$2k to spend on programming

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by chukwithak, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. chukwithak macrumors member

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    Sep 28, 2008
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    #1
    so I sold my bike and now have 2000$ in hand to go towards my first mac, and software. I want to learn c language and other programming.

    If you were I, how would you spend the 2k at the apple store with an educational discount.

    I was thinking late MB 2.4 with 4GB of ram, VMware, OEM Vista Ultimate and not sure of anything else... Thoughts opinions please.
     
  2. MrFusion macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 8, 2005
    Location:
    West-Europe
    #2
    If you buy a mac, you get the developer tools for free. You can use xCode to code in many languages.
    Do you want to program for Mac? Learn objective-c and cocoa. Any mac will do.

    Do you want to program for Windows? Then, why buy a mac.

    Is there a reason why you need vista, or do you need to run windows specific apps?

    Do you need a laptop? You could also opt for an iMac.

    I just spend 2K by buying an 24" iMac, receiving a printer for almost free, and getting an iPod Touch (for possible iPod Touch/iPhone development) at a heavy discount. I like to program for the mac in my spare time (obj-c & Cocoa), and run win2k for work related apps that are windows only.
     
  3. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

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    #3
    all the programming stuff you need comes with OS X, either built into the FreeBSD core or in Xcode which you need to install from the first restore DVD. you can then download the iPhone SDK if you wish for free.

    best to buy some books on C, C++ and Objective-C before you take on Cocoa.
     
  4. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #4
    I'd buy the cheapest MacBook and install the maximum amount of RAM on it. Then I would install Xcode (free) and spend the rest on books.

    I could quite easily spend $2,000 on computer science and programming text books. Skip Windows and VMware unless you have a specific need for it.
     
  5. chukwithak thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 28, 2008
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    #5
    Reason for a laptop is to take to class. I'm starting a CS and EE degree in January. MB for portability. Also the reason I was going with Vista and VM so I don't have to restart.

    Guessing the rest on books. CS or C language for dummies? Any other suggestions. I'm not platform specific yet.

    Would the MB 2.0 with 4gb of ram be sufficient or go to 2.4 with 4gb?
     
  6. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    Oct 2, 2006
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    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #6
    Aye, that's why I said get the cheapest MacBook.

    The for dummies books are some of the worst computing books I've ever read.

    For C get something like Pointers on C and The C Programming Language 2nd Edition. I'd skip specific books aimed at computer science for the time being as they are far too many areas involved. Wait until you have the syllabus for your course.
     
  7. janey macrumors 603

    janey

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    Dec 20, 2002
    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #7
    I could too. This is why I pay for Safari Books Online, which gives me access to a LOT of books for pretty cheap. The rest I buy.

    If you're a student, your school might have access to Safari Books Online. Alternatively, I know ACM and IEEE CS student memberships come with some perks you might be interested in for pretty cheap, like limited Safari Books Online and Books24x7 access.

    Well if the OP is interested in doing extra work...a lot of CS programs don't start out with fun languages, nor do they always cover a lot of subjects the OP may be interested in. I sure as hell didn't learn anything about Mac and iPhone programming at school, for example. That I did with the dev tools and Hillegass and Kochan and the Apple docs and some patience and attending WWDC a couple times and working on some projects, and I still suck at it ;)
     
  8. chukwithak thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    biggest question now. 2.0 or 2.4 MB? This will be my only computer.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    If the goal is "programming" you don't need much. Be sure and get a nice monitor but you don't need much else. Why MS Vista? Do most of your potential users run Vista? If so then why buy a Mac.

    If the goal is "C" programming all you needs is something that can support a number of text windows or terminal sessions. You want screen space but don't need much in the way of CPU, RAM or disk space.
     
  10. synth3tik macrumors 68040

    synth3tik

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    Oct 11, 2006
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #10
    As mentioned when you get a new Mac the developer tool kit is on the install CD under "additional Software" or something of the sort. I like your idea of learning C. I dabble in programing every now and again, but a friend of my just for the fun of it learned C, and now he is creating some really wonderful stable programing. Programing in C allows you to directly call on the OS meaning fast load time and more stability. Well that's how my friend explained it to me.
     
  11. beeh macrumors regular

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    Jan 15, 2008
    #11
    I would think you could find a lot of "Hello World" examples to get started on the web ( Google search ) and many other tutorials or examples to help you along. Like others have mentioned, just use the command line on the MB to start with. Although when I was learning Java several years ago, I picked up a "Learn Java in 24 hours" ( or 7 days or whatever it was ) book and forced myself to follow to intended pace of the book - it worked out well for me.
     
  12. mysterytramp macrumors 65816

    mysterytramp

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    Maryland
    #12
    I'd go with the 2.0. You'll save $300 and you haven't budgeted for beer.

    mt
     
  13. AlmostThere macrumors 6502a

    #13
    Your choice should be based on your non-programming requirements. Especially at the learning stage, you will not be limited even the cheapest Apple computer. For a laptop based set-up roughly in your price range, I would get 2Ghz MacBook, 24" Dell monitor. Should leave enough for a copy of Vista OEM and Parallels, if you need it. You almost certainly won't need 4Gb RAM for programming, but it might make everything else quicker. Buy from someone like Crucial to save money.

    Don't forget, education discounts may be available.

    If you are getting this as part of a college course, do use the same software as they recommend and use on the course. 'Mac equivalent' does not imply equal.
     
  14. lee1210 macrumors 68040

    lee1210

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    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    #14
    This is critical. Don't buy a copy of vista before you start school, if you are going to do so. You may be able to get a copy from your university for $5-$10 if they already have a licensing agreement in place from microsoft. On hardware the discounts are generally more meager (it looks like ~$50 on the macbooks), but if you can wait there are normally "back to school" deals, and you might be able to get some sort of bundle with an iPod Touch or something, if you care about that sort of thing.

    I would actually say that your major concern for programming is screen real estate. This is the one area where wide displays really fail. When I am coding I wish i could use a display rotated 90 degrees so I can display more lines. Rarely are the lines of code I write wide enough, or my code nested deep enough, to fill a screen horizontally. But many times I wish i could have more total lines on the screen at one time. This is getting off topic, but I'd say that those recommending a larger external display are on the right track.

    -Lee
     
  15. chukwithak thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 28, 2008
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    #15
    So what I'm understanding, RAM is not too important, CPU is not too important. Biggest focus for programming is screen, and knowledge.
    How about Hardrive space?
     
  16. janey macrumors 603

    janey

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    Dec 20, 2002
    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #16
    This depends on your university. I get microsoft software for free through mine, while I've seen others pay for the same thing.

    However, Microsoft Dreamspark offers Windows Server 2008 for free to all college students, and it's a hell of a lot nicer than Vista :)

    If not, then again I mention the ACM and IEEE student memberships. Both of them offer dozens of Microsoft titles (everything from Vista and Server 2008 to Visual Studio, SQL Server and these random titles you most likely haven't heard of) through MSDNAA for free as well.

    Why can't you rotate the display 90 degrees? I recently attended a local BarCamp hosted by Mahalo, and half the rigs I saw there had huge dells and cinema displays rotated 90 degrees.
    [​IMG]
    It's in your display preferences.

    That's up to you, but you should have at least one external backup. Nice to have when hard drives fail, laptops get stolen and things get deleted by accident.
     
  17. lee1210 macrumors 68040

    lee1210

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    #17
    using a notebook with just the internal LCD, it becomes a bigger challenge.

    -Lee
     
  18. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #18
    When I learned C programming I used a DOS computer and ran Borland Turbo C++. That was all I needed, and all the skills I learned then apply today.

    Today's equivalent is GNU C/C++ running on a Linux shell, so literally almost ANY computer would be sufficient (even machines from 10-15 years ago).

    So horsepower isn't an issue when looking at buying a new Mac.

    As far as books go, I give high preference to any book published by O'Reilly and Associates (these are the books with pencil etchings of animals on the covers).
     
  19. Zortrium macrumors 6502

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    Jun 23, 2003
  20. cherry su macrumors 65816

    cherry su

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    #20
    i would get a widescreen monitor so you can have two code files next to each other or a file and a web browser (reference/API). one with a TN panel is sufficient for your needs. also, get a good keyboard and mouse that you are accustomed to, since you will be typing A LOT.

    +1

    oh, and http://train.usaco.org/ has good programming exercises.
     
  21. HawaiiMacAddict macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Location:
    On one of my Macs of course
    #21
    Aloha everyone,

    For the OP: you may not even need to pay for Vista - when I was at Hawaii Pacific University, Microsoft was literally giving away XP, Server 2003, SQL Server, Office, etc... most likely to get us experienced with their products and be their voice in the workplace. Parallels or VMWare's Fusion is only about $100, so you can conceivably run Vista Ultimate on arguably the best laptop for less than purchasing the retail copy of Mac OS X! With the money you save, you may also want to see what your college is charging for Adobe's Creative Suite products.

    There's not much difference between the MacBook and the MacBook Pro now, and certainly no difference with respect to coding on either machine. It all depends on whether you need a 15" screen or not.

    :apple:HawaiiMacAddict
     

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