Last week I got a new desktop machine for the office – a 20-inch G5 iMac, complete with Tiger installed. The 20-inch screen is gorgeous and actually feels far larger than the 17-inch I’ve been using. The response of the 2Ghz G5 does indeed feel somewhat snappier and quicker than the 1 Ghz G4, but not hugely dramatic for everyday use – though I’m not rendering video or doing lots of audio processing that would really test processor speed.
It’s always interesting going through the process of setting up a new machine to work with all my quirky ways.
Lately I’ve been primarily using the Mac mail client as my primary desktop mail software – the main reason I shifted away from Thunderbird is the difference in handling forwarding of multiple messages to a single destination – In Thunderbird, when you select multiple messages in a folder and click on Forward, it opens up a separate window with one message in each window, and you have to address each message individually.
The Mac mail app, on the other hand, puts all of the forwarded messages sequentially together inside a single message which you can then send off. That feels far more logical to my way of thinking (though I do think Pine’s handling is probably even better – it asks you if you want to forward the messages as a MIME digest and then bundles them up as attachments to a message).
I configured the mail client and then sent it off to get my mail. Because the Mac mail app wants to grab a lot of your mail to manage locally on the desktop, even with a 100MB connection to the mail server it took overnight to import all of my mail into the app – I hate to think of what it would’ve been like if I had tried that at home through my so-called “broadband” Comcast connection, where I typically am lucky to get 500kb/sec transfer speeds.
The mail app seems to be working just fine, though in the Tiger version I notice that occasionally it opens new messages with the window positioned in the middle of the message instead of at the start.
I installed the latest Firefox and made it the default browser (there are still too many pages that don’t work right with Safari, including some UW NetID authentication pages) – it seems like there’s something a little counter-intuitive about having to use Safari’s preferences to set the default browser to not be Safari. I used Torisugari’s excellent Bookmarks Synchronizer Firefox extension to get my bookmarks synced via .Mac (I’ll have to try it with a local WebDAV server too). There’s a good page on how to install and configure Bookmark Synchronizer on Jonathan Hudson’s studio2f blog.
When I upgraded the 17-incher to Tiger, the apps for handling Microsoft Office documents got reset from Office 2004 to Appleworks (!). On the new machine those documents are opened with the test-drive version of Office 2004. I went to the trouble of installing the full Office 2004 so I wouldn’t get the annoying message from the test drive about how many days are remaining on the test license. It’s interesting – I use Excel occasionally, but I almost never use Word any more – it’s just gotten way too big and cumbersome for my needs these days. I find almost all of my text editing needs can be handled in an email editor, in BBEdit, or in Ecto. If I need to do any formatting, it’s almost always for a web page rather than printed paper.
I’ll report more on further adventures with the new machine as I go.