iBook Life

march 15, 2004

I tried before to move my digital life over from my Windows XP box to the iBook. But it didn't work because I came to rely on a lot of stuff that was on my Windows XP box. Well, ever since my New Year's cleaning of the iBook, I have been using my iBook almost exclusively. The only thing that has to be done on my PC is the management of my Creative Nomad Zen XTRA (30GB) -- but even then, I find that I don't have to carry all my music around with me, so I am using my iPod (original 5GB) a lot more now. All my pictures have been moved over to my 60GB Firewire drive. So has all my music been moved over there. I stopped using my Tungsten T now and that helped a lot -- I had lots of problems with the TT and iSync, and I really did not like using Entourage nor Palm Desktop for MacOS X much. Now I keep my schedule on my Sony Ericsson T610 and that works out great for me. The Apple iApps work really well for me. For personal information management, iCal and AddressBook are wonderful. For email, the Apple Mail.app works great. The spam filtering works wonders with my mail. With a little training, the thing is pretty damn accurate. I also like how easy it was to setup Mail.app with the .Mac IMAP account -- I also have my own email also, but it is refreshing to see email setup being so easy. Mail.app has good hooks into AddressBook and I like how the pictures, names, and information is all linked together. iPhoto takes care of my photo management, though I may need Adobe Photoshop Elements if I want to go further with photo editting since iPhoto is very limited in what it can do with editting. The new iPhoto 4 is a lot faster than the old one. It does all of the same stuff, but there are things like Smartlists that help get to the right photo even quicker. I like the chronological folders that the new iPhoto presents. iTunes manages all my music and is a great music store to boot. Not much more than "iTunes rocks!" can be said about iTunes, a great music jukebox. Apple's Backup.app that comes with my .Mac subscription is much easier to use than Retrospect. It works fine and does exactly what I need without all the fuss. I can schedule backups to different places with easy -- I have backups going to .Mac and also to my external disk. Now my data is always safe no matter what -- that is a good feeling. Although I put away the Tungsten T, I still use the desktop version of SplashID 2 to keep track of my passwords. I don't use Safari since I does not do all that I want it to do -- even though it looks great and is quite speedy. I use Mozilla Foundation's Firefox for web browsing. Firefox is just as fast as Safari, but just works better for what I do. And it totally supports the ad blocking CSS file, so I know I won't see any banner ads at all. Firefox doesn't have MacOS X widgets, but that's OK. It's something that I can live with. Apple's iChat does great as my AIM client. I still have no iSight, but I really don't need one for iChatAV since I don't have anyone to video conference with. iChat, like Mail.app has good hooks into the AddressBook also. And Apple's awesome iSync does great keeping all my information synchronized. I sync all my information between .Mac, my iBook, and my T610. I do not sync with my iPod because that is not always plugged into my iBook. And for some reason iSync does not like to work behind a firewall, nor will it us a proxy. So I cannot sync my information between my iBook and my work G4. Oh well. I also use Microsoft's Office X (mainly Word and Excel) for my documents. Apple's Sticky Notes is great for all those digital notes that I take (why use a pen and paper when I can just type it down?) MacMedia's PhoneAgent is great for managing SMS and MMS on my T610 -- I also use the PhoneAgent interface for putting picture IDs to the callers in my T610's phonebook. Although AddressBook and iSync do this also, the pictures sent over from that combo is lower res and quality than when PhoneAgent handles it. The Salling Clicker turns my T610 into a nice remote for my iBook. Letting me control iTunes, the system, iDVD, iPhoto and even gives me access to the command prompt. This is one cool piece of software. Apple's Bluetooth File Transfer is great for moving files back and forth between the phone and the iBook. And lets not forget the Calculator.app! At work I found a nice G4 (only 450MHz with 384MB RAM) to use as my daily machine at work. I only have to use my VAIO notebook when I access webpages built internally by knucklehead IT guys would believe that webpages should only be built for the craptacular Internet Explorer for the similarly craptacular Windows platform (when will those knuckleheads learn that there are more than one OS out there in the world). I have much the same setup at work as I do at home. I like how I can publish my home calendar to .Mac and then have my iCal at work subscribe to it and then I can see all my calendars at once. Even better is that I publish my work calendars to my own Linux box and I can use Mozilla Calendar to view the calendar when I am off on a business trip. I have always been a Mac guy, since my high school days. I had a streak when I did not do Macs, but those were the dark days between MacOS 7 and MacOS X -- nothing was exciting at that moment and the MacOS seemed stagnant. Now with MacOS X, Apple has moved their OS far ahead of what is available on the market. But, they have also put together a nice package of software solutions with their OS to handle what most people need -- including myself. And what is not there is readily available now. So, here I am, a Mac guy again. Yes, I still have to use a PC from time to time, but those times are far and in between. Have you thought about switching? It just might make your life a bit better. Using a Mac is more than "working", it is actually pretty fun.