Is the grass greener?

0989382

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Original poster
Jan 11, 2018
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After exploring a radical (to me) Linux idea, and some good feedback essentially bringing me to the conclusion that no, Linux is not a suitable OS for me to depend on and use... The only option really now, is Windows.

My software use case, copied from my other thread for your convenience, will need Windows versions...

I'm in Marketing so here's the use case:

- Advanced editing and finishing off layouts of Office Documents (easy, O365)
- Playing nicely with SharePoint (easy, O365)
- Editing photos (just started using Affinity Photo, so need similar feature set - maybe they'd swap my license and revoke the Mac keys for Windows?)
- Making graphics (for use on our company marketing platforms such as website etc) with control over file formats, sizes etc.
- Browsing of the web extensively and editing Wordpress.com sites to a high level (Edge is surely okay?)
- Remembering a TONNE of random passwords (currently use macOS built in keychain)
- A powerful mail handler (currently use Mac Mail / could go to Outlook?)
- A powerful calendar app for personal use
- A nice way of organising personal photos, ideally in the cloud (Built in Photos app any good?)
- Alternative to Time Machine backup (maybe on the cloud?)
- Alternative cloud service to iCloud to store all my personal files and keep them in sync ideally (SharePoint)
- The ability to rapidly edit movies like iMovie can do for the most part and export them
- The ability to work with PDFs at least to Preview standards, but I am currently looking for a more professional thing on the Mac in general (Edit, create etc would be handy)
- The ability to open a range of file formats to convert em
- An alternative way to work with SketchUp (optional at this point, I just have a backlog of models that took hours of my life lol)
- Good alternatives to contacts / notes / reminders to keep my professional tasks on track
- eBook Reader

I'd ideally like to go all in on the ecosystem, from Apple extreme to Microsoft extreme. Hopefully there's good alternatives that are integral to do so.


My hardware use case is as follows:

- Must be Toyota level reliable (ThinkPads?)
- At least the same level CPU as my TB MBP 2018 512GB
- At least 512GB just as fast SSD
- Exceptional battery life
- Able to be hooked up to a good external display (meaning the display I suppose not need be as bright on it as the Mac, previously ruled out a lot of ThinkPads)
- If it breaks, must be able to repair it myself with genuine parts
- Good trackpad
- Good, reliable, keyboard
- Able to be thrown in backpacks without keeping my up at night or on my toes
- Reliable have a LOT of work thrown at it
- I wish tablet form, but likely no good quad cores

I find myself using my Mac at work hooked up to a display for ergonomics reasons, so gave up my need for a MacBook Pro quality screen (resolution, brightness, colour reproduction, 500 nits etc). Is this wise? I use it at uni but there's only 8 weeks of this left.. so not a big deal.

What's the best bet?
Why should I?
Why shouldn't I?
 

wardie

macrumors 6502
Aug 18, 2008
347
109
Assuming you don’t mind paying the yearly subs (similar to Office 365) then Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan would give you both Lightroom and Photoshop on whatever platform you wanted and their cloud service allows you to switch content.
 

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,274
4,221
Highlands Ranch, CO
After exploring a radical (to me) Linux idea, and some good feedback essentially bringing me to the conclusion that no, Linux is not a suitable OS for me to depend on and use... The only option really now, is Windows.

My software use case, copied from my other thread for your convenience, will need Windows versions...

I'm in Marketing so here's the use case:

- Advanced editing and finishing off layouts of Office Documents (easy, O365)
- Playing nicely with SharePoint (easy, O365)
- Editing photos (just started using Affinity Photo, so need similar feature set - maybe they'd swap my license and revoke the Mac keys for Windows?)
- Making graphics (for use on our company marketing platforms such as website etc) with control over file formats, sizes etc.
- Browsing of the web extensively and editing Wordpress.com sites to a high level (Edge is surely okay?)
- Remembering a TONNE of random passwords (currently use macOS built in keychain)
- A powerful mail handler (currently use Mac Mail / could go to Outlook?)
- A powerful calendar app for personal use
- A nice way of organising personal photos, ideally in the cloud (Built in Photos app any good?)
- Alternative to Time Machine backup (maybe on the cloud?)
- Alternative cloud service to iCloud to store all my personal files and keep them in sync ideally (SharePoint)
- The ability to rapidly edit movies like iMovie can do for the most part and export them
- The ability to work with PDFs at least to Preview standards, but I am currently looking for a more professional thing on the Mac in general (Edit, create etc would be handy)
- The ability to open a range of file formats to convert em
- An alternative way to work with SketchUp (optional at this point, I just have a backlog of models that took hours of my life lol)
- Good alternatives to contacts / notes / reminders to keep my professional tasks on track
- eBook Reader

I'd ideally like to go all in on the ecosystem, from Apple extreme to Microsoft extreme. Hopefully there's good alternatives that are integral to do so.
- I would think Affinity Photo should be able to do this for you. Adobe did similar for me with Photoshop and Acrobat when I switched from PC to Mac many years ago.

- I do use Outlook for both my Macs and my SP. I don't really care for the default mail apps on either platform. Some people like Mailbird and I guess Postbox(?) on the PC, but I have no experience with either.

- Browsers, with the exception of Safari (and perhaps some lesser known alternatives) you have the same choices on both platforms.

- iCloud alternative. I use OneDrive on both platforms because 1TB storage comes with my O365 subscription and it works for me to store files there where they can easily be accessed on either platform

- Calendar. I use OneCalendar. I don't know if it is the best or not, but it works for me and also has an iPhone version.

- Photos App, about the same as iPhoto for organizing photos, which is to say annoying? You may want to look at alternatives.

- PDF I use Wondershare PDFelement 6 Pro. Again, not sure if it is "the best," but it works for my needs.

- Movies. I don't know. I have only used the Sony Action Cam Movie Creator with my Sony Cam, because it seems to work the most seamlessly with the GPS tracks from my Sony Action Cam. I know Wondershare has Filmora. I think VirbEdit is also free and will work with cams other than Garmin, but I am not much help here :)

- File Converter. Converter Bot handles most popular formats.

- eBook Reader. Edge or Kobo

Notes. Outlook has built-in support for One Note and also support for a "send to Evernote" add-in, perhaps one of those would work for you?
 
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556fmjoe

macrumors 68000
Apr 19, 2014
1,639
947
I'm typing this right now from a T480 that would meet your requirements. It's a good laptop and I should make a review of it. Despite some annoyances from Lenovo that may not matter to you (mainly the hardware whitelist and some gripes about their post-classic keyboard layout) the X and T series are very well made laptops. I have had too many to count and they are all tanks.

Can't speak for Windows because I never use it. I doubt you'll have many problems finding something that can do what you want though.
 

xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
7,302
1,545
192.168.1.1
After exploring a radical (to me) Linux idea, and some good feedback essentially bringing me to the conclusion that no, Linux is not a suitable OS for me to depend on and use... The only option really now, is Windows.

My software use case, copied from my other thread for your convenience, will need Windows versions...

I'm in Marketing so here's the use case:

- Advanced editing and finishing off layouts of Office Documents (easy, O365)
- Playing nicely with SharePoint (easy, O365)
- Editing photos (just started using Affinity Photo, so need similar feature set - maybe they'd swap my license and revoke the Mac keys for Windows?)
- Making graphics (for use on our company marketing platforms such as website etc) with control over file formats, sizes etc.
- Browsing of the web extensively and editing Wordpress.com sites to a high level (Edge is surely okay?)
- Remembering a TONNE of random passwords (currently use macOS built in keychain)
- A powerful mail handler (currently use Mac Mail / could go to Outlook?)
- A powerful calendar app for personal use
- A nice way of organising personal photos, ideally in the cloud (Built in Photos app any good?)
- Alternative to Time Machine backup (maybe on the cloud?)
- Alternative cloud service to iCloud to store all my personal files and keep them in sync ideally (SharePoint)
- The ability to rapidly edit movies like iMovie can do for the most part and export them
- The ability to work with PDFs at least to Preview standards, but I am currently looking for a more professional thing on the Mac in general (Edit, create etc would be handy)
- The ability to open a range of file formats to convert em
- An alternative way to work with SketchUp (optional at this point, I just have a backlog of models that took hours of my life lol)
- Good alternatives to contacts / notes / reminders to keep my professional tasks on track
- eBook Reader

I'd ideally like to go all in on the ecosystem, from Apple extreme to Microsoft extreme. Hopefully there's good alternatives that are integral to do so.


My hardware use case is as follows:

- Must be Toyota level reliable (ThinkPads?)
- At least the same level CPU as my TB MBP 2018 512GB
- At least 512GB just as fast SSD
- Exceptional battery life
- Able to be hooked up to a good external display (meaning the display I suppose not need be as bright on it as the Mac, previously ruled out a lot of ThinkPads)
- If it breaks, must be able to repair it myself with genuine parts
- Good trackpad
- Good, reliable, keyboard
- Able to be thrown in backpacks without keeping my up at night or on my toes
- Reliable have a LOT of work thrown at it
- I wish tablet form, but likely no good quad cores

I find myself using my Mac at work hooked up to a display for ergonomics reasons, so gave up my need for a MacBook Pro quality screen (resolution, brightness, colour reproduction, 500 nits etc). Is this wise? I use it at uni but there's only 8 weeks of this left.. so not a big deal.

What's the best bet?
Why should I?
Why shouldn't I?
For software/services:
- Office 365 obviously gives you a lot of what you need; the full version of Outlook can certainly handle calendars, contacts, notes, reminders.
- I personally use Google Calendar and GMail since it’s cloud-based and easy to access on personal and work devices. Microsoft outlook.com should work well for those who have an aversion to Google services.
- I have a subscription to Adobe Acrobat DC (formerly Acrobat Pro). It’s a very full-featured PDF editor/creator. Includes some online cloud storage space but I don’t really use it.
- Dropbox for me is my go-to cloud storage service, mostly because I can install it on my work PC without admin access. Microsoft OneDrive is good, too, if admin access on work PCs isn’t an issue (our IT department disables it). Both have good integration in to Office.
- Drawboard is an EXCELLENT app for marking up PDFs if you buy a pen-capable PC/laptop.
- There’s Windows versions of Affinity apps, though I don’t personally use them so can’t comment further.
- 1Password is my preferred password manager. There’s a good plugin for Chrome and versions for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac.
- Microsoft Edge makes for a decent eReader.

For hardware, I can only comment on my Microsoft Surface Book 2. Hits every item on your list except the self-repairs. There’s no access to the internals whatsoever. But the Microsoft Complete (I think that’s what they call it) is pretty similar to AppleCare+ for replacements & repairs (basically swaps out the unit).
 

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,274
4,221
Highlands Ranch, CO
I forgot about the password question. I used to use 1 Password, currently use LastPass. They are both good, but the paid version of LastPass allows for Password sharing, which my wife and I use to share common passwords we need to have access too as well as sharing among family members and business associates.
 

Thysanoptera

macrumors 6502a
Jun 12, 2018
735
728
Pittsburgh, PA
I forgot about the password question. I used to use 1 Password, currently use LastPass. They are both good, but the paid version of LastPass allows for Password sharing, which my wife and I use to share common passwords we need to have access too as well as sharing among family members and business associates.
Sorry for off topic but that just triggered me a little too much. I just got an email from Pararells, that allows me to buy a ‘Mega Mac App Bundle’, subscribing me for one year to not one, but 5 different services (including 1 Password) for a small one time payment (this year) of 39,99 for a total savings of 92%!!! Wow, what a deal! Can’t believe I paid for eWallet for Palm back in the 90’s and the serial code still works with current Windows versions. So it’s like now if you write an app in iCanClick.com programming language you automatically expect people to pay $50 a year even if your app just displays a photo of your favorite cat.
 

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,274
4,221
Highlands Ranch, CO
So it’s like now if you write an app in iCanClick.com programming language you automatically expect people to pay $50 a year even if your app just displays a photo of your favorite cat.
I remember eWallet for Palm as well. Definitely had it on mine. True about the app that displays a photo of your favorite cat. I just saw an ad for a Goat Simulator, because someone actually wants to be a virtual goat? ¯\_( ͡⟃ ͜ʖ ⟄)_/¯

I get 1Password, Malware Bytes and encrypt.me along with my Eero, so it has been tempting to switch back to 1Password, but I am too invested in the sharing with LastPass :)
 

0989382

Suspended
Original poster
Jan 11, 2018
528
365
What do you have now and why are you thinking of switching platforms.
MacBook Pro 2018, 512GB, 8GB, Silver. I'm thinking of switching because after two 2017 base models and then this model, which, work beautifully, rip holes in my desk because they're so incredibly fast, responsive and smooth and a true pleasure to use... I'm feeling the 70+70 mile trip to my nearest Apple Store and going without it for a week (thus missing my professional Affinity software etc.) is just becoming too much hassle. Been experiencing an intermittent key stick problem lately. I feel for £2,000+ Apple Care I should maybe try something different as I can't really find a better MacBook, the desktop solutions are okay but lack portability and well, there's nothing else. An iPad can't do this workflow, and if it can scrape it, it can't do it and let me get home at 5pm everyday!

Assuming you don’t mind paying the yearly subs (similar to Office 365) then Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan would give you both Lightroom and Photoshop on whatever platform you wanted and their cloud service allows you to switch content.
I'd avoid subscriptions like the plague. I was thinking if Affinity would revoke my Mac keys and re-issue Windows keys for me, who knows. Premiere Elements seems like a good iMovie alternative.

- I would think Affinity Photo should be able to do this for you. Adobe did similar for me with Photoshop and Acrobat when I switched from PC to Mac many years ago.

- I do use Outlook for both my Macs and my SP. I don't really care for the default mail apps on either platform. Some people like Mailbird and I guess Postbox(?) on the PC, but I have no experience with either.

- Browsers, with the exception of Safari (and perhaps some lesser known alternatives) you have the same choices on both platforms.

- iCloud alternative. I use OneDrive on both platforms because 1TB storage comes with my O365 subscription and it works for me to store files there where they can easily be accessed on either platform

- Calendar. I use OneCalendar. I don't know if it is the best or not, but it works for me and also has an iPhone version.

- Photos App, about the same as iPhoto for organizing photos, which is to say annoying? You may want to look at alternatives.

- PDF I use Wondershare PDFelement 6 Pro. Again, not sure if it is "the best," but it works for my needs.

- Movies. I don't know. I have only used the Sony Action Cam Movie Creator with my Sony Cam, because it seems to work the most seamlessly with the GPS tracks from my Sony Action Cam. I know Wondershare has Filmora. I think VirbEdit is also free and will work with cams other than Garmin, but I am not much help here :)

- File Converter. Converter Bot handles most popular formats.

- eBook Reader. Edge or Kobo

Notes. Outlook has built-in support for One Note and also support for a "send to Evernote" add-in, perhaps one of those would work for you?
I really hope so! Outlook seems really great, to the point where I should be fluent in it and taking advantage of its integrated reminders, calendar, contacts etc. Will the iOS end hold up though? Just bought an XR and can't really sell it this soon.

Edge would be fine for personal use. Firefox for work, like I do with Safari / Firefox on the Mac to keep browsing histories...separate.

OneDrive seems more flexible than iCloud Drive, I'd switch - don't like being one foot in one foot out of ecosystems. We use SharePoint at work as per my suggestion.

Just looked at PDFElements, definitely the one. Adobe is looking far too much for it's non subscription Acrobat's.

I'm typing this right now from a T480 that would meet your requirements. It's a good laptop and I should make a review of it. Despite some annoyances from Lenovo that may not matter to you (mainly the hardware whitelist and some gripes about their post-classic keyboard layout) the X and T series are very well made laptops. I have had too many to count and they are all tanks.

Can't speak for Windows because I never use it. I doubt you'll have many problems finding something that can do what you want though.
I'm torn between a ThinkPad (one of the T480s though still learning the actual differences from the three options) and a Surface Pro. The form factor is really winning me over, and it'd be plugged into a monitor for serious work sessions anyway. Please do make a review.

For software/services:
- Office 365 obviously gives you a lot of what you need; the full version of Outlook can certainly handle calendars, contacts, notes, reminders.
- I personally use Google Calendar and GMail since it’s cloud-based and easy to access on personal and work devices. Microsoft outlook.com should work well for those who have an aversion to Google services.
- I have a subscription to Adobe Acrobat DC (formerly Acrobat Pro). It’s a very full-featured PDF editor/creator. Includes some online cloud storage space but I don’t really use it.
- Dropbox for me is my go-to cloud storage service, mostly because I can install it on my work PC without admin access. Microsoft OneDrive is good, too, if admin access on work PCs isn’t an issue (our IT department disables it). Both have good integration in to Office.
- Drawboard is an EXCELLENT app for marking up PDFs if you buy a pen-capable PC/laptop.
- There’s Windows versions of Affinity apps, though I don’t personally use them so can’t comment further.
- 1Password is my preferred password manager. There’s a good plugin for Chrome and versions for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac.
- Microsoft Edge makes for a decent eReader.

For hardware, I can only comment on my Microsoft Surface Book 2. Hits every item on your list except the self-repairs. There’s no access to the internals whatsoever. But the Microsoft Complete (I think that’s what they call it) is pretty similar to AppleCare+ for replacements & repairs (basically swaps out the unit).
I'd avoid Google just for their privacy scares. Thinking of switching from iCloud Mail (back in the MobileMe days) to Outlook and start fresh.

I will check out Drawboard if I get a Surface Pro.

I was under the impression Windows Affinity apps were trash due to crashes, but the Mac one today crashed a few times trying to add margins - not perfect. But I have faith in Serif to look after its apps on both platforms, even if they do favour macOS first. That's fair enough.

I forgot about the password question. I used to use 1 Password, currently use LastPass. They are both good, but the paid version of LastPass allows for Password sharing, which my wife and I use to share common passwords we need to have access too as well as sharing among family members and business associates.
I will probably use Windows Keychain and Authenticator, and see how far I get, before using a third party. Heard great things about 1Password.


I think I've figured it out...

 

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SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,274
4,221
Highlands Ranch, CO
I will probably use Windows Keychain and Authenticator, and see how far I get, before using a third party. Heard great things about 1Password.
Have a look at both 1Password and LastPass. Both are excellent and I believe they both have trial/free versions. I used to use 1Password but switched to LastPass. Mostly for the password sharing ability, which may or may not be important to you. But the interfaces and extensions have some differences too, so you may prefer ones function and interface over the other.

There are some other options such as Dashlane, Keeper, KeePass, EnPass and others as well. I am sure you will find one that works for you should you decided you need one.
 
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c0ppo

macrumors 65816
Feb 11, 2013
1,403
2,599
Edge would be fine for personal use. Firefox for work, like I do with Safari / Firefox on the Mac to keep browsing histories...separate.
Check out Vivaldi while you're at it. Works on all platforms of course. It has so much features that all browsers combined and all their extensions couldn't match it in a million years. And you can install chrome + opera extensions to it as well.

It has the best history features, you literally get a calendar that shows your activity, history is searchable, and it supports multiple users. So you could have a user for Work, and a user for Personal use. That's my workflow at least on this browser.

Check out Vivaldi tab stacks, sessions, quick commands, side panel, etc. And you can literally customize everything about this browser. There are NO limits.