I have been thinking about the fact that I wanted a Mac now for several months. Why – because I podcast and Macs are meant to be better set up for podcasting. So yesterday my friends in Twitter convinced me that it was time to buy it, they made all the decisions about which one to buy and the lovely Waxlyrical with her husband came to the store to assist me with the purchase. Photo by Waxlyrical.
I was able to purchase the Mac at educational prices since I work for TAFE (discount allowed on one Mac per year). All I had to do was take my pay slip and photo ID, this entitled me to the discount and I walked out with one nice black MacBook (13″), plus wireless mouse and travel bag.
Switching from PCs to a Mac
If you have only ever used a PC before using a Mac is really weird. The first thing that gets you is that as a PC user you have this expectation (probably unrealistic) that the keyboard on a Mac and a PC is the same. Wrong. To do a left mouse click you have to press the ctrl key and right click mouse. So then I was confused because I could not work out why I could not do shortcuts with the ctrl key – the laughing Mac twitters told me you have to use the key with the apple symbol on it. Fortunately at this stage Jason Hando felt sorry for me and sent me a link to the Switchers’ Guide to Windows and Mac Differences and Equivalents and Waxlyrical sent me lots of links for people starting out with Macs. Too scared to ask them where is the missing backspace key (as the delete key works like the backspace key on a PC – what the?).
To be honest the differences between a Mac and a PC are just what happens when you get a new device. The first time I used a PDA I struggled because I expected the Start menu to be on the bottom left not at the top of the screen; and it did take me awhile to how to use a PDA effectively, reality is it will take me awhile to learn how to use a Mac effectively (like I tell the lecturers the more you practice the better you get).
iMovie vs MovieMaker for creating a video podcast
To road test my new Mac I decided to create a video podcast using the Mac’s iMovie. Since I have been using MovieMaker for so long I did not find it obvious what I needed to do in iMovie so I started by watching the online video tutorial’s on iMovie at the Apple web site. These tutorials were really easy to understand however I do think they need to have more videos because some of the things I wanted to do were not in the videos (e.g. how to use themes effectively). Having saying that these are things that I do when creating movies using MovieMaker and are just tricks that I have picked up as I have used the program so are probably not shown in Windows tutorials either.
My thoughts are iMovie and MovieMaker are both easy to use and have different benefits over each other. The best aspects iMovie are:
- Can save the video as .m4v format so do not have to convert from .wmv before I upload to my podcast site (if I upload as .wmv it converts the file format to .mp4 which plays on the podcast but does not play the audio on a video ipod)
- Able to create Chapter podcasts – so audience can easily move to the section of the podcast they want to watch (not sure if my podcast site keeps the chapters when it converts when uploading – will need to test)
I am sure that as I get better using iMovie, the features of the program that I am less fussed with, will irate me less. Obviously it is also worth looking at other Mac software that might be useful for video podcasting. I have used Camtasia Studio 4 on a PC; definitely is a great program but is much harder to learn than both iMovie and MovieMaker (Camtasia also saves as .mp4 format).
Here is my first video (not a podcast yet as I have not uploaded it to my podcast site):
[kml_flashembed movie="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=-2136602568261060277" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]
What I really like about my MacBook:
- Small and compact (I am sitting in the lounge with it on my lap)
- It easily accessed my wireless network, and the Internet is running really fast using wireless (probably faster than my wired PC). I have not been able to properly use wireless on my work Acer TravelMate 6410 – wireless will drop out anywhere between 5 min to 1 hr then I have to shutdown the laptop and restart to switch the wireless back on (it is my laptop as I tested a work colleague laptop – the same model). Also when I was able to access wireless on these laptops it really annoyed me as the Internet ran so slowly that I wanted to go and use it on my wired PC.
- It looks pretty – which is important to a woman
What is next?
Well tomorrow I need to buy a cushion for sitting the MacBook on. Frances lent me hers to try when I visited her – so I definitely need one to make me more comfortable.
And I will have to create an audio podcast using GarageBand.
Plus read all the help information that Waxlyrical sent me so I can start using it more effectively.