May 31, 2008

New 24" Intel iMac: Initial Impressions

You may recall my recent post about my plans to buy a new computer soon. Well, soon became now, and I took delivery of a 24" iMac on Thursday. I set it up late Thursday afternoon and spent way too much time yesterday learning how to use it. Intuitive my ass! But I'm sure I'll get the hang of it soon. Anyway, I figured it was time to write my first post from the new computer, and what better topic than to share some initial (very initial) impressions of the new iMac.

I don't know what I was expecting, but this thing is huge! Huge enough that I'm going to need a new desk. I feel like I'm sitting in the front row of a movie theater. Fortunately, I needed a new desk anyway, as this one threatens to collapse regularly and is literally held together with a bit too much duct tape.

Hooking up the iMac could not have been any easier, and I was up and running in less than 5 minutes. I have read mixed reviews of the new aluminium keyboard, but I really like it. The mouse, however, is another story. I've used many different types over the years, and this has to be one of the worst. The scroll button on top is the only redeeming quality, and I admit that it works extremely well. However, I am going to need a replacement that fits my large hands fairly soon.

The screen, as has been widely reported, is highly reflective. Still, it is not nearly as bad in this regard as I thought it might be. Since I will be using this iMac mostly as a digital darkroom for Photoshop work, I have it setup in an area where I have very good control over the lighting. I could not recommend this machine for use in an environment where the user did not have such control. Also, it is apparent to me that this screen is consumer grade in quality. When viewed with a solid gray desktop, the left third is clearly brighter than the right third. Since I so rarely print photos, I think I can live with this. We'll see. will not make a final decision until I do some calibration.

It is too early for me to comment on an OS with which I am unfamiliar (i.e., Mac OS X). Everything is working fairly well so far, but I have a great deal to learn. I do have one question that you Mac users might be able to answer for me. The instructions I've seen for Exposé tell me to use the F10-F12 keys, but all these seem to do is impact iTunes. Is there any way to get Exposé to work while iTunes is running?

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