It’s me or the machine

So, my new MacBook Pro arrived yesterday. Firing it up for the first time I see it has one of those newfangled multitouch trackpads – cool. Hmm, how do you do a mouse click? The manual says just tap – no, that’s what I’m doing. I suspect (correctly) that it hasn’t been configured in preferences but as the machine is kindly leading me through setup I figure I will just have to limp along using the keyboard. Eventually I get to user migration, am told it will take 10 hours (lots of files) and leave it for the night.

Coming back this morning I discover the migration stuck transferring timezone settings. Eventually I get bored and reboot. The MacBook starts going through setup from the beginning but now helpfully overlays a wifi signon dialog on top. It takes quite some fiddling but finally I work out how to select the dialog without a mouse and can get going again. By now I’m really ready to sort out the trackpad so skip migration.

OK, the system is up and I just nned to get to system preferences; except preferences doesn’t have a key shortcut. How can I select the menu without a mouse? I’m sure the answer is in the help – but you need to activate the menubar to access it! Nevermind, I’ll check it out on my iMac – Fn-control-F2, yes well that’s obvious. Right, system preferences is open.

Now, for those of you without a Mac, the system preferences interface is a lot of little icons, much like Windows control panel, but unlike Windows it is not just a Explorer window. It is a custom interface (at least as far as I can tell) and Apple doesn’t appear to have thought that you might need to navigate it without a mouse! I can see the icon I need but can’t click or select it in any way!

The astute amongst you are probably wondering why I don’t just plug in a mouse. Well, it is at the precise moment that I am wondering the same. So I do.

Sure enough, tap is not enabled. Nor are some other options that look quite useful so I start going through the list. One thing Apple has done really well is that each option includes a short video to show you the gesture. And as I am watching the clip for secondary clicks that I notice a curious thing. As the finger taps the bottom-right corner of the tackpad it appears to depress. I try it – yes, the bottom corners include microswitches. To click all you have to do it PUSH THE INVISIBLE BUTTON IN THE BOTTOM-LEFT CORNER OF THE TRACKPAD!!!!

I guess this is one of those discovery moments of which Apple is so proud.