It’s easy to argue that the Mac is the most personal of all personal computers. To some Mac users, their Macs are like family.
To others, their Macs are prized possessions which is different than a Windows PC which is possessed. How do you customize and personalize your Mac?
Windows PC users seem to have more options for customizing the look and feel of Windows when compared to what Apple offers for Mac users. Steve Jobs’ spartan influence and strict control over the “user experience” makes customization more problematic.
Windows users can change system font size, and color schemes with ease. Mac users have to work harder to make the Mac unique, as if being a Mac user is not unique enough. With more Windows users switching to the Mac, some of that individual luster may be dulling.
I did an informal poll of everyone associated with Mac360, all of us long-time Mac users, some of us dating back to Mac 128k days (I won’t mention names if you don’t try to speculate). The question was: what do you do to customize your Mac.
All of the Mac360 staff had one thing in common. No hardware customization. No stickers. No decals. No electroplating paint jobs. Why?
Everyone also agreed that it was sacrilege to mar their Mac’s beauty. Alexis admitted to using Post-It Notes on her screen. Not Stickies. The real thing.
Software customization was a different issue among the Mac360-for-Lifers. Our software tastes run the full spectrum from geeky to mostly stock. Bambi goes for Adobe and Microsoft and Apple and not much in between. The rest of us are more eclectic.
We all agree that Apple’s translucent Menu Bar is silly, though each of us have stories of recently switched-from-Windows Mac users who love the subtle gaudiness (only on a Mac can that happen).
After that, it’s desktop photos and screen savers, right? What else is there to customize? My view is decidedly more utilitarian, but full-on custom. My Menu Bar is loaded. Maybe it’s worse than loaded. Totally inebriated with addictive utilities.
There’s Drop Copy, PTH Pasteboard, Default Folder, Doorstop, SMART Reporter, UPS indicate, iChat icon, Apple scripts, Chronosync, .Mac sync, WeatherPop, Airport, Little Snitch, TextExpander, Airport, Sound, Time and Date, me, and Spotlight.
My Finder Sidebar also receives heavy customization with an array of folders that are most used, yet deep within my Mac’s folder bowels.
The Finder Toolbar also receives plenty of personalization. I add the standard icons for Path, Action, Forward and Back, View, Quick Look, and Spotlight. Then I add icons and direct access for my Home directory, Downloads, Desktop, Documents, my trusted OS X Files folder, Burn, Delete, Eject, Connect, and Applications.
In other words, access to whatever is on my Mac is customized into a redundant explosion. I can access almost anything from the Dock, much from the Menu Bar, plenty from the Finder, and everything else from Drag Thing.
Did I mention Candybar or CoverStream? It’s the iCandy that Apple did not, but should include in OS X Leopard (or Lemur, or Lynx, or Alley Cat, or whatever else is on the OS feline agenda for the future).
Talk about customization. Candybar lets you swap out most of the icons on your Mac with relative safety and much ease. Select a single icon or a whole set or parts in between. Click. Done. New Mac.
While Mac users may not have as much of a need to transmutate their Macs as Windows PC users (maybe they love to customize their PCs because they think it will improve performance), we have colorful options. What are yours? What have you done to your Mac that makes it scream out, “I’m yours. I belong to you, dude!?”