my first mac in 12 years

I bought my first Mac computer.  The last time I had a Mac was 12 years ago.  That Mac and it’s predecessor was as a gift.  It also predated me having the internet at home.  A lot has changed in 12 years!  As I set up the Mac, I’ll be blogging about my experiences, so check back in a week.

Research Online very clearly lets you see your choices.  I was able to find out most of the information I needed there.  I was then able to get my reminding information to decide by starting a thread at CodeRanch.  Now I know what you are thinking – getting advice from an online forum about what to buy isn’t the best idea.  It’s different here because a most of the posters in that thread are fellow moderators who know me well enough to give good advice.  And a couple of the people in that thread are people in NY that I know in real life.  Scott gave good advice too.

Tuesday – Research In store

There was only one of the model I wanted to buy in the store.  Which would be fine except someone was using Facebook extensively on it.  I asked an Apple employee who said people could surf the net for 30 minutes.  So I want to give Apple two thousand dollars, but I have to wait up to 30 minutes for the guy on Facebook!?!  I asked another Apple employee who asked the guy on Facebook to move to a different computer.

Employee #2 was helpful and answered all my questions.  Including stupid ones.  A lot has changed in the twelve years I’ve been on Windows.  I learned it takes four hours to put the RAM upgrade in so I said I would pick up my computer the next day.

I didn’t go to the famous 5th Avenue store to avoid crowds.  There were still crowds, but distributed on three floors crowds are less overwhelming.

Wednesday – Picking up the Mac

In one day, Apple moved the shelves behind the counter which was a little disorienting and had me second guessing what floor I was on.  The pick up was routine.  The large bag was nice and I was able to use it as a backpack.  Which was nice as I wasn’t thrilled about carrying the box in my hands.  Once unwrapped, the laptop will fit in a laptop bag.

I got home late since I went to Ignite after picking up the laptop so didn’t set it up that night.

Thursday – Setting up the Mac

I was able to get online in 10 minutes and to a point where I could do all my regular internet surfing activities in 90 minutes.  This includes time I was checking e-mail and reading the newspaper though.  I’m sure the real effort was less.

To get online:

  1. Unpack box
  2. Plug in laptop and press power button to turn on laptop
  3. See Apple splash screen
  4. Choose English as language
  5. Watch the Welcome movie (I could have done without this, but I suppose it is better than an hourglass)
  6. More language settings
  7. Enter wifi information and apple id
  8. Saw it test the web cam, but choose a stock photo
  9. Choose safari and done – on the internet!

Setup for my regular internet surfing activities (and other things to make me comfortable through the weekend)

  1. Plugin in my old Windows keyboard and mouse until I buy a Mac keyboard and trackpad.  (I keep my laptop about nine inches up and arms length back for home use so use separate peripherals.)  Apple asked me to select a keyboard since it didn’t recognize the type.  The mouse worked without any setup.  I find myself reaching up to the trackpad on the actual laptop instead of using the mouse for scrolling because the trackpad is so much more natural.  Note to self: should have bought the keyboard/trackpad up front.  The current situation is contrived and a bit awkward.
  2. Change screen resolution because default is on the small side.  I chose 1024×768 stretched which feels comfortable.  Probably because that’s the best  resolution I my old Windows XP laptop supported.  Over time I’ll try changing the resolution a little.
  3. Turn on firewall.
  4. Tune energy settings including turning off keyboard lighting.  I have enough light, I don’t need the keyboard creating any.  Besides, I don’t look at the keyboard so that is a waste of energy.
  5. Download Twitter client from App Store.  Entered my credit card info again.  I didn’t realize this was tied to my device (ipad) rather than Apple id.  Was also surprised I had to enter my credit card t download a free app.
  6. Use the browser a little and let it learn my favorite pages.
  7. Download and install Chrome.  There are some websites I don’t like to visit in my primary browser so I can separate the cookies.  Facebook is one of them.  Also, I like to have two gmail accounts open – one for my mail and one for the coderanch book promos.  Having two browsers open lets me keep both logged in.

What’s next

  1. Relearn keyboard shortcuts.  I can get around in the meantime without them and without reading the instructions so this doesn’t need to happen on day one.
  2. Customize the dock
  3. Install open office
  4. Install developer tools
  5. Buy proper keyboard and trackpad
  6. Configure settings in Safari and Chrome.

The stats

Because what kind of tech blog doesn’t post the details:

  • 15 inch monitor
  • 2 GHz quad core processort
  • 8 GB RAM (my previous machine only had 1 GB and RAM is my constraining force.  Granted my previous computer was six years old.)


When I turned on the Mac, my first thought was “it feels like home.”  I can’t believe it has been 12 years since I last had a Mac.  It’s nice to see it again.  It’s also nice to see how much has changed (internet) and how much has stayed the same (menu structure.)  Windows “moved everything” with Office 2007 and it looks like with Windows 7.  Yet my Mac knowledge that is out of date by a decade was enough to find things without instructions.  That says something about usability.


The story continues

3 thoughts on “my first mac in 12 years

  1. Jeanne,

    Get some $15, 1.25x magnification reading glasses and turn on all your darned pixels! : )


  2. Pingback: first weekend with my new mac | Down Home Country Coding With Scott Selikoff and Jeanne Boyarsky

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