Installing new memory units on the Mac

I've just installed my new memory units on the Mac and this was actually quite easy.

My MacBook Pro came with two 1 GB memory units and since I'll be using some quite memory intensive applications and also use a virtual PC I wanted more memory. So I ordered a 4 GB memory pack, which comes as two 2 GB memory units.

The first step was to remove the bottom cover for accessing the contents of the computer. My first attempt didn't work though. I was using a very small screw driver, but apparently this was to large. I managed to release three screws but not the others. I was perhaps a bit to careful but a the same time I really didn't want to break the screws and thereby not being able to remove them at all. A few days went by and finally I managed to get hold of a screw driver with the right size.

After removing the screws and then the cover the memory units were placed almost in the middle (sorry for not providing images of this). I saw that these where fastened with screws so I started removing these too. I later realized that this was totally unnecessary since all you have to do is expand the constraints to remove the top memory unit. Under this the second unit is placed and you remove this by expanding the constraints again.

After this you just click the new units into place, put the cover on again and you are all set. Not that hard at all.

After restarting the computer I noticed an improvement in speed, especially while using the virtual PC.


Quicksilver application launcher for Mac

I wrote in another blogpost about launching applications on the MacBook and how I've always used a program on Windows called Launchy. After a tip in the comment section of this blogpost I have now tried out a program called Quicksilver.

The program works much like Launchy and gives me a quick way to start applications without having to go to Dock (as it's called on the Mac). It's really neat and I think I'll stick with it and use Spotlight for searchng documents and stuff like that.

Give it a try and write me a line of what you think.

A must have: VLC media player

After trying to watch some movies on the MacBook using either QuickTime or FrontRow (both preinstalled on the computer) I gave up and downloaded my favorite player of all time: VLC.

It plays almost every format you can imagine and it's free under the GNU General Public License. So go download it now. Just a tip. And for all you Windows users out there: Yes, there is a download for you to.

As soon as I get home I'll try installing another media player - Plex. A friend of mine (Mathias again) has recommended it and I suppose it's more like a media center, playing movies, music and showing photos and such. A nice thing about it is that it atomatically downloads information about the movies from IMDB and displays really cool imagery together with the information about the movie. But more about this as soon as I have had the chance to try it out.


Some useful keyboard commands on the Mac

One thing that irritates me is when I can't find the right keyboard combinations for my favorite commands. I can tell you right away that the copy, paste, regret, mark all, save and other simple commands are a real pain on the Mac when comming from a PC. I'm used to the ctrl button on the end of the keyboard and then Z for regretting the latest command. On the Mac most of these commands still work but now in combination with the cmd button, placed next to the SPACE-bar. This makes the combination very hard to make using my left little finger, since I'm used to the ctrl-button. I've had my Mac a couple of days now and I have made this misstake a hundred times.

Before you hit me with "get used to it" I know this i just something I have to learn. But I still think it's annoying.

Anyway some other useful keyboard commands are these:

ENDcmd + right arrow
HOMEcmd + left arrow
END OF PAGEcmd + up arrow
BOTTOM OF PAGEcmd + down arrow
PAGE UPctrl + up arrow
PAGE DOWNctrl + down arrow
STEP ONE WORD RIGHTalt + right arrow
STEP ONE WORD LEFTalt + left arrow
BACKSLASH \shift + alt + 7
PIPE |alt + 7
[alt + 8
]alt + 9
{shift + alt + 8
}shift + alt + 9
$alt + 4
@alt + 2 (pretty obvious)

fn + alt + ¨ (the key left of ENTER)

Commands on a Virtual PC or Remote Desktop PC

ENDfn + right arrow
HOMEfn + left arrow
PAGE UPfn + up arrow
PAGE DOWNfn + down arrow
STEP ONE WORD RIGHTctrl + right arrow
STEP ONE WORD LEFTctrl + left arrow
BACKSLASH \ctrl + alt + + (the key right of zero)
PIPE |right alt + < (vmware)
[ctrl + alt + 8
]ctrl + alt + 9
{ctrl + alt + 8
}ctrl + alt + 9
$ctrl + alt + 4
@ctrl + alt + 2
ctrl + alt + ¨ (the key left of ENTER)

I'll probably update this post acouple of times with other useful commands, so please check back. I know I'll check back every now and then before I've leart all this stuff.

Got some other tips? Please post a comment.

Remote Desktop on Mac to Windows

One thing I just can't live without is remote desktop connections. I use them all the time at work for connection to servers and other stuff, and also at home for easily connection to the computers I have.

To connect to other Mac computers you use something called sharing of screens. To connect to Windows machines you go to Microsofts Mac page (a bit ironic don't you think) and download the remote desktop program there. Then you just have to enter the ip or computer name to connect to and you're all set. Usually you have to connect through VPN before using this, but as long as you're on the network the other computer is on (like at home) you probably won't have to bother.

Thank to Mathias for this info.


Launching applications on the Mac

I've always used a nice application on Windows XP called Launchy. For me, a real keyboard shortcut geek, this has been an absolute dream. This application allows you to use a combination of keys, like alt-SPACE to open the Launchy window. From here you can start typing a program name and you get a list of applications to launch. Without using the mouse. When you've used it some time you can launch your favorite applications with just a couple of keystrokes. A real timesaver. I can't even remember the last time I actually opened the program menu under the start menu.

On Vista/Windows 7 you can get the same functionality just by pressing the Windows button and start typing. But since I've always used Launchy I have continued using it.

On the Mac this functionality can be achived by using crtl-SPACE (default keyboard combination) and start typing. This opens Spotlight, which on first impression is quite good. Like the Windows button on Vista/Windows 7 this also searches recently used documents and other stuff. You can even change the order in which stuff appear by accessing the Spotlight settings and changing the order.

I'll try this out for a while before downloading Launchy (I don't even know if Launchy runs on a Mac).

Editing the Hosts file on a MacBook Pro

For someone in my line of work the Hosts file on a windows system has been essential in some cases. In short the file works as a DNS just for my computer. This means that I can use file to change the destination ip of a certain address. As an example I can change http://www.google.com to point to or whatever if I want. All I have to do is add the ip and url in my host file and then clear the cache by opening a command promt and typing "ipconfig /flushdns".

I have now set out to do the same thing on a Mac and this is how it is done:
  • Open a terminal window
  • Type "sudo nano /private/etc/hosts"
  • Enter administrator password
  • Do the changes you want to the hosts
  • Press ctrl-X to save and confirm this and then ENTER to confirm saving
To try this out you can type "ping www.google.com" and check what ip the answer to the request comes from.


Switching to MacBook Pro part 3 - Using the computer

This is part three in a series about switching from PC to MacBook. You can also read part 1 and part 2.

After going through some settings on the MacBook I have to say they have really succeeded i usability. When dealing with the settings for the mouse pad there is a short instruction video that describes each setting and how it affects the using of the mouse pad. Really good.

Using the mouse pad is also a real delight after going through the different settings. Switching programs and getting an overview is real good with four fingers on the pad and so on. This is one thing I really like about the MacBook. The mouse pad knows how many fingers you are using on the pad and can change how it works depending on this. For instance drawing one finger from top to bottom moves the pointer across the screen. Using two fingers for the same action scrolls the screen. Three fingers can switch between different images (when applicable) and four fingers gives an overview of all programs. Quite useful.

Since I'm writing this post in the evening I just noticed that the keyboard lights up nicely. Didn't notice it before in full light. I don't know how many times I have used a computer in a dark environment and I'm constantly forced to pull the screen down in order to light up the keyboard to see what I'm writing. Now it's all built in to the computer. Thank you very much.

Another thing about the light is that when you turn of all lights the screen automatically decreases its light, not to create to great a contrast. Pretty good stuff. How come I haven't had this before on a computer?

I have always been fond of shortcuts on the computer. I use them all the time for copying, pasting, switching programs, opening file explorer, closing windows and so on. Especially when using a laptop with no external keyboard and mouse. A lot of them seem to work on the Mac too, just by switching to the Apple key instead of the alt key. But not all of them. As soon as I get hold of a good Internet connection I'll try to find a chart over all keyboard shortcuts for a Mac. I just can't live without them.

One thing that confused me in the beginning was the fact that all menus for each program is located not within the actual program window itself but at the top. This means that the top menu is specific for each program. This takes a bit of getting used to. For instance in iTunes, that I have been using on my PC too the menu bar is located at the top. When opening iTunes for the first time on the Mac I just couldn't find the menu to make my settings and so on. I started looking in the complete wrong place. After a while I noticed my mistake and felt quite dumb. It just takes a bit of getting used to.

Did I break it
When putting a CD in the drive my first thought was that it broke. I had the computer in my lap and the way it felt and the sound made me feel that it all broke. But everything was working fine. A bit scary though.

Switching to MacBook Pro part 2 - Starting the computer

This is part two in a series about switching from PC to MacBook. You can also read part 1.

Hitting the on button
The start up screen that is presented shows only a blank white screen with the apple on it. After waiting 30 seconds I am prompted to choose the language.

With some hesitation I choose Swedish as my main language. I am a user of many Google products and when using the original language of US English I always get the latest updates quicker. But I guess this doesn't apply to the world outside the web (or Google if you want).

The introduction video that follows welcomes me the the world of Mac and it hits me how clear the screen is.

The next screen wants med to choose my country. Sweden is preselected and automatically my finger drops down to the mouse pad to select continue when I notice there are no right-left mouse buttons. Luckily the bottom left corner works like the left button and so on. But some panic started to spread through my body.

After selecting my keyboard layout I am asked to transfer information from another Mac or TimeMachine copy (the backup program for Mac). Since this doesn't apply to me I jump this step.

Next screen wants me to connect to a wireless network. Since I am on vacation and don't have access to any network at the moment I skip this step to.

But the Mac won't let me. I have to set a network to connect to. I find the solution under "Other network settings" where I can set "no network".

I then have to fill in a form for registering the computer.

This is the first time I come in actual contact with the keyboard and it feels quite nice. Different from a PC, but still nice. The thing I found though was I use all keyboard combinations for a PC. Tab still works for moving around in a form, but there is no "Alt gr" for producing the @. After trying a few combinations "alt" works for this, but it's placed differently from on a PC. I'll probably come back to this later on though.

The next step is to choose a local account for logging in to the computer. This has always been a problem for me. Both me and my wife use the computers at home. Even my son uses the computers for playing games on. I started out using different accounts for everyone since my son wanted one setup of bookmarks in the browser and shortcuts on the desktop and my wife another. But logging in and out all the time when switching proved to be a bigger problem than finding the shortcuts, so I went to having only one account. Multiple accounts also prove to be a problem when using one program for handling photos and music. When adding new music I had to switch accounts to get the new music on to my wifes' account so she could sync with her iPod. No I'll try to go for one account this time (although my son will probably not be allowed to use this computer).

Next stop is to take a picture of yourself. A nice touch, but I came out looking like a geek of some sort.

After choosing timezone, time, date I'm all set to start using the computer.

Switching to MacBook Pro part 1 - First impressions

I have decided to spend some time blogging about my first impressions of my new MacBook Pro. I have never used a Mac before and the decision to pass over to the "dark side" was not easy I can hounestly say, but I finally came around. My friends at work use Mac and I have seen what they can do. So for my own sake and for all others interested I will write some blog posts about all my impressions. I will use the MacBook as a home entertainment center and my main computer at home. But also for doing some .NET development.

13-inch MacBook Pro with aluminium casing
2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
500 GB hard disk
2 GB RAM (but I have ordered a 4 GB unit and it will arrive in a month)

External gear
Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adaper (for external screen or projector)
Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adaper (for external screen or TV)
Apple Remote (for watching movies)

My intentions
My first intention was to only install Windows on the Mac, but I quickly put this aside. I want to experience the Mac and in the process learn something new. This was quite hard for me since I am an absolute novice when it comes to a Mac. Only a month ago I sat down at a Mac at work trying to help a customer. I was looking for a file that my co-worker had saved somewhere. The conversation ended with med saying "I'll have to call you back". I just couldn't figure out how to find the file. So a novice. I am used to have absolute control over my computer and what I can do, so this feels like starting over again.

I will run Mac OS with all the good stuff it brings. But when I feel something doesn't work I will switch to Windows. I guess the first thing I'll be installing on Windows will be Visual Studio development environment.

I went with the smaller 13-inch because I'll probably be using an external screen at home, and I have regretted buying a 15-inch computer for quite some time now. It's just not as easy to bring with me.

The question is if I'll be running Windows on dual boot or a virtual copy. I must confess I'm not really sure which is better but a lot of developers seem to run a virtual Windows for these sort of thing. The drawback with dual boot is that I have to actually start my computer with either Windows or Mac OS. I'd rather run Mac OS and just start up Windows when needed. If I have understood this correctly I don't have to partition my hard drive into one Windows and one Mac part when running only virtual. But I'm not sure of this. Since I'm not sure I can't choose how much space the Windows part would get and so on, so I'd rather not choose at all.

First impressions
When first getting the box in my hand It felt like a religious moment. So clean. Almost as if I wasn't supposed to open it. The box seemed to say "don't break me and never, ever throw me away".

The same feeling after opening the lid. "Am I really supposed to remove the computer from the box?" Even the inside of the box is fitted with foam rubber. Why can't the PC world understand that the design and feeling is quite important. And you don't have to litter both box and computer with markings of all sorts. The mobile wold has learned the hard way that design is almost everything. When we get more and more connected and carry around our technical stuff, it's actually quite important how it looks. A couple of months ago I just couldn't care less how my computer looks. But now that I have this computer in my possession I feel like one of the cool guys.

Except for the computer I got the power cord, a book that says "Everything about Mac", some Cd's which I guess contain Mac OS and some applications and some kind of black cloth probably for wiping the screen with (although I'll probably lock this cloth in my safe since it's so clean and nice).

I'm a PC guy and when using a PC laptop there is no question which way is up, since the bottom of the computer seems to be a playground for how much stuff you can fit in one small area. I'm not saying I can't find the top of the Mac but it's ridiculously clean. Everything that doesn't fit the design has had to go. Weather this is a good or bad thing from a user perspective I'll have to see, but so far so good.

The computer was wrapped in some kind of plastic and before being able to remove this I had to break the seal. This contributes to the feeling that I'm not opening an ordinary technical gadget where the goal is to rip open everything as quickly as possible. This is a moment between me and my new computer. Cherish the moment.

Before switching on the computer I go against all my instincts and actually open the little booklet to read the instructions. It seems I owe this to my computer. Not to abuse it the first thing I do.

The first this that hits me is how they actually try to amplify the feeling of me and my computer as a team. On the first page: "Congratulations, you and your MacBook Pro are made for each other".

They are also very aware that they are winning a lot of PC owners over (including me) since everything seems to be addressed to a new Mac user, not a new computer user. So now I am using a Mac, not a computer. This is a Mac.

Getting the computer to run
The power cord comes with two connections. Either I connect the adapter straight to the socket or I can use the extended cord. My first impression is however that the shorter adapter will be completely useless since I have about 1,5 meters of cord, which is hardly enough for reaching up on and ordinary table.

The short power cord.

The long power cord.

When connecting the power to the computer I am used to the ordinary PC connector - you look for the hole and then insert the connector. On the Mac you use the MagSafe which is fitted with a magnet and easily connects with a click. This can come in handy for all the times you trip over the power cord (i have done it several times). On the Mac the connector will just plop out without the risk of dragging the computer to the ground.

Now I am ready to start the computer.

My new MacBook Pro compared to my 15-inch HP 6710b.