Adventures With My New Mac Mini

I can now read and/or post to using the web interface on my PC, on my Google Chromebook, on my HP Win 10 laptop, or on my Android LG phone, all in a Chrome browser. Or I can use separate apps: Dialog on my Android phone and the official apps on my iPod Touch or on my Mac mini.

For reading (mostly in bed), my first choice is Dialog by a long way. It was obvious how to use it from the start. It is fast, easy to jump between the Timeline, Mentions and Discover tabs and with the large LG Android screen there is plenty of room for easy reading.

At first it would only do replies, which was easy to learn, as you just click on the left arrow in every single message you might read or want to reply to. When they added the ability to create new postings, I recognized the + sign in the big green circle as the obvious way to do that. I had used an editor on the phone (iA Writer) which used the same trick to start a new file to edit.

There’s no Help in Dialog, but I’ve never needed any help with the program! That’s a good sign of a well designed program, in my mind.

For posting, my first choice is the web interface in Chrome on my PC, or lately in the Vivaldi browser. The web interface is the only one I really trust to be able to do anything. I can save drafts, easily look up my earlier posts, jump between Timeline, Mentions & Discover tabs and it’s easy to add an image to a posting. I can even Preview how a posting will look before actually posting it. It’s the first interface I learned, so maybe that gives it an advantage in familiarity and comfort.

In the Apple world, I have read and posted with the iPod Touch, but it gives me a cramped feeling, as it is so small. BUT the interface IS clearly labeled. It’s easy to jump between tabs and it wasn’t too hard to figure out how to create a new posting, but it certainly isn’t labeled or obvious in any way. But in the Timeline tab, the little balloon was sitting there doing nothing (no label of any kind), so I tried clicking on it and eventually it opened a new window for creating a new posting. It works, but I only use it in an emergency, like if my PC isn’t on and I need to post something immediately.

So far the official Mac app is my worst choice, by a long way. It has clearly labeled tabs for Timeline, Mentions, Favorites & Discover. But unlike the iOS app, there is NO tab for Help and the one for Posts only shows my previous postings and has NO label for New Post, as the web interface provides.

Like the iOS app on the iPod Touch, it has the little balloon image in the Timeline tab, but so far I have found absolutely no use for the image. I clicked and clicked on it and never got a new window for posting a new message. So I don’t know why it’s there, unless as some kind of decoration.

When I first ran into that problem, I immediately looked for Help to bail me out. But as mentioned earlier, there was no tab for Help. So I was on my own and eventually gave up for the night having posted nothing.

Later I decided to look at the iOS app on the Touch for some kind of clue. It had the tab for Help, which pleased me, so I clicked on that and poked around. Eventually I stumbled onto a page labeled for Mac. I read down a few paragraphs and found what was apparently the answer. It said, “you can use File —> New Post to start a new blog post.” That seemed really odd, because I hadn’t noticed anywhere in the official Mac app where there was a File button or menu. So how was that gonna help me at all?

I came back to it late the next afternoon (about 18 hours after I had begun playing with the app) and finally noticed the Mac said File at the very top of the screen, well above the window that contained the app below it, a couple of inches down. I clicked on File and there it was, a line to click on for a New Post.

How very strange!!! Later I discovered there was also a Help label up there on top and if I clicked on that, I could get into the help files for I suppose this is a trick one learns about using a Mac. In using apps with Android, on my PC, and even on the iPod Touch, running any app would open a window that contained all the controls needed for that app. I had never run into a need to use controls of the OS itself to do anything inside an app.

I found this 100% unintuitive, to say the least! Maybe if one is used to using a Mac it would be obvious. But in my defense, I had used an iMac at a client’s office years ago and I just remember doing bookkeeping inside its own program window, not controlling things in the application using controls from the OS itself.

Live and learn, I guess.

//cc: @manton @smokey @Miraz @kulturnation