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Return of the Mac 1499

Posted by Zonk
from the it-went-away? dept.
Ben Gutierrez writes "Paul Graham has posted a new essay on the Return of the Mac which begins with: 'All the best hackers I know are gradually switching to Macs.' Tim O'Reilly said some similar things in Watching Alpha Geeks . From the article: "My friend Robert said his whole research group at MIT recently bought themselves Powerbooks. These guys are not the graphic designers and grandmas who were buying Macs at Apple's low point in the mid 1990s. They're about as hardcore OS hackers as you can get."
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Return of the Mac

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  • by mattkinabrewmindspri (538862) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @02:58PM (#12078744)
    You can. [google.com]
  • by cmorgan47 (720310) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @02:58PM (#12078752) Homepage
    get a g3 ibook. runs all but the greediest of os x apps just fine and i picked one up from a guy at work fro $100....they go for about 3-400 on ebay.
  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768@comcast. n e t> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:01PM (#12078807) Journal
    My kid brother can aforde a mac mini on lunch money...

    Please this argument is old and false.

  • The ONE (Score:3, Informative)

    by HogGeek (456673) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:05PM (#12078889)
    I've found (finally) the one computer that can do everything I need. I work in a MS environment, and being able to use MS Office is a godsend. I also administer multiple flavors of UN*X, and have found the tools I need either already installed, or easily compiled.


    I used to have 3 or 4 computers to be able to do everthing I needed, and now I have "The ONE"

  • Oh brother. (Score:2, Informative)

    by EvilStein (414640) <spamNO@SPAMpbp.net> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:15PM (#12079065) Homepage
    If I had +10 Troll, I'd use it.

    This argument is a bunch of crap. The Mac Mini is a Mac. $499 isn't going to break the bank. How many of you have blown way more than that on x86 parts alone? You can pick up an older G3 on eBay for next to nothing these days.

    Who the hell marked this as "Insightful?" You turkey!

  • Re:Then why....? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jericho4.0 (565125) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:18PM (#12079119)
    Apple killed OpenStep for non-Apple systems. The alternative is GNUStep. GNUStep, while an amazing project, is hobbled, IMO, by trying to look like OpenStep, which looks like crap.

    I wish *Step was more popular. Learning Objective-C is a snap if you know C already. GNUStep makes an amazing range of functionality available to apps 'for free'. On OS X it's even better. For example, Tiger will give every app an undo function, automagicly. The included tools, and overall design of the OS, make developing on the platform a pleasure.

  • by podperson (592944) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:26PM (#12079251) Homepage
    WWW -- PhD student at CERN
    Mach -- Carnegie-Mellon
    BSD -- UC Berkeley
    Cisco -- Stanford
  • by lux55 (532736) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:28PM (#12079293) Homepage Journal
    Some of these are also the names of standard logical fallacies, which it appears your Consumer Behaviour class is teaching you to exploit. These include:

    - Appeal to authority: Most of the top dogs...
    - Appeal to popularity: Last year's conference was full of...

    A logic course would teach you the same thing, minus the exploiting part. For that you'd need a course in rhetorical persuasion, or marketing by more popular terminology (ie. your course). It's interesting how long this stuff has been around, yet how fresh it can sound when presented with the psychology/marketing spin. :)

    For more fallacy fun, see:

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/
  • Re:Oh brother. (Score:3, Informative)

    by ERJ (600451) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:30PM (#12079324)
    Although the deal expired a couple days ago, you could have gotten a Dell 4700 desktop system with a 2.8Ghz P4, 512mb memory, 40gb hard drive, 17' LCD, keyboard, mouse, etc. for $499 with free shipping. Price to performance for most peoples needs the dell would pretty much destroy the Mac Mini.

    If the extra cost is worthwhile then certainly, go ahead, but to some people $500 is a significant amount of money.
  • Re:unix laptop = key (Score:3, Informative)

    by jabella (91754) * on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:30PM (#12079338) Journal
    ever tried to configure WPA on a RedHat laptop? the last time i tried it wasn't exactly point and click.

    how about making a movie of clips from dvd's, and then burning to your own dvd with menus?

  • Re:35% Markup (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anita Coney (648748) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:32PM (#12079354) Homepage
    I agree with you. I'd love to buy a Mac but I find the prices outrageous. I can build a great PC for about 800 bucks, including a flat panel monitor. An equivalent Mac would probably cost about 2 grand. Heck, I can build a more powerful and cheaper PC than even the Mini! I don't consider a four year old CPU combined with a tiny hard drive and minimum memory to be a value, at any price.

    I guess I'm not only criticizing Apple, I'd have to the same problem if I had to buy from Dell or Gateway. Sure Dell has those "cheap" computers for $500, but once you start adding the hardware you want, they end up costing about twice what I could build one for.

    For example, I'm going to build one for my dad soon. For the fun of it I added up what a dual CPU system would cost to build. It would have cost about $1,700. For about the same price I could have bought a crap system from Dell with only one CPU, half the memory, a shitty GPU, and half the hard drive space.

    I just don't understand how I can build a computer cheaper from retail parts than Dell, who has assembly lines, uses cheap Chinese labor, and buys at wholesale?! I certainly couldn't build a car, microwave, or TV cheaper than Honda, GE, or Sony.
  • Re:great hardware (Score:5, Informative)

    by Soko (17987) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:34PM (#12079400) Homepage
    The Linux PPC devs have a narrower set of hardware to support - you know pretty well what's in a iBook. The same cannot be said for x86 systems. I have a year old Dell D800 that still has a bit of trouble regarding ACPI events.

    As well, iBooks aren't too terribly over priced, they are normally very well constructed - IOW it's a nice notebook. The icing on the cake is Mac on Linux [maconlinux.org] - where you quite literally get to have your cake and eat it too.

    Soko
  • Re:Service (Score:5, Informative)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:36PM (#12079419) Homepage Journal
    Most large data centers have service contracts on their equipment. The vendor takes care of repairs under warranty onsite to minimize downtime and so that you don't have to have someone onsite who knows how to fix every piece of gear you own. Typically they commit to be onsite in a number of hours that gets smaller the more you pay. The bigger the data center the harder it is to have someone so trained.

    I recently had an XServe motherboard fail and it was 28 hours before the new motherboard arrived via DHL and was installed. With the IBM gear, that's 4 hours max.

    Sure, I could just have a second XServe on site but that costs 2x - the IBM service contract is approximately 10% of the machine's cost per year.
  • Fink has been key (Score:4, Informative)

    by dgerman (78602) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:36PM (#12079427) Homepage
    Nobody has mentioned fink (http://fink.sourceforge.net). They are a "Linux" distribution to run on top of OS X. I quoted "Linux" because they have almost everything but the kernel (it uses the OS X kernel). Fink was the reason I decided it was time to use OS X as a Free/OPen source friendly laptop. None of the two authors even mentioned it!

    Fink uses a packaging system similar to Debian, and it includes most of the apps people use under Linux. Many of them require X11, which is now distributed with OS X 10.3

  • there's no way I would plop down $1500 for a powermac when I could get an equivilant PC for 2/3 of the price

    You can get a Mac for 2/3 the price, and while it's maybe half again as expensive as a comparable PC running Windows it's all made of good solid stuff. You're paying a bit of a premium for OS X, but it's not an insane one any more.
  • Re:True at CodeCon (Score:4, Informative)

    by argent (18001) <peter@AAAslashdo ... minus threevowe> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:43PM (#12079585) Homepage Journal
    They're not writing in Objective C or putting in Mac specific code, because they know that limits their audience to the few percent who have Macs.

    They need to look at GNUstep. I've been really surprised there hasn't been more spillover to this great open-source toolkit that'll let you write code for BOTH platforms.
  • Trickle-down effect (Score:3, Informative)

    by bonch (38532) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:46PM (#12079688)
    The anti-Apple trolls are out in full force in this article, and getting modded up for it.

    It's trickle-down effect. If the top industry players are using them, universities are using them (remember how most people used UNIX in college and so tried out Linux as a result?), and the media industry is using them, then chances are that everyone else will take a look to see what the fuss is about.
  • by chadseld (761331) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @03:47PM (#12079726)
    Well, the server products aren't really that expensive compaired to the x86 competition. Apple always gloats about the XServer RAID being the cheapest per MB in the market.

    Aside from that, the server environment is the one place where it absolutely makes good business sense to pay more $$ in exchange for higher quality components. If you web store goes down for 48hrs because your server had a junky $20 power supply, you will wish you had spent the extra $100 or so for a quality supply.
  • by solios (53048) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:01PM (#12080065) Homepage
    Went from OS X server on a crotchety old blue G3 (upgraded to a g4/500 w/ a gig of ram) and a pile of firewire hard drives to debian on a cheapass x86 box with a 1tb SATA RAID. The box runs netatalk 2 and doesn't need to do anything else. Works perfectly.... and the PC and drives (with a stupid amount of ram, gigeth, etc) cost less than a base XServe.

    I've been using macs daily since '98, and with the move to OS X, file sharing went from ACLs to unix permissions and suddenly there was no essential difference between using linux and using macos to the end user.... Since X came out and netatalk got useable, I've never had a compelling reason to use OS X on the server - but then, a server is (ime) a thing you set up once, lock up, and leave sitting in a rack until hardware dies. It probably helps that I'm a lot more comfortable with debian on the command line- it's easier to update and maintain a debian system without having to be at the box, in my experience.

    But my job has no call for Serious Computers. So, YMMV.
  • by calibanDNS (32250) <brad_staton AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:02PM (#12080079)
    Just FYI, the DVI -> VGA dongle is included with the Mac mini. No need to go out and buy one.
  • by Bastian (66383) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:18PM (#12080439)
    This question gets answered all the time all over the place by a lot of people more articulate and computer-literate than me, but I'll give it a go anyway. =D

    Linux on the PowerBook gives me a true GNU development environment. Not to rip on Fink (I am a happy user), but they were forced to set the entire system up in a rather kludgey manner, and getting stuff to compile can sometimes be a real PITA. Plus, some of the Darwin standard libraries are different from the Linux ones, so it's nice to have a Linux install that I can use to make sure that programs I claim will work on Linux will work on Linux. =D

    Second, OS X is far from being a Free and Open operating system, and sometimes I like having an OS that I can tinker with. (I used to be a hard-core slacker, and if Slackware were to be ported to Mac hardware, I would probably be replacing my current install with it the very next day.)

    Finally, X apps on OS X just hurt, somehow. I'm not exactly sure what it is, but I'm just much more comfortable switching over to Linux to work with UNIX apps. The entire user interface philosophy of traditional Unix is so vastly different from that of OS X that running Unix apps on OS X is an experience I would compare to trying to speak one thing in French and write something different in English at the same time. It's just not worth the headache.
  • G3 and OSX is fine (Score:5, Informative)

    by CdBee (742846) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:20PM (#12080480)
    Anonymous-Cowarding doubtless in admission that this is a troll.

    I run OSX 10.3 on a 366mhz G3 iBook with 192mb of RAM, it's fine for wordprocessing, surfing, and multimedia use and isn't any slower than Windows XP on a Pentium-2 366.. which most people would agree is a workable pairing.

    10.1 and 10.2 were slow on G3s. 10.3 is fine. As a Windows-refugee I'm still puzzled by an OS that gets faster on older hardware with every release...
  • Re:right click (Score:5, Informative)

    by dick johnson (660154) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:21PM (#12080491)
    You're mistaken. If you want a two or more button mouse, you can buy one or use just about any pc usb mouse. I'm using a three button mouse as I write this. All three work.

    Secondly, even with the old mice, you just had to control click to get the same functionality.

    It'd be nice if you had actually used a Mac in the last four years before you state categorically that you can't right click one.

  • Re:right click (Score:3, Informative)

    by grafikdude (869212) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:21PM (#12080502)
    How do you right click a mac??? OOOH, WAIT! You don't...

    1. Buy a two button USB mouse. (i.e. kensington, microsoft) OR
    2. The CONTROL key acts as the right mouse button. Handy for those that need it. Unobtrusive for those that don't.

  • by diqmay (773248) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:43PM (#12080928)
    true it's not the easiest webpage to find, but in the future to find out exactlty what comes with each Apple product, just go to http://www.apple.com/hardware [apple.com] pick the product and pick "Tech Specs."

    For the Mac mini, the adaptor is listed about halfway down under the "ports" listing.

    http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html [apple.com]
  • by Dr. Descartes (673148) <aspsh4NO@SPAMuaa.alaska.edu> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @04:45PM (#12080972) Homepage Journal

    I would be careful about purchasing g3 iBooks. I have owned two g3 iBooks and they both have had logic board issues that are not covered under Apple's logic board repair program [apple.com]. The overall quality of g3 iBook's are suspect in my book and you may just want to save a bit and just buy a g4 instead.

    OS X runs great on the g3 iBooks provided you have 256 MB of RAM. 128 MB runs OS X but not much more. I could keep a browser of varying flavor open, iTunes, and one other app (Mathematica, et cetera) open before experiencing significant slow down. I really like iBooks but "caveat emptor" if you seek to buy an older model.

  • Re:unix laptop = key (Score:5, Informative)

    by jeremy f (48588) <jmf_24@hotmail.com> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:16PM (#12081511) Homepage
    I used to ridicule the "menu bar at the top" GUI

    Hopefully you don't anymore -- hell, I used to myself. If you do, take a look at Fitts' Law [wikipedia.org], from which can be concluded that such a design is actually best for users.

    If you want to see this in action, try moving your mouse to any point on the center of your screen as quickly as possible, and see how much you overshoot or undershoot. Also, count the number of corrections you have to make -- using the mouse normally, I overshoot targets at least two or three times. If I'm really slow and deliberate, I can get there on the first try.

    What does this mean then? Apple's "menu at the top" allows you to select commands without worrying about Fitts' law. It's impossible to overshoot a target at the edge of a screen; despite how far you use your mouse, your pointer shouldn't extend beyond the top boundry of the screen. Which means it's quite easier to hit the menus in an Apple environment than it is in a menu-under-the-application-title-bar environment such as MS Windows (as well as KDE and Gnome).
  • by eric_brissette (778634) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @05:27PM (#12081662)
    I just bought a $470 computer from Staples for my mom's shop. It's got 512MB ram, a 2.8ghz Celeron, 80gb HD, Windows XP Home, an 8x DVD RW drive, 8-in-1 card reader, monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers. None of it is exceptionally high quality stuff, but it's a quick machine and it does everything she needs it to. No, it's not as slick and cool as a Mac, but slick and cool were not her top priority, price was.
  • by sethlong (791609) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <gnol.htes.s>> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @06:11PM (#12082274)
    Show us this marvelous machine that costs $450 and includes a complete operating system and equivalent software to match iLife and AppleWorks (or iWork for another $80), and an LCD monitor that won't make your eyes bleed, and 512MB of RAM that's worth having. Seriously, show us this machine.

    I'm not him, but whatever.

    http://shop1.outpost.com/product/4199563?site=sr:S EARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG [outpost.com]
    Plus this:
    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?desc ription=20-161-615&depa=1 [newegg.com]
    And this:
    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?desc ription=24-160-137&depa=1 [newegg.com]

    Computer: $280
    RAM: $35
    Monitor: $176
    Total: $491 (So maybe the guy quoting $450 was pushing it a little, but not much)

    Comes with Linspire, OpenOffice, Gimp, etc. For the sort of person who'd be buying this, it's a LOT better software package than Windows XP (good ease of use, virus / spyware immunity, already has an office suite, etc).

    I've seen this very computer in the Sunday ads for $180, which with the RAM and Monitor would come out at $391.

    But...the Mac mini looks cooler, you can install Linux on it like a PC if you want to, fits in smaller spaces, can run OSX (probably it's biggest attraction), and mac people won't look down on you if you have it.
  • Re:unix laptop = key (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @06:12PM (#12082302)
    Re: No to all, hold down the shift key when selecting "No". Shift is usually used for multiple selections within windows, in this case you are selecting multiple "No"s.
  • Re:unix laptop = key (Score:3, Informative)

    by Guy Harris (3803) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @06:23PM (#12082424)
    Can you access Mac menus from the keyboard yet?

    Control+F2 to give the menu bar the input focus, tab to the appropriate menu, Space to open the menu, cursor arrows to move up or down or a letter to select the first menu item(?) beginning with that letter, Esc to dismiss the menu, Return or Enter to activate the item.

    See Keyboard Shortcuts Quick Reference [apple.com] in Apple Human Interface Guidelines [apple.com]. (Ignore the "For Carbon Users" in the bit about Control+F2, it works fine in Cocoa applications such as Safari as well.)

    Not quite as quick as the Windows-and-many-UNIX+X-toolkits Alt+{accelerator for a menu} to directly pop up the menu in question, but at least it's something.

  • Re:Why not? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @06:37PM (#12082626)

    I have two Thinkpads, largely because they were a lot less expensive than the corresponding Macs (i.e., under $2000).

    The starting prices for each series of Thinkpad are:

    • R-series = $699
    • G-series = $749
    • T-series = $1329
    • X-series = $1499

    They are all excellent machines and very reliable. They are also good hardware for running Linux. The only real negative for me is the available screens are only 14.1" and 15".

    I've looked at Macs since OS X came out but I still don't see a reason to use one, unless money is not a consideration.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @06:40PM (#12082668)
    Hmmm, how about a $400 2.8 Ghz P4 machine with 17" monitor?

    Like this [dell.com]
  • Carbon (Score:2, Informative)

    by emjoi_gently (812227) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @08:20PM (#12083731)
    Carbon was an important part of getting OSX accepted. It was also a reason for delaying its release.

    Carbon is a compatibility layer that made it easy to port old Mac programs to the new OS. Considering MacOS 9 is utterly nothing like MacOS X, it was the difference between many App developers updating their programs or just abandoning Apple and going Windows.

    It was a transitional thing. Important for the early stages, but now the OS is mature it matters alot less. Like PS2's being able to play PSOne games.
  • by Twid (67847) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @09:08PM (#12084275) Homepage
    I'm a pre-sales SE for Apple Enterprise Sales (USA). If you fill out this form:

    http://programs.apple.com/contactme/xserve/ [apple.com]

    and mark that you are a business, I guarantee that someone from Apple direct sales will call you.

    We've got a large, growing enterprise direct sales organization that's ready to work with big customers. I'm ex-Novell, and my co-workers are ex-Oracle, ex-NetApp, and generally ex-big enterprise companies. In fact, I can only think of one guy in our group who is "old" Apple. We send him all the OS9 questions. :)
  • Re:And? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @09:41PM (#12084577)
    Oh, and your PowerBook? It's made by a "no-name can't be yet trusted for quality company over seas".
    I always thought of Asus as a pretty reliable & reputable hardware manufacturer myself, be it PC components, pre-builds like the Pundit, or laptops. So, as such, I wouldn't consider them a "no-name" -- indeed, the Register said in a recent article that they had to be careful not to step on the toes of their clients with their own branded gear, esp. laptops, as their market presence increases. Asus make good gear, Powerbooks included :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @10:01PM (#12084713)
    http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,112749,p g,8,00.asp [pcworld.com]

    You can look up the prices on your own. But he's right. He shouldn't even have to give sources, anyone who knows anything about hardware can tell you this. Unless their a Mac fan boy.

    For the record, I own a PowerBook, my main desktop is a PC, I run a Linux server at home, and I use Solaris at work. I'm open to everything. My brand new PowerBook is slow because my G4 is slow. Deal with it.
  • by MadChicken (36468) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @10:22PM (#12084879) Homepage Journal
    the free software alternatives are good enough to, if not kill, then certainly maim demand for commercial alternatives (witness the death of Corel's Wordperfect for Linux).

    The worst enemy of WP2000/Linux was Corel. Throw a buggy suite on the market then never support it. WP/Win had I believe *4* service packs and the Linux one had zilch. I had the thing crash some kind of group of threads so badly, that I could LOOK at my document, but not print, save, or even copy it to the clipboard. Since it was the notes for some public speaking I was going to be doing that evening, I was NOT impressed. That was the last time I used it.

    I'm not sure if WP 2000 or Windows ME is more coaster-worthy.
  • by Drakker (89038) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @10:58PM (#12085145) Homepage Journal
    What about all the people who worked on BSD and Darwin? I don't know if it reaches 10k, but it's still a lot of people...
  • We do (Score:5, Informative)

    by FredFnord (635797) on Tuesday March 29, 2005 @11:48PM (#12085520)
    We're a small business -- less than 100 employees in all, but we have to run a number of servers, some for customers but most for various different employee functions.

    We found that the Macs were great for a couple of things: one, they have hot-swappable IDE (older models) and SATA (newer models) hard drives, which is great for backups... set up a mirrored array and then just pop one of the drives out and pop a blank one in, then carry the first one off-site. Or, in another case, when it's the dedicated backup server, we have four IDE drives in there, each one with a different backup from a different day of the week, and then we pop Saturday's one out once a month so we have a monthly offsite. Dell et al had the same thing with SCSI, which costs twice as much. (This was a couple years back, I'm sure Dell is getting to SATA by this time... right?)

    Also, we have a server that we were concerned about going down for more than an hour or so, but it's not a big problem if it's down for an hour. We can't really afford redundant servers for EVERYTHING.

    So we got the next best thing: we have it set up on an xServe, but all the software, incloding the OS, is on an external firewire hardware RAID box. The xServe started acting up one day (turned out to be a bad power outlet on the power manager, of all things) and I walked in, unplugged it, carried it into our test lab, plugged it into our iMac, and rebooted. Sha-zaam... the iMac is now the server. And it would have worked with any Mac made in the last, oh, five years or so. Well, any Mac with firewire or USB2 that had 256 megs of RAM or more. If necessary, I could have extracted one of the drives from the FW RAID and put it into any of the Macs that didn't have firewire, in an extra 10 minutes or so.

    And that server, from soup to nuts, took less than a day to set up.

    There really are some things you can do with the xServes that have significant advantages. Sometimes it's just doing things a little easier... sometimes it's doing things you never even thought of. Like a thoroughly portable server. (Heck, I could take that hard drive down to our colo site, attach it to our backup server down there, switch over the IP address, switch the IP address in our DNS, and we'd be up and running in under an hour, even if our HQ were without connectivity or power for days. Of course, I could do that with our main corporate file server, too, but that's just because we happen to have a machine down at the colo site that is the exact same model.)

    -fred
  • Re:unix laptop = key (Score:2, Informative)

    by rbrunner (519607) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:14AM (#12085735) Homepage Journal
    Go to System Preferences, then Keyboard & Mouse preferences, and check the "Use F1-F12 keys..." box. Then Ctrl-F2 will focus on the menu. To get the volume and brightness controls, you'll need to use the Fn key along with the appropriate function key.
  • Re:Can I switch? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Phoukka (83589) on Wednesday March 30, 2005 @12:21AM (#12085774)
    Well, at least you're honest about it... :)

    There is a (possibly) easier way, though. At the end of the day, just write down a list of all the programs you used that day. Don't sweat it, just make a quick list. Do that for a week or two, and look at the results. Post those results, and your basic question ("What are the Mac equivalents of these applications?") to macslash.org, and you will get all the info you need.

    Chances are you are thinking, "But what if I forget something?" Well, if it's really important to you, you won't forget it. If it *isn't* important, then it isn't, um, likely to be that important. And if it's something small but vital, chances are you'll use it on multiple days, and pick it up that way, even if you do forget it on one day.

    For what it's worth, I don't see anyone bothering to put any programming time into your idea. It just isn't worth my time to do the programming for you. However, you come up with that list, and I'll very happily fill you in on whatever is out there for the Mac.

    One caveat: don't expect to find open source equivalents for everything. If it isn't open source on Windows, why would it be so on the Mac? And Apple has a long history of fostering a thriving shareware community. Apple takes their lunch money and eats their lunch sometimes (Konfabulator, etc.), but overall shareware has done well on the Mac platform.

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