Get an iLife!

When I signed the lease on my current place, there was a drawing for an iPad. Turns out I won one (16G, wifi only) and received it today. A swipe of the debit card at the Apple store later, I have the 32G (wifi only) unit. I also have a macbook that I’ve enjoyed for a couple years now: OS-X 10.4, dual Intel 2 core, etc. Finally, my trusty 30G iPod classic, which is getting along in years and will almost certainly be replaced by a new 160G iPod classic. My phone is a Droid and that’s not likely to change.

I don’t game on the PC much anymore and anyway my Athlon 64+ with 1G RAM isn’t exactly ready to run Far Cry 2 in hi-res. Mostly I do a little bit of photography, maintain a few websites using an old PC copy of Dreamweaver 3, and keep giant archives of music and ebooks/pdfs. My work laptop covers my Microsoft Office needs. Most of my personal stuff is done via Google Docs or Wordpress or other online services. I do intend to get into minor music editing and photo work once school is done, but nothing uber.

Some questions: What are the good softwares? Is iTunes still a fascist that has its way with one’s music collection or does it behave for us manual types? Will all my macs be able to read/write the PC formatted external HD I keep around as a backup? How about my thumb drives? Should I pay to update the macbook to OS-X 10.5 so I can use iTunes 10 as the iPad requires (I used my PC to get the iPad up and running)? What is a good two button mouse? What is a good cover/bag/holder for the iPad? What other accessories and apps are somewhat nifty?

What else do I need to know to upgrade to a glossy new iLife?

Welcome to the fold! has a deal on right now. has some hints.

i’ll write a longer response when i’m not on my iphone.

You should upgrade to Snow Leopard for $35 by the way.

  1. I don’t use iTunes for music management myself, but there are options for turning off its automatic management of files into its own structure. I don’t know what other quirks and gotchas you might run into, though.

  2. If the external drive is formatted as FAT32 then it’ll work just fine. If it’s formatted as NTFS, then you’ll be able to read from it, but not write to it. There are third-party drivers with NTFS write support, but I don’t have any personal experience with them. Same thing for thumb drives.

  3. You may as well upgrade to Snow Leopard; as rei pointed out, it’s pretty cheap and more and more apps will start to depend on the frameworks introduced in it.

  4. I use a Logitech V470 as my two-button mouse and am pretty happy with it, though the main concern was for portability rather than ergonomics. I mainly use it when I’m in Boot Camp or gaming, not all the time.

If you want to do photo management and editing on the Macbook, you could look at iPhoto (from the iLife suite, you probably have an older version of it already that came with the Macbook), Picasa, or Photoshop Elements first, before getting into the pro stuff. iPhoto’s been good enough for me, but if you’ve already been using Picasa on the PC then you may as well stick with that.

For music editing, there’s GarageBand (also from iLife) for larger-scale music composition, or Audacity for more basic editing tasks.