Letters from Macrebel Camp: Part II

November 4, 2006

October 17 My elation over being able to sneak away from Macrebel camp has started to wear off. Funny, but I never really noticed before how dingy and out-dated Windows looks. Everything seems so flat and gray...and in desperate need of a serious makeover. Today I actually found myself missing the dock with its bright little icons.

I've also started to make mistakes. Sometimes I can't remember whether to CTRL + Click or Apple + Click. I'll be working away in Windows, and suddenly the Start Menu will fly open at me. Maybe I've been too hasty in deciding I can never fit in here at Macrebel camp. Still, I don't have time to think about such things now. Work has really heated up lately. We have two major projects due in the next few days, and I can't take the time to learn a new operating system or new software. Searching helplessly for a nonexistent forward delete button could send me over the edge. I'm tired and stressed and working long hours, and I need the comfort of my old familiar Homesite. I have code to pound out. Yet passing through Macrebel camp on my way to Parallels and Windows, I'm sometimes tempted to try browsing with Safari or Mac Firefox. I get a glimpse of a bright, new world, and... Too bad I don't have the time. Note to self: Must remember not to Apple + C in Windows anymore. October 22 I think I'm falling in love. I'm definitely infatuated. Last night I sat down with this laptop and started to open Parallels as usual. Then something stopped me. Here I am with a Mac in my hands, I thought, and I don't really know it at all. With Parallels and Windows so close by, I've never really given the Mac a chance. Maybe if I gave it a try, it wouldn't be as hard as I imagined. So I spent a few hours with BBedit. A good coding program is essential for my work. Without one, there was no sense in my wasting time with the Mac any longer. For years I'd heard such high praise for BBedit. What was I missing? Keyboard shortcuts, that's what. Yes, I realize that, for a Homesite user, BBedit looks like a poor relation of Notepad. But under that austere and unassuming exterior is a whole world of nifty functions and useful tools. Clippings are even easier to set up than Homesite snippets/shortcuts. And with a cheat sheet of keyboard shortcuts, BBedit offers everything Homesite's toolbar does and more. I found it was actually a relief not to have to mouse up to click a toolbar icon. I just press a few keys and wah-lah! Who knew something so plain could be so rich and powerful? Inspired, I downloaded Adium and was pleased to find it as easy to configure as Trillian. I had some trouble with it disconnecting from AIM at home, but that could be my router. With IM and a program to code in, things were definitely looking up. But what was I going to do about an email and calendaring program at work? I was stumped. Then today I was introduced to a Mac master who shared some secrets about configuring Entourage to work with our Microsoft Exchange Server. Now I can even check other people's calendars and schedule meetings. Good god, there may be hope for me in Macrebel camp after all. October 26 I've spent the last few days in Macrebel camp and hardly ever thought of home. It's just so darn pretty here. Text is crisper, colors are brighter and even images seem to dance. Despite my earlier impression, it is a bit easier to get around the place, once you get used to it. Sometimes I get frustrated when a document gets stuck behind a pile of other screens. Yet I take one look at the dock, and my irritation melts away. BBedit continues to amaze and delight me. Fetch is working fine, even without VPN. I've even taken to opening Photoshop every now and then, though I still don't understand what half the stuff does or how to do half the things I used to do unconsciously in Paintshop Pro. It took a while, but I finally feel at home in Macrebel camp. I think I'll be staying here for good this time. Even without a forward delete button.