Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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First Thoughts on My New PowerBook

Last night I finally got my new PowerBook and I’ve started the initial messing around process. I’ve been reading up for the last few months, so I had a good idea of what programs I wanted to install immediately. But before that, here are my initial, non-software thoughts:

1. Apple knows how to package stuff. I felt like I was opening a present as I dug through to the levels of the box to finally reveal my new, shining silver PowerBook.

2. The keyboard feels great. I use an iBook at work and I haven’t used this generation of PowerBook for any serious length of time. The keys are tight and responsive. I know it sounds geeky, but it makes you feel like you’re really in control.

Alright, enough touchy-feely stuff, how about some software?

1. Obviously the first thing I installed was Firefox along with a whole suite of extensions. Nothing revolutionary here, all stuff I’ve covered before. However, I must explain that I chose Firefox over Safari on purpose. For one, you can’t beat the extensions. But actually what first made me leave Safari was that when you close your browser with multiple tabs open, it doesn’t ask you if you’re sure like Firefox does. I can’t tell you how many times I closed things I was reading on my work computer before I started using Firefox.

Next, it was time to consult the list of software and assorted lists I had been keeping on del.icio.us for the last few weeks (check it out, there’s some good tips). My first stop was this list of “Must have Mac OS X applications”.

2. First download off the list was VLC Player, which I use at work. Not exactly sure why I downloaded this first, I don’t actually have any video on here, but it was something on the list that I knew I wanted and felt comfortable with (really I was just burning time before the “big install”).

3. My third install was TextWrangler a freeware text editor. I have a tendency to keep everything in a text document and a good text editor makes life a lot easier (plus I need it for HTML editing). OS X’s TextEdit is all well and good, but I wanted something a little more powerful and I’ve heard TextWrangler is the best freeware text editor out there.

4. Finally, I was at the point where I was prepared to install the one thing I couldn’t wait to try. That’s right, it was time for Quicksilver. To be completely honest, I still have basically no clue what this thing can do, but I did follow Dan Dickinson’s tutorial on how to set up Quicksilver, which I highly recommend (even though I’m not so sure what I’ve done yet). It seems like a very cool program, essentially you bring up a command prompt which allows you to type in what you’re looking for, whether it’s document or program and launch it or perform any number of other functions. You can even associate different operations together, so you could open your IM client when you open Firefox, etc. Everyone seems to love this thing (especially Merlin Mann of 43 Folder), so I imagine I’ll fall right into line in no time. I promise to keep everyone informed of my new discoveries with this one as they happen (whether you want to hear them or not).

5. Finally, I installed Adium, a multi-client instant messenger program. It allows you to talk to people on AIM and MSN, which are the only two messenger programs I use. I tried iChat, but didn’t really like it and this has gotten some rave reviews. Mine is pending.

I think that about wraps it up. It’s been less than 12 hours (and I did sleep for a fair amount of them). I’m just happy it’s here and I’m not stuck wanting to throw my old Compaq laptop against a wall anymore. Word up.

UPDATE (4/24/05): Thanks to Merlin Mann, here’s another great explanation/tutorial of Quicksilver. Starting to get a much better idea of just what might be possible with this thing.

April 23, 2005