Observations of two months of Mac

📅 Posted 2015-03-04

This was not intended to be a whinge-fest, just a list of a general observations of annoyances from using a Mac for work for the past 2 months.

I’ve used Macs many times before, and in fact using one is a bit nostalgic as it reminds me of high school where the computers were mostly Macs. But. There are a few niggling issues that are annoying but don’t really stop me from completing my work. They just make life that little bit harder.

This is all from my experiences on a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014). Here are my observations:

Things I like

  • It’s thin and light for a 15" laptop
  • The screen is gorgeous
  • The metal casing feels like it is really good quality
  • It’s fast. Or at least on-par with what I’m used to at home. But connected to a corporate network doesn’t seem to completely kill performance.
  • Seems stable and not too much rainbow pinwheel action
  • In-place upgrades to the OS seem to be pretty seamless and trouble-free
  • Multiple desktops which are easy to change between. Although having said that, I don’t really use this feature much because I am an Alt+Tab (aka Command+Tab) king
  • The interface looks slick and uncluttered

Things I don’t like so much

  • Unpredictable window resize behaviour (ie the green button) with weird keyboard modifiers to ‘correct’ the behaviour such as Option+Click or Option+Shift+Click
  • No docking station, so every time I go to a meeting I need to unplug 5 cables and then when I return to my desk I have to plug in all 5 cables again
  • No Kensington Lock, so if I really want to lock it up I have to bolt on a plastic carapace which defeats the purpose of the thinness and lightness
  • Pick up the laptop in the wrong place and because of the seriously thin case, the fan will make a grrrrr grinding noise
  • Heat problem, to the point where I can burn my fingers if i touch the area above the function keys, particularly around F4
  • Unpredictable Command+W results: sometimes the whole app will close (System Preferences), others keep running (Outlook, Chrome, etc), some do nothing at all (Hightail)
  • Multiple windows within one app: it’s unclear how many windows and if there are any behind the window in front for a particular app
  • Chrome (and perhaps other programs) keeps changing colours from intensely bright to subdued, apparently due to the use of integrated or discreet graphics card, but because I am using an external monitor I cannot force it to integrated only mode. Moving the window around the screen seems to make the colours change.
  • Odd choices (probably based on what they’ve always been since the 80’s) for keyboard shortcuts: enter/return doesn’t open a file or program in Finder (Command+O does)
  • Programs stay running even though
  • The Finder always has a dot on it in the Dock even though no windows are open. So what’s the point of the dot on the Finder? It’s nost like you are going to close the Finder. You don’t know if clicking on the Finder icon will launch Finder in the default home folder or return you to a previous place that happens to be open in the background.
  • Oh, and THAT Finder icon. Bleh! It sticks out so much and doesn’t match the rest of the icons, which are generally nice.
  • The Magic Mouse is rubbish. Seriously. What were they thinking? Right click is completely broken because there is only 1 button and it somehow tries to detect where you hand is placed and the thing constantly scrolls when you least expect it just by merely holding the mouse. Battery life seems OK though, about 2 months.
  • Office 2011 is missing certain key functions, such as in Outlook you can’t accept a newly proposed meeting time
  • The lack of USB ports, but I guess a USB hub could possibly solve this. Thank goodness the keyboard has 2 ports in it, otherwise I would regularly run out of USB ports. In fact every port is usually full except for the memory card reader.
  • The fact that I can’t update my apps without an iTunes account, and I can’t create an iTunes account without giving up my credit card, despite there being nothing I need to buy
  • The whole package vs folder vs file fiasco. Packages are mega confusing, since they appear like files, open like files, but cannot be uploaded without being zipped up. This is especially confusing when programs like OmniGraffle only create a package under specific scenarios so you can never be too sure until you try and upload it.
  • Home, End etc. buttons are usually relative to the whole document, not the current line. Except in some programs, where it will skip to the start or end of the line.
  • Keys like Page Up/Page Down will scroll the page but not move the mouse cursor
  • I can’t invoke the menus without using the mouse (missing ALT+… from Windows)
  • I don’t like how if you click and hold on a menu, then release on an item that doesn’t have an action (such as Edit > Find which has sub items) then nothing happens. I would prefer the menu to stay open.

OK so I hope that wasn’t too negative. I know the “I don’t like so much” list is longer and more detailed but the issues listed are really only just annoyances, they aren’t show stoppers.

It’s actually a nice machine to use and while I wouldn’t buy one for home (can’t justify the cost as I usually don’t spend more than $1000 on a laptop), I don’t mind using it for work and I have no regrets choosing it over a PC.

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