This is what happened in my first few hours of Mac ownership…
Unpacking it was of course very exciting, and I was impressed with the way the whole thing is packaged. It feels like you’ve bought a high quality piece of gear the moment you open the box.
I was surprised at how small the Apple Remote is. Good job it attaches magnetically to the side of the iMac or I might lose it! They could have made the keyboard cable a bit longer though. I have one of those desks with a keyboard tray which means the cable has to go over the top of the desk to the Mac, rather than behind the desk and back round. It’s not too bad in practice though.
Problem #1 was pretty funny – I couldn’t work out how to turn it on! So much for the Mac being a paragon of ease-of-use. After 5 minutes of looking round the side and back, and pressing random keys on the keyboard (I’d heard you could power on Macs this way), I eventually had to give in and read the manual. I don’t know how I missed that power button at the back!
Anyway, after that initial hurdle things went pretty smoothly. The screen is simply stunning. Incredibly bright and crystal clear. It makes my old 19″ CRT look dull and washed-out by comparison. After asking a few simple questions, the Mac took my login photo with the built-in iSight, and bam, I’m hitting the ground and using Mac OS X!
Problem #2 occurred when I started using the mouse. It moved s-o-o-o-o slo-o-o-o-wly! I went into the mouse preferences and whacked the slider fully to the right, which helped a bit, but it was still pretty slow. Actually it was more the steep acceleration curve that I found difficult. It would zoom across the screen fast enough when I moved the mouse fast, but for small movements it would grind to a halt, so I kept clicking the wrong menu options and so on. And it looks like Marc Logemann was right – there’s no way to adjust the acceleration. Unbelievable!
I couldn’t be doing with this, so I scoured the web and found that Microsoft’s Intellimouse drivers are supposed to give you more control. Luckily I have an Intellimouse, so I stuck the CD in and installed the drivers. In typical Microsoft fashion it required a reboot, and this is where problem #3 occurred: after rebooting I was stuck with a “grey screen of death”. No response to keypresses, and even pressing the power button had no effect.
So within 30 minutes I’m making my first Apple support call. The first thing the guy wants to know is my serial number.
“How do I find that?” I ask.
“Turn your Mac upside down – it’s underneath the base,” he says.
“But the Mac’s on and I can’t turn it off. This is why I’m calling you! Surely turning it upside down with the hard drive spinning is a bad move?”
“Ahh, right. In that case, hold your power button down for 13 seconds.” I did as he said and lo and behold, the thing turned off. I never did ask why it’s 13 seconds…
I then rebooted but it was still grey-screening. Suspecting the Microsoft driver CD, I rebooted again while repeatedly hitting the Eject key. Disc ejected – Mac booted. Hurrah! Meanwhile the tech support guy (who it turns out only wanted my serial number) has put me through to a rather odd woman who was issuing me a series of commands: “You are going to unplug your Intellimouse. You are going to plug in your Mighty Mouse…” I explained that I (and the first guy) had already fixed the problem and eventually she let me be!
After that it was fairly plain sailing and great fun – Apple give you so much cool stuff to play with out of the box – although the mouse was still slow and weird (I’m getting used to it) and I quickly got annoyed with Front Row!
To be continued…