Forums

Hi Mac addicts,

I have seen that there are some Mac specialists, here (Mike and Mark also seem to have been converted ?).

I am considering buying a 24" I-mac to replace our family system.

Our children will get the current set (a powerfull PC+flat screen tv set) so they can continue to put as many games as they want on it without disturbing the other applications ! ...

Our project is to use the mac for :

- Web browsing, Emails
- Web creation : blog, Web site
- Multimedia : video, photos, presentations, etc.
- As a TV set, DVD, TV recorder for the family room
- As a Hi-Fi central for the house

I have some questions :
1) Is a Mac really viruses and bug free ?
2) Will the I-mac be ok for what we are planning ?
3) What can a MacPro do, compared to a I-Mac ? I am asking this question because I may need to use the Mac to produce a blog and some multimedia documents for my company ...

Many thanks,

Cédric.

US41's picture

I am personally not a fan of the Apple platform. My reasons:

* Expense: For the same level of system performance, a PC that you build is usually less than 50% of the price. My current system will keep up with all but the very highest level MAC platform, and I spent less than $1000 building it.

* Upgrade ability: I prefer being able to swap any of my components with any others without worrying about compatibility

* Software selection: I prefer having a wider range of software available to me. Most freeware open source software is for PC's (Win32 or Linux operating systems)

* I like a multi-button mouse that allows me to right-click

* I don't like the way Apple does point upgrades to their OS (they charge for them) with very, very minor feature changes for the user. To date, M$ service packs have been free for current users.

I feel that these issues supersede issues with viruses. I have not had my PC infected by a virus during the 21st Century. Today's hardware is so very fast and ram is so inexpensive (I have 2 gigs in my box for $69.00 after rebate) that running a free virus scanner and Vista's built in Windows Defender keeps my system clean without any real impact to me. I am also of the opinion that use of the PC determines your vulnerability far more than the platform, scanner use, or firewall implementation.

Linux is generally free and is not plagued with viruses if you like tweaking your system.

I run Mozilla Firefox as a browser, and it seems pretty hardy as far as security issues go without exposing me to the many vulnerabilities of MSIE.

I've run Linux at home for years, all the varieties of Windows, and I've spent extensive time on a MAC before as well in an office. It's all basically the same architecture and the results are largely the same. Most of the difference is cost, branding, configurability, and variety of tools available. I don't think Apple stands up to scrutiny in an objective cost-benefit analysis if all of these potential issues are important to you.

If your needs are very specific, you might find the Apple platform to be the one for you as other issues will not really be considerations for you.

Beware of recommendations from people who's eyes glaze over with fanatic zeal and unthinking support of any particular platform. You should base your choice on YOUR needs and wants and ultimately do what is best for YOU no matter what works for me or anyone else.

WillDuke's picture

I'm not a rabid Mac fan, but I can respond to #1 on your list.

No, the mac is not bug and virus free. (Neither is Linux) What it is is less of a target. Because fewer people use Macs malware authors have less incentive to target it. There probably are fewer viruses simply for that reason.

It is NOT more (or less) secure. It is NOT less (nor more) buggy. There are fewer people trying to break it. As Microsoft tightens up security on Windows, malware authors will find the next biggest target. Will it be the Mac o/s? Will it be applications? The only thing that's certain is that it will be something.

In my not so humble opinion, the Mac vs PC debate is the same as the Ford vs Chevy debate. Go with what you know. If you know and are comfortable with one, stick with it. In the business world more people use PCs than Macs. In the Education field, it's the other way around.

Hey, I stepped on something... I think it's Mark's soapbox! :lol:

tomw's picture

[quote="cedwat"]
- Web browsing, Emails
- Web creation : blog, Web site
- Multimedia : video, photos, presentations, etc.
- As a TV set, DVD, TV recorder for the family room
- As a Hi-Fi central for the house

I have some questions :
1) Is a Mac really viruses and bug free ?
2) Will the I-mac be ok for what we are planning ?
3) What can a MacPro do, compared to a I-Mac ? I am asking this question because I may need to use the Mac to produce a blog and some multimedia documents for my company ...[/quote]

The one I'm not sure of is the TV recording. I've never tried. For the multimedia, it depends on how much you are talking. Home movies, you'll be fine. If you're talking pro quality, you might need something bigger.

1) Bug free, no nothing is bug free. It is virus free technically, in that true viruses don't exist for Mac. The less of a target claim is junk and it's been proven over and over. The reason for its resistance to viruses is that Mac is Unix based. Unix is extremely prevalent and VERY secure. There are no Unix viruses so there are no Mac viruses. I think the traditional viruses (like the old emailed .EXE and .SRC files) are dying down across the board anyway.

The OS security thing is a red herring in general. The main difference between Mac and Windows in that respect is that Windows XP Home (I'm not sure abour Vista) used came with most of its security features turned off by default. Most people did not know how to turn them on, so they stayed off. It made the OS look less secure than it was. The Mac comes with them turned on, so you have to enter your administrator password every time you install/change anything at the system level... just like Windows does if you set the user permissions properly :-)

You do still have to watch your web browsers for security updates though. Just like on Windows, that's the biggest security hole out there. Firefox might be pretty secure, but it still has holes. It seems like more malware is geared towards web browsing because it's all multi-platform and gathers more people than any one OS ever will.

2) the iMacs now are REALLY powerful machines. I think they will do a lot for you. Their drawback is that they are not upgradeable. Pretty much all you can do is add RAM. On that note... it's cheaper to buy 3rd party than from Apple.

3) The Mac Pro has is a 4-processor machine with lots of room for expansion and the ability to choose any monitor you like. The big thing you are paying for there is raw power.

The new Macs are still one button, but can tell right click from left click, and have a roller ball that can scroll side to side (the cutely named Mighty Mouse).

The "point upgrades" tend to come with pretty major features. I have no qualms about paying for them and they tend to be really nice.

I have to agree about the cost. They can get pricey, especially the Pro models.

With Parallels ($80 for Parallels plus the cost of a Windows license (which can be a lot if you don't have one around)), you can also run any Windows program on the Mac. It's worth looking into if you need a specific software to run that you absolutely cannot find for Mac.

I'm running a 50-person office that's 100% Mac and use one at home, so if you need any help, let me know.

You might really like the iLife suite that comes with new Macs. It has decent applications for video editing, DVD creation, and web editing (though I think the web stuff is a bit light)

US41's picture

More thoughts...

Without the TV recording and video editing requirements, you could get a very, very low end machine and do just fine. Those two requirements scream for a really high-performing machine with multiple hard drives.

It's going to be expensive. I don't think an iMac is really what you are looking at there. More like full-sized, high performance machine.

You will need:

* Fast processor (they are all fast these days)

* A LOT of ram (2 gigs recommended)

* Two hard drives (recommend two 300 gb or bigger) so you can push videos back and forth from one to the other. Otherwise, it will be a nightmare to make a video and your machine will grind to a halt doing it.

The rest you can go with ordinary parts. You could use onboard sound and don't need a sound card. You can use a relatively inexpensive video card that was top of the line 1.5 years ago.

tomw's picture

[quote="WillDuke"]IIn my not so humble opinion, the Mac vs PC debate is the same as the Ford vs Chevy debate. Go with what you know. If you know and are comfortable with one, stick with it. In the business world more people use PCs than Macs. In the Education field, it's the other way around.[/quote]

I think you're right. Windows has more applications for it in general, but if you're just looking for a basic workstation without specialized software, you can go either way and be fine.

It also helps if you're compatible with those around you. If your whole office is running OpenOffice for Windows, MS Office won't help you. If they're running iWork, Neo Office is not any good.

tomw's picture

[quote="US41"]* Two hard drives (recommend two 300 gb or bigger) so you can push videos back and forth from one to the other. Otherwise, it will be a nightmare to make a video and your machine will grind to a halt doing it. .[/quote]

Not really for the iMac specifically, but what do you think of external drives for video work? I have a machine with 2x250 GB drives, but I found that a USB2 750 GB external drive was better, both in performance and in not sucking up all my storage space. (I was doing architectural walkthroughs them compositing them in Final Cut Pro)

cwatine's picture

Wow, lots of information here ! Thanks fo that.

Some points :
- price is not really an issue here. And, I am not able to make my own computer. Even if I compare a 24" Imac and a Dell + a flat screen Tv set (hd), the difference is not 50%. It is more around 15%.
- Imac seems more user friendly to my wife (and ... I think she loved the video ads on the Mac website ...)
- Imac would keep games away ! Not PC ... (Yeah here the negative argument of software variety gets positive in my case)

Concerning multimedia needs, we want to be able to :
- make messages that include simple video
- make presentations from photos and drawings
- make small leaflets to be printed by a pro
- be able to create a simple blog and forum

tomw's picture

[quote="cedwat"]Concerning multimedia needs, we want to be able to :
- make messages that include simple video
- make presentations from photos and drawings
- make small leaflets to be printed by a pro
- be able to create a simple blog and forum[/quote]

I just got iLife '08 yesterday, so I've not have a chance to play with it a lot. I think the new iMovie will do a lot of the video stuff you want.

iWeb does blogs, I'm not sure about forums.

The leaflets you could probably do in iWork, but I would tend to Photoshop Elements/

WillDuke's picture

[quote]It is virus free technically, in that true viruses don't exist for Mac. The less of a target claim is junk and it's been proven over and over. The reason for its resistance to viruses is that Mac is Unix based. Unix is extremely prevalent and VERY secure. There are no Unix viruses so there are no Mac viruses.[/quote]
I think TomW is a Mac fanatic. :)
* There are antivirus products for the Mac, ergo there are viruses. Perhaps there's a dodge about "true viruses" but there is malware that will mess up your Mac. (Or your Windows, or your Linux, or your Unix)
* I don't understand Tom's comment on less of a target being junk. As far as I know it's a widely held opinion.
* All operating systems are subject to security issues depending on how you set them up. A bad password is a bad password regardless of the platform.

That's the D in me. The rest of me agrees that you can have a perfectly good experience with a Mac. I certainly wouldn't want to argue that they're not innovative. And they are beautiful machines.

ccleveland's picture

Here’s a different point of view:

Don’t consolidate on one device! …especially, if price isn’t your concern.

Get a Mac notebook for Internet, photo’s, leaflet publishing, video editing, etc. Get a entertainment center for TV, video recording, Hi/Fi, etc. that meets your needs.

If you pack it all into one container, you loose flexibility and increase both chance and impact of problems.

A “notebook” is portable, you can get them with video inputs so you can record clips from your TV system.

Sure, you can do it all in one box, but that’s something for computer enthusiasts. (I’m working on a Linux version at home.) Just like you can double the horse power on your Subaru WRX…you have to get your hands pretty dirty to do so. Microsoft and their related hardware partners have developed media center PCs that works okay…but I don’t think they’ll do all of what you’re looking for.

That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple comes out with something that knocks the socks off of the current world of home entertainment.

We’ll see!!

CC

WillDuke's picture

I agree with cc. That way you can still get your mail while people are watching TV.

Apple has released some sort of Tivo box haven't they?

I love my Tivo and wouldn't change it for anything. Okay, I'd change it for the newer Tivo. :wink:

ccleveland's picture

Will...I haven't filtered through all the iPhone buzz to see what else is going on over there. As for Digital Video Records like TiVo...I agree. Thanks to the DVR, the little TV I do watch can be done [u]when[/u] I have the time to do it...not when the show airs.

CC

jhack's picture

I've been working with both Macs and PCs since 1984 (in various capacities, not to mention lots of other machinery before and since). Without driving into the details of this or that feature or software package:

If you want a machine for home or family use, the Mac is better. Period. Especially if you want to do video, pictures, etc.

If you want a machine for business, it depends on the business.

John

PS: this thread reminded me that my Tivo is now 8 years old! Time to upgrade...

tomw's picture

i used to be a a Unix guy. then a Windows guy, then a Mac guy... I just kind of use what my company uses. I do have to say I've had the best experiences on the Mac.

To me, one of the more telling responses was when over the 5 years since the company has switched to Mac, almost every employee who bought a home computer bought a Mac.
[quote="WillDuke"]* I don't understand Tom's comment on less of a target being junk. As far as I know it's a widely held opinion.[/quote]
You're right that it's a commonly held opinion. It's in the same vein as most urban legends. It holds up to casual logic but not deeper analysis. Sheer volume is not the leading cause of virus production.

If the viruses affected Macs, people would make them just to say they did it. Despite serious efforts to do so (in academic computer science labs trying to do it), no one has been able to create a Mac virus.

Just because Norton sells a product does not mean it protects from anything.

jhack's picture

Couple more points:

It's not bug free. There are many fewer viruses, worms, etc, floating around the Mac ecosystem.

I would not make the computer double duty as the TV. We're still a couple years away from that technology starting to make sense. Tivo or AppleTV are worth a close look.

HiFi means different things to different folks. For real home theater, you'll need a surroundsound AV amplifier and lots of speakers. No need to integrate that with your computer; you can plug the computer in if you need to playback AV to the big screen. (or have it "prewired"). but don't make the entertainment system depend on the computer.

A top of the line laptop is best. mobility is so great for a family; we can bring the macbook to the kitchen table, on the front porch, etc.

Have fun!

John

tomw's picture

[quote="jhack"]A top of the line laptop is best. mobility is so great for a family; we can bring the macbook to the kitchen table, on the front porch, etc. [/quote]

As much as I love my 15" MacBook Pro.... they're pricey little things.

jhack's picture

[quote="cedwat"]--price is not really an issue here.
[/quote]
John

WillDuke's picture

Okay, so TomW made me go out and do my research. I was certain that there were viruses on the Mac But I had to go find out. Okay, I really really like to be right. I found a page at Apple.com that says:
[quote]Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple antivirus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one program to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult.[/quote]
But then I got hunting around, and it looks like I'm going to eat some crow. Okay, I'll dodge a little, earlier versions of the Mac operating system do seem to have been susceptible. But O/S X appears to not currently have viruses. Nobody's saying it CAN'T get viruses, but neither did Tom.

Tom, I was wrong. I'll never doubt your Mac knowledge again.

cwatine's picture

Well ... I may look stupid now, but what is a Tivo box ?

Oh, and yes, Mac have issued something for the TV. It is called apple TV, here : http://store.apple.com/Apple/WebObjects/francestore.woa/wa/RSLID?nnmm=br....

WillDuke's picture

TIVO is the best thing ever for TV. Basically it records TV to a hard drive.

* You can pause live TV. You can rewind live TV. You can fast forward live TV. (Okay, not into the future. But if you paused or rewound, you can FF back.)
* The TIVO downloads a program guide from the Internet. You can use this guide to record things, you don't have to set time and dates.
* You can also schedule season passes. Every time this show is on, record it for me.
* You can search on actors or directors or genres or a bunch of other stuff and record those.
* You rate things you watch and TIVO learns what you like. If it sees something similar on, it records it as a suggestion.

Basically, you'll never see another commercial. You can watch what you want when you want. You never need to worry about being home at a certain time. I spend less time in front of the TV. I don't surf anymore. I don't wait around for something to come on.

Okay, now I'm the glassy eyed fanatic... :shock:

jhack's picture

Tivo is the greatest. All Hail Tivo.

Technically, it's TV recording device with a big hard drive and friendly UI, linux under the hood.

It's hard to explain how excellent it is, because it sounds like a VCR with a disk instead of tape. But it keeps a buffer of what you're watching, so you can simply pause the TV when the phone rings and continue later. It knows what you like and records it, even if you didn't know it was on. It recommends stuff that you would like.

Best part: you only watch stuff that makes sense for you, when you want to. No more wasting time surfing. My wife and I only watch one or two hours a week, so we know we'll have our favorite (Sopranos, whither goest thou?!) ready to go when we have that short break.

The kids love it. And we know what they're watching.

John

jhack's picture

and, uh, what Will said...

WillDuke's picture

Minor point on Mac viruses - they can be affected by Macro viruses, specifically Excel & Word. But those don't seem to do much.

cwatine's picture

Sounds great ! Why poooooor frenchies don't get that ?

I have a Panasonic DVD unit + Hard drive which allows to record and, yes to rewind, pause, etc. but it does not give the program, or learn what I like. I have to check that ...

WillDuke's picture

Cedric - I called Tivo. No service in France. Sorry.

cwatine's picture

Will - Thanks. I'll try to continue a normal life after that. Regards.

tomw's picture

[quote="WillDuke"]Tom, I was wrong. I'll never doubt your Mac knowledge again.[/quote]

No worries. Since my office used Mac, it's part of my job to make sure I know these things, both in theory and application. The day a real Mac virus surfaces in the wild, I'll be running around installing anti-virus software!

alyurek's picture

Hi Cédric,

I currently use a Macs full time and I would not hesitate to recommend it for most of the purposes that you are trying to accomplish.

For web browsing, e-mail, and such, a mac does all of these very well but so do pretty much all Windows machines.

Every mac comes with software called iLife and within that, you will be able to create a website that has a blog through the program iWeb. I don't find that iWeb has enough features for me so I host my own website. If you're not interested in any sort of web design or anything too complicated, iWeb is a great choice.

As for multimedia, presenting photos and video looks is great on most macs. The software included can take care of almost all of your needs. If you are doing presentations, I suggest you buy iWork.

If you are interested in sitting around the mac and watching TV, then you will be disappointed out of the box. You will need a TV tuner card which will turn it into a television. I recommend the eyeTV.

To answer some of your questions, I have never had a virus or spyware infection on any of my macs and out of everyone I know, they have not had one either. As willduke pointed out, there is the possibility of this happening in the future but looking in the past, an infection has not happened in years. To be candid, I would not suggest using the mac as a TV. The only reason I say that is because I could not picture myself sitting a short distance from the computer just watching television. Finally, for all of your uses, a Mac Pro would be hugely overkill. It's meant to be a workstation for video, photo and audio professionals and your uses would not use it to its fullest potential.

alyurek's picture

Oh, forgot the part about the Apple TV.

I bought one when they first came out and I am located in Canada. Because I am not in the USA, I cannot purchase television shows or any movies and put them on it which is very annoying. This device does not act like a Tivo, it simply moves movies or TV shows that are on your computer and displays them on your television.

If you are interested in downloading your TV shows and Movies or importing them onto your computer and converting them to the correct file format, then the Apple TV is great. Otherwise, it is a waste of money.

US41's picture

[quote="TomW"]Not really for the iMac specifically, but what do you think of external drives for video work? I have a machine with 2x250 GB drives, but I found that a USB2 750 GB external drive was better, both in performance and in not sucking up all my storage space. (I was doing architectural walkthroughs them compositing them in Final Cut Pro)[/quote]

If your external hard drives are running faster over USB 2.0 than your internal drive, your internal drive is either very old or something is horribly wrong with your system - old drivers, wrong drivers, misconfigured interface, old ATA33 spec. Two internal drives of maximum speed that your system can allow (I recommend SATA II) should be blindingly fast.

US41's picture

[quote="cedwat"]Wow, lots of information here ! Thanks fo that.

Some points :
- price is not really an issue here. And, I am not able to make my own computer. [/quote]

Sure you can. Anyone can make their own computer. Cases run around $40 when they are on sale. A good power supply is about $30. DVD burners are $36.00 on sale. A good motherboard is less than $100.00. You can get a blazingly fast Intel 6750 Dual Core processor for $199.00. Prices just fell on them July 22. Video cards - you can get an 8500 GT for around $100.00. 2 gigs of ram are $69.00.

You just screw the motherboard and power supply in, plug the power plugs into the MB, stick in the ram, stick in the DVD and plug it in. Stick in the HD and plug it in. Stick in the video card. Close the case, and power up to a boot CD that comes with the MB.

All done! It's easy. I've built lots of them. I typically buy my parts at Newegg.com or at Frys.com.

[quote]Even if I compare a 24" Imac and a Dell + a flat screen Tv set (hd), the difference is not 50%. It is more around 15%.[/quote]

Dell is not cheap and I do not recommend them.

[quote]- Imac seems more user friendly to my wife (and ... I think she loved the video ads on the Mac website ...)[/quote]

I love those ads, too. I love going to the apple web site and watching the ads. I don't really see a difference in user friendliness between Windows Vista and Mac OS X.

[quote]- Imac would keep games away ! Not PC ... (Yeah here the negative argument of software variety gets positive in my case)[/quote]

A valid point. You should definitely consider what you need as opposed to what others want you to have.

[quote]Concerning multimedia needs, we want to be able to :
- make messages that include simple video
- make presentations from photos and drawings
- make small leaflets to be printed by a pro
- be able to create a simple blog and forum[/quote]

You could do all of that with a $600 HP laptop.

jhack's picture

[quote="US41"]Dell is not cheap and I do not recommend them.
[/quote]
Agree 100%

[quote="US41"]You could do all of that with a $600 HP laptop.[/quote]
You could. And for many, there is a hidden cost. Most people I know (especially those who would still be uncomfortable building their own computer despite the complete, clear and succinct instructions above) find the MacOS more intuitive and easy to learn, and spend less time futzing with the computer and more time being productive.

Make sure your total price includes hardware, operating system (Vista or MacOS), and all the software you need.

Your mileage will vary. US41, great post.

John

adragnes's picture

Cédric,

I got a similar setup to what you are looking to buy almost two years ago and I am quite satisfied. The iMac with addition of external speakers with a subwoofer, and an EyeTV tuner from [url=http://www.elgato.com]Elgato[/url] I was able to replace my old computer, TV and stereo with one unit.

It has worked well for me.

With EyeTV you Mac can work as a sort of TIVO. At least you can pick what programs to record and it will do it for you.

--
Aleksander

tomas's picture

Cedwat,

I use a Macbook Pro for home, study and work. A work I run the Mac operating system (OS X) and Windows XP at the same time on my MacBook Pro. We do software development on Windows so it is a requirement. I thought I would address your questions and add a couple of comments of my own.

Bugs/Viruses
These are really 2 different issues. Bugs are when software doesn't quite do what it is meant to, viruses are software that attempt to do something nasty to your computer such as stealing passwords or sending out spam emails etc. Macs do experience bugs in software at times. Overall I find that the Mac OS is much less frustrating to use in general. I do have complaints about the Mac OS, just as I have complaints about Windows XP. I haven't used Windows Vista enough to properly comment, but I haven't been particularly impressed with it when I have used it.
In terms of viruses, the current reality is that there are almost no viruses for the Mac currently in the wild. I will leave it to others to speculate as to the reason why. You should still take the normal precautions such as running a hardware firewall (a router will do) and being careful about downloading software from unknown sources. I do not run anti-virus software on my Macs.

Suitability
An iMac will do all of the things you mentioned, although you will need an external tuner if you want to use it watch TV. The software that comes with the Mac (iLife) is great for things such as editing movies, managing photos and making simple websites.

iMac v Mac Pro
The iMac is an "All in one" which means that the screen and the computer are combined whereas the Mac Pro is more like a normal PC tower. The iMac is less easily expandable, and the Mac Pros will generally be more powerful but more expensive. Unless you are doing professional work with your computer I would tend to go with the iMac but you do need to understand the pros and cons.

A couple of points of my own:-
Some people still think that Macs use a one button mouse where you cannot right click. This has not been true for a long time and annoys me when people repeat it as fact. You can connect a standard PC mouse to a Mac and use whatever buttons and scroll-wheels it has. The bundled mouse that comes with the iMac can be used as a one button mouse (which I find great for my young children) but can also be used as a multi-button mouse.

As for building your own PC, I have been there and done that and can no longer be bothered. Macs may not be cheap but I have found them to be good value when you look at the overall computing experience. If you like tinkering with the innards of a PC then building your own is probably the way to go. The physical process of building a PC is quite simple, but ensuring that all the parts will work well together is not.

I think the new iMac looks pretty good, and will be getting one as soon as I can convince the missus (wife) that we need to upgrade. :)

US41's picture

[quote="jhack"]Most people I know (especially those who would still be uncomfortable building their own computer despite the complete, clear and succinct instructions above) find the MacOS more intuitive and easy to learn, and spend less time futzing with the computer and more time being productive. [/quote]

I've worked in information technology for 20 years. There's never been a usability study to substantiate this claim in all of that time. Usability studies generally show that people who start on Apple prefer it, and those who start in Windows prefer it, and those who start off in Unix prefer it.

When you criss cross people back and forth between operating systems, they tend to have a 3 to 6 month period of irritation before they either get used to it or refuse to continue.

In fact, changing usability is a well-known factor in not switching an office from one platform to another. Employees in a group using PC's, given MACs, believe it or not, will often begin to job hunt and leave their group because of little irritations such as the close button rolling up the window or having to go to the other side of the window to close it - or the single button mouse. MAC users tend to want to leave when you put Windows on all of the machines for the same reasons.

For brand new users who have never used either system, the ramp up times usually turn out to be the same.

With Linux/Unix based systems, the ramp up time is usually insurmountable or so long that there is a huge differential compared to Windows and MAC platforms due to having to drop to a command line to achieve results.

My wife asked for a MAC to edit videos. She knows her way around a PC at an advanced beginner level. She can use the programs for her tasks, but managing the filesystem and hardware herself is beyond her.

I installed a replacement shell on the desktop which turns the Windows XP interface into the MAC interface. It changes the names of various functions and graphically looks just like it. After two weeks of using it, she asked that I remove it and was convinced she did not want one.

That says nothing negative about the MAC itself, it just shows that people don't like switching and usually have to have some strong motivation or no prior experience of any significance to make the switch.

I recommend our friend try the MAC OS before he buys one. Try installing this:

http://www.flyakiteosx.com/

I've tested it myself and it installed and uninstalled without a hitch on a Windows XP machine.

You can play around with having a MAC OS on your PC and do a personal usability study yourself. If you get really used to it (remember to disable right clicking of the mouse in the control panel - that's one of the major hurdles) you should be able to make the change. There are no right-click menus in the MAC OS and many Windows people are very used to and even dependent on right clicking on files to get properties, etc.

[quote]Make sure your total price includes hardware, operating system (Vista or MacOS), and all the software you need. [/quote]

The HP laptop is what I finally got for my wife to do those things. It comes pre-installed with everything you need from frys.com. Windows Vista is basically the equivalent of the MAC OS and very similiar. It comes with those programs usually included in iLife.

The big thing about it is expense - it's cheap. Being an info-tech manager, I really don't like spending money on expensive hardware unless I get something more than happy-time from it.

If there were an objective survey out there showing a real advantage in usability between the two major platforms, I'd take it.

I personally would like to install linux on every desktop, because the technical ability needed to manage a linux desktop would provide us a rapid window into the capabilities of our folks without having to wait until a crisis uncovered a lack of ability we were unaware of previously.

But my experience using Linux at home with non-geeks has been abysmal. She Who Must Be Obeyed finds it intolerable to receive an error message such as "TTY unable to start; job control posting delegated to external service." For some reason she doesn't understand that when that happens you obviously type the word "exit".

:)

rthibode's picture

Hi Cédric,

I'm writing from a totally non-technical perspective here. My husband and I switched to Mac at home in January. We got the 24" iMac and the 15" Macbook Pro, and also an iPod nano and a wireless thing (Airport Extreme). We are very pleased with everything even though we almost choked on the cost (around $6000 CDN for everything).

As it turns out, my husband mainly uses the laptop and brings it to work. He's glad not to have chosen the 17", which would have been a little heavy (we walk to work). Our workplace is totally PC with no Mac support. Compatibility was very important for us, so we bought the Windows software for Mac (Word, Excel, etc). Everything works great and there have been no compatibility problems.

I have found the Mac very intuitive to learn compared to PC. It does take some getting used to because it's quite different. I am NOT a tech-savvy person, but I can easily do things like make a photo album or slide show, make a brochure, etc. I've found that with Mac software, every time I don't know how to do something, I just try whatever seems the easiest and most intuitive thing (usually grab the object/icon and drag it where I want) and it's often right.

One major difference in my experience has to do with security issues. With the PCs we had before, my husband had so many security features installed that basically I was limited to going to certain web sites that I asked him in advance to designate as safe. Otherwise I would constantly get little popups warning me and asking me questions. Often I wouldn't know what to answer (allow this?) so I would just give up. I really couldn't be bothered to keep learning all the new security software he was adding all the time. With the Mac, there are few if any intrusions. I don't know if this is because my husband is less paranoid with the Mac or because the Mac is actually safer.

Another thing we like is the .mac account which allows us to sync our two Macs online. That way anytime I use the laptop, all my bookmarks and files are the same as on the iMac I usually use.

Like you, we don't care to have games on our computer, so I can't comment on that. We haven't got Apple TV, but we watch movies on the iMac. If you want to use the iMac to listen to music a lot, you may want to add extra speakers. I didn't find the sound too good without them.

Good luck with your decision!

tomas's picture

[quote="US41"]
You can play around with having a Mas OS on your PC and do a personal usability study yourself. If you get really used to it (remember to disable right clicking of the mouse in the control panel - that's one of the major hurdles) you should be able to make the change. There are no right-click menus in the MAC OS and many Windows people are very used to and even dependent on right clicking on files to get properties, etc.
[/quote]

US41, you keep on repeating that the Mac OS lacks support for right-clicking to bring up context menus and that this is a major hurdle to switching. The Mac OS (OS X) does indeed support right clicking for accessing context menus.
[list]
[*]The Might Mouse that comes bundled with new Macs supports right-clicking,
[*]The right mouse button on third-party mice (like my Logitech mouse) is supported,
[*]With a single mouse button right-clicking can be invoked by holding down the Control key when you click.
[*]The Macbook Pro touch pad supports right-clicking by clicking with two fingers.
[/list:u]
Exactly how many more ways of accessing context menus (which are widely supported in Mac software) do you need?

FlyaKiteOSX might make Windows look like OS X but that is not nearly the same thing as emulating the OS X user experience, not to mention the excellent software that comes with a Mac. It may in fact hide certain frustrations with OS X as well hiding many of the usability benefits. I can understand your reluctance to buy a Mac without trying it first, but FlyaKiteOSX is not a realistic comparison.

tomw's picture

[quote="US41"]If your external hard drives are running faster over USB 2.0 than your internal drive, your internal drive is either very old or something is horribly wrong with your system - old drivers, wrong drivers, misconfigured interface, old ATA33 spec. Two internal drives of maximum speed that your system can allow (I recommend SATA II) should be blindingly fast.[/quote]

It was not so much the speed and that I was not hogging up 150+ GB of storage just on movies and temp files.

tomw's picture

[quote="tomas"][*]The Macbook Pro touch pad supports right-clicking by clicking with two fingers. .[/quote]

Don't forget the uber-cool drag-with-two-fingers-on-the-touchpad to scroll!

MattJBeckwith's picture

Wow, I don't think there can be a more sensitive subject than PC or Mac?

Taste great or less filling?

Republican or Democrat?

Some day, PC users and Mac users will live in harmony.

I use both but prefer the Mac and also seem to spend a lot of time convincing those that have never used a Mac that my mouse really does have a right click button. My PC friends and colleagues are always shocked when I tell them that I use the same exact Logitech 7 button mouse for my Mac and PC.

It's a personal decision. I prefer to use a Mac but am comfortable with both. At the end of the day, it's just a machine.

Very enjoyable thread.

ccleveland's picture

Cédric,

I ran across an article that may help you. It reviews Mac and Linux as an alternative to Windows. Since you're not really looking Linux you can easily skip those parts. It does address a number of your questions about security and capability.

http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=201002048

CC

James Gutherson's picture

I've got to say that my new job has me working in a thin client environment - so I am actually using a lot more web 2.0 stuff so the whole operating system concept is becoming less important for me now. Give me a browser that works and the Web is my OS :D

(I just wish I could use Firefox or even IE7 over IE6 that I am given now)

MattJBeckwith's picture

[quote="JimGutherson"]Give me a browser that works and the Web is my OS :D

(I just wish I could use Firefox or even IE7 over IE6 that I am given now)[/quote]

I couldn't agree with you more, Jim. The company I work for only allows us to use IE 5.0... yuk! I want tab browsing.

mauzenne's picture

I think I'll take our Macs back to the Apple store; I had no idea we'd create such a storm.

But, then again, naaaaaaahhhh ... I'm having way too much fun with it! ;-)

Believe it or not, the coolest thing for me is that it's UNIX under the covers ... now I don't need third-party apps to SSH to the server. :-)

Mike

tomw's picture

[quote="mauzenne"]Believe it or not, the coolest thing for me is that it's UNIX under the covers ... now I don't need third-party apps to SSH to the server. :-)[/quote]

That and you can use VI as a text editor ;-)

tcomeau's picture

I am, in fact, a Mac fan. I do all of my software development on my Mac, and my only issue is the lag in getting Java updates.

I do nearly all of my system engineering work on my Mac, with the exception of Microsoft Project updates. (For that I have a special system called Wayne: One of my directs who keeps the schedule on his PC.)

I do all of my personal photo editing and DVD production (movies and slideshows for the grandparents, mostly) on my home Mac. I do all of my personal writing on my home Mac. I just (yesterday) got iMovie as part of iLife 08, so I don't know how well that works yet. My daughter uses GarageBand on my home Mac to do accompaniments for her vocals.

In my experience, a mac is about 30% more expensive than a comparably performing PC. Often, this means a PC would have 30% more idle time when doing compute-intensive tasks. The ease-of-use and better access to Open Source tools is, in my view, worth the extra cost.

I use a lot of Open Source tools, and because Darwin/MacOS X is a real Unix, nearly all of the tools written for Linux or Solaris work great on my Mac. I use X when I must. I do not use vi, but then again I don't use stone tablets and chisels, either. :-)

Macs can have viruses. One of the guys in my old branch wrote one that propogated very nicely, just as a proof-of-concept. Like many PC users, most Mac users run as Administrator, which means if you work at it you can do anything. Macs rarely do have viruses, and in my experience are somewhat less prone to buffer overflow and web-based attacks. In the case of the latter, the lack of ActiveX is the real benefit.

I encourage people to go to the Apple Store nearest you and play with some of the systems there, and ask questions of the geeks in the matching t-shirts. (Often black, but not always.) If you don't like the experience in the Apple Store, you may find other parts of the Apple experience not to your liking, and you should behave accordingly.

If you don't like Apples, and you don't want to pay the Micro$oft tax, consider Linux. We use a lot of Linux here, and the James Webb Space Telescope ground systems will run almost entirely on Linux systems. (Hubble systems are mostly on Solaris.) vi, and other primitive tools, work well on Linux, too. My experience with Linux and viruses/worms is slighly better than with Macs, mostly because most Linux users do *not* run as root, and thus are less able to accidently take over the system on a virus' behalf.

And, of course, your experience may vary.

tc>

mauzenne's picture

vi? Ok, now you've gone TOO far! Tom's reference to stones and chisel isn't too far off the mark :lol:

cwatine's picture

Wow !

I just took some days off and did not touch my laptop.

When I come back, this topic has exploded with good advices!

I made my decision : I will get one for sure.

A 24" Imac. And I keep my laptop for wrok (for now).

Thank you for all those advices ...

Cédric.

juliahhavener's picture

5 Windows-based PCs. 2 OSX Mac laptops (iBook and MacBook Pro).

I've used my Mac for work and play. My partner does all of her graphic work and website updates on her MacBook. Her PC is used by visiting friends for gaming (she plays on the Mac) or for large file storage.

mobrian's picture

Mac adicts

Okay, they were in green shirts today and I looked at the Mac Pro, pretty cool, how is the loaded software for working on graphics/photos? Is it close to photoshop or do I need get photoshop for this crazy thing?

:shock:

Pages