making windows liveable

I’ve had to move onto a Windows machine at work (Win 7 Enterprise). This is the first time I’ve ever had to use Windows as a primary work computer, having used Macs in various incarnations since 1988 (when System 6 was the Shiny New Thing). It’s been a bit of an… adjustment.

One of the first things that hit me was how fracking BLUE everything is. There’s an easy fix – change the Window Color and Appearance setting to use a more neutral grey, dial down the color intensity, and turn off the stupid transparency.

With that in place, the interface is slightly less jarring. Outlook 2007 (I know. don’t ask.) uses a separate Blue theme. Tools > Options > Mail Format > Editor Options > Color Scheme. Change that to Silver. Slightly better.

The sound level adjustment in the taskbar of Windows has always driven me crazy. There’s an app that emulates the more elegant MacOSX volume change display. Slightly better.

I’ve been using alternativeTo to try to find alternatives to the MacOSX apps I’ve used extensively for years. There are some things that are kind of close, superficially, but just don’t get near the level of polish that some of the best Mac apps have. OmniGraffle Pro? Acorn? BBEdit? Some way to navigate files in Column view? etc… Sigh…

Update: Hmmm… Windows Live Writer looks pretty decent. I wonder what it does to the markup that gets posted – hopefully it doesn’t use the awesome MS Word HTML Mungifier code…

Update 2: cool. Live Writer looks like it writes sane HTML code. I’ll have to play around with it some more…

7 thoughts on “making windows liveable”

  1. I use…

    FTP: Filezilla. Superior to either Cyberduck or Transmit.
    Text editor: Notetab. Far superior to anything on the Mac.
    Virtual Desktops: don’t use one.
    Twitter client: Twitter. I’m an old fuddy-duddy.
    SSH client: PuTTY.
    Spotlight search: Windows search works fine.
    File storage: Dropbox. MobileMe was always far too slow for me.
    Blog posting: Blogger. You need a client to post blog posts…?

    1. I’ll give Filezilla and Notetab a shot. Thanks!

      I don’t always use a blog-posting-app, but it’s handy to have a native interface to do some stuff. I use MarsEdit to manage a few blogs, and post to my photoblog with it every day. I could use the browser interface, but shaving a few seconds off the process makes it less painful, and less pain means I’m more likely to keep doing it…

  2. I haven’t used Google Desktop, but I’ve found the Windows search to pretty good. It allows for wildcards, boolean logic, etc.

    I also second Stephen’s recommendation of Filezilla.

    Lastly, I recommend Paint.NET (free, not open source) as a good light-weight image editor

    Although I didn’t find my Mac to Windows transition that painful, I wish you luck in finding replacements.

  3. Hi Darcy,
    The only Windows programme I miss when using a Mac is Windows Live writer ( It’s a freebie from M$ and is truly excellent. There is nothing as good on the Mac for offline blog writing (Though I’m really liking Blogsy on the iPad!)

    Live writer is worth investigating.

    I take it there’s a good reason you can’t just use Windows on a Mac?


    1. installing live writer now. looks interesting.

      I can’t use Windows on a Mac because it’s the hardware that is specified to be Dell… I could try a hackintosh install, but just don’t have the energy to be fighting that fight now.

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