Monthly Archives: March 2006

Instant Messaging

So to contrast the things that suck post, something that definitely doesn’t suck.

Adium

My requirements for an instant messenger were fairly trivial and the main one was that it needed to connect to the MSN messenger network but unfortunately that ruled iChat out.

So my search ended with Adium and I have to say this just an amazing little piece of software. One of the biggest pains for me in the Windows world was the lack of a decent network agnostic IM client (Trillian being the only notable exception, but it was not to my taste).

Why is it so good? Let me count the ways!

Connectivity – The only thing it can’t connect to is IRC, every other service is covered including some less popualr ones like Novell GroupWise and Gadu-Gadu.

Interface – Just lovely, customisable and neat.

Logging – Sensible logging on by default, opening a chat window shows you just the last few lines of any previous chat with that contact. It also has a really nice integrated log viewer.

Idle and Away Support – Nothing revolutionary here but a very nice implementation of support for both going away and going idle.

XtrasPlug-in and scripting directory. Bliss.

Adium

To top it all off, it is FOSS… What more could you ask for! I wish there was an IM client this good for Windows!

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Things that suck #1 – Backspace / Delete

So after saying that I am not going to concentrate on things that suck, here I go with one. It's not an OS/X thing though, its a MacBook thing.

There is only one delete key on the keyboard and it is usefully labelled "delete", what it is from a PC perspective though is a backspace key and to get a delete like I would know it you have to press fn+delete.

That sucks.

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The #1 Essential Application – The Web Browser

Before the switch, I was pretty firmly committed to Firefox as a web browser and so of course it was the first app that I installed on my new MacBook.

All was not quite right though, although I didn’t realise it until this morning. You see I had thought that this mac was a bit slow, most of what I have done so far has included a web browser (what doesn’t, these days) and Firefox took forever to load. Anyway, long story short I realised that Mozilla haven’t released a universal binary for Firefox 1.5 yet and so I was running it in PowerPC emulation mode (Rosetta).

So in trying to find a build for Intel, I actually took a look at some alternatives and I have installed Camino which as far as I can tell is a Mac native UI around the Gecko rendering engine used in Firefox 1.5.

First impressions

I like it, visually it fits so much better with OS/X and all of the window controls are now looking like the rest of the system. It’s faster too, SO much faster (although much of this will be because of the universal binary) and I also love that it is integrated with the Keychain (I gotta blog about that too :). BUT, and it’s a big but :( It doesn’t seem to support extensions and I don’t know whether I can live with that.

Roll on an official Intel build of Firefox! Or, should I be trying something else in the mean time?

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Setting off on a journey

So, what the hell is this weblog?

I have been a windows user since Windows 3.0, before that mainly MS-DOS and before that, well before that was a mixture of Acorn, Sinclair and Commodore machines (but lets not go that far back).

I also work with Microsoft technologies at work, mainly the Microsoft web platform (Windows Server, SQL Server, IIS, ASP.NET, etc…) and in fact during the development of our latest application we were launch partners with Microsoft for Visual Studio 2005.

So, a Microsoft guy… Right?

I guess it has been because Microsoft has been a good choice for me and the company I work for (and still is IMO) however I have always been interested in other technologies and with the security blanket that is the fact that I can always flatten it and install Windows XP on it if I don't get along with Mac OS/X I bought myself an Intel MacBook Pro and I decided to blog about the experience of trying to switch my primary home machine to an Apple.

There is one more thing you should know… I don't really like Apple as a company. I think the iPod sucks, not because it is a bad music player because it isn't but instead because of how closed the technology is, proprietary formats and hiding the music files away from the user were my main problems with it but there were many other things as well, for example iTunes is a nasty bloater of a piece of software on Windows. However, don't think that this blog will be another place for someone to say that Apple or Mac sucks, I may be dumb but I am not so dumb that I would spend £thousands on a machine to say it sucks! This will be as unbiased a look at Mac OS/X as is possible given my history.

Anyway that should do for an introduction, enjoy.

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