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a blog by ken pardue

Still Searching

As I probably always will be, I’m still searching for the perfect OS and computer. My recent interest has been specifically with Mac, but Wesley sent me a link to a news story that HP is about to start offering Ubuntu PC’s and laptops. Very nice, and speaks a lot about Desktop Linux.

So, I ask what my specific requirements would be for a system, either Win, Lin, or Mac. This would be a dream computer configuration for me:

  • Personal OrganizerA solution that offers a great mail client that works well with IMAP, gives me options to back up my email from time to time, has an attractive calendar interface, automatically syncs with my Garmin iQue 3600, loads remote calendars, and provides a full featured address book (added perk if Birthdays in the address book show up in Calendar). A niceity would potentially be for me to synchronize multiple calendars. I would love to load in my business calendar from work (Exchange), but also have my personal calendar for everything else. After all, it would be a shame to have a deadline for a freelance project on my business calendar! The app should automatically alert me to events coming due, whether or not the interface is open. Outlook’s performance is nasty (not to mention it has too many hooks to Exchange and feels more “businesslike” than a personal productivity organizer), and Thunderbird/Lighting, Chandler, and other potential contendors aren’t there yet. I haven’t had the pleasure of trying iCal.
  • Finance ManagerRight now I dabble between MS Money and Quicken, and find both to be capable programs. GnuCash is next to useless. Whatever the case, it needs to connect to my bank to download statements, pay online bills, etc. It also needs to present reports that I (as a non-mathetmatical person) can use to tell how I’m doing.
  • Video EditorI ocasionaly like to dabble in editing home video, or may potentially want to edit the commercials out of a Tivo file. I need something that’s stable and responsive. I don’t mind long render times, but I need something that offers a quick live preview when I’m editing. I also need an integrated solution for making DVD’s (with the ability to do dual-layer).
  • GamesI don’t play many games at all, don’t have time for them. But, occasionally I will pull out a flight simulator and have some fun navigating a civil or commercial aircraft through the skies over realistic terrain. Don’t need any of the military crap. Whatever platform I have needs to have a decent flight sim available. X-Plane is the only one that goes to all three platforms; not too sure about its quality and usability though. Other games I play are Sims2 occasionally, which is available for Mac and Windows, and Auran Trainz, which is available only on Windows.
  • DevelopmentWhew, I do web development and graphics editing. Photoshop/Macromedia Studio are very expensive solutions. I would prefer a lower cost, but just as capable, solution. Jasc PaintShop Pro is a decent alternative to Photoshop. I’ve never really gotten the hang of the GIMP. I’d like a web devleopment product that does integrated php and mysql syntax highlighting, helps me manage the functions, classes, and other document flow, does code folding, and all the other nice little apps. I have yet to find a solution that really works for me here, other than the juggernaut Dreamweaver.

I’m at a loss. Each area that I have needs in has different strengths and weaknesses for each OS. Add on top of all of this a desire to focus on the promotion of open standards and that all important “we care about our customers” attitude, wrapped in a whole lot of “It just works”, and that would be my perfect system. I’d love some feedback on achieving my ideal setup.

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