Apple Style With Windows Functionality

I’ll admit I’m starting to get a case of Apple Fever.  After moving to an iPhone from the long favored Blackberry and actually finding a way to integrate an iPad into my daily routine I’m taking the next step…  I’ve purchased a MacBook Pro.

This is not just any MacBook, this is the 13″ model with the *new* retina display, 8GB of memory and a roomy 256GB Solid State Hard Drive.  Having used a 12.1″ Lenovo Thinkpad for the past 4 years the 13″ display on the MacBook seems a lot larger and the resolution (and clarity) of the retina display is nothing short of amazing.

The overall design of the Apple MacBook Pro is very nice.  Machined from a solid block of aluminum this thing is as solid as it gets.  No plastic to flex or creak and no flimsy screen to move around.  I’ve never felt a laptop as well-built as this is.

I mention Windows Functionality in the title of this post.  That’s possible because of a virtualization application called Parallels which allow you to run Windows applications right alongside the Macintosh apps.  It’s pretty much seamless and, so far, it just works.

I’m still in the “getting to know you” stages of the Macbook but I really like what I see so far.  Time will tell if this becomes my primary platform or if the limitations push me back to the world of Windows.  There are enough differences in how the two systems work that it’s going to take some time for the Apple Operating System to become second nature like Windows has become.

After I take this thing on an extended test drive I’ll go into more detail and post a more thorough review.  Stay tuned…


WebMatrix from Microsoft = Awesome!

[Time for a nerdy post]

If you like to “tinker” with the web Microsoft’s WebMatrix tool just might be for you.

I’ve wanted to set up a development copy of the blog at home but standing up a Linux server with PHP and all the other tools to make it work just seemed like to much work (I’ll admit I’m lazy sometimes).  Enter WebMatrix.  With this tool you can run a “virtual” web server inside of an application on your desktop.  It reminds me of the old days when I used to edit offline with Dream Weaver and “publish” the changes via FTP at the end of each editing session.

I’m using a virtual machine to do this but you can just as easily install the application on your primary machine.  Once you install the WebMatrix application you can choose from dozens of open source content management and blogging tools.  It’s as simple as downloading the tool and walking through a wizard to set the base site up (including SQL databases).  You also have the option to develop the site from scratch (old school) and publish to your web server.

Once I installed WebMatrix I activated the WordPress package, exported my live site, and imported the XML file into the WebMatrix site.  within 10 minutes I had a fully functional clone of my production site.  Pretty cool!

So far I’ve had a lot of fun playing with alternatives to WordPress and seeing if my HTML/PHP coding skills are still up to par.  If you are looking for an inexpensive (free) development platform be sure to check out WebMatrix.

[Nerdy post complete]