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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?" :)

Mac OSX equivalent to Garden Composer


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kfander

 
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Does anyone know of a Mac OSX equivalent to the Garden Composer program, which is not available for the Mac? I have done quite a lot of searching and haven't come up with anything that even comes close to being an equivalent.

Right now, I have several desktop PCs and a 13" MacBook but would particularly like to be able to run the Garden Composer program on a notebook computer, since the "garden" that I intend to design is on land that I own a couple of hundred miles north of where I currently live. It's actually more of a woodscaping project, although there will be some gardens involved; nevertheless, something that Garden Composer would work quite well with.

I am thinking that I might have to buy one of the new cheap PC notebooks that are currently on the market, but would rather be able to find something that I could use on my Mac. Although I am not at all fond of my MacBook, simply because the 13" aluminum-cased MacBook is a crappy product, I would like to phase out my PC use, since I'd rather not have to keep up with both technologies.

I know that it's possible to run Windows programs on a Mac, but my particular Mac barely runs Mac programs acceptably, so I'd rather not invite further problems. As it is, my Mac spends more time spinning the beachball around than doing anything I'd like it to do...

Anyhow, if anyone is familiar with a program similar to Garden Composer, I'd like to know about it.
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MYmacROX

 
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You've raised a few questions/issues.

1. Q: Is there an app for Mac similar to Garden Composer?
A: I'm sure there is. Have you had a look at any of the software offered by Punch?

2. Q: Can your MB handle running Windows?
A: You tell me. What are your specs? Maybe a VM or Boot Camp would be a solution.

3. Q: What to do about the spinning beach ball?
A: Lots of things to try. I'd start with Verify Disk Permissions in Disk Utility. Repair Permissions. Verify Disk. See what D.U. says about that. Run Onyx to see if anything can be cleaned up. Report back. Go from there.

16GB iPhone 5, 64GB Wi-Fi only iPad 1st Gen.

Reminder: Please include your Mac's specs. This will make it much easier for the other members to assist you.
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Randy B. Singer

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kfander View Post
Does anyone know of a Mac OSX equivalent to the Garden Composer program,
There are several similar programs. But I agree that they are ridiculously hard to find.

- GardenSketch/iGarden (free)
GardenSketch - Browse /igarden at SourceForge.net

Redstart Software - home of iGarden

Download GardenSketch from SourceForge.net

- SketchUp (FREE)
Google SketchUp

- ConceptDraw Pro
ConceptDraw Products and Solution Browser
Landscape and garden design plug-in for ConceptDraw Pro:
ConceptDrawLandscapeAndGardenPlugin.zip

- OmniGraffle
(includes a gardening stencil kit)
OmniGraffle for Mac - Products - The Omni Group

- Punch! HomeDesign
Punch! Software

- VirtualGarden (free, web-based)
BBC - Gardening - Design

- HighDesign
ilexsoft - HighDesign
(More of a professional-level tool)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kfander View Post
As it is, my Mac spends more time spinning the beachball around than doing anything I'd like it to do...
if you are seeing a lot of the beachball (which is in no way normal), your Mac is badly in need of some routine maintenance. See:
OS X Maintenance And Troubleshooting

___________________________________________

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Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)

Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance
OS X Maintenance And Troubleshooting
___________________________________________
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kfander

 
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Thank you for your responses. I had already looked at most of the programs suggested, but not all; and will certainly take a look at the others. I've seen some that would probably do the landscape design functions of Garden Composer, but the latter includes many features that I haven't seen in the others.

For example, Garden Composer interfaces with a plant encyclopedia of 15,000 plants, which includes trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables, and allows for the user addition of other plants. Pretty much everything that I'd need to know about any of these plants is there in one place. Using the anticipated growth of various plants, I could see what it might be expected to look like in the future, say in ten years, or twenty. The basic design I could probably do with Google SketchUp, but Garden Composer offers a lot more than that. Most, if not all, of this is information that I have available to me in my own library, or could find online, but Garden Composer would allow me to add notes to its plant listings, with any additional information that I thought important, allowing me to have everything that I need in one place. Other nice features are the ability to set my plans over an imported aerial photo, sketch, or plat map of my property, and the capability of using GPS data for placement.

You've offered a few suggestions that I haven't looked at yet, so I'll do that now.

As for the problems that I've had with my MacBook, they've been there from the start. This being my first Mac, I just sort of assumed that it wasn't a very good product. We're two hundred miles from the nearest Mac repair shop. I brought it in once. They installed Onyx, which I run every now and then, but which doesn't really fix anything.

Looking online, I can see that I am not at all alone in having these problems with the 13" MacBook. Had I done that research beforehand, I would never have bought one. Since it doesn't even run the stuff that came with it very well (Safari, iTunes and iPhoto crash repeatedly), and I have to clean my cache out twice day in order to even use the thing, I would rather wait until I can get a MacBook Pro before adding Windows to it. Please don't misunderstand. My wife has an iMac and she hasn't had any problems that weren't easily fixed. I much prefer Mac over Windows, just not my particular Mac.

I mentioned these problems only by way of explaining why I had rejected the more obvious solution, which would be to run Windows on my Mac.

Added Later...

Although I've just begun looking at it, I am thinking that iGarden might work. As far as I can see, it doesn't have everything that Garden Composer has but it might have enough to be useful. Thanks.
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kfander

 
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Punch's $249.99 product has everything that Garden Composer has, and more. But the price is hefty, as compared to Garden Composer's $39.95, and I don't need the extra features that it has, which is mostly home design stuff. Still, I suppose that would be cheaper than buying a new Windows machine, so I'll give it some thought.
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Randy B. Singer

 
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Since you seem to be looking to do things as inexpensively as possible, you may be able to run Garden Composer on your Mac for no additional cost above the cost of Garden Composer itself.

Since you already have several PC's, if you have an installable copy of Windows, you can run it on your Mac using either:

BootCamp (free)
Apple - Support - Boot Camp

or

VirtualBox (Free)
VirtualBox

___________________________________________

Randy B. Singer
Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)

Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance
OS X Maintenance And Troubleshooting
___________________________________________
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kfander

 
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My point was that my particular Mac doesn't even run Mac very well, so I don't want to burden it with Windows.

I did buy Garden Composer and have it on one of my PCs, which is not as good as having it on a notebook computer, but still workable. Garden Composer does have everything that I was looking for in a program, so I guess I'll stick with that.

Thanks everyone.
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6string

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy B. Singer View Post
Since you seem to be looking to do things as inexpensively as possible, you may be able to run Garden Composer on your Mac for no additional cost above the cost of Garden Composer itself.

Since you already have several PC's, if you have an installable copy of Windows, you can run it on your Mac using either:

BootCamp (free)
Apple - Support - Boot Camp

or

VirtualBox (Free)
VirtualBox

___________________________________________

Randy B. Singer
Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)

Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance
OS X Maintenance And Troubleshooting
___________________________________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by kfander View Post
My point was that my particular Mac doesn't even run Mac very well, so I don't want to burden it with Windows.

I did buy Garden Composer and have it on one of my PCs, which is not as good as having it on a notebook computer, but still workable. Garden Composer does have everything that I was looking for in a program, so I guess I'll stick with that.

Thanks everyone.
I don't understand what "my particular Mac doesn't even run Mac very well" is supposed to mean, but regardless, running windows on your Mac is no burden to your Mac.
This is what Bootcamp and VMs are for.

You were given some good advice, and I think it would be beneficial to you to at least give it a go!
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kfander

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6string View Post
I don't understand what "my particular Mac doesn't even run Mac very well" is supposed to mean, but regardless, running windows on your Mac is no burden to your Mac.
This is what Bootcamp and VMs are for.
I explained that about as well as I can in my second post in this thread, which is the fourth post in the thread. Macs are great in general, but my Mac is a piece of junk. It's way slower than most of the PCs that I have owned, it spends more time spinning the beach ball around than it does with anything else, it locks up or crashes frequently, and doesn't even run the applications that came with it very well. I brought it into the Genius Bar once and let them have a go at it, but the end result wasn't any better. It's been that way from the beginning and, in looking for answers, I have found that many other MacBook users have had similar or identical problems, so I don't think it's specific to my machine.

I can't afford to buy a MacBook Pro or iMac quite yet so I am making do with what I have. I work from home on my computer and regularly use two computers, with four screens in all. After buying the Mac, I put my PC to the side, thinking that I would use the Mac as my primary machine. I have since moved my PC to the front, since my eight year-old PC is a better machine than my not quite two year-old Mac.

I can't even play Mafia Wars on Facebook through my Mac because it gives me invalid URL errors as often as not, on any browser, although I can access it through the same account and the same connection on my PC without the headache.

Please understand that I am not comparing Macs in general with PCs in general, because I have used enough decent Macs to know that it's a superior product. My Mac is another thing, and it seems that this holds true for the 13-inch aluminum-cased MacBook in general, although I am sure that there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to the contrary. In general might be too strong a term, but the problems that I am having are known problems with the 13-inch aluminum-cased MacBook.

If I had a MacBook Pro, I would have no problem running Windows on my Mac, I am sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 6string View Post
You were given some good advice, and I think it would be beneficial to you to at least give it a go!
I appreciate the advice that I was given here. However, my initial question was about a Mac alternative to the Garden Composer. I was already aware of the options available to run Windows programs on my Mac, but rejected these options for the reasons given. Telling me that my Mac will work well doesn't make it so. Since it doesn't run Mac programs particularly well, I have no reason to suspect that it would do better with a Windows program.

It was through Randy Singer's suggestions here that I found a good alternative but the price was too high for a program that I would likely use for one project, and not so often after that. This is still an option that I may come back to at some point.

Generally, Mac alternatives to PC programs are far less expensive, which is another thing that I appreciate about the Mac. However, I can understand that the target audience for people looking for garden and landscape design software is fairly small, and narrowing it down to software made for a Mac would make it much smaller yet, so I can see why the price may be higher.
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kfander: I'm sorry to hear that your Mac is running poorly. I'm not sure if you ever mentioned doing what's commonly called a "nuke and pave" -- ie backing up your stuff, low-level erasing of the hard drive and fresh system install followed by a restore of your stuff. Unless the machine has a bad hard drive, this usually works as a universal cure.

Given the stupid-cheap prices of hard drives these days, you might also consider just flat-out replacing the hard drive. Even if that doesn't help (but I can't imagine that it wouldn't), it's a very inexpensive thing to do.
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
kfander: I'm sorry to hear that your Mac is running poorly. I'm not sure if you ever mentioned doing what's commonly called a "nuke and pave" -- ie backing up your stuff, low-level erasing of the hard drive and fresh system install followed by a restore of your stuff. Unless the machine has a bad hard drive, this usually works as a universal cure.

Given the stupid-cheap prices of hard drives these days, you might also consider just flat-out replacing the hard drive. Even if that doesn't help (but I can't imagine that it wouldn't), it's a very inexpensive thing to do.
I would tend to agree here, which is notable because I can't think of the last time I recommended someone do a clean install on these forums. But something is definitely not right there as that machine should be more than up to the task of running the iLife suite. If it's been like this since it came out of the box, there is a major issue.

I would start with a clean install. If that doesn't take care of the issue, I'd suspect you have a bad hard drive as well - and as chas noted, it should be a relatively inexpensive/easy fix. With Apple apparently now using Toshiba hard drives, it wouldn't surprise me to have a flaky one straight from the factory (which is why my brand new MacBook Pro is getting a new hard drive this week).

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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Randy B. Singer

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kfander View Post
Macs are great in general, but my Mac is a piece of junk.
As someone who spends a lot of time helping users with their Macintosh problems, this is one of the most frustrating things that I encounter: folks who are having a problem and who assume that it is "normal" (even when told otherwise), and who conclude that the product is "junk" not matter how much evidence to the contrary you give them. Usually these folks are too stubborn to listen to your suggestions for how to fix their problem.

I guess this is rooted in the fact that most users have a certain amount of technophobia and they don't want to be troubled by what they feel is something beyond their understanding or which might be too difficult to deal with.

Ironically, most problems involving a Macintosh are fairly easy to deal with. It might involve some trial and error to narrow things down to what the actual problem is, but the process is usually pretty painless.

___________________________________________

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Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)

Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance
OS X Maintenance And Troubleshooting
___________________________________________
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kfander

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy B. Singer View Post
guess this is rooted in the fact that most users have a certain amount of technophobia and they don't want to be troubled by what they feel is something beyond their understanding or which might be too difficult to deal with.
Insults are both unnecessary and unproductive, but that's okay. You were the only one here to actually attempt to answer the question that I proposed here, so I can forgive that. Product forums tend to attract those who feel a greater need to defend the product above that of offering support, so I appreciate the extra effort that you put in, and I did acknowledge that.

Although I am less than two years into my first Mac, I have probably been using computers longer than you have, beginning at a time when software had to be written by the end user, unless one were content to play games or to use their computer as a word processor, and when end users were expected to make whatever repairs or upgrades that needed to be made for themselves.

After awhile, many of us no longer want to spend our time doing everything for ourselves. Just as I seldom mow my own lawn, because I can make more money doing other things than it costs me to pay someone to mow my lawn, I no longer feel the need to replace my own computer parts or build web sites at the code level, and am consequently not as good at it as I might otherwise be. That's not technophobia, although I can appreciate that your use of the term might make you feel a cut above the others, and this is also why I am guessing that you are probably in your early to mid-twenties.

As mentioned, I did bring my MacBook into the Apple store once and paid them to fix the thing. The result was that I was out whatever amount of money it cost me, which seemed reasonable enough at the time, but nothing had changed on my computer.

I could probably handle a hard drive change but the amount of time that it would take me to back up my applications, change the drive, and reinstall my applications on the drive, even if there were no complications, is more time than I am willing to put into it right now. I have nine functioning PCs, and my MacBook functions to a degree, so I'll probably just stagger along with it until the next time I'm in Portland, a couple of hundred miles away, one way, which is where the nearest Apple store is, and hope that they do better with it this time than they did the last. Or until I decide to dump it and buy a real computer.
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Randy B. Singer

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kfander View Post
Insults are both unnecessary and unproductive, but that's okay. You were the only one here to actually attempt to answer the question that I proposed here, so I can forgive that.
Forgive me, but I didn't mean what I said as an insult. It is what it is, which is a situation that I've seen several times before. I try very hard to be as helpful and as nurturing to Mac users as possible. I believe that Mac users tend to be the best sort of people. But it is extremely frustrating when I am trying to help remotely (I'd love to be there in person, it would be so much easier), and the person that I am trying to help has given up and declares their computer, and all like it, to be "junk" and declares poor performance to be "normal."

I know from extensive experience that your Mac and all like it are *not* junk, that it's poor performance is not at all normal, and with some cooperation that I can help.

However, it's hard enough to help you remotely in the best of circumstances, and it's just about impossible to help you if you have given up and as a result you are fighting me.

I'm currently involved in a similar situation on not one, but two other discussion forums as we speak. Users are asking for help, but as I try to make suggestions, they are telling me that the products that they are working with are simply fundamentally bad products, and they refuse to try the simple things that I am suggesting that they try. I can't help them because they have given up before we have even tried to fix things, and they refuse to cooperate. That's wildly frustrating.

(Note to self: Never try and help a Eudora user switch to Mail, and think twice before attempting to help a Microsoft Word user who hates both Microsoft, and the program, with a difficult Microsoft Word problem.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kfander View Post
I am guessing that you are probably in your early to mid-twenties.
Thank you!

But, unfortunately, I'm over twice that. I was having articles published in computer magazines all over the world as far back as 1987. I was using computer punch cards years before that. I'm an attorney these days, and helping in forums such as this one is a nice diversion from my work. (Sometimes too much of a diversion.)

I'm here to help. And I'm happy to do it. But I can't help you *and* fight with you over the need for the help.

___________________________________________

Randy B. Singer
Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)

Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance
OS X Maintenance And Troubleshooting
___________________________________________
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