December 03, 2004

Curious George: Movin' over to Macs My SO just got the new imac G5 and, thinking I'm computer-savvy, asked me to set it up for him. I have used Macs, but am by no means an expert. Luckily, some of you monkeys are.

So here we go: Is Firefox really better? I'm trying to teach my SO about bit torrent, but apparently you have to d/l macpython has anyone used this/is it good? Also, since he's a music person (with protools and everything), I'm getting him speakers for Christmas. Are there any good ones out there that are under $100? (I'm poor) Any other comments appreciated as well.

  • I use Firefox on both my PC at home and my Mac at work and I heart Firefox on both systems.
  • My 2 cents: Firefox and safari are pretty much the same on the surface, in terms of capabilities and speed. It’s the extensions that win me over. As an interweb tinkerer I want to marry the web developer extension. Nor can I imagine browsing without addblock. Firefox wins. I don't know much about bit torrent (I know what they are and how they work - just not on a programmatic level), but I do work with python in my own research and I have found it to be an amazing tool. I use it for visualizing large XML datasets with OpenGL and I am impressed with both the speed and efficiency of the language. As for speakers, I love my soundsticks. Hope that helps
  • Do you just want a program to download bit torrent files? I use Tomato Torrent.
  • biggest thing: unless it came preinstalled, don't upgrade to 10.3.6 (stay at 10.3.5). It has some issues, especially with browsing and firewire harddrives. I use Safari, Camino, and Firefox on my mac because each one has its strengths. do not use IE, it's a dead program on the mac. In the process of getting info on other killer apps. Pith Helmet works to blocks ads very well for Safari (I think you have to pay for it now, though). i've not hopped onto bit torrent yet, so I can't say anything about that. a few years ago I got a standard Cambridge Soundworks setup for $70-80 that's so good we use it as our main stereo system. Get ones with a subwoofer and I think you'll be pleased for the $.
  • Tomato is a great BitTorrent client. One advantage to FireFox is that there are G5-optimized builds available.
  • Bittorrent: second the motion for tomato torrent. Worked just fine for the few files I downloaded, no noticible issues. Browsers: I just install them all. FireFox is good, Safari is my day-to-day, and I try lots of browsers to test web sites I develop. If he's already got good audio gear, something like Griffin iMic will give him two channel in+out for about $40. OTOH, if he has something that uses S/PDIF, then he can skip that for output and go digital to an amp. Especially if he's using it for music production, he'll want decent, clean reference speakers. versiontracker or macupdate are useful when you want to find an app that does some specialized task. Between protools and garageband, he should have plenty of music creation options.
  • NO....iMacs iBooks everywhere!!!! *runs screaming from room*
  • I believe that Python is installed by default on new Macs. Do this to test: open terminal: type "python" if it gives you a ">>>" prompt, it is installed already. get out of it with Ctrl-D. Check out the excellent "Butler" freeware app. It is incomparably great to help launch anything with just a few keystrokes. For example: command-space ff[enter] opens firefox. command-space ben[enter] brings up the addressbook entry for my brother Ben. Probably your SO won't have my brother Ben on your system, and that's the point. It does different things on different systems by indexing what you've got installed and data loaded into various apps. There's no need to manually assign hotkeys and then remember them. It just figures them out, and is remarkably good at doing that. I wish I could find anything nearly as great and well executed for my Linux box at work. I rarely gush like this. *Sheesh*
  • here's the list for a music maker (on a limited budget): GarageBand, Logic/Logic Express, Audio In, Sound Studio, WireTap, SimpleChord, Guitar Shed, Doggiebox other goodies: BBEdit, Adium (multiclient chat), Watson (essential and awesome), CodeTek Virtual Desktop, Photoshop, Gimp (if you don't have Photoshop), MacJournal, NetNewsWire (lite), OmniOutliner & OmniGraffle, SnapzPro, SubEthaEdit.
  • The current OS X client on the bittorrent site is pretty good, and I didn't have to install anything else to make it work. Oh, and if you are getting any video type stuff via bittorrent, I have to recommend VLC for OS X. It is very solid, and has been able to play most things I've thrown at it.
  • I would keep Firefox around but leave Safari as the default, trampnews. As it stands it's a) faster and b) more elegant, although that will certainly change over time. As several people have pointed out, it's still essentially a windows program under the hood. Oh, and get Camino too. It's good stuff.
  • For monitors, if you're serious about the sound, the computer and entertainment speaker just really don't cut it. They may sound nice, but you can't really get the resolution out of them to hear critically. These are the ones I use. Also budget conscious, these were only $300, which is a drop in the ocean compared to most. I tested them against numerous other pairs and they really perform well. The next choice I would have made would have been about $800. They're highly rated and generally regarded as the entry-level for music monitors. Very flat sound, it's not colored or "improved" like computer/entertainment speakers are, so you can accurately hear what's going on. Once I got these my mixes were ten times better as I actually knew what was going on. I poked around their site a big and saw that they offer smaller and cheaper ones. While I have no experience with them, I'd expect them to be mighty fine given my experience. Amazon indexes various music retailers now, so check there and do some poking.
  • also, you can check dealmac for good prices on mac stuff and general peripherals.
  • Oh, and if your bro is into composing music, he'll want some version of Finale Notepad
  • My current fave bittorrent client is Azureus. You can get it from Versiontracker. Tomato is a nice second.
  • Thanks guys, very helpful. /happy monkey