I burn hot and cold about the probable and impending MACification of my computer life. I have so many questions (and thanks to a recent and very informative email from David Sobotta, lots of answers and great links! Thanks, Dave!)

Can I get by with an iMAC with beefed up RAM vs a MAC-Pro? Or will I be sorry about the lack of upgrade path while enjoying the small footprint of this all-in-one monitor and CPU? (But then, wouldn’t my custom-designed CPU tower space in my Phoenix Hardwoods-bartered desk be wasted then?)

And very importantly for my future computing health: is there an ergonomic or MS-Natural-type keyboard like the one I’ve used for many years that can be used with a MAC? I can’t handle keys all straight in a QWERTY row. My wrists want very much to stay in line with my forearms and not deviate toward the little finger side. Put the bend in the keys, not in the wrist, I say.

That vanishingly thin little keyboard that ships with the iMAC is sexy, but it makes my arms ache to look at it.

So, I’m waiting for LEOPARD, the OS upgrade that next month will replace some other kind of ferocious animal (TIGER?) I know I’ll be happy once the dust settles, but frankly, I dread getting there.

Speaking of which (and more later)…PLEASE visit Fragmented Fred’s Amazon Offerings in the right sidebar (title bar click opens all current sales categories–with more to come). If you have Amazon purchases in mind and would go through my little shopping-portal to buy, then some small portion of your pennies will end up in the My First MAC cookie jar. Adsense also helps, thanks very much! Then, after the computer purchase (a year later?) I’ll need to be saving to support printing of Book Two (on which I must get busy just about NOW!)

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Fred:

    I recommend going with the full-fledged MAC pro and not the IMac. It will give you much more expandability and also have the power to handle resource intensive programs like Photoshop, which demand more and more resources with each upgrade.

    Memory is a key for smooth use of image processing programming. I’m running 16GB on my Mac pro and use every bit of it on video and photo work. As digital cameras grow in megapixels and files get bigger you will find that you need every bit of memory.

    Also, you may want to go to a two-monitor setup with expanded graphics capability. You can’t do that on an IMac.


  2. Shoot…. Keep me posted, Fred. I am contemplating a similar move, and after a lifetime of standard PC platform systems, I am more than a little worried. How (for example) do I turn it on?

  3. I went to the Apple store yesterdy with the intention of buying a new MacBook (not the Pro, though). But I asked about the release of Leopard. If I bought the MacBook yesterday, I would have to buy the Leopard upgrade separately next month. But if I waited until next month to buy the MacBook, it would come loaded with Leopard, supposedly at no greater price. So I will continue to bang on this “old” machine even as it runs more slowly by the day. I’m glad you brought up the whole Leopard discussion because it kept me from making a mistake.

  4. Fred, you can use any USB keyboard with the Macs. (of course, the meta keys will have the wrong labels, but they’re in the correct places.)
    so if you have a Microsoft Natural keyboard now with a usb plug, you can use it.

    Doug, I’m jealous. I’m waiting for leopard, but intend to upgrade from my G5 to a mac pro when it gets here.