Saturday, June 23, 2007

Officially Mac'ed

Well, I gave Ubuntu Studio another chance. Thinking maybe it was an issue of me not installing it from "prestine" Ubuntu Studio DVD, I downloaded the DVD, burned it, and re-imaged my machine (well, put it onto the spare partitions I'd reserved for that purpose -- having 500gb of disk space means lots of space for that kinda thing!). Results: The same. It just ain't there yet. Maybe the next release will be, but anyhow...

So I am now the owner of Macbook. I upgraded it to 2gb of memory from Fry's Electronics, then settled down to explore it and... well, everything Just Works. Where I thought I had a problem with MacOS sharing printers with the Ubuntu box, it was actually a problem with my Ubuntu setup for file and print sharing. I fixed the Ubuntu setup, and I was able to access its drive space and printers just fine. I turned on the Windows file sharing on my old Windows laptop, and sucked over files just fine from there too.

And... I'd been somewhat sanguine about the notion of MacOS being Unix behind the scenes. I figured it was Unix but, like with Windows, you'd need to download something like Cygwin to actually have a usable CLI. But... nope. "tar"? there. "rsync"? There. "telnet"? there! ssh? There. The printing system? Well, if you look behind the scenes, it's actually CUPS -- the same system used in Ubuntu, you can even connect to port 631 and manage it the exact same way if you get tired of using the MacOS tools (which hide a few things from you that may be useful).

Anyhow, that's why the only thing I posted today was cats! I'm still exploring my Macbook. So far it's WAY less weird than I'd feared. Tomorrow, I hook up the USB sound system to it and see whether GarageBand works :-).

-- Badtux the Mac-owned Penguin


  1. Egad, you make me want a MACBook now. A friend, who is almost computer illiterate, had one this week, and she was flying along on it.

  2. i have promised myself that Mac is the next thing for me. in the interest of speedy set-up i went with an HP box that was ready and cheap. if i get a year out of it i will be happy. but, i just found out from one of my favorite producers that his entire studio is going to a Line6/Mac system by fall. i might just have to bow to the plain common sense.

  3. Macs are the only way to go!

  4. I strongly considered going with another HP laptop. My previous four-year-old HP laptop is still good, it's just two generations back and too slow for me to listen to the mix while I was recording (there was an annoying echo effect and I don't mean just a little reverb, I mean a full-blown *echo*!). But the only OS available on the new HP's is that Vista crap, and I've heard too many nightmare stories about how it arbitrarily interferes with people's ability to create and enjoy their favorite multimedia content whenever it decides it's no longer a "trusted" computer. As someone else noted, if Vista were a nation, it would be East Germany during STASI's prime, where half the OS is doing nothing except making sure the other half of the OS is behaving according to how Chairman Bill dictates. And besides, I know from experience that a 15.4" widescreen is just too freakin' big to use on a train or plane, I wanted a smaller screen and the Macbook was actually cheaper than the other 13.3" widescreen laptops on the market (Sony doesn't exactly give away their laptops!).

    I was afraid that the user interface differences would get me upset, but they didn't. The taskbar thingy at the bottom behaves a lot like one that I tried for Ubuntu, so that didn't surprise me (I did have to configure it to be small, hide, and be magnified, all of which looks cool but has a very practical purpose of saving screen space while maintaining a task list that's usable). I was forewarned about the single button and its workaround (hold down CTRL and hit the button to get a right click, drag two fingers up and down on the mouse pad to scroll up and down), and frankly had no problem adapting. I plugged in a two-button wheel mouse for a while, then unplugged it. Just didn't need it.

    My Ubuntu box is a perfectly good server box. So I can basically treat it as a big hard drive with printers connected to it, which is something that Linux is good at pretending to be (heh!). Since both the Ubuntu box and the Macbook have gigabit Ethernet, it just means I have to plug in the network wire anytime I want to do something involving masses of data. 100 megabytes per second of network bandwidth is plenty fast for hard drive access considering that the RAID5 array on the Ubuntu box can only write at 32 megabytes per second and the RAID1 array can only write at 24 megabytes per second, and even multi-stream 44.1khz 32-bit audio isn't anywhere near that. (Reads are similar speeds, when I imported my mp3's into iTunes they came in basically as fast as the Macbook could store them on its own hard drive, i.e., fast!).

    About the only thing I don't like is that fn and ctrl are reversed, but you can reverse them back via the control panel. And as far as the CLI goes... within minutes I'd written a Perl script to remove the dups from my iTunes imported folder. Sweet! Try doing *that* on Windows!

    In short, they hit the bullseye here. Great for newbies. Great for programmers. Just Great.

    -Badtux the Impressed Penguin

  5. Damn it, BT. You're going to talk me into becoming a MAC person. They have been tempting me lately, I didn't need to hear this from you.

  6. I have just finished my second month as a Mac user and I don't ever want to go back. Just like your Ubuntu box, I now use my Windows box as a server.

    I found setting up the box was almost disappointing. What should have taken days on windows, just took hours on OS X.

  7. To keep up on Mac-related news, opinion, software updates, etc, check out They gather all that stuff onto their site, so you don't have to search. I've been an Apple/Mac person for a while, and have had little problem with my Macs, beyond the urge to get the latest and greatest stuff as it's announced. You can see that now in the general public, with all the chatter about the iPhone....

  8. Yes, I too have Feisty with audacity and the smegging thing does not work. I dug through fAQs and such. I found info telling me to *plug in the output to the audio input* with a piece of cable!! What a joke! I'm happy with borrowing my mom's old G4 with tiger. Thor knows that thing was also built to last...

  9. MAC rocks!! i got an older G4 laptop and it's everything you said -- usable Unix core - it surprised me also when i first started playing around with it...


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