OSX the dream

15 October 2009

I’ve spent a little more than a year with OSX. Mostly, it’s good. But, isn’t there always one? I think I’m going to switch back to WinXP… yes I know 7 is coming. Mostly what I struggle with is getting to be keyboard-happy on OSX. 

I make my living mostly on Windows programming .NET and I often have to switch back and forth and my fingers are still in Windowsland. Even if I do my development on OSX, I still use, need to use, Windows. My motor memory is good, but not that good and so much is the same, my fingers can’t switch memory mode. I struggle with the control-key and using the apple-key. Even the same program, for example Firefox, changes the notion of what key to use for what changes. Yes, I can customize and key-map, but really in the days of creating virtual machines and peer programming, can one really make a custom OS, which is what key-mapping really becomes.

What is the worst part of OSX? For me, Finder. It’s clunky, old, things don’t work that seem obvious … ah the DEL key? Backspace goes back? Where am I pane? Pun intended …. Explorer in Windows works for me. I’ve tried some of the other file managers on OSX and I’m not in lust yet. Maybe I’m just not patient. I given it a year!! Not full time, I have to earn a living and Windows programming pays.

Another part I struggle with is that I like working in the console prompt, terminal on OSX. On Windows, I can start apps there, on OSX, I don’t know how….Yeah, likely I’m just ignorant, but you’ve the awesome bash there for me, but I’m useless it seems. Even I use a mouse on the Mac, sup with that?. It’s got that crazy Linux thing where I need to ./whatever to run something as well as there isn’t built in applications. I’m sure I can customize it, but…. I don’t want a custom OS, I wanna be like everyone else…. well really I don’t…whatever.

On Windows, I’ve been a big fan of Launchy. Spotlight didn’t do it for me, nor did QuickSilver I wasn’t smart enough. For a while Google Quicksearch didn’t either. I updated Quicksearch and it now works for me like Launchy did and better with all of its googliness, it now as replaced Spotlight’s keystroke, so I have a custom OS.

Given Mono, Moonlight and Silverlight running on the OSX, I thought I’d be able to switch. I’m sorry, I can’t. I’d miss Visual Studio, it’s that good. Yes, I can run Windows in Fusion and I have and Unity’s pretty cool, it’s good but not perfect. It’s the keys man! I’ve tried VirtualBox and it’s not solid for code development and I’ve had way to many crashes. TextMate is cool, especially with Gestalt and I’m sure Ruby if I did, but IDEs work better for me. I don’t remember my APIs, I’m not that kind of guy. I miss code completion, alt-space, context-based options, ReSharper, etc. Man that stuff is tough to beat or even keep up with. SharpDevelop and MonoDevelop don’t even come close.

Visual Studio is an OS itself, hmm maybe I’m on to something? Have you ever sat down at someone else’s machine to use their Visual Studio. It’s so customizable that you can’t use it, because it’s theirs. I mean, ‘don’t you use stack view window’, ‘you can’t put that window there’, ‘where is …’, ‘which key does…’, arggggghhhh!

Maybe the App is the OS what we want is virtualized application environments, virtual preferences, virtual clouds, ;>)  I remember when I first heard of LDAP as I added a LDAP interface to a product. It was like, why don’t all applications get their preferences from a LDAP server?



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