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Old Jan 27, 2013, 07:49 PM   #1
Harpster77
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Rookie looking at a Mac

So I have been an anti-Apple dude here. My tune recently changed after reading Steve Jobs book AND I have grown so tired of Android crashing on my Samsung phone, waiting forever for updates that never come and just tired of Windows-based laptops that crash and go wonky after less than 2 yrs!

I am looking at the MacBook 15". Having never had a Mac, other than my iPod, I still have some ques's before I go with it.

1) I would like to get an external harddrive to store pics and other things so I don't occupy space on harddrive - doesn't the external harddrive have to be exclusively mac?

2) blueray burner - again, can this be any burner or JUST a Mac product?

3) I have one program for work that is strictly Windows based and will not run on a Mac. A girl @ work said she fools the Program into thinking the Mac is actually a Windows pc and runs that way. Is this easy to do?

4) Is the learning curve hard going from Windows (the Chevette) to the Mac (the Corvette)

5) is there any reason why a Mac would be a bad decision as a laptop since I am not photo editing or a graphics guy.

6) when using Office and I send an Excel or Word file to someone using Office in Windows, Is there any conversion they need to do?


Thanks ppl. Sorry for the stupid questions
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 07:58 PM   #2
pdjudd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpster77 View Post
1) I would like to get an external harddrive to store pics and other things so I don't occupy space on harddrive - doesn't the external harddrive have to be exclusively mac?
Apple doesn't manufacture nor sell branded hard drives. You can use any hard drive so long as the drive's format is compatible - this can be done right on the Mac.

Quote:
2) blueray burner - again, can this be any burner or JUST a Mac product?
Same answer - Apple doesn't manufacture nor sells one so any will work.

Quote:
3) I have one program for work that is strictly Windows based and will not run on a Mac. A girl @ work said she fools the Program into thinking the Mac is actually a Windows pc and runs that way. Is this easy to do?
I don't know what this person is talking about. You can install and run Windows on the Mac using several techniques but they all require Windows in some respect.

Quote:
4) Is the learning curve hard going from Windows (the Chevette) to the Mac (the Corvette)
I cannot answer that - it's too individual.

Quote:
5) is there any reason why a Mac would be a bad decision as a laptop since I am not photo editing or a graphics guy.
I would have to know your computer needs before I can give an honest answer - too individual.

Quote:
6) when using Office and I send an Excel or Word file to someone using Office in Windows, Is there any conversion they need to do?
If you are using Office for the Mac, no conversion is necessary. They use the exact same formats.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 10:00 PM   #3
r0k
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The only stupid question is the one that isn't asked.

There are a couple of ways to "fool an app" into thinking OSX is Windows.

One is virtualbox. Virtualbox is free and you probably have an old XP CD lying around with a good key number on the bottom of some useless old windows box. Total cost 0 bucks. If you buy a copy of Windows, the total cost varies. This takes up 5 to 15 gig of drive space but the app thinks it's running in Windows. I don't recommend Parallels or VMware when virtualbox works just fine. I do recommend them however if you want the slick integration with OSX that they provide. Otherwise, save your money.

Another way is to run Crossover. This is less reliable as it creates a Win 2K virtual machine running inside OSX and many apps simply aren't fooled. They crash. You don't have to pay for Windows for this solution but Crossover is shareware (which costs a lot less than Windows).

Of course there's bootcamp but if you want to make the switch then make a clean break rather than booting one way to use Windows and booting another way to use OSX.

I really don't like Office. Well that's not entirely true. I love MS Office 97. Everything since then is pretty much bloated junk. Sorting columns in excel is something I like but that's a pretty minor feature for several gigabytes of crap on my hard drive. If you're looking to make a clean break, may I suggest Libre Office (free) or iWork (3 apps $20 each).

I put my pictures on an external firewire drive. I have a LaCie. It's not made by Apple but it's made for Apple OSX. I also have external drives from Western Digital and Seagate. They all work fine. The only thing I do is when I buy one, if it's formatted for Windows, I connect it to my Mac, wipe the primary partition with all it's useless Windows cruft and format the thing GUID partition scheme, OSX Journaled. This is because I don't have any Windows boxes left to worry about being able to read files off the thing.

I can tell you this. Once you go Mac you never go back. While that's not entirely true, it's 99.999 percent true. You hear of a guy going back to Windows every now and then for some reason or another but you hear about people leaving Windows every day. Part of this is market share. There are a lot more windows users out there than Mac users. Part of this is the quality of the OS and the end to end user experience. There are long time Apple users that will tell you Apple has slipped a bit lately. The thing is Apple has a long way to fall before their products could be considered on par with the experience you get in Windows.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 11:12 PM   #4
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Here are my two cents to the informative answers so far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpster77 View Post
1) I would like to get an external harddrive to store pics and other things so I don't occupy space on harddrive - doesn't the external harddrive have to be exclusively mac?
I'm assuming you may be referring to external hard drives sold with the name "for Mac" in them. Don't be fooled into believing there are exclusive hard drives only for Macs - all external hard drives will work as long as you format it properly, and that's something easily done on OS X without additional software.

Quote:
2) blueray burner - again, can this be any burner or JUST a Mac product?
Same deal as 1.

Quote:
3) I have one program for work that is strictly Windows based and will not run on a Mac. A girl @ work said she fools the Program into thinking the Mac is actually a Windows pc and runs that way. Is this easy to do?
Yep. You need something that will basically run Windows on your Mac, and you can go the free route with VirtualBox or get paid solutions like VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop.

Quote:
4) Is the learning curve hard going from Windows (the Chevette) to the Mac (the Corvette)
That depends. Based on what others say, they say that the adjustment barely took long.

Quote:
5) is there any reason why a Mac would be a bad decision as a laptop since I am not photo editing or a graphics guy.
I don't work with photos or video, and I use a Mac. I'm sure tons of other users are like that. It just comes down to your needs.

Quote:
6) when using Office and I send an Excel or Word file to someone using Office in Windows, Is there any conversion they need to do?
Nope. Files created in Office for OS X will open just as well in Office for Windows. The most visible hurdle that comes to mind is maybe fonts - the Mac may be using a font that's not available on Windows or vice versa.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 01:02 AM   #5
Stooby Mcdoobie
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Your questions have been answered well so far, but I'll give my input on the following.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpster77 View Post
4) Is the learning curve hard going from Windows (the Chevette) to the Mac (the Corvette)
There's really no correct answer for this, but I don't think you'll have much of a problem. I recently made the switch myself from Windows and Linux (which I still use heavily along side OS X), and didn't find the transition a hard one. Once you get used to the UNIX file structure and the OS X GUI, you'll find that it's much more intuitive and fun to use than Windows.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 09:23 AM   #6
Harpster77
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I know with every single Windows product whether it's a laptop or desktop, enventually the thing gets slow, even after I clear out alot of unused programs, defrag the harddrive, etc. Does this ever occur with a Macbook pro or any Mac computer period?

Also, I have a ton of pics on my Windows desktop I need to transfer before I introduce my harddrive to it's final resting place (the lake Lol...kidding). If I move these pics to a flash drive can i still load them up on a Mac or do I need to save them as a certain extension?
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 09:43 AM   #7
satcomer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpster77 View Post
So I have been an anti-Apple dude here. My tune recently changed after reading Steve Jobs book AND I have grown so tired of Android crashing on my Samsung phone, waiting forever for updates that never come and just tired of Windows-based laptops that crash and go wonky after less than 2 yrs!

I am looking at the MacBook 15". Having never had a Mac, other than my iPod, I still have some ques's before I go with it.

1) I would like to get an external harddrive to store pics and other things so I don't occupy space on harddrive - doesn't the external harddrive have to be exclusively mac?

2) blueray burner - again, can this be any burner or JUST a Mac product?

3) I have one program for work that is strictly Windows based and will not run on a Mac. A girl @ work said she fools the Program into thinking the Mac is actually a Windows pc and runs that way. Is this easy to do?

4) Is the learning curve hard going from Windows (the Chevette) to the Mac (the Corvette)

5) is there any reason why a Mac would be a bad decision as a laptop since I am not photo editing or a graphics guy.

6) when using Office and I send an Excel or Word file to someone using Office in Windows, Is there any conversion they need to do?


Thanks ppl. Sorry for the stupid questions
1. A Mac drive you be formatted MacOS Extended for your OS X.

2.. Most all third party external Blu-Ray players (use the one with the quickest port on you Mac) and to watch Blu-Ray movies on the Mac you could use the third party program Blu-Ray player.

3. MacUpdate should be a good place to see or download Mac programs. IMHO you should bookmark this site and use it.

4. As a new user you should get the book Switching to the Mac and use it as a reference if something on the Mac stumps you.

5. The built in iLife programs included are for beginners just like yourself like your Mac . Just remember iTunes is MUCH better on OS X than it is on a PC!

6. You could buy the Mac version of Microsoft Office but if I were you i wouldn't spend the money. Get something free like LibreOffice or NeoOffice. See if these programs save you money and meets you need.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 10:13 AM   #8
Fishrrman
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"I am looking at the MacBook 15". Having never had a Mac, other than my iPod, I still have some ques's before I go with it."

Don't overlook the 13" model. Less expensive and still has a pretty good screen. If you need more screen real estate, just hook up an external monitor.

"1) I would like to get an external harddrive to store pics and other things so I don't occupy space on harddrive - doesn't the external harddrive have to be exclusively mac?"

"Mac specific" is NOT required. In fact, I recommend you don't buy a pre-assembled external drive at all. Instead, get a USB3/SATA "docking station" and as many "bare drives" as you need. Or, get an good external enclosure or two. One I recommend is:
http://oyendigital.com/hard-drives/store/U32-M.html

"2) blueray burner - again, can this be any burner or JUST a Mac product?"

Again, "Mac specific" NOT required. I just bought this one:
http://www.meritline.com/samsung-se-...--p-77489.aspx
Nice writeup on it here:
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2402405,00.asp

"3) I have one program for work that is strictly Windows based and will not run on a Mac. A girl @ work said she fools the Program into thinking the Mac is actually a Windows pc and runs that way. Is this easy to do?"

There are a few options:
a. "BootCamp" which actually partitions the drive and installs a copy of Windows (you reboot into Windows, and it is equivalent to booting from a Windows-only PC)
b. Virtual Machines, such as Parallels and VMWare Fusion -- the Windows OS runs in a cordoned-off area of memory
c. CrossOver -- actually runs some (not all) Windows apps directly without either of the above.
I -am not- a Windows user, can't help any more with that.

"4) Is the learning curve hard going from Windows (the Chevette) to the Mac (the Corvette)"

Not sure, as Windows is indecipherable to me. I'm guessing it's relatively easy to go Windows-to-Mac, particulary if you get ahold of a book that will assist.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 11:44 AM   #9
Harpster77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishrrman View Post
"I am looking at the MacBook 15". Having never had a Mac, other than my iPod, I still have some ques's before I go with it."

Don't overlook the 13" model. Less expensive and still has a pretty good screen. If you need more screen real estate, just hook up an external monitor.

I am so torn. My work laptop (15" Dell) and I am so used to that size that dropping to a 13" might really bug me. Besides, I don't plan on buying another computer for at least 10 yrs, which is why I am looking into a Mac, so "...I don't wanna be stuck with something little......that's what she said"
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 12:47 PM   #10
davidra
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I am 3 weeks into iMac after 15 years of heavy PC usage. So far so fair. I got Office, Parallels, and Windows using an educational discount for $15 each. No problem with installation. Got an external drive to backup to, and the Mac will read all my old external drives without reformatting so it is easy to transfer stuff (yes, you can transfer jpg or png files just as they are with a flash drive or external drive). There are a few things that are incredibly frustrating and I keep hoping it's because I haven't figured them out yet, but I fear that is not the case. Finder is a Windows Explorer equivalent....kind of, but the file structure is not the same as in a PC. Using subfolders to download to can be challenging. Right now the thing that's driving me crazy is dealing with Photo Stream, which actually worked much better and was much more convenient on a PC than on a Mac (on the Mac you can't ever see a folder with the files in it). There are other irritants, but the screen is great, USB 3.0 is blazing compared to 2.0, wireless BT works great on the keyboard and mouse on the iMac. OTOH the speakers are miserable, access to the plugs is very challenging on the big iMac....so it's not perfect, but it's a reasonable time for me to change as I already have an iPad and an iPhone via work. There are a bunch of readings that you can find about switching that can help; I'm more of a trial and error kind of user.
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 01:05 PM   #11
Consultant
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1. You actually got two options:

a. Format it Mac only, faster.
b. Format it for Windows (ExFat or Fat), which the Mac and read and write to also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpster77 View Post
I am so torn. My work laptop (15" Dell) and I am so used to that size that dropping to a 13" might really bug me. Besides, I don't plan on buying another computer for at least 10 yrs, which is why I am looking into a Mac, so "...I don't wanna be stuck with something little......that's what she said"
So get the 15-Inch MacBook Pro then. Perhaps one of these refurb from Canada store: http://store.apple.com/ca/browse/home/specialdeals/mac
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 03:39 PM   #12
Designer Dale
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Regarding peripherals like external hard drives and various burners, you can use almost anything but it has to have a port you have on the Mac like USB, Thunderbolt or Firewire. There are eSATA enclosures and devices on the market that can't be connected to any currently available Mac.

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