Tag Archives: pc

Macifying Windows

Mac sous Windows Seven : Soirée présentation Windows Seven{sigh}. Despite promising myself never to go over too far to the dark side, there are some aspects of OSX I’m loving and missing very much on the Windows machines I use. Some things I definitely am not happy about (the lack of a proper blogging client, for one), but here’s a few things I’ve twisted Windows into doing (or tried to) to mimic the capabilities of my Macbook. There was a recent Lifehacker post that inspired this one…

  1. Switcher / Expose clone. Much more practical than ALT-TAB, simple, small third party app.
  2. Two finger scrolling. The simple app doesn’t work on 64bit Windows 7 but I’m trying to mess around with this Synaptics touchpad hack – apparently despite the fact that most new PC touchpads are capable of multitouch gestures they are frequently locked out of using them!

Things I’d like to bring over….

  1. App store. I have to go through a manual FIlehippo trawl to keep my PC software up to date.
  2. Pinch to zoom etc., (which, infuriatingly, doesn’t work with Microsoft Mac applications)
  3. Sparrow!!! One of the most popular search terms on this blog is “Sparrow for Windows” so I know I’m not the only one. C’mon you guys!
  4. The instant sleep / wake and long battery life of OSX, and near instant boot time on the SSD

Things I’m not a fan of:

  1. Network settings on OSX. Feels too fiddly, locked down.
  2. New shortcuts. I’m starting to muddle Windows and Mac shortcuts, forgetting which is which
  3. Lack of decent, affordable blogging clients
  4. Resizing windows from any side. We had to wait through 7 iterations of OSX for that?

If you could create the bastard love child of Windows and OSX, what would you put in it?

Defense of the Ancients and RTS nostalgia

I have done a lot less gaming over the last few years and on the whole I’m glad of it – I’m happy being busy with friends and family.

But there is a category of games that inspires nostalgia – real time strategy games, of the school of Dune 2, Command and Conquer, Warcraft and Red Alert. Maybe because Dune 2 was one of the first PC-games I really got into, maybe because they provide a cerebral challenge as well as an entertainment hit, maybe because most of those games have a cheesey semi-interactive sci-fi or fantasy narrative running through them… but whatever the reason, it was with interest that I saw that one of the games my friend Noel introduced me to years ago – a Warcraft 3 map mod called ‘Defense of the Ancients’ – has a spiritual successor called (from the creators of DoTA) called League of Legends.


Unlike traditional RTS games, DoTA (and LoL) aggregate the RTS elements with more traditional RPG elements (uplevelling your characters, spellcasting) and with tower defense gameplay… AND make it social, so you get to (if you want and can persuade them to play) take out your friends.

Whilst I can’t quite see myself performing this degree of gaming orchestration again, I note with some amusement that there is a LoL tower defence game on the iPhone… so that might do it for me.

A week with a MacBook Air

Ok, those of you who read my recent post on the matter (and Tom’s more detailed review) will know that, at long last, I succumbed to Mac envy. And when my parents were at a loss as to what to get me as a gift on my recent visit to Malaysia, and I spotted the Air cost 30% less than it does in the UK, I made the suggestion… and yes, I know that even as a grown man I continue to be spoiled by my parents…

So far, there’s a lot to love and a few things I’m still getting used to. I haven’t used a Mac in any substantive way since I had a late model Powerbook G3 gifted to me by a prospective employer back in 2000, so its taking a bit of getting used to…


  1. Multi-touch touchpad. Makes a laptop useful without an external mouse. Pinch and zoom, two finger scrolling, three finger, view desktop, back/forward, application switching… all amazingly natural and a big step towards where I think human/computer interaction is trending.
  2. Boot time (short), hibernation/resume time (instantaneous), performance (good), battery life (impressive)
  3. Design (fantastic), weight (negigible), screen (crisp)
  4. AppStore (needs more integration with other apps, but otherwise…) SPARROW for email is AMAZING, as I’ve also blogged before
  5. Application integration into OSX is less intrusive (thanks to growl and the more icon-driven menu bar) and therefore it feels less clunky than even the very good Windows 7
  6. Most of the apps I use regularly have been ported or have superior versions on the Mac including Skype, Evernote, Tweetdeck, iTunes (obv), Chrome, VLC and Teamviewer. And obv MS Office, although I intend to avoid that one…
  7. I like the launcher… much more intuitive than the Start Menu although a bit fiddly to configure with Stacks in the way that I’d like…
  8. Keyboard! The data card is coming out of the iPad and a USB data card is going to be stuck into the iPad to allow blogging and writing on commutes etc.

Dislike/getting used to…

  1. Learning the subtly different way of doing things (command/alt+shift+arrow for word select instead of CTRL-shift – why?)
  2. No CLI that I can find (how do I run a ping and do that random hackery I’m used to?) Terminal App in utilities folder! Thanks Jimjam!
  3. Finding new shortcuts – I love F2 for rename (enter to rename – too simple! Thanks Jimbo) and CTRL-K to add a hyperlink and trying to figure out how to do these things (amongst others) in OSX.
  4. Search doesn’t feel as well-integrated as it is in iPhone/iPad/Windows7. Need a left swish into Finder. Oh, there it is. Top right. D’oh.
  5. Touchpad gestures a bit temperamental
  6. I can’t find a decent blogging client – Qumana is OK but Marsedit is too expensive and Microsoft haven’t ported Live Writer to Mac.
  7. Flash seems less reliable than on Windows – presumably thanks to the ongoing spat between Apple and Adobe
  8. Software updating is fiddly outside the Mac store and System Update
  9. It shipped with two Apple stickers for me to proclaim my smugness to the world. They’re going in the bin…
  10. As GeowGeow observed, no sim card slot. Therefore, imperfect…

I’ll add to this list as more occurs. Any more tips on things I should do differently on a Mac, please let me know as I’m a long way from mastering this bad boy.

I’m not a complete convert – this is a mixed platform house and we continue to use PCs as well as Macs all over the place. It is telling how central the Internet is to our existence that Amanda used the Macbook for Facebook / eMail and didn’t really notice any significant difference to her normal Windows machines… the era of the OS is dead, the web is the new OS… long live GoogBook ad Facegle!