Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I've had some time recently to start getting iPhoto populated with my photo collection. I've had to make some adjustments to how I sort photos though and I am not sure exactly how I feel about that yet.

On my Windows machine I had a folder based structure that was organized by years. Inside each of those folders was a folder for different events such as birthdays, parties, etc. iPhoto 08 introduces a new feature called "Events" that attempts to automatically find groups of events in your photos and put them together. It eliminates and sorts of folder based organization and stores everything on its own behind the scenes. I've found that the Events structure works out nicely along with some manual configuration but there isn't a good way to just have a Misc section to throw junk pictures in.

It does make it pretty quick to find pictures and look at different events. I would like to know how to set tags and labels for pictures in order to find them by searching for related information. Does anyone know how to do this in iPhoto?

Monday, September 10, 2007

It Just Works

It's been a little over a week since I first powered on the iMac and I'm not ready to officially declare Mac OS X the champion but I have to say I am very pleased! I have not had any instances where I have had to boot into Windows and I have not be able to do anything that I used to in Vista. That says a lot for OS X!

Boot Camp installed without any problems and I was very pleased with that. I installed it on a 32gb partition and I think that is overkill now since I'm not having much use for it yet. That might be helpful in the long run. Booting into Windows is as simple as restarting and holding down the option button and a menu comes up allowing you to select which partition you want to boot into. Running Vista was faster than on my older Dell machine and the ability to run the Windows OS natively on the iMac really is impressive. After installing all of the hardware drivers from the CD that boot camp made everything worked automatically.

The funny thing to note though was another difference in how easy things are to setup in OS X as opposed to Vista. It took a bajillion button clicks to get the bluetooth mouse paired up to Vista.

Next up, I installed the trial for the latest version of Parallels. The updated version allows you to connect to the Bootcamp partition you already have installed and prevents you from having to install a second instance of Vista. Parallels is software that runs a virtual computer inside OS X and allows you to be booted into OS X and then have a window that is running Vista at the same time. The benefits of this are being able to get something done in Vista without having to reboot the whole computer. I did notice that there is a performance hit running Vista this way because you aren't able to dedicate the full system resources to VIsta and you are having to run Vista with emulation.

Some Gripes

Ok, so everything isn't just absolutely prefect...I do have some gripes. First up is Finder. While I have learned the nuts and bolts of how OS X installs programs and manages files I was a little flustered by previewing media in it. That is one thing I think Vista does very well. You can see all of the thumbnails of images in a directory and if you open an image you can keep browsing the rest of the images in that folder. 

I did find out how to enable the thumbnail view in finder and adjust the icon sizes but when you click on an image it opens it in software called Preview.  To view a new image, you have to close Preview and click on the next image. I guess maybe they are thinking you should only be viewing photos through iPhoto which works very well but I found this to be extremely clunky.

I did find a clever alternative though: Xee  It is a light-weight and fast image browser that is completely free to download. I set it up to be the default image viewer and you can scroll through images in a folder by flicking the mouse wheel around. It is VERY fast too. I highly recommend it. 

I have been following the updates for Leopard and it looks like Finder is getting the cover flow view that iTunes has that lets you flick through previews of your documents. This will be a nice feature and be fix some of my problems.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Impressions / Printing / Transferring Files

Ok, so I got the Mac out of the box and all setup on the desk. That doesn't take very much since all you need to do is plug in a power cord. NICE!

I've left my other monitor connected to my original PC as I work to transfer everything to the iMac and make it my primary machine. From the very first press of the power button I noticed how simple everything is. Unlike how in Windows the setup process is long and drawn out and always needing you to click on something, OS X just gets you going with the most basic information needed.

I was caught off guard at exactly how simple all the actions were. Wireless networking was extremely simple to setup and continues the trend of requiring very few selections as opposed to accomplishing the same task in Windows. Next up was the printer. I have an HP Photosmart 3310 all-in-one printer that has caused me nothing but problems in Vista. The printer is wi-fi enabled and I don't connect any cords to it except for the power cord. In Windows the software would repeatedly crash and I would have to reinstall the drivers and installation software on a weekly basis.

So, lets give printing a try on the Mac. I was expecting complications due to it being a newer printer with the wi-fi features. I opened up the "Printer & Fax" menu in OS X and then clicked to add a new printer. It immediately found the HP on the network and added it as my main printer. No other clicking or configuring was needed. 3 clicks total to add a new printer and it be ready to print? I was amazed. It's approximately 20 in Vista. In Vista you have to first tell it if you are looking for a wired or a network printer, blah blah blah. OS X just said "'s the only printer I found. Wanna use it?"

The next thing that I wanted to do was copy over all of my music/pictures/video/documents from my Vista desktop. I was getting ready to start digging for some serious How-to articles since I assumed connected to file sharing on a Vista box would not be easy. Well, I was wrong! It just works...

I just opened up Finder and went to "Networks". It then saw my Vista workgroup and my PCs on that network. I typed in a username/password for my Vista machine and there it shared files. Heck, my Mac could browse Windows shares better then a Windows machine can! I dragged and drop the files to my new machines and I was in business.

Keep in mind, I am not a Mac fanboy. This is completely new territory for me and I am amazed at how simple the initial basics have just worked. If basic PC users can get past the myths surrounding Macs that they think are still true, I think they will find a much more enjoyable computing experience with less configuration and maintaining to do.

I will post tomorrow on some of the frustrations I have had and my experiences with Boot Camp / Parallels.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Opening the box

Here are some teaser pictures. I am still spending time diving into the Mac OSX and I am really enjoying it. Stay tuned for more detailed information soon!