Daily Archives: April 18, 2008

Some applications that I have tried on the Mac so far.

So after about a day with the MacBook Air I thought I would list out some of the applications that I am using on it. I’ve mostly just been playing around with it so don’t take this list as a recommendation at all:

  • iWork (Keynote, Numbers and Pages). I purchased this along with the MacBook Air. I have to say as an Office 2007 user these apps are pretty weak. I’m going to pick up Office 2008 for the Mac tomorrow – it looks more capable.
  • GarageBand (part of iLife). Man I hope that there are some good tutorials on the web on how to really drive this. It would also be good if I could just take a talent pill :)
  • Skype. Need this to make my phone calls to back home whilst I am on my trip. The MacBook Air has a built in camera and I just finished a video call with Bella. She was usng a Windows Vista machine. Cross platform goodness.
  • FireFox 3.0. This is still in BETA, but I installed it because, well, I am not sure why, I’m still mucking around with Safari.
  • Qumana. What I am using to write this blog post. It is a little like BlogJet which is what I used to use on my Windows Vista machine before Live Writer was released.
  • Google App Engine SDK. Haven’t used it yet, the installation experience wasn’t that great to be honest.
  • Python SDK. This is a dependency of the Google App Engine SDK and actually one of the reasons I didn’t like the Google App Engine SDK (it didn’t set this up for me).
  • Messenger for Mac. Hey – it surprised me to. Even more interesting is that it looks like it might even work with LCS as well as the Live service – although I can only get the later working at the moment.
  • TextMate. This seems to be a fairly popular editor, although the one I am really looking forward to trying out is SubEthaEdit. I just need to code with someone else who has a Mac.
  • MonoDevelop. It is my duty as a .NET developer to compile and run some CLR/CLI code on the Mac platform. This wasn’t too hard to get going but there were a few dependencies that need to get installed.

Next steps for me include looking at virtualization technology like VMware Fusion and actually figuring out how this stuff really works. Anyway – its past my bed time, need some ugly sleep.

My digital nomad kit just got larger.

I was reading my feeds and noticed this pointer over on AppGap to an article on The Economist entitled "Nomads at last". I read the entire article because it very nearly describes who I am and how I feel about choosing where I work.

Last week I was driving up fron Los Angeles to Seattle to attend a conference. Along the way I blogged whilst I was doing a bit of work from three different locations. I was on holidays so I didn’t push it that much. Whilst I was doing it I realised that if I was truly more focused (as opposed to being on holidays) I could do it full time and not really take a productivity hit.

Whilst in Seattle I tweaked my mobility kit just a little. First of all, I ditched the small backpack I was using for my laptop. I downgraded to it before I came on the trip so as to minimise my luggage situation but it didn’t really work for me. So whilst I was at the Microsoft Company Store I picked up a Microsoft branded OGIO laptop bag.

My Tablet PC and all my little bits and pieces fit quite comfortably in the bag and I had a little room to spare – time to get a new lightweight device to fill that gap. As it happens I’ve been lusting after the MacBook Air and with the Australian dollar against the greenback being so good I was able to pick one up for about three hundred dollars less than I could back home, and that includes paying the sales tax over here.

People who know me will be wondering why I got a MacBook Air, but to be honest I’ve just wanted to give Mac OS X a serious go for quite some time to see if it can work for me. As time goes on we will see how it affects the way I work.

How does this relate to being a nomad? Well first of all this is the first laptop purchase that I’ve made whilst I have been away from home. Normally I prepare my travelling kit at home and don’t alter it whilst I am on the road. This is a pretty big step as it means given access to the right resources I can take extended trips without having to return to home base – a true nomad.

Do I like being a nomad? Well, as the article also mentions, being a nomad doesn’t just mean being away interstate/overseas on business trips. For me it is more about not being teathered on constrained – it is about being free to decide where you want to work and being given enough scope to get the job done in a way that works for you. As long as it works for your employer, customer and co-workers – what harm does it really do?

Tomorrow I am going to start the drive back down to Los Angeles. I actually have Paul Stovell along for the ride on the way back down and I’ll drop him off in San Francisco on the way. Should make for some interesting conversation in the car.