Thoughts of a Switcher- 5 days of iMac ownership

Discussion in 'iMac' started by duncyboy, Apr 4, 2008.

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  1. duncyboy macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    Monday morning was A-Day. Went to the Trafford Centre in Manchester and bought the entry-level iMac from a guy named Greg who looked like he had a really bad hangover.

    Got it home- connected the network cable, keyboard, mouse, speakers and then the power. Powered up with one eye shut- what if it has a bad screen gradient? Or stuck pixels? Or just doesn't boot at all?

    No worries- 60 seconds later, there it was. Answered all the start-up questions and I was up and running.

    Now, I'm not gonna lie. I was a Windows user for about 8 or 9 years before I decided to switch and I pretty much knew XP Pro back to front and inside out and switching to Leopard wasn't as easy as I'd thought. My learning curve's had to go vertical taking it all in. But I'm getting there- slowly but surely. Things like the OS X Tips Thread on here have helped tremendously.

    Now, let's look at my positives and negatives, starting with the negatives:

    The Mighty Mouse. The jury's out for now but I'm none to keen on it. It's still early days though.

    iPhoto. Hmmm, not actually sure I would have any use for this. It may prove it's worth for now, but at the moment I'm unconvinced I can get any use from it.


    This is the best looking computer I've ever owned by a country mile. It's gorgeous.

    This is the quietest computer I've ever owned. I was always looking at ways to silence my Windows box- quiet, volt-modded fans, water-cooling, expensive PSU's, fan controllers. And none of that comes close to how quiet this is.

    The display- no screen gradient, no stuck pixels and I actually like the glossy screen. Everything looks great.

    The keyboard. I just look for excuses to type stuff on this. It's outstanding and looks beautiful.

    Speed- for the cheap, entry-level iMac it's great. I can multi-task like a freak and it's fine. I still plan to upgrade to 4GB RAM soon though.

    Leopard- I could talk for hours about this, but I won't! Finder baffled the Hell out of me at first and I'm still getting used to the differences between Quitting and Hiding active programs etc but overall I think it's superb. I love Spaces and Quick Look and Spotlight. I keep finding little features that, after ten minutes, I couldn't live without! The biggest challenge was getting my Mum out from in front of the thing once I'd set the Mosaic screensaver running with family pictures!!!

    Overall I'm delighted I've switched. All that remains to be seen is how the Terratec satellite TV Tuner fares and I'll be saving for a Mini to replace my HTPC.

    I'm a delighted Mac owner now and loving OS X more every day. And I've not even had it a week yet!!! :apple:
  2. amiga macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2006
    I'm glad you've had what has mostly been a very positive experience and hopefully it will continue to get better the more you learn :)

    I love my Mac.
  3. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    Welcome to the elite club of iMac owners. :)

    It's truly a great machine. I know iPhoto doesn't seem very useful right now, but it will if you ever get an iPhone or create a web site. iPhoto is a great tool for organizing photos.
  4. andy317 macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2008
    I was the same!!

    I had actually spent a lot of time deciding whether I should get an Imac (over a year :eek:).

    Why did I spend all that time trying to decide??

    I have had a refurb 20" Imac 2.4Ghz for a week now and have to say I am very pleased also.

    The features are fantastic in Leopard and it just looks the awesome. Also got more than I bargained for (extra GB of ram and 500GB HDD).

    I used to be a Windows fanatic, I knew it like the back of my hand since I used it at home, college and now work but it cannot compare to Leopard.

    Just having it a week has even got my dad into looking at buying one and I may also try and get a Mac Mini for the living room if all goes according to plan!
  5. czachorski macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2007
    What sort of things do you do with photography? If it minor to none, iPhoto is obviously not valuable for you. It's sweet spot is the non-professional mom and pop who rattle off 100+ photos of their life at just about every event you might go to. If you are one of those, you might want to give iPhoto a serious look. It is a great photo manager and organizer for those functions. I think of it as a dedicated, specialized "finder" made just for managing photos.
  6. VoodooDaddy macrumors 65816

    May 14, 2003
    It took me quite a while to undo my Windows way of thinking when I got my first Mac. I wasnt overly impressed with it right at first. I, like the OP, know XP front to back and never had many problems.

    Coming up on my 2yr anniversary with Mac/OSX and can say that I now appreciate it SOOO much more that I did at first. Any time I get on a Windows computer now, which is rare, it seems so clumsy.
  7. macabouttobe macrumors regular


    Aug 5, 2007
    Welcome aboard!

    You'll learn to love iPhoto. I am too a switcher - and probably the largest mental adjustment I had to make was to stop wanting to micro-manage my disk/folder heirarchies and want to know where every photo/song is stored. Broke that habit after I got used to the intuitiveness of the iLife suite and OSX.

    Used iPhoto for my family christmas cards, iPhoto for a very touching slideshow at my Grandma's funeral (just brought in my 24" iMac), also exported an iphoto slideshow to Final Cut Express for another photo montage I was making part of a sports DVD project.

    I do not plan on buying an PC ever again.
  8. czachorski macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2007
    I felt the same way as you when I switched 6 years ago. But now, I would say that I have come to realize that OS X and iLife are actually quite intuitive, but I was so used to working with systems and applications that were not well done and unintuitive, that it took a while to un-train myself to always expect things to be difficult. If you are doing something on your new Mac that seems difficult to figure out, take a step back and try to think of the easiest way it could be done, and that is probably it. I found myself over-thinking things all the time at first, and when I found out how simple it was, it was like "duhhhh".
  9. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    The mighty mouse is ok. And I've used Macs all my life.
    iPhoto is worth giving a shot, it really does help organizing pictures soooo much easier than having a big folder of stuff. Time Machine and Boot Camp are also great features of Leopard, though some might disagree.
    Welcome to the Mac side where the grass really is greener!
  10. MacHappytjg macrumors 65816

    Mar 24, 2008
    i had troubles on my friends imac using leopard either i'm stupid or something it was just weird compared to tiger i dont know why i just had some troubles:p
  11. mpaar macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2007
    Use the mouse of your choice . . .

    Just use the mouse you like. The iMac will happily accept any old usb mices . . .
  12. fivepoint macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    I made the switch 7 years ago. Some advice...

    1) Throw the mighty mouse away, right now! (or sell it on ebay for $5 less than you spent on it. Buy yourself a good 5 button mouse (or more) so you can take full advantage of Expose and spaces. You'll be so glad you did. I have the Logitech MX Revolution and would recommend it highly.
    2) System Preferences is your friend. So is the 'help' menu. Unlike XP, 'help' on a mac is actually... helpful.
    3) Definitely use iPhoto. Once you use iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, iDVD, Garageband, and iWeb together... You'll be so impressed at how well they work together, and you'll get so much more out of that machine than you ever would otherwise. If you need some help getting started, go to here.
    4) Drag your most used apps and folders to the dock, and to the sidebar in Finder. What a time saver!
    5) Download a few 'must have' third party programs. iStat Pro widget, handbrake and metax (if you want to put movies on your mac), flip4mac, sketchup, goog earth, etc.
    6) Take advantage of the rich mac community online. Ask questions, have discussions, and don't forget to give back after you've gotten the hang of things.

    Good luck! It takes a few weeks to iron out the differences, but once you switch, you won't even consider going back! BTW, I also am a proud owner of a new iMac, and I found it very interesting that you singled out the screen, the quietness, and the keyboard for a special comment. Thos are my favorite features of the iMac as well!

    Welcome to the community.
  13. duncyboy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    Cheers for the replies, everyone- a switch is much easier with the community online to hand :)

    iPhoto: I was always sceptical about letting iTunes manage my music library but now I do that by default, I s'pose I should just trust iPhoto and let it do it. I'm no photographer- I have a basic digital camera- but I do a lot of 3D rendering with stuff like Vue- haven't tried it on here YET. Time will tell. Maybe it's the old habit of Windows and managing files manually. Programs on XP Pro always seemed to be working around where the files are, instead of Vice Versa on a Mac (if that makes sense???)

    Mighty Mouse: I don't dislike it immensely but I keep catching myself yearning to dig my old MS Comfort mouse out! And I've contemplated the nice Logitech Bluetooth mouse- in white to match the Mac!!! :D I'll give it time, though.

    Bootcamp/VMWare/Parallels: I thought this would be one of the first things I'd do, get some of my XP-only apps installed but I've tried to resist the temptation- no MS Methadone, it's got to be Cold Turkey!!! There's no point switching if I'm going to go back to old habits. But then, my mobile won't transfer files over Bluetooth from some reason and Samsung's PC Studio is XP only. Anyone know a good 3rd party phone app that might work?

    I've got StuffIt, Handbrake, Perian and Flip4Mac installed as well as a few widgets. There are a few gaps here and there. There are a few things on Opera that are missing from the Mac version, unfortunately. From what I've read, it's not as well supported on this platform as it is on Windows, which is a shame. :(

    Apart from that- I'm laughing! I'm getting better at the Mac file system and even dipped a toe into the murky world of Terminal today :eek:

    Thanks for the kind replies, everyone. Always a nice welcome!
  14. byocrysis macrumors regular


    Nov 10, 2007
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    I am a recent switcher to mac as well. Picked up the 24" imac. I feel the same way as you do about the mighty mouse, it was just not my "cup of tea." May I suggest you check our the Logitech MX Revolution, it complements the imac quite well, and IMHO is a far superior device.
  15. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
  16. duncyboy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    StuffIt Expander? Is that not a wise move then? :eek:

    I'd read good reviews and the free version works with every archive format I've come across?

    What do you use? :)
  17. gwerhart0800 macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2008
    Loveland, CO
    4 weeks for me ...

    I purchased a mac in 1985 when my wife was in grad school. When it was on its last legs, I switched to PCs because of the expandability and the lower cost. I recently purchased a Mac Mini for iPhone development, so after 20+ years I am back.

    Good ...

    1) I have been a Unix hacker since 1982 ... I like the command line access via Terminal and the bash shell. In general, Mac OS X, at its core, is what I want for an OS. I primarily use shades of Linux for work, but the UI just doesn't come together yet. I have avoided Vista because ... let's face it ... it sucks.
    2) Hardware wise, I have two noisy Dell desktops in my home office ... the Mac Mini is quiet.
    3) No crapware ... I once purchased a laptop from HP for my wife and ended up nuking and reloading the OS because they had installed tons of crapware programs on the system by default. (A recent story had Sony offering a crapware free laptop for an extra $50 ... later they stated that it would be a free option.)

    Not-So-Good ...

    1) I purchased a 22" display to use with the Mac Mini and I am reusing a Dell keyboard and Mouse. I find that I end up "traversing" to the top of the screen to get to the menu bar to do things for applications/windows that are toward the bottom of the screen. The extensive "mousing around" is a time waster. I am learning keyboard short cuts, but using a non-Mac keyboard forces some finger gymnastics for some of them. (I am slowly feeling the need to get a Mac keyboard ... slowly ...) There is something to be said for the multiple document type interface with the menu attached to the parent window.
    2) I actually miss the start menu ... I am recasting my "dock" so that it has the things I actually use and discarding the stuff that I will not need.
    3) The Xcode development environment is not as advanced as I had hoped. (I am hoping that some of this is just the issues with the very beta iPhone SDK.) I am used to having auto-completion for class member/instances names when I type a "." after an object name. There maybe a way to do this that I have not yet discovered, but it is a serious time saver when writing code. (It also helps eliminate some typos.) Interface Build for the iPhone needs some work ... yes, it's a beta, but I think it should have cooked a bit longer.
    4) Safari really needs a way to skip backward/forward by multiple pages when browsing. Both FireFox and IE have this ... I find it quite useful. I wish the tabbing were more natural. (Yes, I miss the right-click short cuts of Windows.)
    5) No "paint" with the base OS. I needed to make some PNG icons and had to scrounge for a basic, free paint program. What happened to MacPaint and MacWrite???? (Yes ... I am an old-timer!)

    My general feeling is that when they turn the Mac Mini hardware again, I will get a newer version and give my kids the noisiest of the Dell towers. The allure of having a true Unix type OS under the UI is extremely appealing. Linux still fails in so many ways to provide a coherent user experience that permeates the OS, apps and utilities. Setting up networking and specifically wireless networking under Linux (Ubuntu or Fedora) takes all the fun out of life. I do wish there were a simple way to convert a MS Frontpage project to an iWeb project ... that one is going to take some time.

    I do think that Apple is really missing a mid-size headless system in their lineup. The mini is great, but sometimes you want a little but more and the Mac Pro is a giant leap. I really don't understand the "all-in-one" iMac appeal with the rate of change in underlying hardware. I own several LCD monitors that will outlast the systems they are attached to and go on to serve me for a long time ... just my preference ...

  18. baadtaste macrumors member


    Mar 27, 2008
    Totally agree with fivepoint - get a Logitech mouse with extra buttons!
    - I'm a Mac fan and have used Macs since 1985 when the Mac mouse had only one button - and was skeptical (laughing) to a more than one button mouse. Since i got my Logitech G5 gaming mouse I realize Apple have been lacking in "mouse power" all this years. I have used the mighty mouse as well as 3rd party like Kensington but fall back to Logitech. AND its plug and play - I tried to use a special driver for the mouse but found it was better just using what Apple had built in! When it comes to style - well it does not fit w the style - but it just makes interacting with the computer a whole lot easier.
    As for things like Phone-sync, it is a problem. Microsoft is so much bigger in volume - and Phone manufacturers have this thing with a new product, at least once a month-policy, that just defies any sensible software for 3rd party development....
  19. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    Yeah Sky Blue whats the issue with Stuffit? I cannot help but feel your reasoning is going to be borderline anal retentive.
  20. baadtaste macrumors member


    Mar 27, 2008
    Right clicking for contextual menus is one of the things you can do if you have a two button mouse - otherwise you hold ctrl button and click to get contextual menus. As for stuffing - Mac comes with ready software - right click (or ctrl click) and choose make archive and presto!
  21. baadtaste macrumors member


    Mar 27, 2008
    oh- by the way a browser that works well is Firefox -it has lots of add-ons like ftp-server debugging internet pages and more
  22. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    I suppose the bigger the screen the more likely you will have windows open that aren't near the top of the screen, but I think you're exaggerating a bit and you're just not used to it. I think it's a time saver to always have the menu bar in the same place. Saves some screen space too. And part of the appeal of OS/X in general if the uniformity in how windows open. I always got that thing in XP where my IE window would open in different sizes for some dumb reason. Sometimes super small. It was annoying. Anyway yeah if you're using the menus alot then memorizing keyboard shortcuts is the way to go no matter what.

    Eh you won't miss it soon enough. And the Dock is for apps that you use. I think most users get rid of icons they don't use much. I thought the Dock gave me better access to apps than the Start menu ever did. I found myself using Address Book in OS/X just because it was in front of my face. :) Also hold a left click over an icon on the Dock (or right click) to get a few options for that app.

    Well OS/X has context sensitive menus. You have to enable the right click in System Preferences under Keyboard/Mouse. And btw, you can skip bkwd/fwd multiple pages in Safari. Left click (and hold) over the bkwd/fwd arrows to see the list. Clicking the orange return arrow in the address bar brings you back to the "root" page of the website you're on.

    I will agree here.

    Well you upgrade differently with Apple. You sell your old computer and then buy a new one. That's how I upgraded my old iMac. Macs have a good resale value.
  23. Darkroom Guest


    Dec 15, 2006
    Montréal, Canada
    my dad recently bought himself a new iMac and he's learning slowly but surely. maybe a little slower than you, as he's almost 60!... but i've been a mac user since Mac OS 9, so i can tell him things, and it's also great to take control of his computer with Screen Sharing thru iChat (he lives in Nova Scotia) so i can still show him things even though i live in Montreal.

    just this week he realized that the "little glowing lights" under applications in the dock represented open applications. i thought that was cute.
  24. John.B macrumors 601


    Jan 15, 2008
    Holocene Epoch
    I fought SOOOOO hard at first to keep iTunes from mucking up my carefully crafted MP3 file and directory names. Once I finally let iTunes do its thing and knew I could find any song instantly from the search bar, well, its a lot less Type-A but it does actually work better (faster). I'm still struggling with that same concept for photos, mostly because I don't have a good feeling that the keyword tagging for iPhoto will be recognizable outside of iPhoto (still working on that, eventually I'm sure I'll go to either Lr or Ps).

    In generally, I find with my work computers (Windows Server 2003 and XP Pro) what I miss most is how functional Finder is on my MacBook vs. how useless the Search functions on Windows are in comparison (in my experience).

    As for the Mighty Mouse, if you go into System Preferences you can enable the right mouse button functionality (though I find I almost have to lift my index finger off the mouse sometimes to get the right mouse click to be recognized). That will save a lot of trips to the menu at the top of the screen. I *do* like Expose with the double side click, YMMV.

    Geo, go ahead and get the full-sized aluminum Apple (USB) keyboard, you will be MUCH happier with that vs. a PC keyboard. I'm ambivalent still with my mice (I now have two bluetooth mice and three USB mice for my MacBook, total overkill) aside from the Expose mouse shortcut, but the Apple keyboard is a definite keeper. I'm buying one to use with my PC at work. :)

    To no one in particular, the new Firefox 3.0 beta 4 (now up to beta 5) is very good and pretty Mac-like compared to 2.0.0.x. Add a GrApple theme and it looks downright Safari-ish but with the power and flexibility of Firefox.
  25. duncyboy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    It took me an age to realise I had to activate the second button on the Mighty Mouse.

    And it took me a serious length of time that there is no Cut 'n' Paste- just move or copy, really.

    AAAAND I'm not going to tell how long it took me to sort in my head that to drag something in Finder in list view you can't just click the row the file's on, you have to do it over the filename :eek:

    I haven't been a newb in years! Now I know how all those people at work I scowl at feel!
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