If you’re going to do a demonstration of Windows 7, the latest version of Microsoft’s – most popular in the world – operating system, you might as well do it on an iMac.
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Taken on October 15, 2004.
Five years ago today: Well, not really. I haven’t been keeping up with my “five years ago today posts” and so this one is a bit late. Switching to the Macintosh was a fairly long process for me due to the work I was doing at the time. My having the iMac up and on my desk, as my main computer at the time, was sort of a big deal for me.
The desk I had at the time was an old library table. It wasn’t very fashionable but it was sturdy and did its job until I switched to the IKEA desk that I have now.
The Microsoft Wireless keyboard and mouse, which came with a USB dongle that I despised, wasn’t a bad setup at the time. I miss the ergonomics of the keyboard, actually. The new, slim keyboards from Apple are incredibly nice to type on but are not as nice on the wrists as that keyboard was.
You’ll notice that a really old version of TheUberGeeks.net (a site that has since gone the way of the dinosaur) is loaded on the iMac. The good old days indeed.
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Laptops are more powerful today than the computer used to launch the Space Shuttle in the 1960s. That is a fact. Look it up. That said, some people prefer desktops with much larger storage devices, displays, amounts of RAM, etc.
I’ve been using laptops since 2002 and haven’t gone back to desktops since. What about you? Laptop or Desktop?
My first Macintosh computer was a white iMac G4 with a beautiful 17″ floating screen above, what some have referred to as an upside-down bowl, a computer enclosed in a half-circle case. Â It was gorgeous really. Â My wife Eliza bought it for me for our anniversary and I used it as my main computer for a while before “going mobile” by using an iBook as my primary computer.
So a few years ago we began to ask ourselves: “What should we do with our now out-dated iMac?” Â Clearly its value isn’t worth the hassle of putting it up on eBay. Its guts aren’t powerful enough to pawn off on a friend or family member. Â Lets use it as a photo frame!
The iMac, setup in our living room. Photo credit: Eliza Devroe.
After all, this computer is really a work of art. Â Obviously the industrial design of this particular model of iMac doesn’t hold up to the needs of modern consumers, and perhaps was limiting from a technological stand point – but there is no second guessing it looks cool even to this day. Â Sure there are those that would say they don’t like the look of the iMac, for one reason or another, but – I’m not one of those people and neither is my wife.
A few years went by before I finally got off of my duff and made it happen. Â As if it was an incredibly difficult thing to do! Â Here is how you use an iMac as a photo frame in under a minute.
Sharing System Preference Panel
The first thing you’ll need to do is open Mac OS X’s system preferences and turn file sharing on. Â This will allow anyone on the network to access whichever directories you designate safe. Â We’ll use this as our way to transfer the photos we want to display on the iMac.
Sure, we could have easily just created a shared mounted drive where we keep all of our photos in our library, but we didn’t want every single photo to show up in our living room. Â Also, having control over what shows up on the iMac is a fun little project in and of itself. Â I remember we had a LOST party one time and, while we were watching the show on TV, the iMac was silently showing photos from the previous season of LOST using the Ken Burn’s effect.
In our case, we simply stuck with the default “Public” directory structure since Mac OS X already has that ready to go in every user account. Â I created a new directory within the Public directory where we could store any and all photos that we’d like the iMac to display.
Another built-in feature in Mac OS X is to be able to use any directory as a source for the a photo-slideshow screensaver. Â All I needed to do was set my preferences for the screensaver (ie. the amount of time I’d like each slide to show up, etc.) and point it to the right directory on the hard drive.
To set your screensaver, just add the correct directory with the + button.
Within a matter of minutes we had some sample photos showing up on the iMac and they looked beautiful.
Eliza is “the photo queen” of the house. Â While I enjoy taking photos as much as anyone, Eliza lives and breathes photos. Â Seriously, I’ll have to have her talk on my site sometime about how she’s arranged all of the photos (and there are hundreds) in our house based on whether or not some one is a friend, family member, etc. Â I love the way Eliza has chosen to decorate our home with photos of all the various events, vacations, and times spent with family and friends. Â As we walk around our apartment we’re constantly being reminded of some of our favorite times.
Back to making it easy. Â Eliza is “in charge” of choosing the photos that show up on the iMac. Â Being that she doesn’t like traversing a long list of directories in order to put a few photos on the iMac, we’ve setup a simple shared folder right in her Finder’s sidebar. Â If the iMac is on, that directory can be easily accessed and photos dragged into it. Â The very next time the iMac’s screensaver starts up, the new photos are added to the random queue.
At last count I believe we had near 1,000 photos being displayed in random order. Â Nearly every person that has ever visited our home has commented on the iMac photo frame. Â We’re glad our visitors enjoy the photos as much as we do.
Now it is your turn.
Originally published in early-May 2004 with the title of “The story of my iMac”.
I’d say that it began in July 2002. My wife Eliza and I like to catch the live Apple Keynote’s whenever we can. The July 2002 broadcast introduced the iMac 17″ flat panel, preloaded with OS X. I mentioned to Eliza that I thought that this would be a great machine to get acquainted with Apple’s products. Seeing some of the functionality of OS X, I knew that I wanted to get in somehow and the iMac seemed like a cool piece of hardware to being that journey.
On August 27th 2002, at Carrabba’s Bar and Grille in Orlando, Florida – Eliza and I exchanged anniversary gifts. I am not going to mention my gift, because over the last 4+ years of marriage (now 7+ years as of this writing), Eliza has always outdone me in the gift department. But I digress. So she hands me a small box as my anniversary gift. I open the wrapping, tip the box to dump the contents, and I am greeted with a small packet of some type of chemical used to keep the contents of a package “dry”. Hmmm.
You can ask Eliza, I put the box down thinking that there was no gift in the box. She told me to pick it up and look inside. I did. Inside was a small, cut out, paper iMac. Again I just stared at it, having no clue what it symbolized. And then I looked up at her and realized that she had actually gotten me an iMac for our anniversary. It literally took me 30 seconds to figure it out. I was floored.
At first, Eliza thought that I wasn’t excited about the gift. On the contrary, I was unable to process the reality that I now owned an iMac. Or even the fact that she bought me such an elaborate and expensive gift. Never did I expect this gift. Truly one of the biggest surprises I have ever received in my life. It’s not everyday that your truly surprised. Even on days when you expect to be surprised, you usually have an inkling as to what is coming.
Excitement turned into absolute torture as I knew that I wouldn’t be able to play with my new toy till after our vacation. Imagine this and put yourself in my shoes. Twelve-hundred miles from home, having driven instead of flown, and about 4 days from heading for home. Little did I know, the iMac was waiting for me at home already. Ugh! Matt (who was with us in Florida too) and Eliza both can attest to the fact that I was in extreme pain for the entire ride home. Picture this, I drove the better part of the trip home, and then didn’t go to bed for a few days as I played with the iMac. Literally.
To Eliza: Thank you for one of the greatest gifts ever. You are truly the best gift giver, and maybe someday I can surprise you as you’ve surprised me for so many years. I love you.
It has now been a almost 5 years since I’ve delved into the Mac OS and I have yet to turn back. I owe my computing bliss to Eliza.