Thursday, March 1, 2007

Well, I got a Mac (Part 2 - First Impression)


My new baby. Complete with a picture of my dream car.

Alrighty, folks, it arrived. I had it delivered to my office and, naturally, FedEx arrived at about 8:30 a.m., so I had to stare at the box all day long before finally getting home to unpack it. But I made it through the workday and did eventually make it home.
I got the iMac box out of the cardboard shipping box and began to unpack things. Unpacking was smooth and painless. Everything was well packed and easy to remove. I got a tad annoyed by all the packing material and protective wrappings, but I'm glad they protected my baby during transit. And there's usually just as much stuff in a new PC box, so... :-)
The intro video "Welcome to OS X" in all the languages was cute. I kinda' liked it and it was short enough to not be annoying. The initial setup was very straight forward. I selected my country, language, all that. It even found my wireless network without issue. And after telling it twice that I didn't want to pay for .Mac, it finally listened. :-)
So I get through all that and finally reach my desktop. I think the standard wallpaper could have been a little more creative, but who really cares? So I'm finally ready to start clicking things and seeing how this OS works, right? Not quite...there are 14 software updates! One of them is a whopping 211MB! I'm very familiar with frequent updates, being a Windows user, but it kind of surprised me to find that many new updates on a brand new system. It looked like it was going to take a while, so I decided to play with the system preferences in the meantime.
It reminded me of the Windows Control Panel and I found it very easy to navigate. I changed the wallpaper and then moved on to pick a screensaver. I have to say, the RSS Visualizer is hot! I'd even say damn hot! I really like it! I tested it as-is, then decided I didn't want the Apple News feed. So I changed it to Slashdot. I find it incredibly ironic that the two first things to come were Consumers Unlikely to Pay $500 for iPhone and Microsoft testing Pay-As-You-Go Software. :-)
But I digress. I continued playing with the system settings until the updates had finally finished. Then the system restarted. I was initially worried about how long the restart was taking, but it must have been the updates it was installing, because the next time I tried restarting it, it was very fast. Probably comparable to a clean XP install on a fast machine.
Naturally, the first thing I did to really personalize the machine was to install Firefox and get my extensions and themes going. Ahhhh...much better, now I can function. Then I installed the other programs I use regularly, like Google Earth, etc. I also downloaded one of my wallpapers. It's starting to feel like my machine now.
Okay, that whole narrative aside, here are my first impressions of OS X. Let's start with what I like:
  • It's easy. For the most part everything is very user friendly and I was able to figure it all out quickly. I was able to tweak the system preferences without issue to exactly how I wanted it.
  • Startup is fast. I like that.
  • It has a lot of tiny features that make it just really cool. Like the ability to automatically switch wallpapers, or put the display settings icon in the top right thingy (whatever that's called). Little additions, but I like 'em.
  • The Dashboard...that's slick. I've used widgets before (either Konfabulator or Google Desktop), but they weren't this fast or smooth.
  • The screen resolution. I've never used 1680x1050. It's excellent. There is so much screen real estate available. I love it. :-)
And now some things I don't like (or that I'll have to get used to):
  • That the red X doesn't really close the program.
  • That the clock is at the top right instead of bottom. :-)
  • That I'm not using windows full screen (there's still way more room than I'll need, but I'm not used to it)
  • That the forward and back buttons on my mouse (not the Mac one) don't work on web pages. This is HUGE for me...I'm very reliant on those buttons. Anyone have a fix?
  • Installing programs. I actually like this, it'll just take some getting used to. The downloaded files appear as drives and I then have to drag the file out into the Applications folder. It's kinda' cool and easy, actually, but it's different, you know?
Oh, and the little remote sticks to the side of the computer with a magnet?? Somehow I don't think a magnet inside a computer is the best idea. I just hope the hard drive is on the other side of the machine. :-)
Other than that, it's just going to be simple, getting used to it things. I haven't tried Final Cut yet...that's on the docket for today.
So that about wraps up Part 2. In Part 3 I'll dig a little deeper and give my take on some of the more advanced features and maybe some of those third party apps so many of you suggested in my last article. I'm also going to spend some time with my brother's brand new Vista laptop to see how OS X and Vista compare, in my opinion...but that might be Part 4.
Stay tuned!
(originally posted in my Newsvine Column)

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