First Impressions

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…

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6 Responses to “First Impressions”

  1. Steve Says:

    Hello Matt …

    Mac’s are kinda cool aren’t they…

    I bought a Mac Mini last September, and I was not real pleased with the mouse action as well, and as I had a Logitech mouse I hooked that up… problem solved, very responsive, and quick as can be, and with nice touch as well, just what I was hoping for, actually seeming to work better than on my Windows XP.

    Just thought to let you know of an alternative that worked for me.



  2. mattdoyle Says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the tip! If only I had a Logitech mouse. Ah well. I’m kinda used to the acceleration now – I have it set to maximum and it’s just about bearable. Anything under maximum requires big sweeping RSI-inducing mouse movements!

    Still amazed that Apple give you such limited control over this…

    Anyway I’m pretty happy with the Mac overall I must say.

    Nice site design by the way! Was that based on one of our PageKits?


  3. Steve Says:

    Hello Matt …

    The mouse as it came from Mac felt slow to me, (the feeling of dragging)having been accustomed to using the Logitech one for some time, and I looked to improve it, but hesitant to do so since I liked the look of that little white Apple mouse, but glad I did so, the Logitech a 2 button mouse and scroll wheel, and that suits my needs as I use the mouse for just about everything as I’m not versed in keyboard shrotcuts…so it works well for me, and that dragging feel is no more (about an inch of movement with the mouse will take the cursor from edge to edge on a 17′ screen, so that may be where most of the improvement seems to come from.)

    Thanks for the compliment, it is one of your designs redesigined and I did give you credit if one would look at the source HTML. Its from “Datanurbs” and it took me a bit to put it together, eventually pretty much redoing the whole thing on Microsoft Word it I recall as I was having some issues with your cells not acting quite correctly. It is still in a preliminary state, but fun for now to have a site that perhaps one day to do something with.

    Yes, the Mac is quite a nice little outfit, I had my fun with learning some things about it as I thought it was supposed to have more things on it, only to go to the install discs and put some things on; iLife, and Widgets and things of that nature, and I went on for some time wondering where these things were that were advertised with the Mac.

    Well, take care and hope you enjoy your new learning experience.



  4. mattdoyle Says:

    I must say I’m more of a keyboard shortcut person myself, because they’re quicker and lessen the risk of RSI of the hand! Macs seem pretty good on keyboard shortcuts these days (I hear they used to be terrible), though iCal is still pretty poor

    My wife tried the trackpad on the new MacBooks the other day and said they feel even slower than the mouse (even on max acceleration). Not sure if there’s a workaround for that one, apart from using an external Logitech mouse!

    You’ve done a good job customising Datanurbs – I hardly recognise it!

    I think my iMac came with all the iLife stuff installed. At least I have iTunes, iPhoto, iCal, iWeb, iMovie, iDVD and everything else that seems to start with an ‘i’. You’ve got me thinking now though – I’m gonna stick the OSX discs in and see if I can find any hidden goodies. 🙂

  5. Steve Says:

    Hi Matt …

    I noticed the other day you had a reply, been kind of busy this week, and to respond today.

    Well enjoy your journey, thanks for the compliment on the site, and maybe we’ll be in touch at some other time as well.

    Take care.

    Sincerely, Steve

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