Using a Macintosh

I’ve been a bit slow learning how to use the Apple online services and how  to use their integration with the iLife software on a a Mac computer.  The correct address for the Apple Mac version of this Blog is Barry Stocker’s Weblog

I’ve now been using a MacBook (white 2.4 GHz) for about 4 weeks.  The MacBook is the basic Apple Macintosh laptop/notebook computer.   It’s been  a highly positive experience with the hardware and with the Mac OS X.5 Leopard software.  The MacBook is very portable, not as portable as the MacBook Air but very portable by most standards.  I’ve been carrying it round with a shoulder bag and hardly felt the weight.  I’ve edited documents and watched dvds on it in quite cramped conditions on long distance buses.  It fits nicely on the lap without feeling much weight and does not create too much heat, certainly when my legs are covered.  OS X takes some getting used to after years of exclusively Windows experience but it is not a very steep learning curve.  I put some labour into the process through a study of David Pogue’s Mac OS X Leopard: The Missing Manual (O’Reilly and Partners).

Obvious advantages include an uncluttered desktop.  The Mac OS does  not allow the desktop to fill with icons.  Icon disappear when the computer shuts down.  Widgets are reached through pulling up a reserve desktop, which is the only place widgets can be stored.  Some are preinstalled like weather  and calender.  I’ve downloaded some others from the Apple website, including one that monitors RAM, available space on discs and all storage devices, CPU usage, internet activity.  
The computer has a video camera installed, which be used very easily as a normal camera,  It integrates very smoothly with iChat (which includes video chat), Photo Booth (takes photos) and iPhoto (photograph library).
There is an automatic back up application Time Machine which does a complete back up to a connected external hard drive every hour.  All back ups are kept for  day, and then just one back up remains from that day.  It works with no complication and is a great back up function.  
Despite what the more extreme Apple fans claim, Macs can certainly freeze up, however, I found that the more I used the Mac the less problems there are of that kind.  There is an unconscious habit forming process behind this, the most conscious part of this is I find it helps to keep an eye on which applications are on, easily done through checking the dock and seeing which applications are in the dock and have a light underneath.  
Interface with iTunes and iPod is perfect, as is he interface with dot mac online services, which  will appear next month in an improved form under the name of MobileMe.  
Other great touches.  The caps lock key is a bit sticky which avoids the problem of finding that you have accidentally typed several sentences in capitals.  You have to press the key a few seconds longer than the others so that you only get capitalisation where you ask for it.  
Power cord is attached to Mac with magnetic plug, so that tripping over cord leads to the plug disconnecting not pulling the computer to the floor.   

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