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Sitgestraveller 07-01-2011 04:42 PM

About to start the adventure
Hi everyone. :)

I am NOT currently a Mac user. I've only ever known PCs and windows. I have 1 XP machine and 1 Ubuntu machine that share a network connected to broadband.

I love games and but also am very familiar with Microsoft Office and have invested an awful amount of time in developing the database Microsoft Access to deal with my information management requirements. I really can't contemplate reproducing the functionality in a brand new datbase such as FileMaker Pro (not to mention the expense of buying the software in the first place).

So my love of video games (Half Life 2 is amazing!:)) and need to keep Access have caused me to hang on to PCs for much longer than I would otherwise have done.

The situation with the advent of Intel Macs has made me make a stupendous decison. I will make a leap of faith and buy an iMac. I am targeting the 27" i7 model with 8GB RAM.

The thought of being able to use bootcamp was the initial enticer but the more I think about it, the more I want to keep my Mac 'virginal' and free of Windows.

However, with that wish comes challenges.

I need to see how I can retain the ability to run the games I want and keep using Access but without going near Windows.

And so, if I may, I would like to ask a series of questions to you wise and learned Mac gurus. Many many thanks in anticipation.


1. Are there any dire warnings that I should heed when moving over to a Mac?

2. I have two external 2TB drives that NTFS formatted and are full of pictures (jpg) files, music files (mp3) and DVD image files (ISO and NRG). Will the iMac run/mount these files with the built in Mac software?

3. I read that whilst I can read my 2TB drives, I can't write to them unless they are slaved off the back of a Windows PC and I write to them via the PC machine from the iMac. What suggestions are there for dealing with this as I think it's a clumsy solution. I hear that you can buy 3rd. party software to allow the iMac to write to the NTFS drives (e.g. Paragon). Any elegant solutions that anyone can think of or do I need to copy the whole lot (2tb!) to the Mac and then reformat the external drive and copy it all back again?

4. As I said, I don't want to go near Windows and I hear that Crossover for Mac (from Codeweavers) is a way forward. Has anyone got experience of this for the use of applications (Access 2000) and Gaming? I'm hoping that whilst their may be a built in 'hit' on performance for gaming using Crossover that the hardware on the latest iMacs is so powerful, it will make up for it?

5. I'm a fairly keen picture taker and currently use Picasa for managing my photos. I think I would like to give iPhoto a go as it ties in with all the other Mac software but I've heard that it's not as good as Picasa and that the photos in iPhoto are mashed into 1 physical file so if that get's corrupted, yur whole photo collection is stuff. Is this true or are the pictures separate but so buried in a complex folder structure of iPhotos's making that it appears to be a 'black box'. Can Picasa work side by side with iPhoto so I can make the most of the best features of each or will there be a need to duplicate all the pictures as each application has a different way of handling the files?

6. My current mail is Gmail from Google. I love it because it doesn't clog up my own resources. I understand that iMail can work with Gmail but I suspect it would pull everything down onto the local drive thus eventually taking up loads of space. Can it be configured to simply provide a 'window' onto the Gmail inbox and yet be able to use the iMail functionality (e.g. Stationary facility).

7. I make DVDs of all my holiday footage that I take. I currently use a mini DV camcorder and once I've edited it, I burn it to an ISO image on the hard drive. Will iDVD allow me to do this rather than burn it directly to a physical DVD?

Phew- I think that's it for now.

If anyone can give me their thoughts on any of this, I would be most grateful.

Thanks very very much.

Sitgestraveller 07-02-2011 03:51 PM

Hi Chas_M,

Many thanks for your wise words. I shall ponder....

One final question if I may:

Do you think AppleCare is worth buying? I'm a bit skeptical and can't help feel that (like other insurance type policies) it's a bit of an unneeded expense. I should be covered by the first year warranty anyway and usually the premiums for such extended warranties would pay for any unlikely repair after a year anyway.

What do you think?

Many thanks....

chscag 07-02-2011 04:03 PM

I always remember the amusing answer to the question about buying life insurance.... "Why should I buy life insurance, I've never died."

A forum search regarding Apple Care will yield some very interesting answers. The bottom line is it's up to you. Apple products are the very best and tend to hold up well but like anything else they do occasionally break.

Search the forums first and then decide.

Sitgestraveller 07-02-2011 04:13 PM

Hi Chscag,

Yes- point taken but I suppose it's a judgement call (risk?) on when/if you'll need it and whether it's better to save the premium for such an occasion.

Lifeisabeach 07-02-2011 06:20 PM


Originally Posted by Sitgestraveller (Post 1260779)
Hi Chscag,

Yes- point taken but I suppose it's a judgement call (risk?) on when/if you'll need it and whether it's better to save the premium for such an occasion.

I don't normally buy warranties myself because, well let's face it… they make a LOT of money off them. That said… I'm actually contemplating getting one for my iMac because the cost of repairs is utterly insane. The motherboard alone would run around a full grand. That's just sick.

Sitgestraveller 07-02-2011 06:33 PM

Thanks lifeisabeach,

I must admit- that's the only thing that worries me. The iMac is so proprietary and un-user maintainable that it might make sense to get the Applecare....

I certainly have never bought such warranties for PCs as I'm happy as a lamb messing inside my PC box...! :-)

Gold68 07-02-2011 10:54 PM

WOW!....this was truly a informative post! :)

Mini_mi 07-02-2011 11:52 PM

One approach that I follow, wait until your near the 1 year mark then purchase the coverage. It starts from the day you purchase the coverage not the date of computer purchase.

chscag 07-03-2011 01:34 AM

Actually, if you're going to buy Apple Care, it should be purchased after your 90 days of free telephone support is over. Although the machine is warranted for parts and labor, you do not get free telephone support after 90 days. If you buy Apple Care, you get free telephone support for a full three years in addition to a warranty for parts and labor.

Sitgestraveller 07-03-2011 05:07 AM

Aha...interesting thought. Thanks guys.

I thought you had to buy Applecare on the day you buy your new mac...

dmccloud 07-03-2011 02:50 PM

You can buy AppleCare anytime before your one year manufacturer warranty for parts/labor expires.

Sitgestraveller 07-03-2011 03:22 PM

Great- thanks dmccloud.

Demapples 07-05-2011 07:26 AM

AppleCare for switchers: worth it. I have 25 years of DOS/Windows experience, but I've run into some sticky problems even with basic use, needed to make a few calls to Apple tech support for my new Apple gear, and don't regret it. Like when iPhoto refused to open -- would have never fixed that one myself. $75 for every new Apple toy is a bit much however, especially since some of the questions were about integrating two or more devices. The AppleTV was completely trouble free. Most of my few calls were about the iMac, and the iPad was second.

Sitgestraveller 07-05-2011 08:16 AM

Thanks Demapples. Seems like it's down to personal experience and need for the service.....

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