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 #


  1. I'm drooling!!

    At least I still have # above the 3 on my ancient PowerBook G4!

    Seriously, thrilled to find you so delighted with you new baby, Katherine but I didn't doubt for one moment that it would be love at first sight.

    Are you going to run Cooliris? It would be fantastic on that 27" screen. I used to run it but foolishly upgraded only to discover the upgrade needed Snow Leopard. I don't want Snow Leopard because my Adobe PhotoshopCS/IllustratorCS/Pagemaker suite of software won't run on that OS and I would have to buy it all again!

  2. Welcome to the 'dark side'!

  3. Congratulations on your purchase : ) just holler if you need help. : D

  4. hooray for you! you will love yur iMac more with ever day!! :)

  5. Congratulations! This will be the first in your Mac collection. I know it's hard to believe you will ever need another computer but I have a collection of Macs spanning 20 years and they all still work. I agree with the post by Kimberly - you will love your iMac more every day!

  6. I'm already loving the clarity of the screen.

    Still getting used to the software but speeding up with use.

  7. A beautiful piece of technology, I'm sure you'll enjoy for years to come.

    I want one! ;-)

  8. That was the guiding feeling after I first saw one in Selfridges at Christmas!

  9. Yes you will enjoy it. Usually if you think you can do something a certain way , you can do it that way - intuitive. You will get to love the keyboard. I hope you have a great experience with your new imac.

  10. Katherine, best wishes with your new iMac!! It sounds like it's going great!

    Thanks also for the link to keyboard shortcuts. I still need to catch on to some of those.

  11. Congrats! We're in the same boat (well I am a week ahead...LOL). Good luck. I've been struggling to find my way about PSE 8 but '' has been helpful (try finding the 'center image' button or the 'paper type' menu!!) IPhoto is interesting too - I've changed to Adobe Bridge.....its all a journey of discovery! The screen is just amazing... am thoroughly enjoying the Mac world so far. I am with you on your journey!

  12. Looks great and it must feel good to have made the decision finally (although probably not as much fun with the sore fingers!) I have a 27" Samsung monitor and I love it. It's hard to use my smaller monitors at work now.

  13. The screen for me was hugely influential in the decision. I was running away from heat problems in PCs which didn't seem to be designed well and constantly had problems and towards anything which had superb display.

    I'm hoping I've satisfied both aims! I'm certainly very happy so far

    My only gripe is I'd like the keyboard at an angle with a wrist rest.

  14. Greetings,

    I am very. very happy for you!



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