20 December 2005

Mac in Denmark

Denmark snows
Here's the view yesterday from the back windows of The Martian's farmhouse in northern Århus, Denmark. It was snowing when I shot this, though I don't think you can see it in the picture. This morning, the snow is mostly melted, and the sky is blue with some puffy clouds.

I've set up MiniMe (my Mac Mini), and it seems happy enough, although it has some interesting "quirks."

First, though, it did have two Small Adventures of its own as it traveled from Houston to Århus. It being a computer worth more than your average clothing item, I lugged it in my carry-on bag rather than stuffing it into checked luggage. I had some doubts about this, as in trips to Europe many years ago, they actually made you turn on your computers to prove that they were not bombs. Since MiniMe is not a laptop (think of it as your whole clunky PC squished into an attractive little MacPackage), there's really no way to prove it's a computer short of hooking it up to an external monitor.

Anyway, Googling on Mac Mini airport found a lot of at least anecdotal evidence that nobody makes you turn on a computer anymore. You stimply carry your cute little Mini & pretend it's a laptop -- put it on the x-ray machine belt separately from your other stuff. So MiniMe came on the trip.

Her first adventure was in Houston when I put her in laptop tray:

"Uh, what is that?" asked the non-Mac-literate TSA employee.

"It's a Mac Mini," said the newly Mac-literate traveler.

"It's cute!" the TSA employee said, with a look that indicated she didn't quite believe it was a computer. But it went through the machine ok, and all was well.

Cut to adventure #2, in Amsterdam. Same deal: Mac in laptop tray.

Dutch airport screener (looking puzzled): "What is this?"

"It's a Mac." (blank stare/frown from screener) "An Apple." (still blank stare) "A small computer." (lightbulb goes on)

"It's small! Is it something new?"

"Sure, new. It's a Mac Mini." (Ignore the fact that in Mac-o-phile world, it's 'old tech.')

As with Houston, it went through the x-ray machine without incident. The same cannot be said for two crafting hole punches, which I brought because I have not quite finished all my handmade Christmas gifts, eek!

Apparently in the Netherlands, hole punches are dangerous. I had to show them that one makes tiny holes and the other makes tiny hearts, to convince them that they were not weapons of mass destruction.

Yesterday was shopping day, which meant trudging around Århus with The Martian and a whole lot of other Danes who took a day off to get their shopping done. Today, The Martian had to work, and so I unhooked the keyboard, mouse and monitor from his boring old PC and hooked up the Mac.

Being a Dane, he has a Danish keyboard with extra keys for the extra Danish vowels I can't pronounce. Squeezing those vowels onto the keyboard meant that they also have moved some other standard typewriter keys, like quotes, question marks, dashes, etc. When I type on his PC, I make words that look like: Iøm (I'm). The Mac, however, ignores the extra keys and just makes them output what IT wants. As long as I don't look at the keyboard, I can type a question mark ? or a quote ' " or a () as usual.

I can't decide whether this makes the Mac smarter or dumber than a PC. It certainly makes me type without looking at the keys, as most non-English-letter keys make something other than what the key shows. For example, the key that says "Ø" actually produces quotes, just like the key in that location at my house does. The key that says "Æ" makes a semicolon, as my fingers expect. This means, of course, that the keys that say they make quotes and semicolons really make something else.

Call it, then, Adventures in Typing. I could actually become a touch-typist by the end of this trip...

Tonight we will have dinner with some friends, including two or three that were among the Danish horde that invaded my home space over the summer. Until then, I should be working on those crafting projects instead of messing with the Mac!

No comments: