The UX of the Mac Mini (My First Mac)

I bought two iPod Shuffle mp3 players for my kids.  While in the store, I looked at the program GarageBand.  It was pretty slick.  In addition to learning tutorials on piano and guitar, it had real artist lessons on their songs.  Sting taught you guitar for Roxanne, Alex Lifeson taught guitar on Spirit of the Radio.  It was cool.

Coincidentally, we have been wanting to get an additional computer for the house.  Too much homework and not enough places to work.  I went out on a limb…I bought my first Mac.  It was a tough decision, because Macs are more expensive compared to a Dell.  However, GarageBand did it for me.  I wanted the kids to have access to a slick music editor like this.

I decided on a Mac Mini plugged into the HDTV in our music room.  We have three amps, microphone, guitar, bass and drums down there, so it seemed the right place to record.  It didn’t make sense for me to get a iMac since the HDTV would do a perfectly serviceable job.  Plus, it saved some money.  I also bought the wireless keyboard, trackpad, Logitech webcam and an iMic to plug in the guitar.

I spent about two days downloading updates, apps and configuring.  I downloaded some lessons on GarageBand for the kids.  They kept asking if they could play games on it.  Since the xBox is on the same television, I said, “No games on the Mac.  Just music and homework!”  They think I am horrible.

Using the Mac has been a strange experience.  Generally, nothing gave me “Unexpected Wow!”  It was a polished graphic design.  Some interactions seemed slick.  I really missed WIndows “Snap”, where I could maximize the screen by dragging the window to the top, or just by double-clicking the header.  The maximize/minimize buttons were tiny and I kept having trouble finding them.  One thing I hate is that Maximize only scales vertically.  I want it to be bigger.  They have an icon on the top right, but that goes “full screen”, when what I really want is just maximize available vertical/horizontal space without losing the dock.

Finding documents seemed a tiny bit hard, but I imagine I will get used to it.  Gestures on the trackpad were useful, but I had to invert the direction of the swipes.  I am too used to the Windows style, not the iPad style.  Overall, it just felt “fine”.  Nothing special.  I am really surprised.  I thought the Mac would be delightful in a hundred ways.

Maybe when I spend more time with it.  I still haven’t used GarageBand or helped the kids with homework on it.  Let’s see how that goes.

One Reply to “The UX of the Mac Mini (My First Mac)”

  1. Tip: Apple+Spacebar

    This opens up spotlight, the search function for OSX. It is absolutely wonderful for opening common files and applications.

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