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euclid
10-20-2008, 12:35 PM
I'm planning to buy a laptop. My existing computer is a Dell (tower) PC.
Should I buy another PC or go for an Apple Mac?

Dale Emery
10-20-2008, 01:06 PM
What's leading you to consider switching OSes?

I bought my first Mac (a Mac Pro tower) in late July.

For the next few weeks I had an awkward time moving between that and my Win notebook computer. Moving back and forth made it harder for me to remember what the keystrokes were on either machine. And I was limited in the kinds of software I could use if I wanted to work on a file on both machines--e.g. no Scrivener on Win, no Windows Live Writer (blogging SW) on Mac.

I have friends who are perfectly happy running 3 different OSes, and switching back and forth all the time. I didn't like it at all.

So within three weeks I bit the bullet and plundered my checking account and replaced my Win notebook with a Mac Air.

I'm glad I switched. And I'm glad I didn't stay in multi-OS mode very long.

Dale

euclid
10-20-2008, 02:21 PM
Hi Dale. I have always worked in MS Windows. I thought it might be fun to try the alternative. I am planning to keep my laptop offline, to use it for word processing (in a comfortable armchair - this one is killing me) and spreadsheets. So I will need the Office suite, which I understand I can get for Apple. Apart from that, I was hoping for better media (ie picture) handling software. I would also use the laptop to run movies. Finally, mac users seem enthusiastic. What's that all about?

stephenf
10-20-2008, 03:55 PM
The rule I like to use ,when it comes to buying a new computer,find the software you need and like .Then find a reasonably priced machine to run it on.It's the end result that count.

Clair Dickson
10-20-2008, 05:34 PM
I am part of the Microsoft collective. I think Mac users are more forgiving of their computer's foibles (perhaps because they just take a persnickety machine to the shop?) than the average Windows user. I think that since there are more average windows users than pro Windows users, any enthusiasm gets drowned out by the complaints. Not saying they aren't valid complaints, some of them. But I think many of the "problems" with Windows comes from lack of user knowledge. People don't know what they're doing and don't bother to learn, so they blame the computer when it was the user that inadvertently changed something. (For example, a computer doesn't crash for 'no' reason, but people claim it does. Something went wrong. That something CAN be identified and fixed.)

I have no interest in a Mac. So far, for my purposes, there has been nothing that Windows couldn't do for me. I used to be forced to fiddle with my boss's Mac when she's have trouble with it... and as an advanced Win user, I repeatedly got exceptionally frustrated because the commands and run-arounds were not available.

You'll just have to decide if you want to make the adjustment to Mac or not. Some people love 'em. Some people really do love their Windows machines (I do!). Some people even eat coconut... even though it comes in thick, hard shell!

JoeEkaitis
10-20-2008, 06:31 PM
If you should decide on a Mac, shop the refurbished page of the online Apple Store. Your humble author is typing this on a refurbished previous top-o'-the-line MacBook (2.4Ghz motor, black case, 2GB of RAM, 250GB hard drive). It was $400 off the original price and $200 off the clearance price for a new one. Wait a couple months and refurbished aluminum MacBooks should start showing up.

Adam Israel
10-20-2008, 06:45 PM
I spent a decade plus in the Windows world, followed by a long stint with Linux. I have now settled on Apple for all of my personal computing.

In the few years I've been all Mac, I've had one hardware problem and very few legitimate software problems. There are learning curves with switching but they're easy enough to work through. And Scrivener (http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.html) is hands down the best writing program I've ever used, which was part of my decision when buying my first Mac.

Shadow_Ferret
10-20-2008, 08:02 PM
I considered a Mac when I was shopping around for my laptop last year. I like how Macs are "allegedly" virus-proof (although that's mostly because what's the fun in writing a virus that only effects 2 people?). And I do like the new GUI interface, but I'm cheap and for the price of a low end Mac I was able to get a fantastic HP with all the bells and whistles.

And I'm like the only person on Earth who actually likes Vista. I now have 2 Vista laptops.

Adam Israel
10-20-2008, 08:17 PM
I considered a Mac when I was shopping around for my laptop last year. I like how Macs are "allegedly" virus-proof (although that's mostly because what's the fun in writing a virus that only effects 2 people?). And I do like the new GUI interface, but I'm cheap and for the price of a low end Mac I was able to get a fantastic HP with all the bells and whistles.

And I'm like the only person on Earth who actually likes Vista. I now have 2 Vista laptops.

Emphasis mine. I love how, anytime there is a question about Apple someone will blindly throw in a "fact" about marketshare. No matter that you should choose the one that best fits you and what you want to do. It's just fun to be "that guy" and spew false information.

Shadow_Ferret
10-20-2008, 08:18 PM
I like how Mac users are so hypersensitive.

Williebee
10-20-2008, 08:28 PM
I like how Mac users are so hypersensitive. :)

Ok, you two. Let's not rehash this one.

I'll take you back to StephenF's comments.

Let how you are going to use it drive what you get.

maestrowork
10-20-2008, 08:37 PM
Oh dear, another PC vs. Mac debate. ;)

It depends on if you're happy with the PC and how much you can spend. A PC laptop is cheaper (unless you're going for the super-loaded). If you're not familiar with the Mac, there will be a learning curve (but arguably easier to use).

The great thing about the MacBook, etc. is that they use Intel chips, so you can have dual boot (via Bootcamp) or virtual machines such as VirtualPC or Parallel. So you can have the best of both worlds.

I've had bootcamp for a number of years, running both Windows and Mac, but eventually I find that I can do almost everything I need on the Mac, so I got rid of the Bootcamp partition. Occasionally, when I do need to use Windows, I'll run a VirtualPC session off an external hard drive. Works like a charm.

What you should do is to go to a local retailer (I think BestBuy sells Macs now) and check them out yourself. It really depends on many things: familiarity, price, software, and what you want to do with it. If you do a lot of gaming, you'd probably better off with the PC, although the gaps are closing now that the MacBooks are getting new and faster graphics cards.

I have been a Windows power user for years (also an IT professional working with PC and Unix platforms). I switched to the Mac four years ago and never looked back. It's really great to not have to deal with the constant system crashes, updates, virus/spyware protection, registry crap, etc. In four years, my MacBook Pro rarely crashed. I only had to take it to the Apple Store for a repair once -- and it was FREE! Can't beat that.

Adam Israel
10-20-2008, 08:38 PM
I like how Mac users are so hypersensitive.

:Shrug:


:)

Ok, you two. Let's not rehash this one.

I'll take you back to StephenF's comments.

Let how you are going to use it drive what you get.

Good advice to live by. Choice of computer, regardless of vendor or operating system, should be based on what you intend to use it for.

Yeshanu
10-20-2008, 08:40 PM
Hi Dale. I have always worked in MS Windows. I thought it might be fun to try the alternative. I am planning to keep my laptop offline, to use it for word processing (in a comfortable armchair - this one is killing me) and spreadsheets. So I will need the Office suite, which I understand I can get for Apple. Apart from that, I was hoping for better media (ie picture) handling software. I would also use the laptop to run movies. Finally, mac users seem enthusiastic. What's that all about?

Given what you want to do with it, I'd say keep with the PC. I too, point you back to stephenf's comment.

maestrowork
10-20-2008, 08:43 PM
Given what you want to do with it, I'd say keep with the PC. I too, point you back to stephenf's comment.

Actually, no, I think the Mac is better in that regard. Office Suites run on the Mac, and I have to say the Mac has better media and video capability.

Just my thought.

Now, if he's only interested in doing Word and Excel, then he can probably get a much cheaper laptop ($500-$800) running Windows. To me, that would be the biggest factor. Although the MacBook has dropped under $1000, so the price gap is closing.


As for the enthusiasm part... you won't know until you actually have been a Mac user for a while. Just not having to deal with constant virus/spyware/crap is a HUGE deal for me, at least. Plus the Mac is just a pleasure to use -- and I've used everything from all versions of Windows (back to the Win3 time) to OS2 to Unix to VAX to Atari... It's kind of like the enthusiasm toward Obama vs. McCain -- both are very capable candidate. But there's just something about Obama that makes people go nuts sometimes.

Bill Ward
10-20-2008, 08:48 PM
I think a Mac laptop is overkill for something that is just purely for writing. It isn't like you can buy last year's model, or one with low specs, to save some money. So at the minimum you'd be spending a thousand dollars. I'd imagine it would be a good movie watching machine, however.

I'd hesitate to buy a Macbook at this point, as I understand they are being phased out for a new basic model laptop. One can hope it has the Macbook pro's keyboard -- I think the present Macbook has a lousy keyboard.

You can get more bang for your buck with a PC laptop -- and if you plan on keeping it offline virus immunity is a non-issue.

maestrowork
10-20-2008, 08:52 PM
Never mind, I didn't see that you wished to keep it offline. In that case, the virus thing is moot. Also, if you already have Office suites, then go with the PC. It's cheaper and have everything you need for what you want to do.

euclid
10-20-2008, 08:58 PM
...Scrivener (http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.html) is hands down the best writing program I've ever used, which was part of my decision when buying my first Mac.

I've heard about Scrivener, but haven't seen it yet. Does it produce typescript that can be sent out and read by others (like beta readers, editors, agents and publishers?)


Actually, no, I think the Mac is better in that regard. Office Suites run on the Mac, and I have to say the Mac has better media and video capability.

Just my thought.

Now, if he's only interested in doing Word and Excel, then he can probably get a much cheaper laptop ($500-$800) running Windows. To me, that would be the biggest factor. Although the MacBook has dropped under $1000, so the price gap is closing.

As for the enthusiasm part... you won't know until you actually have been a Mac user for a while. Just not having to deal with constant virus/spyware/crap is a HUGE deal for me, at least. Plus the Mac is just a pleasure to use -- and I've used everything from all versions of Windows (back to the Win3 time) to OS2 to Unix to VAX to Atari... It's kind of like the enthusiasm toward Obama vs. McCain -- both are very capable candidate. But there's just something about Obama that makes people go nuts sometimes.

The video capability is something I would be interested in. The price is not a big issue (*ahem*) I think the macbook pro would cost me about 1500 euro (new, not refurbed).

I, too, have worked for years (would you believe 30?) in computer software, so I'm not frightened of operating systems (Linux scares me, though!)

Thanks for all the helpful advice. I am surprised to hear that this topic has come up before.

:ROFL:

WriteKnight
10-20-2008, 09:02 PM
Be advised the new Macbooks DO NOT HAVE FIREWIRE PORTS.

This is a MAJOR step down if you are dealing in media/video. Apparently, Apple has decided if you edit video, you need to do it on the MacbookPro.

So in essence, they have paired BACK on the useability while increasing the price of the Macbook line.

FYI

euclid
10-20-2008, 09:06 PM
Be advised the new Macbooks DO NOT HAVE FIREWIRE PORTS.

This is a MAJOR step down if you are dealing in media/video. Apparently, Apple has decided if you edit video, you need to do it on the MacbookPro.

So in essence, they have paired BACK on the useability while increasing the price of the Macbook line.

FYI

What are Firewire Ports?

WriteKnight
10-20-2008, 09:14 PM
If you don't know, you don't need 'em! Don't worry.

Firewire is the Apple tradename for I-link and ieee-1394 connectors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firewire

They come in various flavors, including firewire 400 and firewire 800. A way for connecting peripherals like your USB port, but sustains much higher continuous data rates.

Firewire is the primary means of transferring video from Cameras to the computer for editing. Also connecting external drives for media storage. Editing requires a higher data rate than simple data retrieval.

The new Macbooks no longer have a firewire port. Which I think is funny, because one of the big selling points with Apple in the early years was that it was 'already firewire ready' - unlike most PC's which required you to install a firewire port.

No longer the case.

Adam Israel
10-20-2008, 09:15 PM
I've heard about Scrivener, but haven't seen it yet. Does it produce typescript that can be sent out and read by others (like beta readers, editors, agents and publishers?)


Yes. It has a variety of options when creating a new project (short story, screen play, novel, comic, etc) and by default will export them into ready to send manuscripts.

There's a video on the site that will demonstrate the common functionality. It is, hands down, the best writing program I've ever used.

euclid
10-20-2008, 09:21 PM
Yes. It has a variety of options when creating a new project (short story, screen play, novel, comic, etc) and by default will export them into ready to send manuscripts.

There's a video on the site that will demonstrate the common functionality. It is, hands down, the best writing program I've ever used.

Is it compatible with MS-Word dcouments?

Adam Israel
10-20-2008, 09:26 PM
Is it compatible with MS-Word dcouments?

Sure is. It exports to Doc and RTF, both completely compatible. Advanced users can get their hands dirty with LaTeX, but I've never had a need for that.

JoeEkaitis
10-20-2008, 09:56 PM
The new Macbooks no longer have a firewire port. Which I think is funny, because one of the big selling points with Apple in the early years was that it was 'already firewire ready' - unlike most PC's which required you to install a firewire port.

No longer the case.The $999 MacBook White, as it's now called, still has a single FireWire 400 port and an optical SuperDrive (reads and writes CDs and DVDs). Steve Jobs says they're still selling like hotcakes, so expect a run on the last of the previous generation models as word gets out.

Clair Dickson
10-21-2008, 12:13 AM
Buy good quality parts, surf safely (using Limited User can stop most viruses, I've tested it) and use blockers and you shouldn't have any issues with Windows. People often get junk parts (discount sometimes means you get what you pay for!) and when those parts fail, Windows has a conniption. My car has a huge problem when the battery goes dead, too... I've had no problems with my computer so long as I don't have any failing parts.

A fellow teacher is a Mac-man, and he's having issues b/c his harddrive is failing. Macs can have parts wear out too. But since they're using high quality parts, it's going to be less frequent. Cheap PC's often have bad parts in them (ones no self-respecting nerd would want!) My failing mobo caused some delightful problems, but it had nothing to do with Windows. Blaming windows for hardware crashes is like blaming Ford (et all) for your brakes wearing out.

Problem is, most people don't bother to figure out what's wrong with the computer. A stock, out of box Windows machine will run smoothly, no issues. Until something gets changed, accidentally, inadvertently, or something. Every crash has a reason.

Being able to deal with those reasons, is a personal thing.

Medievalist
10-21-2008, 12:57 AM
The $999 MacBook White, as it's now called, still has a single FireWire 400 port and an optical SuperDrive (reads and writes CDs and DVDs). Steve Jobs says they're still selling like hotcakes, so expect a run on the last of the previous generation models as word gets out.

And do check out the prices on Amazon; there are some deals.

The MacBook Pro also have firewire.

maestrowork
10-21-2008, 12:58 AM
the new MacBook Pros have Firewire 800, which is lightyears faster than Firewire 400. I think the cheapest MacBook models still have Firewire 400. It's the MacBook Air that doesn't have it, which is kind of stupid, considering their prices.

And get the Apple Care -- to me, it's a great deal. They would fix and sometimes even replace the entire thing. A friend of mine got his iMac completely replaced at no cost for him. I mean, hardware does fail sometimes, even if Apple uses the best components. So the Apple Care is a must have, IMHO, if you're investing in an expensive piece of hardware.

euclid
10-26-2008, 06:03 PM
And do check out the prices on Amazon; there are some deals.

I tried that, but the prices were gigantically horrendous. UKP 1750, for a macbook pro, for example.

We went to a PC world shop, took a look at the macs, and bought a Dell PC. I'm typing this message on that very same new apparatus.

I don't think I'll ever get used to operating without a mouse. Navigating around the screen and scrolling is difficult.

Thanks everyone for your help.

:)

JoeEkaitis
10-26-2008, 07:22 PM
I don't think I'll ever get used to operating without a mouse. Navigating around the screen and scrolling is difficult.

Thanks everyone for your help.

:)I have a Logitech Marble Mouse trackball connected to every computer I use: the HP Windows PC at work, my iMac and my MacBook. It's bigger than a mouse but it stays in one place so in operation it uses less space than even a special "notebook" mouse. It doesn't have a scroll wheel but in Windows, you click both of the mini buttons to activate 4-way scrolling. Takes a little getting used to but after that, even the best mouse on the market will feel quaint and awkward.

http://www.logitech.com/repository/205/jpg/1250.1.0.jpg

maestrowork
10-26-2008, 07:32 PM
I don't think I'll ever get used to operating without a mouse. Navigating around the screen and scrolling is difficult.


I thought so too -- I hated touchpads and trackballs. But the MBP's touchpad was really easy for me to adjust to. I was scrolling and point and clicking in no time. The only thing that bugged me was the lack of right-clicking (the new touchpad is now capable of right-clicking, by tapping with two fingers).

Anyway, good luck with your DELL. I haven't bought DELL since 2003. But they're good machines.

Darzian
10-26-2008, 07:35 PM
I'd love to get a Mac, but the price turns me off. My lappy purchase will likely come next Feb, and I've spent months researching. I'm going with 2.4 GHz C2D, 3MB L2, 3-4 GB 800 MHz RAM, at least 256 dedicated graphics, 120 GB 7200 rpm HD + 750 GB external HD. For those specs, Apple would likely slaughter me, while a Dell would come in below $1500. Maybe one day when I'm richer........(I know, I'll promise my WIP that if it gets me a decent payment, I'll buy a Mac to write a sequel to it).

JoeEkaitis
10-26-2008, 08:29 PM
I'd love to get a Mac, but the price turns me off. Visit the refurb page (http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/wa/RSLID?sf=wHF2F2PHCCCX72KDY&nclm=CertifiedMac) at the Apple Store frequently and strike when the price is within range. Right now, there's a run on previous generation refurbished MacBooks because the new one omits the FireWire 400 port that most digital cameras and camcorders need.

maestrowork
10-26-2008, 08:38 PM
There are also some sweet deals on EBay, etc. I saw a MBP for about $800. Even if they're the earliest models -- I have one of the earliest MBP so I can say it works just great.

Snowbird
10-26-2008, 08:50 PM
I adore MAC ... wouldn't use anything else.

euclid
10-26-2008, 09:13 PM
I adore MAC ... wouldn't use anything else.

Maybe you should upgrade to a new model, now that you have landed that fantastic deal with Viking. You could sell me your old mac at a very reasonable price.

Many congratulations, btw.

:)

euclid
10-26-2008, 09:16 PM
There are also some sweet deals on EBay, etc. I saw a MBP for about $800. Even if they're the earliest models -- I have one of the earliest MBP so I can say it works just great.

I wouldn't trust anything (techincal) purchased on ebay. Very risky !

:)

Darzian
10-26-2008, 09:29 PM
Visit the refurb page (http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/wa/RSLID?sf=wHF2F2PHCCCX72KDY&nclm=CertifiedMac) at the Apple Store frequently and strike when the price is within range. Right now, there's a run on previous generation refurbished MacBooks because the new one omits the FireWire 400 port that most digital cameras and camcorders need.

Interesting. I generally don;t go for refubs but it might be worth it here. BTW, I believe that Macs can run Vista directly? (as in from the internal drive) if you have the installation CD? Or does the installation of Vista completely negate the benefits of a Mac? While I know something about PCs, I'm relatively clueless with Macs,- never researched them.

maestrowork
10-26-2008, 09:40 PM
Interesting. I generally don;t go for refubs but it might be worth it here. BTW, I believe that Macs can run Vista directly? (as in from the internal drive) if you have the installation CD? Or does the installation of Vista completely negate the benefits of a Mac? While I know something about PCs, I'm relatively clueless with Macs,- never researched them.

You can install Vista directly on the Mac via BootCamp. Essentially you'll have dual boot -- both Vista and the Mac OS on it. So you get two systems for the price of one. ;)

I had BootCamp on (although I only used Windows XP, not Vista) until this April, when I completely deleted my BootCamp partition. I'm totally on Mac OS now (with the rare venture into Windows via VMWare Fusion). Not missing Windows at all.

Darzian
10-26-2008, 09:41 PM
You can install Vista directly on the Mac via BootCamp. Essentially you'll have dual boot -- both Vista and the Mac OS on it.

I had BootCamp on (although I only used Windows XP, not Vista) until this April, when I completely deleted my BootCamp partition. I'm totally on Mac OS now. Not missing Windows.

I see. Thanks. Dual boot sounds like a convenient way to switch OS s.

maestrowork
10-26-2008, 09:42 PM
I wouldn't trust anything (techincal) purchased on ebay. Very risky !

:)

I only bought from reputable sellers. Never had a problem, although I admit I've never bought a PC or laptop, just PDAs, cellphones, mp3 players, etc.

maxmordon
10-26-2008, 10:36 PM
PC

I don't see much difference but dad is sure that Mac will lead us to the Promised Land or something

dochas
10-28-2008, 08:13 PM
I never had any interest in Macs until DH dragged me to an Apple store just before Christmas last year, not long after reformatting our PC hard drive for the 2nd time in less than a year. After watching the salesman do his thing, I was a convert, and even though we'd only been considering a laptop for DH for Christmas, we ended up getting two, and I'll never go back. Despite multiple spyware scanners, registry cleaners, virus protection, etc., we've always had problems with slowness on our PC and Dell laptop. And as for logging on.... fuggedaboudit. I can take my Mac from complete shut-down to actually typing an email, working on a document, loading iTunes, whatever, in less than 2 minutes. I've never had a PC load that quickly, even straight out of the box. I wish my office would switch to Macs. We're a large firm, with a huge IT department, and supposedly the latest and greatest in security software, but we constantly have freezing/slowness issues. Takes most people I know an average of 20 minutes to log on.

Clair Dickson
10-28-2008, 08:49 PM
Cheap parts don't make good products. When my folks had a computer store (before the economy tanked) they did a lot of replacement parts on Dells, HPs, Gateways, and others. Most of the parts-- esp. harddrives were the slowest one you could get. Hence the price. I don't expect a Geo Metro to go as fast as Ferrari. The Metro is certainly far cheaper though.

Sometimes, you get what you pay for. People forget this with cheap computers. The four hundred dollar computer MAY be as fas as sedated snail. But sometimes the price is worth if because a slow computer is better than none. Just like I'd rather have a Geo Metro than walk.

If you buy good parts, you will pay more, whether you put them in a Mac or in a Windows box.

(Okay, I'm going to go now. I've said my piece. I respect people who like Macs. I prefer PCs, but would never bash Macs even though I have had some awful experiences fixing them.)

mab
10-28-2008, 08:57 PM
Our IMac just stopped working after 5 yrs. They could probably fix it but we can't be bothered with all that. My OH bought himself a shiny new MacBook (it is truly sexy I must admit but so damn expensive). I'm considering a cheap as chips netbook, probably an eeepc with Linux. Something I can just shove in my bag and not worry about breaking/losing. I do like apple, but I'm just not that rich!

johnnycannuk
11-23-2008, 07:26 AM
For the technically adventurous, it is possible to load OS X 10.5+ on a standard Intel based laptop. I've seen it running full bore on a Dell.

But I now have an iMac 20 and after a lifetime on Windows and Linux, its Mac all the way. And its not just market share, its the *BSD operating system OS X is based on that is architected from the ground up to be secure. And yes, when I'm not pursuing my dream of writing, I'm a software engineer and security specialist for a major public key infrastructure (PKI) vendor.

And Scrivener? Oh yeah, worth the switch to Mac (or OS X on off the shelf hardware) right there.

I only use Windows for work now.