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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?" :)

Questions from a future switcher.


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UncleScooter

 
Member Since: Jun 13, 2007
Location: East Texas
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Greetings everyone, thanks in advance for any help you can offer me.

I am an online business owner and do a fair amount of web design and utilize several different programs daily in my business.
Windows Vista has convinced me that I need a Mac because I just don't like the way MS is heading. I have several questions and will simply list them below. I did search around a bit here and found tons of good info, but my questions are more for the future switcher.

1. Will I still be able to use a basic USB trackball like this one?

2. Is the 7200 rpm hard drive upgrade worth it?

3. I understand that I can install Windows and run Windows programs. I have many older Windows apps that I know well and rely heavily upon. Is running windows on a Mac a real option? Does it run within the Mac OS and you simply switch back and forth or is it more complicated than that?

4. Hard glossy screen or not? Is the high res. ugrade worth it?

5. I currently am running a very fast Windows machine that is two years old, RAID configured drives, lots of ram, a great video card etc etc etc. I am not expecting a huge performance increase, but if I get the Mac Book Pro and soup it up with 4gb ram and the 7200 rpm hard drive, will it really be a screaming machine?

6. Can I use a typical keyboard or does it have to be a Mac keyboard. Also other I/O devices, monitors, speakers etc?

7. I rely heavily on Excel and since I know the keystrokes etc, moving to new software would likely slow me down considerably. I guess this goes back to the Windows app question above.

Thanks again folks for any help. I know many Mac owners are fanatical and I have just about had it with M$, Dell, HP and all the rest and their foolish ways.

Scott
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Stretch

 
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Member Since: Jan 13, 2007
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1. Yes
2. Depends on what you will be doing with it, if you want more space, or faster HD
3. It runs windows fine, BUT, if your are gonna be running windows more than 50% of the time, stick with windows.
4. High res is awesome, but you should check the computers side by side to see if you want the glossy or matte
5. Yeah, the MBP in stock config is very fast.
6. You can use any USB keyboard, most devices will work with a Mac.
7. You can get MS Office for Mac, and you'll just need to replace Ctrl with Cmd for key combos.

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Currently running OS X 10.10
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Aubie16

 
Member Since: Dec 06, 2006
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3. If you want to be able to switch back and forth easily, I suggest reading up on Parallels. Bootcamp is a free option, but I find Parallels works much better with somebody that wants to switch back and forth instantly. You can even drag and drop between the two. Parallels can either operate in a window on your Mac OS X or you can have them both run in full-screen...instantly flipping back and forth with a 2 button key combo.
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leeds_fan

 
Member Since: Jun 13, 2007
Location: Leeds, UK
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In my brief expearence of Parallels its fine for running applications such as office etc. but when it comes to more advanced software such as games it is fairly slow and unreliable, so boot camp should work better??? It is true it is easier to swap between the two with parallels, parallels is simply in a window on OS X rather than having to reboot as required with boot camp. Although parallels claim that it can run advanced 3D games? Boot camp is free (you can useually scrounge a copy of windows) whereas parallels is fairly pricey unless you know someone with the software.
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UncleScooter

 
Member Since: Jun 13, 2007
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Parallels seems to be the way to go. I will read up on it.

Also, on a Mac, when you plug in new hardware does it recognize it and load the driver like Windows does?

Thanks for the replies. Great info.
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walkerj

 
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Member Since: Feb 13, 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleScooter View Post
Also, on a Mac, when you plug in new hardware does it recognize it and load the driver like Windows does?
Pretty much. Except it doesn't bother you with all the 'Oh look, you plugged in something, here let me tell you every step of what I'm doing and let you know what is going on with this balloon that you need to acknowledge' stuff. An icon just shows up on your desktop.

Just about everything I've plugged into my Macbook gets recognized: thumbdrives, iPods (obviously) digital camera, scanner, hard drives. Well, my printer kinda needed to have me install drivers for, but it did come with them for Mac OS.
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Brown Study

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleScooter View Post
6. Can I use a typical keyboard or does it have to be a Mac keyboard.
Each Mac (with the possible exception of the Mini) comes with a typical keyboard, but you can use an atypical Windows alpha-numeric finger-manipulation-facilitating input device if you wish.

This article discusses the minor anomalies you'd run across, and suggests this:
Quote:
. . . In other words, when you use a Windows keyboard with a Mac, the option and command keys are switched.

Enter the free DoubleCommand (), a Mac OS X kernel extension that lets you swap the functionality of the Alt and Windows keys, thus making any Windows keyboard behave just like a Mac keyboard—useful not only for “switchers,” but also for current Mac users. . . .

<snip>

Via the DoubleCommand preference pane, you can remap (change the function/position of) a number of keys on your keyboard. Here’s the full list:. . .
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UncleScooter

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brown Study
...but you can use an atypical Windows alpha-numeric finger-manipulation-facilitating input device if you wish.
The reason I am concerned about this is that I am likely going to get a macbook and use it on my desk with dual monitors and a standard keyboard. If I can get a standard keyboard for Mac, it would make sense to use their function keys I guess.
Day in and day out I am tough on keyboards. I prefer to use the one on the notebook only when necessary.

I'm going to head out to an Apple store near me soon and play with one for a while. I have not been on a Mac in about 10 years and have never owned one, so I am a big newbie to them.

Where else can I buy one except from Apple? Are there any deals out there on a Macbook Pro?
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Brown Study

 
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Amazon and MacMall sell them. I'm not familiar with any of the U.S. electronics chains other than Best Buy that's here, too.

None of the above sells Macs here.
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bobtomay

 
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Member Since: Dec 22, 2006
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There may be a few deals on the MBP via mail order / internet (most of the time only 5-10% max). You're unlikely to find anything for less than list locally.

5. Screaming machine -
To prepare you, since you have only semi-mentioned your current machines specs, I have to tell you as an avid hardware enthusiast myself for many years, you may be disappointed moving to any notebook from your existing windows machine, not just a Mac. Particularly if you are running a RAID 0 on that rig. I have an exceptional home built rig that is now 3 1/2 yrs old and blows my 5 mth old MacBook Pro out of the water when it comes to audio / video encoding. As in twice as fast as any of the available Mac programs with video encoding and is still 1/3 faster even when running XP under Boot Camp with the identical apps. And this is without comparing it to a RAID 0 setup.

With the more typical apps - browsing, mail, office apps, etc.; there is not really a noticeable difference between them and in this short period my MBP is seeing 95% of my computer time, not the faster rig.

2&5. 7200rpm drive -
This really depends on the apps you will be using. But, if that is a RAID 0 rig you're running now, yes, without question you should go for this option.

5. 4GB RAM -
Again, depends on the apps you will be running - if you have not read the forums enough to know - upgrade your RAM after market

Printer -
Also, since you are getting this for your business, you need to verify that your printer will work with a Mac. Or at least be prepared to get a new one if either a) there are no drivers for it, or b) the driver does not provide all the functionality you require. While there are a good many that will work, there are also a good many manufacturers that never spent the time to create drivers for OS X.

Playing with one in the Apple store -
If you know when you're going, you can call most of the stores and schedule an appointment, where they'll spend an hour letting you play with 'em and asking whatever questions you can think of. Hopefully, you'll get someone as good as I have and actually be able to answer most of the questions you have. (For me, it was the first time I had actually run into a fairly knowledgeable individual in a retail computer store in years.)

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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