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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?" :)

(MacBook) Delay Switch for Leopard, Y/N?


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Ryvyan

 
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Hi!

Rather long introduction here, many questions below. Hope you'll bear with me!

I'm 22 and have been a PC user for a decade. The first time I used a Mac was about 3 years ago when I had a really short stint at a newspaper, and I fell in love with the interface and the mouse (of all things, I know ). I am not very hardware-savvy at all, but I adapt easily in terms of usage to software changes and that once-weekly month's worth of stint did not render me completely incompetent at using a Mac. Rather, I only managed to be wooed by what Mac has to offer.

I'm starting out at university as a part-time student at the end of this month. Due to the demands of school assignments (from what I can tell, they are pretty intense) and the fact that I am keeping my full-time job, I am contemplating getting a laptop so I can work during my breaks and travel to/from school. I'm sick of using Windows at home and at work because they *rarely* work as they should, so I have been doing researches on getting a Mac. I mainly need to write up documents for school, surf the net, chat on MSN Messenger, listen to music... basic stuff.


I'm looking at the lowest-end MacBook, with DIY memory and hard-disk upgrades. I have no need for a Superdrive (are they as problematic as what I have read?) because I figure I can transfer the files onto my current PC when I need to burn them. I have no need for a fabulous graphic card even though I really want to play SIMS 2 flawlessly on my new laptop (not priority because I rarely play it anyway, my current PC always hang when I have the disc in ). I just need a relatively light, value-for-money, safe (in terms of not having my files disappear or the system crash on me) laptop I can lug around.


I read that MS Office made for Mac is really pretty bad; laggy, unreliable, etc. My main concern is whether PCs would be able to read Word documents saved from Mac software like iWork because I'm supposed to send my assignments to my tutors in a (presumably) .doc file. Speaking of iWork, it does not come pre-installed so I'd have to purchase it separately? Any good substitute for MS PowerPoint and Word or is iWork decent enough? AppleWorks?

Also, we all know Leopard is to ship with all new Macs in October (beginning or end is anyone's guess). I have been reading up on as much as I can about this new OS and it seems an absolute dream to have. I understand that the current Tiger OS is great, but I am considering holding out until October. From past experience, are newly released Mac OS problematic? I know new software is being developed as we speak, and getting cheaper. I would die before I go over to Vista btw.

Say if I get the MacBook now, and install Leopard later to realise I hate it (assuming, don't heap hate!), would the install/restore DVDs that ship with the original MacBooks allow me to go back to Tiger? Like I said above, I am only good at using software, the technical part is not my forte at all.

There are a few other things I thought I wanted to ask about but forgot; will ask when I recall them. Thanks for all the help in advance all the same!



**



A rather random thing I thought I would share. I got myself an iPod Video the day it was released (and although someone told me prices had dropped a few months/a year after I got mine, I would not have postponed getting my Precious for so long anyway) and got engraving straight from Apple because I figured I could wait 2 days. Anyway I was one of those who took 46546536 pictures of unwrapping the box, and goodness! Beautiful isn't it??

I'm digressing again. The main point of this entire short (?) bit is to tell how I got around the unnifty auto-scan thingy Apple has. I wanted my iPod Video to read the same as my own LiveJournal, but was disallowed to do so because of a vulgarity. So I tried it again, replacing the spaces in between with a period. Didn't work.

I tried it again with underscores. Worked beautifully.

(I'd have posted a picture if I could, but vulgarities are not allowed and I respect that. Not sure if I should have taught how to get around it though... uh-oh.)


Edit: Need to explain that it's not a big whoaaa-you-shouldn't-have-done-that vulgarity, to me anyway. It is the equivalent of a female dog, and is a generally close-to-heart nickname (with 'coffee nut' in front) a close friend called me for fun. A bit childish I know, but eh, aren't we all?
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Ryvyan

 
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Also, the free iPod Nano that ships with every new Mac purchased on Education discount applies in my country's online store (Singapore anyone?). I'm planning to buy that for my younger sister, and it would not be valid anymore if I were to wait for Leopard.

Advice anyone? I would gladly fork out money for a version of Leopard later on, but is it worth the wait for a Mac n00b like me? Would Tiger be sufficient?

Thanks!
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matt1985

 
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welcome to the forum.

definately go for the switch, youll never look back.
i have to use windows machines at work sometimes, and man what a sucky interface it is after u have used Mac OS.

re. Office, yes it is a little slow as the current version is still a PowerPC program. i use Word, Entourage and Excel at work, and they are slow to start up but once opened they arent that bad.
to answer your question tho, yes u can open documents created by Pages etc.
there has been mention of Office 08, which would be a universal program, so maybe hold on for that.

re leopard: the extra features on leopard dont really seem to be all that specail to me, tho from a performance point of view im not sure of the gains there. its not that long till its released so if u can wait till then u may as well.
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SteveMBP

 
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Isn't it more cost-efficient to buy it now if he wants a nano for his sister? Think about it, $199 for a nano, and $69 for leopard upgrade for students. He might as well buy now because a free nano is much better of a deal than having leopard already installed.

I'm a movement by myself.

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matt1985

 
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thats a vaild point, if he can get those deals in singapore.
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Ryvyan

 
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Matt, thanks for answering my question on Mac/PC compatibility on Pages/Word. I'm terribly afraid of it not working out because my assignments are graded, and it's somewhat more assuring if someone has used it and it has worked.

Steve, the iPod Nano is not high on my list as to when I would get a MacBook, because it's... well, it's additional benefits, and my sister has her own mp3 player (though I'm so sworn to my own iPod, I believe she should Start Seeing The Light Too). It makes a whole load of sense when you count in the dollars and cents, and I could also sell it online if my sister decides that she could do without it, and the extra money could go towards Leopard in future + RAM and hard-disk upgrades...

I was thinking more along the line of "if I give the Nano away to my sister, I'm still going to be stuck with an old OS in a few months time". I'm getting more convinced that switching now is not as bad an idea even with the new OS looming in the horizon. The Windows mentality is upon me: if it's new, it should be better (even though I have never been impressed, I quite liked XP in the beginning). Mac OS is priced ridiculously low, compared to Windows, it's quite... mind-boggling.

(PC almost hung just now as I was typing this.)

If I get the MacBook earlier, I could use that extra time to get used to the shortcuts keys (I can click my way through a program, no problem). I use tons of shortcut keys on the PC at work, and it has wiggled its way into my home usage. Would like to get myself at least familiarised with most common keys before I start relying on it heavily for work.

Sorry for rambling on, but I kind of like having my thoughts written out properly as I think them through.


And actually I'm a 'she'! I'm often mistaken as a 'he' with this nickname though, no worries.
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matt1985

 
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lol sorry, i thought ur name may have been Ryan or something along those lines.

anyways, by the sounds of the current performance of ur PC u may need to switch sooner rather than later, and yes it will take u a bit of time to get used to the new shortcuts etc on the mac. i switched back to mac late last year and im still finding out shortcuts and other great things about OSX
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visualpurple

 
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I wouldn't call Office unreliable... it is a bit slow, just because it's not yet a universal binary, but that will be resolved by Office 2008. If you're going to be working entirely with .doc files, I don't think that using iWork and exporting everything is a good solution.. sooner or later you will have a document that doesn't export everything properly. You really do need to use Office... I have had no problems exchanging Office 2004 documents with PC Office users.
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Ryvyan

 
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Hi visualpurple, is the exporting of documents difficult or dangerous (i.e. loss of file)? What difference would it make to the average PC user who has to read my file? No difference? Or would extra steps be required? This is assuming I'm using iWork.

I understand that Office 2004 for Mac might not run as smoothly because of this 'Universal' thing, but I would not want to come up with as much cash as that because I have Microsoft Office software at home on my PC, and I'm looking for cheaper alternatives.

There is the option of using Bootcamp to download Windows OS onto my computer (just to use Office, though that's when my Windows version of SIMS 2 would come in handy too) but unfortunately, I have been using Hewlett-Packard my entire PC-life, and they always come preloaded with Windows OS so I'm unable to install that onto my currently-non-existent MacBook. I could beg and borrow off another, but it would kind of make my switch to Mac a bit pointless and frustrating, because I would be working on Windows after going in an entire circle.

Hope you understand my stand, but thanks anyway! Been precious information, everyone.
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visualpurple

 
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admittedly, I've not used Pages extensively... but it seems silly to add in a middle-man when you will be using Word files. Why not just use the real thing? You can buy Student licenses of Office for pretty cheap, or it can be obtained through... other sources. I just wouldn't want to be working on some important document to find that all the formatting doesn't stay intact when exporting.
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Ge64

 
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There are also other office suites that work on Mac. I have used OpenOffice for a while when I was on PC, and theres a Mac version too. It can read and write .doc files, and its free. Theres a text editor, spreadsheet, presentation and everything and they are all compatible with the MS Office formats.

You can try out Open Office on your PC right now to see if you like how it works and if youre ok with it you could use it on your future mac until Office 08 is out, and then buy that.

You could also run MS Office on your mac without using Boot Camp. Crossover Mac can run some older versions of office directly on your Mac without restarting. Parallels and VMWare Fusion can run a whole Windows Desktop in a window, without having to restart. You could use it for Office and just minimize it away for other things.

I dont know about Parallels, but VMWare Fusion has the ability to show windows on your Windows desktop as Mac windows, so it looks as if the Windows programs are actually Mac programs. At the moment its still in a testing phase, but it works fine and the good news is its free.

www.endlessparadigm.com - forum for fun people

Irssi, client of the future
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Ryvyan

 
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visualpurple: Regarding using Microsoft Office on a Mac, I am not too keen on using something that might still be buggy (especially with the outdated software on newer Macs). I must say here that I like the professionalism Word & Excel have been offering so far. But after taking the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exams for the two programs back in my schooling days, I have become somewhat skeptical because not only do they hang pretty often (it could be the RAM at work though), but I realised that I do not use many of their functions at all. I would want a cheaper and easier alternative. I am not too keen in having to search through 46575754 things on the toolbar before I can find what I want. It might be a case of "well, just in case", but really, thanks but... nahh. Just plain lazy, I know. But I reckon I'll have a PC somewhere around me I can go back to should I really need it. :X


Ge64: Free stuff is good! Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately I reckon it's time to throw my PC out, or at least do some serious upgrading before I can use it properly again. Though if the MacBook is as good as it sounds, I doubt I'll be spending any more time on it. Shall try it soon, thanks!
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stoldie

 
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Ryvyan... Personally I think you should make the switch, From what I've experienced so far, and what I read all the time - it's a fantastic OS, I am sure you will not be disappointed. Leopard sure does look good - and will be easily upgradeable - don't think this alone is a valid reason to delay your purchase.

As for your essays/work you have to hand in - prior to any deadlines you have, you could do a test with the free office software (open office or neo office) with a couple of dummy documents and ask a lecturer to view them.
If this works - great! if not, test an iWork/Pages file in the same manner...

If you are looking at the lowest end macbook, can I suggest you check out the 'refurb' page on the apple store - where you can pick up fantastic deals for the higher end macbook or even the black macbook... This seems to be an underrated way of purchasing a mac?

Hope this helps,
Stoldie.
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