iBook for College... any problems?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by t0xic_sh0ck, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. t0xic_sh0ck macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2004

    I plan on switching from a Dell laptop to an iBook or PowerBook this coming Winter, and I was wondering if any of you college students ran into any incompatibilities while using an Apple laptop throughout your college career.

    Thank you!
  2. saabmp3 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2002
    Tacoma, WA
    Using anything other than windows on a college network is a godsend. Basically, all of the downloading programs have versions for a mac, or you can get VPC, but the benefit.....When all your friends have 50 viruses or spyware apps you can be chatting online or drinking a beer. It would be useful to keep that PC around just for the heck of it tho.

  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    What do you study? I've found sw for scientific computing is kinda more iffy than everything else. Like I've found that SPSS (statistics software) on the Mac doesn't do little things that it does on the PC for instance, and a lot of other stats software isn't available at all. There's software that does any particular thing you want, but it may not be the same software people use on PCs.

    For stuff like art, or for general computing (MS Office type stuff), I haven't heard of any problems, and I haven't had any really major problems. I've noticed recently that my built in wireless antennas (first gen iBook G4) are a little weak compared to some of the PC card based ones, which surprised me. There are rooms in our building where a lot of the people with PCs with PC cards can connect and I can't..... :( But unless you have an 802.11A network at school, in which case you'd be SOL, it's a minor inconvenience -- there are a lot of rooms I can connect in, just a couple where I can't.

    Oh, the only other thing is occasional "I can't open your attachment" issues from incompetent PC users.

    And everything will think your computer is cuter than theirs. ;)
  4. t0xic_sh0ck thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2004
    My major is a combination of IT/Business/ and Web Development. So basically I will be doing a lot of programming (Java, SQL, Javascript, XML, HTML, etc...)

    But I'd think that there would be many applications available to program in these languages.
  5. 18thTomorrow macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2004
    The Alpha Quadrant
    I bought my iBook G4 specifically for use at school this year. Everyone thinks my "white" computer is sooo cute. I lovec that I am not being bombarded by all sorts of crapware and viruses like my pc-user friends are. College networks are a vicious place.

    I work in the school's website dept. Most of my co-workers use Dell laptops, but I use my iBook for 90% of what I do. (They have a Dell available for me to use when the Mac won't cut it...) I do graphics work and programming in Java and ColdFusion.

    If you have any more specific questions, please ask!
  6. Blackheart macrumors 6502a


    Mar 13, 2004
    How true about viruses @ college networks. It's like a cesspool of all malware in existance. However, OS X leaves those, lucky enough to run it, in the clear.
  7. iBert macrumors regular


    Jul 14, 2004
    Regarding javascript, html and languages like this their is no problem. This are interpreted by the browser. Xcode will let you do Java, C, C++, Cocoa, etc. List is kinda long. Xcode is the IDE of Apple, like Visual Studio is for Windows. SQL, you'll be able to download and use both Oracle and MySql. I have had both on my 12" powerbook. You can also install php, work pretty awesome. I like php a lot for scripting. Perl another scripting language comes built in with Unix. And, you will be able to use Macromedia, Photoshop standard programs that are used a lot with Macs.
    You'll also, be able to get Office for the Mac. Or you can also go with OpenOffice. That will be your choice. Also, their are a couple of other programs that come with OS X, like Omni Graffle and Outliner. One of them (I think) will help you create database designs. Not a 100% sure about this, but if it is. Sure beats Windows, where you'd have to buy a couple of extra programs.
  8. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Just make sure your campus is mac friendly. If in doubt, find the mass communications department and check out their computer labs, you'll know real quick if Apple is "acceptable". Most universities are mac friendly, but some require special software to logon (i.e. Novell Netware) that your college's I.T. Department may not carry, and you would have to purchase.

    I have not had a problem where I am now (UCA), but my previous college required Novell to even browse the Internet. I asked the IT Department for months to purchase a Mac OS X version of Novell's Netware Client and they refused.
  9. t0xic_sh0ck thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2004
    When you say "when the Mac won't cut it..." what do you mean? When does it not perform what you need it to?
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    What can't your iBook do that Dells can do? iBooks are plenty fast, unless you're comparing them to the 1.5-2" thick Pentium4 monsters, or the much better 1.8-2 GHz Centrino sets.

    Anyway, I have had a problem, but its not a big deal. I'd just like to note that with Office, I have had no problems at all with using a Mac at my Uni. However, as I live on campus in residence, all students are put on a network where we can share documents and digital pictures. While I can easily browse everyone's computer with no issues, people can't find my computer on the network.

    Me and another guy have asked MR members, but nobody had the solution, so be aware. Sounds like a simple problem, but it really wasn't easy to solve. I still can't share my photos, so I just give them to a friend and she shares them from her computer.
  11. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2003
    I use my iBook G3 for college stuff...Web, Office, Lotus Notes. All works pretty well -- the Lotus is kind of slow but on an iBook G4 it's about like a PC.

    And if the department of communication doesn't have Macs, check and see if the College of Education or the fine arts departments are Mac-headed. At my school the communication people are largely Windows (but heading more Mac all the time), and there's like one guy in Fine Arts who isn't a Mac user (and even he uses them part of the time!). Education at my university is basically Apple/Dell dual platform but the professors seem to prefer Macs. Hence the free Lotus client, Virex, et cetera.
  12. Ryan1524 macrumors 68000


    Apr 9, 2003
    Canada GTA
    i have a powerbook for university, despite being recommended against it due to specific drafting app that i need to run. but i figured for that one app alone, i can survive using other computers. it's not worth giving up a mac for just one class, so here i am, in a faculty where a PC is highly recommended and no problems yet. programming environment is actually very nicely supported on macs, so i have no problems there. the rest is just report writing and PDF readings. lol. :p
  13. 18thTomorrow macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2004
    The Alpha Quadrant
    What I use the Dell for...

    When you say "when the Mac won't cut it..." what do you mean? When does it not perform what you need it to? </quote>

    The only thing I can't use is our college's CMS, or Content Management System. It's...well, I don't know the official terms for it. But it's a browser-based WYSIWYG editor and filemanager utility that *ONLY* works in IE under Windows. So it's really not my computer that's not performing--it's the utility that's incompatible. I've thought about getting Virtual PC just to try and see if it will work under that.

    Another thing I use the Dell for is to log in to "Project Manager" where we report what hours we worked on what projects.

    The iBook performs all the heavy-duty stuff I ask it to. It's just those two little things which I have to use the Dell for.
  14. coconn06 macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2003
    King of Prussia, PA
    I disagree slightly with you on this. My former school (Villanova) is not was you would consider Mac-friendly at first glance. There are basically NO Macs in any labs, and the computer support center will probably tell you that a Mac is compatibly with the network, but won't support anything else.

    But, I found that if even though on the surface an institution appears to be unfriendly to Macs, that shouldn't stop you. Not only did I have no problems using a Mac there, I had fewer problems as the majority of PC users, and quickly found a smaller, tighter-knit group of Mac users on campus.

    I would suggest a Mac for college, any college (unless, of course, the college specifically doesn't support Macs - but that's unlikely - or there will be software you NEED that isn't available for Macs, and you can't/don't want to use Virtual PC).
  15. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    Im a computer science student and have a powermac G5 and G3 iBook...no PCs, and I'm not having any compatibility problems at all. I love both my Macs.
  16. CaptainCaveMann macrumors 68000


    Oct 5, 2004
    how do you get on the wireless net work in the doorms using an ibook? do you have to have a airport extreme base station?? isnt it better to get a powerbook because u can just use a pctype1 or 2 wireless card?? if u have to use a airportextreme base station for ibook in the doorms that sure makes it a pain in the ass.. im so confused on this wireless stuff... hahaha
  17. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Whoa, that was intense. :cool:

    I think you have the base station and the wireless card in the computer confused. Apple laptops either come by default with or can get as an option an airport extreme card, which is inside the computer, which is the wireless card (802.11b/g). The base station is analagous to a wireless router from someone else -- Netgear, DLink, Belkin, Linksys, etc. You would need one in any case where you need one of those.

    But if you have a wireless network in your dorm, already set up, that you can jack into with a PC laptop that has a wireless card in it, an iBook or PB that has an Airport Extreme card in it should also be able to jack in (unless it's 802.11a).
  18. Dippo macrumors 65816


    Sep 27, 2003
    Charlotte, NC
    One problem...

    This goes for all laptops, and definitely for Apple laptops (since they are perceived to be more expensive).

    Never let it out of your sight. Laptops get stolen faster than anything at college. And a locked room isn't enough, you better throw it in a locked desk drawer when not in use.

    Everyone I know from my hall freshman year, that had a laptop, had it stolen by the end of the year. You have been warned.
  19. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    A Base Station is what you connect a cable modem to. Then, everything with a wireless card can connect to it. The wireless card goes inside the laptop, or into a PCIMA slot in a PowerBook.

    You might want to do a little bit for forum searching to learn about wifi networking...very useful in today's wireless age!

    (Bluetooth is separate, btw. Ignore it for now unless you know what it is)
  20. CaptainCaveMann macrumors 68000


    Oct 5, 2004
    Ok i figured out how to connect and everything now

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