver (if you are like me and all you used QuickSilver for was an app launcher). Boxee on the Mac is awesome.  It is such a nice media center and works much better than the Windows port.  There is even an iPhone remote app to control the media center wirelessly.

Bottom line is, I’ve had my iMac for several weeks and have done everything I’ve ever done on my PC (and more) and have not had any show-stopping issues.  In fact, in the course of a few weeks on Windows I would have had several problems pop up in normal use.  OSX has proven to be a much better OS for me under heavy usage. I’ll never switch back to Windows.

Microsoft is releasing a beta version of Windows 7 for public download today, but this post isn’t about that. This post is about what Microsoft needs to do when Windows 7 is officially launched.

It is no secret that Vista was a failure. Businesses have held off on installing Vista, so much that the big PC manufacturers have gotten Microsoft to extend the life of XP several times. Consumers, many of whom only got Vista because it was preinstalled on their new PCs, have been unhappy with Vista’s performance. It has turned me off of Windows so much that my next desktop computer will be an iMac, and I already have a MacBook. Microsoft needs to do something to please the customers or many more will jump ship.

Since Microsoft has said that Windows 7 will fix all the complaints with Vista, Windows 7 should be an extremely cheap (less than $100), if not free, upgrade for Vista users. Really, when you see how terrible of an OS Vista is compared to XP, Microsoft should look at all Vista users as beta-testers for Windows 7, because essentially, Vista was no better than a beta product. So, when Microsoft releases the “best version of Windows ever” (which they also said about Vista), they need to hand it out as a free upgrade to all Vista users. If they don’t do something to save the public image of Windows, they are going to create many more Mac users.

I’ve been really frustrated with my Windows Vista box. When I first got the machine, last summer, I loved Vista. Now, with each day, I tend to loathe it more and more. This is due to many frustrations I have with it.

Things seem to freeze all the time. Whether it’s Internet Explorer (yes, I use it to check the compatibility of websites I work on), Windows Explorer, Windows Sidebar, or pretty much anything else. I don’t run a lot of programs at once and have 2gb of RAM (which Windows while idling uses about 44% of) and these things still freeze.

Things just don’t work. Windows Media Center is a piece of crap and can’t play DVDs without freezing or taking forever to load. I went to burn a cd this morning using Nero and clicked “Burn” forgetting to put in the cd. No problem, Nero notified me and I put in the blank disc. What’s that? Windows decided to drop the drive altogether? Nice. So then I had to reboot the machine so it would pick up drive. All to burn the cd.

Another factor weighs in on my continuing hatred for Vista. My MacBook. While I do find some faults with OSX, for the most part, it’s a good OS. It’s fast on my MacBook, there’s good software, and the look and feel is great. And I never run into any of the problems I run into on Windows. My next desktop computer is going to be a Mac. Too bad that won’t be for a while.

I could install Linux on it, which I do have Ubuntu installed via Wubi, but I don’t want to have to do a lot of work to get something to just work. I don’t want to go around the bend to get my ATI card to work to it’s full potential all while sacrificing other aspects of an environment I like (If I want to use the ATI drivers for desktop effects I can’t play games or have a screensaver because the screen flickers while doing those things). Too bad OSX won’t work on PC hardware (without mass amounts of hackery).

Ever since I got my MacBook I’ve fallen in love with the Quicksilver feature of typing control and space then typing the first few letters of the application I want to launch to launch it. This keeps the desktop and the dock clean and is quicker than going to your applications directory and running the app from there. I got so used to this that when I was on my Windows machine I missed having a feature like this. That’s when I found Launchy. This is a free Windows program that does just that. I type alt space then the first few letters of the program I want to launch.

I’ve been wanting to get rid of Windows Sidebar for a while but kept it because of a quick launcher I have on there. I didn’t want to overload the standard Windows quick launcher with programs and I didn’t want to clutter my desktop with shortcuts. Also, I think we all know how painfully slow the Windows Start menu can be at times, so that was out of the question too. So I kept Windows Sidebar just for the Quicklauncher Gadget I had. Now I can finally get rid of it. Here are some screenshots of Launchy in action on my machine. (Click the screenshots for larger versions).

launchy1

Here I am launching Photoshop. I type the first few letters and a drop down list pops up with suggestions. When I find the one I want I simply click it. Launchy is also fully skinnable so I can get one that matches my desktop.

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Here I am adding a directory to the Launchy options. Not only will it look for programs, but files as long as you add the directory in which you want Launchy to search. Here I’m adding my Music folder.

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Now I’m adding what extensions I want Launchy to index in that folder. Since I added my Music folder, I added .mp3. You may want to add other formats too, such as .m4p, .m4a, .acc, .ogg, etc.

launchy4

Finally, we have my search for “Tupac” now that I’ve added my Music directory.

Launchy works quite well and was the perfect solution to what I was looking for. It doesn’t hog system resources and is extremely fast at bringing up results when you start typing. If you’re looking for a quick launch solution, make sure you give Launchy a try.

Not long ago I bought a 500 GB usb external hard drive. I wanted to keep backups of all my documents, music, and pictures on it. I partitioned it so I could also back up my MacBook using Time Machine. I’ve been searching for a program to sync any new documents and music and whatnot on my Vista machine onto the external drive when I’d add it to my primary hard drive. I couldn’t find any decent free program that would do this and copying all the files manually just wasn’t efficient. Windows Vista has a backup solution built in but it wasn’t what I was looking for. In the Vista backup utility you can select types of files but not specific folders and directories. I wanted something that would allow me to select which files to backup and where to backup to. I posed the question in #habari and h0bbel gave me a suggestion, SyncToy. It’s a free download from Microsoft and does exactly what I want. As you can see in this screen shot, I was able to tell what directories to sync on my machine and which directories I want to sync them with.
synctoy

It has a great, easy to use interface that is quite intuitive. You add folder points on each drive then click sync. It worked perfectly when syncing up all my files. The only thing I wish it did have was a schedule so it would perform syncs daily, weekly, or monthly. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a feature that’s added in 2.0. Maybe sometime in the future that feature will be added.