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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?" :)

Looking to buy a mac...


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ezhangin

 
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Member Since: Jun 10, 2005
Location: Indiana; there's more than just corn here
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I am looking to buy a Mac laptop and there are some things I want to know but no one seems to be able to really answer my questions so I thought I would come here. Before I ask my questions, I just want to say that I don't want any of that "Mac is better than Windows" fanboy crap. I want honest, truthful answers. I am going to college this fall and I may bring my windows computer with me too, it depends (I would rather have one computer though). What this decision really hangs on I guess is if the software I need for engineering will work on a mac (Purdue Engineering student soon). I don't think I would get a Mac desktop system though, mainly because I build my desktop computers and I am not sure if you can do that with a Mac. Anyways, enough rambling, here are my questions...

What are the real ups and downs of having a mac versus a windows computer? Please don't say "There are none!" because there is always a trade-off when deciding between one thing and another (yes, windows has its downfalls).

Do Macs get spyware the same way Windows PCs do? I don't mean viruses, because I am quite aware of how few, if any, viruses that macs have. If Macs do have spyware, is there anything comparable to Ad-Aware or Spybot for the Mac? (Maybe they run on Macs, I don't know)

What is the difference between a Powerbook and an iBook (yeah, total newb here)? Apple's website very poorly outlines the differences and I would appreciate it if someone could help me out here.

What about the operating systems? I was looking at the Powerbook and iBook and they have different operating systems. What's the difference between (i think its called) Tiger and Panther? (I hope I got those names right)
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BrianH
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No spyware on my end. I have never had to get an ad aware type program so i dont know if they even exist, you could check download.com and see.

A powerbook is more "high end" than an ibook. powerbooks are more powerful pack more hard drive space, processor speed, and offer just more punch . Ibooks also use 32 mb video which may feel a little sluggish compared to a powerbook.

Tiger is the new OS while panther is the old. Tiger uses 64 bit and operates a bit more smooth than panther.

IMO if you were to take a windows machine up there with you i would get an ibook. However if you were looking for a sole lone machine, then go powerbook.

I just recently (yesterday) purchased a powerbook and had to decide between it and an ibook. The powerbook is my lone machine while im at college and plus i am a pretty heavy user of my mac and by heavy user i mean i use it for 3 hours a day everyday. If you have the money defintely go powerbook.

I know this is brief, but ask more direct questions and i can help you from there, and im sure someone else will chime in here in a bit.
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ezhangin

 
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Location: Indiana; there's more than just corn here
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Sorry, my questions are a bit vague sometimes haha. Thanks for the information anyways. What kinda battery life does that Powerbook get?

Also, will my windows iPod work with a mac that I buy?
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zap2
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Tiger is the newest OS, while panther was the OS before tiger, tiger is much better, get it
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BrianH
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lets see, I have 43% of the battery left and i have been using it for about 3 hours, playing the speakers at high volume and using my internet connection pretty heavily, downloading apps, and listening to itunes streaming radio. So i guess about 5 hours is what i expect to get out of this charge. By the way, charging the battery takes no time at all, i had my battery fully charged in about 40 minutes, whereas some laptops batteries i have used take an hour to two.
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ezhangin

 
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Member Since: Jun 10, 2005
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Once again, thanks for the replies.

What the heck is a widget?
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BrianH
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a widget is an application on your "dashboard". On my dashboard right now i have, The Tile Game, Weather for my area, calculator, clock for a different time zone (so i know when my friend in germany is getting online), post it note type stickies for reminders to do errands, calendar, a cinema listing of what is playing in my area and the times the movie plays, and the phone book widget. Once you see them in action you will know what im talking about. check out apple.com and they show you it as well.
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badmojo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezhangin
Once again, thanks for the replies.

What the heck is a widget?
Here's a screenshot of a bunch I have running. They're just little "apps" that provide quick info (available only in Tiger):
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Wig1.jpg (297.3 KB, 22 views)
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ezhangin

 
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Member Since: Jun 10, 2005
Location: Indiana; there's more than just corn here
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One last question I guess, are there upates like windows update? Or do you have to buy the programs again?
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jhelm007

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezhangin
I am going to college this fall and I may bring my windows computer with me too, it depends (I would rather have one computer though). What this decision really hangs on I guess is if the software I need for engineering will work on a mac (Purdue Engineering student soon). I don't think I would get a Mac desktop system though, mainly because I build my desktop computers and I am not sure if you can do that with a Mac. Anyways, enough rambling, here are my questions...

What are the real ups and downs of having a mac versus a windows computer? Please don't say "There are none!" because there is always a trade-off when deciding between one thing and another (yes, windows has its downfalls).
As a scientist I can tell you that the applications that I use the most are available for mac. Most of the ones that aren't will run using windows/x86 emulation software (I use virtualPC). There are a very very few that will not run on windows in VPC or in OS X.

Microsoft Office for the Mac works very well and has good cross platform compatibility... mostly. There are problems with powerpoint, but even those are relatively few.
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Dominion

 
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What kind of sciences? I'm going back to school this fall and will be changing my major to Biology. Although I'm not quite sure if there will be any programs worth using all that often. I guess I should take a moment to hijack a little bit, but maybe help the original guy out.

For a school computer, should I just put down the cash for Office or iWork? I'm really familiar with office so it would be the easiest choice for me, but which is the best of the two programs. (And like the original poster, keep MS grudges out, just want some facts)
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sarahsboy18

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezhangin
One last question I guess, are there upates like windows update? Or do you have to buy the programs again?
Yes there is a "Mac OS X Software Update" that you can use to get general updates for OSX or any Apple apps... Major third party apps (adobe, office, etc) have automatic update systems built in to them.

"If you had a friend who was a tightrope walker, and you were walking down a sidewalk, and he fell, that would be completely unacceptable." -Mitch Hedberg
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rs2sensen

 
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The Powerbook has power, the iBook doesn't have as much (if I said "The iBook doesn't" I'd get crucified, cuz it does have some). The Powerbook is for those who will be doing anything more than word processing, instant messaging, and internet. If you do anything other than that, the Powerbook is really the thing to go with. You can do other stuff on the iBook, but it will feel very sluggish compared to the Powerbook.

For battery life, it can vary a huge amount. I guarentee that my 17" Powerbook which I have the processor set to highest on, work with full screen brightness, as well as full backlit keyboard, and continuous wireless internet, will get much less battery life than a smaller model, or an iBook. Battery life is all about usage and settings. I recently stretched my battery to about 6 hrs, but I was running on minimum. Watching a DVD, I'll get a couple hours. Average use I'll get about 4. But remember the above, huge screen, with maxed out settings, almost all the time.

Office is better than iWork in my opinion, and runs very nicely on my mac. However, there is also a freeware effort, called "Open Office" which is supposed to work pretty well.

No matter which one you get, 512mb ram is really the minimum you should have. However, if u buy the ram from Apple, you may get raped in price. I strongly recommend buying the ram from a 3rd party manufacturer and installing it yourself (its very easy).

OS X does not get viruses or spyware.

There is an automatic update built into OS X, and most programs have them too. However, updates are less often than with Windows. Which is a good thing.

If you have a pc on a network with the mac, you can run programs on the PC, and show them on the mac. This is my prefered alternative to VirtualPC which although I don't own, I have used, and have found it to be very slow.

If you want to try widgets on your pc or mac (if u don't have tiger), you can try Konfabulator. It is a similar program (although only in function) to dashboard (found withing Tiger), and has a free trial before a "guilt inducing" message stays in the bottom corner of the screen when the program is running. However, Konfabulator is much less efficient than Dashboard, and uses a fair amount of ram (5-10mb Ram per widget). You can download for free more than just the basic widgets that come preinstalled with Konfabulator.

"Windows iPod" no such thing. The iPod is truly a mac device that has been allowed to work with Windows. You will find it much easier and efficient to use the iPod with a mac than with Windows.
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Dominion

 
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Cool, I definatly will be getting office then. As for open office, I have used it on my PC and I don't like it.
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sarahsboy18

 
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I don't really care for open office either... Now I do have a copy of NeoOffice... just because some of my clients use wordperfect and NeoOffice is the only mac program that will open wpd files. So some of those opensource systems really do have some awesome benefits if you work with alot of different types of files.

"If you had a friend who was a tightrope walker, and you were walking down a sidewalk, and he fell, that would be completely unacceptable." -Mitch Hedberg
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