Monday, March 08, 2010

Journal of an iMac Virgin #1

My desk this morning - a brand new 27" Imac supplants the old 19" screen (on left).
This shows a normal format photo in full screen on the HD screen
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This is the journal of a brand new iMac virgin.

Just in case anybody else gets thoroughly fed up of PCs and thinks about switching, I hope this may be of some use. Plus it is of course my way of recording the things I'm learning as I work out what's what - so i'll be able to remember what I've learned so far! I'll continue to update as I learn more about it.

The journey so far

These are the blog posts concerned with my decision to change to an iMac - caused in the first part by a pretty terrible record with PCs of in the last three years and absolutely dreadful noises coming out of the latest big box.
Yesterday I visited the Apple Store at Bluewater to make my purchase after much research. Bottom line it would have been very difficult to go back to looking at anything else having tried an iMac! Take a look at that screen size and quality of image in the picture above to see why.

Consequently I caution against a visit to look at an iMac unless your budget will stand it and you don't mind a major rethink about how you work as it's so big!

What did I buy in the end?

I bought a 27" iMac with the 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, an ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics processor with 256MB of GDDR3 memory and a 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA hard drive. I didn't get the better spec 27" models as I keep reading about the iMacs with an i7 processor running very hot and since I was looking for energy efficiency and good heat dissipation this didn't seem like a good idea. The processor and graphics card in my machine are both focused on energy efficiency.

The store gave me the extended keyboard for free and I'm giving it a go. There are some tips below about the only aspect which is causing a problem to date which is keyboard shortcuts

I also bought the three year AppleCare Protection Plan, PC Elements 8 for Mac and iwork. I may well buy Office as well in due course but there's a Office 10 is out in June and the Mac version will follow 6-9 months later so I decided to wait for that. In the meantime I've been able to devise a set-up which means I can access both iMac and PC with relative ease so can continue to use all software on the old PC. Trouble is I'm liking the new silent environment a bit too much!

You can see the new desk set-up at top. I've included the dummies book for a sense of scale.


Setup was a breeze - although I have to say it was reassuring to have Mac OS X Snow Leopard for Dummies at my side! There's not a lot in the iMac manual other than put in the power cord and switch on. Mind you there's not much more to the set up than that.

It also found my modem router and set itself up without me needing to do anything other than to enter the password.

This morning I worked out finally that all I had to do to set up my printer was plug it in while the iMac was off and then switch it back on and the iMac would recognise both printer and scanner.

As you can see (below right) the width of the screen makes writing blog posts a little bit easier! It's also a boon for those of us with steadily deteriorating eyesight. The backlighting makes good quality photos look absolutely stunning.

Blogger post screen (enlarged) plus Google Document screen (enlarged) next to one another on the 27" screen
photo Katherine Tyrrell


If you are an inveterate keyboard shortcut user like me, the mac keyboard will drive you bonkers to start with as none of the conventional shortcuts work.

Some keyboard tips:
  • use google to find all the explanations as to where your favourite keyboard shortcuts have gone
  • MacRumors Guides provides a useful summary at Keyboard shortcuts
  • the control key now seems to be the command key so all the shortcuts for cut, copy and paste use the same letters but you have to use command instead of control. Moving the cursor one word backwards and forwards involves the alt key rather than the control key. I now have a yellow sticky note attached to the bottom of my screen to remind me what does what!
  • # is missing from the apple mac keyboard - don't bother searching it isn't there! However alt + 3 gets the same result ie #