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OT: Upgrading to iMac or Macbook, opinions...


DanS

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I'm thinking of upgrading the office/family computer, and looking at going Mac, probably the iMac 21" or maybe Macbook.

Anyone have any experience with these models? I remember there was a few screen issues a couple of years back with the iMacs.

It will be used for the day to day, bit of graphics, etc.

Is it a relatively painless exercise to transfer/convert Windows files to Mac format (ie: Word, pics, etc).

My experience with Apple products is iPods.... ;)

 

Thanks.

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

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Dan,

 

I've been reading where the Macbook Pro is being redesigned in the MacBook Air form. So wait a little while before moving on this decision if you can. KLONK

 

I recently purchased a 13" Macbook Air and am fond of it. It's got shared graphics where your Macbook Pro would have a dedicated graphics card. But this is fine for my purposes, as it's got good battery life, a gorgeous screen, and a fast SSD instead of a hard drive. I bought it primarily for travelling.

 

OSX Lion seems to be working out for me. There have been a few things I've had to learn with regards to Safari, but I downloaded Firefox and it seems to work well on the Mac.

 

There is a link to Apple support thread that discusses those changes you'll need to consider when going from Windows to OSX. I'll see if I can find it. edit - Here it is: KLONK

 

Would I buy the Macbook Air again? Oh yeah. :cool:

 

Tom

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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I don't think you'll have any major issues.

 

We've got a MacBook and a PC at home, and swap files back and forther without any problems.

 

Microsoft Office and all major image/video formats work fine (with the occasional need to download a free converter).

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Pictures and any media video etc won't be an issue. Office documents, outlook email is another matter. If you also purchase office for Mac then you won't have as many issues. Though some word files may have formatting issues the fonts and spacing might need editing. I have been using Macs since 2003, switched from Windows XP after my kids got it infected with malware the 4 times in one year! They screamed bloody murder when I switched. But once you get used to the Mac interface you will find it does some things much easier and some things you may prefer the windows way. Upgrading the OS and changing to a new Mac is about brain dead simple. You can either link the new machine together with a firewire cable or use a time machine backup. And all your settings, programs and files, everything gets copied to the new machine. My daughters are now grown and now use Macs. Macs aren't perfect, unlike what some zealots will say. I have had issues with the iMac G5 motherboards, and Mac Book mag safe power supplies. Usually anything totally new has some quirk but apple has usually fixed them. To the point that by the time you get to a second or third generation machine the problems are usually minimal. The new version of the OS has some changes to the interface that has some people griping. But people are naturally resistant to change. All in all I have had much better experiences with Macs than PC's. And I have never had to reinstall my OS operating system to fix speed issues or malware. Though I will be the first to admit Windows 7 fixed a lot of the issues with a PC I had. Took them long enough but they finally have a decent OS.

Boards: Kurzweil SP-6, Roland FA-08, VR-09, DeepMind 12

Modules: Korg Radias, Roland D-05, Bk7-m & Sonic Cell

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Also, if you do need to run a Windows program every now and then (like some MIDI keyboard editors that are PC only), you can use Parallels or VMWare Fusion to do it pretty painlessly (better than Apple's standard Boot Camp solution because you don't have to reboot, and they work with more versions of Windows). You'll also need a copy of Windows, but you might have a usable version of that from your old PC. This can also be a money saver, since you can continue to use some of your old Windows programs without the expense of having to buy new Mac versions.

 

I actually think that Macs are the best computers you can get for running Windows programs, because you can use the Mac web browser and email program for all your online activity, and then never go online with your Windows programs... and thereby pretty much solve the PC virus/trojan/malware problem.

 

Of course, once you have the Mac, even if you're doing Windows stuff on it, you'll probably find yourself starting to use other Mac applications more... they do tend to be more nicely designed, and you may soon find yourself thinking that Windows apps seem "clunky" by comparison.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Tons of reviews & info on macworld.com. Also, check out the user reviews on Amazon. Whether you want something really light & mobile like a Macbook Air, or more conventional laptop like a Macbook Pro, or a desktop iMac, well, that's the question.

 

I recently went to a Apple store, looked at an i-pad, Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, & i-phone, & wanted them all. The 11" Macbook Air--a lot of reviewers, inc. in the NYT & WSJ, have raved about it. It really is gorgeous, & 2.38 pounds. The iMacs--it's amazing how much you get now in a computer for the $$--another great choice.

 

FWIW, I'm on my 5th Mac since 1990, a 5 y.o. G5 iMac. Only one of those had problems (knock wood), & that's just b/c a flakey 3rd party software install disc ate my hard drive.

 

PS--I called the Apple 800 info # last week b/c I'm debating buying a new Macbook Air, or Pro. The guy I talked to was extremely knowledgeable & helpful....I still can't decide, but $939US for the 11" Macbook Air is very tempting....

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I went mac back in the late 90's. I now have an Imac, a Macbook and a Mac pro for music (and a retired Imac, G5, and mac mini). You won't have trouble converting any images or documents. Preview works well on Jpegs and Pdf's and IIRC other formats such as tiffs, etc. You can open microsoft documents (Word, Excel, and Power Point) in iWorks, or buy the microsoft counterpart if you really need to. I know little about Microsoft outlook, and although I use it at work, I leave it there.

 

The Macbook Air looks sweet. Very tempting but I can't justify it, since all my 'puters are humming along just fine.

 

Good luck with your purchase.

 

aL

Gear: Yamaha MODX8, Mojo 61, NS2 73, C. Bechstein baby grand.

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Yes, you can. It's a little weird with Lion, as the new OS does autosave by default so you have to go through some steps to save in another format. But it can be done.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Now they want you to "export" to go to another format which makes it harder going back and forth. One issue I used to have when creating word documents on Mac is when I move them to PC it would loose any pictures. When pulling up the document in windows I would get an empty block with a Quicktime lable where the picture was.

 

The biggest issue may be getting used to the difference in the OS philosophy. Windows allows many more variables within documents and programs which opens the door for more bugs. Mac is much more controlling and limiting. There are rules about where you can install programs, where libraries and documents should be, etc... iWorks programs want to "invisibly" manage your documents and revisions. These two issues are driving me back to Windows. I've got a loaded MacPro for music and photography, MacMini hooked to a TV for media, MacBookPro as a portable music computer, and a MacBook Air as my take anywhere computer. The MacPro never gets used since I got my ADK computer. The MacBookPro never gets used since I got my Air. After using Lion and Apple's Cloud I don't think I'll ever buy another Mac.

 

My suggestion. Get a MacMini and try it out. If you like it, great. The MacMini will be handy and will always be useful. If you don't like it, you can always use the MacMini as your iTunes host.

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You can open an Word, Excell and Powerpoint document in iWorks (Pages, Numbers, etc.) So there's no issue about going back and forth as far as I can tell. I haven't had issues with going back and forth between my Macs and my PC at work, but, that doesn't mean there aren't glitches.

 

aL

Gear: Yamaha MODX8, Mojo 61, NS2 73, C. Bechstein baby grand.

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Ah - Here we go...

 

I use both systems on a daily basis. If this computer is only for home use as you indicate (music applications being a non-issue), I would absolutely go with a PC. Why deal with all these "simple" conversions? Wouldn't it be more simple to not have to convert at all?

 

IMO, Office functionality and web-browsing are both better on a PC. A PC is also decidedly less expensive and the two most current OS's are nearly indistinguishable. That being said, if you don't mind spending more $$ for basic functionality, you can't really go wrong with a Mac.

 

FYI - I'm no brand Nazi - I have an iPhone, MacBook Pro and two PC's. Others on here may trend towards 'being in a camp'

Steinway L, Yamaha Motif XS-8, NE3 73, Casio PX-5S, iPad, EV ZLX 12-P ZZ(x2), bunch of PA stuff.
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I just bought an iMac a few months ago, and love it. This replaced a PC. I'm comfortable on either one, and we've not had any problems opening up any files that were created on the PC. We use OpenOffice to open up things like Excel spreadsheets and stuff like that. And of course, the Mac can open up a lot of files that PCs use anyway, things that are often universal in nature.

 

As for $$, the iMac is definitely more expensive than many PCs. If, OTOH, you need to get a really great looking monitor anyway, the iMac is actually not that expensive for how great the monitor is. If you already have a great monitor that you don't want to ditch, you could consider either a PC or a Mac Mini.

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IMO, Office functionality and web-browsing are both better on a PC.

In what way do you find web browsing better on a PC? I find it better on a Mac if for no other reason that, for all intents and purposes, I don't have to worry about malware and such. (As for Office functionality, I think either platform can do all most people need, perfectly well.)

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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IMO, Office functionality and web-browsing are both better on a PC.

In what way do you find web browsing better on a PC? I find it better on a Mac if for no other reason that, for all intents and purposes, I don't have to worry about malware and such. (As for Office functionality, I think either platform can do all most people need, perfectly well.)

 

Agreed on all counts. We switched from a PC to an iMac largely because of the malware. As a bonus, the iMac screen is gorgeous, and the operating system is elegant. That said, I was quite comfortable working on a PC, and there's some things that I liked on a PC better (well, not so much that it was because it was a PC, but there's more choice of programs, so I could better my chances of working with something that I liked that suited my needs well). There's trade-offs with anything. But that said, the iMac is working out really well, and anything with the internet has been great.

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I guess I would say that I greatly dislike Safari and think Chrome is marginally better on PC. It's not a huge difference. No big surprise, Office is superior on the PC, especially if you use Outlook.

 

This is not an attack on Macs, I think they're great machines with a nice OS. I think for the intended purpose, a PC would be more cost effective and the Mac offers no advantages for the extra coin.

Steinway L, Yamaha Motif XS-8, NE3 73, Casio PX-5S, iPad, EV ZLX 12-P ZZ(x2), bunch of PA stuff.
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I actually like Safari as a browser, but you could use a different browser if that's the primary issue. Nevertheless, in my opinion, one advantage that Macs offer aside from a nice OS is greatly diminished malware issues.

 

I haven't used Windows 7 extensively, but have liked it when I have used it.

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I suppose I'd sing a different tune if I ever had a virus issue with any of my machines, but I haven't. They do make anti-malware software for Macs....so malware certainly does exist in Mac-land.

 

I'm not here rehash Mac v. PC :) For me, in this instance, I'd spend 33% less and get a PC, then take the $500+ I just saved and buy something cool like an iPad or a K10!

Steinway L, Yamaha Motif XS-8, NE3 73, Casio PX-5S, iPad, EV ZLX 12-P ZZ(x2), bunch of PA stuff.
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About 2 years ago I bought a Mac Mini. That was the gateway drug that got me drinking the Kool Aid. And I liked the Kool Aid. In time, I ended up getting an iMac and a MBP (and an iPhone and an iPad) and now I do 95% of everything on the Mac. There are still some Windows programs that I prefer to their Mac equivalents (like Visio instead of OmniGraffle). And all of my embedded software development tools and PCB layout stuff only run on Windows, so I have Windows XP installed on a bootcamp partition. Using VMWare, you can run Windows inside OSX, drag and drop files between the two environments, share folders, etc. Best of both worlds, really. Apparently VirtualBox does this too and it's free, so if I was doing it all from scratch I'd look into that first.

 

Only two things I will add to the discussion.

 

1) Give NeoOffice a try. It's a Mac clone of the entire Office suite, and I actually prefer the NeoOffice versions to the Mac Microsoft Office counterparts. NeoOffice knows how to read and write everything in the same file format as the Microsoft Office equivalents, you can share the files with Windows, etc.

 

2) Time Machine. Once you have lived with automatic, hourly backups of your entire freaking computer, you will wonder how you ever lived without it. Accidentally bollocks up a document? No problem, spin back two hours and restore an old copy. Catastrophic disk failure? Lose your Macbook in Tahiti? No problem, go get a replacement, kick off a restore, and you'll have everything back. Everything. You'll still be logged into all your webpages. It's amazing.

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I suppose I'd sing a different tune if I ever had a virus issue with any of my machines, but I haven't. They do make anti-malware software for Macs....so malware certainly does exist in Mac-land.

 

Yup. Much less chance, but a chance nonetheless. I have anti-malware on all my computers - including the Macs.

 

I'm not here rehash Mac v. PC :) For me, in this instance, I'd spend 33% less and get a PC, then take the $500+ I just saved and buy something cool like an iPad or a K10!

 

Hey, I like that!!!

 

As I mentioned, If I had a nice monitor, I'd consider a PC or a Mac Mini. But I needed a monitor anyway, and when you consider all the expenses, it's really not a bad deal at all!!

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1) Give NeoOffice a try. It's a Mac clone of the entire Office suite, and I actually prefer the NeoOffice versions to the Mac Office counterparts. NeoOffice knows how to read and write everything in the same file format as the Microsoft Office equivalents, you can share the files with Windows, etc.

 

Is this better than OpenOffice? That's what we're using right now. I haven't heard of NeoOffice before.

 

2) Time Machine. Once you have lived with automatic, hourly backups of your entire freaking computer, you will wonder how you ever lived without it. Accidentally bollocks up a document? No problem, spin back two hours and restore an old copy. Catastrophic disk failure? Lose your Macbook in Tahiti? No problem, go get a replacement, kick off a restore, and you'll have everything back. Everything. You'll still be logged into all your webpages. It's amazing.

 

Doesn't the PC have some equivalent for this? I'd be shocked if it didn't!!!

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Is this better than OpenOffice? That's what we're using right now. I haven't heard of NeoOffice before.

 

NeoOffice is based on OpenOffice, except all the awful looking X11 windows menus are implemented using Mac APIs, so it looks and feels like other Mac apps.

 

As for the PC backup thing - I'm not aware of anything that backs up your apps, system files, etc, in as clean and transparent a fashion as Time Machine. I haven't moved beyond XP so maybe things have improved, but Windows XP doesn't let you copy files that are in use. This is why you can't clone a Windows volume while Windows is running. You have to boot off something such as a Clonezilla CD before cloning the drive. On a Mac, you can clone the system right out from under you. I do my offsite backups that way - clone the whole HD to a USB drive and on my monthly bank run I swap it out with the one in the safe deposit box. (It took a horrible data loss from a disk crash to achieve this level of paranoia).

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One thing to keep in mind with considering an all-in-one, be it iMac, Dell, HP or any other brand, is you applying the disadvantages of a laptop to your desktop without getting the benefit of portability. iMacs have a really nice monitor but it is premaritally tied to the equivalent of a MacMini. In my house a good, large monitor will stays around much longer than any computer. If a power surge knocks out the motherboard, a hard drive fails, or any number of problems the cost of repair vs. cost of replacement takes a different balance. It is no longer viable to toss the computer because you would also be tossing a large monitor.
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While that's true to a degree, last I checked the iMacs still used desktop components for things like RAM and hard drive. The mini uses notebook-size drives and maybe for the RAM. Don't quote me on that.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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