Wednesday Dec 19, 2007

OSX #1: Getting Started with a Mac for a Windows User

MacBook Image I got a new Apple MacBook Pro (Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, 160 GB HDD and other good stuff) and excited about that! However I've been a Windows user all along and this is my first interaction with a Mac.

So here are some basic tips/tools to get you started if you are in the same situation:

  • Start with Mac101 - This will get you familiar with Mac, basic terminology, some keyboard hints and other misc stuff.
  • Keyboard mappings between a Windows and Mac keyboard are very different. It would help to print out the mappings and keep them handy. It can take more than a day to get used to the new mappings. Some specific ones are:
    • "Right-click"ing is not intuitive - Enable Two-Finger Click on the Trackpad
    • No Forward Delete key, Mac equivalent is Fn + Delete
    • No dedicated Home, Page Up or Page Down keys, Instead use Fn + Cursor keys
  • Install the following tools
Also read 10 tips for Mac users switching from Windows and a more comprehensive list at Switch to The Mac.

The box came installed with Tiger (Mac OSX 10.4) as opposed to Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5). Leopard Updates are available for $9.95 until Jan 4th, 2007.

Some other striking difference in the terms of UI are:

  • The menus, instead of stacked to each window, are always available at the top.
  • "Windows Control Panel" is available as "System Preferences" on Dock (the toolbar which is, by default, at the bottom of the screen).
  • Minimize/Maximize/Close buttons are to the left instead of to the right.
  • Maximize button only maximizes to the required extent instead of occupying the entire desktop.
  • Important keyboard shortcuts
    • F9 - Shows all open windows
    • F10 - Shows all open windows for the current application (every thing else is greyed out)
    • F11 - Hides all windows and shows the Desktop
    • F12 - Show Dashboard

Here are some other tasks that I tried:

  • iMovie is really cool, I could easily create a movie (with in-built camera) and upload a video directly to youtube. Really good intuitive interface.
  • Create clean HTML pages (like this blog): TextEdit (the default editor) adds redundant markers and viewing HTML source code is not intuitive/easy. So does NeoOffice. Microsoft Front Page is really good at that and I've thoroughly enjoyed editing my blogs using it. So I'm looking for something comparable on Mac. I found this HTML editor shootout  but most of the editors seem to require some manual addition of HTML tags. Googling further, I found KompoZer (based on Nvu) and liking it so far. Part of the reason is that the look-and-feel is quite like FrontPage ;-)

These tips will at least get you started where you can check Email, IM and Web, view your documents, import key settings from Firefox/Thunderbird and unleash the potential of GlassFish and NetBeans. Lots of other tips are available here, here and here. I'll post more as I learn them. Feel free to post your favorite tool/tip/guidance here.

A complete archive will be available here.

Technorati: windows mac apple tools osxtips

Sunday Jul 15, 2007

soapUI - Testing JAX-WS Web service in NetBeans

Java API for XML Web Services (JAX-WS) provides a complete API to develop and invoke Web services over multiple transports (for example HTTP). NetBeans IDE provides first-class support for developing and invoking a JAX-WS based Web service. The missing piece is functional/compliance/load testing of the Web service. That's where soapUI helps.

soapUI is free and open source desktop application for invoking (feature list) and testing of Web services over HTTP. It comes with a NetBeans plugin that provides all the functionality from within the IDE to develop and test a Web service. After you install the plugin, follow this screencast to learn how to create functional and load tests for a JAX-WS Web service.

Thanks to Alexis for the pointer!

Technorati: webservices netbeans soapui tools

Thursday Mar 08, 2007 vs

FlexRex blogged about a tool that lets you evaluate the worth of your blog. So I did that for my two blogs and here are the results:

I put much more information (running, photography, etc) on but machinery seems to be 12.5 times powerful, at least gives me more bang for the buck :) seems to be a clear winner, at least in terms of monetization, but I love running and photography so will continue blogging on both accounts.

Technorati: technorati blog tools milestogo

Wednesday Feb 14, 2007

Virtual CD-DVD Rom for Windows Vista

Microsoft has a virtual CD control panel that allows to mount CD and DVD images as virtual drives on Windows XP. This tool does not seem to work on Windows Vista Enterprise. I could start the tool, mount a drive but the drive does not show in Explorer. I found the answer in Vista newsgroup

I downloaded and installed Virtual Clone Drive. The tool creates file associations for .ccd; .img; .dvd; .iso; .udf formats. So if I have an ISO image, all I need to do is to locate the image in Explorer and double-click. Such a useful and handy tool.

Technorati: Tools WindowsVista Vista WindowsXP VirtualCD

Thursday Jul 27, 2006

Marathon Pace Band

Found Marathon Pace Band to help maintain my pace and also achieve marathon goal time.

Click on "Pace Band" link in the window and it will launch a pop-up window. Make sure pop-ups are enabled in your browser or at least selectively enable them for this website. Enter marathon goal time (hours, minutes and seconds) in the left side and click on "Create Pace Band". This fills up an HTML table on the right with 27 rows (1 row each for 26 miles and last row for 0.2 mile) . The left column indicates the number of miles covered (static) and the right column indicates the time that should have elapsed to achieve your goal (populated based upon your goal). This table can be cut along the border, water proofed and wrapped around the wrist during the marathon.

I expect it to be a handy tool as it will provide feedback on whether I'm running ahead or behind the goal.

Technorati: Running Training


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Arun Gupta is a technology enthusiast, a passionate runner, author, and a community guy who works for Oracle Corp.

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