Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ah, the Mac

Still behind. Still trying to catch up. Not helped by the computer change-over. Thank you all for the wise advice. I have to say, the shopping experience was less than thrilling - I got a lot of "Mac is so great/easy/fantastic/drink this Kool-Aid!" and not a lot of what I needed to know to need to run this sucker.

I feel a bit lied to, because the thing I perceive Apple touting all over their ads (and the thing I hear from my Mac-cult friends) is "It comes with everything you need! No more pesky shopping for software! No more uploading!" comes with a lot of bright shiny toys. And if I want to build a website for my cat, or start a band in my garage, I'm set. But as far as the programs I actually need to use to do my business on a daily basis - word-processing that can pick up all my documents from Word, spreadsheets and so on...those have to be bought separately. Just like PC. And let's not get started on the 600 emails I need to rescue from Outlook Express...

At least I've managed to open up my documents, so I'm hoping to get you back to your regularly scheduled blog sometime tonight.

(If right click isn't important, why is there anything at all that can be right-clicked to? If right click is dumb, make another way to do everything! If you need right click, support it with a button! Auuughh!)

The only thing keeping me from chucking it out the window is that I may yet return it.


Jarl Mezentius said...

well how about some help... I'm a Mac-Fan...

Lets start with a decent Browser, Safari will only take you so far... This is the same Firefox you may or may not have used on your PC, but the interfacing with Blogger is a whole lot easier...

You mentioned you used to use Outlook Express... I'd like to solve why your PC crashed now, Alex, or do I have to buy a vowel first?... either way from the same people that bring you firefox browser, comes the more secure and work alike for Outlook and Outlook Express. (just point the program at your old outlook files and it will import the old emails, address books and newsgroups as part of it's initial startup.)

As for getting your Word Documents and Spreadsheets, I have had some people have great success with OpenOffice... admittedly, some folks were so ingrained with word and office that the changeover was too drastic... What? It's FREE Software? Oh No, I have to pay my license fees... seriously... where do I insert my credit card info for the hackers to find and steal my identity?

Jarl Mezentius said...

forgot to address the right-click delema... if you have your old USB mouse... and You like it... just plug it in to your Mac. Most PC mice are no big deal for the Mac to recognize.

I have a USB optical trackball with left and right click... right click is just CTRL-click for one button mouse, but still lot of useful features in the ctrl- menu...

Sinner said...

You definitely don't have to love any computer, but most people find the Mac OS pretty refreshing after dealing with Windows for forever.

There is almost nothing you would need to do to run a business that your Mac can't handle or do. Some applications might be harder to find shrink-wrapped on a shelf, but most any application worth having can be downloaded easily.

Having said that, moving from one platform to another will require some effort in modifying your habits. But if you really wanted something different than what you had, it will require some change, that's just how it works.

Trust that it's worth while. It really is.

And you've got an audience full of people willing to help.

Sinner said...

Try MacOS Hints:

And MacWindows:

They are a little geeky and techie, but they also have good tutorials for switchers.

Mandy said...

Jarl and Sinner, you guys are lifesavers :) Thanks for helping me on the ledge.

OK - I got the mac. The one thing keeping me with it is the hope that it will last longer than my previous Sony Vaios - I had two in four years.

I got Mozilla, which is what I was using before, and I'm hoping that tomorrow morning the guys who got my data off my PC will be able to load my email and address book into Thunderbird or Mail or Entourage or whatever I can run that lets me not lose my inbox.

I got a friend with Microsoft Office who is lending me the disks for free.

I added my USB mouse which is better for my hand, anyway.

I managed to authorize the computer to use my itunes library (because nothing says easy and intuitive like saying I can't have my songs without popping up a little message along the lines of "just go here and do this!")

Tonight's dilemma - I had to import all my photos - all 8000 of them - into iphoto, because just being able to open them in an editing program from the folder wouldn't be easy and intuitive. Now I have:

1) No ability to resize photos that I can find. Anyone know where it is?

2) No ability to hunt easily through the photos in the carefully organized folders I had. My six topical folders with subfolders have become over 200 events. Anyone know how to condense all these events back into a very small number of folders?

3) No privacy, because my carefully hidden subfolders of NAKED PICTURES have become GIANT THUMBNAILS in the MAIN MENU instantly viewable by everyone in the coffee shop. Don't worry, I intuitively and easily put the mac to sleep by slamming down the lid until I got home.

Help! Help! Help! :)

figleaf said...

Yeeeaaaa! Someone else who's trapped in my world! (I switched to Apple pushing a year ago and while I'm *generally* happy there are just a couple of features I really, really, *really* miss.)

As a keyboard user the Mac heads are just so fucking arrogant it makes me want to hurl. "Ooo, just make up some random key combination for every fricking command in every fricking program because, really, whenever we try using a keyboard I get my little artsy goatee caught in it."

That and its steam-age window interface (really, the little green "maximize" button means "as big as *we* think your window should be" instead of, y'know, *maximized!* And really, like it's just so much easier to look at documents from different programs side-by-side by grabbing the little lower-left resize thing, and then going up to the title bar to move it, then down to the resize thing, then back to the top, then... blah blah blah all because it's just too unaesthetic for them to put resize controls on all edges and corners, or add "arrange/cascade/title" features to the Window menu. (Just because Steve Jobs has a one-track mind doesn't mean the rest of us don't need to multitask.)

Other than that though? It's not that bad. You can configure your mouse touchpad to let you use *two* fingers as a right-click, which is actually solidly cool. (Though, of course, it never occurred to them to make that the default.) And you can also use two fingers as a scroll-wheel. Which once you get used to it is deluxe.

If you don't want to use two fingers for a right-click you can hold down the Control key when you click instead.

As for actually getting stuff done, yeah, Firefox (or it's closer-to-orphaned cousin Mozilla) is a good choice. I'd use Apple's Mail program over Thunderbird (I switched when OS-X Leopard came out.) And then, yeah, you sort of just want to have the newest version Office for the Mac because, having tried all the other stuff there's still nothing better. (As opposed to Mac Office 2004, for which almost everything else *was* better.) As for OpenOffice? I dunno. I'm actually a huge fan of open-source software and I use a bunch of it but some things -- specifically Photoshop, Firefox, and Office -- I just pay for because it just works.

Finally, if you're nostalgic, and if you've got a copy of Windows XP lying around the house, you may want to get a copy of Parallels because you can run Mac *and* Windows programs. Over time I've needed it less and less but there's still all sorts of stuff I doubt will *ever* run on the Mac that runs just fine in Windows under Parallels.

Otherwise... the biggest difference really boils down to culture: Think of Windows as American where you drive on the right side of the road, have central heat, get *amazing* cultural diversity, have very low obstacles to starting stuff, but everything's a little brash, brassy, and never quite finished. And then think of the Mac as English where you drive on the left side of the road, they think "electric fires" in each room is romantic, and class snobbery is a national pastime. You can get the same things done either way but each takes a little getting used to if you're familiar with the other. (Anyone who says one is better than the other, though, is lying... which unfortunately tends to reflect worse on one side than the other.)

Anyway, all that said I've switched my family to an all-Mac world, and (as long as I can keep Parallels just in case) we probably wouldn't go back.


Good luck with your new hardware, whichever way you finally decide. And good luck with those naked photos too, Mandy. If they're anything like your perfectly adorable little-black-dress photo at the top of your blog anyone at the coffee shop who got a peek was temporarily dazzled and can't remember a thing.


Anonymous said...

"Anyway, all that said I've switched my family to an all-Mac world, and (as long as I can keep Parallels just in case) we probably wouldn't go back."

Ah, the plantative cry of the North American hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

Open Office is free and can integrate with anything at all you need from Windows.

(This is Miss Lotus from