Law student preparing for first Mac!!!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ordo1980, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. ordo1980 macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Hey all, so I'm getting ready to make the big switch. I've been using Windows my whole life, going back to 3.11. With the newest updates and price drops, my old thinking of it being too expensive blah blah just seemed outdated. So no convincing is needed for me, I'm going to be getting the 13" MBP base configuration. So as the title states, I will be a law student - 3 more years of school for me! So I wanted a computer that will be good for 3 years, and I feel this MBP will be just that, probably even for more than 3 years. So...

    Obviously given my future coursework, I will be using the computer primarily for internet, word processing, and general homework - as well as taking it to class most likely ... and to the library. My first question concerns my schoolwork ... Obviously I will be writing papers nonstop for 3 years. I can imagine I may need to do spreadsheets and presentations - although not nearly as much if at all really. I've always used msft office, and I know it VERY well. So, do you think I should get msft office mac edition, or just switch to iWork? I want 100% definite compatibility.

    Next, should I BTO the machine with 4 gigs RAM? I know it's more expensive, but then it'd be warranted by Apple, so, thoughts?

    Onwards, does anyone know what the heck is going on with Best Buy's position concerning the free iPod promotion? I already have an 80gb classic, but I'd like to give that to my brother (his old white 30gb is starting to go), and then I'd like to get the 120gb classic. I only have about 10gigs of music, so really, my reason for wanting the bigger classic is for use as a backup HD. Can this be done? Can a classic be used to do backups with time machine? My reasons for wanting to go with BB is because of the rewards points and the discounts I'd then get with that big of a purchase. I need DVD-rs, DVD cases, ink, paper, microSD/SD cards, a blackberry curve (looking to renew my 2yr w/ Verizon), a sleeve, a kensington lock, etc., etc. Also, I would imagine that BB will be bringing back the 18-month 0 financing deal for the back-to-school season, so getting everything same as cash would be great. I have a full scholarship for school and I will have to take direct loans for living expenses ... but I can also claim school-related personal expenses, so I'd definitely be able to pay it all off before that 18 month period was up. So it really would be same as cash with 0 danger of having to incur the wrath of terrible finance charges blah blah blah.

    But then again, Apple is doing the 12-month 0 interest, which would be fine too since I'd still be able to pay all of it off in time. It's just that then I'd miss out on all those rewards points at BB. Is Apple going to be doing away with that 0 interest special soon? BB ended their 18-month thing, which ticks me off, so if Apple is going to end their special soon, then I might just pull the trigger on Monday. Who knows if BB really will bring back that 18 month deal, or if they will ever get on the ball and honor the free iPod promo.

    Next, what about additional software needs? Do apples need antivirus, firewalls, adaware programs, ccleaner (for registry repairs), and other programs like those? What about simple utilities like winzip?

    Also, I will be getting a blackberry, so can I just connect it to the mac over bluetooth? I've never had a bluetooth enabled computer. My new canon multifunction printer says it can connect over bluetooth, so then do I not need my usb cable anymore for the mac? It'll just sync authomatically after I install drivers and such?

    Finally, what about snow leopard? When that comes out, school will have already started? Is it like windows where, I know you don't have to, but really it's best to reformat and do a clean install of the new operating system? Do mac users do the same with new OS X versions? It'd be a pain I would think to have to do that in the middle of my first semester, but I'm just curious.

    I'm sure a lot more questions will pop to mind, and I'm sorry for the long post and 500 questions, but this is all really new to me. Thanks for all your help in advance!!! I'm so excited to be a new convert!!!!
  2. kindablue09 macrumors regular


    Mar 26, 2009
    I'll just answer a few of those...

    Imo, iwork is nifty and it gets the job done, however in the academic setting it cannot fill Office's shoes. Yeah, you would probably be able to do everything w/iwork but not w/o some issues. I'd get Office hands down.

    Install your own RAM. Its easy and you'll do fine. Much much cheaper too.

    Snow leopard will be available to leopard users for 30 usd and maybe 10 usd for those who bought a computer recently... i think. But if I am wrong the MR members will happily correct me :)

    I'd stay away from best buy just on principle... but apple will give you a ~100 usd discount along w/the ipod promo too (I don't know if best buy does).

    "Next, what about additional software needs? Do apples need antivirus, firewalls, adaware programs, ccleaner (for registry repairs), and other programs like those? What about simple utilities like winzip?"
    --- nope, enjoy :) (i dunno about win zip tho)

    However there are a few cool apps for mac.
    -Vodo pad is a general scratch pad app (lite version is free) that I find useful for jotting things down.
    -Skim is a pretty sweet app for notating pdfs (also free)

    google will find those
  3. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Sounds good...

    I would use both. I love Keynote much more then PowerPoint, but if you know your way around Word and Excel, for me it's been hard to transition... Also NeoOffice is a free software that looks exactly like Microsoft Office and is free...

    No...Save your money DIY. Adding third party ram doesn't violate your warranty, just, when you send it to Apple to get it fixed, take it out, because they are notorious for stealing it when performing service.

    It seems to vary store to store, Check Here for the Ongoing Debate.



    That makes sense, but Amazon most of that stuff and you get the iPod and the savings.

    I'm not sure about Best Buy, but I would stay away from Apple's Juniper Card, some places like MacMall use BillMeLater (3 Months No Interest), but Apple is the only way to guarantee the free iPod (and printer).

    Make Sure You Do That.


    Seems like you answered your own question?

    Umm, in short: as long as you are smart and don't do things that would solicit any of those things, no. There are a couple of free programs, if you are really worried you can get Intego, but I'd stay away from Norton, and once again, this is not necessary. In order to get any sort of troublesome thing from the internet, you have to install it, unlike PC, although this is an ongoing debate.

    On another note:
    UnRarX is a good .RAR program
    VLC is a good media player
    Adium is a good AIM/G-Talk/MSN/Facebook/Yahoo/bijillion other things client
    Quicksilver is popular

    All of those are free, you can always search the forums or propose additional needs.

    You may or may not need drivers, a lot of printer drivers are already installed on the Mac. While you could use Bluetooth, you probably are going to want to hang onto the chord. Bluetooth printing is slow, or at least what I have experienced. If you are printing two or three black and white pages it's not god freaking awful, but put some color on the page and you should get out one of your books to pass the time.


    No, you can just upgrade. Also, the nature of Snow Leopard being just an efficient "boost" to OSX means that it is not so much like the XP to Vista shocking changes.

    Keep the questions coming...

    But If You Ever Need More Advice, Click Here.
  4. PhixionFilms macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2008
    Deployed atm
  5. yoyomaster macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2009
    I would check and see if you're going to need Windows, as I know my cousin had to install XP in order to take some tests at his law school.(He just graduated, so this isn't a long time ago). If that is the case I suggest installing windows through bootcamp on your mac, again I don't know how many law schools are like this, but I would just check to make sure so you don't have any surprises.
  6. Scylax macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    A few answers

    I am green with envy-schol to law school, educational expenses etc. You are living my dream, why can't I get that in the UK?:)

    In answer to some of your questions:

    Office vs iWork. I was reading the reviews of iWork on the UK Apple store, and several people said they had major compatibility problems. Since this is major for you, stick with Office. Microsoft are notorious for introing new types of files, making it impossible for everyone to keep up.

    I have a macbook, and I've never used antivirus. I use it carefully, and I've never had any problems.

    Being in the UK I can't comment on the BB stuff, but I buy direct from Apple.

    RAM is terribly expensive from the Apple store, but they install it. I had them put 4GB in my MacBook, because I've never changed anything inside a computer and I wouldn't be happy to do it. That made it worth the money for me. If you are happy to put it in, get it from Crucial instead.

    I'm about to start Uni, and I want to buy a MBA (I'm disabled, so weight is really important). I'm going to buy now and upgrade to Snow Leopard later. It looks like it will be cheap, and I want to give apple time to release a few upgrades and fixes before I switch.

    There is a way to use an iPod to back up files, but it's not good for them and if you get it wrong you can burn them out within a few minutes. I really think a cheap flash thumb drive is the way to go. If I were you, I would seriously rethink that plan.

    I am almost 100% sure there is no way to use Time Machine with an iPod.

    Enjoy your Mac. I moved to mac 1 and a half years ago. I was a technophobic, and now I love using a computer. one and a half years down the line my then top of the range macbook (2.4 GHz, 250 GB HDD, 4GB RAM) feels snappy and responsive, a delight to use. I have a vista laptop of a similar age, slightly less RAM, minimally slower processor, and the last time I used it I nearly cried-it was so slow, wouldn't work with Microsoft's own s/ware, and was so irritating I never want to use it again!
  7. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008
    Wow. Another one who bought into the hype without ever having used a Mac before.

    You want 100% compatibility with Microsoft Office (for Windows)? Your ONLY option is to stay on Windows and use MS Office for Windows. Period and end of discussion.

    iWork is NOT 100% compatible and will NEVER be 100% compatible. And neither are Office:Mac 2004 or Office:Mac 2008 - the latter does not even support Office macros.

    OpenOffice is a crutch when compared to Microsoft Office. The suite is an acceptable choice for hobby and home users, but it is NOT an acceptable choice for professional use. The compatibility lacks and the business world "speaks" Microsoft Office (for Windows). And that pretty much ends the discussion here as well.

    RAM: One cannot have enough RAM or hard disk space. But put the additional RAM in there yourself, you'll safe money.

    Anti-Virus software and registry cleaners: I could be mean and say that only what Dogbert would call "gullible people" need those on Windows, but that would be... well, just mean. When you begin to exchange a lot of Microsoft Office documents, you -should- install an anti-virus package on your Mac as well, because you will be actively spreading malware, even if you are not affected yourself. Nobody needs registry cleaners on Windows - they are about as useful as "clean uninstall programs" on the Mac: They do something that you don't really need.

    Clean installing a new version of OS X: Yes, I clean-install new releases of OS X just as I clean-install new versions of Windows. Leopard was an incredibly poor upgrade quality-wise, I only got it to run acceptably after clean installations on a couple machines. Will Snow Leopard be the same? Who knows. But I will not even try to find out and install it from scratch.

    General advice: Make sure that the Mac will REALLY work for you -- WITHOUT having to fall back to Windows in Boot Camp or Parallels. It doesn't make sense to switch to a Mac just to stay with one leg in the Windows world. If you cannot live without Windows for the one or the other reason, it doesn't make any sense to begin switching to the Mac world and then stop after a 90% migration.
  8. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Get it! You'll love it.

    I would suggest though not the baseline but upgrade to one of the unibodys. Completely worth the $$$ IMO.

    Also don't worry if your school uses MS office. I use Open Office or Neo Office any time I need to write anything that needs to be read by MS Office. Works flawless every time and doesn't cost me $150 or whatever MS office costs cause Neo and Open office are free :D
  9. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas

    Office 2008 Supports Macro's. What else is it missing. For the OP's purpose, I don't see any real problems. iWork obviously isn't going to support all Office features, as part of the beauty of it is that it is much lighter. For education use, I don't see what Office on the mac lacks.

    It's free, and the OP is an Edu user not a Business User.


    Yes...or you could just not do things that solicit Malware.

    That was the case for some users. I imagine Apple would attempt at fixing it, and I had no problems just upgrading.

    I don't know what the OP will be doing in Law school that couldn't be done on a Mac.
  10. niuniu macrumors 68020


    Mar 29, 2009
    A man of the people. The right sort of people.
    Someone above is saying you have to use Windows for MS Office or something.. no idea what he's making a big deal out of but I use MS Office for Mac and typeset -> publish on it. The things I do with it will be far more complex than what you'll be doing with it as a law student, and I know what law students do, I was one myself. You'll be typing up assignments, maybe doing some creative work ie the occassional debate / moot poster if you get involved extra-curricular but focusing more on work experience than sitting playing around on Office.

    You can make any document you want backward compatible too when you go to save your file, so don't worry about your Windows using lecturers not being able to read your pearls of wisdom :D
  11. yoyomaster macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2009
    Just because someone uses bootcamp and/or parallels/vmware for work or for certain areas of school does not mean that it would not be worthwhile to get a Mac. If you like OSX, why not get it if you're only going to be using Windows for those specific areas, a lot of people do this.

    Like I said some Law schools require you to run Windows as that is all they support. My cousin's college just started supporting Macs, but the University of Florida I found does not. "All computer applications used at the law school, including electronic courseware and examination software, run under Microsoft Windows" -
  12. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Yes, I would have assumed the OP, having gotten a full ride to Law School, would have probably researched this? I get to live with Wake Forest's Lenovos for the next four years...
  13. taeclee99 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 4, 2002
    Anywhere but here
    Also keep this in mind.
    They might not let use a mac laptop when you take your bar exam. I know in NY, they certainly don't.

    For Mac users with bad handwriting, there is no keyboarding option. The exam software is designed to run on Windows systems, and the New York board included this clause in its laptop policy, warning in capital letters: “We do not support Apple products in any form including Intel-based laptops running Boot Camp — no exceptions.”
  14. yoppie macrumors 6502a

    Oct 19, 2007
    I attend the University of Florida's Levin College of Law and I can say that running a mac there is fine. I have used my macbook the past 3 years and haven't run into any problems. The IT Dept. recommends that if you're going to use a mac, that you use an Intel one running Leopard 10.5 so that you may run Boot Camp for exam time (the school uses Softest Examsoft). It's the only time Windows is needed.

    If you don't want to run Boot Camp then you have the choice of handwriting your exam.

    I don't know what school the OP is attending but he might want to check with his school to see if an Intel mac is ok. He might be surprised that many of the schools are ok with it. Another great source for finding out about macs in law schools is Mac Law Students

    For UF students, you'll see that macs are allowed if you look at the bottom of the page titled laptop specifications.
  15. yoyomaster macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2009
    If you actually read what I was saying is that they don't support Macs in software and will need to have Windows for that....please read.
  16. yoppie macrumors 6502a

    Oct 19, 2007
    Relax, I'm not here to get into an argument with you. I was just stating my experience as a law student at UF. I think I'm qualified to do so. Who knew that sharing your experience on a forum in case someone has questions could pose a problem?

    I only singled your post out because it named UF. I go there. Other than that, I didn't have anything against what you said. I figured since UF was brought up, I could use that to talk about our school and the mac usage there. But I guess I was wrong to try to help there too. LOL

    Anywhoo, the IT Department does in fact support mac-using law students, the only requirement is that you must have an Intel mac running Leopard 10.5. The IT guys are very friendly and will answer any questions asked. I know because they helped me out the first time I was running ExamSoft. I also know this because they helped set up my macbook for wireless printing to the library and cafe printers.

    The only thing you will be using in law school (or at least at UF) is Microsoft Office (for which there is a mac version) and the internet to access different sites such as LexisNexis and Westlaw. Not a difficult task for a mac.
  17. ordo1980 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Wow, great stuff you guys, thanks for all the informative answers.

    Yoppie... my boat is similar to yours I think ... laptop exams are optional. My school uses Securexam Student from Software Secure, Inc. It sounds like I'd need to run windows for the exam software, but otherwise, windows shouldn't be needed. I had checked into this issue earlier, and the campus computer store told me macs would be just fine for law students, and they actually tried to steer me toward getting a macbook vs. the dell latitude. I'll call the law school and the legal information center for more specific details though. I have time since I'm not planning to order quite yet.

    The one thing I did do today was call Apple to see when the 12month 0 interest financing deal would be ending. The girl said there was no end date announced that she was aware of. I think maybe I'll call tomorrow and see what a different rep says. I'd really like to know. I wasn't planning to order really until this time next month. I'm hoping that special will still be in effect by then. If not, then I'll just order now. I wouldn't mind having it a couple weeks early before school starts ... just to get a handle on the mac and get used to it. Like I said ... been using windows since version 3.11, never had a mac, so I'm sure there's some sort of learning curve.

    Also while talking to Apple today, it was confirmed that the ipod cannot be used in conjunction with time machine, which kind of sucks. Now I'm wondering which free iPod to get!!! lol. I'm not really even sure I'd use time machine anyways though, the backups that are important to me are .doc files, and I could just pop those on a usb drive. They're already backed up on my ipod classic, but I guess using it for that purpose is bad? I was all set on getting a new classic and giving my old one to my brother. But now, maybe I should just get the nano? My music is only 6 gigs roughly, so maybe the 16gb nano would suffice. I just haven't been getting much music lately because my computer's hard drive is practically full. I don't use my ipod for movies or any video either. But maybe that will change? I don't know. Either way, I guess I have time to think about it. Ideas?
  18. pinoyplaya macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2009
    You will enjoy owning a Mac Computer. I personally did even though I didn't know how to use one. After using mine for a couple of weeks, I felt like I was an avid mac user. I pretty much learned how to use a Mac... it was that simple :)
  19. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    This has been around for a while to my recollection. I don't remember when they didn't have it. So you are probably safe. Also, if Apple were to pull it, it would probably be at the end of the Back To School Promotion. Apple has enough problems with people complaining about phones that they signed contracts for, the last thing they need is more people complaining...
  20. kim6ball macrumors member

    Jun 1, 2009
    Keynote is definitely way better than PowerPoint. It has a lot more effects and will look different because not as many people use it. For word processing, Pages is not nearly as effective as Word. Especially when that's what you have used your whole life.
  21. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas

Share This Page