The iMac: Week 1

So last week, I got my very first Apple. I bought a used iMac with a 20-inch screen, 2 GB of memory, and a 250 GB hard drive. Not the most powerful machine, but it’ll handle later versions of OS X if and when I upgrade it. So how is it?

First, get it out of your head that I’m going to trash all my Windows boxes, buy a Prius, and start drinking iced coffee. Not happening. OS X is interesting and fun to use, but I still like my Start button. Yes, I’m aware of Finder in the menu bar at the top. What’s nifty is the icon bar at the bottom. Out of the box, it has Finder (obviously), Safari, iTunes, and a few utilities. I later added iWork and Firefox. It’s very similar (and probably what prompted) the pinned taskbar icons in Windows Vista/7. (Put that back. Do you hear me, Ballmer? I want my Windows 7 interface back!) Only funner.

Like I did with Windows, I eschewed the built-in browser for Firefox. Safari was a bit wanting, even after installing Snow Leopard. I want the familiar , and I never use Safari on my Windows machines anyway. (Yes, it’s installed.) Firefox installed fast enough, and after consulting the help menu, I was able to get it listed in Applications and down in the icon bar.

Oh, and the Help menu? It’s actually helpful. Type in a question how to do something, and occasionally, it does it for you. Awesome.

OS X is a Unix variant, so it has a lot in common with Linux, except… Well, there’s a reason Linux is not a prevalent home operating system. Apple names your drives and network connection with friendly names. My hard drive is called “Hard Drive.” Simple, eh? Windows calls my laptop’s “C”. Another simple idea. What does Linux call your hard drive? “dev/sba1”. Huh?

There are some things I miss from Windows. I’ve gotten to be a hotkey kind of guy. I use Ctrl-C and Ctrl-X  to copy or cut text or even files and Ctrl-V to paste. I’ve gotten really good at Ctrl-Z, which undoes that mistake you just made. Can’t do that on Apple.

And iWork doesn’t quite measure up to Office. (Office for Mac is usually where iWork and Office for Windows get a lot of their new features.) But Office had a ten year head start, with both well ahead of OpenOffice, the open-source alternative. I’ll continue to use Pages for now, but likely, I’ll be using a stray Office 2010 license and running it over WINE.

The piece I want to play with is iLife. Photo management and GarageBand. Neat toys to play with.

But what do I like best about this new machine? The iMac was pitched with needing fewer wires. And it does. It’s an all-in-one unit. You get the screen and the speakers. And the speakers, ladies and gentlemen, rocked my nuts off. As soon as I had all my iTunes transferred over to the Mac, I cranked that puppy up. When I get a little more time on my hands, I’m popping Casino Royale, Star Trek, and Iron Man in and turning the volume up full blast!

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