Today I’m a Mac User

July 2, 2007 — 13 Comments

With the computing dramas of the last few days I was hoping that the Mac Pro would turn up, and it did this morning. Today as they say is the first day of the rest of my life, for today I’m a Mac user.

First Impressions
The Mac Pro is heavy, and comes is a very large box, so large that the courier driver bought it to the front door on a trolly 🙂
That aside, wow! I plugged it in, turned it on and within 5 minutes I was up and running. I’ve owned many, many PC’s over the years and it’s never been this simple.

About an hour after the Mac arrived the 4gb of memory arrived from the States. God bless the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, under $400 US delivered and no customs duty to be paid. This is where the experience gets better. Unlike PC’s, which are usually sealed with a sticker saying that if you break it you void your warranty, the Mac Pro not only has a button to release the side of the box, the instruction manual that comes with it even explains how to insert the memory! So much for Mac’s being closed systems! Putting the memory in was also easier than any PC I’ve ever encounted. Top end new PC’s might have this functionality now but essentially the 8 Mac memory slots reside on 2 cards that can be easily removed to place the memory in. No fussing around trying to get the memory in the slot in a small space, the memory easily slotted on the card, and the card takes less than 5 seconds to reinsert. Turned the Mac back on, not one problem.

As a life long PC user this is a bit of a shock. Surprisingly the minimize window buttons on the left aren’t a big deal, after half a day I’m not even looking on the right hand side anymore. Looks are wonderful. Sure, Vista is a nice interface but this is something more special again. I half suspect that maybe it’s also the programs as well, Twitterrific for example is splendid, but the whole thing just gels visually so well.
Hardest part so far is the task bar (the top bar). I’m use to having my drop down menus at the top of a window. The hardest part is remembering to click on an application to access this, for example I’ll have Photoshop open on monitor two to create images for TechCrunch. I’ll get use to it, just a small thing.

The Bad

Mac’s are suppose to just work, and I’ve got to say that mostly that’s true, installing programs for example is a breeze. The problems is that I’m having issues finding device drivers for my Logitech Cam, Keyboard and Mouse. The keyboard and mouse are working, but none of the supplemental buttons on either are. The webcam doesn’t work at all, despite being relatively new. Now to be fair none worked under Ubuntu either, but Apple brags that your peripherals will work, this clearly isn’t the case, although I’ll spend some more time in the coming days digging for drivers. Some of the way things install can also be a little dicky as well, for example I have what look like disk drives for a couple of the programs on my desktop, when I delete them I delete the programs, it’s like I’ve mounted the program instead of installing it.

I’m creating this post in Ecto: for a blogging platform raved about it’s not half as nice as Windows Live Writer; that and you’ve got to pay for it. I’ll probably purchase Parallels in the next couple of days and run either Vista or XP in it so I can switch back to Writer, and maybe even get my Webcam working. I need Windows for testing purposes anyway: yes, I should be embracing Mac alone but I write reviews for a living at the moment, and it’s not uncommon to encounter Windows only apps.

On speed alone I love it, but having said that it’s an Apple and Oranges comparison (pardon the pun), 2x Dual Core Intel 2.66 something or others with 4gb ram vs an AMD 3400+ with 2gb of ram on my PC box. No regrets, I’ve still got a lot to learn but so far no error messages, no validation messages, no continual prompts asking me if I want to do that: not having to deal with this alone is worth its weight in gold 🙂