My First Mac Machine

6 minute read

I have been an avid/loyal Windows user ever since I started working with computers back in high school. Windows was the first operating system I started playing with and it’s one reason I feel in love with computers! In college I continued to use Windows as my primary operating system but also used Linux and really enjoyed learning how to use it for my day to day needs in school (i.e. setting up Eclipse and the Java SDK for projects)! With my recent work with React, Angular 2+, Vue and Node.js I began feeling that I would have a better experience working with these libraries/frameworks in a native bash/unix environment.

Microsoft’s Windows Subsystem for Linux (a.k.a WSL) was something I had hoped would fit my needs to work in such an environment. Although WSL has gotten much better since it was first released, I still had some issues with it that I never had when using a command prompt in Linux (i.e. corruption of git repositories from VSTS (now known as Azure DevOps), errors with jekyll, performance issues, etc.). I began thinking of switching to a native bash/unix environment. I noticed that a lot of the tutorials and screen casts I would watch on YouTube and Udemy were all done in a Mac desktop/laptop. It turns out that I recently had a chance to purchase a new Mac Air Pro Laptop for a really good price and took the plunge into the Mac world!

Things I love

After playing around with the laptop for the last few days I am really enjoying not just using it for my every day use, but also learning how to make it fit my needs! The first thing that stood out for me was the UI, it just looks and feels so much nicer when compared to Windows 10! The apps I use on daily basis in Windows (i.e. Chrome, VS Code, MS Word, etc.) really do just look (and feel) nicer in my mac laptop. VS Code feels faster when navigating around it, and when I type in npm start in it’s integrated terminal, the built in server loads up the app so much faster when compared with Windows 10! But it’s not just fast start up times of my ReactJS projects that I am impressed with, I am also enjoying the following things:

  • Track Pad Gesture - I am really liking the fact that you can use different combinations of finger swiping to do really cool things. Check out this video for more
  • Long Battery Life - Really impressed how long the battery has lasted on the machine. I am so used to having my laptop charger by my side when using my windows laptop but with my mac laptop I just don’t think about charging it as much!!
  • Unix OS - I love that the underlying OS is Unix! It has been a pleasure opening up a native terminal and start typing familiar bash commands knowing that they’ll be executed fast and without any issues!
  • Homebrew - I used apt in my Ubuntu laptop during college to install the software I needed to do my projects which made things so convenient and easy to setup! Having a package manager to install software on your machine is great! I have heard good things about Homebrew and it did not disappoint when I had to install some utilities to get my terminal just right (i.e. tree, macvim, jekyll, etc.)
  • Security - Even though I know that viruses exist for Macs, it feels good not to worry too much about a virus getting into your system for no good reason (at least this is how I feel with Windows). I still practice good habits when it comes to not doing something that may cause your system to be compromised!
  • Jekyll - This site is hosted on Github and built with the static site generator Jekyll. After installing Jekyll using a simple command in Homebrew, it’s really nice just having to type in jekyll serve and work on this site! In addition, I have started to use VS Code to write/edit articles on this site and it’s so much easier and a much better experience in MacOS!

Things I am trying to figure out

Although I am loving my experience so far with MacOS, there are some things I am still tyring to figure/getting used to.

  • Keyboard - I love my Lenovo Laptop keyboard layout and feel. It’ll be a challenge geting used to the keyboard on the mac but so far I must say it’s really easy to the fingers and with just a bit more time I’ll be able to get more and more comfortable with this keyboard.
  • Switching Windows - I am an avid user of alt-tab and this keyboard combination is not working as I am used to. This will also take some time for me to get used to I think as well as me doing more research on how to use this feature on a Mac.
  • Terminal - I am pretty happy with the built in terminal app, but I have been hearing great things about iTerm2 and will look into using this as my primary terminal emulator!

Future plans

I am planing to use this laptop to develop React Native apps that can be deployed to both the Apple App Store and Google Play! I may even look at building native apps in swift just using XCode to add this knowledge to my skill set! In addition, I am going to start looking at using Visual Studio for Mac and also start playing around with .NET Core on this machine.

Final Thoughts

So far my experience with the Mac laptop has been great! I’ll still continue to use my Windows desktop/laptop (at home and work) to do my development work. If all goes well, I’ll be moving the other type of development I do (i.e. javascript, nodejs, etc.) to this machine. Windows has been a great environment for the past 15+ years and it’ll remain my primary OS for work but moving away from Windows for my personal work/projects I think is good for me to continue to grow and get better as a developer.


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