PC Made EZ Mike Smothers

Longtime readers of this column may be shocked to read the next few paragraphs, but I may have gone to the dark side, so to speak, or at least taken the first few steps in that direction. I recently landed a new contract for my computer business and was more than a bit distressed to find the office full of iMac computers. Up to this point, I have been unable to find the “On-Off” switch on anything Mac, iPods included, but here I was staring at a row of iMac computers. Never being one to back down from a challenge, regardless of the foe, I looked the beasts squarely in the “i” and declared my supremacy over them.

The first task was hooking up a shared office printer so I opened my trusty laptop and began the long, slow process of finding the correct drivers on programs that would enable all users to print, scan, and do all other tasks related to printers. After downloading the required software and installing it on my laptop (an hour and a half), I was able to get the printer online with my laptop. Then I turned to the first iMac. Locating the printer section proved a bit of a challenge, but after a few misguided clicks I found that not only had the iMac found the HP Printer, it was asking if I wanted to install it. Believing there would need to be a return trip to the HP website for software, I put the beast to the test and, with a wicked grin, clicked “Yes, I would like to install the printer.” Without a second’s hesitation the printer was installed and printing a test sheet to prove it was operating properly. Including the time I spent trying to find the printer section; this entire operation took less than three minutes. The other iMac computers in the office followed suit and within a matter of minutes, all the office computers were happily communicating with the printer.

As amazed as I was by the printer incident, more proof was needed so I started installing other devices; keyboards, mice, cameras, back-up hard drives, etc. and much to my surprise, they all installed without incident. There were, however, a few small stumbling blocks like bad batteries and difficulty locating the “On-Off” switch for the wireless keyboard, but after a brief time all the iMac computers were talking to all the devices and each other. This is truly unheard of in the PC world.

With all of the convenience and ease of installation, there is definitely an adjustment period when going from PC to Mac, to be sure. A PC user will not be able to sit down and immediately begin using the iMac without the growing pains of learning that “Finder” and “Applications” are incredibly useful tools, but rest assured there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you will be able to use Apple computers. A longtime friend and Apple enthusiast informed me that, “Mac computers are designed so that everything is one click away.” After a few weeks I agree.

I am still not abandoning my PC, nor have I gone out and bought the latest iPad, iPhone or “i” anything, but given the size, weight and performance of Apple computers, I may be more inclined to give them a look the next time I am in the market for a computer.

There is one thing that bugs me a bit about Mac computers; in all the production and planning meetings, did the subject of “Clock” ever come up? I find a great deal of security in looking at my PC desktop and being able to see the date and time in the lower right-hand corner. Perhaps there is a clock, but I have not found it yet. The search continues.

• Mike Smothers is president of Smothers Computer Services in Ahwatukee Foothills. Send questions to mike@smotherscomputers.com or call (480) 753-7667.

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