I thought I would try a Mac Mini in the hopes of getting something easier to use compared to my PC. Its been pretty hit and miss.
I generally like using it better than my PC. There are a lot of quirks though.
Installing and uninstalling applications is generally much more simple than windows. You want to uninstall something, you just drag it to the trash. No “add/remove programs” that may or may not work or apply to various programs. It seems to “optimize disk space” after installing something big – probably a disk defrag? That was one thing that annoyed me with windows, the user has to initiate the defrag disks manually – why? On my windows box I have batch files scheduled to defrage the disks regularly. Thats beyond most folks, who just find their windows machines get slower and slower (for a variety of reasons, including registry inconsistencys) and end up flattening their boxes or simply reinstalling windows.
IPhoto crashes a lot , which leads me to wonder if it was written in a derivitive of a language like C (i.e. Objective C, C++, etc) that doesn’t protect against incorrect unsafe memory access the way modern languages like Lisp (1962), Smalltalk (1970s), Java (1990s), C# etc do. Writing in unsafe languages like the C derivitives guarantees unvoidable programmer errors will cause nasty failures like crashes, substandard reliability and frustrating user experience.
Aside, no commercial program I have ever used crashes as much as Quicken for the PC. It crashes on me about every 10 minutes when I am entering data or downloading information. I haven’t run it on the Mac because the instructions to convert PC quicken files to Mac quicken files are too onereous – I’d probably break something.
IPhoto is OK for basic album management, keywording and captioning. I would have stayed with ACDSee, but the upgrade costs to version 8 are too high – I can’t see an annual upgrade costs of $50 a year. Picassa is probably just as good or better than IPhoto and available at a reasonable price, so don’t switch to mac to get IPhoto. A lot of IPhoto users are unhappy with it.
As far as I can tell, the Mac address book doesn’t allow categorizing contacts, a must-have feature for me, so I can’t use it (and therefore can’t use the Mac mail program). I am switching back to Outlook on my PC today, as I need to read email, categorizes contacts, categorize tasks, convert emails to tasks, and sync to my PDA. I use the task lists mirrored in outlook and my PDA for next-action lists for my Gettings Things Done system, ditto for the calendar, and like to search my contacts by key categories (friends, services). I could probably buy a license for Entourage and a 3d party program to sync that up to the PDA but its cheaper to use the PC.
ITunes is clumsy. I generally like to listen to albums or playlists I have made up. It is hard in itunes. To play an album, you have to select each track in the album individually each time you want to listen to it, check them, and play. There is no navigate by album feature (though you can sort songs by album & artist for what that is worth). With a playlist, you seem to have to select the playlist, then select the songs in the playlist you want to play (why? – isn’t that why they are in the playlist), then press play. A lot of mousing around. I’d rather just select the playlist itself and press play.
ITunes works fairly well with airport express (it does crap out occasinally, maybe its to far from my router) so I can play songs on my stereo in the living room. Thats cool. Far cry from my nasty experience with the Hauppauge MVP which seemed to reboot every 4 minutes give or take – maybe it has to do with my wireless network. Who knows – the MVP is too hard to debug and the user interface is too clumsy to bother (my PC had my songs organized in folders of artist/album. The MVP doesn’t present that well). This was a reply from Hauppauge tech support when discussed the problem of attempting to select albums from a list of 100 or so:
If you’re using it with 100s of songs or movies, there are mods publicly
available that will give you a hierarchal tree showing standard folders.
so I thought I’d try ITunes & airport express (which you can run on a PC as well).
I like having a unix shell and the ability to run most unix programs without running linux. The shell is more natural/less clumsy than cygwin and I was able to run gnucash.
Remote desktop to access my PC works well, though I wonder if the window size is limited (nowhere near full screen on the mac) to deliberately provide a substandard experince compared to using remote desktop on a PC. Eventually I will try VNC instead.
USB things work well, Skype and Adium work well. F9 is cool.
And its quiet! I can’t here it. The only time the fan has turned on is during movie processing. I am tempted to dump my PC in the crawlspace where I can’t here it and just access it through remote access.
Technorati Tags: IPhoto, Lisp, Smalltalk, C#, C, Quicken, ACDSee, Mac, Outlook, PC, PDA, ITunes, linux, Adium, Skype, BNC, junkheap, HauppaugeMvp