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.