The Mac Switch After One Day…

I’ve had a chance to work with my iMac for about one day, and here are my initial impressions. Note, that I’ve never used a Mac at great length before (other than my Great Mac Experiment), so this is all coming from a Microsoft Windows user’s prespective.

My 27-inch LED Mac screen is probably the best feature of my new iMac. It’s HUGE (2560×1440), vibrant, and very clear. It’s so big, that it can replace my dual LCD monitors (both with a 1680×1050 resolution) quite nicely. the iMac is a completely integrated system, so all I currently have is the power cord to deal with (as the keyboard and mouse are both Bluetooth wireless, and the iMac has built-in WiFi).

The most difficult thing in the transition is getting use to the Mac OSX environment. Here are a list of things that stood out for a PC user:

  • Finder is similar but slightly different than File Explorer on the PC. It works fine, but took a bit of getting use to.
  • The application title bar and menus are not at the top of the application’s window, but rather at the top of the screen. That took a bit of getting use to, as I often thought the app just didn’t have a menu bar.
  • The fonts on the display are rendered differently than on the PC, and they look a bit fuzzy to me. I knew to expect this (see The Great Mac Experiment posting), but the super high-resolution monitor seems to minimize that effect for my eyes.
  • The Mac mouse does indeed have a right-click button feature, but it is not turned on by default. I needed to go into the system preferences and activate it.
  • Clicking the “X” button at the top of the application’s window doesn’t exit the program as with the PC, but rather puts it in the background. You need to issue a “Quit” command to completely exit the application.
  • There is no “Start” menu button, but rather an “Applications” folder on the main dock (at the bottom of the screen) where you can access the installed apps by clicking on their icon.
  • Highlighting a file in Finder and clicking the “Return” key on the keyboard will initiate renaming the file, not opening it.
  • You can’t delete a file by highlighting it in Finder and pressing the “Delete” key. You must right-click on it and select “Move to Trash” or drag the file to the trash can icon at the bottom of the desktop screen.

Now, none of the above listed items are a big deal… it just takes getting use to. It’s like driving a new car and having to figure out where the door lock buttons are, adjusting to the brake pedals, etc. Now, here are some features that I really like in Mac OSX:

  • When highlighting a file in Finder, I can tap the spacebar and get an instant preview of that file. It can be a jpg image, pdf file, text file, html file, etc. This works really well and fast!
  • By default, you can print to a pdf file with any application.
  • The system setup for the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and my home WiFi was a breeze. No complicated questions in dialog boxes or long waits for searches… it truly just works.
  • The integrated system is whisper quiet, and I don’t hear the internal fans or hard drive.
  • The system is very fast, and responsive. I can open most applications within seconds.
  • The small wireless keyboard is great and easy to type on. The new Magic Mouse is great also, with the top surface being a gesture area where I can flick my finger up and down to scroll a web page or document, and swipe it left and right to change pages in certain applications (e.g., Safari and iPhoto).
  • The iMac comes with basic applications for mail, calendar, and address book. It also has more full-featured apps such as iMovie, iDVD, iTunes, and iPhoto.
  • The Mac OSX comes with a built-in dictionary and spelling checker, as well as speech voice synthesis which can read highlighted text.
  • The calendar app (iCal) easily connected with my Google Calendar account and has 2-way syncing (no need for 3rd-party apps running in the background).
  • Spotlight is the indexed search feature in Mac OSX, and it works great. Windows 7 has a similar feature, but I could never get it to work and it just seemed overly complicated.  With spotlight, I just type in some words and the system quickly displays a list of apps, files, emails, etc. that matches my search string. Works great!

So after one day I’m happily exploring the features of the Mac OSX system, realizing it will be a while before I will feel comfortable with the new apps and environment.

I’ve spend most of today wrestling with transferring my emails from Microsoft-Outlook over to the Apple Mail application, so next will be the transferring of my files and documents. Wish me luck! 🙂

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