A Windows User and His New iMac – Days Five & Six

Another two days, another batch of learnings and questions. I’ve enjoyed the feedback and comments I’ve received to my previous posts in this series (thanks Janak!), so keep them coming!

  • Display scaling I’m incredibly impressed that so far I haven’t come across a single app or UI element in OS X that isn’t optimized for a 5K display. This is exactly the right way to deal with high resolution displays: make it seamless to the user. You just give them the advantage of a high-res display (increased sharpness) without the headaches. Windows 10 still struggles to make highDPI mode work. Even at “only” 1080p, there are a bunch of apps on my Dell XPS 13 that have blurry text or jumbled UI elements (Evernote, 1password, etc.). I think it’s mostly because Microsoft carries the torch of “backward compatibility” which is simultaneously Windows’ strongest features and also its biggest weakness. Unless I’m wrong, Apple changed an API and told developers to support the change or their apps would break.
  • I’m surprised the Escape key doesn’t do what I’d expect it to in OS X. If I have an email open, I’d expect ESC to dismiss it. If I’m looking at a JPEG file in Preview, I’d expect ESC to dismiss the window. Weird that it doesn’t.

Continue reading A Windows User and His New iMac – Days Five & Six

A Windows User and His New iMac – Day Four

Last week on Thanksgiving day, after fighting my way back from Great Wolf Lodge in traffic, I finally had some serious time to spend with my iMac. It was an afternoon and evening of experimentation. I genuinely haven’t had this much fun with a computer in years.

  • I finally took down my second 27″ Dell monitor and put the iMac up on the monitor stand. I figured, hey, it’s another 27″ monitor, so this should work, right? Not even close. OS X requires you to pay attention to both the bottom and the top of your screen, so the iMac was far too high. I had my twin 27″ Dell monitors eight inches off my desk on a Fellowes stand, and that always worked well, but not any more. I took out one riser segment, which dropped it to 5.5 inches, but that’s still a bit too high. So I decided to really drink the Kool Aid and ordered a Twelve South HiRise. Yes, I paid $80 for a monitor stand because it would match my iMac and has a cool little shelf. It raises it 3.5 inches, which I’m hoping will be the ideal height – it seems a bit low to me, so I’ll have to see if it feels right…

Continue reading A Windows User and His New iMac – Day Four

A Windows User and His New iMac – Day Three

Here are my thoughts and reactions from my third evening of using the iMac. Like day two, it was a weeknight so I didn’t have much time to spend with it.

  • I continue to be pretty impressed by the built in speakers. I plan on connecting the iMac to my AudioEngine A2 speakers and do some comparisons.
  • I’m confused by some folder drag and drop behaviour. Sometimes I’ll click and drag a folder and it won’t move. I downloaded Adele’s new album 25 from Amazon as a ZIP file. It goes into downloads. I open the ZIP file, it opens a new Finder window. I try to drag the folder out of that window and drop it onto my desktop. It won’t work (nothing happens). I end up dragging the folder out of the downloads area to my desktop, and that worked. Not sure what I’m doing wrong here!
  • I keep pressing too hard/long when clicking and dragging and I’m getting the force-touch action. This seems harder than it should be. I’ll adapt.

Continue reading A Windows User and His New iMac – Day Three

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?

Continue reading A Windows User and His New iMac – Day Two

A Windows User and His New iMac – Day One

When I set up and started using my iMac the evening of November 23rd, I thought I should take notes about my experience – old reviewers never die, they just keep writing until they keel over – and here’s how it came out. This is very much stream-of-consciousness, and I only made slight changes to the order of a few pieces to keep them segmented into two main buckets for this first day. Since this first day, I’ve figured out the answers to some of my question. Any Mac user reading this welcome to inform, correct, agree, or disagree with my thinking and discoveries. I’m a n00b learning the OS X ropes. 🙂

Continue reading A Windows User and His New iMac – Day One

Great Quote About Credit Cards

“Credit cards are like chainsaws: the more of them you juggle, the greater the odds you’ll lose a financial limb.”

– Anonymous

So…I Bought an iMac [Part 2]

If you missed part one of this riveting tale of geek suspense, read it first.

I suspect I’m not alone in this statement: as my life has become more complex – especially since having two kids – I’ve come to value simplicity and things that just work more than ever. When I was younger and had the luxury of spending a whole day troubleshooting a tech problem, it was fun. I relished the thrill of conquering a challenge and learning new things along the way. Especially back when my full-time job was being a computer geek that had a broad variety of experiences with Windows hardware, digging into a problem and coming up with a solution worthy of publication was part of what I did, and who I was as a person. Since 2011, that hasn’t been my career any longer, so the appeal has lessened over time.

I still relish learning new things of course, but when I’m pressed for time, I’d rather solve it and move on instead of doing battle with obscure technology issues. I’ve long heard the mantra “Macs just work”, but I dismissed it as mostly hype. After all, my Windows PCs “just work” too…though if I’m being brutally honest, they only “just work” because I’m the one taking care of them and keeping them tuned and running smooth. Windows, for me, is a stable, fast platform with rarely an issue. But that’s only because I take extraordinary care to tune my machines like a Formula 1 race car and am careful about new apps and changes. Sitting down in front of most of my relative’s Windows PCs is a better indication of the average state of affairs for the platform. It’s rarely pretty. Continue reading So…I Bought an iMac [Part 2]

Why I Returned the ASUS UX305 and Re-Purchased a Dell XPS 13

This is one of those long-overdue posts that I’m spurred to crank out today because a commenter (rare as they are on my blog!) asked me a question a few others have asked: why, after raving about how great the Asus UX305 was, did I return it? And what did I purchase instead?

I used the ASUS UX305 for a full month, two weeks of which were in Mexico on vacation (where I took at lot of photos with my Nikon D750) and generally really liked it. Good battery life, nice design, not too heavy. I was a little grumpy about the clicking trackpad problem, because it speaks to weak quality control, but as long as the unit you get doesn’t have the problem, you’re good. The one thing that niggled at me though was the CPU: I use Lightroom very frequently on my laptop, and the UX305 struggled to keep up in some ways. Not all the time, and in general I’d say if you’ve got more patience than me, it wouldn’t be an issue. But since I keep my laptops for 2-3 years, I wanted to invest in something that would remain high-performance. I truly think the UX305 is a superb device though and recommend it highly, especially for the price. So what did I buy instead? Continue reading Why I Returned the ASUS UX305 and Re-Purchased a Dell XPS 13

Great Quote About Paychecks

“Your first paycheck, and every one after that, is what you save part of in order to prepare for life after your last paycheck.”

– Anonymous

An Apple Quote From A Long Time Ago

I was searching for an Apple-related video I did a long time ago, and came across this quote of mine that Gizmodo published over a decade ago:

“The most impressive thing to me about the iPod shuffle is the price point – $149 for 1 GB of flash storage is a lot of bang for the buck. The usual impressive Apple styling is there, but I’m dubious on the lack of a screen – what if you actually want to listen to a certain song? The Apple hype machine spit out some pretty text about how cool it is to be “random”, but I wonder how well that will work in real life…

Based on what I’ve seen so far, the Apple Mini is quite impressive. I’m blown away by how small it is – I was expecting some sort of Blade-sever-esque size, but the Apple Mini makes my Shuttle XPCs look like a full tower. The specs for it are absolutely pathetic (167 mhz bus speed? I can type faster than that), but people aren’t going to buy one because it will their fast, main computer. They’ll buy one as a second or even third computer, something to compliment what they already have, or to fit into a tight space. Hell, I’ve never owned a Mac (and frequently smack Apple around) and even I’m considering picking one of these up. The Apple OS has always intrigued me, but the price point always put the idea of getting one on the “When I get $2000 that I have nothing better to do with” shelf.”

– Jason Dunn, Executive Editor & Publisher, Digital Media Thoughts

It’s amusing to me that a decade ago I had the same conflicted feelings about Apple hardware, and now, ten years later, I’m finally taking action on my idle threat of picking one up. What can I say, it takes me a while to make a decision like this!

Also amusing to me is that a decade ago, I was being quoted between the likes of the Senior Editor of Playboy  and the Editor in Chief of Laptop Magazine. Now I’m an anonymous cog in the AT&T machine. 🙂

Photo courtesy of The Shrine of Apple.