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Interview: Aaron Brazell, Technology Manager for b5media

by Juan on February 10th, 2007

In our drive to make The After Mac a better Mac/Apple blog, we’re going to try and talk to a lot more Mac users. We want to find out why they love Apple and the Mac, why they’re using it, what their hardware is and how it improves their lives. Today, we bring you b5media’s very own Aaron Brazell. Aaron is b5media’s Technology Manager and can be seen blogging at Technosailor.

TAM: So Aaron when did you first find yourself using the Mac?

AB: Well, I’ve always liked the concept of the Mac and when OS X came around built on top of Unix, I immediately wanted it - all the power of the command line with all the ease of Apple’s world famous GUI. I had checked them out in the Apple Store for several years but did not actually get one until I began full time with b5media. That was Oct of 2006.

TAM: What’s your current Mac set-up now?

AB: I’ve got a Macbook Pro, 15″ Glossy screen, 2.16 Ghz, 1GB Ram, 100GB hard drive. It sits on my desk hooked up to a 24″ ViewSonic widescreen.

TAM: What’s your dream Mac machine right now?

AB: I’m pretty happy with my machine right now. I’d really like a 30″ Apple display though

TAM: Same here.

TAM: What are the essential apps that can be found on your MBP? Apps that you can’t live without.

AB: Well thankfully, Terminal is there and that is open all day. I also use Zend Development Environment which is a cross platform Java app. I use Fetch as my SFTP client, Adium and Skype for IM, Parallels so I can support those damn Windows users, Quicksilver because it makes my life easy, and Audacity, Soundflower and Audio Hijack Pro because I’m a podcaster.

TAM: Do you use textmate or any other text editor for your coding?

AB: Well I have Textedit for one off types of things. But anything that is development related is done in ZDE.

TAM: Having moved to the Mac platform, what are your thoughts on it? Was is it easier to get your job done now? What were the challenges that you faced when you moved to the platform?

AB: Well having come from the Windows world and only watched Mac from afar (never using it), I was a bit lost for the first few days. It was pretty disorienting when I was a Windows poer user due to my job. However, if I’m anything, I’m persistently curious about new things and I tried to push aside my confusion to dive down into the OS and learn how to do the things I did on Windows on a Mac. After a few days it all just suddenly made sense…

During the process, I spent a lot of times installing apps that did familiar things but not having any experience on a Mac, not knowing what would work the way it was intended or not.

At this point, I am more confused and lost going to Windows, but the truth is, I’ve become a Mac power user and a large part of that has to do, not with Mac, but with the Unix subsystem of which I am familiar.

TAM: I understand what you’re saying. The primary reason why I wanted to move to the mac as well was because of the Unix core.

AB: Yeah, in Windows you have to find an SSH client (I like Mindterm) and then go through all the routine to get it to work. And on Windows, SSH-keys are not supported automatically. Mac did away with that thanks to Unix.

TAM: Macs have always been popular with the “creative” people, how do you think it fairs now with the “developers”? People like you who are more technical, ex, programmers..

AB: Well it’s funny. I spend roughly 50% of my time in Starbucks - hardly a bastion of non-creative people, but I digress. I have taken to surveying the laptop users when I go into the store and 9 times out of 10, Macs outnumber PC-based laptps. Since I go to the same stores all the time, I’ve gotten to know some of the regular Mac users (because if death and taxes are the only guarantees in life, a Mac user having people talk to him in a public place is right behind) - most of the regulars are not artsy types, but business folks with technical backgrounds - systems guys and engineers. It’s a complete paradigm shift.

TAM: It’s awesome to see that there are more and more technical people who are using the Mac.

AB: I like it. :)

TAM: Is there anything that you see that can and should be improved about the Mac? If you had steve job’s ear, what would you tell him? What features would you have him put in the Mac?

AB: Give it a docking station. :) The isight should be HD as well. Don’t make me have to remember to “Eject” my external hard drive.

That’s a Unix thing, but I hate it - especially when I’m sneaking out for my laptop in the morning and don’t want to wake up the dog.

TAM: The eject is my pet peeve as well.

AB: Well when I’m trying to be quiet and move quickly, pulling the laptp out of sleep mode, typing my password just so I can eject the drive is silly.

TAM: Any parting words to The After Mac readers? What advice can you give people who’re thinking about making the switch?

AB: I’d say don’t be content with just owning a Mac. Apple does many things well but by getting your hands dirty, you can really own the machine. I’m still learning how to AppleScript but as well as that, the Unix world is your oyster. Read MAcOSXHints.com - subscribe in your feedreader. Take the tips and make the computer dance. Oh, and subscribe to technosailor.com too - I often do Mac writeups. ;-)

TAM: With that.. thanks for your time. I really appreciate it.

POSTED IN: Apple Community, Interviews, Juan's Posts

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