Adjusting to Mac-dom

So, it’s around a week or so since I got my MacBook. Here are some early thoughts.

It looks very, very pretty indeed. And in so many ways it is better than my delapidated old Tiny PC: it’s faster, slicker, has a number of very useful wee features (such as the widgets), and the battery life and sound quality are both excellent.

However, it’s getting an awful lot of getting used to. You can’t right-click with a Mac so have to just find other ways of doing things through an initially complicated plethora of short cuts. There are so many things I am still struggling to do, or seem to be doing in a slower way than I did on a PC.

And downloading programs seems to be very strange. Having downloaded Firefox, I have this strange icon on my desktop that seems to be related to a wee window I get when I open Firefox whereupon I need to click on it to get the browser to open. If that makes sense.

And downloading MSN Messenger is simply beyond me – all I seem to be able to do is download an icon which simply gives me a duplicate of itself when I click on it.

Moreover, when I connected my camera for the first time earlier today, it didn’t just pop up with iPhoto and intuitively talk me through what I wanted to do.

Oh and another example – I’ve been trying to upload new software to my mobile phone which is misbehaving. But there is only software to do this for a PC. Not Apple’s problem, admittedly, but it seems strange there is not Mac software for a fairly common brand of phone. Sadly, I can’t get fully jump into Apple smugdom with an iPhone as my phone is still on contract until June next year.

And annoyingly, because my laptop nearly died at the Apple store, I still have loads of data – including photos and all my music – I need to transfer slowly with a USB stick from the PC to the Mac. It will be ages before I have the time to do that, and in the meantime you’ll have to be patient for the rest of my USA pictures.

Mac fans say the machines “just work”. They don’t. It’s not as simple as that.

They’re still better than PCs, though, and the more I play around with the machine, the more I get to like it.

And it really does look pretty.

12 thoughts on “Adjusting to Mac-dom

  1. Tried holding down the button? it’s like a right click?

    you can drag programs to launch from your task bar…

    sometimes you close the window in firefox but the application is still running, try exiting the application but leaving the last browser window open.

    not got a mac, but used them for work a while ago.

    this may be out of date now?!

  2. Hey Simon,

    I’m a right-click adict as well – the equivalent on a mac is to hold Ctrl while clicking to bring up the context menu.

    The Firefox and MSN problems you describe sound like “Downloading an app and running it from the disk image.” (which was #2 in the list of mistakes made by new mac users link ( I sent you earlier).

    When you download an application it often comes in a file ending in .dmg (Ctrl-click on the icon and choose “get info” to view the file details including its extension) so to install it you still have to drag the application out of this into the application folder or anywhere else you want it. See for nice graphics of this. I can’t be sure this is what you are doing but it looks like it.

    Not sure about your camera issues. It should either appear as an external drive or launch ‘Image Capture’ application.

    That a mac “just works” isn’t a myth, the problem is you need to unthink habits gathered from years of PC use – but it wont take long.

    Another useful hint you may not have come across for mac laptops is to use Fn+backspace to remove characters to the right of the cursor.

    — keep going, it’s worth it :-/

  3. I’m completely with you on this. I love my Mac, but they *do* crash, and it doesn’t *always* work the way you want it to. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.

    And Lexmark don’t produce up-to-date drivers for their printers, so I can’t use my printer yet, and my Sony Ericsson phone is not compatible so I can’t move music onto it and continue to use it as an MP3 player. Nor transfer stuff via Bluetooth, which I really want to be able to do, so that I’m not faffing around with cables.

    And yes, I think if you hold your cmd button down when you click, that is like right-click. Or you could plug a 3-button mouse into it and then you can right-click with your right mouse button.

    A lot of software, when you install it, will come up with the programme icon in a little window, and then you have to manually drag it into the applications folder. Firefox is an example of this. I got very confused when I installed it, and set up all my bookmarks, and then next time I turned my computer on, it wasn’t there any more.

    Then you can drag the icon from the Applications folder into the Dock to have it ready to click, if you’re into that sort of thing.

  4. On a MacBook, you can turn on a setting in System preferences so putting two fingers on the trackpad and clicking the button activates right-click. You can also press control and click.

    For the iPhoto thing, I don’t know why it didn’t just pop up. But again, System Preferences is your friend, and you can tell if something is less than harmless because of the little lock icon in the bottom left.


  5. I got an iPhone and I love it. A computer in your pocket. Yes the camera could be better and you can not record video but the applications you can get are never ending. Would definatley recommend.

  6. Thanks for your comments, all. I’ll follow up your ideas.

    Graham – the link you pointed me to about the common mistakes of new Mac owners did indeed include my application download error. However, what that writer failed to do was go on and offer solutions, which was rather frustrating, as I recognised most of the mistakes!

    Iain – enjoy your iPhone, I am jealous!

  7. Incidentally, Graham’s “Mistakes by New Mac Users” link won’t load at work because the Internet filter deems it to be “Hate Speech”.

    Almost as amusing as xkcd being classified as porn.

  8. I right click on my mac every day. Just plug in a two-button mouse and you can right-click as much as your heart desires 🙂

    I still say Macs ‘just work’. There are new concepts to learn (like the image mounting) sure, but that’s the same with anything new.

    After many years of using Windows, it’s to be expected that a new system will take a bit of getting used to. You’ll probably find that some of the things you don’t think are as intuitive as on a PC are actually just because you have Windows Learned Behaviour Syndrome 😉

    e.g. If you were absolutely new to Windows it wouldn’t necessarily be obvious that when you downloaded an appliction from the web, you needed to unzip it and then find and run the .EXE file. But if that’s what you’ve done for 10 years it becomes second nature.

    The Mac way isn’t less intuitive, it’s just different.

    In fact, I find the OSX method of installing applications by just dragging a single icon (which actually represents a packaged set of files) to my applications folder much simpler, cleaner and, frankly, classier.

    Things are more fun on the Mac. But you still need to learn how to use it.

  9. “And Lexmark don’t produce up-to-date drivers for their printers, so I can’t use my printer yet”

    Depending on what printer you have, you may never get to use it.

    When leopard was released with a whole new printing subsystem, Lexmark took the decision not to release new drivers for some models. And some they’ll get around to eventually. Apparently their printers are so cheap we can just go and buy a new one. Harrumph.

  10. “Moreover, when I connected my camera for the first time earlier today, it didn’t just pop up with iPhoto and intuitively talk me through what I wanted to do.”

    What kind of camera do you have?

    Unfortunately not all cameras expose themselves in the same way. Some will simply mount their storage as a drive, in which case iPhoto will spot it right away, just as it does any ‘memory’ card containing images that’s whapped into a reader.

    Some others rely on their own software being installed on the target computer. e.g. Sanna’s camera is only discoverable using a custom application created by Samsung.

    This is a decision the manufacturer has taken, and there’s not much iPhoto can do about it :/

    If that’s the case, then the manufacturer may have released an OSX version of the communications software. But they may not.

    In which case you could do what we did with Sanna’s camera. Buy a cheap memory card reader and when we want to download that particular camera, pull out the memory card from it and stick it in the reader.

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