Well that's good. Fantastic. That gives us 20 minutes to save the world and I've got a post office. And it's shut!

Friday, December 04

Geek

Two Weeks-ish With A Mac

After about 10 years in Windows and Linux-land, I've been setting up my new iMac over the last couple of weeks.  This takes a while, because I use a lot of different applications.

My impressions so far:
  • Performance: 9/10.  Almost everything is zippy.  Best result ever on my Python benchmark, twice as fast as running in a Linux VM on my four-year-old Windows box.

    That was one of my main reasons for getting a Mac - I can run the server-side applications I work on directly under OSX rather than having to run Linux virtual machines.  I have VMWare Fusion so that I can run virtual machines, but I don't have to.

  • Screen: 9/10.  Exceptionally sharp and vibrant, let down slightly by the reflective finish and lack of adjustment options (tilt only).

  • Sound: 6/10.  Adequate and inoffensive, but far from amazing.

  • Noise: 9/10.  Pretty much silent when you're not asking it to make noise.  My Windows box gets quite loud when it's busy.  (Though for about $100 I could add a closed-loop water cooler that would silence it.)

  • Mouse: 7/10.  The mouse is a bit oddly-shaped, but the "magic" part works very well - you can left-and-right-click even though it has no buttons, and you can scroll up, down, and sideways even though it has no scroll wheel.

    The only problem is with mouse acceleration in OSX.  Mouse acceleration sucks and there should be an option to just have a constant but high mouse resolution.

  • Keyboard: 2/10.  The so-called Magic Keyboard sucks.  It's a mediocre notebook keyboard with no feel or key travel, transplanted to the desktop where it has no reason to exist.  I dug my 15-year-old G3 iMac keyboard out of the closet and I'm using that instead.

  • Gaming: 7/10.  Runs Baldur's Gate EE, Torchlight and Cities: Skylines just fine.  Haven't had time to try anything else yet.

    One letdown is that it doesn't seem to be possible to run games natively at 5k; they default to the UI resolution, which is half that, so 2560x1440.  That's the right resolution to run at given the mid-range video card it has, but I would have liked to see Cities: Skylines at 5k.

  • UI: 5/10. Coming back to the Mac after a decade away, all the nice stuff is still there.  Also all the bad stuff.  A bit disappointing, really.

    The single menu bar needs to die.  It made sense on a 9" screen.  It's absurd on a 27" screen.  

    Launchpad is dumb - it's the Mac equivalent of Windows 8's Games window.  Snapping windows is dumb.  Finder is dumb.  Installing software works pretty well, mostly.  Uninstalling is a mess.

  • Developer tools: 9/10.  All my JetBrains tools run on Mac, and handle the 5k display better than they do the 4k screen on my Windows box.  (Plus AppCode for Swift and Objective-C, which is Mac only.)

    The Homebrew installer is great.  For my work I need MySQL, MongoDB, Elasticsearch, RabbitMQ, Neo4J, Redis, Python, PyPy, Ruby, Lua, Node.js, PHP, CouchDB, uWSGI, Nginx, LMDB, PhantomJS - oops.

    The PhantomJS package won't install on OSX 10.11, but that's the first problem I've run into.
So overall it works pretty well, and I'm happy with it.  Ran into some trouble with the Adobe installer (it basically refused to install anything), but they released an update and it started working.

The only worry now is how quickly I'm filling up the 1TB SSD.  I have 70GB of loops to download (bundled with Mainstage) and I've barely started installing my Steam and GOG libraries, even though only about one third of my games run on Mac.  I might add an external SSD at some point - the Samsung T1 looks like a nice option.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:09 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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