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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Getting my Mac on

I started my new job on Friday and I had come face to face with what seemed like a good idea one month earlier:  I was going to switch my digital life from a PC to a Mac.  Backstory: I've been living off of a 5 year old Dell Latitude that was dual-booting Windows XP (used only for MS Office) and Xubuntu (9.10) and was sick and tired of rebooting into windows just to have a clean look at Powerpoint and Word files.  I'm a command line kind of guy so I figured I could do all of that on a Mac without the Windows hassle.  That was the logic behind the move, only time will tell whether it was the right decision.  I'm using this blog to document everything I've done during the transition so that I might someday remember all of this if I have to move to another Mac.  Maybe it might even be useful to another Mac newbie.

As a few days have passed already, I'm just jotting down stuff from memory.  First order of business was to make sure I could compile all the C-code I've been working with over the years.  After talking to some co-workers, I found out I need to install this stuff:
  • Xcode: this puts all sorts of development goodies at my fingertips, e.g. gcc, X headers for Linuxy graphics programs I use.  After signing up to be an official Apple Developer (Mom would be so proud), I downloaded an archived .dmg file which installed simply by dragging it onto my Application folder.
  • fink: this lets me get lots of open source code that I use for some of my software development and scripts that I use in my research.  Stuff I really needed to get going was the GNU Scientific Libraries, GMT, ImageMagick, lesstif and a few others I can't remember off the top of my head.  Fink downloaded as a tarball and was pretty painless to install.  It asked an awful lot of questions and I just went with the defaults but found out afterwards that I should have probably chosen the "unstable" branch but it's worked well for me so far.
I googled my way through importing my email from Thunderbird on my PC to the Mac.  Most folks suggested just copying over your "profile" folder and updating profile.ini with your old profile name.  It worked for me without any difficulties.  Probably should have made sure I had the same version of Thunderbird running on the PC and the Mac but didn't think of this until I was halfway through.

That's it for now...

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