Setting up an iMac A1311 – It was.. different

A couple of days ago, I set up an iMac A1311 for a local client of mine. All three components were very sleek, more pieces of art than computer. There were no wires other than the power and Ethernet cable, and it all looked good on the desk.

Apple supply a small manual (small in dimensions) which I needed to read before I could find the power button for the main part and the keyboard, and the mouse also has a power button in the same style as a Microsoft mobile mouse.

The ‘Welcome’ was graphical, extremely noisy, and seemingly unstoppable, but it did finally end and I asked the client to fill in the registration screen. It found the cable modem and then asked for activation. So far, so good.

However, the job wasn’t just to set it up. The client had a laptop stolen and, fortunately for her, I had not deleted the ‘backup’ of photos and music from the last time that she got into a mess with the laptop. There was also the task of installing Office for Mac on it.

MS Office for Mac took around 25 minutes to install, which was not good considering that it was the Student version containing only half of the applications I have on my Office Professional here.

Removing optical disks after use is not the most intuitive for a dyed-in-the-wool PC user, no button to push on an iMac..

Next, I inserted the dual layer DVD containing previously saved files, and opened the Documents folder such that I could drag and drop them across. This operation took 45 minutes to move maybe 6gb of saved stuff.

Now to install an HP C4280. Oops, no official drivers. They come via the iMac software update which took a while as there were a few other updates to come down too. The worst is that it all took a while and I still didn’t know if the printer driver was one of the updates. There was absolutely no indication. However, the basic printer function did work afterwards, but I never found out how to work the other C4280 functions.

Finally job done.. stress level high but falling as I hadn’t been near a Mac in almost three years.

Back at base, I looked for info on the A1311 and found that it was about the same price overall as my PC, but that isn’t a good thing because my PC has double the amount of screen real estate, twice the memory, more than twice the storage, and is faster.

The Mac keyboard and mouse are both cute, but small and don’t appear to be made for hard, prolonged work.

I would never buy a desktop computer which I could not easily expand. For me, the A1311 is a large, immobile laptop requiring visits to the Apple Store if I want more memory or a larger hard drive. I can’t change out the motherboard, CPU and RAM in an hour and have a much better computer at the I can with my PC.

The A1311 is what it is, a very smart looking modern all in one computer. If I had lots of disposable cash, it would make a really nice centre piece, a talking point. I wouldn’t use it much, maybe run updates now and again.

A PC is a cheap and cheerful workhorse, something which you can let the grand-kids on. If something breaks, it is cheap to fix, cheap to feed, an omnivore, and one doesn’t mind if it takes a bashing.

I will always be a PC, but I can see the allure of an iMac. An iMac is all about allure, the iLife, but I am not prepared to become a victim of the Apple Store. Not now, not ever, no apologies.

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