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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

My first impressions of OSX


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Lastmboy

 
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I am a long time (25 years) Windows user and business application software developer. I have really taken an interest in everything Apple, particularly after using my iPod, iPhone, and iPad a lot, and am strongly considering a switch to a 25” iMac. I had the opportunity, recently, to spend several hours in the OSX Lion environment over a few days, and thought I would share my first impressions. I’m not sure if this will be of any use to anyone, but some new switchers might discover some things they didn’t know, and some of the more experienced ones might have answers or solutions to the stuff I haven’t figured out, yet. I should clarify that I didn’t have a magic mouse or track pad, and was using a Logitech mouse, so I couldn’t play with gestures, which would be a whole new topic. I have tried the track pad in the store and really like it, so there will be a bunch of positives to add to the list when I can get my hands on one of those. I should also make clear that these were just first impressions while using it. They aren’t complaints or feature reviews, and anything I may have struggled with could quite possibly have an easy solution that I wasn’t aware of, or I may easily adapt to the alternative. If someone has answers for these, I’m sure they would benefit many of us. Other comments are related to OSX just being “different” than what I’m used to. That’s not necessarily bad, and in many cases, is actually a very good thing, as I like the new approach. Anyways, here are the first 40 things that came to mind. Sorry for the long post.
  1. Mail is super easy to configure. Basically two clicks and it had setup my Gmail IMAP. Wow.
  2. The layout in Mail is different, but very effective. I like it.
  3. I discovered that the Dock can be resized, moved, or reconfigured, which is good.
  4. Clicking “X” in the title bar has varying results, depending on the app. However, it seems quite smart. For example, if you click the “X” on Firefox, it keeps Firefox running, but clears all the tabs and minimizes it, so it’s ready to go again.
  5. Settled on Cmd-W and Cmd-Q for closing window or quitting app. Easier than moving the mouse to the x or to the menu.
  6. Min/max/x buttons on top left aren’t a problem. I thought I would hate that, but am used to it already.
  7. Scroll wheel on mouse works backwards, but can be switched in settings. Makes sense for touch pad use.
  8. Apps easily installed or removed.
  9. Finder sidebar can be customized.
  10. Great look and feel.
  11. Clean and elegant, yet all the needed options are there.
  12. The non-customizable fonts (e.g. bookmark bar in Firefox, mailbox list in Mail) seem really large and heavy, like they’re bolded. Couldn’t find a way to change them.
  13. I miss the right-click-and-drag to move files. I also miss the right-click “cut” option. I use those a lot. Normally, I would highlight a group of files, right-click and select Cut, then navigate to where I wanted to put them, then right-click and select Paste. This doesn’t work very well with the drag-and-drop approach, as you can’t see both your source and destination at the same time, which means having to have two Finder windows open (one for source and one for destination). However, I did discover that the drag capability in OSX is quite cool. When you hover over a folder, it actually opens it in a Finder window, and you can actually work your way down to the destination. Not quite as efficient, and you end up with a mess of Finder windows, but it works. I’ve never been a fan of drag-and-drop. The novelty of it wore off a couple of days after I first tried it, and I went back to quicker, safer, and more practical options. Since OSX seems to live by the drag-and-drop, I may have to learn to like it.
  14. The copy/move files options in Finder are going to take some getting used to. It looks like if I hold down Command while dragging, it will do a move. I’m a bit surprised there is no “Move” option in the menu, as I find that I move files a lot more than I copy them.
  15. I love column view in Finder!
  16. Can’t get use to the “Delete” key not actually deleting anything. It is apparently the equivalent of a “Backspace” key. It looks like drag to trash or a right-click option are the only choices for deleting files.
  17. I can’t figure out how to refresh a list. Something like the F5 key in Windows.
  18. I got “lost” a few times, then realized that the app menu is waaaayyy up top. I like it there. It will just take some getting used to.
  19. Nice aesthetics. Everything looks so good, and the interface is so consistent.
  20. Couldn’t figure out how to see the size of a folder and it’s contents, then discovered that there is a setting in Finder which causes the sizes of all folders to display in the list. Very handy. However, it looks like it doesn’t stick. The next time you open Finder, you have to go select the option again.
  21. I like the shadows on windows, and how they change based on status.
  22. After using OSX Mail for a while, I like it much better than either Outlook or Thunderbird.
  23. I’m having a little trouble using Cmd-X/C/V just because my hand is so used to hitting the Control key for Windows. This shouldn’t take very much to adapt to, though.
  24. I discovered many things (even some quite obscure features) that are just built right into OSX, whereas you have to track down and run a special utility in Windows to do the same thing. For example, OSX has all sorts of nifty features for when you have multiple monitors connected, such as the ability to have different wallpapers on each monitor. Windows can at least get something onto the other monitor, but that’s about where it ends.
  25. Network setup a lot easier than Windows or Linux.
  26. Apps DO hang or crash. I had it happen a few times specifically with Firefox, which I eventually determined was due to the X-Marks sync. However, the Force Quit option actually works (unlike Windows where it generally does nothing and you have to just re-boot) and toasts it immediately, so no big deal.
  27. In Windows, I have “thumb buttons” on my mouse programmed to send the “back/forward or prev/next” commands (to go back a page or forward a page in a web browser or file explorer). I use those a lot and am really missing them at the moment. I’m wondering if it’s maybe possible to setup gestures for the track pad or magic mouse to provide the same type of functionality.
  28. I complained about drag-and-drop back a few points, however, I’m already starting to really like some things about it. It is so well integrated. Being able to just drag an image off a web page and right into an application, document, or email. Very cool.
  29. I discovered the “Stationery” feature in Mail. I wouldn’t use it all the time, but it’s quite a nice little feature. Another example of making things easy.
  30. I keep trying to kind of pinpoint a specific thing or things I like about OSX, and can’t really… not because those things aren’t there, but more because I just like everything and how it all fits/works together. I just really like it all. Other power users would likely laugh at me, but I really like a lot of the simple little touches, that just make it really classy. For example, the little indicator lights on the dock, to indicate which apps are running. So simple, but looks cool and is so useful. Even the reflections off icons in the dock add to the elegance. There are too many little instances to name, but they all just add to the whole experience.
  31. It seems that in about 90% of the cases, the OSX app seems nicer (whether in features and/or GUI and looks) than the equivalent Windows app. I compared quite a few. I’m not stomping on Windows. There are lots of good Windows apps, but it almost seems as if more time, effort, and thought goes into the OSX versions, and they are a bit more polished. There also weren’t many apps for which I couldn’t find an OSX equivalent. This was a pleasant surprise.
  32. I love iPhoto. I didn’t expect to, for some reason, but I do. Nice large thumbnails that make it so easy to search through and organize photos. I struggled a bit, though, as I like to have nested folders, and it wasn’t immediately apparent how you would do this in iPhoto. I have read that Aperture 3 is even better. I didn't have a copy of that to play with, but would pick it up if it's good.
  33. Icon “Stacks” are pretty cool, but I still have to figure them out, as I ran into some problems.
  34. I love having the ability to pop into Terminal if I want to do something at the command line, yet not needing to use it very often, as pretty much everything is available in the GUI. This was a nice change over Linux. I found I had to go to the command line much of the time with Linux.
  35. I like Launchpad. Makes me suddenly feel like I am using my iPad, except that reaching out and touching the screen doesn’t do anything 
  36. I like being able to have the Dashboard and multiple desktops. I haven’t even gotten into Dashboard widgets, yet, as it seems there is a whole new world there.
  37. Safari and iTunes seem to work better in OSX than in Windows, somehow. I never really liked either app that much in Windows, but I find them quite useable here. I’m not entirely sure why, though. I think part of it is that they seem more responsive.
  38. This was a silly one, but in Windows I can click on an icon in the taskbar to open an app, then click on it there again to minimize the app. Sometimes that is handy. I also like being able to hover over an icon in the taskbar to see how many instances are open, or to get to a sub-window that is hidden behind. I find this to be more cumbersome in OSX. From what I could determine, you pretty much have to Control-click an icon, then select the instance you want or select Show/Hide. Not a huge deal, though. After experimenting some more, it looks like Option-click on the icon in the dock will minimize it.
  39. I like not having to do everything in an MDI frame window. E.g. Photoshop. I can organize all the little windows however I want all over the desktop, or multiple desktops. We seem to be so conditioned to believe that everything must be in one all-encompassing window. It was fun to “think outside the box” (or Window, in this case). I have a recording studio and use Pro Tools a lot. I have heard that it works like this, too, which would be really sweet, as I use multiple monitors and could really spread things out and have a much more effective desktop.
  40. I thought the transition would be huge, but it’s not. That’s not to say the environment isn’t different from Windows. It is very different, but I found it very intuitive. Yes, I’ll have to retrain some of the “memory functions”, where my fingers just know which keys to press, but they can be re-taught. I was surprised, though, that I could actually be functional in OSX after only a few hours. Where there was something I couldn’t figure out right away, it was easy to Google or find the answer on a forum. I found it easier to Google answers to OSX questions than for the other environments. The first or second search result would have the exact answer I needed. I’m not sure why that is, though. Another pleasant surprise.

I like it! I like it! I think I’m going to have to give a 27” iMac a new home.

If this was of any use, and you would be interested in more first impressions or “ongoing impressions” after I get my iMac and make more discoveries, just let me know.
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Too much to read!

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lastmboy View Post
I like it! I like it! I think I’m going to have to give a 27” iMac a new home.
I think that this is all we needed to know!

- Nick

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- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
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Lastmboy

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harryb2448 View Post
Too much to read!
Ya. Sorry. I got a little carried away. I have the week off from work, so was having fun playing.
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Lastmboy

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lastmboy View Post
...switch to a 25” iMac
Just noticed that typo. No, Apple did not come out with a new 25" iMac. I meant the 27" one
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Here's another cool little tidbit.

If you want to add blank spaces to the dock (in order to group icons), open up terminal and enter the following:

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-apps -array-add '{"tile-type"="spacer-tile";}'

then enter:

killall Dock

The dock will disappear and reappear with a blank space that you can move around the same way you move around the other icons. If you want to add more, just repeat the process!

To get rid of the spaces, just drag them off of the dock and they will go "poof!"
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Slydude

 
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Interesting observations. Glad you are having so much fun,
I can't answer all of your questions bu this might help.

16. If you want to move something to the trash select the file(s) and then press Command and Delete simultaneously. This moves the selected items to the trash. They generally don't get deleted until you empty the trash.

sh and seBonus trash top: If there are items in the trash that you want back where they were right click the item and select Put Back from the menu.

Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

"Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling
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Lastmboy

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adric View Post
Here's another cool little tidbit.
That's cool. That will be the trick, now, though... figuring out all the "hidden options".
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Lastmboy

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slydude View Post
16. If you want to move something to the trash select the file(s) and then press Command and Delete simultaneously.
Thanks. I figured there must be some easy way. There almost always is. Just have to find them. That's half the fun and drama of learning a new OS, though
Others get upset when they can't figure out how to do it. I find that's it's kind of exciting when you actually do figure out how to do it. I think the biggest learning curve of OSX for me, at least, is learning all the shortcut keys. Everything else is very intuitive, but keyboard shortcuts just have to be learned, and there are more possible combinations with OSX.
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Here's something to help the discovery process along Mac-Forums Blog. In addition to the shortcuts mentioned there's a link to a lis of keyboard shortcuts.

Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

"Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling
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Lastmboy

 
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Awesome! Thanks.
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If you have any doubts, just buy a "cheap" 13" MacBook Pro like I did and play with it. I got the low end MBP a year ago and couldn't be happier, and I followed that up with a 27" iMac i7. Love it, and it is markedly quicker than the little Pro.

I got a good chuckle from some of your comments because I thought the same thing at the time, e.g. "where's the ctrl key" and etc. I do miss the cut and paste function though. Other than that, the OS is a fine work of art imho. I really like turning my computer on and working with it. I know that sounds infantile in a way, but that is the truth. My Macs deliver, period. Oh and no more **** registry to mess with. And I don't have to reload the freaking OS every year to speed it back up. I have monitored my boot times on the MBP and they have not changed at all within the last year.

You need to quit worrying and just buy a Mac. I built my last few PCs and was programmed to hate OSX but I loved it within days.

Steve
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You shouldn't apologize for typing a long post. I appreciated it, because I happen to be at a similar place, and I could identify with each one.

I'm glad someone happened to have time off from work and was thoughtful enough to post some instructional thoughts on the forum.

Instructional thoughts, even if they're just empirical observations, add to the value of forums where people are hungry/thirsty to learn. IMHO

So, thanks much!
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Lastmboy

 
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Well, I have officially switched. I'm now the proud owner of a 27" iMac (3.4 GHz I7 with all possible upgrades). I was waiting on the "new one", but no sign of it, yet, and this slightly used one showed up for sale at a tempting price, so I took the plunge. I won't go into all the first impressions now, but suffice to say I love it! The more I get into it, the more cool things I discover. Lots of bonuses I never expected. I'm loving the track pad along with BetterTouchTools. Way too cool.

27" iMac 3.4GHz I7, Mac Pro, Mac Mini, iPad Air, iPhone 5S, Apple TV (3rd generation), iPod Classic
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Congrats on the new gear and finally making the switch. I'll be curious to hear about the bonuses that you did not expect.

Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

"Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling
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