New to Mac, what software?

solchitlins

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 12, 2009
104
0
Michigan
Hi.
I'm going to get a New base model Mac Mini or a refurbished Mac Mini.

Being a broke college student I'm a little confused on what software I should get.

Should I buy MS Office for the Mac or just run it through Window's?
I have a copy of Window's 7 and MS Office small business for pc.

Is that going to be a pain in the butt to do my homework and manage office files on my Mini if I have to run it through Window's on the Mini?

I guess I don't understand what to expect. Is it like dual booting a pc, like how I use my pc with Linux and Windows?

Also what do I do with all my documents, pics, mp3's etc.... when I make the switch?

Can I put them on a thumb drive and just transfer them over to the Mac or won't that work?

I would prefer to keep my music collection in MP3 format, seeing how it's all been painstakingly ripped using" exact audio copy with lame encoding". There's not much but I'm pleased with the results.

but my Sansa clip plays "apple" format anyways I think.

Or should I "now that I'm switching to a Mac" start changing formats over to itunes default format and encoding techniques.

My PC is old and outdated and would like to eventually phase it out completely.
 

GimmeSlack12

macrumors 603
Apr 29, 2005
5,395
8
San Francisco
First of all, get the idea of "changing formats" out of your head. You don't need to change the formats of anything (music, pictures, documents, anything). There are very few formats nowadays that are not universally compatible on both Mac and Windows.

Second, there are two ways of using Windows on Mac, Virtualization, and Boot Camp (aka dual booting). Virtualization allows you to emulate Windows within OS X so that you can have both OSes running at the same time, to switch between them is the same as switching from one program to another. Using Dual Booting, you only can boot into one OS at a time, when you do this for Windows you are basically on a PC. Between the two, I would say Virtualization can be more convenient, though Dual Booting is faster. Virtualization requires software you have to pay for (Parallels, VMWare, etc.). Boot Camp comes with your Mac and only requires you pay for a copy of Windows (which you apparently have).

Third, Office for Mac (and this is debatable) is crap when compared to the Windows version (again, very debatable but I don't like it). So I would recommend you setup Dual Booting, and run Windows 7 and Office in Windows, and save some $$$ since you already have this software for PC.

Fourth, As for transferring your files you can put them on a thumb drive/external hard drive and copy it over to your Mac (Mac can read NTFS but it cannot write to), or use an FTP transfer. Worth looking through the Mac Rumor's guides (very top right of the page).

Hope that helps.
 

Gregg2

macrumors 603
May 22, 2008
5,951
420
Milwaukee, WI
For sure you can transfer files via a flash drive. I don't run Windows on my Mac, but from reading stuff, I believe you are going to need other software that does not come with the new Mac. I think Parallels is needed. But someone who actually uses Windows is bound to chime in.

You can probably use Pages and Numbers and just convert to .doc and .xls before sharing them. The cost of the full license is much less than Office for Mac. But, if you get the Windows thing to work, that's a moot point.
 

flatfoot

macrumors 65816
Aug 11, 2009
1,010
3
For Office, I'd rather use Parallels or VMware Fusion than dual-boot.
Office doesn't need that much processing power so you don't need to dual-boot.
(With virtualization you have slight performance cuts.)
 

obibobi

macrumors member
Aug 13, 2007
45
0
Sweden
I had Windows and MS Office installed before on my Mac but found that I never used it.
If you don't buy iWork from Apple you can try Open Office which is free.
Works great with MS Office files, both to read/edit and to send to someone who uses a Windows computer.
 

gerabbi

macrumors regular
Feb 8, 2009
155
0
I had Windows and MS Office installed before on my Mac but found that I never used it.
If you don't buy iWork from Apple you can try Open Office which is free.
Works great with MS Office files, both to read/edit and to send to someone who uses a Windows computer.
Definitely try OpenOffice before buying an office application. It's powerful and free.
 

kate-willbury

macrumors 6502a
Feb 14, 2009
684
0
you don't need to convert your music into 'apple format'. copying them over will be fine. no idea why you're getting a mac though just to boot into windows to do your work. makes no sense.
 

GimmeSlack12

macrumors 603
Apr 29, 2005
5,395
8
San Francisco
What version of parallels is best?
is this a good deal?
http://www.academicsuperstore.com/products/Parallels/Parallels+Desktop+for+Mac+5/1370627

I can also download Virtual PC for Mac 7.0.2 for free through my school. Is that about the same?

I think I'm going to need something like this for my College courses, I'm studying IT/ Security.
Virtual PC was abandoned for Mac many years ago. It is not an option at all. Get the newest version of Parallels (version 5 I believe). Though before you buy anything I would suggest you find out whether you need Windows, I think using Boot Camp is probably going to be ok for you.
 

Wheaty

macrumors regular
Mar 6, 2009
146
0
Cheshire, UK
Should I buy MS Office for the Mac or just run it through Window's?
I have a copy of Window's 7 and MS Office small business for pc.

Hello. Pleased to hear that you are switching to Mac. I did this back in March, and have not regretted it.. First thing to point out like several others is...

Dont worry about compatability! Most of the files and documents that you use on a Mac can be interchanged with a PC... (or even a Linux system)

Get Open Office - It is very good and unless you are a engineer manipulating vast quantities of Data, Macros and other Excel tricks, or manipulating your final PhD Thesis (not me!) and need to use it on MS Word/ Excell etc you will be just fine! 95% of all the files I send and recieve open just fine, from word/ excell etc etc... Its only the Really specific MS tools where you get translation issues. However If you will only be using it for yourself, and not doing anything really fancy then I doubt you will ever have a problem.

Why are you worried about mp3? ITs been a standard around for ages, and all my mp3's that i ripped in either BeOS, Linux or even 98 work just fine!


Dual boot Is very Handy for some stuff that you just cant get the right apps for on the Mac, but again Its probably not worth it for excel /word. Unless you want to play PC games? I ran Parellels as a demo when I got my Mac. I used it once, found GIMP for Mac (to replace and old photoshop) and uninstalled it (parallels) a week later.


have a look at this site, it can give some good sugestions to alternative Mac/pc/linux software.
http://alternativeto.net

Wheaty
 

HBOC

macrumors 68020
Oct 14, 2008
2,494
234
SLC
here are some programs that i use, some more regularly than others..

VLC for video playback
handbrake
audacity (audio conversions, editing)
coconut battery (awesome battery stat app)
iStat (a great system stat app)
iTune statistician (see what you have been listening to the most, cool app)
unrar X
XACT

these are all freeware apps.
 

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