A Mac User and His New iMac – The Rest of the Months

I have a new Mac-related post coming up, but I wanted to finish off this series first (yes, it’s long overdue!). After month four, I started getting into a groove, and had fewer questions and issues – thus fewer things to write about. There were a few things though that came up, and soΒ I give you the final entry in this series. In some cases I’ve added updates if things have changed since I first wrote these 6-10 months ago. It’s fair to say that things have smoothed out since the first six months.


  • Although I didn’t buy the iMac for gaming, I saw the promo for Wasteland 2 and the comments about it being similar to Baldur’s Gate, a game I used to spend hours playing. I bought it, let it install, fired it up…and squinted in dismay at the incredibly blurry text. There’s just no way around it: when you have a display showing 5120 x 2280 pixels over 27 inches of screen, and a game that caps out at only half that (2560px) you’re getting a lot of stretched pixels. The cut scenes in particular were extremely blurry; it got better once I was in the game, but even then the in-game text was pixelated. I spent about 5 minutes playing it, but the controls were awkward with the Magic Trackpad. I’m grateful for Apple’s refund policy, though it’s entirely unintuitive because the process looks like you’re asking for tech support until the final step where a refund option is presented. That’s very likely the last time I pretend an iMac with a laptop GPU and a 5K display can do any gaming. πŸ™‚

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A Mac User and His New iMac – Month Three

I’ve slowed down taking notes on my “learning OS X” project – largely because I seem to have gotten over most of the rough edges – but I still have many notes to share from the intense first few months. Here’s what I was experiencing in month three.


  • I’m not clear why/how, but the Microsoft Office updates for OS X are really terrible. The download takes forever – I’m on a 40mbps connection, but because there’s no speed indicator I’m not clear if the updates are gigantic or the update server just dishes up the bits slowly (hello Xbox Live!). The install progress also takes a while. The number of updates is fairly frequent (feels like almost weekly), and it’s a process that’s simply far too slow. Microsoft really needs to do better here. It would be great if updates for Office came through the App Store, but I imagine Microsoft has reasons for not using that delivery mechanism…

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A Mac User and His New iMac – Week Three

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted the last update in this series, but I’ve continued to make notes – let’s call it a “Mac Diary” – and I wanted to share my ongoing journey. Note the title change – I no longer feel like a Windows user sitting in front of a Mac, I feel like a Mac user now. My 2008 self might choke my 2016 self for writing that, but such is life. I think Jeff Bezos would be proud. πŸ˜‰

I still have my Windows 10 laptop, and I still really like using Windows 10, but I can truly say I’m cross-platform now. Quad-platform I suppose, as I use Android phones and tablets, Windows computers, iOS tablets, and an OS X computer. I still have so much to learn about OS X, but I’m getting there. Onward with the explorations! Continue reading A Mac User and His New iMac – Week Three

A Windows User and His New iMac – Day Fourteen

After this post I’ll be switching to a weekly format as my explorations wind down (or become less public at any rate).

  • Airdrop is reallyΒ interesting. On my iPad I turned it on, then on the iMac I searched for Airdrop in Spotlight. The first result was the Extensions panel as part of System Preferences, which didn’t help. Then I remembered that Airdrop was on the left Favourites panel in Finder. Sure enough, there was my iPad, and it was ridiculously easy to transfer a few JPEGs and MP4 files. So fast, and so, so much better than what I have to do on my Windows machine with a cable and iTunes. This is a very tangible example of how Apple’s ecosystem works better the more Apple stuff you have. They could of course enable iTunes to act as a Airdrop bridge on Windows, but they won’t.


  • I transferred a .MTS file (a type of video file) over to the iPad, and got this interesting prompt (above) saying I needed an app from the app store to open it, or I could put the file in iCloud. I selected the app option, and I’ve been staring at the app store loading for over a minute. I don’t think it worked. Interestingly, my iMac said that my iPad “declined my request.” I tried again twice more, and the “Get App” button never worked. Looks like I’ll just use Handbrake to transcode to MP4 to go this route. It would be slick if Apple did a transcode to supported formats when you did the Airdrop…

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A Windows User and His New iMac – Days Twelve & Thirteen

Another two days, another series of discoveries and questions. Yay for cheap(ish) RAM!

  • My new RAM arrived, so I was able to do the upgrade to 32 GB. This time, it worked! I didn’t want to unplug all the cables from the iMac, so after removing the power cable I performed the RAM upgrade with the iMac vertical. It was slightly tricky, but Apple put in strong guide-rails so once I got them in there a gentle push was all that was needed. When I hit the power button the first time, nothing happened. Oh, I forgot to plug the power back in. #PEBKAC Power in, power on, I mutter “Please boot…please boot….YES!”. OS X boots up, 32 GB of RAM installed. I wonder though, will it make the iMac feel any different?


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A Windows User and His New iMac – Days Ten & Eleven

I spent time time pondering the insanely great 5K display, and figuring out how hot – really hot – Apple lets this Skylake CPU get.

  • I’m intrigued by the way Web sites are delivering content for ultra-high resolution screens as part of a push for not only mobile responsive, but mobile adaptive (meaning not only does the layout change based on screen resolution, but different page assets are delivered). I was shocked at the clarity of this image of Samuel L. Jackson on the iMac display. Digging in, I find it’s a huge (for the web) 2200 x 1467 pixel image. That’s 3.2 megapixels! It’s 193 KB, so a bit hefty, but on a desktop or laptop, it’s fine. At 10.5 inches across on my iMac display,Β that’s a 252 PPI image. No wonder it looks so insanely good!
  • IΒ thought at first that I couldn’t edit appointments in Calendar that were created via Exchange, because I kept looking for an edit button. Turns out I just tap what I want to change and change it. My brain evidently expects things to be more complicated than they are. πŸ™‚
  • Looks like not all apps can do split-screen on a virtual desktop? I tried to put bbEdit and Word 2016 beside easy other and got the little “No you can’t” icon. I wonder if there’s a way to know before hand, or if you’re supposed to just try it and see what works?

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5K iMac Unboxing

I meant to publish this video sooner, but I was busy with my daily iMac updates…this is my shortest unboxing video. πŸ™‚

A Windows User and His New iMac – Days Eight & Nine

Another two days, another batch of comments, question, thoughts and general pondering…

  • It’s really slick that TextEdit has a built-in spell checker – I’m guessing it’s system-wide in OS X? When I exited TextEdit, it didn’t ask me if I wanted to save the text file I had open. That was convenient for me in this case, but not prompting a user to save a file – and instead overwriting it – could be problematic in some cases
  • The fan in the iMac is starting to bother me a bit. It’s not loud, but it is noticeable when I’m in my office late at night and there’s no music playing. It spins at 1200 RPM when the Mac is idling; at full tile when rendering using Handbrake it hits Β a very loud 2747 RPM. The tone of it – that small fan tone – is a bit irksome. I’m sure a big reason why I can hear it more easily than my desktop is because the iMac is much closer to my ears, and my desktop uses bigger, slower RPM fans (I specifically installed multiple ultra-quiet 800rpm fans). I wish Apple had gone the opposite direction with cooling: instead of treating it like a laptop and putting in a tiny, loud-ish fast-spinning fan, they could have taken advantage of the larger chassis space and done something interesting. Water cooling perhaps? It’s not a deal-breaker by any means, more of a slight disappointment and a missed opportunity.

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A Windows User and His New iMac – Day Seven

A Sunday with not much to do meant I could dig in and learn more about my iMac, but also fire up iMovie for my first video editing project on the new machine. It was a little…bumpy.

  • When I have three virtual desktops – email on the left, desktop in the middle, and Chrome on the right, and I’m in email and click on a link, it drops me into the Chrome virtual desktop (makes sense) but then it moves the Chrome virtual desktop over to the email virtual desktop (which makes no sense). I wonder if Apple does that to avoid the whiplash effect of going past your real desktop? I’d prefer to keep my virtual desktops in place though, because if I’m learning to lean on them when they move it defeats the purpose of the muscle memory of swipe left = email, swipe right = Chrome, etc. Is there a way to lock the virtual desktops in place?
  • I finally have a bit of quite time to fully edit a video in iMovie. Despite my earlier reported behaviour on import, the program is incredibly fluid and fast to edit the clips. I’ll be interested to see how it feels once I jam some 4K footage in there, and how good the 4K output quality is. Will Apple be thrifty on the bit-rate? can I even adjust it in iMovie? (yep, there’s a custom output)
  • I didn’t realize until now that the dock is hiding at the bottom in a virtual desktop – that’s slick.

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

The biggest act of #willpower for me today is to not open this box until the end of my workday. #iMac

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