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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?" :)

several quick questions before i commit


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nef

 
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hi all first post here and am about ready to buy a macbook.. without knowing what i'm getting myself into. but several questions anyway..

1. can i watch windows media files?
2. will photoshop and aperture run fine on the macbook (b/c of the video card) I'm planning on getting the 2 gig RAM
3. does it come with word processing software?
4. what happens if i can't connect to the internet?...do i move my seat? (have never had a laptop before)
5. how come for an os based on creativity, you can't configure much other than icons and desktop background and such? Can you change themes easily like on PC? (I have a tiger theme right now on my dell desktop)
6. do the widgets go on the side of the screen or only when you click on dashboard? (excuse me if i'm dumb)
7. i hear many people reach near climax when they talk about how much better OS X is than XP...but I still don't get it....how can a dock instead of a taskbar make such a big difference?

I apologize if some of the stuff is sarcastic. I am serious about my purchase.
Thank you all.
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Stretch

 
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Hi, and welcome to the Forums.

1. You can watch some windows media files. You'll need either VLC or Flip4Mac. Both are free. Some files won't play, and protected files you wont be able to play.

2. I've heard of plenty of people using Photoshop on Macbooks. But I don't know how well Aperture will run.

3. It comes with TextEdit. A simple word processor. You can get MS Office for it, or iWork. Also OpenOffice is a free download, and very similar to MS Office.

4. You can connect to the internet via wireless, or a ethernet cable, which ever you prefer. Both work just fine, and if ou are in range of a wireless network, you chouldn't have any problems connecting to it.

5. Shapeshifter, a 3rd party plugin will change the theme of your Mac.

6. Widgets are only in the dashboard, but you can get it to also appear on your desktop if you want them to.

7. It's not just a dock vs tasbar. The entire OS is different. They only way to see if you'll like it is to try it out.

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RNDdave

 
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Hello - welcome to the forum - I'll 'ave a go at some of your questions:

1 Yes - you can use flip4mac to watch WMV or listen to WMA files.

2 2GB RAM: I think it would - but I have no experience of either application - so shall leave that one for someone else.

3 TextEdit is a surprisingly good word processor (IMO) But it won't have all the things you find in MS Word - you can buy MS Office for Mac or you can use NeoOffice or OpenOffice on the Mac - both of which are free.

4 You need an internet connection to be able to connect to the web - the MacBook has wireless and wired networking built in - but you need something for it to connect to - so if you have a wireless router at home linked to your internet service provider then you should be able to get on the internet without any trouble using your MacBook.

5 Not really sure about this one - I think OS X looks great - <snip>

6 I think the dashboard widgets only show when you click on dashboard - but you can install Yahoo Widgets which can remain on the side of the screen at all times if you prefer. <edit>Ah I didn't realise that you could get the dashboard widgets to show all the time - thanks for info StretchR </edit>

7 Not going to tackle this question; OS X suits me - I'm happy - choice is a wonderful thing.

I hope these answers help a little.

I suggest that you go to an Apple Store or another store that has MacBooks out for you to have a look at and have a go on. You can maybe make up your own mind about the dock/taskbar thing

EDIT: took a little too long with my answer
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D3v1L80Y

 
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Most of your questions have been answered. I will clarify a few that may be unclear to you yet.

will photoshop and aperture run fine on the macbook (b/c of the video card) I'm planning on getting the 2 gig RAM
It will run fine. The graphics card has nothing to do with it. Both of those apps are 2D and don't require any heavy 3D/graphics card intensive usage.


what happens if i can't connect to the internet?...do i move my seat? (have never had a laptop before)
Any number of things can cause a poor or dropped internet connection. Your first step if you are unsure would be to contact your ISP.

how come for an os based on creativity, you can't configure much other than icons and desktop background and such? Can you change themes easily like on PC? (I have a tiger theme right now on my dell desktop)
The OS was not "based on creativity". It is a computer operating system, designed to function as any computer should. Aesthetics can be altered with third party apps, much like any other operating system out there can be.

do the widgets go on the side of the screen or only when you click on dashboard? (excuse me if i'm dumb)
If you are using Dashboard, then you will need to bring that up to see your widgets. Alternatively, you can install the Yahoo Widget Engine (formerly Konfabulator) and your widgets will remain on your desktop at all times.

i hear many people reach near climax when they talk about how much better OS X is than XP...but I still don't get it....how can a dock instead of a taskbar make such a big difference?
No OS is better than the other. It is a matter of preference. The Dock (taken from NextStep) functions almost identically to the Quick Launch bar in Windows. It merely holds aliases to frequently used applications.


If you have further questions, I would suggest first reading the several stickied threads in the "Switcher Hangout" forum here. They are packed with loads of helpful information that will likely answer many of the questions you have. Also, try the Search Function at the top of each forum to narrow your results for any other questions you may think up.

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todd51
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I think your best interest would be to go to an Apple store or find someone who has a Mac and try it out for yourself!
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nef

 
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thank you all for the responses
i will be getting the mac. i went to the best buy in nyc that carries macs. thank you.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D3v1L80Y View Post
No OS is better than the other. It is a matter of preference. The Dock (taken from NextStep) functions almost identically to the Quick Launch bar in Windows. It merely holds aliases to frequently used applications.

wow DB, i thought you'd go a little farther than that! on the surface, sure, it is sort of like quick launch. but there is so much more control and interactivity through the dock (ability to launch, quit, and force quit, videos play in the dock, etc). you also aren't reminded that you're not deleting a program when you remove an app from the dock - the OS assumes that you're smarter than that.

there is more to it than just the dock too. there are lots of differences behind the scenes that make OS X different and in some cases preferable than XP. for instance installing and uninstalling apps is so much easier. error handling seems much faster too. sure safari may crash occasionally, but it does it and it's done and you reopen within seconds, not like IE that may just sit there indefinitely waiting for you to kill it through task manager.

there are a lot of little things that just add up to make a more enjoyable experience - at least in my opinion. i have to use XP pro 36 - 48 hours every week. i toubleshoot servers running nt, 2000, and 2003. but when i get home and open my macbook it's different than just using a computer. it's much less stressful as if the machine is just an extension of your mind and body (the way a well designed car just seems to go where you think it should without a struggle and without fear).

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lostdog

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric View Post
sure safari may crash occasionally, but it does it and it's done and you reopen within seconds,
in my experiences w/ macs at school, safari has crashed (or often been unable to even open) on some machines..and then crashes again. i love using OS X and for the most part safari works perfectly...but even though our mac lab (and diehard mac enthusiast) instructor discourages the use of firefox, i still think i prefer the fox. i'm not sure that the machines we use run a deep-freeze type of program, but i (maybe undeservedly) blame it all on the other (most likely, unfriendly to mac) users that may have messed something up. my school is NOT very mac friendly and i don't think our IT dept. really even cares about the mac lab (the only classes that use it are labeled ART-###) so i'm assuming that this is only an issue with their setup or network...but...

how do you guys generally feel about safari?? through my (very limited) use of it, i'm not as impressed w/ it as i am w/ the rest of the OS...but my mbp has yet to make it to my door, so i cannot fully judge. just curious how you guys browse i guess.
sorry if this is crossposting in any way...
and the iMac's we use at school are (i think?) the 17" core duos w/ 512mb ram...and whatever video card (if any?) those came w/....it IS only a tech college...so i can't vouch for 'em
just curious.
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Congrats on purchasing a mac, when switcing you will be confronted with alot of questions. Remember mac forums is a great resource and you will find most answers in the sticky threads and in searching, but if you don't never hesitate to ask. We come to these forums to help and be part of a community of people who love macs, so welcome to our forums and we hope you like it here and stay a while.

lostdog- I mainly use safari for everything that I do, I have firefox on my system for the rare account that I need something that will not run on safari (the only thing that I have ever had a problem with is the mail server at school's web access site, but I use mail.app for that now and have not touched fire fox in months).

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lostdog

 
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PowerBookG4, i am glad to hear that...i really think that my problems w/ safari are totally based on the environment (somehow/someway..im not sure)

btw, cheers on the ACS donation link. as if you weren't already helpful to people on this forum...way to go man. much respect
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Quote:
how do you guys generally feel about safari?? through my (very limited) use of it, i'm not as impressed w/ it as i am w/ the rest of the OS...but my mbp has yet to make it to my door, so i cannot fully judge. just curious how you guys browse i guess.
Safari's great. I've never had any problems with stability, so that's a new one on me.

I only want an URL bar, back, forward, refresh and home on my browser so I don't need stupid phishing filters or RSS or anything like that. Safari is simple and clean - how a browser should be.
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NeoGreen

 
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I have had my MacBook for about 3 weeks now and I love it. I am learning alot about it's application and web browsing. It's great.
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Don't do it unless you have it at home for a week and seriously test it to see if it suits you.
My gf got one and I was supposed to get one, but changed my mind because nothing quite works as advertised plus many performance issues, so I am sticking with an old IBM x40+ubuntu for a while. My gf is now very mad at me as it was my idea in the first place. At the moment Ubuntu is a much better option for many, unless you want to play games...
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