Switching my parents to Macs

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by gear02, Jul 14, 2006.

  1. gear02 macrumors member

    Aug 18, 2004
    My dad called today asking about the IBM X40 laptop I had replaced with a MacBook. It seems their computer at home is dying due to spyware and stuff. My brother and I have tried to teach them about stuff like this (made them use firefox, installed ad-aware/spybot S&D, etc.) but it's not really working. FYI, they live overseas so it's not like driving over to their house is an option. Talking it through over the phone would be like pulling teeth from a great white shark while covered in sirloin steaks and a bleeding whale. They're not technically savvy and getting them to do the most basic things is difficult, though they can easily surf the web and email. In fact, my mom learned how to use skype.

    I convinced them that my X40 is too small for them (which it really is, it's not designed for a desktop replacement). Instead, I talked them into getting a mac since it's my impression that macs are more resistent to adware and viruses (or maybe it's Apple's marketing dept doing a good job on me). They're coming to the states and I'm going to take them Apple shopping at a store. I suggested the low end iMac or the high end MacMini (i don't like Core Solo).

    I'm pretty sure many of you have switched your parents to Apple. What advice can you give me to do this? What should I tell them? What should I be concerned about?

    More generally, is this a good idea? Macs are easier to learn, but they've been ingrained in the windows world.

    As an aside, is the imac box small enough to carry on a plane?

  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    My mom loves her iMac G5 (her first mac). She says she never enjoyed using computers before she used a Mac, now she's on it all the time. She didn't have any problems switching from Windows to Mac.

    ...And your impression would be correct. Macs are MUCH more resistant to spyware/adware/viruses. For Macs, malware is virtually non-existant.

    I would recommend the iMac. You get a nice screen, more power, and overall just a better experience. Dollar for Dollar, it is the best deal. Plus, it has a built-in iSight so you could video chat with your parents on your MacBook. :)
  3. gear02 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 18, 2004
    Yeah...the whole ichat av thing might not be a good idea, but in the last week we both got Skype and I noticed that we've been communicating often. I think it's helped our communication so maybe it's not a bad idea. But I'm not a fan of video conferencing. I rather be talking and doing something else.

    But back on topic, was the learning curve decently steep for going from windows to mac (steep for my parents means dealing without a start menu, how to find minimized windows, etc.)
  4. truz macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2006
    I just talked my grandparents into buying a imac (first computer they will own) My grandfather asked me about Dell's and then asked about viruses and spyware as he hears about it on the news all the time (retired and watches tv all the time) I told him I would go with a mac as it's better then the dell, for one you don't have to do weekly virus/spyware scans and worry about viruses like you have to on windows. He's siked about getting the mac in as we are going to order it from macmall.com (20" model) like $1600 out the door. When I showed him mine and how the screen is the only thing required it was like WTF?? where is the rest of the computer? he likes the thin idea as he does not have room for a computer desk back home.

    They don't need to know much, teach them about Repairing Disk Permissions before updates as it can be a life saver or a phone call to yourself.

    Also, have them download clamxav for virus protection, they should run scans like once a month as if they email windows users they could pass a windows virus along the way to a friend. They will also need to turn on the mac firewall and that should do it for security.

    As for the box side, it's 1 box and about the size of a PC Laptop bag just 20" . It's not huge but you could bring it on as a "carry on" I'm sure.
  5. gear02 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 18, 2004
    Ok...you have to explain this one to me. Why do you need to repair disk permissions?
  6. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    I'd love to switch my overseas parents back to Macs (they have three classic Macs, a IIfx an LC and a Quadra of some kind), but my mom has actually become quite used to XP and is able to get local help/visit local internet cafe's when she runs into trouble...

    If most of what they use the computer for is Web/e-mail/Office they'll be just fine switching to the Mac. And in the off case that that doesn't work, you could always buy a copy of XP and run WIndows on an Intel iMac.

    Check out the guide on remote controlling a Mac via VNC http://guides.macrumors.com/Remotely_Controlling_another_Mac which can help you provide them with help when you can't drive there...

    I agree with Eric that the 17" iMac is the best value for a desktop Mac currently available. I love mine. Do upgrade the RAM to at least 1 GB before sending them on their way so they don't have to deal with too many beachballs.

    The box might fit in the overhead bin, but definitely not under the seat of most planes.

    You don't need to, but this is something where an ounce of prevention... Occasionally the updates make the wrong assumptions or modifications the the access permissions for the system files, so it is safer to make sure they are correct before and after applying any updates. Mostly superstition.

  7. jonparadise macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2005
    London, UK
    I just passed my Powerbook G4 onto my mum and dad after getting the new MBP.

    They are absolutely loving it. My mum for basic reasons, like surfing and playing little games, but my dad has totally got into his video making again, something he hasn't done for years as he was having so much trouble with his PC's crashing and losing his work.

    He's just remade and old video from a few years ago that took him weeks. It took him 30 minutes with iMovie. He's made up.

    Also, another plus for them is the lack of viruses etc. They're not technically minded, and have always had to ring me when they're treated to a little popup telling them 'upgrade now' or need to download even more patches from MS.

    Now they can just get on with it. My dad says he's actually enjoying using a computer rather than having to put up with it.

    I'd say the best way to sell your parents, is to stress the ease of use, and focus on what they currently do on their computer, and demonstrate that's still possible.

    Alot of folk still think you can't get many applications for the Mac.

    Plus, also mention Bootcamp/Parallels, as all their worries about leaving Windows are then void.
  8. Macnoviz macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    Roeselare, Belgium
    Your biggest selling points should be:
    It just works
    They don't have to worry about viruses and such
    And most importantly: iLife. for their photos, music, movies, etc. I think it's really appealing to people that don't really use their computers a lot.

    I would definitly go for the iMac, 17 inch or maybe 20 inch since it's really clean, fits in about every interior, it's all in one, and you don't need to worry about a screen and everything for a Mac mini.

    I do recommend you spend some time explaining the basics, and especially iChat AV, so they can call you if there is something wrong (and maybe screenshot so they can show you the problem)
  9. fatties macrumors regular

    May 21, 2006
    my mom thought computers actually blows up before she got her mac. so she's very happy in her little macworld (although she did find the transition fro os9 to osX a little traumatic) which is probably just about as traumatic as it might get for your parents. she now prides herself as the most technologically minded person amongst her friends (give her a windows computer and see her cry)

    tell them:
    no virus, really good screen/ colours, small and compact, easy to learn, most things are plug and play (so they don't have to worry about say... a new digital camera) oh and iphoto is quite good with its basic editing stuff so they can boast about being able to 'photoshop' things...

    my mom bought herself a few books and she also has a friendly 'corner shop' (small independent reseller) where she can fire questions at. she basically taught herself the whole kaboom because i live away from them too!

    i think defo an imac...
  10. erikamsterdam macrumors regular


    Apr 21, 2006
    One thing though: if you take that box thru customs your are going to pay your ass off.
    I would recommend them buying a Mac in Europe. Also in Europe you have 2 years warranty by law.
  11. gear02 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 18, 2004
    They live in Asia. Malaysia to be exact. Buying a Mac there is much more expensive.

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