My First Week with an iMac

Let me start by stating that I am a very impatient computer user, I despise waiting in any way or form. Over the 25 years of using computers I sought the holy grail of a computer that does not make me wait. So I try various hardware and software solutions to accomplish my software development tasks with as little waiting as possible. I have tried dos, windows, os/2, os/360, solaris and different flavours of linux and all have had their positives and negatives. Over time I learn to live with the platform but never with complete satisfaction. Yes I know that Apple OS is missing from that list, I just could not bring myself to spend the premium to have an Apple. Most apple users I encounter generally speak about Apple with religious fervor which immediately make me skeptical. But nonetheless, Apple OS is the only platform I have not tried and decided that it was time I give it a go.

I purchased an 27″ iMac on the internet and eagerly awaited its arrival. Upon delivery I must admit I was excited. I unpacked the box that contained 5 items and a single power cable, and within a few minutes I had the system up and running. It was a piece of art, beautifully crafted and zen like. It fitted perfectly with my new drive for minimalism. It immediately discovered my wireless network providing me instant access to my googleverse.

I fired up the safari browser and logged into my gmail account, then I tried to open a new tab and I was stuck. I am still not sure how to do that easily with a mouse, without going to the file menu option. I then checked to see if google docs would work, and unfortunately that does not work to well in safari either, so I immediately downloaded google chrome for mac. I then double clicked on the icon that appeared on my desktop and a little window appeared that requested I drag the icon on the left to the icon on the right which I did, and that was it chrome was now installed. Wow! that was pretty easy. But if was that simple and it figured that I wanted to install the application, why did it not just do that instead of forcing me to drag one icon to another? As you can see I can nit pick, you now know what my wife goes thru.

Now that chrome was installed and I re-entered the googleverse, my world was back to normal. I then installed Fusion for my development virtual machines. All that was left now was to copy my Virtual Machines from my Windows 7 laptop to my Mac which sounds easy enough, but it turned out to be a 3 hour ordeal, much of it my own stupidity. I had forgotten to change the Mcfee Firewall settings on my laptop. Once the vmware files were copied fusion instantly reconfigured itself and my development environment was up and running within a minutes. So all in all the move of work related stuff from my windows laptop to the iMac was a pleasurable process thanks to google and vmware fusion. I must admit Fusion is much slicker than windows vmware workstation, it has the same functionality but just integrates better with the host platform.

Next up I needed to reply to email’s and I discovered that my keyboard does not have delete, home, page up and page down keys and how I miss them. But hey, my keyboard looks awesome, feels a bit squishy but is so arty. Who cares that I have got to use 2 keys instead of one, I am minimal.

Next up was getting MSN functioning and that now was no big deal at all. I had to decide on installing MSN 7 or  MSN 8 beta, which is a no brainer since you can never install a microsoft beta if you expect to use the software, nonetheless MSN 7 on mac is very primitive still fulfills my purpose of easy communication with my development peers. If only I could get them to use google talk, I may never have to leave googleverse.

My Mac is just so beautiful, everyday I pause for a moment and admire it. It simple lines, glass and aluminum in perfect balance. No clutter of wires, oo oo oo! Now the rest of my work area just looks like a dump. I may have to redo my whole office so that my iMac has a befitting place to reside in.

Now Mac users always brag about not having to shutdown their machines. They can leave them running for days on end with no slow down in system performance, so I did the same, but by the 4th day, I am sorry to say context changes were much slower. I could hear the harddrive pounding away while I waited for my mouse to respond. Fortunately the waiting was in seconds rather than minutes which is the experience on windows machines, so I am ecstatic. 4 days was all I could do since the system needed a few restarts after software updates. The update process was quite irritating me in that it did not use an update manager and would install updates only when all updates have been downloaded. The 1.5GB update took about 4 days to get done with download failures.

Thus far I have had no need to use any of the software that ships with the iMac, other than finder. The only other piece of Apple equipment I own is an iPod, and I love it except for the iTunes software. iTunes on windows is very quirky and unintuitive. And I especially don’t like the fact that I have to import my music into the iTunes library. As usual Mac users always claimed that iTunes on a mac is much better, so I decided to have a look at iTunes and was very disappointed to discover that it is not that much different from the windows one since you still have to import your music into the iTumes library. What a pain in the ass. Let the damn thing find my music on the hard drive, how difficult can that be if microsoft can do it……

All in all after 7 days, all I can say with conviction is my iMac is beautiful and context changes are as fast as linux……but watch this space as I find some time to play with it further and use the software. I will provide updates of my experiences.

Your comments are most welcome……just be reminded I will ignore religious comments.

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