A Windows User and His New iMac – Day Two

Here are my thoughts and reactions from my second evening of using the iMac. I didn’t have quite as much time to play with it this particular evening…

  • Now that I’m able to turn up the speakers more, I have to admit they sound quite good for integrated speakers. At max volume they completely fall apart, which isn’t surprising, but at medium volume they fill my office quite nicely, with a decent blend of lows, mids, and highs. In typical Apple design, they’re rear-firing, because pointing speakers away from where the user’s ears are is what Apple does (much to my dismay).
  • At some point Jason’s Mac appeared in the Devices menu in Finder. It was not there yesterday. So now I can browse my hard drive, which is a good thing. Anyone know why it was hidden previously?

  • I use Cubby to keep key folders in sync between my machines – documents, photos, my active Lightroom catalog, and a desktop folder called Workspace. It’s a fantastic tool for keeping all my stuff on whatever computer I’m using. So far it looks easy enough to get most of my folders synching. The catch is photos – looks like the Photos Library “folder” is really…a database? When you click on it, it launches the Photos app. I synched the entire Pictures folder over to my laptop, so I could see the array of folders that the Photos Library really represented – nine in total. I did a little experiment – I dropped a folder of photos into the Masters folder, but Photos did not pick up on it. Looks like Apple doesn’t scan directories with the Photos, they rely upon the app to ingest the photos and copy them over. Here’s where that Apple 80/20 approach burns people like me, because I’m clearly trying something they don’t want me to do…the expect all users to import photos into their Photos app, and won’t sully themselves with scanning a folder to look for photos that didn’t come in via THEIR app. #harrumph Guess I’ll keep using Picasa and just ignore the the Photos app.
  • All my machines have names based on ancient Japanese weapons. My iMac is now dubbed TETSUBO, which is a large metal-studded club. I suppose I see this machine as smashing through my projects 🙂 but eventually it will become SHOGUN once my main Windows 10 workstation is decommissioned.
  • I maintain it’s lunacy to have an SD card slot on the back – Apple pursued form over function here by putting aesthetics over good design – because good design is helpful to the user, not just “pretty”.
  • The Mail app is interesting. It’s very old-school looking compared to the Windows 10 Mail app I’ve been using on my other machines, but it’s also much more feature-rich and feels about as fast. Font size is so small though and I can’t figure out how to adjust it.
  • The Mail app gets email threading right. They’re in a chain you can scroll through, and you can expand them if you want to see the whole chain. Microsoft needs to take notes here, because the Window 10 email threading is an unmitigated disaster.
  • I have to admit I’ve always been a fan of Apple’s screen savers – they’re always gorgeous and smooth. And Hot Corners is a slick feature. If I put the screen into sleep mode, does that mean the Mac goes to sleep as well? Hrm.
  • Drumroll…I packed up the iMac box and moved it to my crawlspace storage room; that means I’m keeping it. That’s a big psychological hurdle I’ve just overcome. I guess I’m really a Mac user now. I’m still keeping my Windows club card though. 🙂

Here’s what day three was like.

New to this series? Start the journey with day one, or go back further to why I wanted to buy a Mac in the first place.

  • 1. “Jason’s Mac” appeared because you checked it in Finder => Preferences => Sidebar.

    2. Photos, and iPhoto before it, use a typed “package” format for its database, which includes the photos. The package format is basically a special directory with some metadata, the database, and the content; you can “open” and see the folder by right-clicking the Photos Library and choosing “Show Package Contents,” inside which there’s a Masters folder which contains the actual photos. But, yes, the library is not intended to be manipulated outside the app. That’s a deliberate design decision—basically, to abstract away the filesystem—and if you don’t want to play that game, use Lightroom. Picasa also “works” but it’s been unmaintained in quite a while, so I’d say Lightroom is the best “traditional” option, although I don’t think Lightroom watches folders, either, does it? Folder “watching” is in fact an artifact of a few specific programs in my experience, and much more of a Windows-ism than a Mac-ism.

    2a. By the way, apps are also packages. Right-click and app, choose Show Package Contents. Contains metadata, the app binary itself, assets, etc.

    3. You can bump up the Mail font size. See https://support.apple.com/kb/PH21935 for a comprehensive article on font sizes (tl;dr: Mail => Preferences => Fonts and Colors). Unfortunately, looks like the Message List font size may only be tweakable in “classic” format, which is unfortunate.

    4. If the screen goes to sleep, there’s an option as to whether that causes the computer to sleep, too. Look in System Preferences => Energy Saver (“Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off”—the preference is worded to encourage letting the computer sleep).