TapMigrating to Mac (Part 2)

When I wrote Part 1 last April, I promised an update in a few weeks—well I forgot.

My continued impression is that the hardware is excellent and I am now very comfortable using the machine. Even my worries about the Mighty Mouse have, so far, been unfounded, though I do have to clean it fairly often. I discovered that the “not quite full screen” problem was only for certain applications and Firefox in particular was fixed with a later release.

The problems with Time Machine and sleep mode have meant that I have given up using the sleep facility altogether and now shut the machine right down every night. The regular updates keep rolling in and I continue to be surprised how many of them require a system reboot.

The number of applications regularly using the VMware Windows guest has reduced to three (Family Tree Maker, MediaMonkey and EasyWorship) and I am now using Crossover for WaveCorrector. For others I have found native applications and the number of these becoming available is increasing as Apple’s market share improves.

To the details. I have omitted areas where there has been no change.


  • Firefox. Version 3 is much better, eliminating most problems and integrating with the Mac much more smoothly though it hangs sometimes—the “My eBay” page is a regular one.
  • I never found the “seamless FTP built into Finder” that I was told about so got CyberDuck instead which is very good, though it seems to get confused if I try to multi-task it.


  • Thunderbird. A similar experience to Firefox—very good but it occasionally hangs, in particular on the first reply message of the day. I am looking forward to Version 3.
  • Pop Peeper was abandoned in favour of a Thunderbird account configuration which downloads headers only. This works fine and means less clutter on the desktop.
  • I have adopted Adium for IM which seems to do the job quite well though I have no need for conference rooms any more. We have also started using Skype occasionally and I found a USB desk mic (Logitech AK5370) which works very well.

Document processing

  • I am a bit concerned that NeoOffice is lagging well behind OpenOffice in updates but it works ok. I am looking forward to it being able to create and edit PowerPoint files that EasyWorship will accept.
  • So far I am using The Gimp native for picture editing. It is rather clumsy working under X and some people have said that it works better under VMware but if I was going to do that I would revive PaintShop Pro. I would like something better (I can’t justify the cost of PhotoShop) and while researching this post I noticed that the Gimp version I am using is rather old so I will update and see if it is better..
  • For plain text and HTML/CSS editing I have found TextWrangler which has some very good features including a very slick file compare.

Family History

  • Family Tree Maker for Windows works well in the VMware guest. I can’t see me replacing this as the pain of file conversion would be too much to consider; unless they come out with a Mac version perhaps 😀 .

Music preparation

  • Rip—Max seems to do a similar job to Exact Audio Copy and works very well. It even picks up many album details
  • Digitise—I am now using Wave Corrector from Crossover as it is a bit more responsive than from the VMware guest. I have got used to the Mighty Mouse but, for this application, something a bit more precise on the scroll wheels would be better.
  • Encoding— I have installed LAME in a number of places; native for Max and Audacity, in the VMware guest and also in the WaveCorrector Crossover bottle.
  • Edit—Audacity works fine but it doesn’t get used much. A handy tool to have in the box.
  • Download—µTorrent is now available in beta and it works just fine. I am glad to be rid of BitTorrent which continually dropped out and was very slow.
  • MP3 player—I have a plain MP3 player not an iPod and also don’t use iTunes so I needed something else to load it. XNJB was designed for the Creative range of players but it works well with other similar models including my Samsung and there is a good list on their site.


  • Garmin MapInstall, MapManager, POI Loader and WebUpdater is now available for the Mac. It wasn’t easy to install and find all the stuff required, some of it had to be transferred from an existing Windows install including the big maps but it works ok now. Garmin have a rather protective attitude to software downloads.


  • A hardware failure on the church system forced me to review this and, in order to loan my own Windows system to them, I transferred everything into the VMware guest on the Mac. EasyWorship now works very well since VMware started supporting multiple monitors.


  • I don’t know what went wrong when I first tried to configure the OS X firewall but it is fine now. I am a bit concerned about how effective it is but I don’t think the risks are too great. I am sure it is something Apple will come under a lot of pressure to get right. I am having a few problems with the Canon MFP (MP600R) Scanner interface, which doesn’t surprise me, but otherwise no problems any more.
  • I have now abandoned PINS for password management and use KeePass on Windows and KeePassX on the Mac which use a compatible database. Both versions are installed on my memory stick so can be used anywhere I go without installing.


  • Backup4all. Works fine in the VMware guest, though there is now very little data to worry about. The new version of VMware makes it much easier to use Mac directories in the Windows guest transparently.
  • I haven’t found a good application to sync. memory sticks yet so I still use Pen Drive Manager on my office Windows system. It is disconcerting that, if the VMware guest window has focus, it automatically picks up anything you plug into the USB socket without asking.
  • I am using Springy for ZIP files. The built in mechanism was just about ok for extracting files but pretty useless for creating them.


  • The dual head graphics card on the Mac is very good and with the addition of the built-in Spaces feature for virtual screens, this gives me all the window area I need.
  • The sound system is every bit as good quality as I expected and with some additional software, such as SoundFlower, LineIn and SoundSource allows me to configure it just as I would like. A clever feature is being able to configure the internal speaker separately so I send the system bings and bonks there so they are unobtrusive. I will post later about the sound configuration as it is quite interesting. If I need any more then AudioHijack looks excellent.

As a consequence of loaning out my Windows system, all data has been transferred and, except for a small panic when I lost some very old files, it has all gone smoothly. The next thing I will need to do is look at upgrading/enlarging the NAS as it is almost full. I would really like one that supports TimeMachine if that is possible. I would also like to find out what Bonjour is all about.

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