RTFM Education – Virtualization, VMware, Citrix

Dec 9 2009   7:14AM GMT

Come over to the darkside – Futher adventures of Mr MBP

MikeLaverick MikeLaverick Profile: MikeLaverick

Well, if you follow my blog regularly you will know I recently moved over to the darkside – and acquired a MacBook Pro. According to some I did this just at the wrong time – just as Windows was going to get wonderfully better in the shape of Windows 7. Well, that doesn’t really help me does it. Look I’ve spent the money on the darn thing now, so there’s no point in really saying that is there. I don’t think my pals at Dixons (the “Best Buy” of the UK) would really pony up the refund.

So I wanted to share with you my experiences – I think this is the 2nd or 3rd week of use. Firstly, performance. The MBP (MacBook Pro) certainly feels much quicker than my old Windows Vista notebook. I’m not sure if that’s a fair comparison – given that Vista was universal recognized as Windows ME in disguise. Plus the old Windows Vista laptop had only [!] 2GB of RAM, and the MBP has 4GB. The are both dual core (AMD vs Intel). I was thinking about this the other day. Nearly every CLEAN install of Windows is pretty quick to be honest – the trouble is OVER TIME, they gradually grind to snails pace. So, I guess a more fair comparison will be in 1 years time – is the MBP as quick or does it like Windows get clogged up with the grit and grind of every day use.

Secondly, I opted for Microsoft Office for MAC as the office sweet (deliberate spelling mistake by the way). Of course some Mac-Whores would and have instantaneously condemned me for my choice. That’s not an “Apple” program its a Microsoft one – as if Apple are the ONLY source of applications for the Mac. They point to iWorks and or OpenOrifice. To tell you the truth I opted for the Microsoft Office for Mac after asking some Mac-Philes via twitter whether it was worth it – to which they said yes. BUT… I’m afraid Entourage (Outlook for the Mac) does crash, as does Word and Excel. They aren’t quite so bad as the Windows one’s but not much better. Anyway, like the MBP I paid for the darn thing, so I’m addiment its I’m going to use it. My main reason for sticking with MS Office on the MAC – was to make the move from PC to Mac smoother – and thought introduce another layer of file formats – would make exchanging data between the Mac to PC would be harder.

On the upside. iTunes is noticeably better on the Mac. The other thing I’m loving is the native support for PDF. So I don’t need a secondary application for PDF generation like I did for Vista – that’s handy when submitting purchase orders and invoices. It’s no slouch on the PDF front either – with the ability to protect the PDF and handle metadata.

The other thing I like about the Mac is how easy it is to install and de-install applications. That’s always been a PITA in Windows. Basically, in most case you download a .DMG file (this is a Disk Image format – like .ISO) which is then mounted – and then the install kicks off. In most case you just drag and drop the application within the DMG file – to your applications folder. If you want to “de-install” you drag it to trash. Some installer do come with an engine to get you to accept an EULA/License String – but in the main all they do is copy the .APP file to the Applications Folder. Neat. Here’s my hit list of applications I’ve downloaded and installed in the three weeks I’ve been a MBP user:

Vienna – http://www.vienna-rss.org/vienna2.php

DivX – http://support.divx.com/

FireFox – http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/personal.html

Flip4MAC – http://www.microsoft.com/mac/products/flip4mac.mspx

MacICA_OSX – I forget where I downloaded this from now. It’s appears to be no longer around on Citrix’s website. It’s looks and feels like a “Program Neighborhood” for Apple MAC. You create an ICA file with all the right settings, then it gets loaded in the ICA engine. I was however able to find a copy here

http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/its/remote/mac.htm

RDC – http://www.microsoft.com/mac/products/remote-desktop/default.mspx

Skype – http://www.skype.com/download/skype/macosx/

uTorrent – http://www.utorrent.com/downloads/mac

VMware Fusion – I think you know where to find this!

Yahoo Messenger – http://messenger.yahoo.com/mac/

ClassicMACFTP – http://www.nchsoftware.com/classic/index.html

On the downside – I notice there’s no native support for .FLV files on a MBP until you find a free player like Eltima’s free player:

http://mac.eltima.com/freeflashplayer.html

That flash support is quite important to me – especially when I create videos. Generally, if you recording the screen and doing narrations and want something better than youtube.com and zoom-ins – your talking .flv formats – unfortunately both MP4 and Windows Media – are far too large to be considered acceptable for streaming. The trouble is finding an on-screen recorder that saves/exports to flash natively. I tried two as an eval – Camtasia for Mac and ScreenFlow for Mac. Neither support .FLV conversions. But out of both them – ScreenFlow seemed to have the best export functions, integrates very nicely with the iSight camera – and allows you to re-size the video during the export process – just not into a .flv format. SO, it looks like I will have to find some application that takes MP4/Mov/. Personally, Screenflow wins – and what’s more its on $99 compared to Camtasia for Mac which was $149, but is currently $99 on special offer.

So as you can see FLV support beyond the web-browser is a little bit thin on the ground with a MBP.

My move over to Mac hasn’t been painless. I’m still struggling with keyboard shortcuts which mainfests itself on a number of levels. Firstly, there isn’t a direct mapping of popular keystrokes in PC to Mac. For example in Windows to copy is [ctrl]+c, whereas in mac is it’s MacKey+C. Where that becomes tricky is when your in a RDP/ICA session – and you want to cut and paste data from one to the other. You find yourself having to use two different keystrokes. Secondly, is when you need to send from a MBP keyboard particular keystrokes to a RDP/ICA session. For example:

F11 – which is used to confirm things like a reboot in ESXi

Alt+F1 – which is used to get to the Tech Support Mode in ESXi

Insert Mode – which is used when I use vi to edit text…

Don’t get me wrong the keystrokes are there – sometimes I’ve had to google-wack them – other times, I’ve had to change the keystroke options (say in the HP ILO) to get the right keystroke sent.

The other slight annoyance is sometimes the keystrokes aren’t consistent. For example MacKey+ is usually the thing that replace [ctrl]+ in most case. But if you want to kill ping from the Terminal application its [ctrl]+c.

I guess the easiest thing to say is Mac is just different, and different takes time to get used to.

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