My First Experiences with OSX

In the past, my exposure to OSX was limited to customers demanding assistance, and me having to support them. Over time I managed to pick up just enough to be able to make it look like I was troubleshooting, when in actual fact, I was in too deep. Unfortunately, in the I.T industry, simply mentioning that you’ve worked with a platform before is enough for people to think you’re a guru, and give you all the work.

Now, though, I’ve been using OSX exclusively for two weeks in my new job.

On Monday the 5th of May, I arrived into the office, fresh-faced, and ready to learn. What waited for my on my pristine-white adjustable standing desk, was the following;

  • Macbook Air (Early 2015)
  • Apple Keyboard
  • Apple Magic Mouse
  • 27" Asus Monitor
  • Multiple Thunderbolt Converters

I was pretty pleased, and setting everything up was an enjoyable experience. Of course, it’s pretty much an industry standard that you set up your own machine & workspace. Real I.T companies know the joy of turning that new device on for the first time, and it’s left in the hands of the employee to cherish it.

After installing all the corporate software, and setting up my emails, I watched the training videos for the product I’d be supporting, which I later found out were designed as a customer-facing resource, and contained minimal technical documentation. For the next two days, I basically set up my virtual environment using VirtualBox, and played about with the product on a Linux server I’d configured. Since I’m a MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional), my mind is very much in a Windows language. The concept of the system directories, command-line, and even application functionality had to be converted for use in a system I had little to no experience with. Fortunately, with my technical background, it didn’t take me long to be able to use both OSX and Linux without any real need for adult supervision. One of the other guys actually sent me across a Linux shell video course, which I had the freedom to get stuck into.

I want to go off-topic for a moment to talk about a few things I’ve experienced over the last couple of weeks. I arrived at my new job with high expectations; I knew the ethics, the background, and the sort of people I’d be working with, but somehow, I’d been manipulated by my previous company. I came to realise, through a series of situations (which I’ll explain), that I was stuck in the mindset of “work work work”, and that I get really anxious about what might happen if, for example, I take an extra five minutes to learn a new command or research something on my mind. The first situation that pinged my mind into rethinking work strategy, was when I was studying the Linux command-line course videos. I’d set up my screen so that I could easilly follow the commands being shown, and I was on them for around an hour when I paused, went over to my manager, and asked if he had any work for me to do. There weren’t any support tickets for me at that time, and he said on multiple occasions that it was fine for my to carry on learning the linux shell until there was something for my to do, but there was always something in my brain telling me that I wasn’t supposed to be learning, and that i should be working! It’s crazy, I know, and I contemplated it for several nights afterwards. The second instance was a couple of days later. I spoke up (sacastically), about the sun dazzling me from the blindless windows. I was advised (by the manager) to go play golf until it passed (we have a couple of putters and an electric hole in the office), and I couldn’t do it. It felt like I was going to be moaned at for not working. It was at this point that I had a long think, and realised how stressed out of my mind I’ve been. Since then, I’ve not really had a problem. I guess there are still some things I need to get used to, like having the freedom to work how I want, and being able to be myself without fear of being the outcast. I guess living under the canopy of micro-management is something one doesn’t snap out of right away.

Anyway, back to OSX.

As I said, I’ve been using OSX for about two weeks now, and the best way for me to tell you how I feel about it, is that I’m currenty writing this post on my new MacBook Pro. It took me a little while to make a final decision, but ultimately, once I digged a little bit deeper and found my own style of working, which includes multiple desktops, correct use of spotlight, and streamlined access to my virtual environment, it was an easy decision. The difference in producticity on OSX compared to Windows is profound, for me at least. The visual styling of OSX is much more inviting, and I feel less distracted. I mean, I would’ve never written a 1k word blog post on my Windows machine. The content would simply crap out at about 500, and I’d end up sitting on GTA V for the rest of my Friday evening. I guess it does help that this has been brought to you by a stress-free, happy writer, instead of an emotionally unavailable hermit, but I stand by the theory that OSX played a part in my transision into a happy person again.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one.