Shane Dowling : On wanting

Recently I moved jobs and the new company I work for was nice enough to give me a brand new, high-end, retina Macbook Pro. It's a great machineand I've been reminded how great an operating system OSX actually is. Naturally, I've been looking at my own machine a little differently. It's a Lenovo Thinkpad X230 with an SSD and 16GBs of RAM. Generally it's faster than I'll need for a long time and I've had no real issues with it, but after starting to use the Macbook and the terrific software built with it, I wanted it bad. One evening I started looking at pricing/portability and found one I wanted. I also started looking at software I could use I got excited, about to make a purchase. Then I stopped. I stopped and forced myself to make a list of all the reasons I wanted the Macbook that I couldn't get on my currently machine. I made the list as specific as possible, not just "it's pretty" or "all the apps are better", here's what I came up with.

Anyway I decided that instead of just paying hand over fist for a new Macbook that I'd try to replicate my needs using my existing hardware.

A Taste of Mint

In the end I decided to ditch Debian in lieu of Mint. I wanted something I could setup quickly as I didn't want to invest a lot of time in this. Ubuntu is in theory a good choice, it has better hardware support over Debian and a wider range of apps available. The problem is I greatly dislike Ubuntu for it's privacy invading actions and for unity, which I still think is a terrible UI. I figured Mint made sense. It's definitely appeased my "It's so pretty" lizard brain and it's clearly stolen a bunch of nice UI stuff from Mac. I actually find Cinnamon a really well designed interface. So on the specific tasks, here's how Mint fared.

Self-Control. Self-control for Linux turns out to only half work. It blocks the sites, but then crashes and doesn't automatically unblock them. I shall take a look at fixing this if I stick with Mint. I'll see if I can get by with some shell aliases that run the commands I need instead either.

Thunderbird. As a replacement for Mail Pilot, sucked. Firstly, for some reason when I pointed it at my mail server it wiped ALL of my emails without download them, luckily I had a backup…. Anyway, after some playing around I got it working, but no, Mail Pilot it isn't.

As for Ommwriter, I found something that does the job just not as well, it's called Uberwriter. Whilst I loved Ommwriter's clicky sound as I typed and the calming music it played, Uberwriter does it's job as a focused writing program.

For Evernote, I gave Everpad a go, which is okay. However without Unity on Linux Mint I can't seem to search which makes it a little useless. worked out of the box as did bluetooth, so no complains there.

In the end I'm still undecided, in comparison to the Mac it's not a polished experience and I worry that productivy hits I'll take getting stuff working will cost me more in the long run but for now I'm happy to give it a good honest trial, put some cash aside over the next few months and see how I feel later on. Either way I'm glad I'm making a patient decision over another rushed tech purchase.