AMITIAE - Wednesday 5 February 2014
Opening Gambit - Bangkok Post, Life
By Graham K. Rogers
There is cause and effect at work here. Apple began its regeneration with the 1998 release of the Bondi Blue iMacs. For information on all Macs, try the Mactracker app from Ian Page. That first iMac was followed by candy-coloured MacBooks, but many say that the real turning point was the 2007 announcement of the iPhone. I was lucky enough to be in the audience that day and had my hands on one of the first iPhones the next morning.
This was followed by a series of new products: the MacBook Air; then the release of the iPad; as well as other MacBook Pro notebook computers; redesigned iMacs and most recently an evolutionary Mac Pro. As powerful and desirable as that is, it is not for everyone, but if you do have the chance, take a look inside.
With the new devices and the new availability, come new users. I started writing about Macs with the intention of helping those new to Macs and OS X (which was really new in those days) and I hope to carry on like that. My website has several items, some of which are a little more technical for those interested in that sort of thing. As well as Macs and OS X, I write about the iPhone and related devices - now under the umbrella of iOS. That will continue in Life, space permitting.
The link for my site should be at the bottom of the page, but just do a Google search for eXtensions+Macs and a link should come up somewhere on the first page.
As widely used as Microsoft's operating systems are, there are inevitable differences which some new users (and some not so new) do not realise. Although there are now a number of similarities, Cupertino and Redmond are not interchangeable.
There are some similarities between iOS and OS X devices, but while I have seen 3 year-olds pick up an iPad and start playing, a Mac needs a slightly more mature approach. I did watch a 15 year-old start using a Mac for the first time and teach himself iMovie in a couple of days.
Many new computers coming from Apple have no disk drives, because of the move to wireless downloads, but there are other changes too. I bought a new MacBook Pro at the end of last year. It no longer has an Ethernet port, there was no infrared availability for the remote control and Firewire has been superseded by Thunderbolt. This technology allows faster connections (up to 20 GB/sec, with more to come) and allows linking to multiple devices, including monitors. The Mac still has USB ports (3.0) and 4.0 Bluetooth. It also has the latest high-speed Wi-Fi (802.11ac).
The current Macs are grouped into desktop and portable devices. Desktops start with the Mac mini, include the iMac and at the top (in cost and power) is the Mac Pro. Many home users like the iMac with its 21" or 27" screens, but for those who already have a PC, the Mac mini makes a good starter device as it makes use of almost any mouse, a PC screen and a basic keyboard. To give an idea of how versatile these are, Macminicolo has a server farm in Nevada: hundreds of Mac minis all lined up.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
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