My wife and her switch to Mac

I had anticipated that I would be writing a lot about my wife’s experiences using her “new” MacBook. After all, it’s been two weeks since I got her the machine, yet she has barely touched it by my standards. The reality is that computers are just not that important to her. She’s an experienced teacher with 8 years at the same school under her belt and for the last two weeks has had to do little more than e-mail and web based activities from home. She averages just under an hour a day on the machine right now.

She is also becoming mildly amused by my regular queries about how she likes her MacBook. Her standard response?

“It’s great. I love it.”

There have been moments where she has struggled with the machine however. She did offer up that she doesn’t like the Delete key. Why? Well, she’s used to using a Windows based delete key that deletes forward, not backwards. Backspace is what she expects that key to do. I assumed that she simply had a problem with the name of the key—it still performs the same action that it did under Windows and sits in the same position.

I then realized something I had overlooked for years; my wife likes to delete backwards (er, forwards). She always had a full size keyboard available to her and as a result would actually place the cursor—either with the mouse or even using the arrow keys—to the left of the word/character she wanted to delete and then strike the Delete key on Windows.

That little snag could be easily solved by planting a full size keyboard on the machine and letting her whack away at the Delete Forward button that full size Mac keyboards have, or teaching her to hit “fn” and then hit the Delete key. Instead, I’m going to spend a little time retraining her keyboard skills to adjust to using the Delete key properly.

She’s apparently been doing this since she learned to type on her father’s ancient IBM PC with the original keyboard. Old habits die hard.

Minor Mail Struggles

Allison is a Gmail user and for the last couple of years simply used the web interface to access her account. Since I’m also a Gmail user I decided to set her up the way I am; using Mail and the IMAP interface to manage my Gmail inbox.

I like that Mail uses the base Address Book, which she is very fond of since she has everything in that because of her iPhone.

The problem is that she uses Gmail a little differently than I do. I am a tag / folder nut and like to have a pretty empty inbox. As a result I tend to drag messages that I have finished working with or responded to into the appropriate folder in Mail. Since Mail takes the tag model that Gmail has and emulates it as folders that works great for me.

Allison however does not use tags or folders. She would simply select all the e-mails and hit the Archive button. I don’t know of a way to do that without having to load up the web version of Gmail.

If anyone has a suggestion on how best to adjust Mail to use Gmail and leverage the Archive feature please drop a note in the comments. I’d also be interested in hearing from anyone that uses Gmail on their Macs and what they are doing to make it work besides just loading up the web interface.