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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?" :)

Me & Macbook, our 1st week together.

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Member Since: May 09, 2007
Posts: 85
dyinginavan will become famous soon enough

dyinginavan is offline
So I've now had my Macbook for one week and thought I'd post my experiences for others to read. Just as an introductory, I'm quite a regular computer user, I'm not an expert and I'm not a businesswoman, I just take delight from digital photography, enjoy browsing the web and working with a few websites etc.

First Impressions

Opening my Macbook was rather delightful, first of all, no hoards of crumbling styrofoam, everything was very cleanly packaged and not wasteful. There weren't ten billion leaflets and instruction manuals, no mysterious cables that I had to go searching through the manual to find out what they were. Maybe that's just me though, but my HP Pavillion laptop came in a huge box about 5 years ago, packaged to the hilt and came with 3 bizarre cables, 2 of which I never discovered a use for.

Opening the Macbook, I was amazed at the light weight of the product, it's sleek design, glossy screen. Lovely. So I plugged it right in, hit the power button.

First impressions, I believe I actually turned scornfully to my old (yet trusty) Dell Dimension 5000 and figured it didn't cosmetically compare.


Being a first time Mac user, I was pretty nervous. But the set-up process was simple, well walked through (if that makes sense) and there's a rather nice flashy introductory movie that played that had me gawping at the quality of the display and the sound the inbuilt speakers can provide. I mean, it's no stereo system but the sound is crisp and clear. Very good.

First thing I noticed, was I felt the Mac touchpad mouse seemed to move a little slower than a Windows laptop. Not sure about this, as within a day this observation disappeared so it may have been that I hadn't used a laptop in maybe 2 years and I certainly don't think that now. The touchpad is lovely and large, I had no trouble navigating through the set-up screens and the first boot-up was very fast. My desktop was ready to go from the box within 10 minutes.

First Usage

Amongst the first things I did was play with the dock for about 5 minutes. Oops. The effortless animation as you move back and forth along it was beautiful, and I'm rather ashamed at having played with it for so long, hehe. Next up, I opened up each application along the dock once, basically read up what each one did, got a feel for the minimise to dock, minimise and close buttons as they're ordered a bit differently than a Windows PC.

Then checked out the Applications folder for what else there was to offer. Replaced some icons, opened a few games and ooh'ed over those too. Oops, back to work.

Then I realised to actually close out of a program, you need to quit it. But I ooh'ed and aah'ed over how quickly an application launches on a Mac. You click, and it's just there.

Next up, I couldn't resist, I plugged in my iPod that I'd been using as a hard drive to copy over my data from my PC (I found a page dedicated to it on the Apple site, wonderfully explained). Was easy peasy, iPod appeared on desktop and I just imported my iTunes playlist straight off the pod, everything was auto organised into folders for me. Having been using iTunes already on my Windows box, I wasn't new to it but it took me a bit to get used to the menubar being along the top of the screen and not the top of the application window.

I found sometimes I got caught out in instances where I closed Preview (Image viewer) and hadn't clicked the window behind into focus, so really Preview was minimised to the dock and it's menubar was still in focus. It's a bit odd, but not unpleasant and I soon started to get used to it.

iPhoto felt a bit alien at first, after importing my libraries. I'm not used to everything being visible, as I have some 800 pictures and on my Windows box, it would have grunted and groaned about showing so many thumbnails. Not the Mac, however I'm not sure if I like having them all displayed straight off the bat. I like having a clear screen until I click the folder/library I want to view. Haven't finished playing around with iPhoto yet but it auto-organised my pictures quite neatly as well.

Next up, Safari. I babied out and put Firefox on there, as I'd been using it on my Windows box and wasn't quite ready to change from the norm much. Exploration of the new browser wouldn't occur until later, but in the meantime it seemed clean, even if the sized window it opens is smaller than Firefox but I can resize it as I wish. But, still. Seems smaller. I had trouble importing my bookmarks though, didn't seem quite as clear as Firefox - but again, maybe that's me being a bit of an idiot! It imported them into dated folders and I couldn't seem to drag them into the top level folders of the bookmarks bar. Gave up, went to Firefox, was happy!

Easy peasy hooking upto my wireless router. The Mac found it and couldn't connect fast enough, typed in password and off I went. Lovely. No installation CD's (I don't know it's the norm for Windows boxes to need drivers installed to use a wireless router but mine did).

The First Few Days

Over the first few days, I started to customise my desktop a little, removed some items from the dock I didn't want there (tried ctrl clicking these a few times, scratched my head and then I realised I just have to drag them out, hahah d'oh) and had a bit of trouble with my clock. Seems to be a UK Apple problem where the AM/PM option under 12 hour clock seems to be constantly greyed out. Oh well. I've always been a teeny bit dyslexic, 24 hour clock gives me a headache but I've been stuck with a 24 hour alarm clock for several months now so it's time to learn!

Alas, Photobooth. Beautiful, beautiful application. The built in camera is a dream, very good quality. On a slight side note, Messenger:Mac was installed first as I prefered the option to videochat but I quickly uninstalled it. Wasn't impressed with the fact it didn't seem to want to update my statuses. Although I'm not much surprised MSN made a skanky Mac version of it's popular messenger, of course how dare I not use Windows!!! I soon installed Adium which seems as if it's Mac's soulmate, works beautifully but no videochat. Oh well! I'm learning with Mac that there are always other options.

Uninstalling/Installing applications took a bit of getting used to. At first, I kept dragging the wrong files into the Applications Folder, but I soon realised that I needed to open most of them first until I had the program icon on the file, a .dmg I guess, and then it could be easily installed. I LOVE the ease with which this can be done on a Mac. I cannot explain enough how much of a breeze it is to test new programs and uninstall if you don't like them.

In a jump from simple software to more complex, I wanted to resize an image so up came Automator. I had found a quick video tutorial of Automator on YouTube so I knew about it roughly. It really is one of the BEST innovations a computer can have. The ability to pre-program a set of tasks. It seems the possibilities are endless but the learning curve seems steep, I started with resizing pictures in Preview and renaming them, then placing them into pre-made, pre-named corresponding folders. You get used to it quite quickly. I guess it's similar to macros in Windows, but only not restricted to Excel. Or Scheduled Tasks, minus the feeling that I should be a programmer or expert to use it.

I won't divulge more into my experiences with iLife as I haven't used all of it yet. Besides the fact I spent an hour in Comic Life! (which isn't part of iLife, actually lol) and made a comic with me and my friends in and I absolutely LOVE that software. But in general, everything about the software on a Mac feels fun, clean but professional at the same time.

Wasn't fond of Word on a Mac, honestly. The window seems small, the regular size 12 Times New Roman from my documents imported from my Windows box seem small and fuzzy, due to the PDF nature of the Mac display I guess, I prefer the Mac fonts so I had to go through them changing the fonts (could have done that in Automator, maybe? Hehe) but TextEdit seemed to do the basics of what I needed.

One of the main things to get used to, is that no application is ever really fullscreen on a Mac. Coming from working with Windows, where I maximise everything, at first it felt a little restricting but you soon learn to use the alternative perspective - the dimensions of a Mac display are different; what was 100 pixels in width on a PC is shorter on a Mac so things like LiveJournal icons seem smaller. But again, I quickly adapted to this and made use of the desk space. I now feel quite comfortable with my browser window in the centre, Adium contact list always viewable on the left hand side of my desktop and space to the right to drag text files from highlighting text on my browser etc.

It was something I was worried about, the lack of ability to work fullscreen but I'd urge anyone else curious about not to concerns themselves. Infact, a lot of sites load better on the Mac screen dimensions and I'm very happy with this.

(A sort-of) Conclusion

Quite difficult to write a conclusion, having only used my Mac for barely a week. Still. I feel a lot more incontrol of my computer, the reaction speed upon a mouse click is the notable difference for me and sure, my Windows box wasn't exactly upto par spec wise but despite this, I still feel that OS X is a much quicker operating system than Windows.

I came back to work today (Monday) after a few days off and about 5 days with my Mac, finding Windows very odd to be back with. It feels a little clumpy, slower, the windows maximised feel huge, all the text seems larger and a bit grainier to me now... what can I say, I feel like a 100% convinced convert. I'm one happy camper

Hope people find this even remotely useful.

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chrisgrieve's Avatar
Member Since: May 11, 2007
Location: Scotland
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well what an essay, you msut have sore fingers now, lol. its good to hear comments from new switchers and they first experiences.

im glad you are enjoying your macbook, and im sure you will continue to enjoy it for a long long long time,

have fun.

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Member Since: May 09, 2007
Posts: 85
dyinginavan will become famous soon enough

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It's even more painful sitting here at work, typing about how lovely my macbook at home is when I'm on a Windows machine, aaargh.

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Member Since: Apr 19, 2007
Posts: 780
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Mac Specs: 20" iMac Core 2 Duo 2.16Ghz, 500GB HDD, 1GB RAM, 128MB ATI Radeon X1600

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yay! excellent review! only one thing i must say: i dont plan to ever customise my desktop. i try to keep things off it. I like it plain, same old bg, just the HD icon on there.

two reasons for this: 1) on my old PC, i used to have two columns of desktop icons which wouldn't even fit on the screen
2) i like the constant reminder of the time i first got my Mac.
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Member Since: May 31, 2007
Location: Illinois
Posts: 75
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Mac Specs: 15.4" MacBook Pro: 2.2 gHz, 120gb, glossy. STOLEN :(

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wow, very well written review. It helped a lot since I'm deciding on whether or not I want the 13" Macbook or the Pro and screen size is one of the major issues as well as money. Congrats on the new Macbook and I'm glad you enjoy it. Hopefully I'll be a new mac user and enjoy it as you did as well!
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Member Since: Mar 20, 2007
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What a great article! Thanks for taking the time to write it all out. My experiences were very similar to yours, a great machine and fun to work and play on.
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Member Since: Jan 06, 2007
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In Iphoto click view then view rolls. That can help your problem
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If you really need Video Chat on MSN try aMSN. It's on Version Tracker. Does Video Chat with MSN.
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Member Since: May 09, 2007
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dyinginavan will become famous soon enough

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Thanks for the advice, guys! Will definitely work more with iPhoto and try that suggestion, and aMSN, hmm. I'll take a look into it. Awesomesauce.

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Originally Posted by dyinginavan View Post
In a jump from simple software to more complex, I wanted to resize an image so up came Automator.
When you grow more comfortable with the Mac, search the web for

applescript primer

or words to that effect. AppleScripts (the Script Editor's English is U.S.) can be very complicated or very simple, but it can perform useful tasks even if you don't use all its complications. Knowing a little about AppleScript helps with Automator, too.

Paste this into Script Editor and click Run:

display dialog "Macs misspell dialogue." buttons "OK" default button "OK"

Or this one that I use all the time, so a new folder doesn't display the icon view.

tell application "Finder"
make new folder at folder "Desktop" of folder "your log-in name here" of folder "Users" of startup disk with properties {name:"Empty Folder"}
make new Finder window to folder "Empty Folder" of folder "Desktop" of folder "your log-in name here" of folder "Users" of startup disk
set current view of Finder window 1 to list view
set toolbar visible of Finder window 1 to false
close Finder window 1
end tell
One of the main things to get used to, is that no application is ever really fullscreen on a Mac.
If in Firefox, for example, you drag the bottom right corner to fill the screen, the green button at the top left will toggle the page between the page's default size and full-screen.
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Member Since: Jun 05, 2007
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Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
If you really need Video Chat on MSN try aMSN. It's on Version Tracker. Does Video Chat with MSN.
You can also video chat on Skype now very successfully, not as good quality as iChat to iChat but it works well enough with my PC friends and family
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Member Since: Feb 12, 2007
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Oh by the way, the weirdness of the trackpad will settle in. Let it smooth out, then you're all good.

If you're referring to the speed, you can always change it by going to System Preferences (gray icon with a dark gray apple logo) ---> Keyboard & Mouse ---> Click on the "Mouse" tab ---> Adjust Speed.
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