Considering switching from PC to Mac, but have questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by medgirl2001, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. medgirl2001 macrumors regular

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    #1
    I am a long time PC user who never, ever thought I would be swayed to a Mac. Then I got my iPhone, and have started to be lured to the Apple way of doing things. I'm a bit of a tech nerd, and was used to doing all kinds of tinkering with my Windows Mobile phone, registry hacking, etc. With the iPhone, it actually can't do everything my WinMo phone does, but what it does it does so well that it is really enjoyable to use. And it really was a pleasure _not_ to have to do all that tinkering to get it working the way I wanted it to. Somehow I was lured by the Apple magic to decide that the things I thought I couldn't do without, I could do without just fine. Now I am in the market for a new laptop, and I thought that for the first time maybe I should consider a Mac.

    My big reservations are price (can get a Dell with equivalent or more advanced hardware for a lot less), but also whether or not I can find solutions/workarounds for a few things. These are my issues:

    1. I use Hotmail. I don't want to switch. I don't want to use POP. I don't want to forward it to Gmail or anything else. I currently use Outlook Express using the http protocol, and I am very happy with that. mBox Mail on my iPhone solved my mail problem on the iPhone, and I love that (I actually prefer it to the native Mail app on the iPhone). Is there a solution for using Hotmail through a real email client (not web) on a Mac?
    2. I will need to use some Word/Excel/Power Point documents, though nothing too intense. Would I just need to get Office for Mac to do that? Do I even need Office? Can I read/edit those files with whatever the Mac alternative is?
    2. Syncing - currently I sync both my iPhone and my Windows Mobile phone to Outlook for calendar and contacts. I really detest Outlook, so I don't care if I can't use that for calendar and contacts. I'm sure the iPhone works fine with whatever the Mac alternative is. But what about Windows Mobile - can I sync a Windows Mobile phone to a Mac for calendar/contacts? Can I access it as a disk drive the way I can on a PC?
    3. One more Windows Mobile phone question - can I use it as a tethered USB modem for a Mac? I have read some things online where people got it to work with Bluetooth, but how about USB? I am mostly switched over to the iPhone, but I haven't jailbroken and can't tether it, and USB tethering with my WinMo phone is so fast. I still need that capability from time to time.
    4. For PC games, can I just use those (including DOS games) by using the dual booting feature on the Mac?
    5. Would I really not need any antivirus program at all? Could I be rid of McAfee forever?
    6. Finally, I'm not sure which laptop makes the most sense for me. The really light one looks great, but is the DVD drive not built-in? It looked like you have to buy a separate DVD drive. I don't want to mess with that.


    Thanks for help with any of these questions you all can answer!
     
  2. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

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    #2
    1. Not sure

    2. You could get Office Mac, or iWork (I prefer iWork). iWork is cheaper and has better stuff in it i.e. templates.

    3. That will work. Calender/Contacts, use iCal.

    4. Yes, and you also need a retail copy of Windows.

    5. You need no anti-virus program.

    6. You're thinking of the MacBook Air. You need a separate optical drive. Don't get it, it is a waste of money. Instead go for this (http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/family/macbook?mco=MTE3MzM) or this (http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/family/macbook_pro?mco=MTE3MDE). Even better you can go refurb and save a bunch of $$$ (http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac?mco=MTE3NjY)

    Do a Google search for the modem question.
     
  3. taeclee99 macrumors 6502a

    taeclee99

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  4. Illicit macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Microsoft Entourage or Mail.app

    iWorks or Office:Mac for your word/presentation processing needs. Textedit is the Mac equivalent of Notepad and will also read doc and rtf files.

    Not sure about the Windows Mobile phone but the iPhone can sync with Address Book.app and iCal.app

    Yes. Running Windows on BootCamp would be no different than running Windows on any other PC.

    You should probably still have some sort of AntiVirus program when you use BootCamp. For the time being, you do not need any AV program for OSX. This might change in the future.

    The Macbook Air does not have its own optical drive, yes. You would need a separate desktop/laptop/dvd-drive to read cds and dvds. If this is your only computer, a Macbook or Macbook Pro is a better alternative.
     
  5. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

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    #5
    Here are some {more} answers:
    1. Is there a solution for using Hotmail through a real email client (not web) on a Mac?
    You can use Mail from apple but I believe that Microsoft asks for a premium MSn account or something like that. Thunderbird is also a free email client that you may know already.

    2. I will need to use some Word/Excel/Power Point documents, though nothing too intense. Would I just need to get Office for Mac to do that? Do I even need Office? Can I read/edit those files with whatever the Mac alternative is?

    In the OS X you select the file and press the SPACEBAR and you activate QuickLook that gives you a preiew of the document, some versions don't look nice.
    Apple alternatives to MS Office can open, convert and edit MS Office docs.
    Also there are free alternatives like OpenOffice and Google Docs.

    2. Syncing - currently I sync both my iPhone and my Windows Mobile phone to Outlook for calendar and contacts. I really detest Outlook, so I don't care if I can't use that for calendar and contacts. I'm sure the iPhone works fine with whatever the Mac alternative is. But what about Windows Mobile - can I sync a Windows Mobile phone to a Mac for calendar/contacts? Can I access it as a disk drive the way I can on a PC?
    I am not sure because I don't have a Windows Mobile device, but I think they should work fine. Go to an Apple store and ask for a test drive.

    3. One more Windows Mobile phone question - can I use it as a tethered USB modem for a Mac? I have read some things online where people got it to work with Bluetooth, but how about USB? I am mostly switched over to the iPhone, but I haven't jailbroken and can't tether it, and USB tethering with my WinMo phone is so fast. I still need that capability from time to time.
    I believe that by configuring a network connection in the System Preferences it will work, not shure about USB, but there is a Firewire option.

    4. For PC games, can I just use those (including DOS games) by using the dual booting feature on the Mac?
    Yes.

    5. Would I really not need any antivirus program at all? Could I be rid of McAfee forever?
    So far, Yes for the Mac OS X. If you plan to use Windows also, you should still have some kind of protection for the Windows portion of your HDD.

    6. Finally, I'm not sure which laptop makes the most sense for me. The really light one looks great, but is the DVD drive not built-in? It looked like you have to buy a separate DVD drive. I don't want to mess with that.

    A MacBook is fine.

    Many already posted threads already cover your questions, search the forum also.
     
  6. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #6
    Yes for the time being you can use the HTTP plugin and have you msn mail run on Mail. Works like a charm. The only problem I see is if apple breaks the plug in, when will it be fixed by they developer or will it ever be fixed by the developer?? So there is a chance with that.

    I was a long time user of msn *13years or so. I ended up ditching them for good about a year ago. Never looked back. Went the gmail route. If you haven't done so, and yes I know it is a hassle, but I would give a long hard thought about switching over to gmail or some other alternate email service.

    Just a suggestion. Good luck!
     
  7. liamwillib macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    #7
    1. I use a plugin for apples mail program called httpmail when i switched. It works with all paid accounts and older free accounts accounts. It doesn't work with newer accounts. Mine is @msn.com and at a very rough guess was created pre 2000. My gf's is @msn.com, could have only been a year after mine and hers doesn't work. apparently microsoft began limiting the free accounts at some point for some reason. There is also entourage (outlook) if you go for office. Didn't use it after opening it once as much preferred apple's separate apps that work as well or better (interconnected/system wide integration) than most all in 1 programs.

    2. As already mentioned office for mac works as you would expect. Haven't experienced any compatibility problems. I have recently swayed to iWork. Didn't understand it at first but now love it and its features. Really polished documents with little effort. Both can be demo'd for free. Also much cheaper and i also use the iWork.com beta which looks promising...

    2(b);). Not sure bout winmo specifically but all bluetooth mobiles i have had 95% sync flawlessly with apples contacts,calander, etc out of the box. The other 5% required a plugin and worked great.

    3&4, not had any experience

    5. switched to mac in 2004, never used antivirus, never had problems.

    6. If i had the funds i would have got the macbook air as my primary computer for pure portability. You seriously have to see it in person. I have the alu macbook and have hardly used the optical drive. If you keep your old windows computer in a drawer you can wirelessly borrow its optical drive on the occasion you need one. Unless you know you will use an optical drive a lot it might be an option to look into.

    When i switched and received my first mac i was almost disappointed as there was nothing really to do. I was expecting to have to install loads of additional software and uninstall cr*p. I soon realised I could start just having fun instead of tinkering. iLife is great.
     
  8. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #8
    You may be able to do this using Entourage, or possibly Mail (which I don't use, so I can't vouch for it).

    Office for Mac works just fine. I haven't run into any compatibility issues between the Mac and Windows versions. Many will tell you to use OpenOffice or iWork; I haven't used either, don't plan to.

    Unfortunately, the only way I have uncovered to do this (I use a Windows Mobile phone as well) is by using The Missing Sync. It's not free.

    No USB. Bluetooth does work, however - I frequently use it with my MacBook when wifi isn't available.

    Absolutely - set up Boot Camp, buy a full (not upgrade) version of Windows, and you're off. Works great.

    Geez, I haven't bothered with McAfee for years - even on the Windows side. I have two Macs, no antivirus software on either, no problems. I do use Onecare on the Windows side - if you dual boot, you'll still need to protect your Windows installation.

    If you're talking about the MacBook Air, then yes, the optical drive is external, and it costs extra.

    If you're planning on only buying one Mac, and you want a laptop, get a MacBook Pro. Larger screen, more powerful video, built-in optical drive, it should last you quite a long time.
     
  9. medgirl2001 thread starter macrumors regular

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    USA
    #9
    Thanks for all the great information!

    My Hotmail account is a paid one, and I have another account which is a very old account, so it sounds as if both should work with Entourage or the httpmail plugin, which would be great.

    As an alternative for syncing Windows Mobile, should that work as it usually would if I have Win XP on the Mac as well? I don't have to sync it often, so that might work as an alternative for me (although it wouldn't be able to sync with my iPhone to the same information as I do now. That has been one of the rare things that Outlook/ActiveSync/iTunes have done well for me!) I guess on the same note, I should be able to USB tether if I'm using XP, right, since it works for me now in Windows? I could live with that, since it's really only something I have to do in an emergency situation. Otherwise Bluetooth/WiFi tethering should suffice. (Or I may just break down and jailbreak my iPhone to be able to use PDANet).
     
  10. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #10
    If you don't mind my asking, what phone do you use? I haven't been able to tether mine to any computer unless it's a Mac using BT.
     
  11. cmwade77 macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 18, 2008
    #11
    There are indded many ways to accomplish this
    NeoOffice, which is based on OpenOffice.org works really well in my opinion and is completely free (I think it can even open the new .docx and such files now)

    I am not sure about accessing it as a disk, but in order to sync a Windows Mobile phone you would need a program like missing sync and it will work just fine.

    When I had a windows mobile phone I would do his all the time using a program on the phone called USB Modem (I think it costs about $10, but it has a free trial.
    Yes, there are also several free and paid virtualization tools that would allow you to run windows at the same time as os x.

    If you ran windows, you would need an antivirus on it, I would recommend NOD32 though.
    Personally I use a macbook, right now I am on a macbook pro for work and considering the price difference, I think that the macbook (the white one) is good, of course if you get the new model, it doesn't have a firewire port, not sure if that would be an issue for you.
     
  12. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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    #12
    ...one more question... dual booting and/or running a VM for any win product would require antivirus software, wouldn't it?
     
  13. medgirl2001 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    I have an HTC Fuze. It did take a registry edit to set it up, but I am able to tether it using USB or Bluetooth to my PC running XP Professional using AT&T. That's why I thought I should at least be able to tether it to a Mac running XP, right? (In a pinch, of course. Obviously that wouldn't be the most convenient way to do it).
     
  14. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #14
    Yes, you should install whatever antivirus/security/firewall software you would normally use for Windows, but you only need to install it on the Windows side.

    Install Windows in Boot Camp, then use Fusion/Parallels to point to your Boot Camp partition - that way, you're only maintaining one Windows installation (and associated antivirus/security/firewall software).

    If you can do it in Windows on a PC, you can do it in Windows on a Mac. :D
     
  15. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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    #15
    ...thanks for the info.
     
  16. medgirl2001 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    Can you do basic photo editing and DVD creation with the built-in software (not fancy stuff, just cropping, red-eye removal, changing image format, etc.)? Or do you need to get the other programs they list as options on the website? Also, is there a good, basic, ideally free, program to use for simple web site creation for Mac? And is there a program people recommend for password storage?

    I think I'm getting ready to make the move. I just want to make sure I can do a few of the basic things I need to do.
     
  17. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

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    #17
    All that's built in. Look here for a bunch of info, and iLife comes with every Mac, so no, you don't need to buy anything else.

    Password storage: Keychain. It is built in, so it is free.
     
  18. liamwillib macrumors member

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    #18
    Its called iLife and comes free, it is touted as a massive selling point of macs and their out of the box productivity. It will do exactly what you mention. To be honest what you describe your needs as seems so coincidentally exactly like each of the iLife apps it almost sound like your taking the p*ss. :D

    Also if you are more prosumer/pro apple also sell more feature rich versions of some of the iLife apps. Obviously there are Adobe equivalents for some and Roxio Toast is a highly rated all round DVD authoring/burning software.
     
  19. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

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    #19
    Other than Keychain (which is great) I looked at and researched all of that for quite awhile before getting my mini. How long have you been wanting to switch? Have you ever used a Mac? It sounds like you just woke up this morning and said "I think I'll get a Mac." then just posted here without actually going to the Apple website and doing some research.
     
  20. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #20
    iPhoto is part of iLife and is included with every new Mac. It will crop, rotate, fix red-eye, and even has limited controls for exposure, color levels, brightness/contrast, etc. It's no Photoshop, but it seems it will do what you're asking.

    iWeb is also included as part of iLife and works well for basic website creation. And there is a tool called Keychain Access built-in that can help you manage passwords.
     
  21. medgirl2001 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #21
    No, I have never used a Mac. Ever. Well, that's not true. I briefly used one for a class about 13 years ago. I was not a big fan at the time, in fact I hated it, so I never looked into getting one. But things have changed a lot, and what spurred this was that I need a new laptop, and I decided to broaden my horizons a bit.

    I have spent quite a lot of time on the Apple website, actually, but I got confused when I started to configure a system and they suggested additional software for photos and video, (Aperture, Final Cut, etc.). I wasn't sure if I really needed any of that, or if what was built-in would suffice for basic use. Remember, I am coming from a platform that comes with things like Microsoft Paint, which isn't worth much. I saw the page about iLife, but I didn't see Keychain, so I apologize.

    My other questions about Hotmail and USB tethering for WinMo were pretty specific, and potential deal-breakers for me. I had already googled a lot about those questions, and read this thread of course, and I still really am not 100% sure those things will work in the way I want them to. Which is fair enough; I don't expect Apple people to be all about making Hotmail or Windows Mobile work with a Mac (search on the Hotmail question for the iPhone and you can get detailed YouTube videos of people showing you how to make a bookmark for the Hotmail web site on the iPhone home page. Not exactly the same as having native mail functionality). Anyway I thought there might be someone out here who has made the same switch and had the same issues.

    The nearest Apple store for me is about an hour to an hour and a half away, or I would go there in person. I really do appreciate all of the helpful answers on this thread.
     
  22. liamwillib macrumors member

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    #22
    Visiting a store is definitely recommended. Not sure if you found this out yet but they have a genius bar with geniuses, (experts). you can speak to one to really try out a potential mac and will answer all your questions. They can get your mac set up and transfer all your files and there are seminar type things that will show you the basics up to some pretty advanced stuff. They may even be able to set up your hotmail but not sure what their policy is on that.
    Disclaimer: The geniuses are good but i cannot guarantee you won't get a lemming!!!
     
  23. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

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    #23
    Thanks for the clarification. I can see why you didn't like Macs back then. If you would like, go to that Apple store and test out all the programs on the MacBooks, minus MS Office, and see if they can do what you need.
     
  24. liamwillib macrumors member

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    #24
    just realised you said the store is too far, :eek:
     
  25. medgirl2001 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #25
    No, it's good advice, and I may try to get there if I can work it out (between work and two little ones, I don't get a lot of time to take extended shopping trips!). If I do go, I figured my time would be limited, especially if I plan to buy the same day, so I'm trying to learn as much as I can first. Again, I am very appreciative of all the help!
     

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