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First Impressions from a Windows User and Lots of Questions!


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Zaeyde

 
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So I'm a long-time Windows user who has always drooled a bit over Macs.
I've always wanted one, but it was never the right time to buy one.

Well, I go through about a laptop a year. I use them a LOT and the last two have crapped out on me. The first one exploded on my lap, the second has about a 4 inch wobble on the screen and is missing three keys now.

So I decided it was time for a Mac.
I ordered it. 2.4 Ghz, 4GB RAM, 250GB HDD. White.
I was excited.
The day I heard it came in the mail, I couldn't wait to get home from work to play with it.

I grinned when I had it in the car seat next to me on the way home. I kept my hand on the box the whole time.


When I opened it up, my first reaction was, "Oooh, even the packing styrofoam is pretty!," followed immediately by, "Oooh, SHINY!"

I opened it up, booted it up, and was immediately transported back to elementary school by the simple little startup sound. Elementary school was the last time I used a Mac, and that was to play Oregon Trail and whatever that God-awful paint program was.

My first impression of the OS was... Emptiness.
It had a dead feeling to it.
It was like a blonde: Very pretty, but generally not at all smart.
I don't know why that was my first impression; maybe because I was unfamiliar with the system. In fact, that's almost definately the case.
The dead feeling has since faded, but I still almost feel like I'm using a demo version. A sterilized version.
But that's probably because I'm used to seeing the guts of Windows, you know?

I was incredibly impressed with the speed and how quickly after startup the computer was ready to use. With Windows, after it boots, you have to wait a bit for everything to load. Not the case here.
Thumbs up!


As I started to install some programs, Bittorrent and Firefox, namely, I got a bit confused. Installation was prettier, but more confusing.
I still don't understand why things show up on my desktop. And dragging to trash. I don't understand this at all.

Some things about the design of the computer:
I was actually disappointed with the keyboard. The keys feel like they're farther apart, and they're a lot... 'clickier' than I had thought they would be. I was expecting a much softer and quieter touch. And the mouse button looks kind of strange to me. Like it's not set in right. But I guess I'll get used to it.

I love the fact that when I close the lid, it goes to sleep, and when I open the lid, it's instantly ready again. Amazing!

As I mentioned in another post, things went terribly, terribly wrong.
One of the main reasons I went through with getting a Mac is because of Boot Camp. So I decided to get that out of the way before anything else.
Loaded Boot Camp. Partitioned the drive. Put in the Windows CD and...
Everything went wrong. The install failed, I couldn't boot out of the install disc, ejected the disc, boot up with a black screen and a cursor, couldn't boot into leopard... I started to panic.
Tried to boot from the Leopard disc.
It asked me where I would like to install Leopard.
There was nothing to select.
In two hours... I had terribly maimed my computer.
Called Apple Care.
I explained what happened. I was sniffling a little.
He told me that it was dead.
I started crying.
I begged him, pleaded with him, asking if there was anything I could troubleshoot. Anything I could try.
He told me there was nothing I could do.
And even though I was crying, he seemed to show no sympathy.
It was not a pleasant first experience with Apple Care. He didn't even ask any questions.

So I drove 45 minutes to my nearest Apple Store, still snuffling. They gave me an appointment.
Didn't even look at it.
Told me that they'd replace the hard drive.
But they didn't have it in stock.
Said I could send it in and they'd replace it.
They used the term "DOA" and "Dead" a lot.
I didn't want to send it in and wait for a new one! I wanted one now!
But I knew I had no options, so I agreed to send it in.

Got home, miserable.
Decided that I had nothing to lose by going online to see if anyone else had this problem.
Found a post on another forum about the same situation I had, and something about Disk Utility.
So I futzed around with it for a while, and long story short, managed to reinstall Leopard and have a fully functioning computer again that I have affectionately named, "Zombie."
(By the way, is there any way to change the name of the computer from -My name-'s Computer?)

So now I have a working macbook again and I'm ecstatic. I'm a but traumatized, though. I'm getting a fresh copy of Windows XP (I'm pretty sure that the problem was a faulty disc) and plan to try Boot Camp again, although I'm terrified to do so.


Some other impressions: Everything seems a lot more... Sealed? Is sealed the right word? With Windows, I feel like I can see through the cracks into the innards of its programming. With this, I feel like everything's been coated in a nice layer of shellac.
However, things like downloading and installing are confusing to me. I feel like my mom when I tell her to do something on the computer.

I got an InCase hardshell to protect the computer, but the charger doesn't fit in quite right and I'm a little irritated about that.
That's ok, I'll take a file to the case later.

I can barely tell the difference between Firefox and Safari.
TextEdit strikes me as a less than stellar program for word processing. It looks too simple.
Would you recommend getting iWork since I'm going away to college for my Bachelors?

There is an obsession with keeping this computer clean that I have never had with any other computer.
Do you think the reason they last longer is because there's some magical ingredient that seeps through your skin and compels you to complete it?
Is this the same magic ingredient that has turned me to defending even the tech that didn't try to fix the computer even though it could have saved me a lot of time and grief if he had?
The same ingredient that makes me a "fangirl?"

What's that little black dot next to the white light on the front side of the case?

Have you ever had a macbook overheat and cut out? How often does this happen?

One of the first things I also noticed was the location of the vents. I like where they are. I can put the computer on my lap without worrying about it overhearing because the fan can't ventilate.

Oh, and one more question.
What do I use for "unzipping" compressed files? Like .zip or .rar?

Oh. And using the trackpad for clicking and dragging: I find it very annoying that when I drag something and go to drop it, I have to wait a second before the item is released. Is there any way to make the release instantaneous?
Thanks!
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Kash

 
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That's not a "sterile" or "hollow" feeling you're having, that's the feeling of being "clean" after having been in the muck for so long with Windows

I'm sorry to hear about your bad Boot Camp experience. I would actually advise you to not install Windows on your computer right now. Get a feel for how OS X works. The only reason to install Windows is if you play games, or if you have a program that absolutely does not have a Mac version/equivalent. By not having Windows installed, you won't have the temptation to return to the familiar and will force you to do things the Mac way, which you will soon find to be the better way.

The little black dot next to the white light is the IR port. You can buy a small Apple remote (they used to come bundled standard) that you can use in iTunes, DVD Player, and Front Row.

I've had my Macbook get a little warm, though never overheat.

For unzipping the programs, get a free program called Stuffit Expander.

Finally, the keyboard may feel a little odd now, but you'll get used to it soon enough, and eventually find that you love it more than other keyboards. I personally have found myself typing faster on the Macbook's keyboard than I ever have on any other keyboard.

Oh, and welcome to Mac-Forums


June 2007
July 2009
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dtravis7

 
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Just a few suggestions to help you.

When you retry bootcamp, Run the Bootcamp assistant and have it make the partition the size you want. BE SURE your XP has SP2 built in. Nothing else will work properly. When you reboot with the Windows XP SP2 CD, be SURE you pick the right partition. Make notes in Bootcamp of the size so you will not choose the wrong partition. I have a feeling you installed Windows over your OSX partition the first time. Also be SURE you format the new Partition when the XP installer asks and use NTFS. Otherwise when it reboots it will not find a bootable partition and just sit there.

Hope that helps.

TextEdit is not a full featured Word Processor but a Text Editor much like the one in Windows, but I like it a lot more. iWork is fine for the $$$ but for your College work you might be better off with Microsoft Office. You can purchase the Home/Student edition for maybe $129.

Support for Unzipping Zipped files it built in to the OS.
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Kash

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
TextEdit is not a full featured Word Processor but a Text Editor much like the one in Windows, but I like it a lot more.
Oh yea, forgot about that. TextEdit is more like Wordpad on Windows. For a full featured office suite, you have several options. Two free options are OpenOffice and NeoOffice (the latter is essentially a more Mac friendly version of the former). The two commercial programs are Apple's iWork and Microsoft's Office 2008.

Since you'll be going to college this Fall, I would highly recommend MS Office as you will very likely be sharing files between other students and professors, so you'll want to cut down any compatibility issues that could potentially crop up. Plus, Office is the superior office suite.


June 2007
July 2009
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anandnmsu

 
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Sorry to hear about ur problem. sometimes certain things happen ...but i am pretty much sure that u will love mac as u get used to it. And for unzipping u can use stuffit expander or rar expander.

And as for as the installlation of new programs its pretty easy i mean download the .dmg file and open it, u will get the disk image of the file, then move the application to the "applications" folder on mac , exit the disk image, then install the application which will be in applications and thats it. As far as uninstallation u can simply drag the program into trash, but for some programs u may find uninstall option so by clicking on the uninstall option u can uninstall it. Hope this helps u.
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budafied

 
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I get the same feeling you do about everything being hidden. I like having control, and it seems OS X doesn't give me any. I need to play around with it more. But I'm probably just not used to how it operates yet....

11.6" MacBook Air Ultimate
PS3 Slim, Xbox 360 S, 40" Sony LCD
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Khris

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kash View Post
That's not a "sterile" or "hollow" feeling you're having, that's the feeling of being "clean" after having been in the muck for so long with Windows
I'd have to agree with this one! It's like a breath of fresh air in the outdoors after being stuck in a smoke-filled bar!
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budafied

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khris View Post
I'd have to agree with this one! It's like a breath of fresh air in the outdoors after being stuck in a smoke-filled bar!
OK, but maybe you fail to realize that most experienced and somewhat knowledgeable windows users (like myself) do not find windows to be pathetically awful and a waste of a product, like most of you seem to think it is.

For me, and I think the OP may agree with me, Mac is something very different from an already enjoyable and stable operating system (XP). Mac is just SO different that it makes it a pain in the leg to learn as a new operating system, especially for one that is geared towards the computer illiterate.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaeyde View Post
(By the way, is there any way to change the name of the computer from -My name-'s Computer?)
Open System Preferences.
Click on the Sharing tab on the 'Internet & Network' line (3).
Enter the 'Computer Name:' of your choice.

CameraTime - Time lapse photography for novice and advanced users.

When asking questions, post the version of your software. You'll receive better answers.

Please post your results to the thread as it is good feedback.
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baggss

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by budafied View Post
OK, but maybe you fail to realize that most experienced and somewhat knowledgeable windows users (like myself) do not find windows to be pathetically awful and a waste of a product, like most of you seem to think it is.

For me, and I think the OP may agree with me, Mac is something very different from an already enjoyable and stable operating system (XP). Mac is just SO different that it makes it a pain in the leg to learn as a new operating system, especially for one that is geared towards the computer illiterate.

The think to keep in mind here is that different does not equal wrong, different equals different period. For many functions there is no right or way to do things, there is just the way the system is designed to them.

Part of the fun of trying a new system is learning the differences and still being able to multiple tasks with confidence. Many new Mac users find it a "Breath of Fresh Air" because all they have ever known is how Windows does things. Many now see a different, perhaps more elegant perhaps less elegant, way to reach the same end. Some embrace it, some end up hating it. In the end it's all about being open minded and willing to learn new things.

I've been using both Windows and Mac for over 10 years now, so the small things don't even register with me for the most part but it is fun to watch new users express their amazement at something different.


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I find all of this pretty ironic, since I work in a Unix development environment I feel that I can 'see' the insides of these things a heck of a lot more than I can with windows. Everything else has pretty much been mentioned, but I wanted to comment on that part. It's all about familiarity, and that takes time to build To be honest, you can see just as much 'guts' for most of this thing than you can with windows , you'll just have to get used to the command line. You'll find that config files take the place of the registry (which is extremely handy actually) and that you can write shell scripts, perl scripts, python scripts, you can write in c and compile it.. all with tools that are either already installed, or are available on the install disks you got with the computer.

My recommendation is to pick up OS X The Missing Manual, for starters and start playing

mike
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Got # ? phear the command line!
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Khris

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by budafied View Post
OK, but maybe you fail to realize that most experienced and somewhat knowledgeable windows users (like myself) do not find windows to be pathetically awful and a waste of a product, like most of you seem to think it is.
I've been using Windows since Windows 3.0 so I'm definitely an "experienced and somewhat knowledgeable user" as you put it. I still use XP and Vista at work and I wouldn't call either of them "pathetically awful and a waste of a product", but I certainly would say they've lost their developmental focus. They're no longer about the user experience but rather how-many-features-can-we-cram-in-here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by budafied View Post
For me, and I think the OP may agree with me, Mac is something very different from an already enjoyable and stable operating system (XP).
XP has come a long way since it was first introduced and with that "aging" process has come stability. Don't kid yourself however.....XP was far from stable when it was first released. (sound like another Windows OS we all know?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by budafied View Post
Mac is just SO different that it makes it a pain in the leg to learn as a new operating system, especially for one that is geared towards the computer illiterate.
If you find OSX a pain to learn then perhaps there's some other issues going on. I spent 2 days with OSX on my Dell and picked it up without any problems.

It may be geared towards computer illiterate people, but it's also an extremely powerful, customizable, polished OS.......and frankly that puts it well above any current Windows OS.
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Zaeyde

 
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Thanks for all your responses!

I'll have to look into getting that book. Several people have recommended it to me.

I don't hate Windows. In fact, I like Windows XP. To me, there's not too much wrong with it, and it's familiar to me and I know how to use it.

But OSX is pretty easy to use, and I feel like there are some things that are infinitely more useful than anything Windows has. One of those is the hot corners. I am frequently using hotcorners for showing the desktop and using Expose. I think Expose is one of the coolest features there is.
Since I have a lot of memory and a good processor, I have a lot of windows going at the same time. In Windows, there's a tendancy to lose windows like download bars and such. With this, I can find them easily.

I still plan to use Bootcamp to install Windows XP, but the partition I plan to use will be less. Originally, I was going to partition about 70 gigs, but now I'm thinking 32 will suffice. I just want to install one game and use it for compatibility issues that may arise in college.

After about two days of using the OS, I feel very comfortable with it. It feels natural now, and I love the unified look across all programs.
I'm glad I made the switch.
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good to hear you are settling in

and don't forget to come back here for help with anything
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I hear you on that feeling of the OS feeling empty. After using windows for somewhere around twelve years, OSX seemed to be lacking some of the things I had grown accustomed to. But, after playing with it quite extensively, I cant get enough of it. Now that I think about it, I don't know how i dealt with all of the Windows glitches and fallbacks. So glad I decided to step it up and get a Mac.
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