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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?" :)

New to the iMac...pretty underwhelmed with it


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jgohlke

 
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We're a longtime Windows family (first PC was a IBM XT in 1981) and I use Unix at work (I'm an Oracle DBA).

My 22 year old son switched to an Apple laptop about a year ago and has been very happy. We recently decided to replace our family computer and my son talked us into buying an Apple (20 inch iMac, the new Intel one). We've used it for about 1 month. It was supposed to replace a Gateway P3 500Mhz machine we bought in 1998 (upgraded from stock to 384M memory, larger drive, DVD burner and WinXP).

So far the transition has been pretty rocky. After hearing all the hype for years about the Mac OS, neither my wife nor I find it that intuitive. Neither of us liked the original mouse and keyboard. We bought a wireless mouse and keyboard and they were worse. We've since gone back to using the original keyboard and we bought another (HP) USB mouse to replace the original mouse which we both really hated. I would classify the original mouse as "stunningly crappy".

The computer is primarily used for light family business, email, internet, etc. We bought MS Office for the Mac. My wife switched from MS Money to Intuits Quicken on the Mac. She's learning it, but we both agree Money is easier to use for basic checkbook finances.

We haven't decommissioned the old Gateway machine yet, because the Mac hasn't fully replaced it. I'm kind of the holdout. Not sure how this will work out. In the meantime, I've started shopping for a new Windows PC.

We are all stunned by the iMac's slowness. In a head-to-head competition (we both "click" at the same time), my 8 year old P3 Windows box is often faster at loading applications and performing some activities. Not sure what is up with that, but it has been very discouraging....especially when you consider what we could have purchased with the same money had we bought a new PC....a real screamer. I can even outtype the iMac using MS Word. It's like being on dialup...

If anybody has any useful thoughts or suggestions, I'd like to hear them. I know that the whole "Apple" thing is almost like a religion for some folks...clearly we have some unlearning/relearning to do. We expected that.

I'm not trying to start a flame war or be a troll, just wanted to vent a bit about it and also see if anybody has any suggestions. Appreciate the forum.

Cheers,
Joe
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aantoine90

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgohlke
We're a longtime Windows family (first PC was a IBM XT in 1981) and I use Unix at work (I'm an Oracle DBA).

My 22 year old son switched to an Apple laptop about a year ago and has been very happy. We recently decided to replace our family computer and my son talked us into buying an Apple (20 inch iMac, the new Intel one). We've used it for about 1 month. It was supposed to replace a Gateway P3 500Mhz machine we bought in 1998 (upgraded from stock to 384M memory, larger drive, DVD burner and WinXP).

So far the transition has been pretty rocky. After hearing all the hype for years about the Mac OS, neither my wife nor I find it that intuitive. Neither of us liked the original mouse and keyboard. We bought a wireless mouse and keyboard and they were worse. We've since gone back to using the original keyboard and we bought another (HP) USB mouse to replace the original mouse which we both really hated. I would classify the original mouse as "stunningly crappy".

The computer is primarily used for light family business, email, internet, etc. We bought MS Office for the Mac. My wife switched from MS Money to Intuits Quicken on the Mac. She's learning it, but we both agree Money is easier to use for basic checkbook finances.

We haven't decommissioned the old Gateway machine yet, because the Mac hasn't fully replaced it. I'm kind of the holdout. Not sure how this will work out. In the meantime, I've started shopping for a new Windows PC.

We are all stunned by the iMac's slowness. In a head-to-head competition (we both "click" at the same time), my 8 year old P3 Windows box is often faster at loading applications and performing some activities. Not sure what is up with that, but it has been very discouraging....especially when you consider what we could have purchased with the same money had we bought a new PC....a real screamer. I can even outtype the iMac using MS Word. It's like being on dialup...

If anybody has any useful thoughts or suggestions, I'd like to hear them. I know that the whole "Apple" thing is almost like a religion for some folks...clearly we have some unlearning/relearning to do. We expected that.

I'm not trying to start a flame war or be a troll, just wanted to vent a bit about it and also see if anybody has any suggestions. Appreciate the forum.

Cheers,
Joe
Well, first, sorry to hear about your bad experience. Instead of shopping for a new Windows PC you could download Boot Camp from Apple and install Windows XP on your mac. It would run just like on a Windows PC and you wouldn't have to buy a completely new machine. Just some thoughts, and welcome to the forums.
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iBeldar

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aantoine90
Well, first, sorry to hear about your bad experience. Instead of shopping for a new Windows PC you could download Boot Camp from Apple and install Windows XP on your mac. It would run just like on a Windows PC and you wouldn't have to buy a completely new machine. Just some thoughts, and welcome to the forums.
Apparently that would be a bad idea, because he doesn't have a problem with OSX, he doesn't like the computer itself. So apparently, he is prolly gonna return it. Some people just don't like macs, its all good.
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jgohlke

 
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Thanks for the feedback...I was hoping for something along the lines of

"Yeah, the new iMacs are really slow"

or

"Hey, the iMac is a screamer, something must be wrong with yours"

or

"It should be faster but it is hampered by the software not yet supporting the new Intel chip...this may get better as time goes on"

or

something similar....
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rman

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgohlke
After hearing all the hype for years about the Mac OS, neither my wife nor I find it that intuitive.
One of the problems is stated above. Since I am a unix man, I can truly say that OS X is more intuitive than windows. The problem here is that they are very use to how windows functions. Whereas the OS X is more like working on the personal desktop. I believe that some of the applications that are being using are using emulation mode, and are not running native to the intel processor. I don't think that Quicken or M$ Office are universal binaries yet, which will explain the slowest that he is getting.

Since I have not use M$ money, I can not make a comparison. I normally use quickbooks, but have used Quicken.

I believe with a little more time, they will get use to OS X. But as for the hardware, that is a differnet problem.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, It's about learning to dance in the rain!
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MJGUK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgohlke
I can even outtype the iMac using MS Word. It's like being on dialup...
Well I can at least help you on this point.....

Assuming you're using one of the new Intel iMacs, there is very good reason for this and I experience the exact same issue.

Due to the fact that Apple are in the process of moving to Intel Chips, not all programs are natively running on those chips yet. Developers are slowly/quickly (depending on your perspective) moving towards Universal Binaries. To be fair there are a LOT of Universal Binaries out already, in fact maybe most programs are UB now, I couldn't say for sure.

Either way MS Office (Inc Word) IS NOT Universal Binary yet.
No idea when the upgrade will come out either, but this perfectly explains the typing issue (in Word). Because it is still a PowerPC app it uses a background emulator called 'Rosetta' to run on your Intel machine. Naturally this makes it quite a lot slower.
As I said I experience the same issue, but then again I use a WP called 'Mellel' a lot more than Word now.

This may also explain a lot of your other issues surrounding slowness. As I said most Apps tend to be Universal Binary now but you do need to update/download the updates as they become updated too.

In general I find the Intel iMacs lightening fast and at least as fast as the PC which my iMac replaced. That PC was 4ghz with 2gigs of RAM and 2 AGP cards So from my POV, the iMacs are very fast.

Good luck with everything
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Avalon

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgohlke
"Yeah, the new iMacs are really slow"
That just simply isn't the case. In your "head-to-head competition" you didn't describe much what you did. The Windows interface can be snapier, that's true, nevertheless, unlike on any Windows PC I've worked with (from Windows 3.11 to Windows XP) having multiple apps open in OS X never really slows down the whole computer to the point of being non-responding for several seconds.
About OS X being intuitive, the problem is that many people, like you, are used to the Windows-way of coing things, thus this has become natural. The Mac OS, however is and always has been different, in a way that it is in fact more intuitive.
I mean, what's more intuitive, having to copy-paste a file from one folder to another, or to drag it to where I want to?
Once you get used to stuff like that, you'll see how much less getting-used-to is needed to use OS X than Windows. The problem here is simply the old Windows habits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgohlke
"Hey, the iMac is a screamer, something must be wrong with yours"
Without more details, we can't really judge if something's wrong or not. And "screamer" is a very subjective definition of performance. :cool:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgohlke
"It should be faster but it is hampered by the software not yet supporting the new Intel chip...this may get better as time goes on"
This is, unfortunately, true. The transition from the PowerPC to the Intel architecture is still ongoing, there are still many applications that are not Intel.native, and therefore run under the Rosetta code translator. That does, of course, have a big impact on performance.
Now about your MS Word example, my experience is that, with Word, when you type, there is indeed a lag sometimes...but that lag actually ALWAYS happens, no matter if it's an old 450MHz G4 or the fastest Mac ever, the Quad G5. It is an issue of MS Office, an issue that has always been there, and sometimes makes me wonder if it has been deliberately "implemented" in the Mac version of Office, or if the Mac developpers at MS are just as slugish as those that developped the Windows code.

I know both worlds, and Windows does have it's benefits. Unfortunately, there are much more things that annoy me on a Windows system than on OS X, and this is even with leaving aside the whole virus/adware/spyware stuff.
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christm

 
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it could be because of the emulation software.

try windows on it and keep os x and if your still not happy return it

chris tm
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jgohlke

 
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I've read about Rosetta and figured that was the deal with MS Office. It's interesting that MS Office for Mac's has long suffered from performance issues. It's too bad, it's really nice on the Mac.

It's true we are very used to Windows. Maybe "intuitive" isn't the correct word, but I've adapted to several versions of Windows (started on DOS), have learned Unix (several flavors including Linux), the Solaris GUI and have played with the Linux GUIs...it's not like I only know one OS GUI. I have managed to find my way around the other ones, but the Max OS is just very different. When I want to find something I look in the "obvious" places....and after I have looked where I thought it would be and it's not there...I think to myself "Hey, the Mac OS isn't as intuitive as I've heard." Just recently I was trying to reset my password, which I couldn't figure out, so I figured I would just use the Unix commands, but then I couldn't figure out how to start a command (terminal) window. I did eventually figure out how to do it, it just wasn't where I looked 1st or 2nd or 3rd....It's just an example.

MS Money isn't available for the Mac. We had to switch to Quicken. Not specifically a fault of the iMac, just more transition grief.

We have kind of figured it's going to be a combination of things...we are retraining ourselves (from Windows to Mac), we're learning new software (sometimes brand new to us, sometimes the functional equivalent of an app not available on the mac) and we're using familar software that doesn't seem to work as well (peformance-wise). Eventually, we'll probably be ok. We don't plan to take the iMac back, but at this point, we wouldn't buy another one.

I guess I was expecting a "Wow!" moment....and it hasn't happened (and doesn't seem too likely at this point). It's not a bad machine, it's just not that great. I don't see what all the fuss is about. It's cool looking and it has a nice screen...but that's not much of a recommendation for a computer.

For what it's worth, I'm no fan of Microsoft. I've been the family SysAdm for 10+ years...managing a home network with up to 6 PC's (at one time, running 4 different Windows OS's). Now that's frustration...I have lots of stories about how Microsoft has sucked aways hours (days!) of my life...suffice to say we were ready for a change.
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All Applications are in the Applications folder and utilities like the Terminal are in Applications/Utilities. You can also click on the go on the top bar and you will find both Applications and Utilities there so it's two clicks. Anything you plan on using a lot, just drag it to the dock.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgohlke
For what it's worth, I'm no fan of Microsoft. I've been the family SysAdm for 10+ years...managing a home network with up to 6 PC's (at one time, running 4 different Windows OS's). Now that's frustration...I have lots of stories about how Microsoft has sucked aways hours (days!) of my life...suffice to say we were ready for a change.
That usually is what makes people do the step toward OS X. I can assure you that, since I started trouble shooting OS X I realised how much time of my life I wasted before.
Mac OS X isn't perfect, not bug- or trouble-free, and actually I'm glad about it as troubleshooting is quite a huge part of my job. :cool:
Just like you, I've worked with many OSes, and I think OS X simply is the best compromise. It has the stability and solidness of UNIX, an easy to use GUI, even for unexperienced people, no virus/adware/spyware troubles (yet), relatively easy to troubleshoot...and it looks great. :cool:
But that's just my personal opinion.

And what I really noticed is that people I know that use Windows constantly complain about it, while the Mac users I know never really complain about OS X...and that means a lot, as most of all them are average users, not computer specialists or Apple fanboys.

A very good book I would like to suggest you is "OS X - the missing manual" from O'Reilly...easy to read, and very helpfull.
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jgohlke, I hear you loud and clear. A few things to point out first, though: your old Gateway probably had software designed for it at the time, such as Word 97 (Word 97 runs wicked fast on my 2ghz Athlon!). As was pointed out, Office isn't a Universal Binary yet. I bought it for my wife's iMac and I know what you mean about "underwhelmed". I use Adobe CS and Office a lot in my work and I'm way too hesitant about completely switching based on current performance. Office not only takes forever to load on my wife's 2ghz Core Duo, but it's also slow in typing to boot. I know what you mean!

I think what Apple means about "intuitive" is "intuitive for computer geeks". It's still too complex for, say, my grandma to pick up without my tutoring. Personally I love the concept of OS X, having a strong Windows background with some Linux mixed in there, but I'm not ready to make a full switch yet either. I almost gave in and bought a MacBook Pro today, but I got hit with sticker shock: $2,600 for a top-end 15.4" laptop WITH my student discount. The PC I've been planning on building totals about $1,600 and whips the MacBook Pro performance-wise. For me, now is not the right time to make a full switch, especially with the UB transition that is currently happening.

Are you planning on sticking it out with a Mac or are you going to jump back into the PC world? I think as time progresses you'll find that you like OS X more and more, especially as more Universal software is released. At first I was just playing with OS X on my old G4 Cube, then it annoyed me, and now it's growing on me. I'm still much faster in Windows and know the ins and outs much better, but I can see myself becoming immersed in OS X within a year or two. Hey, if it doesn't work out, shoot me a PM and we'll talk PC shop
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Are you using Mac apps? Try using the word processor that came with the iMac and maybe thta will be fast? In theory it should be a fast computer.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgohlke
It's interesting that MS Office for Mac's has long suffered from performance issues. It's too bad, it's really nice on the Mac.
Office for the Mac is, IMHO THE best program MS makes. I've been using it since Mac Word 4 and have never really had any issues with it so I'm not sure what is being referred to here.


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What does your son think about your iMac? I think once you have got past a few snags (like knowing that all your apps are in the applications folder or sub directories of it) then things will seem more intuitive.

Are there any specific things or tasks that you find cumbersome or unintuitive?
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