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Saturday, August 09, 2008

New(ish) iMac Review

I just picked up one of the current iMacs, including the wireless options, and man am I impressed!

The best thing about this machine is I can get away from the computer with it. I can lounge on my couch and type as thoughts come to me while reading, instead of having to choose whether I'll be researching comfortably or sitting typing for a long stretch of time. A laptop doesn't permit this -- still too big and clunky -- but the Apple wireless keyboard can be stowed easily alongside your body while you read or watch TV -- I mean here, between your body and the couch back (with you reclining on the arm), and not taking up a seat beside you. Since it weighs a couple of ounces rather than 10 pounds, you don't need to shift positions to pick it up and make a note.

"OK," you ask, "but that certainly doesn't solve what to do when you have to reach the mouse and need a flat surface, does it?" Well, let me tell you, I can literally mouse with no difficulties at all using my leg as the "mouse pad"! The remote mouse is the best I've ever used.

The Apple remote controller is a wonder in simplicity. The whole thing works to control iTunes, DVDs, iPhoto, and more, with only six buttons! (Think of the number on your average TV remote.) What Apple seemed to realize is that a lot could be gleaned from context, e.g., you don't need 4 buttons to move up and down through a menu and raise and lower the volume -- when you're in a menu, you're not listening to anything, and when you're watching your movie, you're not scrolling through a menu! A pair of up/down buttons suffice four all 4 tasks.

The last thing I'll mention is the wonder of iMac setup. When I brought the computer up, I was asked, right away, if there was another computer I wanted to get settings and/or files from? Or, perhaps, a backup disk? I had my external Time Machine hardrive sitting on the same desk, I clicked yes. I went through a couple of screens deciding what to fetch from the old Mac, clicked "Go," and in one hour, my new computer looked exactly like my old one -- every user account, all my preferences, my bookmarks, my contacts, my photos, my songs, my network settings, my papers, etc. You may say, "One hour to set up!" But no, it was about two minutes to set up, and then I walked away for an hour while over 100 GB of data transferred over a USB cable. I have never, ever, since my first PC (where I had no data, programs, etc. and could just start figuring out what the hell it was right away), been up and working on a computer so quickly and painlessly.

20 comments:

  1. If we had ads on this site, people would think Gene was just trying to draw traffic. But no, this is how he talks. Once I said, "But Gene, you don't have dandruff!" and he whipped out a bottle of Head and Shoulders.

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  2. Except that when you try to use it for stuff other than looking at well-defined albums, i.e. try to web-browse, you have to deal with Apple's standard flaky interfaces. The remote mouse doesn't help you with web-browsing, does it? Can you click links with it?

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  3. I bought my iMac nearly a year ago, and it has been very reliable (I think it crashed once, and a few apps have frozen . . . but I've never lost data). In addition to working with it for hours on end

    * writing
    * editing
    * audio editing
    * (and, just this weekend starting on) video editing

    I also listen to a lot of music, buy music and TV shows on iTunes, and just watched the free premiere of "Primeval" on iTunes (which I downloaded for free).

    What makes this iMac better than previous versions is, for me, the ability to hook up an external monitor. I bought a used 20" Cinema Display and am very pleased with it. The two monitors (the iMac and the Cinema Display) look like fraternal twins (strong resemblance, though one's larger than the other), and using two monitors for work is, I think, a must.

    I first used two monitors on my old 7100. And then I added a third monitor. And then a fourth. That was a slow Power Macintosh, old style Nubus etc., but I grew to love multiple monitors. The fact that one can get into multiple monitors EASILY and cheaply using the iMac is a grand thing.

    Of course, setting up the monitors is easy, easy, easy. How easy is that in the Windows world? The last I checked, it wasn't easy at all. (But Windows is catching up. Why, it looks better than OS 9, these days.)

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  4. "Can you click links with it?"

    Uh, yeah, of course you can. Did you have some reason to believe that you can't click on web links on a Mac?

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  5. Gene, the question was about clicking links with the remote mouse, not whether you can click links at all. (reason being that using a track pad is annoying) I'm not sure if you're trying to be funny, or if you were genuinely so incapable of reading questions in context that your questions is actually serious.

    Knowing your past posts, the answer is obvious to me.

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  6. Wirkman, the reason you're bubbling so much about your Mac is that you didn't try to do anything very complicated with it.

    For example, you must not have tried to extract ~10 stills from your videos and place them in the same folder, which would have made you find out that you have to do the unnecessary step of first adding the stills as a clip to your video, only to delete them immediately, or that the directory you save them to isn't sticky (you have to find it each time, and it doesn't remember the last name you gave them).

    You also probably didn't try to record any video with the built-in camera, which would have made you find out that it makes you wait after each recording to split the video into e.g. 5-second clips, instead of waiting until you were done making recordings to do this (very time-consuming) step.

    Am I about right?

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  7. "I'm not sure if you're trying to be funny, or if you were genuinely so incapable of reading questions in context that your questions is actually serious.

    "Knowing your past posts, the answer is obvious to me."

    Silas, you'd better get some help -- something you're "not sure about" is "obvious" to you! That's a wicked split personality problem.

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  8. Ah, Silas, I get the problem here: You wrote "remote mouse" when you meant to write "remote control." (I have both, and they are two quite different devices, I assure you.) The "remote mouse", of course, has always clicked on links just fine. The "remote control" probably doesn't.

    But then, having made an understandable typing mistake, you decided that I was an idiot because I didn't understand your mangled nomenclature. That, my friend, IS a serious personality problem.

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  9. Gene: I said "remote mouse". I meant "remote mouse". I asked if you can click links with the remote mouse. Here's what I said:

    "The remote mouse doesn't help you with web-browsing, does it? Can you click links with it?"

    Now what you've done (and again, sometimes it's hard to tell if you're being stupid, or jokingly imitating someone being stupid) is to mistakently infer that I really meant "remote control" (stupid mistake number one) but then somehow typed "remote mouse" instead (stupid mistake number two), even though the simpler and more reasonable assumption is that I meant what I typed.

    A neat trick! You can convert *anything* sensible that someone says into a double-error that merely *looks* sensible! Hey, I'll do you one better:

    I'll -- oopsie! -- assume that in the post beginning "Ah, Silas, I get ...", you actually meant to say, "Silas, I'm sorry for acting like a miserable human being while falsely accusing you of acting that way. Please accept my forgiveness." but erred and typed what we see above. (Wow, that's a lot of typos. You seriously "need help" for your coordination!)

    Aww, thanks Gene, that's so humble of you! :-) But really, you don't have to apologize, I know you can't help who you are. ;-)

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  10. Well, Silas, I was trying to be charitable -- of course you can click on links with the remote mouse -- it's a mouse! The mouse merely sends the OS a message like MOUSE_CLICK_EVENT, without any idea whatsoever what it's over. It's the OS the interprets that event and decides what to do with it. So there's no way any mouse will be able to click on some things and not others. I didn't think you could possibly be saying anything as stupid as the Apple remote mouse could only click on some things and not others, so I charitably assumed you just misspoke.

    Feel better now?

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  11. You see, Silas, the two "stupid mistakes" you think I maliciously accused you of are far, far less stupid then thinking Apple made a mouse useless for surfing the Internet"! That's on the level of "Do their speakers emit sound?"

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  12. Wow you guys are able to fight over just about anything.

    Silas, at this point I am lost. Are you saying it's difficult for you to click on links with a remote mouse, if you're not using a pad?

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  13. You know, I started this "discussion" with Silas perfectly innocently -- I really didn't get how he thought a mouse could click on some things but not others. I really don't understand why or how he took that as a personal insult and immediately began an attack on my whole personality, but I suppose that explains all the web sites he's banned from posting on.

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  14. "Wirkman, the reason you're bubbling so much about your Mac is that you didn't try to do anything very complicated with it."

    And by the way, Silas, you do know the Mac runs UNIX, which is capable of automating about any task you want?

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  15. Oh geez. The reason I asked about the remote mouse was that I didn't know it's capabilities. Yes "mouse devices click links". Does this make it *feasible* for you to do so? (Bonus points for Bob on that one.) I was expecting something like, "Yes, you can click links, but/and it's easier/harder than with a trackpad." or "no, it just for launching more apps".

    (Maybe I should have asked, "Can you click links with it? And in case you're completely unable to guess the followup question, is clicking links really feasible or is it hard to?")

    And this is funny: look what you just asked me: if I thought "Apple made a mouse useless for surfing the Internet"!

    I've seen a lot of inexcusable choices on Apple's part -- it wouldn't surprise me.

    And, even funnier:

    First, you equate a question about mouse devices with a question about all Macs: "Did you have some reason to believe that you can't click on web links on a Mac?"

    Then, you hurled: "Silas, you'd better get some help ...That's a wicked split personality problem."

    And to top it off: "you decided that I was an idiot because I didn't understand your mangled nomenclature. That, my friend, IS a serious personality problem."

    You accuse me of having a "serious personality problem" BEFORE I said a single negative thing about you, and then have the audacity to say that I "immediately began an attack on [your] whole personality"

    *sigh*

    You really, really can't make this stuff up.

    ***

    Btw, that's interesting about Unix, but I do know things you can't automate. For example, there's no option to extract stills in iMovie without adding the still as a clip, so, I probably can't automate that.

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  16. 'The reason I asked about the remote mouse was that I didn't know it's capabilities. Yes "mouse devices click links". Does this make it *feasible* for you to do so?'

    Of course it does, it's a mouse, Silas, It works just like a mouse. Yes, some mice have EXTRA features, but if it can't click, IT'S NOT A MOUSE!

    'First, you equate a question about mouse devices with a question about all Macs: "Did you have some reason to believe that you can't click on web links on a Mac?"'

    No, it's not funny, it's logical, because, if it's a mouse, it can click just like all other mice. That's the nature of mice. So, LOGICALLY, i thought you didn't believe any Mac mice could click on links -- that was the implication of what you said, not something I gratuitously read into it.

    "Then, you hurled: "Silas, you'd better get some help ...That's a wicked split personality problem."

    That was a joke, based on your saying the very same thing was both "obvious" and "unclear" to you -- you were supposed to chuckle, like this: ;->

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