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RedZeppelin

I'm dreaming of a Mac Christmas.

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I've been using computers since the days of the venerable Atari 800, but I've never owned a Mac until now. Last year I took a job as a systems engineer in a Windows environment, and now that I deal with Windows problems all day, when I get home all I want is a computer that just WORKS. Since Apple finally made a Mac I can afford -- the mini -- I decided to get rid of my home PC headaches and try a Mac.

 

I've only had my mini for a couple of weeks, but so far I've enjoyed my experience with it for the most part. I'm really amazed at what the mini and OS X can -- and can't -- do.

 

I'm amazed at the quality of programs that ship with a Mac, especially when compared to what ships with Windows PCs. However, I'm also amazed at how clunky and non-intuitive some of these applications are. I haven't had a chance to play with all of the iLife apps yet, but I find iPhoto to be especially limiting and unwieldy compared to Windows XP's native photo-handling capabilities. Importing photos is simple enough, and the built-in editing features are quite nice, but why can't I rename files on import? Why can't I easily rename files, period? Or can I? Perhaps I'm missing something.

 

I'm amazed that the OS X address book can't import simple CSV files. I can't believe I need a separate utility just for that.

 

I love the security of OS X and am thrilled to be free of worry from spyware and virii.

 

I really miss having a built-in uninstall utility. Whenever this subject comes up among Mac users, they always claim that simply dragging an application to the trash will uninstall it, but I've already seen instances where apps leave files and/or folders on my system after I've trashed the app, forcing me to find them and delete them manually. I know 3rd-party uninstall utilities are available, but I shouldn't have to pay extra for one.

 

I'm somewhat disappointed with Safari's performance, but I'm sticking with it even though I use Firefox with Windows, simply because Safari integrates so well with OS X. I've heard Camino is a decent alternative which I may try at some point.

 

As much as Macs are touted as "Just turn it on and it works" computers, I was amazed to hear from other users how frequently one should perform preventitive maintenance such as repairing permissions.

 

I'm disappointed in the display output of the mini. The display on my Sony CRT is dull and dim, especially when compared to the display from my Windows machine on the same monitor.

 

Overall I'm relatively pleased with the mini and enjoy working with OS X. I'm sure I'd like OS X even better if I could afford a better Mac with which to use it, but the mini handles my simple everyday tasks adequately enough.

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have you correctly profiled you moniter, coming from a imaging background i find it the first thing it do to any machine, coming for a photograhic background i find the mac mini superia to the pc for colour vibrance and acurracy, so you dull display might be relateed to set up, as far as ilife and iphot it is true it has limatations but what you will find ith the ilife suite is that the applications tend to be mutilayed, i have over 5000 images and iphoto i found is now the most effective way to store and find them, i now never use finder to locate images for photoshop work, for eaxple can you key word and create multiply albums for a single image file in windows if you can i never found it, for example if i need a image of a dog i can search for it usign keywords, date, file tittle of exif information all of which are incredibly useful, so i have to disagree on the limatations of iphoto, the best way to learn iphoto is see it in action, like you on first use i kinda dismissed it, and used the careful folder organisation i had always use in windows, but i visited a mac shop and waatched the live demostration and all was revealed, i can highly recommend this demo in you local mac store enough.

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Thanks for the tips! I guess "limiting" was the wrong choice of word for my feelings about iPhoto, especially since I haven't really worked with it that much. I'm sure I'll get more comfortable with it in time. I just don't like the way it handles file names and doesn't let me name them on the fly or change them easily. That should be a feature of any photo-handling app, IMHO.

 

As for profiling my monitor, I have indeed used the display profiler to customize and tweak my display, but it didn't help much. From what I've read on the Apple forums, display issues with the mini are common but monitor-specific, so some monitors look great while others look poor. Unfortunately mine falls in the latter category.

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That's a great little 2-week-in review Zep, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I personally found the whole system, OS and apps to be a little off intuitively, but I have soon come to realize that it's 99% mindset; forget everything you know about computers and it soon becomes much easier and makes much more sense. It will take time, but I promise you it does.

 

With regard to the image filename comments I have to agree and disagree. You should be able to rename them on import and that's why I don't import them directly. I have my way of working with it now which is to import images to the desktop and use (use it, love it, it's possibly the best part of OSX although it's hard to pick a winner) to rename the files and import them into iPhoto. You can change the image alias from within iPhoto and frankly that works more than well enough as it is searchable, but if you are like me you want things beautiful and that includes filenames.

 

CSV files I found to be a bit of a pain, but then I didn't store all my contacts in Outlook before anyway so it wasn't too big of a deal. Personally I started recording my contacts (or some of them anyway, I am awful with things like that) after I got my first Mac. Address Book does work well in all other circumstances that I have come across though, integrates well (as always) and hasn't limited me at all. Overall I am impressed and the file formats are fine as long as they are used on Mac.

 

Although it feels weird not having an uninstall utility I can't really complain; I mean, it's quick and just as effective as any Windows uninstall. Whenever you uninstall in Windows you have to delete the Program Files folders as well as check the registry to be effective and even then you miss things. I don't think the Mac is any different. Companies should be aiming to make the uninstall process as simple and effective as the install process for their software and drivers.

 

Safari I have had little trouble with. I run a lot of tabs and have found it stands up to them well for the most part, occasionally locking up for up to 30 seconds when I really overload it by refreshing 20 tabs, but I can't expect too much from a PowerBook with only 768Mb RAM and a lame wireless connection. I have used the new Firefox on Windows and was very much "wowed" by its new tab capabilities, but am holding out for Safari to catch up due to the integration, RSS and frankly the looks.

 

I don't feel the need to perform any maintenance on my Mac at all really. During an install, especially an update of size or merit, I will repair permissions before and after, but it's 20 seconds, 1 button and a hell of a lot easier than the 20 hourly, daily, weekly and monthly tasks I had to do on my Windows machine provided nothing went wrong and I don't need to format my Mac every few weeks so that also makes me happy. I don't want to sound like a complete fanboy here or anything, I just don't feel such reports are even in the right ballpark and have to totally disagree. It will be interesting to see what you find necessary in the coming months.

 

The display from the Mac Mini is something I don't have any experience with, but I have heard of such problems occurring with certain monitors, maybe testing it with another display would help you rest easier even if it did convince you to swap them out for good ;)

 

Anyway, thanks for the great report and feedback, I enjoyed reading your comments. Hope you stick around.

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Address Book does work well in all other circumstances that I have come across though, integrates well (as always) and hasn't limited me at all.
Oh, I love the layout and function of Address Book; it's definitely a good app. I just find it odd that Apple devotes an entire section of their website to switching to Macs from PCs, yet they don't give you a way to import your PC address book, which is the most common and important data that most people have on their PCs.

 

Whenever you uninstall in Windows you have to delete the Program Files folders as well as check the registry to be effective and even then you miss things.

 

True, but the Windows uninstaller will usually alert you if it is unable to delete all folders and files after uninstalling a program. With OS X I never know if there are other folders or files left behind unless I take some time to poke around. That's unusually messy for an otherwise clean and tidy OS.

 

I don't feel the need to perform any maintenance on my Mac at all really.
Hehe. Don't get me wrong. Compared to what I had to go through to keep my XP running right, the Mac is a breeze. I especially appreciate the default nightly maintenance. Still, it's not quite as hands-off as I expected it to be.

 

The display from the Mac Mini is something I don't have any experience with, but I have heard of such problems occurring with certain monitors, maybe testing it with another display would help you rest easier even if it did convince you to swap them out for good

 

I'm sure the mini display is excellent with many monitors -- I'm just disappointed that I have to buy a new monitor in order to get good display quality. I didn't factor that cost into the mini purchase, and shouldn't have to.

 

Hope you stick around.

 

Trust me -- I'll be around so much you'll get sick of me, thanks to what will probably be a steady stream of n00b questions from me. So far I've found the Mac community to be very helpful and supportive, which is why I love forums such as this.

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True, but the Windows uninstaller will usually alert you if it is unable to delete all folders and files after uninstalling a program.  With OS X I never know if there are other folders or files left behind unless I take some time to poke around.  That's unusually messy for an otherwise clean and tidy OS.

 

Generally, the only thing that might be left on the drive would be some application specific configuration options in a .plist file. I look in directory for the application in ~/Library or /Library.

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