10/11/2008

Even My PC Wants a Mac

I'm a little off topic here, but I must say I use a non-UNIX system to access UNIX.  My wife got a Mac.  Knowing what I know now, I would have bought a Mac years ago.  They are so advanced compared to a PC, well, there's no comparison.  One of the things I like about a Mac is the dock, which is the equivalent of the Windows task bar.   I'm saving for a Mac, and in my PC's golden years my PC wants one of those docks. 
 
 
How
 
Go to Google Images and search for a Mac background for the desktop.
 
Select a suitable Windows Theme.  Right click on desktop and choose Properties.  On Themes tab, choose Windows XP, and click Apply.  On Appearance tab, choose Windows XP style windows and buttons and Silver color scheme, and click Apply.  On the Appearance tab, click Advanced.  For Item, pick Active Title Bar, and set Size at 18.  For Item, pick Active Window Border, and set Size at 1.  Click Ok, and click Ok again to leave Display Properties.
Side note:  Yes, it is possible to download a complete theme that emulates a Mac's window border shapes, colors, button and menu placements, etc.  I have not done that because they don't add that much value, the procedure requires unstable freeware or shareware, and the forums for those software packages and themes are loaded with people's troubles regarding getting it to work correctly.  To me, the Windows XP Silver style is close enough.
 
Install Safari and iTunes.
 
Install ObjectDock. 
 
Install OS X Leopard Dock Pack in ObjectDock, and choose the Leopard 3D Dark background in ObjectDock settings.
 
Install ObjectDock tray docklet.
 
Remove the Recycle Bin from the desktop (you can put a Recycle Bin icon on the ObjectDock).
 
Convert a couple of Mac icons from .icns to .png format so they are compatible with ObjectDock.
 
Clean up desktop icons.  Icons that launch programs are probably already in the Start Menu, or can be put there and deleted from the desktop.  Add favorite programs on the ObjectDock.  Documents on the desktop can be put in My Documents.
 
 
Results
 
The Windows task bar does 4 basic things:
  • Start button.
  • Show icons for active and minimized programs.
  • Shows a system tray with status of various background processes.
  • Quick Launch icons.
ObjectDock can do those same things.  So what's the difference?  Well, I like the looks, functionality, and flexibility of ObjectDock.  I like these things:
  • Flexibility of arranging the dock any way I want.  The tray and start button can go anywhere on the dock.
  • Icon images can be .png, .jpg, .gif, or .ico format.  It's very easy to customize the icons. 
  • I can change the icon for any item, including the Start button.  Goodbye ugly green Start button.
  • The fan out weather icon.
  • Animations of the dock are pleasant.  I like the way it magnifies the icons under my mouse pointer.
  • When the dock is behind other windows and I move the mouse cursor to the bottom of the screen, the dock moves to the front.  This happens even if you have maximized windows on top of the dock.
  • Icons of folders can be made to open the folder, or show the contents of the folder menu style.

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