Converting from Windows, a few questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by InlawBiker, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. InlawBiker macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2007
    Hi all,

    Looks like a great forum, I'm glad I found it. Just a few basic questions on whether switching to Mac is a good choice right now. Sorry if this gets too long...

    Some background, I'm an I.T. professional with a work-issued PC laptop (Thinkpad, which is really a nice machine), but for home use I no longer really need Windows. My aging desktop machine should be phased out soon, and my wife's PC is also causing her trouble. I don't play games anymore, and I dread buying a new PC with Vista. My idea is to replace them both with the white 2.0ghz Macbooks. Having a laptop has been really nice - I never thought I'd find them so useful, but I can't see going back to a desktop now.

    I used to use a Mac professionally, back in the late 90's. I loved them but it was unrealistic to keep using them. Now I think it's realistic again, and I'm tired of being tech support for my wife's XP machine. :D

    I have also been a Unix admin in the past and still use Redhat & Solaris a lot, so switching to OS X should be natural for me.

    Based on the light home usage I can't justify the MB Pro models, that and I have to fork over the dough for two of them. They'll also be plugged into bigger monitors, so the small screen should be OK.

    Now the questions - should these models be OK?

    Here's the software I mainly use. What would be the Mac equivalents, and how much am I looking at spending for new software?

    UltraEdit32 & Ultracompare - Fantastic shareware programmer's text edtior and visual file comparer. I'll really miss this one. I used BBEdit back in the day, are they still around?

    Firefox - Already my main browser so this is easy. What do you do for those "IE Only" web sites? I run into them all the time, since I use Firefox as my primary browser. Sometimes it's necessary to start up IE.

    SecureCRT - SSH client. I imagine OS-X comes with a terminal prog...

    FTP Client?

    Picassa - How does iPhoto compare?

    HTML editing - is there a Homesite equal?

    DVD Decrypter / ConvertXtoDVD - For multimedia. My DVD player plays DIVX movies, so I typically burn 4 or 5 AVI's to a DVD for my kids and we watch them that way. What's the Mac equivalent? Does the DIVX codec plug in easily? I don't anticipate any problem with multimedia on the Mac but I have to ask.

    DVD Burning - I use Nero 6, which works great for CD's and DVD's. What's the Mac use?

    Music Jukebox. I use MusicMatch to index my 10,000 or so MP3's. How is iTunes? Will it synch to my non-iPod MP3 player?

    Anything else I should watch for?

    Thanks much I appreciate any help you can give.
  2. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    Yes. But now it's a pay-for-app.

    I suggest you get a lot of RAM and get Parallels so you can run IE through XP when you need it. The rest of te time use Firefox in OS X.

    It does. OS X is a BSD flavor called Darwin.

    Plenty to choose from. Most do SFTP amongst others now too. I like Transmit.

    It's built-in. No need for 3rd party stuff. But most use Toast as an alternative.

    No it will not.
  3. sdubois92 macrumors member

    Aug 23, 2006
    Fairhaven, MA
    It seems like all the software that you need is availble for free. The MacBook is a great laptop. And because you are an IT pro, you might what to install Windows, just in case. Once you go mac, you never go back (unless you boot into windows).
  4. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    You're gonna get a lot of response, so, I'm just going to address what I have experience with...

    Well, if they're gonna be permanently desktop bound (or at least the wife's) I'd seriously consider an iMac - prolly the 20". Get thee to an Apple Store or reseller and play with them. Let her pick hers! The MBs are fine machines in their own right, just ensure you max out on RAM for complete joy.

    BBEdit is alive and well!

    Safari works well, a lot of folks are happy with Camino as well. Firefox for Windows is more finished than it is for Mac, or at least it is for my browsing pleasure.

    Ooh, so many! Um, Fetch & Transmit are pretty popular. Download trials of a bunch and see whatcha like. Just google "Mac FTP Client," but you already knew that.

    I'm happy with iPhoto, others can speak to the strengths of Picasa

    iWeb is ok for lightweight stuff, but still a little limited and missing a couple of features (still designed to steer you into the .Mac universe). BBEdit is damn good!


    iTunes will only sync to an iPod - that's the designed ecosystem. That being said, if your MP3 player can be seen as a mounted volume, then you can just drag MP3 files into it, easy peasy.
  5. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    There is plenty of information here and on the web but buying a book is not a bad idea. Either "Switching to the Mac" or "Mac OSX Tiger for Unix Geeks". These and many more are available from Amazon. Sites worth knowing about are Version Tracker and MacUpdate.

    I second the suggestion that you get an iMac if you do not need portability. A fine machine and the best value. Also seconded: try the machines if you can and add more memory if you plan on running Parallels. Best wishes.
  6. InlawBiker thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2007
    I should have clarified, my wife would like a notebook for her work. She works part time and goes back & forth to the office a lot. Using gmail has helped keep her email in one spot, but all her files are scattered.

    I already planned on maxxing out the RAM. 2gb is not a lot of ram in the Vista world, but I'm hoping OS X is a little more efficient with it.

    Also, I don't want to assume this is true but - the Macbook can be dual-headed right? Meaning I can use both the laptop screen & external monitor at once. This would be a dealbreaker if they can't.

    Otherwise, I'm really encouraged by what I'm hearing. I'm going to try to get to the Mac store today. The one in Redmond no less, I love the irony.
  7. someguy macrumors 68020


    Dec 4, 2005
    Still here.
    Someone should probably point out that while BBEdit is not freeware, an app called TextWrangler (from the same people, I believe) is free. Might want to look into it. :)
  8. AutumnSkyline macrumors regular


    Oct 5, 2006
    Even with 256 MB or ram, you can run OS X, it isn't a resource hog like Vista. It says on one of the OS X pages, Macs from up to seven years ago can run OS X, so I wouldn't be too worried about the amount of ram you have to shove in your machines. I run an iMac 17" no problem on 1 GB, although when I get Leopard, I think I will upgrade the ram a couple months after.
  9. amac4me macrumors 65816


    Apr 26, 2005
    A MacBook should be fine for you. If you're not in any rush wait for Leopard to come out otherwise you'll have to config your MacBook to use Boot Camp. Boot Camp will be part of Leopard, right now it's a beta program for Tiger.

    As an IT-pro you shouldn't have any problems configuring your system to use Windows via dual boot. The other option is to use Parallels but get some additional RAM if you decide to go that route.

    Good luck with your decision.
  10. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    If one is running Parallels, one REALLY needs 2GB of RAM.
  11. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    Yes, you can - both mirrored & extended (I've only seen it used extended, but I assume that mirrored is a basic functionality). Just make sure you get a mini-DVI to ? adapter. The Macbook only has mini-DVI Out, so the Apple Store will have the right adapter (Mini- to DVI, Mini- to VGA, whatever) for your needs.
  12. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006
    An alternative to this would be to use Camino and get Cami-Tools, which allows you to agent spoof and pretend to be using IE or Firefox. A much quickr and faster solution thn getting parallels just to look at IE only pages.
  13. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    Not needed. The Safari debug menu does the same thing.
    Unfortunately, it's not a fool-proof replacement for IE.
    I've seen it fail just as many times as it works.
    Quite often, depending on your environment, there's no substitute for the real McCoy.
  14. Cult Follower macrumors 6502a

    Cult Follower

    Feb 20, 2007
    North Dakota
    The MacBook would be nice with Vista on it also. You should be able to find softwae alternatives. and iPhoto is way better than Picassa, I have used them both.
  15. swooper macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2007
    This is a very intersting discussion. My situation is very similar to that of the OP, except for the Linux experience. You guys keep talking, please! :)
  16. Angrist macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2005
    MI or NJ
    BBedit bothers me. We have it at work for web development and the way it handles line wrapping, highlighting and autocomplete all seem broken to me.

    I much prefer Textmate
  17. InlawBiker thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2007
    Went to the Mac store

    Ok my new Mac friends, I visited the Mac store and poked around on the Macbooks this afternoon.

    The verdict is - I'm switching.

    Here's the long version.

    My biggest fear was the screen would be too small. My thinkpad is 15", I thought a 13" screen would be too tiny. But since it's widescreen it really makes a difference. I think it has more usable desktop than my IBM. No problem with the screen size, in fact I think the 17" jobbie is too big.

    The build quality is very nice, keyboard is nice. I never liked touchpads but this one is as good as it gets. The screen is outstanding. The OS is intuitive, very similar to the old OS I used so many years ago. I got the hang of it within 15 minutes - that's a pretty good test.

    After playing on the 512m version I switched to the 1024m Black one. Same experience but it did "feel" more responsive. I switched to the even bigger models but, they're overkill. With a 20" flatscreen dual-headed that's more than enough real estate.

    I found the terminal program and got... a shell! How cool. "df -h" works as expected. I ran "top" - it popped right up. With Top running I started opening apps, as many as I thought would be normal to run at once, doubled. It kept >300m unused pretty much the whole time. VERY nice.

    So yeah, I'm sold. I'm going to order the 512m white Macbook and then order 1gb RAM, giving it to the wife. The only drawback I can see is the lesser cache and barely lesser speed, and no DVD burner. She's never burned a CD or DVD in her life, and is a casual user so I think it'll be ideal.

    Then I'll sell our old PC's and get myself the 2.0ghz model with 2gb RAM. Shoot I may as well give the old PC's to my funds-challened friends, they're not worth much.

    Only decision is whether to wait for the 10.5 OS to come out, and I'm pretty sure I will. 6-8 weeks isn't so far away.

    Thank you for your input I really appreciate it.


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