First Mac -- lots of Q's

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by gundam, Oct 12, 2003.

  1. gundam macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2003
    I have a few more weeks to take advantage of educational discounts before I leave my university job, so I’ve decided to switch to Apple while I can do it on the cheap…probably going to go with the 15.2” Powerbook. I would be grateful for more information about software and options. For instance, is Applecare really worth it (after all, wouldn’t most problems crop up in the first year)? Is it better to go with Final Cut Express or Final Cut Pro for someone taking up video editing? Is FCP under educational license eligible for future upgrades under normal terms? Is Appleworks a viable alternative to Office X (I will need to share lots of documents with windows office users)? What exactly is Entourage and how is it different from Outlook? Are there any good free web editors for OSX or should I invest in Dreamweaver? Any other software I should load up on?
  2. ColoJohnBoy macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2003
    Denver, Colorado
    One word of advice - avoid AppleWorks like the plague. It's a nice idea, but (and it pains me to say this) Office is still much better. Better interface, more features, no problems in sending documents back and forth bewteen Macs and PCs.

    I've never used Entourage, so I can't help you there. But congrats on the new Mac.
  3. yoda13 macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2003
    if you are buying the portable, I would definately go with the applecare, as it has saved lots of money over the years. Go with Office, Appleworks need a complete makeover. The academic versions of the video software are upgradeable at a later date. If you are a hobbiest, than FCE is the way to go, but if you want to get serious and go hi-def and multiple format capabilities than I would go with FCP. Entourage works pretty much like Outlook express. Hope this helps
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    i like appleworks. the only major thing i'm missing is the worksheet concept in the spreadsheet.

    disclaimer - for writing, i use Final Draft.
  5. e-coli macrumors 68000


    Jul 27, 2002
    I would chose Apple Mail and iCal over Entourage. Entourage is a nice all-in-one app, but there's some stuff that's REALLY inconvenient. Like getting data OUT of the program. Plus Apple Mail and iCal have some great features Entourage simply doesn't have. Such as address book integration with Safari, iChat etc. etc.

    I used Entourage for about a year then switched back to Mail and iCal. I'm much happier.
  6. TheFallGuy macrumors member


    Aug 20, 2003
    I just switched over to a mac. Got a 15.2" PB 1.25 GHz machine and I really do love it. I've been using PCs for a long time and I thought that I would like a change and Apple would be a good way to go. It has been great.

    There have been a few transitional things that have been interesting (it hasn't been seemless) but overall it is great. Mail and iCal are great. Much better than Outlook. I went with OfficeX just to be on the safe side (still working with a lot of PCs) and after reading comments on Apple Works I'm glad I went that route. In the future I really do want to get away from MS Office and other stuff. I'll have to do more research on that though.

    I got AppleCare more as insurance. If I'm going to fork out $2800 for a machine, I hope I can get something to help buffer against possible future failures.

    Good luck with it!
  7. jkeithh macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2002
    Re: First Mac -- lots of Q's

    I agree with the post regarding Appleworks vs. Office in that Office is a much better suite (as much as I hate to admit I like something from Microsoft). By the way, I love Entourage. I like it a lot better than the Mail and iCal provided by Apple. Not sure about the educational edition upgrade of FC Express, but FC Express is an excellent program. I got it a few days ago with my 15.2" Powerbook (take advantage of the $99 deal if you get FC Express..get it at the same time as you get your new Mac).
  8. Santiago macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2002
    Mountain View, California
    You can buy AppleCare as long as the product is still covered under the original warranty. So, you have a year to decide if you want to extend the warranty to three, and can base your decision on whether or not problems crop up along the way.
  9. Shadey macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    Try OpenOffice for OSX if you're looking for an MS-free alternative.
  10. Catfish_Man macrumors 68030


    Sep 13, 2001
    Portland, OR
    If you're going to suggest OpenOffice, you should note that it requires X11 to be installed (and is fugly).
  11. FlamDrag macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2003
    Western Hemisphere
    As the lone mac in a windows environment at my office, let me share my experiences with you a bit.

    Get Office X. It's not great - you'll run into some issues now and again with Win users, but you don't honestly have much of an alternative yet. Keynote is great (instead of PPT) but compatibility issues still exist sending docs back and forth.

    Entourage isn't half bad, but it has it's drawbacks. If you're using an Outlook server to get your e-mail and you need your IMAP folders (or you can't get your e-mail via POP) you basically have to have it.

    You can share calendars with other outlook users etc but your company must have OWA installed. Many features are like this. And while you can send and receive invitations to calendar events, you can only accept events from people who are on your LDAP server. So if you don't have access to your LDAP server (like me) it's pretty useless. Furthermore, you cannot share or have tasks assigned to you - regardless of your configuration.

    Finally, after using Entourage, my computer started to be painfully slow. It's unlikely, yet possible, that the performance issues are related to some other program, but I've decided to quit using Entourage completely. It seems handy, but for me, I could do everything I needed to in Outlook via OWA...which has to be installed for Entourage to have some of it's functionality.

    In short, Entourage works, but for me, it was not worth the effort.


    UPGRADES - in my experience, Educational versions are eligible for future upgrades. This policy might change, but I've upgraded happily with no problems.


    Dreamweaver - while I love the program, it runs like a one-legged dog on the Mac. I've read countless similar accounts of this problem from people with dual 2ghz G5's. Buy it, but bring a lunch when using it. It's SLOW. I use MX, but I have heard that MX 04 is even worse. Overall, Macromedia's products do not work very well on Macs. Freehand (10) isn't so bad, but Flash MX and Dreamweaver MX don't always come to the front when you click the document, Dreamweaver is SLOW (as discussed) and Flash has a penchant for unexpectedly quitting on every machine I've ever used.. Save often in Flash.


    Best of luck!
  12. Glossybear macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2002
    Hollywood CA
    FC Pro

    DEFIANTLY go with FCP over Express. At the educational price you save what, 50 bucks?

    All the extra features FCP has over FCE are worth WAY more that 50 bucks!
  13. Shadey macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    I would've if I had known that.

    Who cares what it looks like? It's free!?!

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