Blog Club – Apple

So it’s time for the second Blog Club. This week’s community is Apple (that’s the computer company, not the fruit). If you can’t remember what Blog Club is all about, go here

Anyone who’s spent any time around me or the blog will know I’m a bit of an Mac fan. Their stuff is just so shiny (in both the literal and the Firefly meanings of the word). I got an iPod back when they were still so cool they were sub-zero – my brother got one of the very first ones that had square corners, click buttons, and a perspex top (very funky looking) and I got one of the second gen ones that looks more ‘iPoddy’ with the smooth corners etc, but has the buttons in a separate row above the scroll wheel. I love my iPod and wouldn’t be without it and, even three(four/five – I’ve lost count) years on and two car crashes later it’s doing beautifully. The battery still holds enough juice for a transatlantic flight (plus airports at both ends)… And ok, I’ll stop now. I do love my iPod (though I am starting to consider getting a newer, sexier, video version.)

I also own a titanium 12″ PowerBook G4, lovingly named the PocketCalculator for it’s teeny size. I’ve had that three, nearly four, years now as well and again I wouldn’t be without it (though it is partly responsible for my RSI – tip to anyone pondering one of the smaller MacBooks – get full sized keyboard if you plan to do lots of typing). You’d have to pay me serious amounts of money to run a PC as my home computer again.

I expect I’d own lots more Apple stuff if it wasn’t so frelling expensive.

Why do I love Apple’s so much? Apart from the fact they are just so pretty it would have to be because they just work. Yes, things go a little odd from time to time, but a lot less than PCs do. Most days at work I have to restart my computer three or four times due to inexplicable system crashes. The Mac? Once every couple of weeks, if that.

I also find them so much simpler to use than Windows computers. Switching from Windows to Mac was a bit of a learning curve, I will admit. Three years on I am still learning the best way of doing things but that is because I am having to unlearn a decade of Windows. Three years to learn how to use something… That doesn’t sound too easy, does it? And it’s not just me – on the odd occasions Moose uses the PocketCalculator it takes her a few tries to do things sometimes. Ditto my father.

So why do I say it’s ‘easy’? Because really it is. If you don’t have to unlearn Windows then you are laughing. We got my mother a MacMini for her birthday last year and, let me stress this, it is the first computer she has ever owned or used. Strange that she should have two such tech-minded offspring and such a gadget-freak of a husband and remain innocent, but it happened. Within a very short space of time, Mum was able to email, find things she wanted on the Internet, and download her pictures from her new digital camera. So those aren’t the sexiest or most complicated things to do on a computer, but it’s all she wants to do, and she can do them. I don’t have to explain why she has to click on the ‘Start’ icon to turn her computer off. I don’t have to explain double clicking. I don’t have to worry about her getting some malicious virus and unwittingly passing it on to everyone in her address book. I don’t have to explain file structures to her – all her pictures are stored behind the scenes by iPhoto; all her emails in Mail. All the programs she wants to use she loads quickly and easily from the dock. So when she calls me up for help as she does sometimes she will say “I clicked on the stamp picture on the bar at the bottom – that’s how I get my email right?” but that’s OK. She doesn’t need to know the program is called ‘Mail’. It’s friendly, it’s pretty, it’s straight forward, and she’s even once or twice braved the help option and found the answer to her question.

Tell me this – would YOUR computer illiterate Mum be able to use the Windows help option and find the answer? Hell, *I* can’t use the Windows help option and find the answer half the time!

So there you have it. I’m meant to be talking about the Apple Community and I go off on one about my Apple experiences. Yes, there are some downsides to Macs (price, the rapidity that an OS becomes obsolete, less things compatible with it – e.g., webcams! etc) but… I don’t care. I’m a Mac Fan-Girl and I expect I always will be.

Before I let you go, here’s what I was meant to be talking about – the Apple community blogs and a few posts I found interesting:

Paul Stamatiou – now, I should point you to one particular post on Paul’s site, but picking just one is impossible. Regular Sunday Roast readers will probably be familiar with Paul’s site already because I do tend to link to his stuff with monotonous regularity. Um, what else to say? He’s freakishly talented, I’m more than a little jealous, and… Yup, that about covers it πŸ˜€

SchwarzTech reviews lots of stuff. Again, I couldn’t pick just one post to link to. I daren’t read this site on a regular basis because I just find myself drooling over the pretties that I can’t afford. Every now and then though, when I can’t resist a little fantasy shop, I pop on over because I trust their reviews of things.

All you Firefox for Mac users out there will have noticed that the default theme is, well, ugly, and just doesn’t fit with the essential prettiness of Macs. I thought I had it fixed with the ‘brushed’ theme, then I read this article and found the ‘GrApple’ theme. So much better!

So not technically a post about Apple, this post from the uber geeks (in the Apple community) is a pet peeve of mine, so in to the list it goes πŸ˜€

Last but by no means least, we have ‘The Apple Blog’ and their round-up of free web design tools. Invaluable.

Enjoy, I know I do πŸ™‚

blog club, blog_club, 9rules, apple, mac

12 thoughts on “Blog Club – Apple

  1. I completely concur with the Apple comments. I’d love to be an Apple-geek if I could afford to be one. Trying to walk my mum through the Windows setup when she has an error is a nightmare in itself. She still doesn’t know how to download pictures from her camera and where to find them on the computer to attach to an email. Le sigh.

  2. Mum hasn’t (yet) sent an email with an attachment, but I’m pretty certain even she could manage dragging from iPhoto and dropping into Mail…

    I wasn’t around the when Mum first got her camera, so she got the next door neighbours son to come around (he is supposedly a computer genius) to give her a hand. He might be a Windows genius, but he has a lot to learn about Macs. I came home and Mum still hadn’t been able to get the pictures from the camera onto the computer successfully (Canon’s software is VERY confusing). Then I introduced her to the joys of iPhoto which doesn’t require software patches or anything to talk to the camera… Mum has even managed to burn to disk a selection of pictures! Without help from me!

    Ah, Apple. If only the whole world was like you. But cheaper.

  3. http://www.roughlydrafted.com – great at blasting apart the myths of the computer world
    http://www.musingsfrommars.org/ – another insightful and intelligent writer
    http://www.macosxhints.com/ – hints and goodies for using OS X
    http://flernk.blogspot.com/2006/07/guide-to-os-x-software-for-switchers.html – switching? Here’s a good list of software you’ll want
    http://www.tuaw.com/ – The Unofficial Apple Weblog. Keep up on the daily mac buzz
    http://www.macnn.com – All Mac news
    http://www.apple.com/support/mac101 and http://www.apple.com/support/switch101/

    I have a ton more, with many of them either mac rumour/news sites or oriented at sysadmins.

    Jes, I really think your mom should look at a Mac Mini. They aren’t expensive machines, and they pay off right away. The camera thing? In OS X you plug in the camera, open iPhoto, import the pics, select what you want to email, click on the “email” button and away they go. If either of you ever does go that route I can help you out with stuff.

    Cas, I’m still convinced that I can switch the default screen cap location, I just haven’t had time to continue my research (I think I was getting close).

  4. I’ve been using a Mac since the mid-eighties or so. I briefly tried a Dell around 2000 during a particularly poor period. It didn’t go too well. Fine computer but I’d already drank the kool-aid and started getting hives and headaches being away from the Mac. All’s well now.

    Nice to see Apple Blog pimped. Here’s a bit of a self-serving link which may actually be useful (or not, maybe the comments more than the post itself): Quest For A More Mindful Mac

  5. This is an interesting read πŸ™‚

    Interesting because, if you were to substitute every instance of the word “Mac” above with “Ubuntu”, you’d pretty much get exactly how I feel.

    I’ve been using Linux pretty much exclusively for the past two years or so. It was awkward at first, of course, because everything works in a very different way to Windows. But now I’m used to it, to the point where using Windows feels alien, and utterly frustrating, because it won’t let me do things in the way I want to do them. For example, I’m so used to having my DeskBar in the top panel, so I can easily launch programmes or search Beagle (Linux version of Spotlight) or look something up in the dictionary or… well, you get the idea.

    It’s also great because everything is completely open and free, and literally anybody can contribute in some way, but I guess that’s something that either appeals to you or doesn’t.

    Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that I know how you feel. The world would be a better place if more people realised that Microsoft is not the only fruit.

  6. That’s a great article! I’ve gone and got me the ClearDock already (mmmm, floaty icons…) and I keep forgetting that folders can go in the dock as well. Doh!

  7. well, easy to use isn’t the first word that springs to mind when I think of Linux, but I’ll take your word for it.

    I am attracted to the customizability and open-source nature of Linux I will admit, but I am just too much a fan of my slick GUI’s and things that don’t require me to prod them to work (though I wish I could work out how to change the preferences for ClearDock…)

  8. You don’t have to take my word for it! You can try out the strangely named Ubuntu without changing a single file on your computer. In fact, I’d be really interested if you did.

    Go to

    http://www.ubuntu.com/download

    and download and burn the appropriate “desktop” CD image (PowerPC in your case I guess). Boot from that CD (no idea how to do that on a Mac, but I’m sure you’ll work it out), and in a minute or two you should be looking at a usable desktop.

    (Yes, I know the default theme is orange. I didn’t choose it. But it’s easy enough to change — I recommend Clearlooks or Industrial Tango…)

    Bear in mind that since you’re running everything from CD, it’s going to be a bit slower than a proper installation. Also, since you can’t install any programmes (well you can, but since it can’t write anything to the hard disk you’ll run out of memory very quickly) you can’t use all the impressive new stuff like Beagle, F-Spot and Banshee — roughly the equivalent of Spotlight, iPhoto and iTunes respectively. Sorry.

    Anyway, if you fancy it, please do give it a try. I’d be really *really* interested to know what a Mac user makes of it. Give it a decent go — try using it for an evening or so — and I look forward to reading about how you found it in a blog post in a day or two πŸ˜‰

  9. It might take more than a day or two – I’m off to the farm for a family jolly this weekend and then it’s frantic work for two weeks. But then, theoretically, I’m going to be unemployed (unless the temp pool get their arses in gear quickly), so I’ll have all the time in the world!

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  11. Oh, I don’t know. The ubiquity of Apple Ipods, regardless of the technical excellence, as items of conformist non-conformity is most curious. Macs on the other hand, are rather dandy (not so) little things.

  12. Welcome to Bright Meadow Dan πŸ™‚

    And I must reiterate – I got my iPod when they WERE unusual. At the time I was the only person in my year at uni (that I am aware of) that had one. Not that I got it for that reason. I got it because I love to listen to music when I’m on the go, my CD walkman of the time had just died because I’d dropped it on the floor one too many times, and I liked the idea of being able to choose from more than one album of music without having to carry round a case of CDs with me. The iPod was then, and still is, the perfect music solution for me.

    Screw it’s ‘coolness’ and perceived notions of conformity/non-conformity. I use it because it works for me. I know people who are consciously ‘different’ because to be ‘different’ is to be ‘cool’ – in trying to be different they all somehow turn out the same. I know other people (and I like to think I am more like this than not) who are different because, well, they just are. I spent too much of my childhood trying to fit into the cookie cutter mould and making a complete arse of myself in the process to do so now. Do things because you genuinely want to do them and be happy in yourself, however you are πŸ™‚

    And yes, Macs are very dandy things.

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