Monday, October 14, 2013

My Love/Hate relationship with my new Mac

Slightly over 10 years ago I bought an Advent home computer in PCworld. It really served us well and never gave any real problems especially once I upgraded it from Windows XP to Ubuntu. However, I recently decided that I should upgrade to something more modern and I decided that I needed to splash out an buy reasonably good hardware if I expected this new PC to last as long as its predecessor.

I was advised by friends to consider buying Apple. I don't have very happy experiences with Mac-OS, but my Mac loving friends tell me that I just needed to be more patient and once I learn the oddities of Mac-OS I would eventually fall in love with it.

I briefly considered buying an iMac 27", but I balked at paying almost €2k for a PC. Eventually I settled on buying a Mac mini and a separate ASUS 27" screen which reduced the price down to slightly over €900. Having the screen and PC in one unit is handy, but didn't justify doubling the price. Overall I am quite happy with my purchase, but my opinion of Mac-OS has not really been a love affair.

I really only have two problems with the new system
  1. I have an old HP OfficeJet 4500 which  should be capable of printring, scanning and faxing. However, due to a long standing fault in the paper feed mechanism it only works as a scanner. Linux just calls this a generic scanner and it works fine. Mac-OS recognizes it asa HP Officejet 4500, but even when I download a special driver from the HP web site it refuses to work (a helpful error message "internal error"). 
  2. The computer refuses to suspend when I select sleep from the system menu, but at least it does suspend OK based on an inactivity time.
However, there are also some features of Mac-OS that continue to annoy me e.g.:
  • There are a well documented set of control key combinations which are almost universally implemented in every computer system (e.g. crtl-C to cut, ctrl-V to paste etc.) It seems that Apple hate following any standard that they didn't invent themselves, but these key combinations are too well known to be ignored so they compromised by implementing them, but not with the control key. Instead they implement these with another key whose name that I don't know (it is in between the control and alt keys). This is OK once you practice using a Mac for long enough, but I still make the mistake of expecting the control key to work the same that it does in every other operating system.
  • Likewise the middle scroll wheel on the mouse works the wrong way on the Mac. I know that Apple probably claim that there is some reason why the way they implemented the mouse scroll button is better than everyone else, but anyone (like me) who uses more than one type of computer will hate when they don't go with the consensus,
On the plus side I find that there are normally more help documents online for Mac than there are for Linux.

I am a pretty persistent guy so I will stick it out a while longer before I take the nuclear option and install Ubuntu on my new system.


  1. You can adjust the scroll direction on the mouse easily enough. Drop over tomorrow.

  2. Thanks for the tip Colm. Once I knew there was a preference for the scroll wheel I found it fairly easy. Now if I could only find a preference to switch from cmd-C to ctrl-C. Do you know if this is possible?

  3. A friend on Facebook told me how to change from cmd-C to ctrl-C - I might even grow to love this Mac yet :-)