So this is my first proper non-project365 blog, due to the problem of not having a camera! (see yesterdays post for details!) So I thought I’d give everyone a run down on my Mac and how I am getting on with it!
I wouldn’t really call myself an Apple Fanboy – but I just love their products. I’ve read Steve Jobs Biography, and although I thought as person, he was a bit of a , his ideas on products really did make sense. I’m not an old skool Apple boy, though, I did only enter the Apple ‘franchise’ in the last decade – but I’ve pretty much bought into the Apple philosophy now!
I’ll start back when my interest in Apple products started. It was all down to my girlfriend (at the time, now beautiful wife!) who asked me what I wanted for my birthday one year. I knew I wanted an mp3 player, but was also pretty darn adamant that I didn’t need or want one of those expensive Apple iPods – they all do the same thing – why pay extra for a gimmick? Right? So imagine my surprise to open up a nice new shiny iPod ‘mini’ (1st Gen) on my birthday. At the time I was working in an electrical store, so I knew what the competition was like, but we didn’t sell Apple products, so this was the first time opening up one of those little white boxes. Needless to say within 10 minutes, I was utterly impressed. The simplicity, and the track pad to control the screen was just awesome. Fast-Forward 10 years, I’ve been through another iPod min (3rd Gen), an iPhone, an iPhone4, an iPad, and now my iMac. (Yes, I realise my Phone is really behind the times!)
So having played with my iMac for a little over a week – what do I think? Well firstly, I think I should say that I’ve only ever used Windows on a PC previously – so I was expecting a really step learning curve. However, it’s not as different to Windows as I thought it would be. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to the iOS on the iPhone, so I was already used to the Mail application, Safari, and a few of the other built-in applications. Then there is still an equivalent to Windows Explorer (Finder) which I use all the time, and is really easy to navigate, there is the equivalent of the Start Menu, and a tool bar that has File, Edit, View, etc… So a lot of it is quite familiar. In fact the biggest difficulty I’ve had is with the keyboard! There is no backspace key! I’ve subsequently found the corresponding shortcut (function + delete) though. But I’m also baffled why the @ and ” symbols have swapped positions – so I am forever typing email address “iCloud.com or “hotmail.com which is getting a tad frustrating! That all being said, I still like the feel of the keyboard, but the mouse – WOW! Effectively being able to use the mouse as a touch pad is brilliant. I was bit concerned how I would cope without a right button on the mouse – however, those concerns were soon laid to rest when I configured the “secondary click” and I was soon up and running. Being able to swipe my fingers across the page to flick between pages, pictures and documents is brilliant! It’s been pretty straight forwards importing all my music, photos from my old laptop, and with my iCloud account I’ve been able to easily import all my bookmarks, and contacts. So the transition from PC to Mac has been pretty smooth!
So having got over the differences – is it any good? Well thats a resounding yes! In terms of speed, its just stupidly quick! It used to take at least 3-4 mins for my old laptop to boot up, this does it in seconds. Opening a webpage? No problem says the iMac – ‘there you go sir’. Want to look at some photos? – already done sir. Oh, and I’ve already taken the opportunity to sort them by person using my funky facial recognition technology. Listening to some music sir? Here you go. You can do that at the SAME TIME as doing EVERYTHING else. All this while by old laptop is still booting up! Its ridiculous! It might be an unfair comparison as my laptop is about 7 yrs old, still running Windows Vista, but I’ve recently played with Windows 8 on a brand new machine – and that did just baffle me. It was quick, but certainly not as quick as this. But Windows 8 tiles are (in my opinion anyway) very childish, and really detract from what is probably (not) a half decent operating system. But I was sure I’d rather move to a Mac or stay on Windows7 than go to Windows8. I’m sure it’s great the for the majority of people, and I’m not a big hater of Windows – like I say, I’ve used it all my computing life – but Windows8 was a step too far for me.
So what about the software? Well, to begin with, I wasn’t over impressed with iPhoto – and there are certain aspects that I’m still not fond of. The aforementioned facial recognition is pretty cool for grouping all your photos for quick reference, but the “Events” view is pretty rubbish – I just stick with Finder to navigate to my Pictures directory. Safari does exactly what I’d expect of it, and at the minute it’s doing everything I need it to do. No doubt I will at some point download Google Chrome, but until then I’m more than happy with it. I’ve played quickly with iMovie and Garageband, I’ll probably not use either on a consistent basis, but Garageband was pretty cool, so anyone who takes playing or creating music more seriously than me might have good fun with that. iMovie seems cool too, but I do need to spend more time find out exactly what it can do. iTunes is still iTunes, either love it or hate it. I obviously love it! I’d pretty much mastered MS Excel and Word in a previous life, and I’ve got no interest in learning Numbers or Pages to be honest, so for now they’ll remain hidden from view. I’ve already installed the Mac version of Office, (as I got it cheap through a work offer) and that seems to be exactly the same – so no issues there. I might try Pages if I need to some publisher-esque work, but Excel and Word are fine thank you very much.
As you know I’ve really purchased this to do my photography work on – so I am really yet to start my trials of Lightroom and Photoshop Elements. But I already know I’m on a winner. I decided to go for the larger 27″ model of the iMac – so being able to get right into the detail of my shots will be pretty easy – the display is perfect. Its like looking through a window! Importing my photos is great – and the ability to quickly upload/download to Facebook is great – no more creating an album in IE (or Safari now) – just create a new folder in iPhoto, and the software does the rest!
On a final note, I just what to share with everyone a fantastic website I’ve found – www.pcclassesonline.com – David Cox does some fantastic video tutorials for not only Mac, but Windows, iPhone, iPad on a variety of subjects. Best of all, they’re all free! You just sign up on the website and you’re granted access to an ever-expanding library of excellent tutorials. You can also find him on YouTube and highly recommend subscribing to his videos. They’ve helped me through the transition really easily. Can’t praise them enough.
On that note, I’ve noticed I’ve written over 1300 words – so I guess I should end the blog there!
Congrats to anyone who has made it this far! Thanks for reading – and I mean it this time – you’ve really done well to keep going this far!