Pride Gulp

By | March 12, 2011

Swallowed my pride and bought an Air. It was cheaper than the other options and people I respect are happy with theirs. And it’s nice. But the OS is as quirky as any Windows machine. EG:

  • no apparent way to turn off system-wide spellchecking without some system-level hack. 
  • in Pages, wherever you open a document, from whatever folder, the save prompt won’t, by default, be in that folder. 
  • to use the App Store the first time you may need to log in and out again, despite it registering and displaying your credit card details and other account information correctly. No error message appears; just nothing happens when you try to buy something.
  • when programs install, there’s no obvious way to find them. Indeed, to me the installation process is only slightly less cumbersome than in Windows. I’m still confused as to which icon to click to launch an app.
  • backgrounds: Windows gives you many more options for setting colors and tones. Unless I’m missing something. Why can I only have a choice of eight colors for my background? Why not all the colors of the rainbow? 
  • the Mac App Store is cute, but misleading. First off, it’s cheaper to buy the iWorks components there than take up the offer of preinstalled versions. Secondly, you can’t download any trial versions–at least I’ve not found any–at the App Store, whereas many of these apps are available as trial versions if you visit their homepage. I know this is not solely a Mac failing, but it shouldn’t happen. We’re going backwards. 

There’s no question Macs are better designed. The Air is a very nice machine. I’m happy with mine, though I still glance across at my Toughbook. 

But what intrigues me is that there are just as many frustrations for the first time user, let alone a refugee from Microsoft, as with any Windows machine. There are plenty of forums where people exchange their frustrations (and some extremely fiddly solutions). And yet you rarely hear folk talk of these gripes. 

Inevitably one has to adapt to a new UI. I’ve tried to look beyond that and point out areas where I feel the OS is either illogical or deliberately limiting. I hope time (or fanboyz) put me wrong. 

3 thoughts on “Pride Gulp

  1. Hanson

    I’m in the process of being “Mac de-virgined” and getting an Air next week as well. Your comments above echo what’s been running through my mind for weeks now. Eeesh. We’ll see….

    As a (?) precursor, I bought an AirPort Extreme (their wireless router) some days ago and boy, was it hard to set up, and the instructions that came with it were pitifully poor. I’ve set up quite a few modems and routers in the past, so I’d like to think that I’m not new at this, but this device was tricky. Gave up and went back to the shop for help to install. Still trying to get the hang of customising it for other needs. Fail, for now.

    **Sheepishly hopeful**

  2. Mark

    Just checked the calendar and April 1 isn’t for another two weeks. This post just might be for real…and the sky isn’t falling. Whoa.


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