Mac ignoramus questions

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by plinden, Feb 27, 2005.

  1. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    I'm sorry for asking the following questions - I really don't know how to answer them myself. This also doesn't quite fit in with software discussion, but since it's basically about iLife, I'll asking on this forum. Sorry if it's in the wrong place.

    Since I'm the "computer guy" in my family, I'm the one everyone turns to for support. So far it's been all Windows, and since I've learned a lot about wintel over the years (because I had to, not because it was fun - to be honest I now detest Windows from the bottom of my soul - I know there's got to be something better out there and I'm going to give Macs a try) I've got a reputation to keep up.

    Well, what's happened recently is that my wife's sister has bought herself a digital camera, and was also given a used Mac. She has been bringing the camera's memory card to get the photos developed and just using the Mac to store the pictures, but she wants to be able to fix up the photos first, and to pick and choose what to develop. So she asked me what she could use for this.

    I was going to recommend iLife, but then I realised I have no idea what the specs of her computer are and whether her Mac can handle it. I don't want her experience to be so bad that she goes out and buys some cheap crappy Celeron PC. I also want to tell her how to upgrade it if possible, e.g. get an external HD and max out the memory.

    Now, she lives in Ireland, and I live in California so I can't just pop over to take a look. From her description of it, it could be either a CRT iMac or an eMac. She also can't tell me whether it's runing OS9 or OSX.

    So I need to know:
    1. how she can tell the OS.
    2. how she can display the computer specs (CPU, HD size, RAM) from both OS9 and OSX
    3. the minimum specs to run iLife properly (I can get this from the Apple website, but from my PC experience, the minimum specs do not always correspond to usability)
    4. how easy upgrades are for a primary school teacher (aka elementary school teacher)
    5. whether I should just give up and tell her to buy a mini. If she has OS9 and needs to upgrade to OSX, with extra memory and an external HD, it would be the cheapest option.

    To be honest, I'm so afraid she'll turn to PCs that I'm close to buying her a mac mini myself.
  2. stevep macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2004
    1. Type of mac - what colour is it? If its green, red, orange, blue or graphitegrey it is an iMac. If its white its possibly also an iMac but could also be an eMac.
    2. What colour is the apple in the top LH corner of the screen - if its multi colour striped shes on OS 9, if its pale blue she's probably on OS X. (Unless previous owner has customised it maybe???)
    3. Click on the apple and go to 'About this mac...' If its OS X the screen should say:
    Mac OSX
    version 10.x.x (eg 10.2.8 for example)

    Processor ????mHz or GHz G3 or G4 (eg 1.0 GHz PowerPC G4)

    Memory ????MB (some type of) RAM (eg 512 MB DDR SDRAM)

    Knowing this info, post back and you'll get loads of advice from many who've 'been there and done that' so to speak.
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    1) Clicking on the Apple in the upper left, and then "About this Mac" should give you the OS version in both environments. In OS X, it will give you both the CPU and the RAM as well. Also there is a "more info" box at the bottom of the dialog that will tell you more.

    4) Hardware of software? I think both are as easy or easier on a Mac as a PC for the most part, with the caveat that the expandability of iMacs is somewhat limited compared to tower case PCs....

    EDIT: Here is a website with pictures of the iMac and eMac that might help you: -- notice the iMac has a bigger monitor, and it doesn't have that clear plastic foot that sticks out at the bottom front. And the speakers are sunk in. But there *was* an all-white iMac, like the previous poster said (who beat me to most of what was above :)).

    Also, dumb question, but wouldn't the model of the computer be printed on a sticker on the back or bottom? That would be an easy way to find out. :rolleyes:

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