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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?" :)

Considering buying a Mac


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RadioSaigon

 
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Member Since: Jun 16, 2010
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Hi there. I guess I'm looking for more justification for a probable Mac purchase in the near future...

A little history: My 1st computer (waaaay back when) was a Commodore 64, complete with a tape-drive! After several Amiga's and the demise of the brand, I switched to PC -sometime around DOS 3.1, if memory serves, and have stayed "loyal" since... more fool me, methinks. My Win7 machine (current) apparently doesn't like my (4 year-old) graphics card and the whole thing is giving me gyp. Endless crashes, BSOD, driver searches and updates... Enough. I no longer want to be a Microsoft "crash-test dummy"; I no longer have the time -or the patience- to spend endless hours massaging the hardware, OS and software to achieve what should be a relatively straight-forward task. I don't have the money to waste on hardware that'll be redundant with the next OS update. Time to move on.

However... after all these years I have a significant investment in software, which is giving me some pause, but I'm pretty sure I'll just suck it up, replacing software as needs and finances permit.

So, I've been looking pretty seriously at the hardware on offer. In the hope that some of you will be able to offer some thoughts and advice, a little of what I'll be needing the machine for:

Aviation: mission-critical!!! At an absolute minimum, logbook software, currency, renewals et al (yup, I do know of LogTen). Other aviation stuff like TAF's/METAR's/Wx Radar would be really nice and I know there are a heap of other aviation software products availabe too -particularly if they handle NZ and AUS information.

Digital photography: I'm using PS CS2 at the moment -probably won't be in a rush to update that to Mac initially. Aperture looks pretty good, and I've read some encouraging reviews. Storage may be an issue and reformatting existing drives to Mac?

Office software? Thinking maybe OpenOffice at least initially to keep the costs of the platform change manageable.

Website development: I have my own site which I currently manage with DOPUS and Dreamweaver CS4. What alternatives are there for the Mac? I've heard of the limitations of Finder as a shell and ftp client.

Beyond that, it's pretty bog-standard email and web access I'm after.

I'm leaning (pretty seriously) towards a MacBook Pro 15", 2.66Ghz, 8GB RAM, 500GB 7200RPM HDD with an Airport Extreme. I have no need of an external monitor as I'll continue using my existing Dell 2407WFP. I will grab the keyboard and magic mouse however.

I had originally been tempted by the 17", but thought the 15" would be more portable and manageable.

I'm very interested in people's thoughts and opinions! Anything I've missed or need to consider?

TIA

regards

RS
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Mickyfin

 
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Sounds like a MacBook Pro 17" was made for you my friend from what you have told us. Its the model I have, and I too switched recently from the Windows environment of over two decades. No regrets at all investing in my MBP, its by far the best investment I have made when it comes to making my life, and work easier, and more fun.
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EndlessMac

 
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Wow you really gave this some thought. It can be a big financial jump if you have a lot of required software you need to update right away to Mac versions. What you can do is install Windows on your Mac and use those programs in Windows for awhile before you can buy the Mac versions one by one. It's less of a financial burdon this way.

When I switched to Mac several years back installing Windows wasn't an option so what I did was keep my Windows machine and used both. I then bought the Mac versions of software when it was financially affordable for me. This way I didn't have to make the jump in one giant leap. Most average users aren't going to have that many must have softwares because they mostly just surf the internet and use word processors.

OpenOffice is a nice free office suite and it will most likely be good enough at least at the beginning. I use Cyberduck as a free FTP software. The other softwares you are going to have to either replace or use in Windows.

As to 15" or 17" it's up to you. The 17" is heavier and if portability is what you need then you might like the 15" instead. That's current what I have. There really isn't too much difference between the 15" and 17" expect for the screen size and a few other things. You can compare the two at Apple's website. Good luck with your decision.

You also might want to shop around for RAM because Apple's prices aren't the best. It's easy to upgrade the RAM yourself.
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tdietz87

 
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I made the switch a little while ago and I am quite happy with my purchase. However, before my mac I owned a 17 inch sony. I thought "why wouldn't I want a big screen to watch movies, edit photos, and do my 3d modeling" but at the screen size you are limited with what bags you can buy, as well as portability. If you ever plan on taking it on an air plane you better get 1st class tickets because my big screen in coach was pretty unmanageable. I couldn't open it all the way without hitting the back of the seat in front of me. Not to mention the 15 inch screen less expensive. I moved from a 17 inch screen down to the 13 inch (if I had the cash I would've got the 15) and I really dont miss the 17 inch screen at all. The portability (smaller and significantly lighter in weight) was worth it to me.

my 2 cents
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Citizen Bleys

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RadioSaigon View Post
Website development: I have my own site which I currently manage with DOPUS and Dreamweaver CS4. What alternatives are there for the Mac? I've heard of the limitations of Finder as a shell and ftp client.
That's really the only part I have anything to add to -- With MacPorts (free software), you should be able to install at least Konqueror if not Nautilus, which you can use as a file manager while doing web development; Nautilus, at least, supports SSH connections via the GUI, so you can edit files directly on your web server using a text editor like TextMate instead of the old Windows-world procedure of download, edit, upload, test every time you want to make a change. That's how I do my development, I like being able to edit remote files as though they're on my own computer and just hit refresh. Once you get used to that, it will feel almost physically painful to develop with the Windows download/edit/upload/test paradigm.

I know...I'm going to be developing on a Windows workstation tonight. If I go home, I won't be able to leave my Mac alone and I'll miss my deadline

"I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone" ~ Bjarne Stroustrup, father of the C++ programming language
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schriftleiter

 
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Considering that you have not had much experience with modern computers, you will probably not be dissapointed with your new machine.
I bought a TRS-80 in 1978 because the Apple dealers would not let me touch their machines and Radio Shack said "You can't break it."
Ten years later, I bought my first PC and have never considered an Apple product since.
Then came my purchase of an iMac. Big dissapointment. I cannot find any software that runs decently on it and have spent a couple of weeks now trying to install Windows XP in a second partition.
The Finder program is a huge disaster. Open a file directory with 5,278 files and wait about 30 minutes. Try to find a file and you spend a couple of hours. Not very nice.
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Citizen Bleys

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schriftleiter View Post
The Finder program is a huge disaster. Open a file directory with 5,278 files and wait about 30 minutes. Try to find a file and you spend a couple of hours. Not very nice.
Yeah, there's something definitely wrong there. I'm getting better performance than that out of my refurb non-Pro Macbook. I know I'm going to sound like a Windows user here, but have you tried reinstalling the OS? There's no doubt a better way, but since I've not yet had any problems with my Mac, I don't know how to track down the cause. The *NIX commands I'd normally start with don't exist on Mac. (lspci and lshw...although I bet I could get them back with MacPorts...loving that program, it reminds me of using Gentoo, by no coincidence)

"I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone" ~ Bjarne Stroustrup, father of the C++ programming language
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joshbrez

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schriftleiter View Post
Then came my purchase of an iMac. Big dissapointment. I cannot find any software that runs decently on it and have spent a couple of weeks now trying to install Windows XP in a second partition.
The Finder program is a huge disaster. Open a file directory with 5,278 files and wait about 30 minutes. Try to find a file and you spend a couple of hours. Not very nice.
This is very unusual performance for the Finder. While the interface of Finder is not perfect, it certainly handles files just find, and Spotlight is very fast finding files, on the order of seconds.

As for software that runs decently on an iMac, every Mac comes equipped with very capable software, and the third party development community for the Mac is very vibrant. Quite honestly, the quality of software that I've seen for the Mac is better than anything I ever saw when I built and used PCs.

My recommendation is to take a trip to an Apple store and speak with a Specialist there. They'll be able to have a look at what your needs are and the type of software that can do the job.
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Citizen Bleys

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshbrez View Post
My recommendation is to take a trip to an Apple store and speak with a Specialist there. They'll be able to have a look at what your needs are and the type of software that can do the job.
Would that this were an option for everyone, but it's not the case. The nearest Apple store, for me, is 1,500 kilometers distant. In my case, I suspect, the workshops there would probably be too mickey-mouse and hand-holdy for my liking, but there are many who would benefit from more generous coverage.

"I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone" ~ Bjarne Stroustrup, father of the C++ programming language
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RadioSaigon

 
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Thanks for the replies guys. I'm in the process of finalising the details of my purchase, getting (a little) "hands-on" time in shops and am all-but totally convinced I'm going the right way. I'm fortunate in that I can retain my Win7 machine for software I can't find for OS-X or can't afford to replace immediately when there is no realistic alternative available. Planning on maintaining the MacBook Pro as a purely OS-X machine initially at least, until I'm conversant with the way everything works and have everything I need moved from Win to Mac.

The thread-drift is indeed fortuitous. Finder would appear to be an issue from comments here and in other threads. As previously intimated, fairly robust file-management is a requirement for me, preferably with FTP. There have been some good suggestions so far, but the question still remains -is there a robust Finder replacement available for OS-X at all? I have read mention somewhere recently of extensions for Finder also -are they any good? Do they add significant functionality to Finder?

cheers!

RS
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MacShane

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RadioSaigon View Post
There have been some good suggestions so far, but the question still remains -is there a robust Finder replacement available for OS-X at all? I have read mention somewhere recently of extensions for Finder also -are they any good? Do they add significant functionality to Finder?

cheers!

RS
One word: Spotlight.
Finder is kind of misleading in that you shouldn't be using it to "find" files at all. File organization and management, yes (it works similarly to Windows Explorer). But to find files, especially among thousands, the Spotlight Menu or Spotlight Window, depending on your search criteria, is the way to go. I go through Spotlight for just about everything - from opening apps to calling up files or folders. It's just faster than clicking.
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RadioSaigon

 
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Thanks MacShane, yep I'm aware of all that -and Spotlight.

I'm looking for a decent programme to manage large quantities of files at a time. 500 - 2000 images that need copied, burned to archival disks, sorted into folder hierarchies, uploaded to websites... it just goes on.

I currently use Directory Opus on my Win machine (if you don't know it, it's worth a look -on Google) and am looking for a Mac equivalent.

Was I too simplistic in my explanation (inferrence) of requirements, or am I being too obtuse to see the wisdom in your advice???
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MacShane

 
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Here is a review of a bunch of Finder replacements, one of which would surely suit your needs: http://www.simplehelp.net/2006/10/08...-and-reviewed/
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RadioSaigon

 
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That's what I was after MacShane -many thanks! It'll take a little time to evaluate those to see what suits best!
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weemax

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacShane View Post
One word: Spotlight.
Finder is kind of misleading in that you shouldn't be using it to "find" files at all. File organization and management, yes (it works similarly to Windows Explorer). But to find files, especially among thousands, the Spotlight Menu or Spotlight Window, depending on your search criteria, is the way to go. I go through Spotlight for just about everything - from opening apps to calling up files or folders. It's just faster than clicking.
Wow! Amazing... very helpful indeed! Ive had my mac a while now & never used that. I always user finder! Impressed!

Imac 21.5" 3.06GHz * 16GB iPhone 4 OS5 * No apple knowledge
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