Pragmatism in the real world

The move to Mac

A couple of days after Leopard came out, my wife and I found ourselves in the Apple store in Solihull and came away with an iMac for her and a MacBook Pro for me.

The main reasons we have been interested in Macs recently are:

  • Disappointed with Vista on my wife’s brand new computer
  • Disappointed with our last two Inspiron laptops
  • Sleep that works
  • The hardware looks good!
  • Unix in the terminal

Interestingly, the biggest benefit we’ve noticed since purchase is how quiet they are. We didn’t realise how noisy those PCs under the desk actually were til we got rid of them.

The biggest challenge has been adapting to the keyboard. The @, ” and keys in particular are in the “wrong” place, and carat navigation is maddeningly inconsistent between applications. I’ve worked out that Option+left/right move per word and command+left/right is supposed to move to the start/end of the line. Command+up/down usually moves to the top and bottom of the document, but I haven’t found page up/down yet but suspect it has something to do with function option and up,down left or right!

We haven’t worked out when we need to quit applications vs just closing the window which leaves the app running.

PHP 5.2.4 was installed by Apple and just needed turning on in httpd.conf (it’s in /etc… did I mention how nice having Unix underneath is?!) What’s odd is that PDO isn’t there and so I suspect that I’m going to have to compile my own PHP at some point.

9 thoughts on “The move to Mac

  1. For a webserver you can use Mamp ( It has apache, php an mysql.

    cmd-q is really quitting an app and cmd-w is closing the window.

  2. Welcome to the cult. Now you can be snarky and feel superior to everyone else like the rest of us. :)

    I use Macports replacements of apache2, php5, mysql5 and subversion (make sure you look at the variants stuff to get a full idea of which options you want to install) instead of the built-in stuff. Gives me a bit more control, but still doesn't require me to ./configure; make; sudo make install everything by hand. It's almost like having a linux package manager in your Mac.

  3. A second for MacPorts. I keep everything under /opt to keep apple installed software and port installed software separate.

    I use ports for a great deal of php, python, and java development platforms. There are occasionally hiccups, but still easier than DIY.

  4. Congratulations on the switch!

    Back in the Tiger days, I always used this PHP installer:
    Though I'm surprised it doesn't have PDO by default. My phpinfo says it's there but only for SQLite?? hm.

    MySQL has an installer, but it's for 10.4 and there are various problems in 10.5 (with the preference panel and startup scripts) due to some directory changes and permissions. There are workarounds to get it going.

  5. macports is easy to install and very easy to use. The installation instructions over at macports are very clear and usage is as simple as "port install php5"

  6. Hi Rob

    I knew you would weaken eventually! Welcome aboard the happy (though sometimes deluded) ship Mac. You'll definitely make your publishing deadlines now.

    I wasn't happy with mampp, though sadly I can not remember why. It may have been because I was having difficulty using with Zend Studio. Or I may have had Leopard problems. But xampp has been running great here on Leopard —

    and has pdo enabled

    Happy New Year

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