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Thread: Mac Experiment

  1. #1


    Member Since
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    MacBook MB061LL/A 13.3" 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive, Combo Drive
    Mac Experiment
    Hey guys new here and new to Macs but not Apple. I had an iPod 5 years ago and liked it a lot but lost it. I used iTunes for a couple years but (at least on the crappy PC I had at the time) it was a terrible, slow resource hog and kept getting infected with iTunes Helper.

    A little more background info and my needs devices etc: I am a self publishing author and student looking at a Journalism major. So my biggest need is obviously word processing. I do very little gaming on my desktop PC, which actually isn't bad for a 4 year old Dell. I do sometimes stream or download video, even the occasional movie. I have a bad habit of leaving too many browser tabs open. I'm constantly listening to music on WMP or Spotify. I don't watch TV or play video games much anymore but I do spend a lot of time online.

    I do need to print sometimes. Earlier this year I upgraded to a nice new Canon all in one with wifi access. It's pretty sweet because anyone can print from anywhere in the house.

    I have a Kindle Fire HD, which is great for music (though it doesn't fit into a pant pocket) reading cheap books, playing basic games, and checking email on the go, but it's never going to have the functionality of a laptop. I don't even like writing emails on it- the app is great, but I feel like I need a real keyboard to really write.

    I currently have an old "dumb" phone but I'm thinking of getting a smartphone, which would almost certainly be a Galaxy S3. I will not consider an iPhone. It's too expensive (when I can get the S3 for free) and I will not do business with AT&T or Verizon, period. I can get a better deal from Credo anyway. I currently use T-Mobile but wouldn't for a smartphone because I don't like their data policy.

    I check my email several times a day. I have a Yahoo account and a Gmail account both. I prefer each for different things and get frustrated with both at times. In some ways I actually prefer the Kindle app!

    So what brings me to the Mac?

    In a word... Word. I'm sick to death of the piece of crap. The one program I need the most is an exercise in frustration. Microsoft never makes anything to be user friendly. Powerful maybe but intuitive or even usable? No. I should not have to take a three day (minimum) class just to learn a piece of software, unless I'm doing something like auto cad or something scientific or at least editing video.

    It would be one thing if it were just a matter of feeling like I'd paid for bells and whistles that I'm not using. That's not the issue really- I got Office on the cheap through the University; I never would have paid anywhere near full price for it. It would be bad enough if I felt like all the bells and whistles were getting in the way- and I often do. It's not just that.

    Word keeps doing random nonsense for no apparent reason at all. That's what broke the camel's back. I change the defaults, it changes them back. And really shouldn't Times New Roman 12 be the default anyway? Calibri 11? Seriously? Who EVER uses that? It changes my formatting without me telling it to. Often. It's impossible to ever truly clear formatting- no matter what I do there will always be some vestige of it in there somehow.

    And that's just basic everyday usage. I want to format for ebooks or paperbacks? Forget it. I have to hire it done and hope it's done right. Even with a template and tutorials I can't do it myself. (And even if I did apparently it wouldn't stick.) What good does all that extra functionality do if I can't use it?

    And Microsoft's online support is terrible- hard to navigate, clear as mud, and totally useless. I seriously have never seen it actually answer a question I had. Not one. Not in 18 years. Not with Word, Windows, Media Player, anything. I've always had to go elsewhere for solutions and that's a crapshoot.

    I've tried Open Office, Abiword, and Google Docs over the years but all the free alternatives have their own problems, like compatibility, stability, usability, support, etc. One of my collaborators said he wouldn't touch Google Docs. It had its benefits, like the automatic cloud storage, but he nixed it pretty hard.

    From what I hear Pages is completely superior to Word in every way, including functionality, but especially ease of use. I'm willing to bet I can eventually find a template for Pages that will basically format a 6 x 9 paperback or ebook for me.

    And it's not just Word. That's just the biggest everyday problem. There are others, ranging from $90 a year for anitvirus and tune up from AVG (both seem needed just to keep the PC functional at this point) performance issues, the looming shadow of Windows 8...

    I'm sick of feeling like I need an A+ certification just to use my computer. I gave up on becoming a computer technician for a reason. I'm just not that technical. I don't have that much patience for this stuff. I'm an artist, not an engineer. I don't want to have to fuss over my tools. I want the thing to just work, to be intuitive and reliable. Just. Work.

    I've long been interested in Macs for exactly that reason. I've heard they meet that criteria but have their own problems, starting with the fact that you're paying at least 50% more (if not double) for the same power. While I'm tired of Microsoft's BS, I hear Apple has their own.

    So I did a little digging (not enough apparently, I wish I'd found this site first) and took the plunge- sort of. I did hedge my bet. I cannot afford to spend $1000 on a computer (especially such an unfamiliar one) at this point. Maybe in 3 years but not now. I figured I could use a laptop for both writing and school. So I thought why not take a look and see if I can find a cheap Mac.

    Amazingly I did. No, it's not broken. It's just old, about 6 years. No it's not great. It only has 1 gig of RAM, but it does have a dual core processor for all my multitasking. The warranty is very short- 90 days. The hard drive is small but I'm not using it for gaming or movies, basically just writing and doc files are tiny. It's not great, but it was only $250 including fairly fast shipping and the seller, Pacific Macs, was one of the best reviewed on Amazon. Here's the link:

    Amazon.com: Apple MacBook MB061LL/A 13.3" Notebook PC (2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive, Combo Drive) White: Computers & Accessories

    I'll have it tonight when I get home. I'll come back here when I've had a chance to tinker with it a bit.

    I always buy computers referbed. Always. It's cheaper and greener and I'm not a power user. I don't need the latest and greatest.

    Worst case scenario I'm out one paycheck and I learn some lessons. I can live with that. Best case scenario I find the long term solution to my computing woes. If this old junker lasts through the rest of school it will be well worth it. If it lasts until I graduate and find a decent paying job and proves to be much better than a PC then I will shell out the $1000 for a newer one.

    Anyway, thanks for reading all of this. Any words of wisdom or encouragement? I've read most of the stickies and some of Apple's own materials on switching.

  2. #2

    mrplow's Avatar
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    27" iMac i7 (2011) 10.11, Mac Mini i5 (2014), iPhone6s, Apple Watch, iPad Pro 9.7, AppleTV (4)
    Welcome to the forum and the Mac world. That's pretty much the same MacBook I started with. My daughter still uses it at university and it's still going strong.

    It'll do what you want for now. It can be easily upgraded to 4gb ram and a bigger hard disk or a fast SSD which will breath new life into it. You'll want to be running at least Snow Leopard (OS 10.6), preferably Lion (OS 10.7). Depending on what's on there now. Out of the box it had Tiger (OS 10.5) I think.

    There are some stickies on here that will help:
    http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/swi...ml#post1082149
    http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/swi...ewall-faq.html
    http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/swi...lications.html

    But the best advice I can impart. Let go of Windows ideas and methods. It's the reason for most of the frustration I see on here. "In windows I did x, y, z and it doesn't work on Mac. Stupid Mac, wish I'd never switched etc".
    Windows and OSX are very different operating systems but by there nature they do very similar things. Consequently there will often be an OSX equivalent or sometimes a completely different way of doing something. If and when that happens, count to 10, post on here. There will be a solution or tip to put you back on track

    Let us know how you get on.
    Not been around these parts for a while. Trying to change that . .

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Nov 07, 2013
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    Specs:
    MacBook MB061LL/A 13.3" 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive, Combo Drive
    It looks like I could do the RAM for less than $50 but how do I make sure I have right kind? Amazon will tell me if the ink cartridges I'm buying are compatible with my printer but not this, which is admittedly a little more complicated. Can I just Google "PC2-5300 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM"? Also some sources say it will only take 2 GB. For reference 3 GB is what I'm used to on my PC, and that does seem a bit slow at times but I hear PCs are worse about RAM management.

    I'm not sure if I'll need the HDD. I've used less than half of the space on my desktop PC which has a 500 GB HDD and that's with games, movies and bloatware, which I wouldn't have on the Macbook. Also it looks like Amazon has two different quotes as to whether the HDD is 80 or 320. I hope it's 320, because that would be plenty forever. If I do need more storage would an external drive work? I'm not using the Fire Wire port anyway. How about iCloud? Extra storage and backups in one. Bonus.

    The specs on Amazon say 10.5 Leopard. I'll see what I can find out tonight. Is that version no longer supported? From what I can tell this system can't run Mavericks at all, but that's okay. As long as the OS is supported I guess.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4

    mrplow's Avatar
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    Have a look here.

    Computer memory upgrades for Apple MacBook 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (13-inch White) MB061LL/A Laptop/Notebook from Crucial.com

    Once you get it you can go to crucial.com and run the system scanner that will tell you what you have and what options you have for upgrade. I'm UK based so others may be able to advise further but newegg and OWC also seem to get good word regarding RAM prices
    Not been around these parts for a while. Trying to change that . .

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  5. #5

    mrplow's Avatar
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    27" iMac i7 (2011) 10.11, Mac Mini i5 (2014), iPhone6s, Apple Watch, iPad Pro 9.7, AppleTV (4)
    Lion is the newest supported by that Mac. To get iCloud, Mac App Store and reasonably current features you need Snow Leopard and beyond really. For info you can buy Snow Leopard online from Apple for $20.

    From new that MacBook came with an 80gb drive, depends if the previous owner upgraded it I guess.

    But yes, you could either upgrade that drive or add external drive(s). You can also consider online storage like dropbox for your work files. Lots of options.
    Not been around these parts for a while. Trying to change that . .

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  6. #6


    Member Since
    Nov 07, 2013
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    Specs:
    MacBook MB061LL/A 13.3" 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive, Combo Drive
    Quote Originally Posted by mrplow View Post
    Have a look here.

    Computer memory upgrades for Apple MacBook 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (13-inch White) MB061LL/A Laptop/Notebook from Crucial.com

    Once you get it you can go to crucial.com and run the system scanner that will tell you what you have and what options you have for upgrade. I'm UK based so others may be able to advise further but newegg and OWC also seem to get good word regarding RAM prices
    Peace of mind is worth something. Otherwise I wouldn't be investing in a Mac. Crucial's tools look very helpful. Thanks.

  7. #7


    Member Since
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    MacBook MB061LL/A 13.3" 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive, Combo Drive
    Quote Originally Posted by mrplow View Post
    Lion is the newest supported by that Mac. To get iCloud, Mac App Store and reasonably current features you need Snow Leopard and beyond really. For info you can buy Snow Leopard online from Apple for $20.

    From new that MacBook came with an 80gb drive, depends if the previous owner upgraded it I guess.

    But yes, you could either upgrade that drive or add external drive(s). You can also consider online storage like dropbox for your work files. Lots of options.
    I have Dropbox already. The folder is full but I could clear some space without too much pain.

    How much for Lion?

  8. #8


    Member Since
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    MacBook MB061LL/A 13.3" 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive, Combo Drive
    Oh. Looks like I can't jump directly to Lion. I have to do 10.6 first. That and upgrade the RAM. So is 10.6 sufficient in itself you think?

  9. #9

    mrplow's Avatar
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    That's another $20 I'm afraid.

    Quick bit of history. Snow Leopard was the last version of OSX to be supplied on real disks (bar a small run of USB keys with Lion on but that just muddys the water).
    When Snow Leopard arrived it brought with it the Mac App Store. It's a digital download store built into Snow Leopard and beyond. Since then all OS releases have come as a digital download from the store (Lion, Mountain Lion and now Mavericks). Mavericks onwards is free. Apparently all future versions of Mac OS will be.
    What all that means is you are pitching in at the changeover point. So to get to Lion you have to go via Snow Leopard. However...... I'd strongly recommend Snow Leopard but I'd hang fire on Lion until you find a reason to upgrade. Just my opinion. Perhaps others will have a different view.

    If funds allow 4gb of ram and Snow Leopard will give you a fantastic start into everything Mac.
    Not been around these parts for a while. Trying to change that . .

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  10. #10

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cerberuspuppy View Post
    Oh. Looks like I can't jump directly to Lion. I have to do 10.6 first. That and upgrade the RAM. So is 10.6 sufficient in itself you think?
    As mrplow advised...4gig of ram and Snow Leopard will have you in a "good place".

    If you want to, you can consider Lion (OS 10.7). But Lion is harder to obtain. When OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion) was released...OS 10.7 was discontinued. If you REALLY want Lion...the best way to find out if it is still available is to call Apple (phone).

    FYI:

    - max. OS on the computer you linked in post #1 is 10.7.5
    - current/newest Mac OS version is 10.9 (Mavericks)

    * Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  11. #11

    mrplow's Avatar
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    Nick,

    Lion is on the Apple Store again
    OS X Lion (10.7) - Apple Store (U.S.)
    Think my link above was too well disguised!
    Not been around these parts for a while. Trying to change that . .

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  12. #12

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrplow View Post
    Nick,

    Lion is on the Apple Store again
    OS X Lion (10.7) - Apple Store (U.S.)
    HOLY SMOKES...I'm heading to my computer RIGHT NOW to download it before it disappears!!! I've been wanting Lion for LONG while (too lazy to call Apple)!

    I wonder how long Lion has been available again...and why the heck Apple decided to make it available after all this time (after Mountain Lion & Mavericks).

    Quote Originally Posted by mrplow View Post
    Think my link above was too well disguised!
    I saw your link...but I thought it was for Snow Leopard.

    Thanks a ton for the link and heads up!!!

    - Nick

    p.s. Interesting...this "Lion" seems to be something that is shipped (says "Available to be shipped in 1-3 business days"). As most folks know...probably the overwhelming number of folks that purchased Lion...did it via download. Some folks got it on USB stick.
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  13. #13

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Just ordered Lion via the link mrplow provided. It will be interesting to see if it comes on USB stick or disk. Most likely USB...since Lion came that way originally.

    I've seen a TON of these Apple-Lion USB sticks for sale on e-Bay. Maybe Apple is clearing out their stock of these things (via the Apple online store).

    If folks remember...Apple originally charged $29.99 for Lion via the Mac App Store...and $69.99 for Lion on USB stick.

    So $19.99 for Lion (which I'm assuming is on USB stick) is a different cost/format from both options originally offered.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  14. #14

    chscag's Avatar
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    Yeah, it looks like they'll send you an unlock code via email so you can download it from the App Store.

    From their page:

    What do you receive: An email with a content code for the Mac App Store.

  15. #15

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    Yeah, it looks like they'll send you an unlock code via email so you can download it from the App Store.

    From their page:
    This is more like what I was expecting...and would probably prefer...since it would be faster.

    Here's the info I got when I made the purchase:

    - available to be shipped in 1-3 business days
    - expected delivery November 12th - November 15th

    This would lead me to believe that it's something physical.

    I also placed the order close to an hour ago. I'm thinking I would have gotten that e-mail by now (if I was getting one).

    We shall see.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

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