Making the eMac Mine

By Graham K. Rogers

Although I collected my eMac at the end of June, I did not immediately switch to the new machine. I like to try things out; to see if there are any differences; and who would trust everything to an untried computer? A priority was to move all my regular working files from the iMac to the eMac, including photographs and music.

There are two methods (apart from burning CDROMs or using multiple thumb drives) to transfer files from one OSX computer to another: Ethernet and Firewire. I did not have an Ethernet cable at home and could not remember if the iMac would need a crossover connection (the latest machines do not). I found a 6-pin to 6-pin Firewire connector at the Apple Shop and used that.

As I wanted to run things from the iMac (with which I was more familiar), I shut down the eMac and inserted the cables into the ports of both machines. I then started the eMac but held down the "T" key, which puts it into "target" mode. This is often used by those with laptops (for synchronization purposes) but this is a feature on all Macs.

In Target mode, the Appple symbol appears, but the rest of the startup procedure is by-passed. After a minute or so, the Mac's screen turned to a pale mauve with yellow Firewire symbols floating on the screen. At the same time, an external disk was shown on the iMac desktop. All I had to do was to use drag and drop to copy files from old to new; and, of course, the Firewire speeds made transfers lightning fast. When the entire process is complete, this is one of the rare occasions when the power button is used to shut down the (target) computer.

folder listI opened two Finder windows (one for each computer) and worked through methodically, selecting those files or folders I wanted duplicated. I had had a dummy run a couple of months back when I was rescuing data from the iMac and then reinstalling OSX, so I was ready to put files in convenient places.

The Documents folder from my home directory -- including teaching materials and my eXtensions articles -- went first and replaced the freshly created Documents folder in the new user-directory. A copy of the eXtensions website that I keep on my hard disk followed and that over-wrote the new "Sites" folder. Copying backups of software downloads was no problem as this was a new folder on the top level of the hard disk.

Anticipated problems were with the transfer of pictures, and the iTunes contents. This was particularly of concern as I had been using iPhoto 2.x and all new Macs come with version 4.x (there was no version 3). I started with the images and moved them to a location inside the User>Pictures folder then started iPhoto. As this was being used for the first time, it offered to search for any images. Once found, these were incorporated into the iPhoto directory structure.

With the iTunes data, I placed the old folder (copied from the iMac) alongside the unused iTunes folder of the eMac then started iTunes. It searched for any tunes and all were found. This time I dumped the duplicate (old) folder. When I later plugged in the iPod, iTunes recognised that the machine and player were not an authorised pairing and gave me the chance to make it so, or to ignore. I made the eMac the authorised computer and the iPod was updated. This can all be turned off easily and manual updates selected.

mailboxMailboxes were easy to deal with. I left them on the desktop and clicked on each one. This opened the current version of mail and I used the "Move" command to place them inside Mail's structure.

With missing software that I use regularly, like the Palm desktop and Fetch (an FTP utility), I took a couple of days to install and get the eMac into a form that suited me. This included the more mundane tasks of entering details for Internet connections and email.

With a few days of working with the eMac, there are some likes and some minor niggles. First among these is the keyboard: identical to the one I used when I reviewed the G5 in November 2003. The angle it sits at means I need to adjust my typing after the lazy style that the iMac's allowed; it also has the two USB ports behind the F9 and F12 keys instead of at the left and right. Particularly when using the Palm cradle, there is some extra desk-space used. The extra screen area is a great help, as is the speed and the additional memory I had installed.

A real negative is self-induced: with the two machines alongside, the mess of cables in my home office is approaching chaos. I have fixed this temporarily by moving the eMac into another room where the telephone connections (rainy season approaches) are better; and I shall solve it totally by giving the iMac to a friend. What I really need is not two desktop computers, but a desktop and some form of portable computing.

Made on Mac

For further information, e-mail to Graham K. Rogers.

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