Returning to the scene

Since leaving IBM, I’ve developed a few new projects; one of the more urgent is to make our home office usable as my primary workplace; doing that requires sorting out the stuff that’s already in there. And while doing that, I’ve been finding things that had followed me home over the years; today seemed like a good time to return them to IBM. So that’s what I did this afternoon.

The drive up the hill was beautiful, as always; I did have to stop at the gate and use the intercom to be admitted instead of being able to badge in, and that felt strange. Stopping at the reception desk was unusual; this marked the first time I’d had to use my retiree ID card (and it took me a few tries to figure out where I’d hidden it in my wallet). But after few moments, I had a bright yellow “IBM Retiree” badge on my lapel, and I was able to freely wander the halls (though I couldn’t open any badge-locked doors).

I’d arranged to meet my ex-assistant so that she could help ship some items to my ex-manager, so I walked all the way through the building to my ex-office, which, somewhat to my surprise, was undisturbed since I’d left. The office next to mine was also vacant (its occupant was also included in this year’s Resource Action, though he’d been extended for a couple of weeks) — that seemed very odd.

As I walked the halls, I kept running into people I’d worked with; they were busy, but everyone I saw wanted to know how I was doing. I was happy to be able to tell them that I’m doing OK.

And I am; I wasn’t sure how I’d feel when I first drove up to Almaden, but it’s just this place, you know?

Mac Migration Diary

One of the side effects of leaving IBM was the need to buy my very own laptop computer; naturally, I wanted a Mac. So when the upgraded MacBook Pros came out last week, I was quick to order one (15-inch 2.53GHz i5, 7200rpm drive, matte hi-res display), and I eagerly watched its progress on the Apple and FedEx websites until it arrived in my hands Wednesday, a day before the promised delivery date.

I had a backup of my old MBP, but I didn’t want to use the Migration Assistant to copy everything over, since many of the apps were now irrelevant to me (and some had been irrelevant since the moment I installed them!). I took fairly careful notes and thought I’d post them here to help myself the next time I need to change Macs (and if they help others, so much the better).

The physical unboxing, of course, was up to Apple’s usual standards; unlike a ThinkPad, there’s no silly wordless poster — the box and the contents speak for themselves. And the first boot experience was, as usual, straightforward (though I do wonder why there’s no Hebrew “welcome” in the initial video).

Before I got to work, I ran Software Update, which found eight or nine updates, all of which were applied in a single reboot.

Then I started to work on my applications and data.

The very first thing I installed was 1Password — but then I realized that if I wanted to use my saved passwords, I needed Dropbox, so I installed it, let it copy things, and then finished setting up 1Password.

In previous migrations, I’d always installed Quicksilver next, but its future is uncertain, so I decided to wait until later in the process and see how well I could live without it.

The next step was to start looking at the apps in the old /Applications directory to decide their fate. I’d picked up a number of random apps over the years, many in bundles, and decided that I would only install the ones which I was actively using. So I have bid adieu for now to Acorn, Amazon MP3 Downloader, Audacity, Caffeine, DaisyDisk, DejaMenu, Flip4Mac, Google Earth, HandBrake, RealPlayer, Shovebox, TaskPaper, VLC, and WriteRoom. I wouldn’t be surprised to want some of these again soon, though.

It was also easy to say aloha to apps which I used because of my work at IBM, including Lotus Notes, Lotus Sametime, Lotus Symphony, Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection, Mozilla Thunderbird, Second Life, and tn3270 X.

When it came to browsers, I was torn. Firefox has been my go-to browser for years, but it’s an awkward fit on the Mac since it doesn’t support Services; it also leaks memory like a sieve (though I guess it’s possible that the ton of extensions I’ve installed contribute to the leakage). I eventually decided not to install it for now and see if I can get by with Safari, OmniWeb and Google Chrome. I really like Chrome and would probably make it my default browser if 1Password supported it.

The apps I decided to migrate are AppZapper, Awaken, DEVONAgent, DEVONThink Pro Office, Evernote, Fluid, ForkLift, GPSBabel, Join Together, MailPlane, NetNewsWire, OmniFocus, OpenOffice, Parallels Desktop, PDFPen, PhoneView, Pixelmator, QuickTime Player 7, Skype, Snapz Pro X, Stanza, SuperDuper!, TextExpander, TextMate, Tweetie, WireTap Studio, and XMarks. In most cases, I downloaded a fresh copy, then used ForkLift to easily bring over the associated files in the ~/Library/Preferences and ~/Library/Application Support directories. In retrospect, I probably should have used AppZapper to identify all of those files instead of eyeballing it!

I expected to have to install Growl, but it came along automatically with some other program; I did have to reinstall the SmartSleep prefpane.

I installed two packages from their original DVDs: iWork ‘09 and the software bundle for the Fujitsu ScanSnap 1500; of course, I then went online to install updates for both of them.

I decided not to install the software bundle for my Epson Artisan 810 printer yet; instead, I turned it on and let the system find the right drivers. I’ll worry about the full bundle if I ever need it (and in the meantime, I have the Windows version on a different machine anyway).

The final piece of the migration involved data. My old mail files were in ~/Library/Mail and ~/Library/Mail Downloads (I’m not sure I needed the latter). My music was in ~/Music; my photos were in ~/Pictures. I also made sure to migrate ~/.profile and my ~/.ssh directory. And, of course, I had a lot of data in ~/Documents (including a Windows VM), though I did try to be selective in what I copied.

That marked the end of the migration, but I did decide to install a trial version of LaunchBar to see if it’ll replace Quicksilver in my heart and on my fingers.

Now, on to productive tasks!

Maybe tomorrow

I’d been eagerly awaiting the new line of MacBook Pro laptops from Apple so that I could replace the one I’d used while at IBM with one of my own.

I’d expected the faster processors, of course, and the automatic swap between the graphics processor wasn’t a huge shock, but I was surprised to learn that they’d added a 15″ model with more pixels onscreen. One of the few complaints I had in moving from my old ThinkPad to the MacBook Pro was the loss of vertical screen real estate — 900 pixels just aren’t that many, especially when using Lotus Notes. Lotus Notes isn’t a consideration now, of course, but I think it would be nice to have more vertical room anyway.

So I made a trip to the Apple Store to look at the new systems, especially the new display — but they didn’t have any on the floor yet! The manager told me that the first they knew of the machines was when the truck arrived, and that they hadn’t had the chance to update the floor displays. But she said they should have them out tomorrow — I’m hoping that includes the hi-res 15″ model.

I’m also undecided about the disk — the machine comes with a 5400rpm disk, but there’s an inexpensive upgrade to 7200rpm, or a rather pricey upgrade to SSD. I think I should pass on SSD at this point in the cycle, but 7200rpm is appealing — I just wonder about the impact on battery life. And I have to decide between the i5 and the i7; I’m leaning towards the i5 on the basis of price/performance.

Advice is welcome!

Pinnacles National Monument

We made our first trip to Pinnacles National Monument yesterday. It’s spectacular, and being there during wildflower season didn’t hurt, either!

I’ve posted pictures to Flickr and Facebook; I also created a track log (which includes the Facebook photos, I think), using Trip Journal on my iPhone.

We hiked about 9 miles, with lots of climbing and descending. My legs haven’t recovered yet.

Great trip.