Taking the iMac plunge: configuration advice?

Windows 98 and Windows 7 have been the only two decent platforms in the past 15 years, IMO, although I haven’t had all of the interim versions. Vista almost tipped me over the edge. I’m just sick and tired of all the damned glitches and software incompatibility issues and upgrades that are issued without being fully debugged. ::shakes fist at Microsoft::

I agree with the above advice that the 27" model is better, given the user-upgradeable memory and the insanely beautiful 5K screen.

I use a Magic Mouse (the original one). One thing you will want to do, coming from the PC world, is to go into System Preferences (analogous to Control Panel, accessible from the Apple Menu in the upper left of the screen), find the Mouse preference pane, and turn “Secondary click” on. This will make the mouse respond differently to presses on the right and left sides, just like a PC mouse, even though there are no visible buttons on the mouse. This will make your transition much easier.

You should also note that, by default, scrolling is opposite from what you are used to on a PC. On Windows (and on Macs until 3 or 4 years ago), the dominant metaphor is that you use scrolling to move the view window on your document–you scroll down to move the view down; scroll up to move the view up. On Mac OS, the metaphor is more like it is on a smart phone. You are actually moving the document around in the view–you slide up on the mouse to move the document up (and thus you are looking at something lower down on the document); you slide down to slide the document down within the view. It seems extremely weird at first, but really does seem more natural after about a day. You can switch back to the old way, but I recommend against it.

I use the Apple wired keyboard, because I like to have a number pad. The wireless keyboards are very small. Macs will work with virtually any 3rd party keyboard, wired or wireless, but there are keyboards from Logitech and other companies that are made specifically for Macs (with the slightly different special keys labeled properly).

The iMacs all come with USB3, so attaching additional fast storage is pretty easy. There are also Thunderbolt ports, for which you can buy somewhat expensive, but fast external storage. That is really helpful if you have a lot of digital photo needs. I echo the recommendation above that you use Time Machine with an external drive, but know that, while it is an incredibly easy way to do backups, it should only be a first line solution (it seems to have a slightly higher failure rate than is necessary for really good backups). Get something like Super Duper or Carbon Copy Cloner to create bootable backups on a regular basis, and use BackBlaze or Crash Plan to do online backups.

If you end up really hating Mac OS, you can always use the built in BootCamp tool to create a Windows partition and turn the iMac into a PC (Og forbid).

A bit off topic, but why would you do that, seeing as that is built in to OSX? You can take full screenshots, portions or entire windows. Screenshots are saved to your desktop as PNGs, which is better than both JPEG (lossy, which works especially badly for non-photo pictures, for example screenshots with lots of straight lines and gradients) and TIFF (much bigger file sizes, mainly due to TIFF offering way more than is necessary with or you will even get with a screenshot. Also, depending on the program, may be uncompressed).

Is that really the case with the 21" iMac? If so, I dodged a bullet as I have the 27" model.

When I bought my iMac, I purchased it with two 4 gigabyte dims. When I received it, I replaced the existing 4 gig dims with two Corsair Vengeance 32 gigabyte DDR3 1600 MHz dims from Amazon, giving me a total of 64 gigabytes of memory. I spent $600 less than I would have had I included the memory when I was in Apple’s configuration tool.

Everything from Apple is overpriced, so if you can get your memory somewhere else, and you can, I strongly encourage yo to do so.

I use the Magic Mouse 2 and love it, well, that is until the batteries die, which is frequent…and to all you smarty-panties out there, yes, I turn it off when not in use.

I have the trackpad, but don’t use it, because I don’t like it. I can’t deal with gestures, possibly because I am too old-school, or maybe just too old. Heh. The mouse is good enough for me, and it is a really good mouse.

As someone said upthread, yes, you can use your iMac with any router. I have mine connected through an old Belkin.

I have a Wacom tablet as well; the Bamboo Fun. I use it for drawing in Photoshop and Illustrator, but if it weren’t for the stylus, I would not use it.

I strongly echo this. If you can get the 27" definitely do so. You will not regret it. The display is nothing less than amazing, and the extra real estate will come in handy before you know it.

Also, I would spring for the AppleCare Protection Plan. You won’t need it until something goes sideways, and when it does, you’re covered. My hard drive crashed recently. I called AppleCare, gave them my information, explained the problem, had it diagnosed by a technician, and a new hard drive was ordered for me the next day. I took the computer into the Apple Store and the following day I had a new, slightly larger hard drive. I took the computer home and restored my latest Time Machine backup and I was back in business, for no cost to me other than for the gasoline it took to drive to the Apple Store.

Oh yeah, use Time Machine. It’ll save your life.

Huh. I did not know that. Thanks for the tip.

Glad to help. I use the functionality a lot.

Seriously. My 27" screen is just barely enough. Pretty much every time I fire up Photoshop, I think about how nice it would be to add another 27" display to hold toolbars and palettes. I look back and am amazed how we managed to do anything back in the days of 9" screens.

And they really need to rename “Time Machine” to reflect its ability to save your butt when things go badly. I’ve used it twice so far - once to recover from a failed drive and again to migrate to a new Mac. Each time after recovery, it was as if nothing happened. Icons were right where I left them, new emails were still sitting in the inbox waiting to be read, etc.

My Macs keep coming with Magic Trackpads and so now I have two extra ones… maybe three. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to bring one to work! :smack:

Now I must be off to do research to find out if a decent driver actually exists.

After spending a half hour with a rep at the Apple Store, who answered all remaining questions, I ordered an iMac 27 with a CD drive and Time Machine. It arrives on Friday (woot!). I only got 8MB RAM, as I can upgrade it myself. I won’t get to use it much, as my wife tends to bogart the desktop, but I can suffer with my laptop until it starts to go wonky, then buy an Apple to replace it.

I can already feel the oppressive shackles of Windows being thrown off.

+1 for this. Having even just a 256G SSD for the main drive and then as many $50 USB hard drives for storage is awesome. Keeps the computer snappy and responsive! I just installed and SSD into a 4 year old mac mini and it is 10x faster for many things.
And as amanset already pointed out, shift+command+4 is quick and easy. I do it to catch screen grabs of presentations and videos all the time for future reference.

Congratulations. I am confident you and your wife will absolutely love it.

You didn’t mention anything about AppleCare. Yes, it is a hard-to-justify expense at first. However, take if from me, eventually, you will experience an issue and you will be glad you have it, if you do. The AppleCare representatives can diagnose and resolve most issues over the phone.

I got that, as well. I really like Apple’s business model, with knowledgeable people on the sales/help floor, in-house setups if you need it, free classes for the technically challenged, etc. The guy that helped me said he’s been seeing a lot of customers recently who are finally fed up with Microsoft, and who appreciate the local stores that can actually help you when you need it.

Yeah, in my personal life, I left Microsoft years ago. If certain people at work weren’t so convinced we need it, I would have gotten rid of it there as well.

OSX is a superior operating system, with a superior user interface, providing a superior user experience. And the hardware is simply gorgeous. Every time I have to use my Windows computer at work it feels like I’ve gone backwards.

Great news! Enjoy.

I have been using OS X at home since Tiger (2007ish) and I love it.

I envy folks who can use OS X at work–it must be such a breeze working in a Linux/Unix corporate environment on a machine that has Unix roots.

Friday delivery has now become Monday delivery. Where’s the pouty smilie?

What did Steve Jobs say? “And one more thing…” Should you not like the keyboard and mouse/trackpad that come with the iMac, you can buy others that connect through Bluetooth. I use a Logitech mouse and a PC-style keyboard with my MacBook Pro. I don’t know why Apple doesn’t put proper Delete, Home, and End keys on their wireless keyboards. (I know Fn+Backspace is Delete. It should be one keypress, damnit!)

The same Bluetooth can run your audio. No more wires!