Bought a New Mac

Bought a new MacBook Pro today. I may be able to warm up to it. You can switch on PC-style tapping of the trackpad in order to click, which is a Really Good Thing. And when I hooked up the big ViewSonic monitor, the OS had no trouble adding a second screen. Yippee!

OS X is a bit too spiffy and glitzy for me. Those tumescent icons in the Dock, swelling up as you slide toward them — urggh. I actually like the clean, professional look and feel of Windows XP. Always have, since it was Windows 95. (That is to say, I use XP exclusively in Classic mode. I would not go near the native graphic design of XP waving an overripe banana.)

My main usage will be for music. So I went through the online video tutorials for GarageBand. They’re much too brief. The reigning spirit of the Mac seems to be, “Look! See how EASY it is?” So as a result, they don’t get into the nitty-gritty in the tutorials, or the Help file either. I guess they don’t want to admit there is any nitty-gritty.

I looked in the Help file for information on how to hook up my M-Audio Ozone (a USB MIDI keyboard), and the Help file made it look like a no-brainer. Just plug it in and GB will see it! (It’s EASY!)

Not true, of course. GB didn’t see it. Since I’m not a complete novice, I jetted off to the M-Audio website and downloaded the latest driver. Installing it was very quick and painless. After a restart, GB saw the Ozone. But I was left with the feeling that Apple are too pleased with themselves by half.

By the way … the Ozone? It’s a perfectly swell little piece of kit, all except for the keyboard. And one or two other little details, such as the way the lettering is molded on the rear panel. I can’t read it with my glasses or without them. But having a lightweight 2-octave MIDI keyboard that doubles as an audio interface is extremely pleasant.

The keyboard, however, totally bites. It is the worst MIDI keyboard I have ever played (and I’ve played a few). Imagine pushing your fingers into spongecake.

I have high hopes for the computer itself, though.

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1 Response to Bought a New Mac

  1. Hi Jim. Nice to discover your blog. I use both Mac OS and Vista daily and am annoyed and delighted by both. For efficiency, I try to configure my computers similarly, seeking out programs like Ableton Live and Izotope Ozone/RX that run on both. Foxmarks and Gmail are two other sanity savers.

    By the way, you can disable the Mac’s icon-bulging by right-clicking (ahem, Control-clicking) on the Dock and selecting “Turn magnification off.”

    Agreed on the cheapo keyboards. One test I do is playing the black keys at the very top. On good-feeling keyboards, the pivot point is way back in the case.

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