Monday, March 07, 2011

Happy Birthday to my iMac

Today is my iMac's first birthday!  A year ago today I bought an iMac and started out on my love affair with Apple. 

A year later I am the proud owner of a one year old 27" Apple iMac, an iPad and my other half no longer protests when I tell him he needs to get his very own iMac for when he retires this summer.  (This only so I get him off the music and films on iTunes on mine!)

The story so far - Year 0 minus 1 month

Last February I was faced with a computer which I knew was going to misbehave sometime soon.

What I knew for absolute certain was that I no longer wanted to face trying to buy a computer without a proper functioning computer!

Hence I decided the time had arrived to decide what to get as my next computer.  Ideally one which would not overheat due to kit which had not been properly designed for the size of the box or the quality of the fan (HP and Evesham) and avoiding a faulty graphics card which was built into new laptops even though they knew they were faulty (Sony Vio laptop - there was a legal case pending last time I looked!)

I have to confess here I had seen the iMacs in stores at Christmas and was very impressed by the quality of the image on the screen.  However they looked expensive.  Now I know they are actually NOT expensive when reliability gets taken into account.

These are the links to the posts which led me to my purchase.
  • PC vs Mac for artists 18 Feb 2010 - the invite to say which is best a PC or a Mac and why
  • PCs versus Apple Mac - for artists (Part 2) 19 Feb 2010  which summarised the results of my request for help and my survey.  It produced the chart you can see below and details what people liked about a Mac - and other things to think about
Of the 32 people who have responded to date (19th February 2010), where there were clear recommendations this is how it works in terms of numbers.
  • Nearly 80% of all respondents recommend buying a Mac
  • 100% of Mac users recommend a Mac
  • 56% of former PC users recommend buying a Mac

I want especially to thank all those people who told me about how they kept buying Apple Macs despite the fact their old ones had not broken down and how they now had any number of bits of Apple technology.

Having managed to blow up or burn out three computers this was music to my ears.  That and this chart from my survey.

PC versus Apple Mac - what you recommended - something of a "no brainer"!

For the record I bought the following
a 27-inch model with a 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB shared L2 cache; 4GB (two 2GB SO-DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; four SO-DIMM slots support up to 16GB; 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA hard drive; ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics processor with 256MB of GDDR3 memory; Built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking; IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible; Built-in Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) wireless technology;  Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45 connector); Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

The software included was
  • Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard (includes iTunes, Time Machine, Quick Look, Spaces, Spotlight, Dashboard, Mail, iChat, Safari, Address Book, QuickTime, iCal, DVD Player, Photo Booth, Front Row, Xcode Developer Tools)
  • iLife (includes iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iWeb, GarageBand)

The story so far - Year 0 starts

For those new to this blog in the last year, after buying my iMac a year I then continued to record my experience in the following posts.
Magic Mouse

The only real issue I've had all year has been with the Magic Mouse.  Here's the update.

My wireless Magic Mouse kept draining juice from the batteries really really fast.  That could be because the Magic Mouse is so brilliant to use that I actually used it much more than my previous Mouse!  Anyway I can testify to the after sales service insofar as I'm now on my third mouse but the reporting and despatch of the new ones worked brilliantly and without question.  So much more sensible than arrangements used by other companies.

I also highly recommend that you buy the Apple battery charger!  That also seemed to form part of the solution.  I now have three pairs of batteries - one set in the mouse, another waiting for when I get the battery alert comes up on screen re low batteries and the third set are charging.

So - at the end of the Year 0 - how do I feel about my Mac

Year 1 - and the conclusion after a year is......

It wouldn't be stretching a point to say that I love my iMac.  With the intensity of a first love because I have never ever loved a computer before!

  • I adore the quality of the screen image and the outrageous amount of screen estate to stack full size documents next to one another.  Life suddenly gets a whole lot easier when working on documents or with reference to separate screens.
  • I have had absolutely no problem with excess heat - the design is totally brilliant
  • It never ever makes a noise except on the hour when it tells me the time.  It's silent and efficient all the time - day after day.
  • It is the simplest computer I have ever had to operate in terms of software updates and installing new software.
  • I love TimeMachine and have a proper back-up going on the hour every hour 24/7 for the first time ever.  
  • Learning new keystrokes and where things are and how things work is a bit tedious at the beginning - just the way it is every time Microsoft changes Office!  But you learn and you get used to it in no time at all  That said I still have yellow sticky notes stuck up on the wall with the shortcuts - especially the one which gets you back out of full screen
  • Full screen is a major feature of this computer - all 27" of it.  I've watched quite a bit of television on my iMac via iPlayer.
  • The sync between iPad and iMac is easypeasy and I love the fact I've now got an Apps for Mac as well as iTunes! 
The only thing I didn't like was nothing to do with the computer.  I just didn't get on with iwork and was so pleased when Microsoft Office brought out the latest update for Mac.  It was installed PDQ and I was back to normal!

All I need to do now is work out where to find a home for the big dead boxes which are my old computers.

I can't ever see me going back to owning a PC again.

On the other hand I can definitely see me buying more Apple products - even though the current one is still fine.
I think at the last count three people have bought an iMac following my long debate about getting one and then my very enthusiastic reaction.  If there are more of you out there do let me know!


  1. Katherine. I've been using the 27" iMac at work for a couple of months now and love it. I want one for my home. Congrats.

  2. I heard that last year a million pc users switched to a Mac. I guess that makes you one in a million! Honestly, having worked with both platforms, Mac and Windows I cant figure out why anyone would chose the latter. Enjoy the freedom from viruses, the beautiful interface design, and the technical support. Happy Birthday, iMac!

  3. I will be 1 year this month with my iMac and am with you 100%, I would not go back to a PC.

  4. I love mine too. I love the sharpness of the screen, the keyboard, the mouse and the sound it makes when I send an email! It makes me laugh every time.

  5. I am also a recent (1 year) convert after years of owning PC's and even teaching classes for PC software. I just got tired of the constant updates, bugs, etc. and decided to make the plunge. Haven't looked back and probably will never buy another PC. I'm envious of your iMac with the 27" screen--congratulations and Happy BD!

  6. what on earth are you on?

    A mac is only a depends what you do with it..
    It has nothing whatsoever do with Art.

    Mac worship is a negative pastime.

    ps: I've been using macs since 1994...

  7. @Artists Work I'm not using my iMac to make art - although I hugely appreciate the quality of the image on my screen when looking at art. However my iMac is giving me relief from the hell that I was caught in with PCs that wouldn't work for more than a few months!

    I think possibly your lack of comprehension as to why I should write as I do comes in your last line! You won't understand Mac worship at all if you haven't been using PCs in recent years! ;)

    @everybody else - Isn't it great when you finally find something that WORKS! (and looks good too!)

  8. A mac might be only a tool but so is a really beautifully made paintbrush, having recently spent a small fortune on one hand made watercolour brush I can honestly say it was worth every penny. Having also always had Macs until hitting a poverty pot hole two years ago and having to get a PC (which is wurring loudly and taking up lots of space beside me right now) I would much much much prefer a Mac.
    So "Artists Work" of course its a tool, its a very good tool, you wouldnt use a cheap set of "watercolour" paints (the sort you get in a pound shop or a newsagents) or printer paper to paint a deacent painting would you? Well I know I wouldnt.
    Happy Mac birthday Katherine.

  9. I love my Mac too! More than is appropriate lol!

  10. "Seductive" is the word that is missing from Apple marketing

    It is brilliant though that you can make a product and sell it simply because everybody wants to tell all their friends how good it is!

  11. Ah, yes! Next month will be the 1-year anniversary of my 21" iMac as well. It was a bit spendy, but so worth it, and I absolutely LOVE it! I discover more amazing features on it all the time. I remember when I discovered that iPhoto would happily accept my Nikon's RAW files and convert them to jpegs for viewing, editing and sending, but the original files remain forever. Or that it will read any device you plug into it and run it, even if it's not Apple. No special software required.

    After years of putting up with the crashes and virus problems and numerous shortcomings with PC's and the awful MS OS platforms, I am forever done with them and anything related to Microsoft.

  12. Happy birthday to your iMac from my iMac. My previous macs - I've been a user from Day 1 - have found homes with many friends and the last 4 are all still going strong!

    Each new Mac I get becomes my new love. If someone stole Artists Work's Mac it would probably flush out a bit of Mac Love :)

  13. Me too - I have had an iMac since 2008 and now have an iPod too, for music! (I use the iPod in another room). Great how the two link up, and now I'm saving up for an iPad to put images of my paintings - keeps you very busy reading all the fancy things you should be doing with the technology, though. Stops you getting on with the painting!

  14. I bought my first computer, a PC, 15 years ago and still use it to do digital commercial work, with the same trinitron rip off monitor. It does the job. I saved a lot of money at the time by not buying Mac and am saving a bundle by keeping shovelling coal into it's old boiler. When there has occasionally been a problem or need to upgrade; new hard drives, video cards, OS; there have always been locals to fix it quickly, easily and cheaply.

    It might be that, should I decide to buy a new computer, I'd choose a Mac, consider it a superior product, and lament 15 years or more working with an inferior product. Might. But like comment-er 'artists work' I'm totally creeped out by the quasi religious reverence for what is just a consumer product/tool, and the slick advertising/branding/imaging monolith that is Apple.

    There is a great article by a Globe and Mail tech writer on Apple's 'well oiled machine' here:

    Artists are an odd lot. In my first year at art college I had 8 highly accomplished instructors most of whom more or less held each others line of work in contempt. Most were ideologues; it was like being taught by priests or imams; religious nutters; they were all so absolutely certain about what was art, what was good, bad, what was 'crap'. I could never be so certain.

    I take Katherine's item as an enthusiastic review.

    But artsy-design-y-knobs I know and have known, like my old instructors, kind of creep me out with their utter certainty about what is art, what is good, what is bad. It's like religion. I could never be so certain about life after death or visual art, let alone a consumer product. Maybe it's because Apple has become the darling of artsy types that there is so much reverential-ism toward the products. modern-ism...Apple-ism...

  15. Well - it's a different perspective - that's for certain! :)

  16. Hmmm, actually, I'm not sure my perspective is unconventional. Artsy types are very fashion and trend conscious and therefore open to suggestion. Katherine mentioned 'seductive' as a quality for the Macs. Another commentator mentioned that she was buying 'word of mouth'. As the Globe article points out, Apple has vast cash resources for promotion. It's overt advertising seems modest to me. A lot of their vast cash allocated for promotion goes to very pleasantly paying for junkets for tech writers. You can be sure that some of it also goes to placing product in the hands of influential people. Malcolm Gladwell, in some of his books, touches on this sort of thing if I recall correctly. As well you can be sure that they are cleverly starting 'word of mouth' campaigns on the internet through blogs and social media. You have a very influential blog, Katherine, don't be surprised to have them approach you very pleasantly some day. (If you decline to promote them, send them my way and maybe I'll replace this 15 year old computer at their expense.)

    For several years in the eighties I sold a painting annually to a doctor who organized a whitewater canoeing weekend for other doctors. My painting was one of many door prizes and give aways. The whole thing was paid for by drug companies. The participants very pleasantly had their objectivity about drug products raped and pillaged while having a pleasant weekend canoeing and being wined and dined.

    I'm fascinated by advertising; some of the brightest minds at my art school went into to advertising and film, leaving us other neanderthals to a life of painting pictures to hang above sofas. If you'd like a link to a great program on advertising on the CBC paste the link below into your browser. The program, now in it's 5th season, is put together by adman Terry O'Reilly and is called The Age of Persuasion. It's astounding how cunningly things...such as low budget high success movies...have been marketed. Word of mouth campaigns are often very cleverly initiated.

    There are lots of free podcasts at the above; Age of Persuasion should be right at the top.

    Anyway, it's always a big help when a cunningly marketed product is also reliable and has high consumer satisfaction ratings...and it seems your poll of consumers suggests that the Mac is just that. Still, I wonder if I can get 20 years out of my PC? Ooops, the pressure gauge is dropping and it's time to shovel more coal in the boiler...

  17. Clive - first I agree with everything you say about advertising and the effectiveness of word of mouth campaigns. I guess every major corporate needs to keep up with the big boys and needs to invest in persuasive ways which go beyond conventional advertising. Twas ever thus - they've been sponsoring stuff for years!

    But when you're the second largest company in the world......?
    (see )

    However if you look back through the blog posts which led up to my purchase you'll see that I was a far from committed Apple purchaser at the beginning. Far from it - I had a 20+ year history of using PCs.

    However with the advent of the latest Windows programs and competitive price-cutting the PC manufacturers started to cut costs and construct duff machines. If you bought a new machine now running the latest Microsoft everything you may well be in the ranks of those of us who started complaining when no PC lasted longer than 12 months.

    I'm amazed at how you've kept a PC running for 15 years. Unless you ripped out the motherboard and started again from scratch I can't see how you can possibly be running the latest software and its voracious appetite for burning out PCs which have not been built intelligently.

    I fell for a product by a company which builds both the hardware and the software and makes sure it's a good match (or withdraws the product from the market until it is)

    I fell for a product which had a small army of people lining up to tell me about how their Apples went on and on and on......

    I don't know anybody else who uses a computer like I do who's still operating on one which is 15 years old.

    I bet if I came and used yours you'd be burying it within the week! ;)

  18. Points taken. But Katherine, you'd think twice about burying it when you realized how big a hole would be required to bury both the computer and the monitor...

    Enjoyed this post and am overwhelmed with the shear quantity of other interesting posts here, as usual.

    cheers, C.

  19. Oh well in that case Clive let's have a bonfire!

    Go on - treat yourself to a new mac - you know you want one really! ;)

  20. Your journey into buying a mac coincided with mine. We bought it pretty much at the same time. I still love mine. I am almost getting used to it and take it for granted. The monitor is brilliant. Love it.
    Since buying my mac, I have converted my brother, my dad and soon my husband too....its spreading....scary.


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