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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?" :)

Thinking about Going Mac


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JGruber

 
Member Since: Aug 20, 2005
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Ok, well I have decided recently Im tired of my PC. I have a good couple of deals to trade off my current system for my First Mac. (Mac Mini or G4 Powerbook) BUT I do have some questions.

1. - I have a external DVD burner, is this going to cause problems on a MAC?
2. - USB support... Do they make USB expanders, like to add more then 1 device at a time.
3. - Software wise, I do a lot of dvd making, what kind of DVD Burning software is out there? Such as Nero.
4. - Networking with Windows? Is this possible (reason asked is because my wife has a HP laptop)
5. - Extra stuff, such as External HDD, Printers... etc. Problems with installing or general hardware issue's.
6. - Software install. Is it as easy to install software like on a Windows based machine?

I appricate your time in answering my questions as I want to make the switch before I change my mind again. Your answers just might push me over the edge and ultimatly say yes.

Thanks.
Jeff
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Benjamindaines

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGruber
Ok, well I have decided recently Im tired of my PC. I have a good couple of deals to trade off my current system for my First Mac. (Mac Mini or G4 Powerbook) BUT I do have some questions.

1. - I have a external DVD burner, is this going to cause problems on a MAC?
2. - USB support... Do they make USB expanders, like to add more then 1 device at a time.
3. - Software wise, I do a lot of dvd making, what kind of DVD Burning software is out there? Such as Nero.
4. - Networking with Windows? Is this possible (reason asked is because my wife has a HP laptop)
5. - Extra stuff, such as External HDD, Printers... etc. Problems with installing or general hardware issue's.
6. - Software install. Is it as easy to install software like on a Windows based machine?

I appricate your time in answering my questions as I want to make the switch before I change my mind again. Your answers just might push me over the edge and ultimatly say yes.

Thanks.
Jeff
1. Most External DVD Burners will work with out a hitch on macs

2. Yes they do make USB hubs like this one http://www.compusa.com/products/prod...732&pfp=SEARCH

3. If you are just doing home movies then just use iMovie that comes with all macs but if you are doing more pro stuff / heavy editing and effects then buy Final Cut Pro

4. Networking with Windows is possible although file sharing can be buggy.

5. All External add-ons (printers, HDD, mice ect.) will work with mac even if they dont have the little mac logo on the box (unless they require drivers then it may not but that is rare)

6. Installing Software is even easier on a mac then a windows PC. Most times you just drag an app to your hard drive instead of running an installer.

I hope this helps you along in switching to mac.

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sarahsboy18

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGruber
3. - Software wise, I do a lot of dvd making, what kind of DVD Burning software is out there? Such as Nero.
I know alot of people who use Roxio Toast for a Nero replacement... If you are doing video DVDs then iDVD which is included in iLife is a great tool. For pro stuff DVD Studio Pro is almost the industry standard anymore.

"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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dtravis7

 
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If your present DVD burner does not work 100% all you have to do is download Patchburn and you will be in business.

Any USB Hub that I have tried so far works great with the Mac.

Networking with Windows systems has been 100% for me as well as File Sharing.

Like was already said, Installing applications is easier than with Windows. Usually drop it in the applications folder from a disk image. So easy.

Others pretty much answered your other questions.
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walkerj

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGruber
Ok, well I have decided recently Im tired of my PC. I have a good couple of deals to trade off my current system for my First Mac. (Mac Mini or G4 Powerbook) BUT I do have some questions.

1. - I have a external DVD burner, is this going to cause problems on a MAC?
2. - USB support... Do they make USB expanders, like to add more then 1 device at a time.
3. - Software wise, I do a lot of dvd making, what kind of DVD Burning software is out there? Such as Nero.
4. - Networking with Windows? Is this possible (reason asked is because my wife has a HP laptop)
5. - Extra stuff, such as External HDD, Printers... etc. Problems with installing or general hardware issue's.
6. - Software install. Is it as easy to install software like on a Windows based machine?

I appricate your time in answering my questions as I want to make the switch before I change my mind again. Your answers just might push me over the edge and ultimatly say yes.

Thanks.
Jeff

I know that being redundant is being what I'm being, but I switched from Windows/Linux to a Mac Mini recently, and feel qualified to answer these questions. This in a heterogeneous Windows/Linux/Mac network at home with DSL behind a NAT router. (That means a $50 Linksys router that makes all my computers share the internet connection if you didn't know.)

1. No, you should have no problems especially if it's firewire. If it's USB also no problem.

2. Yes. First thing I got for my Mini...in fact it was kind of needed since one USB port is occupied by the keyboard/mouse.

3. Toaster.

4. Yes. I have seen no bugs with filesharing as yet, and I use it often.

5. Yes. A Mac is about as plug and play as you get. If it doesn't work with a Mac, it probably won't work with Windows (One RCA mp3 player comes to mind...works with my Linux box oddly enough.) If it doesn't work with a Mac take it back (the peripheral, not the Mac.)

6. Easier. In the good majority of the time it is as simple as dragging an icon to your applications folder. Interestingly, this is one of the more difficult things to get used to (you mean I just...? But...with Windows I gotta click on setup.exe, and... You just do that? No way! Wow, that works!) Anyway, most software written for a Mac, including those free type things you download from the internet, works just that way.

A few notes I've learned in my...what is it now? six months of Mac ownership is as follows:

Pros: Things just work. I like that. Got sick of tinkering with my computer at home. I tinker with computers for a living and I'd just as soon not do so with my home computer. It's bad enough I still have to tinker around with my wife's (Windows XP) computer.

There are little things that make the whole computing experience much easier. There are too many things to list here, but they include stuff like how everything has a certain 'look' and behavior that is common across all apps. The drag/drop thing is a major one.

A Mac Mini at least, is utterly silent. Not having a howling banshee under my desk is really nice. I understand that for the most part the other models are as well.

Cons: You can't necessarily go out and buy the cheapest peripheral made for Windows and expect it to work with a Mac. You can adapt to a certain degree (an external firewire enclosure for a standard hard drive comes to mind) but expect to be a little bit more diligent before buying something like a printer to make sure it will work with your Mac. An example of this would be my Scanner that I had prior to buying my Mac - a Canoscan Lide40, which works fine with Photoshop but not with Acrobat. This is not a problem for me, but might be for someone else.

Remember those little shareware or freeware apps available for Windows? Doesn't work that way in the Mac world. Those little freeware apps for the Mac become little $14/$25/$50 utilities that you can download but are crippled until you pay the (albiet small) price. I've learned that this is just the way it is. Most of the little utilities I've downloaded and paid for are worth it in the end. Plus there still is some free software for the Mac out there, just not as much. Audacity (sound editor), Desktop manager (virtual desktop application), and NeoOffice/J (MS Office work-alike, compatible with MS Office docs) come to mind.

There is a bit of a learning curve. It is quite intuitive, but after years of Windows indoctrination, you will find it a tad frustrating to try figuring out how to do things on a Mac, since it is most often much simpler to do. Getting the mind to do things less complicated seems to be harder than training it the opposite. I call it (non-deragatorily) "Think Stupid". When confronted with how to do something on a Mac, chances are it's a lot simpler to do than on Windows, and thus the mental block. (Drag the files to the CD burner to burn them? It's that simple? No way!)

If you have Windows versions of any titles you currently 'own' like MS Office, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc. you're gonna have to buy new versions of them. Bummer about that, really, but that's the way it is.

Overall, despite my listing more cons than pros, I'd say it's worth it from the Just Works standpoint and from now on all my personal computers will be Macs.
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JGruber

 
Member Since: Aug 20, 2005
Location: Redlands, CA
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Thanks for the reply's guys.. Ill be heading over to the Local CompUSA to test drive a Mac Mini and a Powerbook (if they have it) to see how I like it.
It does suck about having to buy new software, I dont want to buy MS Office, Photoshop and whatnot, but oh well.
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aeiou

 
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Well, as for office, you could try neooffice. Its free and is based on openoffice, so it is completely compatable with ms docs and has about 90% of the features.

And as for Photoshop, you could try the gimp with the photoshop skin (forget what its called). I wouldn't say its quite as good as Photoshop, but its not bad at all for free.
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JGruber

 
Member Since: Aug 20, 2005
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Well I just found out my wife can get MS Office Student edition or something for like $100 at Compusa. So I might go that route.
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lostinmysphere

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walkerj
Remember those little shareware or freeware apps available for Windows? Doesn't work that way in the Mac world. Those little freeware apps for the Mac become little $14/$25/$50 utilities that you can download but are crippled until you pay the (albiet small) price. I've learned that this is just the way it is. Most of the little utilities I've downloaded and paid for are worth it in the end. Plus there still is some free software for the Mac out there, just not as much. Audacity (sound editor), Desktop manager (virtual desktop application), and NeoOffice/J (MS Office work-alike, compatible with MS Office docs) come to mind.
Thats really not true. I have found loads of freeware apps for mac, many more than for windows (or at least better suited). The only apps I have paid for are Speed Download 3 and Sailing Clicker. All of the video conversion software, music format software and general bits and peices have been freeware. You just have to search around: there is plently of free software out there.
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Ex_PC_Puke
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I'll just add two things

- I've never seen USB devices work so flawlessly since I switched to Mac / OS X

- Dump MS Office and try NeoOffice/J ---- its the full equivalent of MS Office and its free !!!! However if you do end up liking NeoOffice you might want to go donate say $25 to the open software effort
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JGruber

 
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Where can I find NeoOffice? Does the Mac Mini have a problem with too many USB devices connected at once?
Problem is that the Mac Mini I am getting is the lower end version, the 1.25ghz, but it does have 1gb of ram, and a 60gb HDD upgraded on it. I will already have the 2 USB ports occupied by the Keyboard and Mouse, and I have a External HDD, which is USB, so this is were my problem is.

Also to my understanding, OSX can rea NTFS, but cannot write to it correct?
Also OS installation, and Formating. Is this like a PC. I know on my XP machine, I do a Clean install every 6 months or so, because you know it does get jammed with crap and slow's down over time. Is this the same thing with Mac's? And how easy is it to Install the OS. (The Mac I am getting comes with Panther, but Ill buy Tiger).

Thanks again for all the info on this.
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D3v1L80Y

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGruber
Where can I find NeoOffice?
http://www.neooffice.org/

Quote:
Also to my understanding, OSX can rea NTFS, but cannot write to it correct?
Yes, that is correct.
Quote:
Also OS installation, and Formating. Is this like a PC. I know on my XP machine, I do a Clean install every 6 months or so, because you know it does get jammed with crap and slow's down over time. Is this the same thing with Mac's? And how easy is it to Install the OS. (The Mac I am getting comes with Panther, but Ill buy Tiger).

Thanks again for all the info on this.
It is not necessary to constantly reinstall your OS. That slash and burn method is a Windows thing. I have never had to reinstall OS X on any of my Macs in the five years OS X has been around.
Whenever you get Tiger, you can just use the upgrade option and you will be fine.

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