A Switcher's Experience - 1 Year On

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Tonerl, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. Tonerl Guest

    As my 24" iMac approaches its 1st birthday, I've decided to review my experience with it and Leopard. All my previous personal computers have run DOS, Windows, or Windows and Linux. I've used IBM and Burroughs mainframes, personal computers since the days of CP/M, and was an early adopter of the IBM PC. I'm in my 60s (crotchety, opinionated, intolerant, etc - and that's on good days!).

    - The iMac has never crashed - neither did my PCs that ran Windows XP (but I never ran my PC as Administrator and was very careful about what programs I loaded and about security). I've had very good experiences with PC hardware over the years, the only fault being a noisy fan in one PC's graphics card.

    - Sleep has never worked automatically on the iMac. Even when I put the iMac to sleep manually, it may wake for no reason that I can determine. Putting the iMac to sleep instead of switching off gives rise, after a week or so, to failure of the password prompt when the iMac is awoken - this goes away (till next time) when I run Onyx. Of course, Windows XP has no such problem because it lacks a proper sleep function.

    - My "pocket PC" runs Windows Mobile 6.1 - many similar devices do - but there is still no reliable (I emphasize 'reliable') way to synchronize with OS X 10.5 more than a year after the release of Leopard. The equivalent 'solution' in Windows XP, ActiveSync, is an abomination that even Microsoft must surely be ashamed of. Honours even, I think.

    - I have to 'repair permissions' with Disk Utility occasionally to cure a problem where the menus don't work correctly. Neither FAT nor NTFS required this or ever gave me the slightest problems.

    - There still is no Mac equivalent of Microsoft Money (all the programs that I've investigated were lacking in one or more areas).

    - There is still no Mac OCR program that I can get hold of or that seems to have been updated recently. There are several for Windows.

    - I'd have liked to use iPhoto but it would store all my photos in one big file and I don't like that - I didn't use Outlook as my Windows e-mail client for the same reason. My photos are too precious to trust to a single file. Why they could not be indexed and so on but left in my folders I really don't know but the latest iPhoto seems a backward step.

    - Updates have become a real problem: I stopped applying them when an iTunes update was reported to have deleted data - my 'tunes' took a long time to put on my iMac and I don't want to do it again just because some programmer was careless. The recent update to 10.5.6 I have ignored so far because of the many problems it seems to have caused others. This is very reminiscent of life with Windows XP.

    Given my wish is for a simple, easy-to-use, reliable combination of hardware and software, my experience with the iMac and OS X has been mixed. The maxim 'it just works' is not strictly true now and I'm not sure that it ever was.

    I'm 'OS-agnostic' and use what works. Because I've taken sensible precautions, I've had little trouble with Windows in its various guises, especially the versions based on NT. However, Vista was a deviation too far for me. Whether 'Windows 7' (it's really 6.1) will be any better remains to be seen: early builds, which give favourable impressions, can be unrepresentative of the retail product - they were in Vista's case.

    Shall I install Snow Leopard or return to the Windows fold? Six months ago, I intended to buy a Mac laptop and to turn my back on Windows but now I feel undecided about which OS to adopt. I've some experience of Linux but it lacks the necessary application-base. Apple's quality-control procedures seem to be no better than Microsoft's at present, possibly because Apple is trying to get into so many different markets and has too few staff. The focus seems to be on getting the cusomers' cash rather than on producing high-quality kit or software, which is familiar to all users of Microsoft products.

    I've been disappointed to see some of the same failures in Apple's software as bedevilled Microsoft's efforts. Updates that 'brick' some machines (these are Apple products, remember) or cause various problems betoken inadequate testing: Microsoft has at least the excuse that it doesn't make (most of) the hardware. Apple's decision to omit Firewire ports from its newer products seems bizarre and lacking in sensitivity to customer needs or requirements. Neither company seems to have the necessary discipline, though both have plenty of hubris.
  2. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    I don't know where you got this information, but it's incorrect. The photos are still stored in regular folders. Plus, I assume you're using time machine to backup since these photos are so precious to you. So even if the photos were stored in a single file (which they aren't) then you'd still have them completely safe by using your time machine backup. (I hope that didn't come off sounding too snarky.)
  3. jtmav macrumors member

    Dec 15, 2007
    I am also celebrating a 1 year birthday with my iMac, after many years as a PC user. I have found very little to complain about and would rate my experience with Mac as outstanding. I guess I just voted with my wallet and replaced my Sony VAIO laptop with a brand new Macbook Air w/SSD.:) I find the quality and ease of use on both these Macs to be better than anything I experienced from Windows, going all the way back to DOS.
    Seems like some of your observations are confusing to me(iPhoto in one file?). Vista was the final tipping point for me. What a terrible and clumsy OS. Going back to XP just to stay in the Windows environment made little sense.
    Good luck,

  4. czachorski macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2007
    With the move to iPhoto 08, Apple started to wrap all the folders up into a package, so it looks like one file to the casual observer. If you right click on it, and chose 'show package contents' you will see all the folders and your original, individual photo files all in tact.

    My experience with iPhoto has been just the opposite. It has freed me up from the chore of having to work with folders and files manually, and moved me to a very elegant and well thought out tools for organizing my photos in a way that makes a lot of sense to me: albums and events. I think of it as a customized finder designed just for photos.

    My experiences with my iMac have been just the opposite of the OP. Sleep works absolutely reliably. MS Money sucks - I use Mvelopes. Problems with menus? Never happened. Problems with updates or loss of data: no. Even if I did, my Time Machine would restore it perfectly. Sounds like the OP might have a bad install of OS X or something.
  5. trevis macrumors newbie

    Mar 14, 2008
    iPhoto can use external directories

    Just wanted to comment on iPhoto here.
    As it was said before the library is not a single file, but a package.
    Even though, if you don't want your photos to be copied into the package
    you can keep your own directory structure. In this case iphoto creates
    links to your original files in the package.
    This is achieved by unchecking "Copy items to the iPhoto Library" in the
    Advanced section of the iPhoto preferences.
    There a little caveat here is that iPhoto will still copy jpegs that have orientation other then normal into "modified" directory in the package.
    I find it to be strange and inconvenient, but, unfortunately, this is the way it is now.
    So before adding images into iphoto, I have to make the orientation "normal" on all of them to avoid unnecessary unprovoked copy of the same file. in the Library.
  6. czachorski macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2007
    I wonder if one of you two could explain to me why it is such a big hassle to have iPhoto organize your photos? I've had iPhoto doing that for 7 years, and never had a problem with it. I just use iPhoto like a finder for photos. To me,it is a convenience.
  7. trevis macrumors newbie

    Mar 14, 2008
    Well, first of all it is a personal preference, and likely iPhoto gives such an option. I like to keep files, where I put them and iPhoto perfectly organizes "photo" aspect of those files.
    Second reason is that files are kept in the shared folder and can be accessed by other systems on the network, especially this is important for Windows machines.

  8. Muncher macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2007
    First of all, if your imac is running a bit slow, use this. It's great, I use it every few months.

    I'm OS agnostic too. I'd happily run on a linux machine, but I've got this shiny imac in front of me :D. I've got big hopes for Windows 7, maybe microsoft won't screw this next one up. Their market share depends on it. If I were you, I'd get Snow Leopard. It's cheaper, and your machine will be more efficient. And as to your saying linux lacks the application base, have you seen Ubuntu? It's got openoffice and all that stuff! Not to mention you can get almost every open-source app ever written from the downloader.
  9. czachorski macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2007
    Wouldn't both of these issues be resolved by your suggestion of unchecking "Copy items to the iPhoto Library"? I guess this is the part that I have never understood. People complain about not being able to work with and organize the files, but iPhoto has that option. I must be missing something.......
  10. trevis macrumors newbie

    Mar 14, 2008
    Yes, they would.
    Read iPhoto help section "Importing photos".
  11. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    You know you can run windows on your mac, so use boot camp or parallels to run the programs not available for the mac, as well as synchronize your "pocket pc." I use Quicken this way because Quicken for the mac sucks.

    That's, IMO, the biggest advantage of getting a mac rather than a PC. Being a switcher does not mean you must do away with windows.
  12. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

    Feb 2, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    If you don't like the way iPhoto is handling your files then maybe get some other software like Lightroom or Aperture. I prefer Lightroom and based on what you said, I'm sure you would too.
  13. Saladinos macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2008
    You have configured something to prevent the Mac from sleeping. I did this once, but I didn't use sleep much, so I never noticed it. When I started using sleep, the computer would sleep and wake up again after a minute or two. I found out that Transmission was stopping the Mac from sleeping, and it was solved.

    Try logging on to the guest account from a reboot (that is, your normal account hasn't logged in yet). Try a sleep from there. If it works, you're going to need to find the application/service stopping sleep.

    Oh, and I've learned to love iPhoto. Your library isn't stored in a big file, it's got it's own directory structure. It just looks like a file. You can enter it by right-clicking and choosing "show package contents". You're switching - you can't expect iPhoto to work just like whatever you used before. Try and just go with it for a bit and forget the complaints for that time, and you'll soon find that you like the new way of working.
  14. czachorski macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2007
    Good point, Sal. For me as a switcher 6 years ago, it was a little odd to let programs like iPhoto and iTunes (before it was out for PCs) to take over my file management. It was not something I was used to in a program, so it felt like a leap of faith to do it. But now after using them for so long, I can't imagine organizing my stuff without them. I've never come across anything that I couldn't do with my photos very easily as a result of that leap of faith. And in 100's of ways iPhoto has enabled me to do so much more.
  15. Tonerl thread starter Guest

    I had hoped to stimulate a discussion of the pros and cons of Macs and the Mac OS but most comments were about iPhoto. Frankly, I don't need a program to organize my photos; I learned long ago to organize my files tidily and efficiently - I use Adobe Photo Elements 6 for Mac when I wish to make changes to photos.

    There are certainly aspects of Mac OS X that I shall miss if I return to Windows: relative security, good GUI, the UNIX engine underneath, and so on. However, the difference is not as great as all that and certainly doesn't make up for the fact that there is no money-management program or OCR program to match what is available for Windows, or the fact that synchronizing a PDA or smartphone is still hit-and-miss a year after the latest release of the OS (there are options but they are only partially successful).

    The 'permissions thing' still has me baffled. I've never had permissions problems in Linux or Windows. Is the problem on Macs due to poor software quality or defects in the file system? Every book on OS X has a section on repairing permissions as though this were a feature instead of dealing with a bug! On neither Linux nor Windows have I had the 'require password to use computer after screensaver kicks in' feature simply stop working as it has on my iMac (requiring Onyx before I could get it to work again).

    At present, I'm undecided about my future OS direction though I'm keeping a close watch on Windows 7; even if Snow Leopard is exceptionally good, the lack of really good personal-finance and OCR software would still be a nuisance (as it is on Linux) - mind you, if Apple got synchronization fixed at last, that would be real progress. In the meantime, I'm likely to rely increasingly on Windows XP under VMware Fusion.

    I'm sorry that my points have not been picked up by those who replied to my original post. Informed, objective discussion is good for everyone and should be good for Apple, too.
  16. bjmach macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2008
    I switched from Three windows desktops and one windows laptop to what you see in my sig below back in October. Work with windows machines all day and I am happy that I made the switch to Apple at home. Will never look back.
  17. keltoid macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2008
    I for one, thank you Toneri for your post. I own fast pcs and work with Macs. I'm sure it is just the network I am on, but every Mac I've used in different companies is just horrendously slow. I have nightmares about that spinning pizza wheel of death - I'd like to punch it. Again, though, since I've never worked on a mac that wasn't on a network w/ questionable server management, I don't know if its the macs or that. I assume its the network, listening to 20 years of Mac users glow over their machines.

    I also find that Mac lovers I know used them early on (for graphics) and never switched or had the opportunity to use a really good, fast pc once pcs caught up in the graphics area. That's fine -- I just will take my super fast xps anyday over this Imac I make my money on here. lol

    One thing that bugs me -- is you can't (or so it seems) arrange your files so that all of your folders are at the top and single files below alphabetically or however you choose to sort them. This seems like such a basic file management option that to just ignore it seems strange to me. Other than that, the thing works fine, some shortcuts are useful, but I'd like to work on one that isn't slow to work on.
  18. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    Yes you can Right Click>Arrange by> Kind

    Puts folders at the top and single files below all in alphabetical order, hope this helps!
  19. gothiquegirrl macrumors regular


    Dec 6, 2006
    Planet Earth
    I had a 10 year old iMac I bought 2 years ago to try out the OS... However, I switched to OS X full time ( mostly full time - because I use windows for my job..) about a year ago with my Alu iMac and haven't looked back.

    My husband says I cuss less and smile more since I started using my iMac.
    I think that says it all...

    When the hub got his Vista Monster - I told him that I wasn't maintaining it anymore.. he was on his own... Now he cusses more.. LOL

  20. czachorski macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2007
    People are flocking to Macs because of their ease of media management, like photos, movies and music, and easy integration with the web, iPods, iPhones, etc. The functions you are describing, manually managing your media, OCR tools, money management, etc., are not the headline features of the platform. I am not surprised that you are feeling the way you are about your Mac with those uses. You have to use the right tool for the job, and the Mac has its strengths and weaknesses, as you have noticed.

    The only saving grace that can be offered to someone in your situation is the option to dual boot or run parallels and get the best of both worlds on 1 computer (something that can't be done on a PC). That is how I run my MacBook Pro at work - I need to have access to Windows to run our accounting software, outlook, our CRM software, CAD, GIS, etc. I would not dream of trying to force fit those tasks onto OS X. Buy by running parallels, I can use OS X at work and enjoy all its goodness for many tasks. At home, it is all personal media management, and I would not dream of doing those tasks on a PC. I feel pretty lucky to have the best tools for each job at home and work, all on a Mac.

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