Get off my lawn.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Got a new iMac today. It's a 2.4Ghz Core2 Duo 20" one, with 1GB of memory.

I got it at the Apple Store on the Plaza. Andrew and I walked in, and I started playing with an iMac. A few minutes later, an Apple store guy came up and asked if we needed any help. I said "Yes, I want to buy this. Please get me one of these in a box", and then started talking like I didn't know anything about computers. He looked kind of surprised. "Uh... have you used a Mac before?" "Nope. Never." He started walking me through the basics. I guess he felt like he should. I just gave him blank looks and said "Oh yeah, cool" until he was done. "Well, okay then. I want one." He said "Well, I have to go to lunch. One of the guys in the green shirts can help you." Huh? I've never heard a salesman do that. As it turns out, they don't work on commission, so I guess they don't care who sells what to whom. So I went and found another guy and got the box from him.

We headed down the sidewalk, and Andrew said he heard someone congratulate me.

So far, I think it's pretty darn cool. The packaging is a thing of beauty, as it seems to be with all things Apple. I like how there are no stickers plastered all over everything. There are none. No "Free 1000 hours of AOL!" and "Ultimate Enterprise Family Edition" BS to be seen anywhere. No crapplets are installed in the OS. It's fantastic.

It's impressive physically. I replaced our old XP box with this one. To make room, I dug out about 50 pounds of cords, power adapters, subwoofers, monitors, keyboards, cables, and other crap besides the old PC itself, and replaced it with a wafer-thin monitor, a wafer-thin keyboard, and a Mighty Mouse mouse. It's like a piece of art or something.

I like that keyboard. A lot. I didn't know how well I would like it, but it's quiet, and I can type fast on it. It has a great feel too. The only gripe I have about it is that it's so light, it tends to scoot around a bit. But it's miles better than anything I know of in the PC world. Honestly, it makes any PC keyboard I've used seem like a prehistoric clunker. The clean-n-simple aesthetic really works here too. Buy any PC today and the keyboard will be loaded down with lame "internet buttons", "multimedia buttons", and other keys that, in addition to being next to useless, force the real keys on the keyboard into other locations, which I really don't like. In fact, I hate it. But this one has a logical layout, where all the normal keys are in their expected locations. I wonder if you can buy one of these by itself?

I always thought of Macs as being easy to use, but probably something that would get in your way if you were a keyboard-shortcutting speed demon on a computer. But after stumbling around for a few minutes getting to know the various keystrokes required to do basic things, it seems like it's really efficient. And simple! It was so simple I actually got confused when I tried to install Firefox. I thought it was more complicated than it really was.

Something else I like is how the simple, spartan layout of things in the OS and the applications kind of hides the tons of functionality underneath. It looks really simple, but there is a ton of stuff in there. I like the voice command stuff. You say "What time is it" and the machine tells you the time out loud in a robot voice. Yell "Quit Firefox", the robot voice responds "Quitting Firefox", and Firefox drops off the screen.

GarageBand is cool. It's packed with a lot of functionality for a free app, and it's really polished. It has mix automation, effects, MIDI and audio tracks, and it works smoothly. It comes free with the computer. That's amazing. One other thing I liked about it was something called "Magic GarageBand". It's kind of stupid, really; It asks you what kind of song you want, and it cranks out a set of bed tracks for a generic "song", apparently played by professional musicians. I selected "Country" for the genre, and it cranked out something that sounded pretty good. Then I turned on the microphone and put a vocal Hoyt Axton-style vocal track on over the music with some stupid lyrics about Macs. I took some pictures of myself with the built-in camera. Alissia rolled her eyes.

I haven't even owned a Mac for 10 hours yet, and I'm already turning into an artist.