For Macs, it really does “Just Works”

For Apple’s Mac slogan of “it just works” it really does just works. For example, I bought the TrentNet Wireless Gaming Adapter yesterday and it came with a $20 rebate offer. So, I needed to jump through the usual hoops of filling out the rebate form, cutting the UPC symbol off the product’s box, and providing a copy of the receipt. With everything filled out, I of course needed to make a copy of the form and receipt in case it got lost in the mail.

To start, I used the HP Photosmart C4700 All-in-One Printer that I bought at the Apple store along with my iMac (which had a $100 rebate offer, that made it free) to scan the rebate form. I initiated the scanning using the convenient HP scanning app on my iMac. Once the rebate form was scanned, the app asked if I had any other items to scan (which I said yes), and I then scanned the receipt. Once I was done, I had two images scanned showing up as thumbnails in the HP scanning app. I then had the HP app print the images to a PDF file which was conveniently placed on my desktop screen. At first, I thought I would need to print each scanned item separately and then try to figure out how to combine them into a single PDF document (for my convenience), but the HP scanning app did that for me automatically.

Next, I needed to print the send and return address on an envelope to send off my rebate. Fortunately, I found a nifty free dashboard utility called EasyEnvelopes that did the job nicely.

I just copied the rebate center address from the web site where I got the rebate form, pasted it in the EasyEnvelopes send address box on the dashboard app, and printed the envelope label right on the envelope from my HP Laserjet printer.

Using my old Windows PC, I would need to do the following for the same procedure:

  1. Use my Canon LiE30 scanner to scan the rebate form and receipt into two separate images into my Paint.net application.
  2. Create a MS-Word document and paste both images in as two separate pages.
  3. Print the Word document as a PDF file using the printer driver app called PDF995 (commercial app).
  4. Open MS-Word again and type in the rebate send address.
  5. Highlight the send address in Word and select “Envelopes” to print out the envelope label to an envelope on my Laser Printer.

I could have probably tried to streamline this process, but I was never able to find a good, simple envelope printer app for my Windows PC. Also, I wasn’t able to find a simple app for scanning images as with my Mac. This is just an example of how easy it was for me to do this simple task on my iMac, and be more productive.

As for another example, I recently bought an Apple Remote for my iMac ($20) which I thought I’d try out when watching movies, etc. I removed the remote from the packaging and followed the instructions on how to pair it to my iMac (simply hold it 4 inches away from the screen and hold down a button). I then just clicked on the menu button and my iMac’s screen faded to black and up came the app called FrontRow, which looked similar to Windows Media Center on the PC.

So from here I could watch current movie trailers, videos that are stored on my iMac, listen to my music, etc. Again, this is a great example of “it just works”. I don’t have to navigate through popup dialog boxes, etc. to do what I want to do. This is a real productivity boost to me, and shows that Apple has given a lot of thought to user usability with their products.

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