iNoob – Chapter 2: Learning to be Productive

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I’ve been in the crucible of work with my MacBook Air for nearly 3 months now.  I’m finding myself feeling more at ease with many of the differences between Windows 7 and OS X. There is still the need to have a mixed environment for me to be productive AND happy.  One thing I found that I just NEEDED to do was purchase a copy of Parallels for Mac so I could get to Windows software like Visio, Project and Mindjet MindManager (there is a version for Mac, but I already own a license for the Windows version….). The installation of Parallels, Windows 7 and the various programs I wanted (including Windows Live Writer with the Zemanta plug-in, which is still my favorite blogging tool) went flawlessly.  Windows even boots faster in the Parallels environment than on my quad-core at home!

I have always needed and used a separate keyboard and mouse for any computer I have. While the keyboard of the MacBook Air is solid, I can’t get far enough away from the screen (especially when I have a second monitor set up).  I only use the “in house” keyboard at home in conjunction with a Microsoft wireless mouse. I have not found the MacBook Air’s multi-touch pad to be all that useful.

For work I purchased a couple of Logitech products: the Wireless solar keyboard for Mac and the Performance MX mouse.  I like these for a couple of reasons: the keyboard really is solar, so I don’t need to worry about batteries, and the Logitech Unifying wireless receiver and software they use means that I only need to have a single receiver that takes care of both, saving the USB slots in the MacBook Air, which is good, as there are no enough of them….

The Logitech keyboard has Home and End keys just like its Windows cousin, but the Mac OS X doesn’t recognize them, which is a shame.  I use these keys ALL THE TIME. Yeah, I know there are 2 key combos, but I like a single key for these simple moves. Speaking of keys, the keyboard shortcuts are, of course, different.  I found a particularly helpful shortcuts page on the Apple support site that I have made a favorite on all my Mac browsers.

Other things I have had to get used to:

  • Closing a program doesn’t necessarily close a program. If I close out a document, Word is still active in the task bar and I have to kill it in order to ACTUALLY close the program.  This is a pain.
  • Windows PCs have Alt+Tab to get to individual windows. On the Mac Command+Tab shows you what’s open, but doesn’t bring it to the front.  For example, if I have Outlook open as well as a couple of mail items and new mail that I’m composing, then I switch to a browser window to check a reference, then Command+Tab, all I see is the Outlook icon with a number on it.  It would really be helpful to be able to tab to the item, not just the program.
  • I am unable to set up a network printer very intuitively.

All-in-all, it hasn’t been as bad as it might be, and I feel like I’m nearly up to the level of comfort I was before I started working on a Mac.  Still, old habits die hard….mine are positively zombie-like.

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