$500 to spend on software - what should I buy?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by macgruder, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. macgruder macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    OK. I've been asked to decide what software to purchase for a new user to the Mac platform in a university environment (thus educational prices). The user will not be doing graphic stuff such as Photoshop etc and will be able to get iWork later as part of an actual computer purchase, and there is no benefit for this user to save money! Spend it all if possible :)

    Obvious things come to mind such as Microsoft Office 2008, iLife, Roxio Toast (perhaps) or something like Yojimbo, and I'm going to suggest spending $100 on an external drive for backup purposes. I think VMWare or Parallels is also unnecessary for this particular user.

    This user is not a power user and so I don't feel like suggesting stuff that I find very useful like Hazel or LaunchBar.

    Do you have any recommendations?
     
  2. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    #2
    Whatever you do, don't get Office 2008 and Toast. The former would be a complete waste of money, and the latter would be over-paying for functionality that you can get (mostly) for free.
     
  3. TheScavenger macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2007
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    #3
    I agree.

    What about some design software like Pixelmator or Photoshop Elements? Filemaker Pro possibly?

    There is just so much free software out there that its hard to spend the money :p
     
  4. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    norcal
    #4
    In past school situations, (graduate school), profs often wanted (.doc) Microsoft Word documents so I had Office, the student version. It's not a great piece of software, but it's a standard and better than spending on a whole bunch of games.
     
  5. macgruder thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Thanks


    In the end I went for
    iLife + iWork + Leopard set
    Toast 10
    Bento 2
    Yojimbo
    plus
    backup drive & USB stick

    I had to suggest a list by today so I'm sure more research could have come up with a better list. Regarding Toast, I've never found any problems with it myself and it's simple to use.
     
  6. Mr. Giver '94 macrumors 68000

    Mr. Giver '94

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Location:
    London
  7. ceezy3000 macrumors 6502

    ceezy3000

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2009
    Location:
    The Valley!!
    #7
    yup i agree with these fellas, nope on microsoft office and toast, toast can be replaced with disk utility or a free program like burn, dont get toast and microsoft office is horrid
     
  8. ceezy3000 macrumors 6502

    ceezy3000

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2009
    Location:
    The Valley!!
  9. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #9
    Good choices. Toast 10 is great if you are buying it for the first time, it is just a waste for those of us with Toast 7, 8 or 9 as it offers no really useful new features. But Toast is one of my must have pieces of software.

    Bento and iWork are what keep my business going so they are very good choices. Never used Yojimbo myself but I have heard good things about it.
     
  10. bindigok macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    #10
    What's so great about Toast. I've never used it. I burn all of my CDs and DVDs with software that came with my Mac. Am I missing something? What makes Toast so great? Very curious now.
     
  11. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    #11
    Yes, but you don't need it. OpenOffice/NeoOffice is free, and reads/writes Microsoft Office formats just fine.

    Oh, and few teachers actually require .doc. They'll claim they do, but what they really want is a format that they know they can read. I've found that a quick, polite letter along the lines of "I don't/can't support proprietary formats, here are the reasons why." is usually sufficient (especially if one of the reasons is "The use of such proprietary formats restricts the availability of knowledge to customers of a single company." or a similarly phrased bit. Most educators are real big on the whole "knowledge for all" thing.) PDF will fit the bill just fine, and actually *is* a standard, rather than just a popular proprietary format.
     
  12. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    #12
    Well it's an all-in-one burning program -- so it supports burning data disks, DVDs/VCDs, images, etc. But it doesn't have any features that can't be duplicated for free or for a lot less money.

    For burning images, I use Disk Utility. It handles ISOs, DMGs, CDRs, and even Toast's own format.

    For burning data disks, cue/bin, and overburning I use Firestarter OS X. (It's based on cdrdao, so it's pretty damn dependable.) It's a bit more geek-oriented than Burn, so I'd recommend Burn if you're a regular user and Firestarter if you're a power user.

    For burning data disks and video disks, I sometimes also use Burn. It's got an awesomely simple interface, and is probably the best burning utility on the Mac. It supports making DVDs, and even does menu authoring. It's both powerful and simple to use. Basically, it does much of the fancy stuff that Toast does without the cost or random UI changes.

    Again, there's nothing wrong with Toast per se... it just doesn't do anything terribly unique to make it worth the price tag.
     
  13. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    norcal
    #13
    That is great, I will check out open and neo-office. I didn't know of this free option. I know Sun had something like that many years ago and even got major companies to bundle it in to introduce people to the new suite.

    Legally, I knew that a free option would have to happen. If you make a product, and it becomes such a major standard, other companies can come in and break your hold on the product. For instance, if company X invents a car tire with air in it, they can (and did), only hold legal rights on that product for a time. Eventually, it became impossible to defend rights on such a standard, so now many companies make tires with air in them, outside of some specialized racing models. I wonder if the free "office" stuff has anything to do with Microsoft's first ever round of major layoffs?
     
  14. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    #14
    OpenOffice is the successor to Sun Office -- it's based on some of the same code, but it's open source (and thus free.)
     
  15. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    norcal
    #15
    That's cool. I put Sun Office on my PC laptop many years ago. Somehow, while very similar, I just used the bundled MS Works software, with Microsoft Word, on it. But I found Sun Office to be as good, or better, than MS' product.
     
  16. mlts22 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    #16
    If you don't have it already, I'd recommend a Time Capsule so the user has a good place for backups.
     

Share This Page