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On PC to Apple – Idiosyncrasies to get used to

On 11 May, I bought an Apple MacBook Pro 15″ laptop. The decision to do so was not an easy one. In April, I read and commented on the Saturday discussion – Mac Versus PC post at Mike’s Life. At that time, I said:

A year ago, I would have said PC with no hesitation simply because I’ve been anti-Apple since the beginning. Simple reason is ‘open architecture’. In the old days (way back in the ’80s), it was common to open a PC to upgrade or add components regularly and you couldn’t do that with Apple. I haven’t upgraded components in ages now; I just replace the laptop every 3 years or so. And these days, I’m in love with my iPhone. As I listen to all of the bloggers extoling the virtues of their Mac, I will consider one for my next replacement…

Well, I ordered one and in my anticipation, I tracked it’s progress around the world from Singapore to Virginia, posting daily updates on its location on Twitter.

I’ve been playing with it for a couple of weeks now, and here are the things I’ve found. There are a few things that cause me to have problems.

  • Closing a window: under Windows, there’s a big red X in the upper right corner of every window. On the MacBook, there’s a tiny red dot in the upper left corner. Harder to hit! From habit, I keep going to the upper right.
  • Menu bar: Windows places the menu bar for an application on the top of the window for that application. On the MacBook, it’s always at the top of the screen. I never run full screen applications; that’s a pain. I like high resolution screens (the MacBook screen is impressive) so I can place various applications where I want them. An application in the lower right corner with the menu bar at the top of the screen is just not convenient. Can this be configured?
  • Touch pad: Me and touch pads have never had a happy coexistence. Although the touch pad on the MacBook Pro is much better than the touch pad on any of the Windows laptops I’ve ever used, I’ve still opted for a Bluetooth mouse.
  • Keyboard: I am a touch typist, believe it or not. I much prefer a keyboard with a separate numeric keypad. I have a Bluetooth keyboard I had been using with my Dell; but, I haven’t found an Apple compatible Bluetooth keyboard (one with the Command, Option, Control keys rather than Alt, Windows, Control keys in the PC world). Is there such a thing? Or will my existing keyboard work with the MacBook?
  • Keyboard shortcuts, Part 1: I love these. I wish that Microsoft had standardized things, though. In Windows, depending on the application, either the F5 key or the F9 key will refresh. Haven’t found an equivalent for the MacBook.
  • Keyboard shortcuts, Part 2: I love the Ctrl-C / Ctrl-V combination under Windows to copy and paste text from one place to another. It took me forever to figure out that Command-C / Command-V does the same thing.
  • Backspace: Windows, and Windows compatible keyboards, give you separate Backspace and Delete keys. Delete removes a character to the right of the insertion point while Backspace removes a character to the left. The MacBook has no backspace key; the Delete key functions the same as the Windows Backspace which sometimes requires you to reposition the insertion point before using it.

Now, if any of these are a problem only because I am so new to the Apple universe, or you can answer my questions, please feel free to tell me in the comments. Thanks!

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  • snipe

    First of all, congrats on making the switch. I switched from PC to Mac 2 years ago and have never looked back. There are definitely some quirks to get used to, but they become part of your normal interaction pretty quickly.

    A few notes:
    Backspace: Function+delete = backspace

    F5 refresh: command-R should do it for both FF and Safari. Function+F5 also works on most browsers.

    Shortcuts: Command = Control key for most normal Windows shortcuts you'd care about.

    Also note that unlike in Windows, where generally speaking, clicking on the X will quit the app, it's better to get used to Command+Q to quit. Since the window model is a little different for Mac, this will make sure you've actually quit the program, instead of just closing the open windows.

    You might also find this website helpful:

    Also check out TotalFinder, which gives you a slick tabbed interface to Finder. I'd be lost without it.

    I don't know that the menu bar placement can be configured – I think it might just be something you have to get used to.