Things have been quiet here because my new iMac arrived at the end of last week. I’ve been diligently getting it set up so I can do some serious work with it; it’s kind of amazing how many little utilities, tweaks and additions to the operating system have become must-haves for me to get things done.
After owning laptops for so long — and after having spent nearly three years with a diminutive 12-in. PowerBook — working on a desktop takes some getting used to. Having such an emphatic statement of computing power displayed so prominently on my desktop is a new experience; this iMac is a beautiful thing of no particular shyness. It’s bright, bold and immense — I mean huge. Mousing up to the top right of my screen feels like an unnaturally long trip; it’s a little like reaching for a jar from the top shelf in my kitchen.
God Speed the Plough… and the Emulator
The machine’s speed seems luxurious and snappy, a huge improvement over my PowerBook G4, which, over the past few months, seemed to struggle wheezingly to do anything. But I’m not seeing those snappy boot times that everyone else claims for the Intel-based Macs; the startup process feels more or less comparable to what I see on my dual G5 at the office. Maybe I got a lemon.
Speaking of performance: the speed of native Universal binary applications only throws the Rosetta’s emulation performance into greater relief. Those applications that have not yet been updated to make native use of the Intel processors — I seem to use lots of them — perform respectably, but also frustratingly. It seems to take a lot of effort to switch from a universal application to a Rosetta application; spinning beach balls abound as the computer stalls and considers the shift. Once the switch is done, the speed of working within the application is tolerable, but the start and stop nature of Rosetta really compromises the whole elegance of the machine. I can’t wait for all of these lingering applications to switch over. Adobe, I’m looking your way.