For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been relatively quiet on the blogging front. It’s been a most frustrating time for me in many ways but don’t get me wrong. I feel quite guilty when I don’t blog – and while I’ll create a vlog instead – it’s really a “cop out” for me. Technically, vlogs are my way of staving off the guilt trip for not taking the time to sit, reflect, make sense of something that I’m working on and learning. A short vlog with me standing or sitting in front of the camera is really no replacement for a well thought out reflective blog post. But that’s just me.
So what’s been happening?
Well if you haven’t been reading my frustrated tweets, it’s been a time of some angst, pain, anxiety and desperation.
I bought a new computer. An iMac.
As someone who has always had Windows computers and laptops, this was a huge step for me but little did I know how VAST my learning curve was going to be.
I bought the new computer optimistically but within three days at home trying to figure out how to manage files, capture screen shots to dump onto a clipboard and figuring out iTunes, I was misty optically. It didn’t get to full blown tears – but let’s just say, at one point, I did go back to the Windows PC to catch up with a piece of urgent work. I had to concede defeat at that ungodly hour. The magic mouse (or whatever they call it), didn’t thrill me anymore and I uttered the words…
“Enough of Googling simple questions on how to do basic commands! Argh! I’m going back to what I know!”
So I turned on my Windows PC and happily picked up where I left from. No stupid View Finder, no weird sizing button that doesn’t really size, and WinSnip – ah WinSnip, how I missed thee….
By the third day, I was ready to pack the iMac all up into its box and return it to the Apple store. (Yes, I even looked at the return policy). Questions swam around in my head. “Why don’t I ‘get’ this?” “Why am I finding it so hard?” “I must be really stupid if I don’t get how to work this!” “Why am I not seeing what others are seeing?” “Is it really that easy as they say?” I felt like a dunce and frustrated that I was unable to be as productive as I was on the Windows PC. When you’re comfortable with one system and innately just know your way around it, introduce another system and all of a sudden, simple things that took split seconds to do, take a longer time and you feel for every step forward, you’re taking three steps back. In the first week, I lost track how many times I Googled questions or referred to YouTube videos and I called Apple Care six times within 3 days. I have memorised my iMac serial number.
I went to the library and borrowed books and bought magazines from the newsagent. I pored over the books and tagged chapters with post it notes to follow the steps they outlined. I was determined for this Mac not to beat me.
Seriously, I’m swamped with all these Mac commands. The Command Option will make me lose Control and Shift my sanity. Fn.
— Helen Blunden (@ActivateLearn) June 15, 2015
(It reminded me of my old university days where I studied Mathematics at first year university. I DESPISED this subject but I studied hard because I was determined not to let it beat me. I figured failing the subject and having to repeat it for another year was worse torment and pain too awful to bear so instead I slaved away trying to understand it so I would never have to do it again. In the end I got a Distinction for Maths and was asked to major in the subject to which my response was, “Pfft..No Way!” but I digress. After all, every single person – and I mean, every-single-person, I spoke to mentioned how happy they were with their Mac and how they loved working with it. All except two people had good things to say about them. (One was concerned with the security aspect; and another used Linux). So on the whole, everyone was saying ‘Go for Apple’. Now, I’m not a betting person, but with odds like that, you got to start thinking that if everyone is using them, then they must have a point.
Over the last day or two, I didn’t feel as slow using the various functions and I’m now creating new behaviours to get myself around the basic functions. The idea that having to remember all the keyboard shortcuts to do functions that you can right click on the mouse and do still defies logic for me. People say that using Macs makes them productive but I’m yet to be convinced. Maybe it’s because it’s the first time I’ve had to press certain keys like ‘Control’ and ‘Shift” and “Command’ as often as I have had in the last few days than my 20+ years previously. Guess my fingers are getting a workout though…
Despite feeling like an idiot in the first week trying to figure out the most basic commands, by the weekend, I slowly felt as if I made some headway. Yesterday at the Apple Store, I took my long list of questions and had them all answered. At one point, I had actually taught the sales consultant something he didn’t know. I showed him that if you take a snapshot of part of the screen, (Command – Shift – 4) then hold down the Control button, it will copy it to a clipboard and not the desktop. From there you can paste it instantly anywhere. No need for opening up desktop, dragging the screen shot from the desktop to your document or inserting it in any other way. He was impressed.
I was impressed that I actually told a 20 something Apple fan something he didn’t know!
In hindsight, all the angst that I have been experiencing is simply a typical learning journey isn’t it? We will always find something difficult when it’s new and different and we will become frustrated easily and may even pack it in and quit. What would happen though if we stuck with it, if through the cursing, the banging of fists on desks and the muttering to the gods above, we stuck with it and opened our eyes and ears to learn more about it and in so doing, learn new and better ways of working and learning? I think this is what the Mac will do for me..
— Helen Blunden (@ActivateLearn) June 15, 2015
What has been your experience of the Mac – or just learning something new?