After 20 years of using only DOS and Windows I am slowly making the switch over to the keen new Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro computers.
With an entry point of $1,000.00 USD for the MacBook there are going to be a lot of new sales to Windows Heathens like me who can’t resist a bite into an Apple running an Intel chip especially when our lives are becoming more and more image and video manipulation. 

An hour after my MacBook arrived I leapt online and ordered a MacBook Pro to round out my new family because I know Janna
will steal this tiny MacBook from me the second I turn my back.
I am planning a full-on review of both MacBooks.

I am, however, a
little confused how to work with the new OS X Apple way of thinking.
The documentation included with the machine deals with ports
identification and new features that require previous experience with
Macs as a reference point. If you’re coming from a Windows-centric
world there are some things that cannot naturally be intuited.
If you know the answers to the following MacBook questions, please let
me know:

1. What are the must-have programs I need to buy?

2. How do you uninstall something? Do you just drag the program and/or
its folder to the Trash or do you have to uninstall an application from
a specific place so all bits and pieces of it it will be entirely
removed from you hard drive?

3. What program to do use to do secure FTP?

4. What program do you use to code websites?

5. How is a Mac hard drive organized? Let’s say I have a folder on my
Windows machine that contains all the files and important data for my
websites. Do I just copy over all those files to the MacBook to use
them? If yes, where, exactly, do I put the files on the MacBook — in a
folder in the Applications folder or somewhere else?

6. How do you handle .ZIP files on a Mac?

7. When you choose to update your software — does the MacBook update
all software installed on your MacBook or do you have to do a software
update for every individual program?

8. What program do you use to capture publishable screenshots?

9. I thought Macs were known for their beautiful fonts. I think the
fonts on my MacBook look fuzzy and rather ugly! Is there any way to fix
that problem? I guess ClearType on Windows spoiled me more than I realized!

10. What is the practical difference between Firewire 400 and Firewire 800?

11. Internet Explorer for Mac is dead. What do you use for sites that require IE? Safari? Firefox?

12. What program do you use to manipulate images and then save them for the web?

13. What are good resources to use online for MacBook information and for seeking further help?

14. What didn’t I ask that I should have asked?

15. What do I need to know that you know I don’t yet know that you know I don’t know will cause a future problem?
That’s it for now and I appreciate any and all insight you might be able to offer.


  1. I use Fetch for ftp. Safari or Firefox for web browsing. MS Office is my must have progam. MS Entourage my email client. Apple will prompt you with System updates (including iTunes, iLIfe, etc.) on a regular basis so there’s no need to go searching around the Apple site. To uninstall I simpy toss programs in the trash. it will take some time to get used to the Mac but if you ever need to find anything just use Spotlight (magnifying glass at the top right corner) and you should be able to find the program/doc/movie, whatever, immediately.

  2. Hi Matt!
    I messed up my WordPress admin panel and my notifications for moderated comments were not getting sent out. Sorry you got caught in moderation for so long!
    Okay, now that I’m back at my main box:
    1. Fetch. Cool! Looks like just what I need. I live on FTP all day.
    2. What do you use for HTML? Dreamweaver? Is BBEdit still around?
    3. What is your default font and point size for Entourage? That’s a killer program! Much better than Outlook 2003 OR Outlook 2007!
    4. Do you use MSN Messenger with Office? It seems to be tightly integrated but I don’t know if it is actually useful or not.
    5. I love Firefox on the Mac. It took me forever to figure out what to do with what looked like to me a hard drive icon for Firefox on the desktop — because I’d Trash it and then I’d lose Firefox. Then I’d reinstall and finally I figured out I had to, I guess, copy that into the Applications folder and then I could trash it without losing Firefox. Anyway… it’s still there now.
    6. Where do you store all your documents? When I move over my files with the Mac recognize them and put them in the right place or do I have to copy them somewhere?
    7. iLife is very slick!
    8. The Logitech v270 Bluetooth mouse is also very nice. This is the first time Bluetooth has ever worked reliably for me! It’s cool to have two mouse buttons and a scroll wheel that works out-of-the-box without any software installation or intervention.
    9. The Hot corners thing is making me a little seasick. I don’t seem to even go near the corners and I’m attacked with something I don’t recognize.

  3. Dave!
    I’m sorry my Mac is newer than your Mac. Somehow that seems inherently unfair!
    Using a Mac does feel more like using Linux (with the graphical interface) than Windows. Looking at Vista and Office 2007 convinced me that now was the time to move. There’s nothing on the Windows horizon that is even remotely interesting from an end user perspective.
    Right, there’s no Publisher application in Office 2004 but Apple’s new iWork ’06 includes something called “Pages” that looks like a Publisher replacement. I will see how it works.
    The “Projects” in Office 2004 look really interesting as a way of linking people and files and thoughts together in one place.
    Printing wirelessly is very cool. I have an Airport Extreme. The MacBook loves it. The Thinkpads DO NOT despite what Apple claims! So, for now, the Thinkpads will connect to the DSL modem and the MacBook will connect to the Airport.
    The font thing is okay for now. I’ll live. I’m in and out today so today is not a good phone day.
    Thanks again, Dave, and I’m glad Fetch is familiar to you!

  4. Thanks for the correction, Dave! That worked. Yes, I found Grab and started it but it did not do anything. I could not figure out why it was there.
    Here is the screenshot from the MacBook with Entourage and Firefox open:
    Here is a similar screenshot from my Thinkpad T43p with Outlook 2003 and Firefox open:
    To my eye the Windows fonts are much cleaner and less chalky — especially directly comparing Entourage and Outlook.
    Thank you.
    Long live ClearType!

  5. Yes, my PC is a Thinkpad T43p laptop. I just went back and added that to my comment because that’s important to know when comparing screenshots.

  6. Why are you accusing Janna when we know you are going to give it her, anyway…? 😀
    Congrats on your new purchase!

  7. Heh!
    You got me on that one, Katha! You’re right. The question is will she wait long enough for me to give it to her before she steals it from me!

  8. Oh, and Dave —
    I know you’re gone, but for others who might be following this thread:
    My ThinkPad is running a 32-bit High Color resolution of 1600×1200 so that does give much more opportunity for “crisper” fonts than the MacBook’s highest resolution of 1280×800.
    It will be interesting to see how the MacBook Pro graphics and font smoothing stack up to everything next week.
    We thank you.

  9. The question is will you wait long enough for Janna to steal it or, you just can’t wait to give it to her?
    We know you, David! 😀

  10. As soon as my MacBook Pro arrives — and I get it set up — she can have the MacBook.
    So she can have the MacBook in a week.
    Or so.
    Or so so.
    We’ll see if she can wait that long!

  11. UPDATE:
    Final Cut Express HD 3.5 is purchasable for $300.00 from the Apple store.
    That is much better than the Final Cut Studio 5.1 version I was drooling over for a jaw-dropping $1,300.00!
    Final Cut Express HD looks like just the right amount of horsepower as an upgrade to the bundled iMovie HD to help me create the web movies and online teaching and other fun stuff I have brimming in the pipeline!

  12. Ok! Be sure to let us know!
    Have fun with your new gadget!!!

  13. Without reading too much of the previous comments — I’m BlogExplosioning, feel like I’m on the clock! — a few random responses:
    – You’ll still need the orphaned IE, as site that truly require (banking, etc.) it probably won’t work with mere emulator plugins that Firefox provides. That’s not a problem for now, but a few years from now…
    – ZIP files are not an issue for Macs anymore, OSX unpacks them without issue.
    – If you’re a right-clicking fiend like me, you can pull it off on the Macbook with the two-finger click maneuver. You do have to set it in the mouse/trackpad settings, though, it’s not a default.
    – I’d go with for a web design program. It’s not perfect, but it’s free, and fairly light program-wise.

  14. Hi CT —
    Thanks for the excellent and helpful comment! You have a great blog. My wife was stuck like you were yesterday — but the police kicked everyone out of the Rego Park station before she could get on the train. She left work at 4pm and finally got home to Jersey City at 9pm. What a day!
    1. Where do I download IE for the Mac? The MSFT site says the browser is dead and there’s no link to pull down an old copy.
    2. Gak! I didn’t know OS X handled Zip files. Will Stuffit Deluxe still be useful to me or not?
    3. Thanks for the heads up on NVU. I will check it out!

  15. 1. This looks like an archive for old versions of IE:
    But I can’t vouch for the site, I just now found it via search, so tread lightly.
    2. I wouldn’t buy Stuffit Deluxe, if you don’t already have it, unless you’re going to be doing a lot of Mac-centric projects. Now that Zip is supported, I see the .sit format fading in a few years.
    Five hours to get home? Sheesh. I’d be breaking things after that.

  16. CT!
    Thanks for the link! I pulled it down and installed it and it worked! Super! Thanks!
    I think Stuffit Deluxe is coming on Monday. Gah! Maybe I should send it back if it doesn’t add any extra functionality to the way I need to work.
    Yeah, five hours was a pretty crushing experience. She woke up and had pancakes with me at 8am this morning, then took a nap at noon and she’s still sleeping.

  17. Hey, waking up this morning and re-reading my post, i realize that it looks like I’m saying that I currently use a Mac II SE. That’s not the case! I’m using a G4 400 (aka Sawtooth) with a 1.2ghz Giga Design proccesser upgrade, 2gb Ram, & an ATI Radeon 9200! Its just a spot faster than the old Mac II!
    I found your blog because I’m thinking of getting one of the new Macbook pros myself, in lieu of a PC notebook. I googled for macbook reviews and you were one of the top hits. I really appreciate your review as well as your other entries. I’m going to be lurking around to read what else you find.

  18. I don’t know if all of these have been answered, but I didn’t see a simple list in my scan so here goes:
    1. Photoshop and BBEdit
    2. Generally you just drag things to the trash to uninstall, sometimes the programs leave receipts in your library folders which will need to be removed and will also let you know if anything else has been installed elsewhere.
    3. Transmit. I didn’t much like Fetch, or it’s OS9 era icon.
    4. BBEdit
    5. Yes, you can copy them just like on the windows machine. You can copy them anywhere you like, and most people put website files in the “Sites” folder in their user directory because Apache uses that directory to serve from. To enable that go into the System Prefs, click on Sharing, and enable Personal Web Sharing. Then just go to http://localhost/~your_user_name/ and that will get you to the “Sites” directory.
    6. How do you handle zip files on a mac? Double click them? Select them, ctrl+click them and select “Create archive”?
    7. OSX generally only updates Apple software. Actually I don’t think anything else does that. Most every other program checks for you unless you disable that in their prefs. If not, it’s usually under the help menu.
    8. It’s called Shift+Ctrl+Command+4. Select and area and release the mouse button and it’ll copy to your clipboard. You can instead hit spacebar to select things via their window. If you need to get the cursor in there or take video, try Ambrogia’s Snapz Pro.
    9. There’s no way to change the font rendering. In my opinion, ClearType sucks, so you really weren’t spoiled. I think most people will agree that if you want to be spoiled, you shouldn’t be running windows—unless it’s your fun/productivity that you want spoiled 🙂
    10. It may sound simple but FW800 is twice as fast as FW800 and almost twice as fast as USB 2, which would equate number-wise to FW480. It’s mainly for people working in video who need fast hard drives. I use a LaCie drives on my FW800 port on my PowerBook.
    11. Since another one of my hats is labeled web developer, I generally don’t visit sites that only require IE. Sometimes I’ll email them about how stupid it is to only support such a poorly developed and completely outdated and flawed browser. I’d try Firefox, but honestly, I’ve never had this problem. Some people had problems with their banks originally, but I never have, and I use a small credit union.
    12. Photoshop, Photoshop, Photoshop….I wouldn’t touch an image with anything else.
    13. Mac forums are wonderful for that. I go to, which also has the added benefit of keeping me abreast of new hardware, software, and other Apple news.
    14. Ummm…you probably should have asked why am I not having fun on my Mac yet, and how can I honestly like ClearType better.
    15. I know you need to stop asking questions like this 🙂 Honestly you should probably understand that while OS X functions a lot better than Windows, if you can do it on Windows, you can probably do it better on a Mac. You also need to learn that small vendors are a good thing—they really produce HIGH quality software. You also might learn some keyboard shortcuts that you never knew existed on the PC, even if you’ve used every version of Windows, including 1.0, and all of the server versions 🙂

  19. BTW, I forgot…You can also hit Shift+Ctrl+Command+3 to get a screenshot of the entire screen. I think if you leave off shift and keep the rest of the shortcut the same it’ll make either version into a PDF.

  20. Thanks, Joe. I previously answered you in the other post. Grabber works okay for screenshots. I’m also liking the Screenshot Plus widget for getting screenshots.

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