I have always dreamt of having a MacBook one day. Last week was nothing short of a dream coming true (much thanks to you know who you are). I got my first brand-new, shiny spanking white MacBook. It’s got a 2.1-GHz core 2 duo processor. I bumped up the RAM from the standard 1-GB to a whooping 4-GB. The screen is smaller than my Dell, about 13.1 inches. The entire laptop, in fact, is much smaller than the Dell. But doubtless it is nothing short of being a beauty. It is running the latest iteration of Mac OS X, Leopard, 10.5.5.
I wanted to mention some of the softwares I have downloaded and/or installed separately. Some of them are what I believe those that any first-time Mac user would want to have on their Mac. Do note that I’ve never earnestly used a Mac before, which pretty much makes me a first-time user.
- Adium Adium is a multi-protocol IM software for Mac. Being multi-protocol, it supports a two dozen different protocols. I use it mostly for MSN, Yahoo, and GTalk. The interface resembles very much, if you have used it, Pidgin. It is stable, and works very reliably.
- Mac Messenger There is also a free port of MSN Messenger available on Mac called the Mac Messenger. It isn’t exactly like the Windows counterpart in terms of UI and features, but for those of you who want a similar experience, it is the best thing that comes the closest.
- X-Chat Aqua Yes. That is X-Chat on Mac. It is an awesome IRC client for Mac. I have used it on Windows and Linux before.
- Skype You know what Skype is. Best for voice and video chat on Mac with all your friends who don’t own a Mac–those who do, I would highly recommend the built-in Mac application iChat. Excellent stuff.
- Colloquy This is an advanced IRC client for Mac that supports both IRC and SILC (if you’ve ever used that before).
- OpenOffice.org for Mac I needn’t say anything. It is great.
- Microsoft Office for Mac There is also the famous Microsoft Office for Mac, but, you guessed it, it isn’t free of cost.
- FreeMind An excellent Java-based mind mapping tool. Great for brain-storming and generally anything that requires you to create mind maps.
- Firefox How can I not mention that? Safari, Apple’s premier browser, is great, but Firefox is greater.
If you are migrating from a Linux background, as I am, you will find the following two tools indispensable. They are the equivalents of tools you might be in love with on Linux, such as, ‘apt-get’, ‘yum’, etc.
- XCode and Mac Dev Tools XCode is Apple’s development environment on Mac. Not merely an IDE, it constitutes the entire development tool chain, including gcc, gdb, make, etc, along with the Cocoa and Carbon frameworks and tools for development in Objective-C. Even if you don’t require the IDE or the frameworks, you may still need the development tool chain, if you ever plan to build software from source (not least your favourite open source softwares).
- iPython If you hack often on the Python shell, it goes without saying that you MUST get iPython. You will never look back. It is an excellent wrapper over the bare Python shell, providing countless convenience features and lots of colourful eye-candy.
- pysqlite Mac comes with the SQLite DB and client pre-installed. For the Python SQLite binding, you have to compile and install pysqlite from scratch. There may also be binary packages available.
- Git If you want to move onto a feature-rich, robust and reliable distributed source code management system, do give Git a go.
- Subversion (SVN) SVN comes pre-installed with Mac. For a non-distributed SCM, I’d pick SVN any day.
Right, that’s all for now. I’ll be droning on about everything Mac quite often now.
On someone’s requests, I made a five minutes un-boxing video of my Mac. I have it available in private on youtube. If you’d like to take a peek at it, please email me your YouTube account ID at ayaz -at- ayaz.pk and I’ll send you the link.