Linked by Sean Cohen on Mon 5th Jul 2004 18:23 UTC
Editorial Given the number of reviews floating around detailing people's first experiences with every Linux distro under the sun, I thought it might be entertaining to take a light-hearted look at my early experiences with my first Mac.
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v Quote from the article.
by Jim on Mon 5th Jul 2004 18:38 UTC
A fine piece of writing....
by Joe Kowalski on Mon 5th Jul 2004 18:59 UTC

This is an excellent piece of writing, even it does take a bit long to get to the meat of the article, a user's experience with MacOSX. It does an excellent job of explaining some of the "what the heck's" of coming into a new computing environment.

Re: A fine piece of writing....
by Nicholas Blachford on Mon 5th Jul 2004 19:14 UTC

Agreed completely.

You don't usually see funny tech articles, he just can't seem to pass up the opportunity for a gag.

Excellent, well worth the read!

Quite alright
by Anonymous on Mon 5th Jul 2004 19:27 UTC

A bit too long IMHO, but a fun article nontheless...

.... gimme an ibook
by Panna on Mon 5th Jul 2004 19:41 UTC the end a nice started rather bad and got better and better...
by the way... an Ibook is the only machine( perhaps with an Imac) that must be treated like a being... (especially when you see the punping light at night)

a good read
by Anonymous on Mon 5th Jul 2004 19:53 UTC

and the study in usability points out to me that despite the overwhelmingly favorable press that apple gets on its ease of use, x remains no more user friendly than xp.

as a long time user of the mac os, i can compare that to the days of mac os versus DOS, or mac os versus all windows up to windows 95/98. the mac os readily and easily won in usability up until the release of windows 98 second edition.

apple's advantage is now long gone. ms has gotten better with windows 2000 and xp and apple has grown worse (despite what you love about x and its unix underbelly). they are virtually equal in user experience for the average consumer or user.

by Thom Holwerda on Mon 5th Jul 2004 20:01 UTC

I hate these kinda articles... They make me jealous and grumpy ;)

No kidding; very good article and I'd love to see more of them.

And I am getting a Mac. One day.

A good waste of time :)
by Chris on Mon 5th Jul 2004 20:24 UTC

I rather enjoyed reading it. But I would like to hear if he brought that bagel back to his friend to eat along with his words.
I never realized Mac's come without the OS installed. Now that is confidence in your install process....
Personally I think it's a rather good idea. Of course using anything on x86 you are gonna need a customized install process to insure it works well. But companies already do that.

by DS Lam on Mon 5th Jul 2004 20:30 UTC

A bit longwinded and boring at places, but still nice. Especially since he does not come over as a religious zealot like so many Apple users on public forums. I use Macs, Windows and Linux regularly, and while the Mac offers the nicest experience overall, the difference is not THAT big.

Few things annoy me more than Apple zealots on public forums who can't stand any criticism on the Mac and on Apple Inc. Saner Mac users can joke about "the cult of Apple", but I feel that there are quite a number of people who SERIOUSLY feel that Apple can do no wrong.

I'm considering buying either a new iBook or a PowerBook, but I haven't made up my mind yet. There are stil some things about them that annoy me a bit.

RE: x remains no more user friendly than xp.
by GrapeGraphics on Mon 5th Jul 2004 20:31 UTC

"x remains no more user friendly than xp."

Not when you're workin' with it. I mean for hours, tryin' to get work done. OS X is much more multitask savvy for one.

As for the article, it was okay...

Apple, will you be mine?
by Adon Metcalfe on Mon 5th Jul 2004 20:39 UTC

"I hate these kinda articles... They make me jealous and grumpy ;)

No kidding; very good article and I'd love to see more of them.

And I am getting a Mac. One day."

What he said.

by Bench on Mon 5th Jul 2004 20:41 UTC

I like the article; very humorous.

I've noticed that a lot of new OS X users complain about screen clutter. Of course, like this author, they use Exposé to get around it, but there's another more traditional Mac way: Hide your apps when you're not using them!

Cmd-H will hide the current app. To reactivate it, click it's dock icon or cmd-tab to it. Keeps your screen clutter-free without having to minimize and maximize windows from the dock.

Also, a lot of users don't realize that cmd-~ will cycle through an app's windows.

Finally, one comment on "ease of use". Mac's have a reputation for ease of use, but I'd say that a more accurate description of the Mac experience is that it "gets out of your way". The difference between the two can be seen in some of the author's points. As he states, there is no icon on the OS X desktop to launch an internet connect wizard; instead the networking preferences are sensibly laid out and available in a logical place: the Network panel of System Preferences. Maybe an icon would be better for the total newbie, but for anyone else it's something that you have to bother to remove manually later. To me, Macs are about putting things in intuitive places and letting you discover them, not holding your hand through every step. Most Mac users hate wizards and other UI paradigms in which the computer "guides" you, rather than you guiding the computer.

by Animaze on Mon 5th Jul 2004 21:23 UTC

I never realized Mac's come without the OS installed. Now that is confidence in your install process....

I'm pretty sure it does come installed. I've had about five Macs now and they've all started right up into the installed OS and then right to a Welcome/set-up screen.

Is this something new or something to do with International sales, perhaps? I'm interested in knowing for sure.

Well done
by Tom on Mon 5th Jul 2004 21:24 UTC

Nice article.

by Corey Holcomb-Hockin on Mon 5th Jul 2004 21:28 UTC

That article was awesome.

List of Windows
by Anon on Mon 5th Jul 2004 21:42 UTC

Ctrl - click on any running app in the doc, and a list of open windows will pop up. I do that sometimes, but I love Expose. Although Ctrl-tab is sometimes more useful, depending on the situation.

Weird about the OS. Mine came installed.

v @Animaze
by juggernaut on Mon 5th Jul 2004 21:46 UTC
the os is preloaded in the us
by Anonymous on Mon 5th Jul 2004 21:53 UTC

great article

all the macs i have bought had the os preloaded, so that might be an international thing

Great story
by Rayiner Hashem on Mon 5th Jul 2004 21:54 UTC

I had a lot of fun reading that. Reminds me a whole lot of getting my iPod. Very few things will bring out the "little kid in a candy store" feeling in you like opening up a superbly well-packaged Apple product ;)

International sales
by Anonymous on Mon 5th Jul 2004 21:56 UTC

When I got my ibook G3, macosx was "partially" installed. On bootup, it asked me the second disk. I had two cd-sets, dutch and french. The OSX-applications are multi-lingual, so that doesn't really matter, but some carbon applications and macos9 are "mono-lingual". So that might be it.

by Manik on Mon 5th Jul 2004 21:57 UTC

Funny and interesting. But has Michael changed his opinion?

Also, a lot of users don't realize that cmd-~ will cycle through an app's windows.
Tried it I don't know how many times, never succeeded!

v Where's the review?
by Anonymous on Mon 5th Jul 2004 22:12 UTC
Great Read!
by AX on Mon 5th Jul 2004 22:13 UTC

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. Kudos to the author and would like to hear more about how your new mac affects your circle of people that are exposed to it.

by Julian on Mon 5th Jul 2004 22:18 UTC

i'm also going to get an iBook, next month hopefully. Been saving for it for a long time now. Must not forget to get a three-button mouse for it too... I still wonder why apple didn't move away from this design error. Are they assuming their users are too stupid to handle more than one mouse button? Or are they just thinking so differently?

And about those zealots who think Apple can do no wrong: A friend of mine got a G5 shortly before Panther was released in Europe, so he got a coupon for a free upgrade. When it was released he called Apple Support (in Austria), who said their colleagues in Ireland were responsible for that. He called them, had to send them some papers and..., well he's still waiting for his copy of Panther.

by Pedro on Mon 5th Jul 2004 22:32 UTC

thanx, great review
very funny/interesting the whole story also

but i ain't getting a mac anytime soon =:P

RE: iBook
by Manik on Mon 5th Jul 2004 22:39 UTC

The one button mouse wasn't a design error. There were 3 buttons mice and the buttons hadn't a given function. They were called blue, green and red button (if I remember well) but were all black. It was very confusing. So Apple made the one button mouse. Staying with it may be an error. I personnally don't have opinion about it, having no problem the said mouse.

About the Panther free upgrade, I have had that experience too. It was a very complicated problem (the upgrade wasn't on the product list of Apple Ireland and they couldn't order it, I believe) but the Apple seller here gave me a copy of Panther.

Copyright & other things
by drsmithy on Mon 5th Jul 2004 22:48 UTC

I want readers to note that I was not encouraging the "pirating" of software here, I am a strong believer in the correct adherence to both the spirit and the letter of copyright law (Free and Open Source Software rely on copyright to exist and flourish).

I feel compelled to point out that under Australian copyright law, what you did was technically illegal, so really you're only respecting the "spirit" of copyright law ;) (which is deeply flawed IMHO anyway - though not as much as the "letter" - but I digress).

Note for US readers: Australian copyright law is, for the most part, much, much stricter than US copyright law - the only thing lacking in Australia is ARIA issuing hundreds of John-Doe-style lawsuits. Imagine US copyright law *without* any of the "fair use" exceptions. If the copyright stormtroopers from the US came to Australia, they'd be able to have most of the country charged with copyright violations (eg: recording just about anything off TV here is technically illegal). This is one of the reasons the FTA is such a bad idea.

Some other comments:

In the future, should you be employed full time by a suitably charitable employer (most of them are), I strongly advise salary sacrificing any laptop purchase. It's quite possible with Apple's educational discount system to use person A's student/teacher status and combine that with person B's ability to salary sacrifice to end up with a significant discount from the "full retail" price (eg: my 12" iBook, with a "regular retail" price around $2600, ended up costing me less than $1000 after .edu discount and salary sacrifice). If you are on good terms with an Apple dealer, they should be able to tell you how to go about it.

With regards to forward deleting, I have to sympathise with your fiance. I've always found the keyboards on Powerbooks and iBooks to be poorly laid out, particularly on the larger machines that have loads of room to spare (I am symapthetic to the needs of the 12" form factor, though). The Fn key requirement for forward delete, page up/down and insert in particular, drives me nuts. If you're regularly doing a lot of desk/non-laptop work on the machine, I highly recommend a decent USB keyboard and mouse and an external screen. Combined with the information here - - you can greatly increase the usability of your machine.

A warning for Australian Apple purchasers (may also apply to buyers in other countries). Apple recently changed their policy with regards to Educational buyers. Whereas previously an .edu buyer got ~10% off the list price *and* Applecare thrown in for free, now machines come without just the standard warranty and ~12% discount. So, the .edu deal is still good, but nowhere near as compelling as it used to be. This is as of July 1, although any BTO orders would have needed to be placed by June 25 to qualify, because of the lead time on BTO orders.

Waiting until Monday was pushing it, as I really needed a computer to finish that group assignment. On any other weekend I would probably have been happy to wait, but not today. Oh well, best to cut my losses and just get this over and done with. At any rate, I'm fairly sure Apple sets its prices internationally, so I doubt Con would have had much room to negotiate.

This was a good guess. Getting Macs at any worthwhile discount in Australia is practically impossible. He might have been able to save you enough money to buy a carton or two of beer, but that's about it.

Great article, btw. Non-Aussies may not appreciate all the humour in it, but I was chuckling all the way through ;) .

by Peter Besenbruch on Mon 5th Jul 2004 22:50 UTC

Thanks for a very funny article. No, I'm not jealous. I liked the following exchange from the article between the Apple salesman (Con) and the author:

'Con: "Do you want my advice?"

'Me: "Sure!"

'Con: "Don't buy the machine."

'Me: "Huh?"

'Con: "Don't do it. They're amazing little boxes, but the last thing you want to do is annoy your fiancee and waste two hundred and fifty bucks just for a computer."'

Good sense of perspective there.

Yes, a good salesman
by Chris on Mon 5th Jul 2004 22:53 UTC

If my boss heard me saying that I think he'd shoot me. Needless to say, we don't sell Apple. Ssshhh, I can't help but recommend Apples to some people though, it's just hard to find Windows laptops that are that well made; especially in the price range of the iBook.

Linux vs Apple
by Vlad on Mon 5th Jul 2004 23:06 UTC

Excellent review ! I stumbled across the site by accident (link from Australian IT site) and i'm glad i read it. I have decided to move away from Windows for good, after 10 years, but yet to decide which way to go - Linux or Apple. Real life articles like this can only help.

Re: Yes a good salesman
by Philippe Houdoin on Mon 5th Jul 2004 23:07 UTC

> it's just hard to find Windows laptops that are that well made

*x86* laptops. Not Windows.
And I found the latest ASUS W1000 a fine laptop. Yeah, I know, that the aluminium *effect*, for sure.

great article
by eightiesdude on Tue 6th Jul 2004 00:29 UTC

Great article but doesn't change my mind about my G4 Ti Powerbook. I should of gotten a pc laptop with a amd cpu instead and installed linux on it. I may sell it or give it to my brother.

by KadyMae on Tue 6th Jul 2004 01:19 UTC

Dead on funny article about the decision to switch OSes and the adventures of buying a computer.

Oh, and dood, shell out another $20 and get a 2 button mouse. I have a logitec optical and it plays just fine.

I don't know...
by Anonymous on Tue 6th Jul 2004 02:00 UTC

to me, wordprocessors are overated, you can write on vim, gedit, mozilla-composer, i save everything in text, ascii, whatever...people read your letters and file them, throw them away, and that's the end of it. That OOo is about 100MB the last time i checked, and slow as molasses, pfft!
When i used Windows, i used Notepad.

v Re: I don't know
by Anonymous on Tue 6th Jul 2004 02:06 UTC
Lack of mac zealots
by Anonymous on Tue 6th Jul 2004 02:08 UTC

Good article, and the comments are refreshingly free of mac zealots. I am an OS X user, but I don't think that it is particularly friendly for novices. I have seen new users having trouble due to simple things like organizing files and folders (copying downloaded apps from disk images to the Applications folder, for example) rather than installers and wizards.

by Longtime Mac user on Tue 6th Jul 2004 02:35 UTC

Your criticisms of iPhoto are dead-on. I also upgraded to the latest version expecting all the niceties of iTunes file management. I'm using iPhoto as my main app to handle my personal photos, but I still struggle with its counterintuitive approach. Hopefully, Apple will realize the iTunes method works nicely with photos just as it does with music.

We he finally did it
by Jared Holzman on Tue 6th Jul 2004 02:58 UTC

Great Article Sean, I particularily liked the fight club reference and the conversations with Mike. (I know these ppl and yes that is how they talk)

Well you told me you were going to sell your laptop and buy the mac that you've wanted for so bloody long. I'll be interested to see how long it takes you to decide to install yellowdog linux on it. I'm betting 6-8 weeks max, but you'll dual boot.

BTW for future reference to you and everyone else out there who buggers up the windows xp MBR. A blank MBR is stored between offsets 0x2FFF8 and 0x301F7 of the file dmadmin.exe in the system32 directory (it starts with 0x33 and ends with 0x55 0xAA) and writing the first 379 bytes using dd or some similar utility to the first 379 bytes of the drive should restore booting. (Don't write over all 512 bytes or you'll lose your partition table).

great fun :)
by quickie on Tue 6th Jul 2004 03:19 UTC

really enjoyed reading it ;)


International Sales
by Mathew Peterson on Tue 6th Jul 2004 04:54 UTC

I know in Australia the 'i' range comes with the OS not installed. The Power range seems to have it installed though (at least my new G5 did).

been wanting to get an ibook myself...
by Shurik on Tue 6th Jul 2004 05:00 UTC

...but now I have some doubts. I never particularly liked some aspects of the hardware (old video cards, slowish cpu, slow FSB, small screens for the price, one mouse button, no PCMCIA slots on the side) but I always had the impression that the software was divine. Now that I learned that Apple software (iphoto) is sometimes as braindead as any other, my passion has been a bit cooled. Oh, and the fact that I am broke helped too.

Re: Shurik (IP:
by drsmithy on Tue 6th Jul 2004 05:20 UTC

I never particularly liked some aspects of the hardware (old video cards, slowish cpu, slow FSB, small screens for the price, one mouse button, no PCMCIA slots on the side) but I always had the impression that the software was divine.

There is a point at which this equation reverses, however. If your primary criteria is size, nothing else can even get close to the price/performance/features of a 12" iBook. If only it had a superdrive option...

It's unfortunate the 12" PB is such a "poor cousin" of the other PBs as well, otherwise it would offer a much more compelling choice. As it stands, I'm surprised they can sell any of them at all.

Mac on Linux
by Mark on Tue 6th Jul 2004 05:41 UTC

Have your cake and eat it too:

by Paulo Pinto on Tue 6th Jul 2004 08:50 UTC

I really enjoyed reading your article.

I am also an Apple devotee however I'm still using PCs because of the prices on Apple's machines. Who knows, someday I might as well buy one.

hmm very,
by tou on Tue 6th Jul 2004 10:06 UTC

Very peculiar that your OS was not loaded? I too am from Australia- however my Mac had OSX pre-installed.

I agree with your opinion of iPhoto. A highly overrated app. I prefer to sort my images manually. I cant fault the other iApps however.

I hope you dig your iBook. Its the details that make Mac brilliant.

Re: @Chris
by Gusto on Tue 6th Jul 2004 11:55 UTC

Is this something new or something to do with International sales, perhaps? I'm interested in knowing for sure.

All Macs are shipped with the OS preinstalled in Norway.

Excellent article
by Johnathan Bailes on Tue 6th Jul 2004 13:03 UTC

The humor is dead on.

Talk about going into getting a new computer and dealing with a new OS with your eyes open.

I like the article because it does not gloss over the issues you did have but ...

it was not a bash and dismiss article either.

It is increasingly difficult to truly find articles examining an OS without any true slant at all or that does not get bogged down in the PC mag style generalizations and format of looking at the experience. The article smacked of looking in on the blog-like view of someone's personal journey.


recent convert to Mac
by Daren on Tue 6th Jul 2004 14:20 UTC

I'm a lifelong x86 pc user, both Windows and Linux. I've just recently bought my first Apple, an eMac. I've had it for about a month now and I like it a lot. It takes a little time to get used to it.

I do take a lot of flack from my pc using friends. They don't understand why I bought it. They always want to compare it pricewise to a Dell. Explaining to them that your getting something that really doesn't compare to a Dell doesn't work with them. They aren't technical enought to know the underlying differences.

Interestingly enough, if you actually do compare it to a Dell you find that you have to upgrade the base Dell computer a bit to get it to match the configuration of the base eMac and you will find that the price is the same. In addition the Dell doesn't come with all the included software that comes with the Mac.

My eMac came pre-loaded and it also fired up the first time in a sort of configuration wizzard that even prompted me to set up the internet connection settings.

Happy Mac user,

recent convert to Mac
by Daan on Tue 6th Jul 2004 14:57 UTC

I would think a Mac without built-in screen would be cheaper than one with one, yet why isn't there even a PowerMac G4 for under €1000, while the eMac can be had for €800?
Or does this have something to do with certain "underlying differences"? If yes, what are they? It seems the PMac G4's only advantage is a 80 GB harddisk instead of a 40 GB one in the eMac, so what are the other differences? And what are the "underlying differences" that justify the Mac to be more expensive than the PC?
Please enlighten me! I like the Macintosh very much, but they just seem too expensive!

RE: Recent convert to Mac
by Daren on Tue 6th Jul 2004 15:37 UTC

What I was trying to say is that even if you don't consider the differences in the architecture between a Unix based OS and Microsoft OS. You don't focus on the bundled software difference between a Dell PC and an Apple pc. IF you just simply focus on the price difference between Apple and a leading x86 pc manufacture, Dell. The Apple eMac is the same price as the Dell. Here in the USA it is anyway.

The base Dell computer does comes with a 17" monitor actually. But you have to add to the base price of the Dell a 128meg Ram upgrade, an upgrade to an ATi video card, a $10 speaker option upgrade, and a combo dvd-cd-R drive (currently a free upgrade) and the Dell comes with a $50 rebate, and the price between the Dell and the Apple is actually the same.

The Dell doesn't come with an office suite, the Apple does, If you want an office suite with your new Dell it's like another $130 upgrade.

If you compare the prices between the Dell Xenon workstation and the Apple G5 again the prices are about the same. But you get a whole lot more software with the Mac ;)

The last g4 Powermacs
by Kady Mae on Tue 6th Jul 2004 15:56 UTC

I would think a Mac without built-in screen would be cheaper than one with one, yet why isn't there even a PowerMac G4 for under €1000, while the eMac can be had for €800?>>

Apple is choosing not to make one.

Or does this have something to do with certain "underlying differences"? If yes, what are they?>>

The last G4 PowerMacs will boot OS 9, IIRC, so different boot rom. Also, all of the PowerMacs take DDR, while only the top of the line eMac uses DDR.

The g4 tower also has room for 6 internal drives, has 3 seperate IDE busses, the PCI slots and can take 2 gigs of ram. Two of the models are dual processor.

The new eMacs will not run OS 9.

Part of the price of the last G4 towers, is, IMHO an "OS 9 tax"

It seems the PMac G4's only advantage is a 80 GB harddisk instead of a 40 GB one in the eMac, so what are the other differences?>>

Scads of expandablity, DP options.

And what are the "underlying differences" that justify the Mac to be more expensive than the PC? >>

Quality of hardware and design. (White iBooks being an anomaly, but Apple's making right on that.) Kick ass OS that's darn near bulletproof. Plug and play that's really plug and play.

Please enlighten me! I like the Macintosh very much, but they just seem too expensive!>>

"Seem" being the key word there. An Acura RSX seems too expensive when compared with a Ford Focus SVT, but which one goes to the shop more often for repairs?

You get what you pay for.

Go on to eBay and get a slot load g3 iMac, a copy of Panther, and a 256 stick of ram. You'll be surprised at how well and how fast it runs.

@ pricepoint
by Daren on Tue 6th Jul 2004 15:57 UTC

If you are trying to understand why Apple doesn't sell the G4 tower at a lower price I think the only answer is to look at how manufacturers create a product line to address certain price points.

The eMac, obviously targeted at the family type of home user and educational user is Apples entry level computer. Therefore it's has the most agressive pricing. I believe this computer has the most value since it gets you into the Apple technology for the least money. The performance of my eMac is excellent. The built in monitor is excellent quality. (btw: all the controls to adjust the video display on the eMac are done via a control panel in OS-X!)

I'm guessing that Apple targets the G4 tower pc at the professional market. since they can't make it less expensive than their entry level pc they have to keep the price above and so they are targeting the $1200 price point.
There are certain advantages to the G4 tower in that it's more expandable than the eMac. You can add dual storage drives, another video card, etc.

It will be interesting to see what the new iMac looks like and how it's configured but i suspect it will be priced above the eMac but lower than the G5 for the obvious reasons. ;)


by Daan on Tue 6th Jul 2004 16:50 UTC

Thank you all for your explanation! I made a comparison spreadsheet a while ago, and the eMac came out as more expensive than some no-name PC, but indeed, there seem to be factors in favor of the Apple that you can't easily add to a spreadsheet, like design, reliability and the software bundle. (btw. Dell currently offers free ram doubling here)

Yet I already have a nice 15" flatpanel, so the eMac would be a step backwards for the screen. I believe you can hook up an external screen to the eMac, but that would be a huge waste of space (and money). I also think the thing is quite noisy. The G4 or G5, on the other hand, are simply too expensive for me.

So why doesn't Apple offer something that is aimed at people wanting to replace their PC with a Mac? If Apple would offer something in the spirit of the following, I'd buy it immediately:

- Nice, small, not too noisy case, like the MSI 651. In big letters, put "El Cheapo Mac" on the front, to scare away professional users ;-)
- Motherboard with 1,25 Ghz G4. Onboard: one IDE channel, USB, FireWire and LAN.
- 40 GB HD, DVD/CDRW, 256 MB RAM.
- 1x AGP and 1x PCI, ATI Radeon 9200 preinstalled
- OS X and AppleWorks
- Mouse, keyboard, monitor and speakers all optional.
Price: € 650,-

RE: Thanks
by Daren on Tue 6th Jul 2004 17:21 UTC


I agree with you 100 %. Your configuration would have been perfect for me since I have a lot of computer hardware around the house.

Like you pointed out there is more than meets the eye when comparing Apple to other low cost computers. Take something simple like the keyboard for example. The keyboard that came with the Dell computer I use at work feels like it must have cost Dell $5. I tossed it and brought in an old IBM keyboard from home. I couldn't stand that cheap feeling Dell keyboard. On the other hand, the keyboard that came with my eMac? Wow! What a keyboard! Not only does it feel nice and work nice, it looks like a piece of artwork.

Also, Apple's products are on the move. My $799 eMac, for example, uses DDR RAM modules. (A posting above said it doesn't) Also, I took my eMac apart to upgrade the harddisk drive. Before doing so I found an Apple fan's website who took photo's of his and detailed how he upgraded his CD-ROM drive. Mine had a much better internal designed than his and made serviceing mine a lot easier. It impresses me that Apple keeps improving existing designs even though there is no visible difference to the end user.

Oh and something most eMac owners will probably never know. The internal design of these is AMAZING!! Without the cover on it the thing looks like a satellite designed by NASA. It also weighs a lot as a result of all the steel inside but there's no chassis flex. By comparison, when you open up a Dell to work on it the thing flexes around like a wet noodle.


Good stuff.
by Patrick McFarland on Tue 6th Jul 2004 17:23 UTC

Great read. I always love to hear real "switcher" stories like this one. Any chance there will be a follow-up? I'd love to hear about any further experiences...

And in a few months when fiancé 1.0 becomes wife 2.0, I'll be bringing her kicking and screaming into a new G5 iMac so maybe I'll be able to share some of my own. ;-)!....YOU!....YOU HAVE A GIFT MY FRIEND
by Tuz on Tue 6th Jul 2004 18:18 UTC

The Tuz enjoyed this. Fantastic article.... even if the Tuz is a die hard mac zealot who has many scalps on his mantlepiece. The Tuz still enjoyed this. Good luck with your computing experience regardless of platform.

PS: I, like many others can Identify with Boot loader problems!!!!

by hobgoblin on Tue 6th Jul 2004 19:40 UTC

what i liked about this one was the interchange by writer and friend and allso his girlfriend running into all kinds of habbit problems (accompanyed with just the right kind of words:)...

and no im not a mac user, and most likely never will be. if i am useing a *nix its linux thats my cup of tea, more specificly mandrake linux:)

by hobgoblin on Tue 6th Jul 2004 19:53 UTC

didnt he use mandrake linux? i think their rescue system on the cds can rebuild a windows boot sector...

A Review Worth Reading
by root on Tue 6th Jul 2004 20:50 UTC

I hardly comment on anything submitted to osnews except they exhibit such quality, uniqueness, entertainment and objectivity as displayed by this review by Sean Cohen.

Sean your article deserves nothing less than two thumbs up and a five-star accolade. Great work! I do agree that working with OS X takes some effort and time to get used to.

In fact, I'm usually verbally assaulted when I tell people I find Linux and Windows much easier to work with than OS X. Anyway, I share many of your sentiments and I enjoyed reading your review.

P.S. Many of would agree that reviews of this caliber are hard to come by.

by Jim Midnite on Tue 6th Jul 2004 21:33 UTC

I just bought my first Mac as well -- PowerBook 15" -- and I can relate to many of the things the author said. Mac OS X at times feels plainly... weird, but that's probably because of years of Windows experience. Same goes for keyboard; I believe it's just a matter of time to get used to it.

What I loved and still love is the packaging and the overall finish and attention to design details. In no particular order: the handle in the packaging box, the "breathing" light when sleeping, the extenders to route the cable in the power supply, the battery charge indicator, auto-keyboard highlighting, the way hinge works, slot-loaded drive, protective caps on all the plugs... I love Expose, and compared to my NEC notebook and iiyama LCD screen, the PowerBook's TFT is just gorgeous (which is kinda bad too, because the other now look yellow by comparison).

On the other hand, I already had "unexpected quits" and problems when waking up from sleep. Also, I am somewhat disappointed by options (or lack thereof) in Mail, Finder, Safari, etc. -- everything is slightly too simple for my taste. (Did not check iPhoto yet.) But I have high hopes for AppleScript and Unix terminal.

And I believe that Panther is indeed preinstalled, but at the first launch it installs some more applications (iDVD, GarageBand, etc.), maybe specific to the configuration of the laptop?

Re: Daan (IP:
by drsmithy on Tue 6th Jul 2004 21:46 UTC

So why doesn't Apple offer something that is aimed at people wanting to replace their PC with a Mac? If Apple would offer something in the spirit of the following, I'd buy it immediately:

I agree, I think a consumer level headless machine is the only big hole in Apple's lineup (particularly considering their "Switch" campaign).

To me, the most obvious thing to do would have been to make the iMac's LCD modular and replace the standalone display lineup with the iMac LCD "module" mounted into a base. That way, they could effectively build three completely different product lines with common parts - the all-in-one iMac, the standalone consumer headless machine and the entire display lineup (up to 20", at least). They could even stick with their artificial limitations and "encouragement" of upgrades by completely leaving out the necessary connections on the headless iMac variant for the LCD module.

From the Author
by Sean Cohen on Wed 7th Jul 2004 01:25 UTC

Thanks to everyone for you comments, I'm glad to say that the pulsing heartbeat of a sleeping iBook has become a permanent fixture in our home. In response to a few comments, it was my intention for the article to be free of zealotry, I wanted to present an honest, open account of what I actually went through getting comfortable on the new machine. Overall I'm now happier with the Apple than I was with the Acer, however the smaller screen has taken some getting used to. I still experience the occasional slowdown, though I'm not yet sure whether the cause is the 1 GHz processor, or the (limited) 256 MB RAM. Application crashes are also not unheard of, though they do not affect the OS (as one would expect).

For those who are interested, Mike has not changed his opinion - mostly due to his fiancee, The Anti-Mac. They are both close friends of mine, so the most I ever say is a quick "This would be much easier on a Mac," whenever they have trouble lighting the barbeque.

A few people have asked about the camera; it is a Creative PC-CAM 850, a fairly obscure model that I won in a competition at CeBit last year. Apparently it is actually a repackaged Logitech Labtec DC2320, however neither models are supported under OS X (by vendors or third parties).

As for the mouse; it is a BLAZE brand, three button wheel mouse. I'm not sure what else to say, except that it works flawlessly (without additional software) under both Linux and Windows. I have not had a chance to try it on another Mac, but I will do so at some point in the future. If someone would like to port the USB mouse driver from Linux to OS X I'd be happy to help, but it would be beyond me to attempt such a thing alone.

A few people have recommended additional pieces of software to "fill in the gaps"; uControl has been invaluable in making the most of the trackpad, VLC is an excellent port of my favourite Linux media player, and SCUMMX has renewed my interest in some lost DOS classics.

Thanks again to everyone for the feedback, I'm glad to hear you all enjoyed reading the article as much as I enjoyed writing it.



By the way, I still have the bagel.

re: From the Author
by Joker on Wed 7th Jul 2004 01:59 UTC

Nice article, Sean -- well-observed, and very funny!

I'd recommend Quicksilver too, if I might jump on the Ooo-you-need-this bandwagon for a moment. It's wonderful and will do until Tiger arrives. ; )

By the way, you will almost certainly want more RAM in that puppy at some point -- another 512MB will make an enormous difference. OS X eats up RAM like there's no tomorrow.

by Karrick S. McDermott on Wed 7th Jul 2004 04:55 UTC

To Sean Cohen:

Perhaps one of the best-told tales I have read in some time. I made quite the similar plunge in August of 2001, but I could not have recalled my story with such wit.


Sean needs more ram now!
by dude on Wed 7th Jul 2004 16:11 UTC

Max it out.