My frustrations with iMac

So from all that I have read so far about the iMacs, especially the dual core intel-based imacs, I thought it is a must-have for anyone interested in the new digital lifestyle. And with the new addition to our family, we have been a little busy with some video recordings.

My Dell laptop started screaming for help when I tried to import the 30-minute miniDVD into Roxio Easy Media Creator 8. First of all, it took 45 minutes to import a 30-minute clip, which sounds unreasonable to me. And the laptop is not that old – it is only 1.5 years old and it was not on battery power, but AC power.

After one or two such experiences, I started thinking about possibly getting a mac mini or imac. I went to the Apple store and talked with some of the sales people there and they talked about how easily and quickly I will be able to import the videos into iMovie and I was almost sold then. I asked them what was the return policy in case it did not work out for me and they said that for any opened box, there was a 15% restocking fee! So I walked out of the store with nothing.

Then, I started scanning other stores’ return policies and found out that Best Buy had a reasonable return policy for desktops – no restocking fee if returned within 14 days. So I went to Best Buy #1 near my office and asked for the iMac and they said they do not stock it. So I stopped by the Best Buy #2 on the way to home, and they said the same thing. They asked me to order it online. So I came home, ordered it online and chose in-store pickup as the delivery option.

I picked it up yesterday and came home and immediately hooked it up. I needed to resolve two important issues – can I run windows xp reasonably fast, hopefully side-by-side with OS X, and of course how quickly does it import the movies and how easy is it to clip some parts and create a decent movie package.

So the first thing I did after hooking up (took no time at all to hook it up) is download Parallels trial version and installed Windows XP with SP2 on parallels. That step really took no time (maybe 15-20 minutes?) and I was all set with my windows xp. It looked and felt like a PC and I was able to browse the web from there. I tried to set up a PPTP VPN connection to the wife’s office because she would end up using it for work. It did not connect. Bummer #1. I said lets forget about VPN for now, and let’s check the more important thing – videos.

The first big surprise in my video importing experience was that slot-loading optical drives that come with the new macs do not support miniDVD! My Sony camcorder writes to miniDVD and since I do not have an option to return that anymore, I had to make do with miniDVD. But the iMac would not support it out of the box. There were plenty of suggestions online about what to do in order to read the miniDVD including buying an external DVD (tray-type) drive! Are you kidding me? I want to lose the wires around the computer and reduce the clutter in general and the suggestion to work around the miniDVD issue is to buy another piece of hardware with the appropriate cables? SHUT UP!

Another option I entertained was to use the camcorder as a USB drive, but no matter what I tried the mac just did not recognize my camcorder over USB. I pretty much gave up after 45 minutes of trying to get the damn thing recognized and realized it was not going to work and even though the machine is a fabulous piece of hardware, I was not ready for it yet.

Maybe my expectations were raised by the ads on TV that make it seem like connecting a new piece of hardware is a pain with Windows but is a breeze with macs. I had heard/read so many good things about the macintosh OS and the simplicity of use.

I may be the exception, but the imac just did not work for me. I am going to return it to the store today.

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6 thoughts on “My frustrations with iMac

  1. That sucks, but you’re camcorder’s partially to blame. You’d have the same issue with miniDVDs with any laptop that uses slot-loading drives, and there are a few PC laptops that use those.USB is also not quite a standard for digital video. Most camcorders have FireWire for transferring video. USB is a more recent trend and doesn’t quite work as well, as you’ve experienced. I’ve seen it go both ways. I’m sure Apple’s USB video compatibility will get better, but it’s a shame that the camcorder manufacturers didn’t just stick with the standard. There’s a small chance that updating your OS, QuickTime and/or iMovie will help. If you’re at all interested you should launch Software Update from the Apple Menu and make sure you’re up-tp-date.Good luck.

  2. RPM says:

    @spm: I knew about parallels desktop but yes, I remembered the post from Om where he was watching cricket on the windows side while doing his other stuff on the mac side.

  3. RPM says:

    @samir: I used XP for AutoCAD, potentially for the wife. And she needs to connect to her office using PPTP VPN connection, which I know is possible on the mac side too, but her files are on office shares which are all windows-based. The camcorder was not detected when I connected the USB connector and started playing the recorded video. I would have thought (and some online discussions said that too) that it will be detected as an external USB drive, but it was not. And of course, Sony is like apple in a lot of respects (tying you to their universe) – their output cable is not firewire but some proprietary A/V output cable. If it had firewire, I would have had no issues and would have probably not returned the machine 🙂

  4. I found that when I’ve finalized the disk in the camcorder. my macbook recognises the camcorder as an external drive via the usb cable.after that I can get to my videos, but as it is finalized I will probably have to rip the videos of the disk with handbrake or something (haven’t done it though)hope this helps anyone that finds this post while google-ing this problem, like I did ;)sorry it couldn’t help you as your post is almost two months old . . .

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