Making the Switch: iMac First Impressions

So I finally bit the bullet, took the plunge, made the switch from the dingy Windows of old to a bright new OSX future. Well, I’m not getting rid of my Windows PCs altogether, but last week I plunked down a fair bit of change and purchased an iMac G5, the new one with the gorgeous 20-inch monitor. Now it’s sitting pretty on the desk in my study, having replaced the behemoth PC with its Scylla-like cables and painfully loud fan.


The best thing about the iMac so far is its sight and sound—elegant hardware design with a small footprint and almost no fan noise. It hasn’t been as easy to set up as the marketing folks at Apple would have us believe, but that’s probably because I’m doing some things with it that are a bit beyond the typical user’s experience.

The first challenge I had was to connect it to a printer in such a way that the Windows PCs in the house (I know, I know, having four computers is a little excessive) could use it to print through the wireless network. The solution, as I discovered in an online Mac forum, was a byzantine set of steps that I can’t for the life of me remember, now that it’s done. Hopefully I won’t have to do it again.

The second challenge was to set up the iMac as a personal web server running PHP so I can use it as a development platform while learning the web programming language—if I manage to find the time. This process, while not without its false starts, was actually faster than the printer networking, even though I had to type arcane Unix commands into the Terminal to get it working right.

Now I think I’m finally ready to play and have fun with it. iMovie, Garage Band, and QuickSilver are on my short list of programs I want to tinker with. I also want to install a good free Feed Reader (aka News Aggregator) with a feature set similar to that of the Windows-based Sharp Reader. If anyone has any recommendations, please put them in a comment. And while I’m asking for advice, if anyone out there knows how to re-map keyboard keys, I’d love to hear how I can get the “home” and “end” keys working on my bluetooth keyboard so that “home” will move the cursor to the beginning of the current line and “end” will move the cursor to the end of the line. Right now the two keys don’t seem to do anything.

Update 7/14/05: Well, I haven’t figured out how to remap the home and end keys (even though a couple commenters graciously tried to help), but I did learn that I can get to the end or beginning of a line by holding the Command key while hitting the right arrow or left arrow, respectively. That’s good enough for me now.

I’ll probably write again about my iMac experiences as I delve deeper into the applications. In the meantime, any and all advice about programs and utilities and productivity techniques are welcome.

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16 Responses to Making the Switch: iMac First Impressions

  1. Dennis Holtrop says:

    Congratulations, Karl, and welcome to the world of happy iMac owners!

  2. Scott S. says:

    Ranchero software’s Net Newswire Lite should do the trick as a very good news reader

  3. Karl says:

    Thanks, Scott, for the recommendation. I noticed the regular Net
    Newswire, but balked at the price. (What can I say? I’m a cheap Swede!)
    I’ll check out the Lite version.

  4. nicole says:

    You rock, Karl!! 

    I like to think of myself as a pretty smart chick, savvy in some things technological, but your know-how in this venue never ceases to amaze me.  Now you’re like Carrie Bradshawfrom “Sex in the City”; she too was known for her Apple, though she had the Powerbook and not the desktop. Your’re still cool, though…


  5. Mark Rushton says:

    Scott, Funny – I had the same question today (Home, End), but in reverse. It’s been driving me batty that I couldn’t jump to the beginning or end of a text field on my office Windows PC the way I’m used to on a Mac. Today someone showed me Home & End. On the Mac, it’s Up-arrow and Down-arrow.

  6. NoPCZone says:

    Re “While I’m asking for advice, if anyone out there knows how to re-map
    keyboard keys, I’d love to hear how I can get the “home” and “end” keys
    working on my bluetooth keyboard so that “home” will move the cursor to
    the beginning of the current line and “end” will move the cursor to the
    end of the line. Right now the two keys don’t seem to do anything.”

    Open source project (stable)  “uControl is a keyboard remapper and more. Meaning,
    those useless keys can now be reused, remapped, or reduced. Unix
    hackers will be pleased to remap the caps lock key to the control key.
    Indeed, that was the reason uControl was originally created; however,
    it has since evolved into a fairly sophisticated means of not only
    remapping modifier keys, but providing a virtual scroll wheel for
    track pad users, providing real function keys for laptop users,
    swapping the right and left mouse button for left handed users, and
    even providing a one handed typing feature for those with

    Welcome to the world of Mac.

  7. R Boylin says:

    You might try these two key mapping programs. I’m sure there are others. For news and links to many Mac sites you could go to They are many helpful sites listed there. Here are the two programs I found with Google:
    Welcome to the helpful Mac community!

  8. Karl says:

    Wow, I’m humbled by the quick and generous advice, even from people
    I don’t know.  Thanks, everyone. I’ve never felt so welcomed.

    the way, I just installed the 30-day free trial of Net Newswire, and it
    looks like it’s exactly what I was looking for. Thanks again, Scott.

  9. argod says:

    UControl is not needed because Tiger has the keyboard mapping built-in.

  10. Jack says:
    Entropy is a great site! I recently installed PHP as well. The process involved double clicking a download and then editing my httpd.conf. Simple stuff.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Just use fn + up and down arrow keys
    Safari (in Mac OS X 10.4) has RSS built in, but there are plenty of third party apps to choose from. Find them on

  12. Congratulations, Karl, on making the iLeap to the land of Macintosh. You won’t regret it! Are you running Tiger or Panther? In Tiger, did you know that Safari has its own RSS reader? I will admit that Safari in Tiger is a little buggy still, so you might want to wait until OS 10.4.2 comes out. Who knows when that will be?
    Anyway, congrats again and let me know if you have any questions.

  13. Michael Van Houten says:

    Whoa…don’t know what happened with my comments there…something funky going on. Sorry about that.

  14. Hey Michael, thanks for the note. I’m running Tiger and noted the RSS
    in Safari, but it just doesn’t have the functionality to which I have
    grown accustomed. :)

    The funky comment problem isn’t your fault. It’s a compatibility issue between Safari and the new
    WYSIWYG comment editor I installed from The Man in Blue. He
    says the problem lies with Safari: “The bug in Safari 1.3’s output is due to the fact that it has incomplete support for JavaScript regular expressions. I’m trying to figure out a way around it at the moment.”

    I’ll look into it, too. In the meantime, I’ll just clean up the comments after Safari users post them. It’s the least I can do.

  15. Nicole says:

    You all are such geeks!!  But wonderful, super-brainy geeks I wish I could be…

    I get a little dizzy just reading these comments…

    Your comparatively  technological moron,


  16. Diane says:

    Hey Karl — does this set your personal record for replies?

    i am asking that, because i have absolutely nothing to contribute to this topic.  I’d have to get out a ruler (wooden) 

    to tell you the size of my screen (is that what you call it?). 

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