Status of my wife’s migration to OS X and a question

Since a week or so, Kim Vallée, my wife is now the happy owner of a MacBook Pro. She used to be on Windows XP and I’m happy to report that she made the transition to OS X without too much problem. The fact that her new laptop is a lot more powerful that her previous one might have helped a bit.

Granted, since her primary occupation is writing, specially for her blog At Home with Kim Vallée, her computing and software needs are not really constrained by the operating system.

Software

1) HyperSnap DX

On Windows, Kim loved HyperSnap (v.3), swore it was the best and she was afraid of not finding a snapshot software on par with it. Well, she now swears by OS X’s integrating snapshot keyboard shortcuts which are as capable for her need… plus you don’t have to start a snapshot software, it’s always available.

2) Microsoft Office 2008 & others

Between Pages and Word, she came back to Word. She liked Pages, but I suppose she prefers Word. In any case, the transition from Windows to Mac is not really a problem when you are using the pretty much the same software. The same goes for other applications available on both operation systems. Bonus to Microsoft for having the Home and Students edition, which makes the repurchase very affordable.

3)  Windows Live Writer

Kim’s killer application for blogging is Windows Live Writer. It makes writing posts a breeze, it supports almost any blogging platform and allows you to write offline and publish when you want. She hasn’t found an acceptable software alternative yet for her Mac. During dinner yesterday evening, our friend Jon Husband pointed us to Qumana. It almost can do the job perfectly for Kim, but she depends on Live Writer’s automatic photo-paper effect that get applied to pictures that get uploaded in preview and higher resolution mode.

4) VMware Fusion

To support Windows Live Writer, I installed VMware Fusion on her MacBook. It is quite impressive how well Windows runs on it. It also supports drag-and-drop and copy-and-paste to and from OS X. As a bonus, she’ll probably use it to connect to our remote VPN when she needs to modify her blog’s design. Windows Live Writer installation solved!

Hardware

On the hardware side, the MacBook Pro’s is fast, the DVD drive is silent enough, the battery life is acceptable, the keyboard is incredibly comfortable and silent and the Multi-Touch trackpad is quite responsive and useful.

The only few gripes are due to Apple’s obsession with minimalism. The Delete key, in reality, is a backspace and there’s no delete key. You also notice that you depend a lot on the mouse’s right button which is absent. Both problems a remedied quickly enough with the use of the function key and you get used to it quickly enough. For the mouse, you can always plug an external mouse too.

Getting used to OS X

Overall, OS X is a great operating system.

However, there’s a single thing I really do not like on OS X and its applications menu. This is more my opinion than Kim’s because she does not depend that much on application menus.

Having the applications’ menus always at the top of the screen is quite inefficient, and, in my opinion archaic. It dates back to the first Mac and was never changed. I could see the rationale this design choice when all we had were tiny Mac monitors. But with higher resolutions and secondary monitors, it becomes an annoyance. When you add an external monitor, the menu still stays at the top of the primary screen so if you drag an application on the second monitor, you have to navigate your mouse back and forth from one monitor to the other to get to the menu bar and back to the application. On Windows, menus follow your applications’ windows. It is much more practical and ergonomic.

Copy-and-paste Problem – Call to help

There’s only one thing that’s still nagging Kim and disrupting her workflow. It’s funny how, without realizing it, you get used to tiny details.

In Windows, if you highlight some hyperlinked text from a Web page in any Web browser and then copy and paste this in Microsoft Word, it copies the text and the hyperlink at the same time. So the work flow is:

  1. Highlight hyperlinked text in browser
  2. Copy
  3. Switch to Word
  4. Paste

In Mac OS X, doing the same thing from Firefox or Safari results in only the selected text being copied in Word (or Pages). Since Kim first writes her article in Word and includes a lot of hyperlinks in her posts, the workflow becomes:

  1. Highlight hyperlinked text in browser
  2. Copy
  3. Switch to Word
  4. Paste
  5. Switch to browser
  6. Right-click on highlighted text – Copy URL
  7. Switch to Word
  8. Select text
  9. Open hyperlink window
  10. Paste URL
  11. Close hyperlink window

So, Mac professionals or enthusiasts, is there a solution?

Is there a way, a configuration, a hack, anything, that can enable Kim to copy-and-paste both the text and the hyperlink at the same time when highlighting text with an hyperlink on a Web page?

UPDATE: On Twitter, Nini, suggested to click-drag the hyperlink into Word. This drags the URL only. If you highlight the hyperlinked text and drag it, it still copies only the URL. If you highlight a phrase or paragraph that includes some hyperlinks it copies only the text! On Windows, drag-dropping hyperlinks also copies only the URL but drag-dropping a blend of non-hyperlinked text copies the formatting including the hyperlinked text.

Conclusion

Even with an annoyance or two, the Kim’s migration is a success and I do not think she would like to go back.

7 thoughts on “Status of my wife’s migration to OS X and a question

  1. I wish to add something to Jerome’s excellent summary of my experience so far.

    Working with a second monitor greatly enhances my browsing experience. But I lose times since I often need to drag the mouse back and forth between the two screens. It is common for graphic designers and artists to work with more than one screen. Therefore, I am surprised that Apple is not more efficient on that side.

    Although working with VMware Fusion is great, I still dream that one day Windows Live Write will be available on the Mac platform. BTW, I am not the only Mac user who is addicted to MS Live Writer.

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