The Journey from Windows to Apple: Part 2 - Radiant

The Radiant Blog

Posted by Ray Majoran

The Journey from Windows to Apple: Part 2Well let me just start of by saying that Weeks 3 and 4 of my new Apple MacBook Pro were a lot better than Weeks 1 and 2. Since coming back from holidays, my confidence level in the new computer has drastically increased. I’m learning to navigate the system a lot better and am only taking 1 Tylenol every 8 hours instead of 2-3. There’s still a long way to go in this learning curve, but I’m up for the challenge. The following is an account of my experiences from March 21 through April 4. I have broken them down this week in categories so that you quickly reference information that may pertain to you.

Font Conversion

One of the scariest things about moving from Windows to Mac (or vice-versa) is fonts. Back in the day when much of our company was on Mac, we used a program called CrossFont to convert all of our fonts. I downloaded the latest version and it is GOLD. By installing CrossFont on Windows (through Parallels), I was able to convert all of my Windows fonts to Mac. Seeing that OS X does a really good job supporting Open Typefaces and TrueType Fonts, the conversion was a breeze.

Spaces Continued…

In my last diary entry I told you how excited I was about Spaces. I am still excited about it, but there are some quirks when it comes to opening different programs and windows. I have found that Spaces is not always consistent when it comes to where things are supposed to go and how to handle certain programs. One of my biggest pet-peeves is that I like to have a separate space for all of my Instant Messengers (Skype, MSN, Jabber), which in itself is fine. However, if I am working in a different space and someone IM’s me, many times the IM window pops up in the space that I am currently working in instead of the one that I assigned for it. Then when I try and go back to my IM program, it thinks that it’s located in the space that I’m in until I tell it otherwise. It’s a minor annoyance, but it is still an annoyance.

Photoshop (and the CS Suite)

So far all of my Adobe Creative Suite Programs have worked the same as they have in Windows. One unbelievable frustration with Photoshop on the new Mac OS was that sometimes I would accidentally rotate my canvas (because Apple has a feature that if you move your fingers a certain way on the touchpad, it will rotate an image). Turns out that many other Adobe users shared the same frustration and Adobe developed a plugin to disable it in Photoshop. Now everything is working great.

Working Simultaneously with Windows (through Parallels)

For those of you that have ever used VirtualPC on a Mac (back in the day) and were irritated by it, let me tell you that Parallels has completely changed the landscape of running Windows and Mac OS simultaneously. Since there are some programs that I use that only work on Windows, it is essential for me that these programs operate seamlessly on my Mac in the Windows environment. So far, so good; everything has been very smooth and I haven’t run into any issues. The programs that I am still running on Windows include: Microsoft Outlook (including Office 2007 so that I can get real-time spell checking), Internet Explorer 7 (for testing out websites and accessing sites that require IE for security reasons), SQL Server Management Studio, and CrossFont.

Using Windows-Based Hard Drives

One of the things that threw me into a little bit of frenzy was trying to access (and edit) my data (through my Mac) on a 500GB external hard drive that I own. The problem was that my external hard drive was formatted through the NTFS (Windows) file system. Apple will allow you to read from the hard drive (through a utility called MacFuse), but it won’t allow you to write back to it. I did some Googling and found an amazing program called Paragon NTFS for Mac that lets you read and write to NTFS-based hard drives. This was a life saver!

Odds and Ends…

Here are a few other programs/hardware that I’ve been able to transition over to the Mac without any problems: SlingPlayer (for accessing my Slingbox at home), Bell MobileConnect (for accessing high-speed internet on the road), Remote Desktop Connection (for accessing Windows-based servers), iTunes (that was a gimme), MindJet Manager and TweetDeck (for watching Twitter).

I’ll conclude Part 2 here. My next update will come a few weeks from now when I’ve got a little more experience under my belt. So far the transition has been fairly smooth. The next time I speak with you, I’m hoping to be completely off of the Tylenol. Stay tuned!