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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Preparing for Partial Family Switch to Macs


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sarends

 
Member Since: Oct 27, 2009
Posts: 26
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I am a father of 5 (2 kids at home). We currently have 3 Dell laptops at home and of the older 3 college kids 2 have moved to Macs and love it. So, I am beginning to plan a slow move (either partial or total) to Macs. I have an oppty to purchase a couple of excellent condition high end Powerbooks (Leopard) for my younger 2 kids at home and I am going to get a MBP for my wife and I to use. I will keep the at least 1 Dell laptop for good measure and transition issues. I am also planning to use the MBP at work (I am the VP of Ops for a small company).

I have a few questions on softwares:

1) We use Google Documents for word processing docs and spreadsheets (home and work). Since Macs run Firefox (and Google docs work well on PC Firefox), I am assuming Google docs will work fine in the Mac world. Any of you avid users?

2) We (like everyone) do a lot of web browsing. Browsers of choice are Chrome, Firefox and Opera. There are strengths in all of them. I haven't used Safari, but I understand it is highly used by Mac users. I know Chrome is just a baby in the Mac world & I have heard it doesn't work so well yet. So, my Mac browsing plan is Firefox and Safari and maybe Opera and watch for Chrome improvements. Thoughts here?

3) When I need to solve a "heavy duty" word processing problem or build an advances spreadsheet I use Office 2007. Since Google Documnets have been getting stronger and stronger and is 100% web based, this occurs less and less. What do most users in the Mac world use for word processing and spreadsheets? I have thought about OpenOffice but I am reluctant to learn another stand alone application. I guess I am wondering if I am going to need to purchase MS Office for Mac na d what others have done.

4) Lastly, what Mac apps are clearly "couldn't ever live without", "bread and butter" Mac Apps? I have heard that iLife is pretty popular and useful. Are there other absolutely essential apps?

5) I know that many Mac users that lean toward the professional/artistic side use the Adobe Creative Suite. Are there other graphics softwares used that are perhaps less expensive that are desirable?

Thanks for the help! Steve
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Nethfel

 
Member Since: Feb 25, 2009
Posts: 2,082
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Mac Specs: 2012 Non-retina MBP, 2.6GHz i7, 8GB RAM, Antiglare Screen

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Hi!

I can't respond to everything, but will happily give my opinions where I can

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarends View Post

1) We use Google Documents for word processing docs and spreadsheets (home and work). Since Macs run Firefox (and Google docs work well on PC Firefox), I am assuming Google docs will work fine in the Mac world. Any of you avid users?
Can't answer, don't use Google Documents at all.


Quote:
2) We (like everyone) do a lot of web browsing. Browsers of choice are Chrome, Firefox and Opera. There are strengths in all of them. I haven't used Safari, but I understand it is highly used by Mac users. I know Chrome is just a baby in the Mac world & I have heard it doesn't work so well yet. So, my Mac browsing plan is Firefox and Safari and maybe Opera and watch for Chrome improvements. Thoughts here?
I use Safari and Firefox. A lot of people here swear by firefox. I find they both work fairly well; there is only one site I tend to have issues with Safari so far, and it seems to me that flash performance, although improved since snow leopard, is better in Firefox then in Safari. Honestly, I use Safari most of the time, but for no particular reason other then its position on my dock.

Quote:
3) When I need to solve a "heavy duty" word processing problem or build an advances spreadsheet I use Office 2007. Since Google Documnets have been getting stronger and stronger and is 100% web based, this occurs less and less. What do most users in the Mac world use for word processing and spreadsheets? I have thought about OpenOffice but I am reluctant to learn another stand alone application. I guess I am wondering if I am going to need to purchase MS Office for Mac na d what others have done.
Options:

OpenOffice - fairly similar to Microsoft office, not a huge learning curve if you know office.
iWork - good, but AFAIK not near as powerful as Office
Office 04 or Office 08 - Mac versions of MSO, of the two, Office 08 yes, is newer, but doesn't have vbs support, so if you do a lot of vbs scripting you'll want to use office '04. They are supposed to bring back scripting in the next version of Mac Office from what I have read.
Setup a VM (using Fusion, Parallels or Virtualbox) with windows and install MS Office '07.

Quote:
4) Lastly, what Mac apps are clearly "couldn't ever live without", "bread and butter" Mac Apps? I have heard that iLife is pretty popular and useful. Are there other absolutely essential apps?
This varies from person to person based upon what they do really. For me, some of my must haves include:
mpegstreamclip
handbrake
transmission
adium
open offfice
cyberduck
AppCleaner
Plex
MS Remote Desktop Connection
SoundSource
Burn
VLC
Blackberry Desktop Manager

and then a variety of purchase-ware.

Quote:
5) I know that many Mac users that lean toward the professional/artistic side use the Adobe Creative Suite. Are there other graphics softwares used that are perhaps less expensive that are desirable?
Well, this all depends on what you want to do graphics wise. There are several packages out there, some free, some cheap, and some expensive. If you're just doing minor photo tweaks, you might be able to just use iPhoto, if you want heavy complex capability, Gimp may work for you. I use more video editing applications then I do graphics apps honestly.

My Macs: 2012 Non-Retina 15" MBP; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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cwa107

 
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Member Since: Dec 20, 2006
Location: Middletown, Pennsylvania
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarends View Post

1) We use Google Documents for word processing docs and spreadsheets (home and work). Since Macs run Firefox (and Google docs work well on PC Firefox), I am assuming Google docs will work fine in the Mac world. Any of you avid users?
Google Documents and the entire suite of Google webapps are all designed to work with any standards compliant browser. And being that the Mozilla Foundation is partially funded by Google, they have a vested interest in ensuring that Firefox is just as functional with their apps as their own browser is. I have used Google Documents from time to time with the Mac version of Firefox and have never encountered an issue.

Quote:
2) We (like everyone) do a lot of web browsing. Browsers of choice are Chrome, Firefox and Opera. There are strengths in all of them. I haven't used Safari, but I understand it is highly used by Mac users. I know Chrome is just a baby in the Mac world & I have heard it doesn't work so well yet. So, my Mac browsing plan is Firefox and Safari and maybe Opera and watch for Chrome improvements. Thoughts here?
In my opinion, Safari is a mediocre browser at best. Chrome, which uses the same rendering engine as Safari (WebKit) is actually not in full release on the Mac. The developer betas I've tried are definitely not ready for primetime.

Quote:
3) When I need to solve a "heavy duty" word processing problem or build an advances spreadsheet I use Office 2007. Since Google Documnets have been getting stronger and stronger and is 100% web based, this occurs less and less. What do most users in the Mac world use for word processing and spreadsheets? I have thought about OpenOffice but I am reluctant to learn another stand alone application. I guess I am wondering if I am going to need to purchase MS Office for Mac na d what others have done.
MS Office for Mac doesn't bear a strong resemblance to its Windows counterpart. So, either way, you'll be facing at least a slight learning curve. I personally use OpenOffice and find the word processor and spreadsheet software to look and feel more like MS Office 2003 on Windows, which is what I prefer on that platform (I find the user interface on 2007 to be aggravating and nonsensical).

Quote:
4) Lastly, what Mac apps are clearly "couldn't ever live without", "bread and butter" Mac Apps? I have heard that iLife is pretty popular and useful. Are there other absolutely essential apps?
I like VMWare Fusion so that I can run multiple operating systems simultaneously. Other than that, this is probably a discussion best left to another thread.

Quote:
5) I know that many Mac users that lean toward the professional/artistic side use the Adobe Creative Suite. Are there other graphics softwares used that are perhaps less expensive that are desirable?

Thanks for the help! Steve
Check out Pixelmator, amongst others.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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mjfleck2000

 
Member Since: Apr 07, 2008
Location: Coeur d' Alene, Idaho
Posts: 17
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I can help by giving my experience. I have moved, at home, from using MS Windows and Linux to the Mac. At work (less than 100 employees), we have started using some Macbooks to replace Windows laptops. I am the "IT" guy at work so I am familiar with this transition.

1) Google Docs on the Mac. We have no problems using Google. We use Google Apps for Your Domain so we do email,doc, calendar,etc through Google. No problems unique to the Mac have been noted.

2)I have Firefox and Safari on the Macs. I have found addblock and flashblock addons for Safari which were the addons to Firefox that I really must have. I find Safari very responsive. I like that Safari, being a Mac integrated app, has features built in that I have not found on Firefox...ie, I can put my cursor over a word in Safari, press Control+Command+D for the dictionary.

3) I have used google docs but I find them usually too limited at this time. I have NeoOffice which is OpenOffice recompiled for the Mac.... but I rarely use it. I have iWork which has Pages(like Word), Keynote (like Power Point) and Numbers (like Excel). I purchased a tutorial book on iWork, worked through it in about 5 days and have been using Pages ever since. I prefer Pages to Word. I prefer Keynote to Powerpoint. However, I prefer Excel to Numbers.

4) My must have app is 1Password. There are so many login/passwords to remember that it is difficult keeping track of them. 1Password does the trick very well. After that, I would need a word processor/spreadsheet. I prefer iWork ($49, great price!) but would suggest you try NeoOffice or OpenOffice. OpenOffice is a free download.

Note that iLife should come preloaded on the Mac.. it is not something you need to purchase. From your post, it sounded as if you thought you might need to purchase it.

Hope you find this useful

Mike
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didymus

 
Member Since: Apr 23, 2009
Location: Sheffield, England
Posts: 191
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Mac Specs: Model Identifier: iMac9,1 Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz

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Quote:
1) We use Google Documents for word processing docs and spreadsheets (home and work). Since Macs run Firefox (and Google docs work well on PC Firefox), I am assuming Google docs will work fine in the Mac world. Any of you avid users?
I'm not an avid user but have used it occasionally for sharing docs with international collaborators and have found no problems on the Mac

Quote:
2) We (like everyone) do a lot of web browsing. Browsers of choice are Chrome, Firefox and Opera. There are strengths in all of them. I haven't used Safari, but I understand it is highly used by Mac users. I know Chrome is just a baby in the Mac world & I have heard it doesn't work so well yet. So, my Mac browsing plan is Firefox and Safari and maybe Opera and watch for Chrome improvements. Thoughts here?
I stick with Firefox, which is fine on the Mac - I used it on the PC and prefer it to Safari - it's got everything I need and the new beta 3.6 seems a good deal faster.

Quote:
3) When I need to solve a "heavy duty" word processing problem or build an advances spreadsheet I use Office 2007. Since Google Documnets have been getting stronger and stronger and is 100% web based, this occurs less and less. What do most users in the Mac world use for word processing and spreadsheets? I have thought about OpenOffice but I am reluctant to learn another stand alone application. I guess I am wondering if I am going to need to purchase MS Office for Mac na d what others have done.
As someone else has said, Office for Mac is more like Office 2003 for the PC than Office 2007 - which is just as well. However, the only software that causes problems for me on the Mac similar to those on the PC is Msoft's products - it's the only package that shuts down and asks me if I want to inform Apple - so I'm weaning myself away from Office to iWork.

Quote:
4) Lastly, what Mac apps are clearly "couldn't ever live without", "bread and butter" Mac Apps? I have heard that iLife is pretty popular and useful. Are there other absolutely essential apps?
iPhoto, which is part of iLife is an excellent photo organizing and, within limits, editing package - the one thing I don't like about it is the inaccessibility of the images in the library other than through iPhoto, but I'm learning to live with that. I don't do much with music, and iTunes serves perfectly well for what I need.

Quote:
5) I know that many Mac users that lean toward the professional/artistic side use the Adobe Creative Suite. Are there other graphics softwares used that are perhaps less expensive that are desirable?
I use Elements 8 for the editing that iPhoto can't provide and EssentialHDR for hdr editing - of course, you can go the open source route and get the GIMP - which I find not very user friendly.

As for continuing use of PC apps. I use VMFusion with XP - clicking from one to the other is a dream, but VirtualBox is a free alternative - never used it, but others have and find it fine. That's one of the virtues of the Intel Macs - you can have two systems (or more - stick Ubuntu on too, if you wish) on the same machine.
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iPod Nano

 
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Technically a PowerPC machine could do it to, but the only software "VPC" doesn't work very well at all.

Chris K.
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