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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Help Me With My New MacBook Pro

Comments (36)

In the past month, I’ve had two situations where I came within three seconds of grabbing my Lenovo x60 (running Vista) and smashing it on the ground, stomping up and down on it, and then lighting it on fire.  The only thing that kept me from doing this was that I didn’t have a video camera handy and didn’t want to waste a Youtube content creation moment (e.g. "VC accidentally burns down office building after being driven crazy by laptop – full story at 6 o’clock.")

Last week, after my Lenovo x60 rebooted three times (and ate 30 minutes of my life) in the middle of my day, I decided that it was time to try something different.  So – I’ve ordered a MacBook Pro which arrived on Friday.

2.4GHz 7200rpm Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4GB RAM, 160GB Hard Drive,  SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW), 10/100/1000 Ethernet, WiFi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, 15" Widescreen

I’m looking for software help.  What should I get?  I’m loading it up will all the obvious stuff (Office, VMWare, Parallels, EVDO) but looking for friendly hints and tips, especially for a guy who has spent the last 10 years living in Windows.

Please comment freely.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/micah105 micah105

    Alex King suggested Launchbar over Quicksilver and I have never looked back. VMWare is much faster than Parallels due its ability to handle duo-core, istats is a great menubar app to track everything that is going on with your computer, and to make your MBP looks snazzy – check out Gelaskins ” target=”_blank”>http://www.gelaskins.com.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/micah105 micah105

    Alex King suggested Launchbar over Quicksilver and I have never looked back. VMWare is much faster than Parallels due its ability to handle duo-core, istats is a great menubar app to track everything that is going on with your computer, and to make your MBP looks snazzy – check out Gelaskins http://www.gelaskins.com.

  • http://jbyers.com James Byers

    Try Quicksilver for application launching (and more). Takes a little getting used to, but it will change how you use your Mac: http://blacktree.com/

    Adium for IM: http://adiumx.com/

  • Steve Bergstein

    I'm curious – why are you running VMWare? I generally think of this as server software.

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      VMware Fusion – their virtualization client. It lets me run XP on the Mac (like Parallels, but presumably better.)

  • http://www.romneya.com Philippe Creytens

    I did exactly the same about 18 months ago, I switched from Windows to Mac… and never regret the day.
    Anyway, here's my short list: NeoOffice (instead of Office) have been using it since my switch and never had a problem with opening docs that come from Win users or vice-versa. If you are working in heavy Windows environment, just make sure that you change the default file format to .DOC. It kind of annoys people if you send OpenOffice formatted documents ;-).
    Keynote (comes installed as trial software), great effects and intuitive to use for presentations. Slide transitions with the 'cube' effect always lead to “Can I do this in Powerpoint? Nope”.
    Cyberduck (free) or Transmit (license) for FTP.
    MarcoPolo (free): great tool to change settings depending on location (it can recognize SSIDs and change printer settings, drives etc based on wifi network detection)
    VMWare: for those cases where you need to use Windows (most of the times this means where you are being forced to use Internet Explorer, because banks etc. write apps with ActiveX components)
    SpanningSync: great tool to synchronize Google Calendar with iCal.
    AppFresh: for a centralized update of different applications

    I am pretty sure that after the initial learning curve, you will become just as much a Mac enthusiast as many of us.

  • http://www.aaronsdayoff.com Aaron

    Transmission (bittorrent client), Handbrake (DVD encoding), Adium (IM) and CyberDuck (ftp). Oh, and Delicious Library is the most gorgeous application ever written.

  • Taylor

    I'm in agreement with James. Quicksilver and Adium will be the two most important programs that you use. Especially Quicksilver, after learning it and using it, you will find that working on a PC is laborious.

  • gards

    Just got a macbook pro too – a few useful apps:

    - iWork '08 (for keynote alone and fast launching of Office docs)
    - Think from http://www.freeverse – to avoid distractions
    - Adium for IM
    - Twitterific
    - Airport radar widget from http://www.macwireless.com/
    - Mindmanager for Mac 7
    - Fusion of Parallels with XP (not Vista)
    - Thunderbird for email (Mail has great search, but is unreliable IMO)
    - Pocketmac to sync your blackberry (if you don't have an iPhone)
    - Anti-Virus (if you feel you need it) – Sophos Small Business Edition is reliable and lightweight

    You also may want to see this post on Chris Pirillo's top 100 mac apps: http://chris.pirillo.com/2007/11/06/top-100-mac-a

  • http://www.tmarkiewicz.com Tom Markiewicz

    NetNewsWire (nicely syncs with NewsGator)
    OmniFocus (GTD app)
    MarsEdit (blogging)
    Transmit (IMO much better than Cyberduck and well worth the license)

  • http://www.adaptiveblue.com Alex Iskold

    I just have Skype and that's it!

  • http://www.artemfrolov.com/ Artem

    Oh I hate these thinkpads too. Battery life is ridiculous and several time my laptop went into 5 second freeze / 5 second work mode.

    Once you have chance to play a little bit with a Mac, please write about your experience. I am getting Mac too before the end of the year hopefully.

    As an offtopic: I visited Boulder for a couple of days on a business trip. It is wonderful town and Pearl street shops are amazing!

  • http://www.smspal.com Joe Moreno

    iWork '08 is the key app suite that you may want. I've used Keynote (PowerPoint equivalent)
    for all sorts of minor editing (i.e. business cards, etc). It's very light weight yet effective.
    Looking at my dock (task bar) I don't have anything of significance other than Parallels.
    But, I might be a little biased since, until recently, I worked for Apple for the past
    eight years.
    Oh yea, don't forget Firefox, but that's free.

  • druce

    Agree with Thunderbird over Mail.app. One downside is Spotlight does not index Thunderbird emails. So then you want Google Desktop search. (Spotlight is better integrated into OS than Google Desktop, but the indexer sometimes stupidly bogs down the machine, and lacks plugins for non-Apple apps)

    Parallels is magic, but performance somewhat disappointing, it bogs down the machine for a minute when starting/resuming. Wonder if VMware Fusion is better.

    Chicken of the VNC might help integrate your remaining PCs.

    Cool utilities – Disk Inventory X, Mac Pilot, OnyX, Fink Commander, Google Earth, KisMac Wifi locator,

  • Martin Edic

    Omnigraffle- there might be a trial version in there already. incredibly useful for designing/organizing ideas

  • Jim Pollock

    Hey Brad,

    Glad to see you moving to the bright side. After years of using Outlook on the PC and the Mac/Microsoft equivelent of Entourage… A year ago I switched to using Apple's native suite: Mail, Address Book, iCal. The FIRST thing you notice is the instant search capability for email and addresses. Anytime I meet someone, I put it in address book with tidbits surrounding the meeting, info about them, who introduced us. I can type in two or three keywords and find the guy in 1-3 seconds. Entourage bogged down with 2000 names to the point of taking 30 seconds or a minute for the same search.

    The other thing i totally enjoy about my MacBook Pro is the instant-on from sleep. I NEVER shut my MacBook off. Just put it to sleep. When you open it up, you are back live in 5 seconds.

    One program I find invaluable is YoJimbo: a freeform database for random notes. I keep all my serial numbers, notes of purchases, snippets of information, random movies or books people recommend I see, etc etc. Also uses Apple's core database with blazing fast search. You can find any note in 1-3 seconds.

    enjoy.

    Jim

  • Dave G.

    Hey Brad,

    Congrats on the new MBP. I know you won't regret the move. Especially with some of the new features in Leopard. Here are my recommendations:

    1. Mail – I'm assuming you need exchange calendar integration. If not, just use Mail.app… it's a great mail application with great search capabilities. Sound like Thunderbird might be a good option for this as well but haven't used it. If you do need exchange integration then there are a number of choices:
    1a. Use entourage if i) you are using imap/exchange (not pop3) and ii) you don't need advanced searching… if you need to search on anything other than the from, to, or subject then this isn't an option for you. On the other hand, Mac Office 2008 should be out eventually and will hopefully improve on this. Otherwise, I've found entourage to be stable and has good exchange calendaring integration. Many people might disagree with this last statement :)
    1b. Use Mail.app with groupcal for exchange cal intgrtn if you use pop3. If Thunderbird has exchange calendaring integration then then that may be the better option. I'm going to check that out myself. Mail.app's exchange/imap support performs really poorly which is why I would only use it for pop3. I'm planning on moving to this configuration away from entourage if the next version of entourage isn't alot better. I know a couple of people who are happy with this config.

    2. As mentioned in above posts Adium, Quicksilver, and Fusion are great. I would go with Fusion for VM since I think they'll surpass parallels with functionality quickly. Right now they're about equal although Fusion performs a bit better and has multiple nic and PAE support (both of which you probably won't need).

    3. DiskWarrior – deleted file recovery and damage disk recovery. Works like a charm. My external firewire disk had some issues and the built in disk utility couldn't fix it… diskwarrior did.

    4. Adobe Lightroom – if you want more digital photography functionality than iPhoto.

    5. Some productivity tips…
    3a. Hot Corners configured with expose actions – one of my favorites. I have a lot of windows open at any time and flip between/get to my desktop/back to an app with a flick of the wrist. It's the main reason I'm more productive on OSX than windows. Warning though… anyone watching over your shoulder might get dizzy.
    3b. Zoom – in the universal access sys pref enable zoom. tired of small tube videos? this lets you zoom in on the screen.
    3c. Get a bluetooth mighty mouse and keyboard. Very slick mouse.Saves your usb ports for other things. I use the middle button for the dashboard…
    3d. Dashboard – great way to get to a quick calendar, calculator, weather, or currency exchange applet.
    3e. Use the “Location” feature. Very useful if you're moving around offices w/different proxy settings and/or vpn network settings.

    I'd be happy to help you out next time I'm in town too!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/micah105 micah105

    Alex King suggested Launchbar over Quicksilver and I have never looked back. VMWare is much faster than Parallels due its ability to handle duo-core, istats is a great menubar app to track everything that is going on with your computer, and to make your MBP looks snazzy – check out Gelaskins http://www.gelaskins.com.

  • http://learntoduck.com micah

    Alex King suggested Launchbar over Quicksilver and I have never looked back. VMWare is much faster than Parallels due its ability to handle duo-core, istats is a great menubar app to track everything that is going on with your computer, and to make your MBP looks snazzy – check out Gelaskins http://www.gelaskins.com.

  • http://learntoduck.com micah

    Alex King suggested Launchbar over QuickSilver to me, and I have never looked back. SuperDuper is great for backups (even if you use time machine). VMWare Fusion is faster than Parallels (but you said you already got Parallels). istats is a great menu bar app for tracking just about everything about your MBPs health. And if you want it to look sexy – GelaSkins is a great site – http://www.gelaskins.com for MBP skins.

  • rab

    You probably won't regret the move. I'd add my praise for Quicksilver — much better for launching apps with your keys rather that the mouse. iWork'08 is great, but you'll probably want Office if you deal with lots of Word documents as there are things Pages (the word processor in iWork) just doesn't handle and by default it opens .doc files as a “copy” so you can't just make a change and save it.

    Adium is good for an IM client particularly since it has built-in support for “Off The Record” an encrypted connection. I use Adium for GoogleTalk/Jabber and iChat for AIM (mainly to video chat with my daughter at BC).

    Since you'll have Leopard, you might not need a separate VNC client, but I've heard that VMware Fusion is much better than Parallels.

    The wake/sleep function is great — like someone already said, you almost never have to shut the thing down. In a bit over 18 months, I've probably rebooted only a dozen times or so — you'll never get that on Windows.

    • Rob Biedenharn

      OK, I'm replying to myself only to associate my real name since OpenID grabbed my nickname instead.

  • Geoffrey

    Personally, I prefer using the Camino broswer rather than Firefox (big CPU hog) or Safari 3 (fast but doesn't do everything I want it to.)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    via email: http://myskitch.com/invites/KAAALPAAP - certainly not a revolutionary app, but i've found it to be very useful for grabbing things, putting notes on them, and posting them….

  • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

    via email: http://myskitch.com/invites/KAAALPAAP - certainly not a revolutionary app, but i've found it to be very useful for grabbing things, putting notes on them, and posting them….

  • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld
  • http://www.coloradostartups.com David G. Cohen

    NetNewsWire (of course), iWork 08, Adium, and OmniFocus or GhostAction (if your'e a GTD fan). Then use built in stuff (like mail via IMAP, awesome). don't fight it and try to use Microsoft stuff. Just don't.

  • Bruce

    Okay, here goes:

    I use:
    * Quicksilver – http://quicksilver.blacktree.com/ - This is so much an integral part of my workflow, I get annoyed when I use someone else's computer that doesn't have it installed.
    * Flip4Mac – http://www.flip4mac.com/ - play wmv files in quicktime
    * Growl – http://growl.info/ - system notifications
    * Synergy – http://wincent.com/a/products/synergy-classic/ - iTunes control in your menu bar
    * Adium – http://www.adiumx.com/ - chat client, video support coming soon
    * Adobe CS3
    * BBEdit – http://www.barebones.com/products/bbedit/ - because I'm old school and like just using a text editor for anything that I write (including this list)
    * Ecto – http://infinite-sushi.com/software/ecto/ - blog posting software
    * Eudora – again, I'm old school. This is the way I roll… and I have a 15 year mail archive. (yes, i know it's been open-sourced and slowly being ported to the present)
    * iWork 08 – While I have Office, all of the iWork apps are a nicer experience. Office is supposed to be revised in early 2008.
    * Linotype FontExplorer – http://www.linotype.com/fontexplorerX - traditionally better than OS X's built in font mgmt tools, although I don't know if that's still true in Leopard
    * NetNewsWire – http://www.newsgator.com/Individuals/NetNewsWire/…- you should have a built in bias for this
    * Parallels – http://www.parallels.com/en/products/desktop/ - (although I think I'd go for Fusion at this point)
    * Saft – http://haoli.dnsalias.com/Saft/index.html - nice addition to safari's abilities
    * SlimBatteryMonitor – http://www.orange-carb.org/SBM/ - takes up less room in the menu bar
    * SuperDuper! – http://www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper/SuperDuper…- critical disk cloning utility. Use it conjunction with these external drive enclosures – http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other%20World%20Co…(which draw power from the bus and don't need a separate power supply)
    * The Unarchiver – http://wakaba.c3.cx/s/apps/unarchiver.html - more capable unarchiving tool than what's built into os x
    * Transmission – http://transmission.m0k.org/ - the best torrent client on a max (although xtorrent is a good second)
    * Visual Hub – http://www.techspansion.com/visualhub/ - video format conversion tool
    * VLC – http://www.videolan.org/vlc/ - plays more video formats than quicktime (even with flip4mac), make it a little nicer with the Makeover kit at http://macrabbit.com/goodies/
    * VPN Tracker – http://www.equinux.com/us/products/vpntracker/ind…- vpn client, not yet updated for leopard
    * WeatherPop – http://weatherpop.com/ - unobtrusive weather in the menu bar

    I'm glad I have:
    * Acquisition – http://www.acquisitionp2p.com/ - p2p for the mac
    * AppFresh – http://metaquark.de/appfresh/ - keep apps up to date
    * AudioHijackPro – http://www.rogueamoeba.com/audiohijackpro/ - audio recording tool
    * Chicken of the VNC – http://sourceforge.net/projects/cotvnc/ - VNC client
    * Cocktail – http://www.maintain.se/cocktail/index.php - useful system tool
    * Coda – http://www.panic.com/coda/ - beautiful web dev app, although i just use a text editor
    * CSSEdit – http://macrabbit.com/cssedit/ - brilliant and lovely css tool
    * Disco – http://www.discoapp.com/ - nice disc burning tool
    * Dupin – http://dougscripts.com/itunes/itinfo/dupin.php - helps managing mp3s in itunes
    * ElectricSheep – http://electricsheep.org/ - beautiful screensaver
    * Firefox
    * Google Earth
    * Google Sketchup
    * Handbrake – http://handbrake.m0k.org/ - video extractor (DVDs and more)
    * OmniGraffle – http://www.omnigroup.com/ - nice charting tool, similar to visio
    * Stellarium – http://www.stellarium.org/ - great planetarium
    * Tangerine – http://www.potionfactory.com/tangerine/ - playlist creation tool, very cool
    * Tinkertool – http://www.bresink.com/osx/TinkerTool.html
    * Yummy FTP – http://www.yummysoftware.com/

    I like, but don't personally use that much:
    * Bento – http://www.filemaker.com/products/bento/features….- Filemaker's new database product
    * Midnight Inbox – http://www.midnightbeep.com/ - GTD app
    * OmniFocus – http://www.omnigroup.com/ - another GTD app
    * OmniOutliner – http://www.omnigroup.com/ - outliner
    * OmniPlan – http://www.omnigroup.com/ - project mgmt
    * The Filter – http://www.thefilter.com/ - itunes music companion

  • http://unstable.com Calvin

    I just switched too (also to a 15inch macbook pro). 10.5 was a big motivator. The surprising thing is how little software I've needed to install so far. The packed in apps are quite functional. The most important thing was Flip4Mac and Divx, these allow you to watch divx, wmv, etc video formats.
    Other apps:
    Firefox for webapps
    Coda by Panic (really nice HTML/Site editor, evolution of Transmit)
    TextWrangler (Freeware text editor)
    Activate IMAP on GMail, and setup accounts on Mail.app
    Setup iChat to work with GoogleTalk
    The Gimp (cuz I didn't want to pay for Photoshop)
    World of Warcraft (just about the only MMO available on Mac)

  • http://www.ryminate.com Ryan

    My Lenovo X61 Tablet has been great until Vista. While the problems were minor annoyances at first, in the past few weeks my X61 freezes and blue screens MUCH more frequently, and seems to suffer from almost constant indigestion. (Perhaps it was one of those clandestine Tuesday night Windows updates that's sent the thing haywire).

    I'm eager to hear how you find the migration, particularly after your earlier post “Why I'm Installing Vista On All My Computers.” If all goes well, perhaps I'll do the same at the end of the year.

  • fewquid

    I'm running a MacBook with Parallels and XP — too much $$ invested in XP softwareto ditch it all.

    My votes are:

    #1: Skitch from Plasq.com — it's the best simple picture editing/markup tool ever. I can grab a screen shot of our latest UI, mark it up and drag it into an email in minutes. ComicLife from Plasq (free version on your Mac somewhere) is also mighty fun — Fred Wilson was playing with it a few months back…

    #2: iLife 07 (not 08) — nothing better for quick and easy video editing and DVD creation

    #3: VLC (free) — best way to view non-NTSC/region 1 DVD's

    Parallels has some quirks but is generally pretty solid. Applescript/Automator is worth playing with… And the Unix underbelly is there too, and you can do all kinds of fun stuff with that…

  • http://blog.mercury-rac.com Jed Christiansen

    Marc Andreessen probably has the most comprehensive list around for a new convert. He wrote it all up here:

    http://blog.pmarca.com/2007/06/the_ideal_os_x_.ht

  • http://www.derekscruggs.com Derek Scruggs

    This is an awesome list. If you go with Mail, check out Mail Act-On: http://www.indev.ca/MailActOn.html

    OmniFocus is the best realization of GTD I've seen so far.

    I personally hate MS Office (including Entourage) because it's not optimized for Intel, or at least the version I got stuck with isn't. I use NeoOffice whenever possible.

  • http://www.derekscruggs.com Derek Scruggs

    This is an awesome list. If you go with Mail, check out Mail Act-On: http://www.indev.ca/MailActOn.html

    OmniFocus is the best realization of GTD I've seen so far.

    I personally hate MS Office (including Entourage) because it's not optimized for Intel, or at least the version I got stuck with isn't. I use NeoOffice whenever possible.

  • http://newmanva.com/blog arinewman

    Wow, what a great list of Mac resources and supportive comments from converts. Bookmarking this one…

  • http://www.derekscruggs.com Derek Scruggs

    This is an awesome list. If you go with Mail, check out Mail Act-On: http://www.indev.ca/MailActOn.html

    OmniFocus is the best realization of GTD I've seen so far.

    I personally hate MS Office (including Entourage) because it's not optimized for Intel, or at least the version I got stuck with isn't. I use NeoOffice whenever possible.

  • http://www.derekscruggs.com Derek Scruggs

    This is an awesome list. If you go with Mail, check out Mail Act-On: http://www.indev.ca/MailActOn.html

    OmniFocus is the best realization of GTD I've seen so far.

    I personally hate MS Office (including Entourage) because it's not optimized for Intel, or at least the version I got stuck with isn't. I use NeoOffice whenever possible.

  • Will

    All of these are good lists. The ones I could not live without:

    Adium
    Quicksilver
    Firefox (can't use google docs in safari)

  • Deb Miller

    I'm in almost the same situation — 2 times in the last 3 weeks I almost threw my Thinkpad out the window. So, despite working for IBM for the first 17 years of my career and having had at least 5 Thinkpads, my new Macbook arrives on Wednesday. Thanks, Brad, for posting this. The comments will be a big help to me as I “leave the dark side of the force”.

  • http://www.rassoc.com/gregr/weblog Greg Reinacker

    Funny, I did this same thing a couple of weeks ago…although I didn't destroy my Windows laptop. :-) Here's the stuff I'm using, as a recent Windows convert:

    Safari 3 (built into Leopard) – I used to hate Safari, but IMHO they totally nailed it in this version. Totally rocks, so I don't need no steeenking Firefox.

    NetNewsWire – of course. :-)

    iWork 08 – I've been fighting hard trying not to use Office 2004, and the iwork apps have made this pretty seamless.

    Mail and iCal – we're an Exchange shop, so all my stuff was there. Since I didn't love Entourage 2004, I've been using Mail (connected to Exchange), and iCal and Address Book. Never really got address book working the way it should with Exchange, but I just synced it from my iPhone and use it as a master now. And iCal is a bit of a hassle using with a whole office that's using Outlook/Exchange, but I've got it down to the minimum pain possible now I think. I like it – for example, searching in Mail is super-fast.

    VMWare Fusion – I hardly ever use it, but it totally works.

    Verizon EVDO – didn't even have to install the Verizon software, the Expresscard support is built in. Super cool.

    Photoshop and Lightroom – for my photography stuff.

    Adium – I like iChat better, but adium talks to MSN.

    Twitterific.

    I think that's most of what I use on a daily basis…but I've gotten some good ideas from this post!

  • http://www.yardley.ca/dash Greg

    Let's see, most often I use:

    Adium for instant messaging
    Mail.app for mail
    Camino for browsing (Firefox is a crashtastic memory hog)
    TextMate, not free but a great text editor, love it
    Cyberduck for FTP
    iTerm as a replacement for Terminal.app
    Chicken of the VNC to control my other computers from my laptop
    Vine Server as the VNC server on my other computers
    Omnigraffle for wireframing
    Transmission for BitTorrent
    Twitterific for Twittering
    VLC for video playing
    WriteRoom when I just want to concentrate on a single file
    Little Snitch to watch outgoing connections
    Flickr Uploader for, well, it's obvious

  • Ryan

    In an earlier comment, I described my similar frustrations with Vista and a ThinkPad. Since that comment I've tinkered and tinkered, and found uninstalling Google Browser Sync pretty much solves my system stability 100 fold. I miss browser sync, but if the only other option is moving to a Mac without Outlook 2007, I'd rather go browser sync-less.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/tmarkiewicz tmarkiewicz

    NetNewsWire (nicely syncs with NewsGator)
    OmniFocus (GTD app)
    MarsEdit (blogging)
    Transmit (IMO much better than Cyberduck and well worth the license)

  • Alex Iskold

    I just have Skype and that's it!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jim_pollock2262 jim_pollock2262

    Hey Brad,

    Glad to see you moving to the bright side. After years of using Outlook on the PC and the Mac/Microsoft equivelent of Entourage… A year ago I switched to using Apple's native suite: Mail, Address Book, iCal. The FIRST thing you notice is the instant search capability for email and addresses. Anytime I meet someone, I put it in address book with tidbits surrounding the meeting, info about them, who introduced us. I can type in two or three keywords and find the guy in 1-3 seconds. Entourage bogged down with 2000 names to the point of taking 30 seconds or a minute for the same search.

    The other thing i totally enjoy about my MacBook Pro is the instant-on from sleep. I NEVER shut my MacBook off. Just put it to sleep. When you open it up, you are back live in 5 seconds.

    One program I find invaluable is YoJimbo: a freeform database for random notes. I keep all my serial numbers, notes of purchases, snippets of information, random movies or books people recommend I see, etc etc. Also uses Apple's core database with blazing fast search. You can find any note in 1-3 seconds.

    enjoy.

    Jim

  • Philippe Creytens

    I did exactly the same about 18 months ago, I switched from Windows to Mac… and never regret the day.
    Anyway, here's my short list: NeoOffice (instead of Office) have been using it since my switch and never had a problem with opening docs that come from Win users or vice-versa. If you are working in heavy Windows environment, just make sure that you change the default file format to .DOC. It kind of annoys people if you send OpenOffice formatted documents ;-).
    Keynote (comes installed as trial software), great effects and intuitive to use for presentations. Slide transitions with the 'cube' effect always lead to "Can I do this in Powerpoint? Nope".
    Cyberduck (free) or Transmit (license) for FTP.
    MarcoPolo (free): great tool to change settings depending on location (it can recognize SSIDs and change printer settings, drives etc based on wifi network detection)
    VMWare: for those cases where you need to use Windows (most of the times this means where you are being forced to use Internet Explorer, because banks etc. write apps with ActiveX components)
    SpanningSync: great tool to synchronize Google Calendar with iCal.
    AppFresh: for a centralized update of different applications

    I am pretty sure that after the initial learning curve, you will become just as much a Mac enthusiast as many of us.

  • Steve Bergstein

    I'm curious – why are you running VMWare? I generally think of this as server software.

  • Dave G.

    Hey Brad,

    Congrats on the new MBP. I know you won't regret the move. Especially with some of the new features in Leopard. Here are my recommendations:

    1. Mail – I'm assuming you need exchange calendar integration. If not, just use Mail.app… it's a great mail application with great search capabilities. Sound like Thunderbird might be a good option for this as well but haven't used it. If you do need exchange integration then there are a number of choices:
    1a. Use entourage if i) you are using imap/exchange (not pop3) and ii) you don't need advanced searching… if you need to search on anything other than the from, to, or subject then this isn't an option for you. On the other hand, Mac Office 2008 should be out eventually and will hopefully improve on this. Otherwise, I've found entourage to be stable and has good exchange calendaring integration. Many people might disagree with this last statement :)
    1b. Use Mail.app with groupcal for exchange cal intgrtn if you use pop3. If Thunderbird has exchange calendaring integration then then that may be the better option. I'm going to check that out myself. Mail.app's exchange/imap support performs really poorly which is why I would only use it for pop3. I'm planning on moving to this configuration away from entourage if the next version of entourage isn't alot better. I know a couple of people who are happy with this config.

    2. As mentioned in above posts Adium, Quicksilver, and Fusion are great. I would go with Fusion for VM since I think they'll surpass parallels with functionality quickly. Right now they're about equal although Fusion performs a bit better and has multiple nic and PAE support (both of which you probably won't need).

    3. DiskWarrior – deleted file recovery and damage disk recovery. Works like a charm. My external firewire disk had some issues and the built in disk utility couldn't fix it… diskwarrior did.

    4. Adobe Lightroom – if you want more digital photography functionality than iPhoto.

    5. Some productivity tips…
    3a. Hot Corners configured with expose actions – one of my favorites. I have a lot of windows open at any time and flip between/get to my desktop/back to an app with a flick of the wrist. It's the main reason I'm more productive on OSX than windows. Warning though… anyone watching over your shoulder might get dizzy.
    3b. Zoom – in the universal access sys pref enable zoom. tired of small tube videos? this lets you zoom in on the screen.
    3c. Get a bluetooth mighty mouse and keyboard. Very slick mouse.Saves your usb ports for other things. I use the middle button for the dashboard…
    3d. Dashboard – great way to get to a quick calendar, calculator, weather, or currency exchange applet.
    3e. Use the "Location" feature. Very useful if you're moving around offices w/different proxy settings and/or vpn network settings.

    I'd be happy to help you out next time I'm in town too!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/martin_edic2261 martin_edic2261

    Omnigraffle- there might be a trial version in there already. incredibly useful for designing/organizing ideas

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/taylor2256 taylor2256

    I'm in agreement with James. Quicksilver and Adium will be the two most important programs that you use. Especially Quicksilver, after learning it and using it, you will find that working on a PC is laborious.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/micah105 micah105

    Alex King suggested Launchbar over QuickSilver to me, and I have never looked back. SuperDuper is great for backups (even if you use time machine). VMWare Fusion is faster than Parallels (but you said you already got Parallels). istats is a great menu bar app for tracking just about everything about your MBPs health. And if you want it to look sexy – GelaSkins is a great site – http://www.gelaskins.com for MBP skins.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    VMware Fusion – their virtualization client. It lets me run XP on the Mac (like Parallels, but presumably better.)

  • Artem

    Oh I hate these thinkpads too. Battery life is ridiculous and several time my laptop went into 5 second freeze / 5 second work mode.

    Once you have chance to play a little bit with a Mac, please write about your experience. I am getting Mac too before the end of the year hopefully.

    As an offtopic: I visited Boulder for a couple of days on a business trip. It is wonderful town and Pearl street shops are amazing!

  • Aaron

    Transmission (bittorrent client), Handbrake (DVD encoding), Adium (IM) and CyberDuck (ftp). Oh, and Delicious Library is the most gorgeous application ever written.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/gards2257 gards2257

    Just got a macbook pro too – a few useful apps:

    - iWork '08 (for keynote alone and fast launching of Office docs)
    - Think from http://www.freeverse – to avoid distractions
    - Adium for IM
    - Twitterific
    - Airport radar widget from http://www.macwireless.com/
    - Mindmanager for Mac 7
    - Fusion of Parallels with XP (not Vista)
    - Thunderbird for email (Mail has great search, but is unreliable IMO)
    - Pocketmac to sync your blackberry (if you don't have an iPhone)
    - Anti-Virus (if you feel you need it) – Sophos Small Business Edition is reliable and lightweight

    You also may want to see this post on Chris Pirillo's top 100 mac apps: http://chris.pirillo.com/2007/11/06/top-100-mac-a

  • rab

    You probably won't regret the move. I'd add my praise for Quicksilver — much better for launching apps with your keys rather that the mouse. iWork'08 is great, but you'll probably want Office if you deal with lots of Word documents as there are things Pages (the word processor in iWork) just doesn't handle and by default it opens .doc files as a "copy" so you can't just make a change and save it.

    Adium is good for an IM client particularly since it has built-in support for "Off The Record" an encrypted connection. I use Adium for GoogleTalk/Jabber and iChat for AIM (mainly to video chat with my daughter at BC).

    Since you'll have Leopard, you might not need a separate VNC client, but I've heard that VMware Fusion is much better than Parallels.

    The wake/sleep function is great — like someone already said, you almost never have to shut the thing down. In a bit over 18 months, I've probably rebooted only a dozen times or so — you'll never get that on Windows.

  • Joe Moreno

    iWork '08 is the key app suite that you may want. I've used Keynote (PowerPoint equivalent)
    for all sorts of minor editing (i.e. business cards, etc). It's very light weight yet effective.
    Looking at my dock (task bar) I don't have anything of significance other than Parallels.
    But, I might be a little biased since, until recently, I worked for Apple for the past
    eight years.
    Oh yea, don't forget Firefox, but that's free.

  • James Byers

    Try Quicksilver for application launching (and more). Takes a little getting used to, but it will change how you use your Mac: http://blacktree.com/

    Adium for IM: http://adiumx.com/

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/druce2260 druce2260

    Agree with Thunderbird over Mail.app. One downside is Spotlight does not index Thunderbird emails. So then you want Google Desktop search. (Spotlight is better integrated into OS than Google Desktop, but the indexer sometimes stupidly bogs down the machine, and lacks plugins for non-Apple apps)

    Parallels is magic, but performance somewhat disappointing, it bogs down the machine for a minute when starting/resuming. Wonder if VMware Fusion is better.

    Chicken of the VNC might help integrate your remaining PCs.

    Cool utilities – Disk Inventory X, Mac Pilot, OnyX, Fink Commander, Google Earth, KisMac Wifi locator,

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/geoffrey2274 geoffrey2274

    Personally, I prefer using the Camino broswer rather than Firefox (big CPU hog) or Safari 3 (fast but doesn't do everything I want it to.)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/dgcohen dgcohen

    NetNewsWire (of course), iWork 08, Adium, and OmniFocus or GhostAction (if your'e a GTD fan). Then use built in stuff (like mail via IMAP, awesome). don't fight it and try to use Microsoft stuff. Just don't.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/rob_biedenh2273 rob_biedenh2273

    OK, I'm replying to myself only to associate my real name since OpenID grabbed my nickname instead.

  • Jed Christiansen

    Marc Andreessen probably has the most comprehensive list around for a new convert. He wrote it all up here:

    http://blog.pmarca.com/2007/06/the_ideal_os_x_.ht

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/arinewman120 arinewman120

    Wow, what a great list of Mac resources and supportive comments from converts. Bookmarking this one…

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld
  • http://intensedebate.com/people/deb_miller2299 deb_miller2299

    I'm in almost the same situation — 2 times in the last 3 weeks I almost threw my Thinkpad out the window. So, despite working for IBM for the first 17 years of my career and having had at least 5 Thinkpads, my new Macbook arrives on Wednesday. Thanks, Brad, for posting this. The comments will be a big help to me as I "leave the dark side of the force".

  • Calvin

    I just switched too (also to a 15inch macbook pro). 10.5 was a big motivator. The surprising thing is how little software I've needed to install so far. The packed in apps are quite functional. The most important thing was Flip4Mac and Divx, these allow you to watch divx, wmv, etc video formats.
    Other apps:
    Firefox for webapps
    Coda by Panic (really nice HTML/Site editor, evolution of Transmit)
    TextWrangler (Freeware text editor)
    Activate IMAP on GMail, and setup accounts on Mail.app
    Setup iChat to work with GoogleTalk
    The Gimp (cuz I didn't want to pay for Photoshop)
    World of Warcraft (just about the only MMO available on Mac)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/greg_reinac2315 greg_reinac2315

    Funny, I did this same thing a couple of weeks ago…although I didn't destroy my Windows laptop. :-) Here's the stuff I'm using, as a recent Windows convert:

    Safari 3 (built into Leopard) – I used to hate Safari, but IMHO they totally nailed it in this version. Totally rocks, so I don't need no steeenking Firefox.

    NetNewsWire – of course. :-)

    iWork 08 – I've been fighting hard trying not to use Office 2004, and the iwork apps have made this pretty seamless.

    Mail and iCal – we're an Exchange shop, so all my stuff was there. Since I didn't love Entourage 2004, I've been using Mail (connected to Exchange), and iCal and Address Book. Never really got address book working the way it should with Exchange, but I just synced it from my iPhone and use it as a master now. And iCal is a bit of a hassle using with a whole office that's using Outlook/Exchange, but I've got it down to the minimum pain possible now I think. I like it – for example, searching in Mail is super-fast.

    VMWare Fusion – I hardly ever use it, but it totally works.

    Verizon EVDO – didn't even have to install the Verizon software, the Expresscard support is built in. Super cool.

    Photoshop and Lightroom – for my photography stuff.

    Adium – I like iChat better, but adium talks to MSN.

    Twitterific.

    I think that's most of what I use on a daily basis…but I've gotten some good ideas from this post!

  • Ryan

    My Lenovo X61 Tablet has been great until Vista. While the problems were minor annoyances at first, in the past few weeks my X61 freezes and blue screens MUCH more frequently, and seems to suffer from almost constant indigestion. (Perhaps it was one of those clandestine Tuesday night Windows updates that's sent the thing haywire).

    I'm eager to hear how you find the migration, particularly after your earlier post "Why I'm Installing Vista On All My Computers." If all goes well, perhaps I'll do the same at the end of the year.

  • Greg

    Let's see, most often I use:

    Adium for instant messaging
    Mail.app for mail
    Camino for browsing (Firefox is a crashtastic memory hog)
    TextMate, not free but a great text editor, love it
    Cyberduck for FTP
    iTerm as a replacement for Terminal.app
    Chicken of the VNC to control my other computers from my laptop
    Vine Server as the VNC server on my other computers
    Omnigraffle for wireframing
    Transmission for BitTorrent
    Twitterific for Twittering
    VLC for video playing
    WriteRoom when I just want to concentrate on a single file
    Little Snitch to watch outgoing connections
    Flickr Uploader for, well, it's obvious

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fewquid2278 fewquid2278

    I'm running a MacBook with Parallels and XP — too much $$ invested in XP softwareto ditch it all.

    My votes are:

    #1: Skitch from Plasq.com — it's the best simple picture editing/markup tool ever. I can grab a screen shot of our latest UI, mark it up and drag it into an email in minutes. ComicLife from Plasq (free version on your Mac somewhere) is also mighty fun — Fred Wilson was playing with it a few months back…

    #2: iLife 07 (not 08) — nothing better for quick and easy video editing and DVD creation

    #3: VLC (free) — best way to view non-NTSC/region 1 DVD's

    Parallels has some quirks but is generally pretty solid. Applescript/Automator is worth playing with… And the Unix underbelly is there too, and you can do all kinds of fun stuff with that…

  • Will

    All of these are good lists. The ones I could not live without:

    Adium
    Quicksilver
    Firefox (can't use google docs in safari)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ryan2608 ryan2608

    In an earlier comment, I described my similar frustrations with Vista and a ThinkPad. Since that comment I've tinkered and tinkered, and found uninstalling Google Browser Sync pretty much solves my system stability 100 fold. I miss browser sync, but if the only other option is moving to a Mac without Outlook 2007, I'd rather go browser sync-less.

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