Windows User

I've been a Windows User for two weeks now. Since my powerbook disk died, I've been working on a loaner Dell Lattitude with XP.

I get by. It's not as hard as I would have guessed. Most of my work these days just needs a decent terminal, and SSH from (who knew there was a commercial SSH?) works OK. I don't understand why it doesn't save my keyboard preferences, but I muddle through.

I'm using pine for email, and the lack of SpamSieve is shockingly obvious. Sometimes control characters in spam emails garble the screen so badly that I can't tell what I'm deleting.

Otherwise, I use Firefox, and Google calendar keeps my schedule. So far, I haven't missed my iCal integration applescripts (new-todo-in-quicksilver, new-event-from-email, and new-todo-from-email), but I'm sure I will if this goes on longer.

I miss the years of notes I had inVoodooPad. In its place, I've been using emacs org-mode in a terminal. I like the outlining and todo/agenda gathering it can do, and wouldn't be opposed to similar features in VoodooPad. I'd actually been using it in the weeks before my forced switch, but just for the todos.

I've accidentally tried to print about a hundred times when editing text, expecting the old emacs shortcuts to be there. This is OK, though, because I can't configure printers.

There is a similar story for almost every key shortcut I want to use - I have no idea how to switch between tabs in Firefox, and when I did find out how to minimize windows from the keyboard (Alt-space, 'n'), I wished I hadn't, because it only works in half of the programs I use.

One thing Windows does is make me want to give up earlier. I actually just don't care if I can't figure out a good way to do something. This is an exciting new feeling - I just give up and get back to work, and each time, I feel a little more like a real grownup. You know, how you feel after all your youthful dreams have died.

I get more done at work with Windows. I no longer install programs just to try them out (scary!), or hack on minor projects (no friendly tools built-in). Even just surfing around is just not as tempting, and I do less of it, both at work and at home. In moments of weakness, I have considered swapping my PowerBook for three pound Windows laptop, just so I can finish sooner and with better posture. I know I could never do it, but the thought lingers.


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