Monday, October 12, 2009

Mac Me Baby! Day 5

Monday was the first day back at work with the MacBook Pro after a weekend of installing software. This is trial by fire for me since there isn't much time to fix anything that has gone wrong. I moved my Dell into another bag and left it in the car for the day. Far enough away that I wouldn't chicken out and grab it at the first sign of difficulty but close enough that I could get to it in an emergency. I ran into some minor missing software, things that OpenOffice didn't handle like Microsoft Project and Microsoft Visio files I needed to reference. I was lucky that some of them were in PDF format so I could at least reference them, if not edit them.

My other challenge of the day was incorporating the MBP into my desk arrangement. My Dell had a complete docking station setup which, apart from the occasional refusal to switch to the external monitor, was quick and efficient. I had to buy a mini-display port to DVI adapter for my monitor. I will probably also need a mini-display port to VGA for projecting. I need to buy another power adapter that I can leave at my desk so I can route the cord instead of draping it behind the keyboard tray. I broke down a grabbed a mini-usb hub for my headset, keyboard and mouse, one too many devices for the inexplicably limited number of USB ports on the MBP. I also routed my Ethernet cable over to my MBP to be a good office mate and leave the wireless for those who were actually without a direct connection.

Due to the lack of productivity software, I spent another evening installing software in Virtual Box. It was the first time I have actually had problems with VBox. I have been futzing with the settings to try to make it have a smaller memory footprint and slowly reducing the memory allocation as well. The VM screen is all black until you move your mouse over it, it wouldn't recognize a real DVD and it was hanging up a bit. It seemed to stem from the switch between resolutions due to the external display while using seamless mode. I will give the VM a reboot and see if that clears up the issue.

I installed wireshark which requires you to dump some files in /usr/bin. As a very competent Linux user I was comfortable moving the files but couldn't get Finder to show me any of the system paths. My trusty Google led me to an article on showing all files in Finder. I guess that is one of my Windows steps, keeping the OS from hiding anything from me. The good thing is that I can see the whole file-system now, the bad thing is that the dot files are now showing up all over the place. It's a good trade off and simple enough to turn back off should I need to. I feel better now that the OS isn't hiding things.

At one point, I needed to access a file from my home computer (Windows 7) so I fired up the Microsoft RDC Client and tried to connect to my home machine without success. I Googled an article from 2004 which states that the Mac RDP client doesn't support alternate port numbers and ignores the :port syntax at the end of the host name. I wasn't able to verify this but this will have to be worked out somehow.

I also needed to do some advanced computing to setup a network device. I needed to run a DHCP server on my Ethernet port while still accessing the rest of the world through airport. The research lead me to believe it's a fairly simple process but I have yet to implement it. This was something I did on my Windows machine regularly and was the first time I felt a twinge of regret at switching over. It's the same pang I get when using Skype on the Mac, it just doesn't feel right and seems to be implemented all wrong. I was also frustrated a few times trying to drive the machine with the keyboard. I never thought I would say it but I really miss Windows Explorer. I desperately wanted to hit Win-R and type out the full path to my software share but it seems the mouse must be used and Finder isn't quite as powerful a navigator of the share world.

I am sticking with it and overall happy with the experience. I am hoping to get used to this brave new world.

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