Techno [Philia] [Phobia]

Mac Pro Distinguished from Power Mac G5 by its...
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I am writing from my temporary work station on the dining room table in the limited absence of my MacPro, on which all of my working documents are located. Hopefully, some movement on those (relatively minor) repairs later today, and I can’t complain: it took 3 and a half years to screw up the Mac, a feat accomplished in 3 hours on the former and forever-forgotten Dell. And BTW, for those who live in this area, there is a computer repair facility associated with Virginia Tech that is a certified Apple repair shop. I am happy to have not needed their services before, but glad to know they are so relatively close.

So, it happens that the new Mac operating system OSX 10.7, aka Lion, became available yesterday. I’m usually not an early adopter, but since I am chained temporarily to the MacBookPro laptop, I installed it over a period of numerous hours–a download of almost 4 GB. First impressions are limited; I’ve only just begun to tweak. But for those who users of Mac Mail, the new installation obliterated my filtered mailboxes, but has some nice features to aggregate related emails. The message search is much improved.

The major DUH! of the new OS so far is that the mouse scroll wheel works exactly OPPOSITE of the way we’ve used them for more than a decade–a real shift towards emphasis on touch-screen user interface–which is possible on the desktop only if I move from mouse to the mouse-pad-sized Mac Trackpad, which looks pretty slick, but I’m committed to another: the Logitech Revolution programmable, tricked out with hotkeys for my most-used apps: Evernote, Notational Velocity, Pathfinder and Chrome. (Asleep yet?)

My chief dread is getting the barely-luggable MacPro back. Because it lives in a very heavy custom-crafted oak desk (a barter with Phoenix Hardwoods for a large walnut log) it is possible to rebook all the connections only by spelunking. The mountain won’t come to Mohammed. I have to climb into the bottom of the desk with a headlamp and move in ways that even a younger human body would resist. Much huffing and cussing is required. And possibly a LifeAlert: I’ve reconnected my computer, and I can’t get up!

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Published by fred

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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3 Comments

  1. I’m sending this post to my husband. He just bought an iPad, and learning to touchscreen and to get to his apps is an all new experience. Wow. Even as a mere observer, I’m overwhelmed.

  2. Hi Fred. My wife Kathy sent me your blog on your Mac struggles and told you of mine with the iPad. Like all new technology, it is oversold and doesn’t do all that’s promised easily.

    I’ve seen that since my days at IBM in 1962. They were promoting a new line of large scale computers that were supposed to be the be-all and end-all of the day. The machinery part was not fully developed and it took many on site technicians weeks to get it running. They practically lived there at the account for months until it ran somewhat reliably. The software/OS was also not fully finished and the customer had to settle for a partial system until the full version was ready. Eventually, things ran smoothly until the next upgrade/update of the software. So, what’s new?

  3. Re the Mac Pro: no hardware problems were found (I knew I couldn’t find them) and I pick up the machine today. But I think I found a software issue–an app (Pathfinder) that never notified of updates, and I was running a Leopard version. I’m hoping that explains the slow startup and other probs I was having. For first impression of Lion, there are some improvements and some steps backwards. Time will tell. I have already learned to reverse my reflexes with the mouse wheel (and that “feature” can be reset in preferences if it drives me too crazy.

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