The Mac mini transition week three: trading pain for productivity

Having just completed my third week with my Mac mini, I'm happy to report that I'm in my happy place with my new computer. We're getting along fine. Thanks for all your help.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

Wait. What's that bright light behind my Mac mini? And what's with that Angel chorus?

OK, all better now.

After three full weeks with my new Mac mini, I finally feel that I'm in a good place with it. I feel productive and happy with my new computer. The transition was rough and I'm still getting used to it but a combination of awesome readers (you guys) and some incredibly generous vendors (TechSmith, Boinx, Aquafadas, Parallels, and others), the transition was far less painful than it could have been. In fact, those apps have helped me overcome my desire to return my Windows 7 laptop to its place of prominence on my desktop perch. Honestly, without your help, I would have taken the mini back to the Apple Store and not-so-nicely told them just how they could reshelve it and restore the 800+ buckazoids to my account.

After dozens of eyerolls, nervous coughs, throat clearings, 120dB cusswords, and terroristic murmurings against Cupertino's nerd population, I've arrived at my Mac happy place.

As one of my local Mac-addicted friends asked me a few days ago at our season's end pool party, "Still think you paid too much for it?"

"That's an interesting question", I retorted.

It must have been the Leinenkugel's Oktoberfests talking that made me answer so abruptly and yet also so ambiguously. Either that or the Kraken rum fumes emanating from another friend of mine who was painlessly lamenting the final weekend at the neighborhood pool that made me answer without a second thought. Yeah, that's what it was. I absolve myself.

Now that I've had enough time and B vitamins to ponder the question, I think that his point was well made. The look on his face spoke more directly to me than his words did. His smirkish squint said, "You get what you pay for, don't you?"

"Yep, I suppose that you do".

If I were to answer him right now, I'd say, "No, I don't think I paid too much".

Aside from a few initial bumps and heartaches, I'd say that my Mac experience has been pretty good if you consider that I've gone back and forth between loving and hating the blasted thing. The transition hasn't been easy because I've needed to stay productive during the changeover from Windows 7 to Mac OS X.

Despite all the oppositional commentary, Windows 7 and Windows 8 are very good operating systems. Linux is a fine desktop operating system. In fact, I've bounced back and forth between Ubuntu (and other Linux variants) and Windows for years as my primary desktop system.

But I'm happy with the Mac mini. It's a good little system. I don't experience any delays in launching apps. Once I fixed some permissions and reinstalled the OS, I haven't had any major problems to report.

My third week with the mini has been comfortable and easy-going.

I've learned the Apple Way of doing things.

I've learned how to:

  • Fix permissions
  • Reinstall the OS
  • Install applications
  • Uninstall applications
  • Reboot
  • Add new hardware and peripherals
  • Get IP printing to work
  • Deal with the Finder
  • Eject dmg images after installation
  • Close applications
  • Use keyboard shortcuts
  • Get Adobe Flash installed and working
  • Get Java installed and working
  • Stop worrying and love the bomb

The Apple Way is interesting for Windows and Linux users. It's kind of an opposite way to do things. It's very offputting at first. Plus, I still haven't found a way to see all of my running applications. I can do it easily enough on Linux, Windows, iOS, and Android but not so easily on Mac OS X.

I suppose that will come with time.

In the "old" days, when Mac users closed applications, they grabbed them with the mouse and put them into the Trash. I wondered, at first, if they were deleting their applications. They weren't. It was a strange way to get something off your desktop, I thought to myself. Strange indeed.

I haven't tried doing that on my Mac because I'm afraid that it will delete the application.

Now that the Mac OS is UNIX-based and an amalgam of NeXT and FreeBSD, I'm not sure what to think about some of the actions of days and Mac users gone by. I do think it's cool that I can eject dmgs and external drives with the old standby, Command-E. I used to love to use that combo when ejecting 3.5-inch floppy disks from a Mac. The mechanical eject sound was cool too—Zzzzizzzrrrizzz—click. I loved it.

I'm still looking for cool applications for my Mac mini.

Here are a few on my bucket list. Please tell me what your favorites are in each category so that I might be able to try them.

  • Desktop publishing
  • Cover art creation
  • Cartoon strip creation
  • eBook creation
  • Logo design
  • Drag and drop App creation
  • Animation (SouthPark-esque) creation

That's all I can think of right now. I have a Bamboo tablet, pen, and mouse that I got for a birthday present a few years ago that I could never make work satisfactorily on my Windows system. I'd like to try it on the Mac but I don't know which application would complement it best.

I'll have to rely on you to help me find great applications for my Mac.

In any case, I've enjoyed this week with my Mac and have overcome most of the obstacles that had me down at first. Thanks mostly to you. I appreciate your help, kindness, and patience.

I'm looking forward to my fourth and final weekly report to you next week on how it's going with my new mini. After that post, I'll update you on my progress, cool applications, my creations, and anything that I find that you might like as well.

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