After a week of using a Mac as my main desktop computer, it’s as if life has changed. It’s like I joined some elite club. That was evident by the encouragement on the GameSalad forums. Apparently, a lot of Mac fans frequent the website. They were happy to hear that I was choosing a Mac over a Windows machine. Although, I’m still in the process of resolving some issues with the switch. The biggest issue is software. During the last decade, I acquired a lot of software. Some programs did not survive the transition.
Although, I did notice some issues. Spellcheck doesn’t work on gedit. The plugin loads properly, but it doesn’t seem to have a dictionary. Every word is highlighted as incorrect. I think this issue is fixable. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. The other issue is that Notepad++ seemed a bit more peppy. It was great for working with ridiculously large text files – like SQL files or web log files.
I think the performance issue with gedit is related to memory limitations. My Mac Mini only has 1 GB of RAM. The little silver box is very quiet, except when it’s using virtual memory. I can hear it accessing the hard drive. I do not like this at all. I don’t want to wear out my computer because of such a trivial matter. Although, upgrading the RAM in a Mac Mini is not so trivial. I watched a video on how to upgrade the memory on a Mac Mini. It’s certainly not intuitive. I’m confident that I can do it, but I haven’t decided how much RAM I’m going to install. I should probably upgrade my Mac to 4GB.
Halo – Wow, this is absurd. I’m seeing used copies of Halo being sold for over $100. It’s a highlight of the sorry state of Mac gaming. A new copy of Halo for PC is only $20. I like Halo, but not at $100. I suppose that I could use this situation to my advantage. I can make Mac games with GameSalad. With the limited supply of Mac games, there must be consumer demand.
AIM – I didn’t expect problems with Instant Messaging… and I didn’t have any problems. Yet, something unexpected happened. I was surprised to discover that iChat had AIM support. I didn’t even need to install the AIM software.
Folding@home (GPU) – I still haven’t figured out a way to do CUDA / GPU based folding with the Mac Mini. There is a CPU client, but CPU based folding is very slow. I tried using the CPU client for Mac, but didn’t seem like it was working at all. I turned it off.
Money – The main motivation for switching to the Mac was economical. Having two desktop computers seemed redundant. By using the Mac Mini exclusively I can lower my electric bill. I’m thinking it will save about $120-$250 a year. Yet, with 4 GB of Mac RAM at roughly $90, I could easily spend away any savings. This is especially true with software. A cross-platform upgrade to CS5 would set me back about $600. Purchasing iWork is another $50. If I wait for iWork 11, that would be more expensive. I haven’t made any major purchases yet. That means occasional switching back to the PC.
So far, I’m enjoying the Mac Mini. I think it’s better. Even after using Windows 7, the Mac just feels more modern and more powerful. There are just a few more issues to work through.