Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Stumped Another Apple Genius

I went to the fancy smanshy Mission Viejo mall today for my first "Apple One on One" training session.  This is where they are supposed to help an old, decrepit, XP Windows user like me, to learn how to use the glowing, amazing, ultimate user experience Apple product.   I admit, my Mac Book Air has grown on me a little, but I still had MANY questions.

Some of my questions the Genius COULD NOT answer.   I stumped him,  I stumped his more senior helpers.   HA!

First of all...   when training a former windows user - since the Reagan administration -  on how to use a Mac, the phrase "I've never owned a Windows device, I've had a Mac since 1996" should NEVER be used.   My "genius" trainer used that 4 or 5 times.  I wanted to SMACK him.  Really?  Before 1996, what did you do?  Use smoke signals?  I wanted to grab his little chin beard and face plant him into the very thick "personal training" table on which sat my $1500 airbook.

I plugged in my two-button-and-scroll-wheel mouse into my Airbook's USB port, and my genius laughed "my son uses one of those too" he chortled.  "Good for him, so does the rest of the world" I replied with a degree of venom in my voice.

So I ran through my electronic list of questions.  Some of which he answered (the ones in red below, he couldn't or had to use "Template" which he said they Never do in the store.   

I HAVE to use a Dell PC for work, so I CANNOT divorce myself from PC thinking.

Here's my list of questions:

Back space key - where is it??   Fn Del

Paste JUST TEXT (no format, no styles, just plain test) - use text drop-downs (he also tried to sell me Mac Word, which I dont want)

Control Panel - where is it?  System Preferences, Black Apple or, the Gears on the Dock

Screen Capture - Command Shft 3 - whole screen, Command Sht 4 - Window

HOME key (to get to the left side) - No Home, No End..  just use your cursor to get there (really?   honestly?   oh well)

Repeat Key (hold down)   "Ahhhhhhhhh!!"   requires TERMINAL - NOT done in the store, defect of "Mountain Lion release"

Cntrl-Alt-Delete, to SUSPEND STUCK PROCESSES (task manager and rebooting)   Option Command ESC

System Status - like the right mouse key on the desktop of a windows machine used to do, to tell me version of operating system, how much free memory I have, name of computer, etc….  COMMAND I

Virus Check (have I been infected by an attacking site?) Nada, not needed


Auto Correct off, when I want to turn it off, and then back on, when I want to. (we didn't get to this)

No sleep when plugged in - System Pref - Energy Save

Face Time - synchs with my email, only works on Apple devices, period.

Rotating Photos, enlarging, shrinking them, cropping them -  I photo (which he tried to sell me on the AWESOME touch pad, to which I told him AGAIN "three decades of learning otherwise, no thanks"

... so I stumped them on several things.   The "genius" did say I was asking "very hard questions".     I told him that's the same thing people in India tell me when I am reviewing their work  =)

I have another One On One schedule next week, before my birthday, to try and blunt my hatred of my iPad and to answer the rest of my Mac Airbook questions...    I'll letcha know how it goes.


  1. The trackpad on your macbook is handy. You should attempt to use it occasionally. I do not have a macbook but when I borrow one I use it all the time, especially for scrolling. Quicker than reaching for a mouse. And various gestures are handy. I use XP pretty much every day and have for many, many years. If I can adapt between two environments, you can, too. That is, I HAVE to use a PC for work but I can divorce myself from PC thinking when I'm using macs at home.

    Don't limit yourself to the lowest common denominator approach, try to take advantage of what each environment might be offering that's good. You're already doing that for XP, but seem intent on replicating the XP experience on the Mac rather than taking advantage of how it might be different.

    For the questions:
    repeat: never noticed that; seems to be off for alpha-numeric but on for punctuation and symbols. You're a drummer, I'm confident you can tap out a string of aitches quickly :-)

    home: I never use it, although if I had my way, emacs keybindings would be an option in every environment

  2. hey you kids, get off my paradigm! =P

  3. Just to clarify, I dont hate my Airbook. I like it. I do despise how the iPad and I are incompatible, no matter how gingerly, or heavily, or wistfully, or lightly, or firmly, or anything that I press it.

    One Very interesting fact I learned at the beginning of my session, is that I am actually in the majority for a change. "75% of all Apple device purchasers are first time buyers moving away from their PCs, and most of them are older users, like you". Now "Paul", the 'genius' who was my One to One trainer, was Not much younger than I, though I do shave more often and get more hair cuts than he does.

    When my One to One session concluded at 230pm, I noticed MOST of the other people sitting around the "Personal Training" table were Orange County women, in their 50s and 60s, trying to look like a woman their daughter's age (thank goodness not trying to look like their granddaughters), but it was the Mission Viejo mall, and not the West Side Phoenix Desert Sky mall, so that should not have surprised me. They'd brought in their Powerbooks, Airbooks, or iPads, and were being patiently instructed by red shirted Apple personnel. I am not used to being the majority so strongly.

    I am getting used to my Airbook. Realize pyker, that I am not an IT professional. My introduction to Apple products personally was the iPad that apparently only I cannot get to function... and that left a year long seething aftertaste in my mouth since Christmas 2011. My skepticism has decreased tremendously, and MANY things on my Apple AIrbook are inherently, intrinsically, fundamentally better than my old crappy XP desktop, or my glacially lethargic Dell corporate laptop running Office 2003 (how Modern!) and Windows 7 "Professional" - someday they'll migrate us to Office 2010.

    I am going to extract the hard drives out of the Windows XP box, and then donate the thing to the Vietnam Vets (who pick up in OC) for parts. The old 7 pin cable keyboard and mouse are now "sans device" to plug into so they'll go too. I already gave them my old MS Sidewinder joystick that needed a 7 pin (I think RS 232) serial connector to work. Used to be great on Mechwarrior and Flightsimulator to "look left" and fly straight, but that was 10 years ago.

    Lastly "Home" and "End" keys both don't exist. Having operated for as long as I have, in an exclusive XP environment, with truly terrible corporate IT support, where I had to teach myself all the work arounds and short cuts electronically around the office, there's billions of synapses that need re-wiring. I'll get there ... eventually. It'll just take time, patience, and lots of practice.

    Time to go work out, now that the house ambient has cooled down to 65F after dusk... get some adrenalin flowing! =)

  4. There aren't always good analogs on the Mac, but there are a few resources for getting started. Keep in mind that Mac users tend to be very mouse-centric. One thing you might consider is the Magic Mouse. I found it's just the right balance between MacOS elegance and PC power. And it scrolls really well...as does the trackpad.

    Here are a few resources:

    Keyboard Shortcuts:

    Remember: the Genius Bar people won't necessarily be versed in Windows. THey're hired because they love Apple products and want to help others. But with the help of Google you can usually find a solution.

  5. Yep, and "Paul" the genius I stumped, resorted to googling for answers (hunting / fishing) during our training session. SOme he found quickly, other answers (like "go into 'Terminal mode' to change these critical variable") were less than desirable / deployable.

    I am very happy with my logitech and MS mice. They're USB ported, immediately recognized by my MAC, and don't have to be re-learned or un-learned. I'm getting there... it's just taking this dinosaur some time.


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