Mac For A Month – 3) Frustrating First Days

I got the Mac last Thursday, really good service from Apple with a new product and they met my expectations with their delivery. I opened the package immediately to see the tiny little shining Mac Mini, it really looks good and would fit on almost any desk.

I didn’t have time to start using it on Thursday so I left the fun part until Friday. I plugged it in to my two monitors using the Thunderbolt cable I had already purchased.  But the computer didn’t start up, instead it was beeping constantly every 5 seconds with nothing appearing on the monitors.  I spent few minutes checking the cables and thought about what I could possibly have missed – I can’t screw this up.  I said out loud “Do I really need to read the manual?!”

I had a brand new Mac and it wasn’t working! I took off the bottom plate to check inside and saw two empty memory slots. For a moment I thought I had purchased a computer without memory, and said to my colleagues “I hope these empty slots are for extra memory”. My colleague Warren responded with “Hey, you’re lucky, I have these two spare memory sticks laying on my desk, you can have them”.  I failed to realize I was being pranked – a little payback for something I did earlier that week, but that’s another story.  :)

Now finally up and running I installed few necessary programs: Outlook 2011, Chrome, Firefox plus a few others and started my daily tasks.  At first I was impressed, it was quick and looked really nice but I was about to find out that switching to a Mac wasn’t quite that easy.

The following things are not working at all:

  • Calendar appointments in Outlook 2011 can’t be less than 15 minutes or else they overlap. We log our time in 10-minute blocks. When I add 10 minutes to my calendar it takes up the space of 15. Adding 10-minute slots next to each other results in an overlapping mess
  • I have to open a new window to add appointments in Outlook 2011, it can’t be done inline.
  • I can’t double-click on a program window to maximize it.
  • There several issues when using LogMeIn in all browsers, Safari, Chrome and Firefox. (LogMeIn is a remote access service Lucidica uses for remote IT support.)
  • LogMeIn Rescue (a webapp we use for support) is not supported at all (this is really bad)
  • I don’t like the tiny difference between unread email and read email.

I still haven’t find anything that’s better in a Mac than in a PC. I am honestly not trying to dislike the Mac, I really want this to work properly. Unfortunately my computer experience is 100% coloured by Windows and the programs and methods I’m used to are not always working on a Mac. I am trying to be patient and find alternative ways of doing things. Additionally my list of complaints could change as the month goes on; there might well be fixes, workarounds or better ways to do things that I am not aware of yet.
Still, my Mac has frozen 3 times in the first 5 hours of using it; requiring a restart  every time.  However at the moment I don’t want to blame it on the Mac. I was calling on Skype using some USB headphones and  ever since I stopped using them it has been OK.

My first day was really hard, I had a very busy day and difficult jobs to do. I had to be patient with my clients and with the Mac :)  Believe me… it was hard.

Follow Kristján’s progress working with a Mac for a whole month, and catch up with the his previous attempt to buy the Mac in person here.

by Kristján Blöndal


Kristján is one of Lucidica's Engineers, providing IT support to SMEs in London.

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