Sunday, January 10, 2010

iMac part deux

Oh, you guys actually wanted to hear about my experience with the new iMac as a computer, not just as an expensive item in a nondescript brown cardboard box?

I must caveat this post by explaining that my office is by far the coldest room in the house (which is itself a rather drafty residence in the winter months), so I have not spent the time with my new toy as I might have if I could situate it in warmer climes. All the same, I am very excited to teach myself the ways of the Mac, so I'm putting on a brave face despite my chilly toes.

First of all, maximum points are awarded for out-of-the-box simplicity. Since the mouse and keyboard are wireless, and the monitor and machinery come in one sexy package there is but one lead to connect, namely the power cord. Admitted I tore my office apart slightly so I could have an initial hardwire connection to my router, but was quickly able to restore order as setting up a wireless connection was merely a matter of remembering where I kept my WEP key (hot tip: it's printed on the side of the router!!)

Apple products, of course, also score highly on attractiveness, and the new iMac is not exception, not only in terms of the shiningly white hardware but also the fancy graphics they bombard you with when you start up for the first time. If the set up process was blisteringly fast, I confess progress has been much slower after an initial burst of success. I am a lost soul at sea, forever trying to right-click a mouse with only one button (not even one, really, more like half, but oh! what a magic button...). Needless to say this has nothing to do with the limitations of MacOS, so much as my shameful servitude to Microsoft for so many years.

Thankfully, almost every application comes with a tutorial. A video tutorial, no less. The iPhoto tutorial just about blew me away with the potential of the software to bring a little most organization and professionalism to my photography. But before I can even hope to realize that potential, I will have to reconfigure the mental picture I have of how an operating system is built. For example, I was easily able to import a picture from my digital camera's SD card to iPhoto, and then from iPhoto I effortlessly uploaded the picture to Flickr. But when I want to include it in a blog post, I prefer to upload by using the blogger photo tool to browse my hard drive and select the picture. Could I find where the picture had been saved? Of course not! In the end I was lucky enough to find a 'recently imported' folder.

So, there is a lot to learn about how the pieces fit together, but it is making me feel young again to engage my cognitive gears at get to grips with a new technology. but if anyone wants to tell me where the photos do go, or why when I downloaded Skype it exists as a 'disk image' rather than an application, or whether there is a key that does what the 'delete' key on a PC does, or....

Saturday, January 09, 2010


I have been meaning to commence my blogging for Twenty-ten, but there has been one particular event I have been waiting for, namely the delivery of our new iMac. Thanks to the generosity of many friends and family at Christmas we were able to assemble the necessary funds for just the most basic, entry level iMac, which is still one serious piece of kit. However, getting the equipment from Apple HQ in California to Evens HQ turned out to be quite an ordeal.

Clearly such a valuable package required a signature on delivery, but since FedEx drivers like to do there work the same hours as everyone else, there was no chance of us crossing paths. I didn't like the idea of my brand new high-dollar computer being left on the doorstep on the freezing cold, either. So the final option was to go to the FedEx depot and pick up the package in person. I had done this once before for an even more valuable purchase (Kristal's engagement ring) so I set out this morning to run this simple errand.

On arriving at the FedEx office I was told I was in the wrong location.
"I'm in the wrong place?" I asked. Sure enough, I was soon in possession of verbal direction to another FedEx location a few miles yonder. As I recall, the final instruction was 'the FedEx office is right in the back', which the first indication that I would probably never find the place. I arrived in the general vicinity, a large business park near the Hanover municipal airport, and hunted through the heavy equipment dealers and hardware outlets for a FedEx building. I searched in a two mile radius from the last reliable landmark (a Sheetz gas station) but to no avail. I called home for some remote internet guidance but even Google maps couldn't find this mythical location.

Then all of a sudden, a sign. Literally, a small sign by the side of the road with the unmistakable green and purple livery of FedEx ground. For a brief moment I let myself believe my fortunes might be changing, but as I approached it was apparent that this wasn't the type of warehouse that customers pick up their packages from. Although I was told the office was closed today, the gentleman at the desk kindly buzzed me in. He took the door tag, told me to take a seat and stalked off to a back room to find, I hoped, my precious iMac.

Time passed, but eventually the man returned with a map directing me to yet another location where he assured my my parcel would be waiting. This was beginning to feel like some kind of scavenger hunt, each clue leading me tantalizingly closer to my goal, but yet I could never quite reach the end. The third location was only slightly more promising than the last, but lo and behold after presenting my door tag the nice lady dutifully produced my just reward!

And boy was it worth it.