The Mac way or….

One of the things I have learned in my support of Mac systems is that there is a specific (Mac) way to do things or there is no way.  The thing that makes Macs appealing for folks is that there is generally one proscribed way of doing functions on the machine.  The challenge for PC users is that when you seek out help,  you will often find there are 10 (20-30-1000) ways to accomplish a task.  You might have learned from one person a way of finding and document by using windows explorer.  You forget something in the steps, go to ask another person who never uses windows explorer, but always opens word and uses the search function in the file dialog window.  This is very frustrating for a new user.  As such, I find that the newer you are to using computers, the easier it is to transition to a Mac.

If you are a medium to advanced PC user, you will find the journey a bit more bumpy.  Since you know how to do things (drag and drop, cut and paste, shortcut keys, etc),  you quickly learn that there is now a new way of accomplishing these functions.  Experienced PC users generally find a way to get things done within an application.  The Mac ecosystem has very specified ways of accomplishing a task, often by using two different applications and there is no way to accomplish it otherwise.

For example, I decided to create a slideshow.  If you watch the training clips from Apple, you can just click on create slideshow in iPhoto and there you go.  I read that for more advanced, customizable slideshows, use Imovie….ok.  But what if you want to put the photos in a certain order in your iMovie slideshow after you have started the process…..bzzzt…not the Mac way.  You cannot change the order of slides once you have dropped the photos into iMovie.  You have to have done that already in iPhoto before you put them in iMovie.  And you have to know that the only place you can change the slide order is to create an album vs an event, put your pictures in the album, move them around as desired, and start all over with Imovie.  It is hard for me to describe the level of frustration I experienced as I had to learn all this over a two hour period.

I was working with another client who needed to move his categorized contacts from Outlook for Mac to an online program.  It turns out there is absolutely no way to do this.  Outlook for Mac provides only two options for exporting: 1) a comma delimited file of all contacts in your address that does not contain categories; 2) export via categories to an Outlook for Mac file that is only readable by another Mac.  It is not readable by a PC running outlook, nor is it exportable to any other format.  We were reduced to creating a spreadsheet and manually entering the categories in the appropriate column, sorting that spreadsheet and then exporting the applicable entries.

Macs have tremendous capabilities for video and photo editing.  If you are comfortable with the world that Apple has proscribed for the Mac, I find it a very stable and powerful environment.  Be forewarned, however, that interfacing with the rest of the technology world or trying to do things outside of the Mac way will be a challenge.

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