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  1. #1


    Member Since
    May 13, 2007
    Posts
    34
    Wanting to buy a Mac...help por favor...
    I currently run a Dell XPS desktop. It has a Pentium4 chip, running at 3.2GHz, with 2GB of RAM. I don't do a whole lot of video editing, but I do some...mostly just editing rehearsal clips (I am a conductor) here and there and creating DVDs. I also use my computer to create music, using the Finale notation program. Because of this and my other musical ventures, these are the sorts of things I can't do without:

    A way to create PDF files quickly...with embedded fonts, and with the ability to insert pages from other PDF files (I create my music with Finale, but the cover pages I create with Microsoft Word).

    I need Microsoft Office...too many files that I can't do without. How much does it cost for Mac, and how reliable is it?

    Can someone talk briefly about the differences between the PC version and the Mac version of the following (if anyone has experience with these):

    Photoshop
    AIM/iChat
    FTP Programs
    Basic Text programs (like Notepad/Wordpad in Windows)

    Does Mac OSX have a program built-in that will let me screen-capture specific areas of a screen shot and make it a jpg like I am able to do with Paintshop?

    Does Mac have a newsreader of some sort? Like Agent or XNews for the PC?

    I tried Safari 3.0 for Windows...I wasn't particularly impressed...it had a lot of problems. How is the Apple version?


    Sorry for all the questions. Just pre-switch jitters, I suppose.

  2. #2

    walkerj's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 13, 2005
    Location
    New Orleans, LA, USA
    Posts
    1,186
    Specs:
    13" Macbook Pro 2.26Ghz Unibody 4G RAM 160G HDD Superdrive
    Quote Originally Posted by The Tsar View Post
    I currently run a Dell XPS desktop. It has a Pentium4 chip, running at 3.2GHz, with 2GB of RAM. I don't do a whole lot of video editing, but I do some...mostly just editing rehearsal clips (I am a conductor) here and there and creating DVDs. I also use my computer to create music, using the Finale notation program. Because of this and my other musical ventures, these are the sorts of things I can't do without:

    A way to create PDF files quickly...with embedded fonts, and with the ability to insert pages from other PDF files (I create my music with Finale, but the cover pages I create with Microsoft Word).
    Anything on a Mac can be 'printed' to a PDF file. Web pages, images, documents, pretty much anything. I go to our local city newspaper's website and 'print' out a whole bunch of articles to PDF if I'm going to be somewhere without network connection and want to read the paper.

    For fancier PDF stuff, I think there are some other third party apps that will work (and of course, there's always Acrobat itself) but I'm also pretty sure NeoOffice (free Office-like suite for Mac; OpenOffice is the Linux/Windows port) will let you take any document you create with it and save to PDF.

    I need Microsoft Office...too many files that I can't do without. How much does it cost for Mac, and how reliable is it?
    Not sure, really. It's somewhere in the $2-300 range and works just like the PC version as far as I can tell when I've used it.

    Can someone talk briefly about the differences between the PC version and the Mac version of the following (if anyone has experience with these):

    Photoshop
    AIM/iChat
    FTP Programs
    Basic Text programs (like Notepad/Wordpad in Windows)
    Photoshop works better than the Windows version, but it kind of does so in a more 'Mac like' way, so to speak. Has to do with the menu being up at the top of the screen rather than inside the app. You get used to it.

    iChat - I love iChat, and often do video conferencing with people who have Macs with iChat. It's very pleasant to use. Some swear by Adium, but I haven't found anything particularly compelling about it other than it is free.

    FTP Programs - I use Cyberduck, which is free and allows drag 'n drop transfers of files, folders, etc.

    Text editing - TextEdit is the built-in Mac text editor. It's kind of more like WordPad in that it can do rich text, though I find that I prefer to drop into Terminal and use vi (UNIX text editor) if I really need something that's pure text. TextEdit will keep any existing text-only file text-only, but I've found if I start from scratch TextEdit will want to 'RTF-ify' it initially.

    Does Mac OSX have a program built-in that will let me screen-capture specific areas of a screen shot and make it a jpg like I am able to do with Paintshop?
    Yes, it does, but I use a free third party program called Snap n Drag. It allows you to grab the window, selection, or whole screen and you can choose from either JPG or TIFF (and possibly some other formats.)

    Does Mac have a newsreader of some sort? Like Agent or XNews for the PC?
    I've found a couple of free news readers, but honestly I've found Mozilla Thunderbird to be pretty good for the few Usenet newsgroups I ever bother with anymore.

    I tried Safari 3.0 for Windows...I wasn't particularly impressed...it had a lot of problems. How is the Apple version?
    Don't let your experience with Safari beta on Windows color your judgement. The Safari that ships with Tiger is every much as good a browser as Firefox other than you can't load it up with eleventy-billion extensions, and orders of magnitude better than IE. The Safari 3 beta for Windows is kind of a kludgy thing right now. It might get better for Windows, it might not. I can assure you that whatever form of Safari 3 for Mac OS will be just as awesome of a browser as the current version on the Macs.

    Sorry for all the questions. Just pre-switch jitters, I suppose.
    That's why we're here. I had similar questions when I switched, and am never going back to Windows for my own personal computer.

  3. #3

    wcarr3's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 30, 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    208
    Specs:
    MBP, 13.3" || iMac 20" 2.16 GHz C2D, 250 GB HD, 2 GB RAM, || 32GB i-Phone 4 || 32GB AT&T 3G iPad
    walkerj,

    Thanks for the tip with Snap N Drag! Great little tool, no need to remeber the shortcuts for screen captures! I tell ya, I find something useful almost everyday fo my Mac.

  4. #4


    Member Since
    Feb 18, 2007
    Posts
    265
    Quote Originally Posted by walkerj View Post
    Not sure, really. It's somewhere in the $2-300 range and works just like the PC version as far as I can tell when I've used it.
    You can get it cheaper if you're a student or teacher (or know someone who is)...I would put off spending the money on it right now, as Office 2008 is supposed to be released in 2007, and it will be a Universal version (meaning it will run natively on the Intels, unlike the current Office 2004 which needs to be emulated, and is thus slower). You don't want to have to buy it twice in a year (that being said, if you can find Office 2004 cheaply, it is a great program - perfectly compatible with PCs)

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Mar 11, 2004
    Posts
    1,964
    Quote Originally Posted by The Tsar View Post
    Does Mac OSX have a program built-in that will let me screen-capture specific areas of a screen shot and make it a jpg like I am able to do with Paintshop?
    Quote Originally Posted by walkerj View Post
    Yes, it does, but I use a free third party program called Snap n Drag. It allows you to grab the window, selection, or whole screen and you can choose from either JPG or TIFF (and possibly some other formats.)
    Thought I should mention the Mac's screen-shot keyboard commands, though they don't offer any on-the-fly choice of format. From the menu-bar Help, after typing in screen shot:
    a picture of the whole screen
    ⌘-Shift-3

    Take a picture of part of the screen
    ⌘-Shift-4, then drag to select the area you want in the picture.
    To cancel, press Escape.

    Take a picture of a window, a menu, the menu bar, or the Dock.
    Press ⌘-Shift-4, then press the Space bar. Move the pointer over the area you want so that it's highlighted, then click. To drag to select the area instead, press the Space bar again. To cancel, press Escape. Screen shots are saved as files on the desktop.

    If you want to put the screen shot in the Clipboard, rather than create a file, hold down the Control key when you press the other keys. You can then paste the picture into a document.

    You can also take pictures of the screen using the Grab application (in the Utilities folder).

    Some applications, such as DVD Player, may not let you take pictures of the screen
    The screen-shot file format can be changed using Terminal (I changed mine to jpg, but I used a setting in the free Onyx to do it).

    From macintouch.com:
    Launch Terminal, and depending on what file type you want outputted, type (or copy and paste) the appropriate line below followed by return:

    defaults write com.apple.screencapture type pdf
    defaults write com.apple.screencapture type png
    defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg
    defaults write com.apple.screencapture type tif

    Quit Terminal. One caveat: You must restart your computer for the change to take effect right away. To revert to the default png format, type 'defaults write com.apple.screencapture type png' as shown above (no single quotes), or delete the com.apple.screencapture plist file in your user preferences folder (again, you need to restart). You can test out different formats, just remember to restart your computer when you are done or after each test.

    Quick and easy (except for the restart annoyance). Hope this helps.

    Note: You can swap in jpeg instead of jpg depending on your personal preferences for file extensions. The same is true of using tiff instead of tif.

  6. #6


    Member Since
    Apr 19, 2007
    Posts
    780
    Specs:
    20" iMac Core 2 Duo 2.16Ghz, 500GB HDD, 1GB RAM, 128MB ATI Radeon X1600
    Photoshop in Windows, you know how when you open it it blasts you with a big grey box behind the actual program?

    ON Mac, you see the PS windows you have open, and the file you're editing, and you can see the stuff behind it.

    That's the only difference I've seen.

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