First Month on Mac OS X

My Windows PC died about a month ago after 5 years of service as a home server. The hard disk controller on the motherboard was failing. I weighed my options and decided to replace it with a Mac Mini and an external hard drive enclosure. So far it’s working out well. It’s certainly a lot quieter than the loudmouth fan on the 400W power supply in my previous rig.

However, there’s plenty in OS X that’s tripping me up. I’m trying to figure it all out organically without looking in Help for keyboard shortcuts or quick tips. As a Windows power user switching to OS X for the first time, I have several annoyances.

  • The right-click-on-folder-name for folder hierarchy took me about a day to discover. It’s not as slick as the Windows Explorer way of displaying an Address Bar with clickable folder names.
  • I severely miss the behavior of Home and End keys in Windows, where it jumps to beginning or end of line instead of beginning or end of page. I know I can do the same thing with CMD-Arrow, but that is some seriously old muscle memory. I accidentally jump to end of page about once per minute.
  • CTRL-Arrow on OS X jumps around the Mission Control desktops and dashboards, which on Windows is jumping to the next word on a page (OS X shortcut is OPT-Arrow). I accidentally pull up the Dashboard about once every 10 minutes.
  • Cut, Copy, and Paste is still X, C, V but using CMD instead of CTRL. That’s an entirely different way to configure your hand to hit that key combination and I haven’t learned it yet. It’s pretty frustrating to be slow at Copy and Paste.
  • If you right click inside the Finder, either on an item or in empty space, you are given a content menu with actions. New Folder, Move To Trash, Copy, Paste, Get Info, etc. are usual suspects in the context action menu. If you click on an document, Windows Explorer gives you the option (among other actions) to Cut, Copy, Delete, and Rename. Finder only lets you Copy or Delete from this menu. I kinda miss Rename action but severely miss Cut action from this context menu. I’m copying then deleting a lot more these days.
  • Also, the Context menu in Windows has a dedicated keyboard key (between ALT and CTRL right of the space bar). I haven’t yet discovered a keyboard shortcut for the context menu in OS X. I’m reaching for my mouse quite a lot.
  • I miss the Explorer dialog boxes in Windows. The Finder Open Dialog has no address bar, which means no pasting in URLs. I’m copying a lot of stuff to the desktop. Also the Close Dialog in Windows usually has a hotkey, so you can hit “S” on the keyboard to Save, “C” for Close. These days I’m having to reach for my mouse to click a button.
  • I dislike how after installing an app, the DMG is still mounted on the desktop. It’s just annoying.
  • It seems like the Trash is a universal target to make something “go away”. Trash can isn’t a clear metaphor for unmounting a disk image.
  • iTunes, Quicktime, and Home Sharing work so much better on OS X. Home Sharing loads my iTunes library so fast. I bet it gets slower but for now I’m enjoying it.
  • iPhoto is an unmitigated disaster. What a mess. Apple has an iCloud Control Panel for Windows that is simple and straightforward and downloads photos off of Photo Stream into an actual file in an actual folder. Requiring iPhoto to interact with iCloud Shared Streams is madness. Where is the equivalent of the “Photos” app in iOS? Also, I want to see these photos in a window in Finder by that doesn’t seem to be an option.
  • The nomenclature of Video, Movie, TV Show, and Home Video is just as confusing on the Mac as it is anywhere else, iOS included. Videos I take on my phone that are added to an iCloud Shared Stream get put in my iPhoto Library in my Pictures folder? But videos I take on my phone then manipulate in iMovie get saved in the Movies folder? And videos I take on my phone get synced to iTunes under Home Video and saved in the Music folder?
  • The Mac App Store is pretty great. For too long I’ve relied on CNet for finding utility software. Although my Mac Mini shipped with Mountain Lion and first order of business was update to Mavericks, after which the Mac App Store prompted me to download and install Mavericks again. Weird. And in the past month I’ve downloaded 2 Camera import updates to support RAW.
  • Pages, Numbers, and Keynote I got for free, but I’m don’t imagine I’ll ever use them They’re removed from the dock. I’ve got Microsoft Office 2011 for $10 from the Home Use Program. I may never use it either, but I know Word and Excel. I’ve removed Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, and Notes from the dock as well. Frankly, I’d rather just do all of it from my iPhone than get notifications about it in two places.
  • Pinta is a decent replacement for Paint.NET. I miss Notepad++. I need to upgrade my license to 1Password to be a Mac + Windows license. I also miss my tool chest of random executables that I’ve collected over the last 12 years since adopting Windows XP. I had a screenshot tool, a file renamer, a file append tool, and of course ProcMon.exe in my tool chest. Now I’m afraid I’m spending $20 a pop on little utilities in the Mac App Store or learning how to do all this in Terminal, which is a painful thought.