23 hours as a Mac user

After a couple of weeks of hesitation I took the plunge and I’m now the proud and happy owner of a 24-inch Apple iMac. Lotus Notes 8.5, Symphony and Firefox are loaded – there’s still plenty to install and copy over but here’s the first impressions:

  1. The setup was incredibly easy. Power, mouse, keyboard… a few questions. The most difficult thing was finding the home WiFi WEP key, and it wasn’t Apple’s fault that I can’t remember 10 characters. Child’s play.
  2. 45 seconds from hitting the power button to actually being logged in and able to click on a program icon. In 45 seconds Windows will still be thinking about showing me a login box, and it’ll then be a good 2 – 3 minutes before I’d even bother thinking about loading any application. Okay, this iMac is much better specced than any Windows-based computer I’ve ever used.
  3. Install of Notes and Firefox was very simple. It’s different to Windows installs, but considering I’ve never used this operating system it was a breeze.
  4. Set-up of user accounts was simpler than simple. And once I was done and cooking dinner, Lolli logged in and customised her workspace (including adding a photo of herself from the built-in webcam).

But let’s be balanced… here’s the bad points:

  1. It cost an arm and a leg. Actually, an arm, a leg and some other valuable internal organ which I’ll probably have to sell to medical research.
  2. On Windows I do [Shift-Ins] to paste – haven’t worked out a good key combo yet. Although the menu says it’s [Squiggle-V].
  3. The USB slots aren’t easy to get to (they’re at the back of the screen). Minor irritation.
  4. The wife thinks she’s going to use it.


  1. Now go get:

    Cord – MS RDP client
    Mac Heist 4 – $37 and includes World Of Goo
    Skype (free)
    uTorrent (bittorrent clone)
    Perrian (Vodecs for movies and sound)

    An external 1gb drive (66 quid at tescos) for your time machine backup.


    —* Bill

  2. Lawrence, do you mean the iPod versus Archos argument? No… the story actually started with a chance visit to Comet where a fella from Apple was demoing the iMac and I was extremely taken with iMovie (cos I have 11 years of camcorder tape that I’ve never done anything with). And I started thinking Notes 8.5, photos… and gradually the idea grew on me.

    Bill, I’ve installed Skype (can see you on there now) and have an external drive.

    Also, I’ve discovered 2 x USB connections in the keyboard so ignore gripe number 3. Hey, where’s the hash key?

  3. More along the lines of a story last year about the explosion of Macbook users at US colleges – driven by their iPod use, and wanting to buy a computer that went with their mp3 player.


  4. Darren,

    Shift->Ins has been a deprecated keystroke on Windows for a long time now. Although it does still work there, you should really be using these:

    Ctrl->x = Cut
    Ctrl->c = Copy
    Ctrl->v = Paste

    On a Mac, use the Command key instead of the Ctrl key.

    A handy Notes keystroke, which you’ll want to know sooner rather than later, is Command->. (i.e. Command->Full Stop), which is the equivalent of Ctrl->Break under Windows.


    – Mike

  5. Also, you should drop WEP in favour of WPA, as the former is reputed to be extremely insecure.

    Another change that I made in my own Wi-fi setup was to restrict access to specified mac addresses – that’s “mac” as in network card address, not “mac” as in Macintosh. Check your router’s documentation for how to do this.


    – Mike

  6. Hey Darren, welcome to the club. Not sure what you use for DVR purposes at home, but consider adding an Elgato EyeTV adapter (especially the Diversity dual tuner model) to your iMac and you have a great TV/DVR combo too…

    Hash is Alt-3…

    On top of Bill’s list, add Growl, QuickSilver, Adium, Skitch, NetNewsWire etc (all great free apps).

  7. Darren

    Congratulations on your purchase – as a long-time Mac user ( all of two months ), I can tell you that you won’t look back – EVER!

    I’d echo some of the previous comments; the keyboard layout still drives me nuts, especially when alternating with my Thinkpad, but c’est la vie.

    EyeTV is rather good; I used it last night to “tape” The Professionals (!) whilst the current Mrs H was watching Coronation Farm ( or was it Emmerdale Square ? )

    If you do need to run Windows stuff on the Mac ( shame ), you can always look at VMware Fusion.

    The one thing that I’ve found to be awkward is the lack of a decent BlackBerry sync. tool, but that may be less of a problem for you, as I guess you’ll retain your Windows machine ?


  8. I actually prefer the MS RDC client it occasionally has problems but the screen image is better in every way

    I’ve got ClamAV, Easyfind, GrandPerspective, and KeyCue installed. Oh and handbrake and Flip4Mac

  9. Mike, thanks for the Wifi setup 101 😉

    Restricting mac addresses turned out to be unpopular when my wife’s sister brought her laptop to the house one day.

    Seriously though, thanks for the keystroke help. Still need to find the # key. No wait, Stu has it.

  10. Dave, I will retain my Windows machine. The iMac was a private purchase, the ThinkPad is provided by my employer, and in their infinite generosity should allow me to keep it. There are a few reasons to keep the ‘Pad but last night I didn’t use it… it stayed in the bag.

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