Mac Update

Been busy with all things computing. It’s actually going better than I expected, but I’m taking it very slow. Yesterday was mostly an exercise in sorting out solutions for my new Mac. (I got the 15.4" MacBook Pro at 2.4Ghz. Why? Well I considered the amazing MacPro, but the low end price for that was equal to the high end MacBook, and frankly, these things are so fast now that it just isn’t necessary. Plus, the MacBook runs the Apple 30" Cinema Display at the full 2560 x 1600 pixels of resolution that required a high-end gamer’s card for my PC. So, with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse paired with the MacBook, I’ll have a 15.4" screen, plus a 30" screen right beside it. I would have even considered the Mac Mini, but it doesn’t run the 30" monitor at full res. Otherwise it would have been fine, and simple. I set my wife up with the 1.66Ghz processor a bit over a year ago and it’s easily as fast as my high-end PC for anything I need to do.)

So; solutions. Well, I still have a company and we run enterprise stuff there, including Exchange Server which is really a fabulous way to deal with email, contacts, calendars, tasks, and notes in a collaborative environment. Outlook can be used as a stand-alone app, in which case it’s not that much better, or worse, than a lot of stuff out there. But hook it up to Exchange and it’s a whole different world. Turns out Microsoft has a product for the Mac — Entourage — that syncs with Exchange wherever one happens to be in the world; so that when you get back to the office, or head up to the cabin, or even log in from any computer with Outlook Web Access (check that out — it’s via a web browser), all is as you last left it.

So after a bit of klutzing around, I got Entourage to work. Then I went to work on the iPhone, and that’s a much bigger problem. We use a 3rd party service that syncs our smart phones with Exchange via wireless (you never have to dock; it’s real time, anywhere in the world). That way, when you deal with emails, contact, schedules or whatever on your phone, like on a trip, your Outlook clients on whatever machines (or via web access) reflects all the work or changes you’ve done; immediately. Funny thing is, the iPhone works amazingly well with both Yahoo and Gmail, which both offer IMAP, which is sorta like Exchange operates, but only for email folders. Moreover, the iPhone email client actually displays full html email and you can resize and reposition it by pinching and flicking, just like in the browser.

Unfortunately, there’s just no good solution for that, so it looks like I’m going to have to retrieve email from Exchange via POP, such that anything I do with that email won’t affect the server or what I’ll later find in Outlook. There are a couple of services working on this issue, but nothing is ready for prime time.

Also got remote desktop working, so if I really need to work in a windows environment I can just log into my office box and work as though I’m there. It’s just a screen scrape going over the net, so it’s really thin. Even works pretty well over dialup in a pinch.

Well, lot’s still to do. But I’ll be back to regularly scheduled kicking up shit soon.

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