24? iMac Joins the Quest

A brand spanking new 24″ iMac is replacing my Mac Mini as my primary PC. First impression is Oooooeeeee! At 24″ (wide screen) the screen is almost big enough to replace the TV in the living room.

In typical Apple fashion setup was easy and there was a clear path from delivery to up and running. I was happy to see that a USB keyboard/mouse isn’t needed in order to set up a wireless keyboard/mouse. When I set up my Mac Mini I needed to use a USB keyboard/mouse until the wireless stuff could be paired (which would be tough if you ordered wireless and didn’t have a USB keyboard available). With the new iMac the pairing was part of the setup process.

The software bundle changed from the time of my Mac Mini purchase. Appleworks is gone. Additions are Comic Life and OmniOutliner. (Click the app name to open their website in a new window). The software is the base version but it is fully functional. Since I never used Appleworks I’m not sorry to see it go, but I would have thought a productivity app would be a good thing to include, especially since it’s Apple’s own app. It’s $79 from Apple. Microsoft Office 2004, Apple Keynote and Apple Pages are includes as trial software.

Immediately after the setup Software Update prompted to download the latest updates and patches. Eleven apps and the OS needed updates for a total of 430.7MB. (Two updates totaling 10MB were for Pages and Keynote which are trial versions.) A reboot was needed due to the Quicktime and OS X updates. The benefit here, over Windows, was that I did one set of updates followed by a reboot and I was done. Under Windows I had to apply updates, reboot then check for more updates and repeat until there weren’t any more updates. Apples ability to bundle OS patches gives it a real advantage over Windows which still distributes patches individually with only occasional roll-ups. But Windows or Mac, new PCs always need patching.

I didn’t use the migration wizard to move software, data and settings from my Mini. I’m looking at this as an opportunity to clean things up. Maybe it’s because I come from the Windows world where a regular cleanup does wonders.

Moving things from another PC was much easier to do under OS X than under Windows. Since most software is installed through drag and drop I could just drag it to my new PC. Unlike Windows with it’s registry, the settings could be copied from ~LibraryApplication SupportAppDir. To be safe I did run the installers then I copied the data and settings before running the app the first time. I simply hooked my old Mini drive up via firewire and copied my home directory to the iMac drive. I could then move the apps and data as I wanted them and not muck up my Mini. Sometimes I’d have to hunt for another location to get the settings and in some cases I had to re-enter a license key but other than that I didn’t have any problems.

I had to put the iMac to it’s first test. The Mac Update Video Cast is in High Def and was very choppy on the Mac Mini if I was doing anything else while watching it. And towards the end of the video it seemed to get choppy just on principle even if it was the only thing running. On the iMac it was very smooth from start to finish even though I was doing other things at the same time.

I also have to admit I love the Mighty Mouse. I’m a trackball user so the scroll wheel is a natural for me on the top. The ability to program three other functions (actually 4 can be programmed but you’ll always need a “primary button” function). I have it set so that squeezing the side buttons brings up the Dashboard, pressing the scroll wheel while clicking brings up the Application Switcher while clicking the right side is set for the secondary button and clicking the left is the primary button. I may have to buy one for the Mini to replace the trackball.

The iMac has been up and running for a couple of days and I’m a happy camper.