I’ve had my PowerBook for about a week now and it’s working out well (I’m typing this entry on the PowerBook now). Considering that I had to call my brother on that first day to ask him what the colored circles in the titlebar were, I’d say that I’ve made some good progress (for what it’s worth, the red circle is “close”, the yellow circle is “minimize” and the green circle is “change-shape”).
Of the apps I initially surveyed, most are working out fine — Mozilla Firebird and Thunderbird are working as expected, Fire is dandy, and Chicken of the VNC works just as I thought it would. But, they’re not all working out so well…
The biggest disappointment, perhaps, is the ftp client. I had Fugu earmarked for that slot, but I can’t get it to do normal ftp (only sftp et al). And, Fugu’s runner-up, Cyberduck, didn’t work out either — sure, it can do normal ftp, but it doesn’t even have such basic feaures as automatic binary/ASCII switching (at least, not as far as I could tell).
Since neither Fugu nor Cyberduck met my needs, I turned to Transit (which Jon Gales recommended in one of the comments from my last entry). Transit does all that I want it to (not that an ftp client needs much, really), but it’s also $25. Now, $25 isn’t necessarily a bad price for software, but it seems a bit excessive for an ftp client. Another ftp client that I’ve heard of is Fetch but that one’s also $25 :(. I really don’t want to pay that kind of money for an ftp client; but, I suppose I will if I have no other option.
If Fugu & Cyberduck were my biggest disappointment, then OpenOffice.org was the most disheartening. I really wanted to like it (after all, I use the Windows version on that OS exclusively), but the Mac OS X version left me wanting more. Really, it’s hardly a port at all — it’s just the Unix version running under X11 for OS X. So, it has the Unix interface and doesn’t have the usual Mac OS niceties such as the Aqua look or even the nifty Finder-ized open/save dialogs.
All the same, I’m between a bit of a rock and a hard place. Normally, when presented with an unappetizing option, I’d look for others. But, if I didn’t go with OpenOffice.org… is Microsoft Office my only option? Not only is Microsoft unappealing (after all, that’s one reason I bought the Mac), but it’s also on the expensive side as well — it’s about $250 for the full version (I don’t qualify for an upgrade and I’m not going to cheat with an Academic license)
So, I figure that I can either: (1) learn to live with OpenOffice.org, (2) Find a 3rd office suite for OS X or (3) find MS Office cheaply somehow. Though auctions can often be more trouble than they’re worth, I haven’t ruled out eBay. But, other than that, I’m open to suggestions.
As for virtual desktops, I had Space.app on the top of my list (especially since it’s free). I gave it a try but it just didn’t have the features I was looking for. When I use such an app, I like to treat my multiple screens as one giant desktop including desktop-switching by mousing off the edge of the screen. And, Space.app doesn’t have that feature :-/.
So, I turned to my second choice, VirtualDesktop from CodeTek. Sure, it's not free ($30, as it turns out), but it has all the features I’m looking for (mouse-switching and then some). Yeah, $30 might be a bit high for such an app, but I can respect that the developers must have had to do some low-level digging into the OS to achieve the functionality. And — ooh! — I see that they’re running a year-end 25%-off sale. I might just have to get that one.