Learn C on the Mac: A Book Review

It seems that more and more often I am being asked if I can recommend a book or class that will help a user learn how to develop software on the Macintosh. This is a far different problem than I had just a few short years ago when I was asked why I continued to use a Macintosh when clearly Windows was superior. We won’t go there.

Suffice it to say there is no easy answer to what is the right book or training that will make you a Macintosh developer. The good news is there are many avenues you can take to learn programming on the Macintosh and many of them will be dependent upon what your level of knowledge is going into the development process.

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You’ve Been Eaten By a Grue

While I never quite consider myself as being old, I am constantly reminded by my kids exactly how ancient I am. I must be getting older because I find myself using the phrase “Back in my day…” more often. I remind my children about how difficult it was when I was growing up and although I haven’t reached the point where my entire childhood was spent fending off bears in the snow as I trudged to school uphill it is getting close.

Recently for my son’s birthday I bought him an iPod Touch with 16GB of memory and a touch screen and built-in wireless networking. When I gave him the gift it came with yet another story of my childhood. I explained to him that when I was a kid there was no such thing as a personal computer. I may as we have just admitted that I was actually an alien and was transported to this planet in some kind of time vortex.

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The Good, Bad, and Mostly Ugly of EFi-X

I happened to be perusing a copy of Maximum PC magazine. This is one of the better computer enthusiast magazines for cutting edge hardware and building custom computer systems. In this particular issue they reviewed the EFi-X device. This is a USB dongle that will allow the computer to boot into multiple operating systems.

Multi-boot systems are really nothing new and usually it does not require a piece of hardware to accomplish this. I probably would have glossed over this article and moved on but something caught my eye. Not only did this device support Windows and various distributions of Linux but it promised Macintosh compatibility.

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Migrating an iTunes Library

I was an early adopter of the Apple iPod. I suffered through the growing pains that accompanying a new technology. The struggles though were worth it as each iteration of the iPod built upon the previous successes making it one of my favorite gadgets that I couldn’t imagine living without.

While the iPod itself is an incredible device that has changed the way many of us listen to music, an equally important aspect of the experience is iTunes. For all that it does, iTunes is many times maligned. I am sure that if you ask any iTunes user they could produce a laundry list of features or changes they would make to this application yet very few people actually go as far as replacing iTunes with a different application for managing their music files.

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Snow Leopard First Impressions

I have to admit I have been eagerly awaiting the introduction of Apple’s Snow Leopard operating system since it was first announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference. This is not a typical operating system upgrade. There are very few aesthetic changes to the system causing many users to wonder what the big deal is.

When Leopard (version 10.5) was released it came with many changes to the way the user interacted with the Macintosh. It was relatively clear what the differences were from the old OS to the new version. That is not the case with Snow Leopard. It is analogous to walking into a garage and looking at two cars sitting side by side. On the surface they look the same except for maybe a difference in color. But popping the hood and looking in the engine compartment you realize that one of these cars has a fuel efficient 4-cylinder engine while the other one has a fully blown V-8 capable of melting tires in the hands of a proper driver.

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Another Great Utility Search

My quest for comparable Macintosh software continues as I prepare for my migration to Macintosh. After finding an appropriate replacement for Better File Rename; I set my sights on finding an alternative to Beyond Compare. This is another one of those utilities that once you have it you wonder how you ever did without it.

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Definitely an MVU – Most Valuable Utility

Today I am continuing my assault on the Macintosh software list trying to match up software I will need for my upcoming migration from Windows. I’ve started my list of applications or functions I want to make sure and replicate after the move. Some of the categories were very easy to replicate while others are proving far more difficult than I had anticipated. There was one item on the list I was dreading as I was sure it would be impossible to find.

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Making a List, Checking it Twice

Yesterday I spoke about my desire to migrate from Windows to a Macintosh. This is not exactly a trivial decision nor is it one that you simply make then run down to the Apple Store with your fresh credit card. While that might work for some people; I just can’t do that. No I am a little more meticulous than that. If I were going to make this migration I wanted to make sure that I had all the functionality I had in Windows or hopefully better. Since I have been out of the Macintosh arena for a few years this wasn’t simply a matter of upgrading some of my old Mac software. The last time I used a Macintosh was in the pre-OS X days. Things are definitely different now than they were back then so I was going to need to do a lot of research to ensure a successful transition.

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The Circle of Life

Having five children I have seen my share of Walt Disney movies. I wish I had a dime for every time I have seen The Emperor’s New Groove; I would be able to buy Disneyland. One of my kid’s favorite Disney movies is the Lion King. If the truth be told, it is my wife’s favorite Disney movie and she insists on watching it as much as the kids do. During the opening credits of that movie the scene is set with the king introducing his son to the animals of the plains. It is a dramatic shot made even more powerful by the inclusion of the song “The Circle of Life”. The song talks about the progression of life and how it forms a circle where you find yourself.

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