Had new mini about a week, honestly not overly impressed.....

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by VoodooDaddy, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. VoodooDaddy macrumors 65816

    May 14, 2003
    I see A LOT of comments like "OSX is just better......its so intuitive......things just work......it doesn't crash...." here. Granted, its an apple enthuseist forum so that's to be expected.

    I really had no good reason to switch to Mac. I was happy with my pcs, although I did have some annoyances occasionally. But these were mostly do to older hardware needing upgraded and the fact the hard drive had not been reformatted in over 3yrs. I didn't have any of the major headaches most people say they do. I think a lot of that comes from people carelessly installing anything that looks cool without knowing what's actually there. (ie - spyware) I was very, very particular about what went on my pc. Never any viruses, never any spyware found.

    So basically why I bought the mini was I needed a new computer. I was always interested in trying a mac out, didn't really feel like building yet another pc, so I just went with the mini. If nothing else I could always run XP off of that.

    I've yet to install bootcamp as I figured I'd give osx my full attention at first, basically make myself learn how to get around.

    But I have to say one major disagreement I have it that its not so intuitive as people make out. I'm no MS fanboy or anything, but I don't have any deep seated hatred for them like so many here either. I remember the first computer I had with Windows 98. I knew NOTHING about it, but it was just easier to get around on. First time I used Windows Movie Maker I had a short movie made in no time. I tried to make one in iMovie and had to scrap it several times cause I just couldn't figure it out.

    Also, in my week with the mini I've had 1 freeze up that required a reboot, 1 program that hung, icons disappearing occasionally from my toolbar, and this morning I click on the dashboard and all my widgets were gone. So OSX isn't without problems and annoyances like many claim are only found in MS products.

    I don't expect to know how to do everything having come from years and years of MS OS'. As a matter of fact I was at Barnes and Noble yesterday expressly looking for a Dummies guide or something for OSX. (The Missing Manual by Pogue seems to be the one recommended by a lot of people here) Maybe I was just expecting too much, like some earth shattering experience. Well, its ok so far, but nothing spectacular.

    I will say that I'm still amazed at the size of the mini. I mean the thing is smaller than a shoebox with all it has packed inside, its really remarkable.

    Hope people don't take this the wrong way. Wasn't trying to bash apple or anything. Not taking my mini back anytime soon. Just an honest opinion from a new mac user.
  2. Deepdale macrumors 68000


    May 4, 2005
    New York
    It is a perfectly legitimate critique. The only two computers I have owned have been Macs and I am limited to using OS X when I am either at Apple, Comp USA or TekServe. I like what it offers, but I would hardly declare it to be a life altering experience.
  3. Chrispy macrumors 68020


    Dec 27, 2004
    I would say this post is very fair. The OP never bashed Apple and gave his/her honest user experience. The problem with the Intel macs at the moment is lack of universal binary software. Even with 1GB of ram in my mini, if I have a lot of stuff running I will get hangs in Entourage at times.

    I used, and still own, a very nice Dell E510 fully upgraded. It was a great computer for me and never gave me any trouble. The only reason I am getting rid of it is due to the heat it puts out in my room. Ever since I got my mini my room has been much cooler. Mac are not the end all of computing by any means, however, I do find OSX offers an environment where I know what to expect. I don't get too many surprises with Mac OS where as when I was with windows there was always that voice in the back of my head telling me to be careful what I do.

    I hope the OP grows to enjoy his mini as I am sure he/she will. I would suggest a memory upgrade tho as mine has been much better since going from 512MB to 1GB.
  4. AlBDamned macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    Very true. Given the bugs and hang ups it's fair enough and yes iMovie can be a PITA at first.

    I also completely agree about people just downloading stuff ruins their PCs.

    Saying that, however, a friend bought an Intel Mac Mini and has had no problems with it in terms of crashing - except with iMovie at the beginning - but that's history now and he's making videos all the time.

    It's a shame it hasn't been a flawless experience for you. When I got into modern Macs with a G5 a couple of years ago it was amazing, but then I had zero knowledge of computers so it was a big leap.

    If you're handy with any type of PC hardware or software, I can understand it not being such a revolution.

    OS X and the mini definitely look better than there Windows equivalent though, right? ;
  5. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    I think the two are linked - if you're very familiar with Windows, then it takes a while to get used to the Mac way of doing things and you'll likely find it less intuitive than you expect. You almost have to 'forget' the Windows way of doing stuff and it will become more easy to think of what to do.

    When I first switched back (had a Mac, then went to Windows for 8 years), I used to struggle with some stuff which I then discovered was a 'doh' type answer. One example was trying to save an image from the internet (pre-Tiger and the context menu item). I sat for several minutes before realising I could just drag and drop it onto my desktop. I had a similar experience when trying to burn an audio CD - I was used to having to specify what I wanted in Windows or convert things to another format before burning.

    On the other hand, my mother and sister (Windows users but not v experienced) coped with these things much easier when they got their Macs. They just assumed that things would work (not having tried them on Windows in the past) and they did. My mother takes her iBook places and just expects the internet to work (wirelessly or via ethernet) - I don't think she's ever looked at the network configuration in system preferences. Whereas, when I first started taking my Powerbook around, I was considering all the potential problems that I'd experienced with a Windows laptop and how to get round them all.
  6. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    This is not typical. May I ask which programs you were running during the freeze and hang?

    The Dashboard problem is also atypical, but the disappearing toolbar icons may have a natural explanation, assuming that by the toolbar do you mean the "dock" at the bottom of your desktop. If so, you should know that it combines the start menu and taskbar's functions in Windows. You have a number of icons there that represent the apps you want quick access to, but when you run other apps that aren't in your dock (e.g. by opening a document) their icons will show up in the dock (that's the taskbar like function). These show up with the arrow under them. When you close all the documents for a given app, the app can still be running and will leave its icon inthe dock, until you quit the app entirely and it's icon vanishes.
    I think that the Intel Macs are still having some growing pains which will lead to more posts along the lines of this one. Particularly Rosetta allows for some PPC programs to run marginally which gives the impression of a slow/unstable system.

  7. VoodooDaddy thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 14, 2003
    I've already been pricing ram. I'd wanted to add another 512 to have 1gb but them I find out that it comes pre-installed with (2) sticks of 256 so I can't just add 512 to it. And at this point I really don't want to drop another $180 or so on ram. I bought a new monitor to go with the mini so I'm already in well over $1200. Kind of a pricey experiment for sure.

    The mini hardware, well, all Apple hardware is nice looking. I'm just sick of the tall, beige box sitting on the floor next to my desk. I know you can dress up the pc, but aside from paint and neon and see through windows, its still a large, rectangular box.

    Boot up on the mini is awesome too. After 3yrs of not reformatting my pc, it takes a good 2min for a full boot up. And that's really with minimal programs in the startup. From power off to ready to use, OSX comes up in about 15 seconds :)

    Do macs require occasional reformatting and a fresh install after a while? Do they eventually bog down like Windows? For all the complaints people have with XP, from my experience its a very stable OS. I used to religiously reformat my pc every 6 months with Windows 98. I rebuilt my pc 3 1/2yrs ago, installed XP then, and haven't since then. Now I do get the odd hang or crash here and there, but nothing that a ctl-alt-delt close app doesn't solve. I leave the thing on 24/7 and it'll go weeks sometimes without a reboot.
  8. VoodooDaddy thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 14, 2003
    I can't remember for sure what app hung up, but I remember thinking "uh oh, this isn't suppose to happen on a mac" :)

    Yes, I meant the dock, forgetting the terminology. I have firefox in the dock and the icon has twice been gone when I boot up. (I always shut down the mini when its not going to be used for a good while, unlike always leaving my pc on. Is is ok to leave the mini on at all times?) I dragged the icon for firefox from the apps folder to the dock, so as far as I know it should always be there right? I mean its not a huge deal, just I didn't understand why twice it was missing.

    Also, the dashboard icon was missing once when I booted up. And this morning, when I clicked the dashboard icon, all the widgets that had been there just last night had all been removed.
  9. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    You do need more RAM for a pleasant experience unless all you do is surf, check e-mail and the occasional iPhoto session.

    OS X usually doesn't get bogged down over time, so you don't have to reinstall unless there's a specific problem. You can get problems that require a reinstall, and that will usually be some software that comes into conflict with each other or with an OS update from Apple, or it can be user errors like deleting the system folder in Terminal (don't do that).

    And as others have said it's not normal to lose your widgets and menu bar icons. You could try to create a new user account and see if the problem continues.
  10. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    You can get your gig (2x512) for $99 at OWC...

    No you don't need to reinstall the OS every so often, even though some do. The main point is that there isn't a registry in OS X that slowly gets filled up with junk and needs to be cleaned out...

    Yes, if you drag an app's icon to the dock it should stay there. Almost sounds like your user profile is getting reset somehow to a default setting losing the dock and dashboard preferences?

    IMHO, leave your Mac in sleep mode. Unlike Windows power management usually works quite well on Macs... Then your 15 seconds to useful turns into 1. :D

  11. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    My first Mac mini had issues and I myself was disheartened as to the fabulous Mac/OS X experience. After convincing Apple that my Mac mini was in need of replacement (a few days later it died completely anyway) and receiving my replacement I can honestly say that I'm blown away. The new machine Just Works™ and hasn't given me a single bit of grief.

    So, what I'm trying to say is, don't think that the impression your Mac mini has given you is an accurate reflection of what the whole Mac community puts up with. Most Mac users, myself included now, would appear to be madly in love with Mac and OS X for good reason.
  12. dalvin200 macrumors 68040

    Mar 24, 2006
    Nottingham, UK
    First, you can put the mini to "sleep".

    Second.. ctrl-click (or right click) on the firefox icon in your dock and select the "keep in dock" option just to be sure.. then restart and see if it's not in your dock again.
  13. timmac macrumors member

    Mar 20, 2006
    Hattiesburg, MS
    . . . Just my two cents . . .

    Like the OP, I switched to Mac after several years on Windows (11 to be exact). I never had what I considered to be any problems with Windows, but looking back I see I "accepted" having hardware/software issues, running antivirus, anti-spyware. Unlike him, I did have minor spyware issues (but these were tracking cookies, that I consider spyware, but many don't).

    Like the OP, I, at first, found some things counter-intuitive. I believe this was minimized, though, by reading Pogue's missing manual for switchers before switching, so I was familiar with many of the differences between the two OS's.

    I think a lot of the "counter-intuitiveness" that the OP complains about is simply having to stop thinking like a windows user. I have one friend who after twenty years of driving only cars with standard transmissions began driving a car with an automatic transmission. He found "just driving" to be counter-intuitive. That's the closest analogy I can think of from switching to an OS where one is very comfortable, and almost a power user, to a new OS.

    I must also ditto that the OP's experiences with crashing/hanging up, etc. do not seem to be the norm. I have yet to have OS X completely hang up (after three months) and, while I have had the occasional app crash, it doesn't spread to the OS as it seemed windows did.
  14. AlBDamned macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    True, now isn't the best time to be a switcher, particularly if you were [seemingly] happy on Windows.

    And Rosetta, despite being a very clever app in principle, does add to the problems. When we get Rev B and C Intel machines and Adobe, MS and the rest of the major apps in universal binary, we'll see some very happy people.
  15. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003


    One thing I'd recommend though is going into the utilities folder, open up disk utility and hit "repair permissions" It'll take a few minutes but I try to do it once a month or so. Dashboard widgets have some issues and mostly that's all that needs to be repaired.
  16. janey macrumors 603


    Dec 20, 2002
    sunny los angeles
    To be honest, it's not just with OS X this happens, I've seen it go in all possible ways, and usually worst in people who learn how to use and treat computers in a particular way. Some people stick out like sore thumbs...like those people who find a need to do something in an exact way ("click on start menu, go to 'all programs', and then go to the microsoft office item in 'all programs', and click once on "Microsoft Word" as opposed to "okay, Microsoft Word is a program. I know programs are stored in and can be accessed from x location on this computer, so I should probably go look in x location first to see if it is there, and if it is, click on it to start it up" ...) and can't deviate from it without being confused ten times over
    Most OSs aren't that intuitively designed, Apple just happens to be slightly better in some aspects, and Microsoft in others..

    As for iMovie, don't worry about it. I found Final Cut Pro to be a hell of a lot more intuitive and easier than iMovie, which I struggled with for hours on end 'cause I couldn't figure out how to do certain things in iMovie without digging around with google, searching help, asking for help, pressing random buttons and menus, etc.
  17. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Like some other posters have you have to give yourself more time to shed Windows habits. When I first switched to a Mac it took me about two months to get totally comfortable w/the OS, but that includes "power user" type stuff too. 'Cause I knew my way around Windows and PCs inside and out so getting a Mac and being a "newb" again was frustrating, but the more I used the Mac the more I fell in love w/OS X. Many times I'd wrestle w/something and the answer would always fall into the, "It's so simple why did I try it first" realm. After years of using a less intuitive interface I got a used to doing it the "hard way" because I knew the "easy way" hardly ever worked. Then I moved to a more intuitive interface that typically used the "easy way" but I just kept trying to do it the "hard way" out of habit.

    My parents, on the other hand, took to their Mac like fish to water because they only used Windows on a very superficial level so they didn't have to "unlearn" a lot of things.

    Anyway, now I'm rambling.

  18. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    A week is not enough time to see how great OSX is.
    I have used windows for years and switch to Mac in August 2005.
    My experiences:
    1. Setting up new devices is a breeze. If is says its Mac compatible it just works.

    2. My iBook has not crashed ever.

    3. I love how the menus are pretty much the same for all apps. For example the Preferences is always under the left most drop down menu (next to the apple)

    4. I have much easily access to data and apps with OSX (Dashboard, menubar, widgets, etc.)

    5. I love custom icons. This is something that is not easy to do in Windows.
  19. quigleybc macrumors 68030


    Jun 17, 2005
    Beautiful Vancouver British Columbia, Canada
    I'm the opposite...

    I started with OS X and now I'm lost on Windows.....

    I use windows at work and it's so much more complicated than OS X....

    I know you can drag and drop in windows, but not as easily as in oS X..

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