Mac Switcher…. Kinda

So I’m now a mac user….. kinda. Only in the work sense though. At the office Christmas party I asked the boss if when the next new hire is in the office they could get my current work laptop (an Acer somethingorother) and I could get a new low end Macbook. Mostly I spend my workday in either a browser or an SSH session, and both of those are easily available on a mac (some would argue they are more available with the build-on-BSD thing).

Anyway, so Friday the new 2.2G MacBook Pro came in. My boss apparently loves me. Or it has something to do with the whole “standardized on MacBook Pro” thing he’s got going. Either way, I’m in heaven.

So there are both good things and bad things. Read on for more.

First the good. Beautiful design, speedy, OS/X (Leopard) is of course just gorgeous and built with that apple attention to detail and consistency. The system is speedy as well, dual core 2.2Ghz with 2G of ram vs my old laptop of 1.8Ghz with 1.5G…. not a huge leap, still nice to have that speed bump.

So my plan was fairly simple. Backup my current laptop, preferably in a variety of ways and store the backups on one of the 500G external drives I got at a boxing day sale. Then nuke any big chunks of data off the system and use the VMWare Converter to turn the system into a VMWare virtual machine that I can use in VMWare Fusion, Parallels or similar virtualization technology which would then allow me to run any apps that aren’t available on the mac as normal.

That was the theory anyway…. turns out the simple task of doing a backup is a huge stretch. According to my (currently running) copy of North Ghost, the backup to the external drive will take another 12 hours, a total of 17. Seventeen freakin’ hours! To back up a 140G drive! With 60G of data! Un-freaking-believable!

The VMWare P-2-V Converter wasn’t much better, I was running, then died, then was started and stopped a few times. Then I saw that the Converter can import Ghost images, so I figured I’d go with that.

So that’s the first state of things on the old laptop. I’m wondering if it’d be better to just do a fresh XP install and re-install whatever apps I need… probably be quicker.

Anyway, Macbook setup.

Installed a few of the most recommended Mac apps. Transmit for torrents, Quicksilver (though the spotlight search seems to work fine, maybe I just don’t grok the quicksilver way yet), RDP client (for work), Firefox 3 with the Weave plugin which allowed me to get my bookmarks and history out of the cloud (very cool!), Adium for instant messaging, Openoffice (the native Aqua version) for an office suite (for now) and a couple of others.

Other than one random crash were one CPU core went to 100% and the system had to be rebooted, things have been going well. I had a PowerBook back in the day and have fallen mostly back into the habits…. using the apple key instead of ctrl, apple-q always quits, apple-i instead of alt-enter for properties, etc. I copied my old VMWare machines over and they open just perfectly (the one I had suspended even restored properly!). Wish I could figure out how to run the ‘Unity’ feature though.

I may have made a mistake dragging my entire MP3 library into iTunes though. That (plus downloading album artwork, etc) took almost 12 hours as well. My old iTunes version didn’t seem to want to let me do an export, so oh well, such is life. My playlists weren’t all that sophisticated so they will (hopefully) be fairly easy to replace.

That’s about all so far…. will update more as things go on. Course, it’ll have to be done by the time I go back to work on January 2nd, when my old laptop goes to The New Girl.