The Mac is in da house

Regular readers know that I have considered switching to Mac on some of my computers. Done. Checked. Completed. I pointed my browser to the Norwegian Apple online store and maxed out a 17 inch iMac. 2 GB ram, 2,16 Ghz CPU and 500 GIG disk. With wireless keyboard and wireless mighty mouse.

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It fits well into our living room. The 20 inch was out of the question. It was too high. But I need more screen real estate than the 17 inch screen on the iMac. So I have to add an extra screen. I know that it completely destroy the nice design of the iMac, but right now the solution is to place my old Eizo screen besides it.

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I’ll see if I can find a screen that looks better. Unfortunately, the 20 inch Apple Cinema Display is too large. Actually, I miss a desktop computer from Apple that is something between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro. Yes, I know. The iMac is supposed to be that missing link. But if I want a reasonably powerful Mac that I can run on a 20 inch Cinema Display… Not much to choose from.

Anyway, I am more than happy with my new computer. It is very silent. Boots from scratch in about 25 seconds (something that I never do because I simply put it to sleep. You know, that strange mode that always simply crashed my windows boxes…) It talks to the Windows box that acts as our home media server. It’s fast. And most important: everything just works! Yes, I know that this Mac can’t do anything completely new that my Windows box was unable to do. Point is that the Mac does everything that I need, and that everything is done slightly faster, easier and more stable than any of the windows boxes I have owned.

After two weeks with this Mac at home I had to order a Mac at work as well. Can’t keep on using that old IBM Laptop when I am getting used to this!

So far the most difficult task I have asked my Mac to solve is to browse and navigate my 32 000 images on the Windows server. I am using Aperture to do that. The two computers is connected through gigabit wired LAN. It works really well. Of all the image archive programs I have tried this is by far the best one.

And for the people that are extremely interested in Aperture and how it will handle large libraries. Here’s this year’s most boring video. Showing a quick browse of my more than 32 000 images large library. As you can see. It works very well. Remember, the images are stored on another computer on the network.

The last two weeks have been very busy, so I still have a lot to learn. All advice on great software, widgets and solutions are welcome. One question: I have two drives that I mount through the network from the windows box to access content from that machine. How do I set up the Mac so that these volumes will mount automatically when I start the Mac? Comments or email from you mac experts are welcome…

The Mac is in da house

29 thoughts on “The Mac is in da house

  1. How do I set up the Mac so that these volumes will mount automatically when I start the Mac?

    You connect to these volumes through AFP, right?

    All you need to do is to drag the mounted volume into System Preferences -> Accounts -> Your User -> Login Items. Remember to store the password on your keychain, if there are any. 🙂

  2. Congrats on the Mac!

    Admittedly I know very little about Aperture, but my impression was that it was a photo editing tool that would probably compete with Photoshop Elements. I did not realize that it managed catalogs as well.

    So Aperture beats Picasa and iPhoto handily?

  3. I would say that Aperture is the professional version of iPhoto. And that actually the most important part is the library. I would need Photoshop CS or Elements for the editing anyway.

    Aperture can be compared to Adobe Lightroom, iView MediaPro and Extensis Portfolio.

    In general, applications that let you administrate your library and do adjustments and apply filters on your images.

    For more advanced editing you would need The Gimp, Photoshop or something similar.

  4. …on my Windows box I used Adobe Photoshop Album for these tasks. I tried Picasa as well, but it was not easy enough to handle 32 000 images and browse them over the network.

  5. One of my big pain points is sharing photos with my extended family. I don’t want to maintain a web server to allow them to tunnel into my photo library. Currently, I upload a batch of photos, about every two months, to Shutterfly. I do this every two months because it’s a royal pain. The benefit is that family members can easily order any photos if they would like to.

    I believe Picasa has a photo sync feature that covertly uploads new photos to Picasa Web Albums. This feature is pretty alluring. I see there is an iPhoto-Web Album plugin, but I have a feeling auto sync is not part of the feature set.

    Simply clicking publish on a photo or set of photos might be good enough, though. Especially if there is some way to order photos directly from the web album. I like Flickr to highlight interesting photos, but I’d also like a place online to quickly and conveniently share the bulk of my library.

    This reminds me of another uploading pain: drastic impact to my web connectivity during uploads. Assuming the application suite does not bog down my MacBook, I can probably shape the traffic with my handy-dandy Linksys router running dd-wrt. Sounds like fun. 🙂

    I have not used any photo management software in depth, but I get the feeling Picasa is what you’d expect in a Google app. Meaning, it has some cool wiz-bang features – lots of cool features – but the UI has some issues. Mainly I’m talking about the UI for management things: batch processes, etc. I expect this from Google because I think the company is designed to create life-altering software, but not necessarily life altering design, if that makes any sense.

    It appears that, while I have particular needs, they aren’t the particular needs of a professional, and perhaps that’s the difference. I will definitely be trying iPhoto with an eye 🙂 to doing more photo management with software rather than in the filesystem.

  6. Benjamin Aker says:

    Congratulations! Now you’ve just got to hide the huge nest of cables behind it. May I suggest rerouting all cables via the back panel of the cabinet? 🙂

  7. I have a post on how to make your mac behave differently in different locations here

    The AppleScript I mention in the post shows one way of automatically mounting remote disks every time you log in – among other things you might want to do when you log in. I use it, and it works like a charm.

    Don’t hesitate to ask if anything is unclear.

  8. Benjamin:
    I agree. Have a look at this

    There is actually a hole in the desk, to let the cables go straight down and away….

    I only need five cables:
    – Power to the mac
    – USB to the PowerMate
    – USB to my iPod
    – Power to the Eizo
    – DVI to the Eizo

    In the image linked above you can see that it looks slightly better. The main problem now is of course the ugly Eizo screen…

  9. bjhess:
    No, I never tried to import my 32 000 images into iPhoto. The main problem is that iPhoto can only operate on your images when they are stored locally. I prefer to have my archive on another server that is running 24/7. This makes my images available on the other computers on the network and in windows media center on the TV in our living room.

    But, there is good possibilities that iPhoto would have managed all of my images. With the 500 GIG internal drive of the iMac I have enough room. I haven’t tried mostly because I am satisfied with Aperture.

  10. The iMac is an “all-included” type of computer. Everything is in the box with the screen. The computer only needs a power cord to operate.

    But, as mentioned I need a couple of extra cables because of the extra equipment.

    And, by the way – I need six cables. Forgot one in the list above:
    – Network cable to the mac

    Because of the huge amounts of data that I transfer between the computers in my home I need a full, cabled, gigabit LAN. Can’t use the built in WLAN of the iMac.

  11. @Eirikso: Wow, that network access thing is a major hindrance. My photos are also out on the network. It’s almost impossible to believe iPhoto would have that limitation, but sure enough, it does. I’ll have to look into a third party solution like iPhoto Library Manager before putting down the cash for Aperture.

  12. I’m also a “fan” of cabel, but just because it’s faster than the wireless systems. And that we just don’t know what that…where is it…. cabel might just not be that good for you!

    Cool! You have a tv-mac? But where is the dvd-player? The iMac is not that “all-included” is it?

    Would be nice if you took us on a “guided tour” with your iMac. What’s your impression compared to pc, when it comes to your over-all-included use of software etc.?

  13. The DVD-player is also included. You pop the DVD or CD into a slot on the right hand side of the screen.

    Still, it lacks a TV-tuner. I’ll look into some of the solutions from Elgato, but I haven’t found anything that looks very promising regarding a proper EPG for norwegian channels and complete integration into Front Row.

    And, I’ll be back with my experiences and general impression of the Mac compared to my experience with windows. So far I am utterly impressed with the speed, simplicity and functionallity.

  14. I use Elgato EyeTV 200. It uses the EPG from that works with all Norwegian channels except TV2 and TV2 Zebra (why watch your competitor’s channels 😉 ). The EPG itself is free, but you have to pay to be able to program EyeTV remotely from tvtv.

    EyeTV had a fairly good integration with Front Row in a previous version, but they have now removed it. Maybe Apple did not like the way they made it look like EyeTV were part of Front Row.

  15. Is it easy to set up a dual screen solution on OSX? I have an old powermac with a screen card with digital and analog output and a 19 Inch and a 15 inch monitor. The problem is that I dont get a picture on the 15 inch and Displays under System preferences doesnt contain any information on dual screen setups like Windows XP does,

  16. On my new iMac it couldn’t be easier. I just plugged it in and it started working. If I disconnect while the machine is running it instantly rearrange all windows to the iMac screen. When I connect it again it pops up as extra desktop space…

  17. MAGDALENA says:

    Dear Sir/Madam

    Am looking for Apple macintosh imac computer desk top to buy and to learning more how to use this for edith picture.


  18. Hehe. Check the date on this post. I linked to it to show where my new iMac 24″ needed to be fit in. In the space where my old 17″ is placed there’s only 46.5 cm height. The new 24″ is 45 cm without the stand, so I removed it and the 24″ is now nicely placed where the 17″ in in the image above.

    I linked to this old post on twitter today because I had a discussion about removal of the stand on my new 24″

  19. Terje says:

    Hi Eirik,

    I’m about to convert to mac after being exposed to the iphone for two days. I plan to hide it as a present to my wife, thats what I would call “to fluer i en smekk”. So a simple q to the guru; what should I buy? I have done zero research upfront. Req spec is simple; living room friendly, portable, no advanced stuff, recreational like spotify ++

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