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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?" :)

Getting my first powerbook, couple of newbie questions

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Hello all, Im new to macs and the community in general but Ive spent the last couple of days going through various mac pages until I stumbled across this and it was nice to see how helpful everyone is here, especially to new switchers like me. With that in mind I do have a couple of simple questions that I cant seem to find the answer too and I would appreciate it if one of you could help me.

Ive ordered myself a powerbook 15" with the DVD burner, 100GB HDD, 1GB RAM, and 128MB GPU. I would like to know;

1) How do I tell if this powerbook is titanium or aluminium or any of the other names Ive seen floating around for powerbooks?

2) I cant seem to find anything on apples page confirming this is a widescreen model - is it?

3) Im looking for a good site or sites with good hardware reviews for macs, application reviews, do you have any recommendations? Im also looking for something that would suggest mac equivalents for windows apps, beyond the basic office stuff. Im looking in particular for apps for network admin (wireless and standard), general computer diagnostics (that I could run on a remote computer etc).

4) Ive noticed that some mac files/discs have extensions .dmg or .toast etc can these be mounted as virtual drives by the OS itself or do you need the program that created them or a third party program in order to mount them?

5) When I install the notebook (havent received it yet), is it a good idea to put the home directory on a separate partition, and do I need one for the swap file? Does the mac use a swap file? (Ive installed linux a few times and it was usually recommended to do it that way).

6) What are the good HDD tools for the mac for partitioning, recovery, backup, cloning etc?

7) I have a belkin 54b/g wireless router, this shouldnt pose a problem for the mac should it?

8) Finally, I have a few blizzard games, Warcraft 3, Starcraft, Diablo 2 etc, and I noticed that the boxes say PC/MAC, Im assuming that I should just be able to pop the disc in and they will install, is that correct? Or do I need to nudge them along?

Thanks in advance for your help and for putting up with my lack of knowledge, hopefully the questions arent too painfully easy Otherwise Id just like to say that Im looking forward to being part of the community here and hope that one day in the future I'll be able to return the favour back to some of you.


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Member Since: Mar 30, 2004
Location: USA
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Mac Specs: 12" Apple PowerBook G4 (1.5GHz)

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1. All PowerBooks since sometime in 2003 have been Aluminum.

2. All 15" and 17" PowerBooks are and have been widescreen models.

3. and have exhaustive listings of Mac software and user reviews. Magazines like Macworld and MacAddict have professional reviews, some of which may be available online. If you still can't find what you want, post in the Software forum here.

4. The most popular format for exchanging files with a Mac is the disk image format (.dmg) which the OS will mount by itself. Some other file types ( .sit, .bin., .sitx, among others) require Stuffit Expander, which is free from

5. Most Mac users don't bother. Fragmentation is not an issue with OS X, and complete system re-installs are rare. I'd say partitioning is more trouble than it's worth.

6. Carbon Copy Cloner is a useful archiving utility. There's a (basic) partitioning utility that comes with the OS. More sophisticated backup software (Retrospect, for example) can also be found.

7. Apple calls wi-fi "AirPort Extreme" but it's just 802.11g, and will work fine.

8. There's either an automated, double-click-to-install script...or you just drag-and-drop the file onto your hard disk.
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Wow - thanks a lot for the fast response and your answers/explanations, exactly what I needed, I'll check out those links you supplied. Once again thanks for the help.

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Another quick question though - what maintenance is required? Any? and if so what and does it need to be done manually or is it automatic?

Im thinking now of cleaning out cache etc....

Thanks again

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Mac Specs: MacBook Pro 13" | MacBook Pro 13" | Mac Mini 2GHz C2D

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there is a free program called onyx. you can get it from versiontracker and macupdate. i usually run it once a week if i am at home and using my iBook alot. it will clean caches and do the maintenance scripts.

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Thanks for the recommendation
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