Life with an iMac

So I had the DOA Superdrive replaced. It was as easy as dropping it off Monday afternoon at User Friendly, the local Apple service center and then picking it up on my way home on Tuesday. Don’t let their website fool you, these guys are a full blown Apple retailer that really knows their stuff. I spent about an hour in there on Tuesday talking shop. I know that we are getting an official Apple Store in the Jackson, MS area, but I think I will continue to give the guys at User Friendly my business. There’s a lot to be said about a friendly atmosphere of knowledgeable people that don’t pressure you into purchases you may not want or need.

Anyway, I have since been completely re-ripping my CD collection. I wanted to have a clean and organized digital music collection without all of the fluff and chaos that has existed in my old folder. After all, I have not done a thing to straighten up the old library that I have been migrating from computer to computer over the last five or six years. It is an unholy mess and it needs to be buried. I am happy to report that the new Superdrive is working wonderfully.

As for the user interface, that is taking a little getting used to. Having no “maximize” button is definately causing a shift in my thinking…much more so than having the windows controls (close and minimize) on the upper left corner. I am also having to remember that there really is not an equivalent to the Windows Start menu. The Dock, however has made that fairly easy since I have more than enough room for my commonly used programs.

I do like how the programs are installed as “packages” in a folder on the drive. If you want to uninstall a program, just delete the package. Simple. See, a package is like a cross between a zip file and an executable (EXE) file. Everything for that program is stored inside the package and you can browse it like one might do a zip file. But to run the program, you just double-click the package and it runs like an EXE in Windows would. This modular approach prevents the problem in Windows of remnant files and setting being left after a program is removed from the system thus avoiding the inevitable slow down of the computer over time.

I believe I mentioned that my employer is an almost purely Microsoft shop (with the exception of that one Linux system running for spam filtering). That is not a problem either. OS X can easily be configured to use a VPN connection provided by a Windows Server system without any additional software. Then with a quick download of the Microsoft Remote Desktop Client for Mac, controlling the work PC is as easy as three mouse clicks.

Did I mention that I am using this system over my wireless connection even though I am only 8-10 inches from my router? I really hated the knot of cables that used to weigh down my desk. I am also able to connect the iMac to my AT&T Tilt over bluetooth for sharing photos and music between the two systems. It is not quite as easy as using WMDC on my Vista laptop, but that is to be expected. I really would not expect an iPhone to connect and share services with a Vista computer as easily as it would with a Mac.

I have discovered that most of the software I actually use like FullTiltPoker, The GIMP, OpenOffice and Firefox all have OS X versions that function just like their Windows counterparts. That was the only real worry I had when I decided to take the plunge into the world of Mac…learning new applications. It was an unfounded worry because so much software is written for both platforms and use very similar interfaces between platforms. Open Computing is very nearly upon us. By that I mean that regardless of the OS you finally choose, you will have the same application suites available to perform the tasks at hand. All we need now is some sort of ActiveX VM for Mac and Linux so all those sites work the same cross-platform and Open Computing may very well become a reality. And isn’t choice the ultimate goal?