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Out of all of the tutorials and classes I have taken along my learning to code journey, I rarely came across anything that was directed at Windows users. So I decided I needed to switch from Windows to a Mac.

Before getting into the details, I will say that looking back, working on a Windows machine while first learning how to code helped me more than I realized. When the tutorial / video / article is focused on Mac users, you are left to figure out why it's not working for you and what you have to do differently to make it work on your Windows machine. There were many times where I got a more in-depth understanding because I had to figure out a different route or use a different method to get to the same place as the instructor. (Thank goodness for the pause button!)

After deciding that I was going to make the leap, I was a bit nervous about the transition because I knew there would be differences between the two operating systems. I bought a CalDigit docking station and happily, my monitors and other peripherals work just fine with my Mac Book. I did need to get a new keyboard due that silly Command key that you need, but I can easily swap out my Mac Book for my Windows laptop using the same cable, which is very nice. The interesting thing to me is how it is the little things that caused the biggest frustrations.

I have been playing and working with computers since before there was Windows and before there were mouses (mice?) to drive them, which means that I am a shortcut guru. At least I was. On Windows. Nothing has messed up my productivity like being completely blind to the shortcuts on a Mac. And what is up with the bassackward scrolling with the mouse?!? (More about that later.)

The first thing I did was research articles on transitioning from Windows to Mac. There are a surprisingly large amount of articles and videos out there to help you with making this change. And it help me get some insight to how my new laptop worked. It really bothered me that I could not see the actual hard drive and ALL the folders on it. But there's a tutorial for that. :)

The next thing I did was to find a cheat sheet on the shortcuts for the Mac. And I have been steadily getting better at them, but I still screw up the Home and End buttons. Muscle memory runs deep when you have been using the same key combinations for many years. I meant to jump to the end of the line, not the end of the page! Grrrrr!

And the scrolling using a mouse is completely opposite of how it works on Windows. I found that there is a setting where you can change this on the Mac Book, but I decided not to do so. I am determined to learn the Mac way. And for the most part, it has been relatively easy to switch. I only have difficulty now with the scrolling part when I switch back and forth between my Windows laptop and the Mac Book. I looked for a setting on my Windows machine the other day to see if I could change the scroll function on it, but had no luck finding that setting if there is one. It's not the end of the world. (Edit: I changed my mind on this and decided it was a big deal. See this related article on what I did about it.)

The glide pad was another surprise for me. I have always disabled the glide pads on my laptops because I tended to hit them accidentally when typing and it would throw my cursor off. However, the Mac Book glide pad is very different. First of all, it is huge. It is the same height as the keyboard on my laptop. And you can do a lot more with it than I ever did with my Windows glide pads. It works a lot like my touch screens and it makes more sense to me. I have gotten really good with it to the point that I no longer plug in a mouse when I'm mobile (which used to be a necessary thing for me.)

The more complex stuff, like adding Remote Desktop or the company VPN app, was actually fairly simple. A quick search on the Internet and some light feedback from one of my tech support guys and I was up and running surprisingly quickly.

All in all, I feel like I am making the transition pretty well. It really helps that many of the coding tutorials that I have completed use a bash terminal with Linux commands as opposed to the DOS commands used with Windows. So even on my Windows machine, I was already becoming familiar with the commands that I would need on a Mac.

And, if all else fails, I have utilized the Bootcamp utility to install an instance of Windows on my machine in case I have to switch over to do something there that I can't do here.

Now if I could just stop hitting the Home and End keys when I want to move to the front or end of a line.

Happy Coding!

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