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Friday, 17 May 2013

The iMac Has Landed

NĂºverandi 2007 Intel iMac.
NĂºverandi 2007 Intel iMac. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For years I’ve wanted to use a Mac instead of a PC for my writing. I decided I would treat myself on my retirement from employment and, last Monday, I made the purchase.

As is invariably the case with technology, the process of getting up and running wasn’t straightforward. It never ceases to amaze me that the systems purported to make our lives easier, in fact, make them more difficult. The Mac is a wonderfully intuitive machine but, like all technological items, it has its shortcomings. One aspect that is singularly noticeable is that ‘intuitive’ is clearly a selective quality. The machine itself comes with no written instructions of any real use. And the DVD Drive, which is a superb piece of engineering and design, comes with even less.

One of the aspects I, as customer and user, like to experience is some level of confidence that what I’m doing and what the machines I’ve invested in are doing is actually what I intended. The information around this fairly basic need is poor or non-existent.

I discovered, almost by accident, a process intended to transfer my old files from the PC to the Mac. On the face of it, this looked fairly simple. After following the instructions and first suffering a failure of the software (on my PC) I wasted 8 hours, waiting for the transfer to complete. I gave up and went to bed. The next day, I stripped all the old programs from the PC and rationalised some of the files. Now, I’m a writer and a photographer, so I have a good deal of stuff on file. It worked out, after some re-organisation and some deletion, that I had 10,309 text files and 10,176 photo files. The size of the transferable batch of information was around 62 GB. I assumed the transfer from PC to Mac would take some time and set the program off again. It was still running some 7 hours later, with no indication of when or even if it would ever complete. I went to bed again.

The next day, I transferred music and photos manually, using a 4GB USB memory stick. It was time-consuming, but slowly the files built up on the Mac and I felt I was getting somewhere at last. Once transferred, I deleted the files from the old PC, leaving only the text files and personal information to be transferred by Apple’s ‘File Migration’ software. I gave it one last chance, but it still was searching for information after 5 hours and I gave it up as a bad job, transferred the text files manually and decided I’d simply have to re-set all the personal info stuff as I used the Mac.

I’m up and running again now. I do love the Mac and I enjoy the way it works. But I continue to wonder at the failure of an entire industry to make its products straightforward and user-friendly for its customers. Clearly, the designers of software and hardware have no concept of the level of knowledge held by the average user. So, I make a public plea, which I expect to be ignored, for those in the IT industry to always ask a panel of normal members of the public to test and evaluate all their products before releasing them. That way we might all be much happier and more able to get on with our lives.

Moan over. iMac in use. I might now be able to get some writing done, at last!

I had hoped to include a picture of myself at the iMac, but I haven't yet figured out how to do that!

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