Possible switcher....would love your input

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by ShadowHunter, Oct 2, 2003.

  1. ShadowHunter macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2003
    Here's the deal: I'm sick of Wintel. I've been a PC tech for 3 years now, I maintain a 10 user Active Directory network, and it's a full time job! Only 10 users! Now my company is unusally high tech, but that is still ridiculous. I'm tired of Dell boxes that have been cheapened and are poor performers (heck, I have to format them out of the box just to make it bearable!). And I'm tired of Windows. So far I've just always accepted Windows as what it is, never thought that there was something different or better; just that computing had certain retarded things you just had to deal with (counter-intuitiveness, high maintenance, strange crashings, inconsistent operation). Then I started reading about and using OS X (store, friends etc) a few months back. For the first time in a long time, I've had the desire to learn more about how I can use a computer, "what else can I learn today!" kind of attitude.

    My current situation: I want a laptop. What better time to try out a new Mac then with a laptop? They are sure as heck better then their PC counterparts - styling, design, power in such a small package (compared to the similar priced and sized offerings, like the Dell 300m or the Sony Z1). My only hang up is, what can I do with my Mac? I mean iTunes is great and I will have fun with iPhoto and iMovie, but what can I *seriously* delve into with OS X? I'd hate to think all I do is use iTunes in the background while I spend my life in Virtual PC, then what would be the point?. Can I learn about the *nix platform? What about development, I'd like to learn more programming (I loved my C++ class I took a few semesters ago)? I'm not huge into graphic artistry and stuff, except maybe web design (what are some good programs for that on OS X btw?), so what else can I really delve into? I'm shooting for a bachelors in math right now, and hope to be a teacher one day, is there anything that I can do that would involve that? I would love your input and ideas!
  2. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus


    Oct 5, 2001
    San Diego, CA
    I'd rephrase the question to: What can't you do with a Mac? ;)

    Other than a couple of games that haven't been ported and a few specialty apps, there isn't much not available for Macs.

    OS X has command-line access via the Terminal app, so you've got a Unix right at your fingertips.

    Lots of development takes place on OS X. You've got development tools for developing in Cocoa. You've got Apache built-in on all versions of OS X (client and server). There are installable packages for PHP and MySQL so you can run a full website w/ database backend right off your Mac.

    WYSIWYG HTML editors like Dreamweaver and GoLive are available, as are some great plaintext editors like BBEdit. For math, there's Mathematica, which seems to be a pretty awesome app.

    Have fun buying your 1st Mac! :)
  3. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    I'm on my first Mac now, an iBook that I got back in February. I'm really glad I switched. As Rower said, apart from a few games, practically everything you need is available on the Mac. It's been a very good experience. Now that I've tried a cheaper Mac, I'm ready to take the step up to a "real" machine, a Power Mac :) The only thing holding me back is the trouble I'm having with finding a buyer for my iBook. But that's another story.
  4. mac15 macrumors 68040

    Dec 29, 2001
    I don't tend to like it when people say now I own a mac what can I do? I means its not like they are alien life forms. they are computers, they do the same that a windows PC does. Whatever you want to do really.
  5. mymemory macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2001
    Your best bet is start with Google and search for "Mac C++ software" and things like that, just add a "Mac" to the begining of every word you are looking for "Mac programing software" and things like that.

    There are not the same amount but have in the PC side but you will find the best solutions for sure. Rmemeber in the PC side there are a lot of softwares that doesn't work at all.

    You just have to do your "homework" that way.
  6. tomf87 macrumors 65816


    Sep 10, 2003
    Re: Possible switcher....would love your input

    So far, every source code package I've downloaded that was meant for Linux has compiled and ran on my Mac. No, I haven't tried a ton of them, but I've done MySQL, lynx, links, ncftp, and pine.

    Also, I would like to get the source code for Quanta (an HTML editor) and see if it will compile.
  7. c2kvette macrumors member

    Feb 12, 2003
    Charlotte, North Carolina USA
    The Mac can do anything a PC can do, and better!
  8. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    for the most part, the mac can do a lot of things but you may have to get used to buying some titles online for software

    it's not like the PC world where you have an office depot, circuit city, or staples out there where you can walk in and see oodles of software ready to buy and install on your machine...the apple stores i have seen do have some third party software, but still the focus of those stores is to primarily sell apple products first, and third party hardware and software second

    if you get an ibook or powerbook, a great resource is macmall, mac connection, mac warehouse, and mac zone and almost all the mac users i know get most of their mac stuff there...shipping is really quick and they generally do no carry bad stuff...when a piece of software is ported to the mac platform, it works well and this cannot be said for all stuff made to work with the PC world

    i like everything made for macs except for some usb hubs, and some serial to usb adapters

    as os x gets more established, more items will work seamlessly with the operating system...we are almost there as far as a switch from os 9 to os x in the real world...the PC world is equally floating between windows 98/ME, windows 2000, and windows xp...where one os is known for multimedia but crashes, one is known for it's stability but weak multimedia support and capabilities, and one is known for its hole in security...os x at this point in time does not have any major weaknesses and looks to improve with its next release soon
  9. neut macrumors 68000


    Nov 27, 2001
    here (for now)

    osx downloads

    see the categories to the right. lots of software for osx.

    Apples site is a great place to start researching. Check out the Hot News section and the Pro section for interesting articles on how others are using their macs...enjoy ;)

  10. revenuee macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2003
    A place where i am supreme emporer
    Just Click

    Made 4 Mac on the apple.com

    Just about any hareware or software that is designed or ported to the mac is there
  11. ShadowHunter thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2003
    No, sorry, I've never been to those forums.

    Thanks for the replies so far everyone. I am willing to "do my homework" as some have suggested. That sounds like a pretty good idea, recompile some apps to run on the Mac. Would that require work in X11 (I don't really know what that is exactly, just that it has something to do with running ported apps)?

    As far as walking into my local CompUSSR or Citcuit****ty for software, I would never do that anyway; lack of selection and high prices, I only buy off the web anymore.
  12. fraeone macrumors regular


    Sep 26, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    With Panther, Apple's about to release their new IDE, Xcode. I can't think of a better reason to switch now if you're into programming. And yes, you can certainly code in C++ in Xcode. Plus Panther has a lot more support for windows networks, so you won't be in isolation from the rest of your work environment.

    As far as X11 goes, if you don't know what it is, chances are you're not going to be needing it in the near future.

  13. beerguy macrumors regular

    Aug 20, 2003
    Most of the opensource code that you expect to see on a Linux box compiles and runs just fine on OS X. You can download "fink" which makes it even simpler. You tell it what to install and it downloads the source, configures the build environment, compiles and installs it.

    I've been a PC guy all my life (well okay after the CPM machines and that Timex Sinclair) annd just (over the last 45 days) replaced both my desktop and laptops.

    I scoffed at them for years but you'll have to pry my 15" 1.25 PB from my cold dead fingers.

    Windows Free in 2003
  14. e-coli macrumors 68000


    Jul 27, 2002
    This is a great reference for using the Mac platform. It will give you pointers for using Mac OS X and Apache, WebDAV, PHP, SendMail, C++, etc.


    The Mac platform is now the most robust platform available for using, developing, tinkering, etc. It will blow you away. It did me.
  15. revenuee macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2003
    A place where i am supreme emporer
    LOL, i've used a simular line, only mine was, " the only way i'll stop using a mac is if i die, and you pry my single button mouse out off my cold lifeless fingers"

    But i'm glad to see that i'm not the only one that would infact rather die use a PC again...
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Since you mentioned that you're a math major, and you're into programming, I just wanted to add that "Matlab" is available on Macs. Its great for large number computations, and it can take integrals and derivatives and return a numerical value. :)
  17. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    The question isn't "What can I do on a Mac?" or "What can't I do on a Mac?" -- the question is "What do I want to do on my Mac?", and the answer is "Yes."

    I'm not a switcher, but since OSX came out I've never really been in a situation of wondering what I could do; I just decide what I want to do and find a way to do it. I rarely buy commercial software--mostly freeware and shareware--and that's never been a problem with what I do.

    If you're into web development, there are your standard big beefy packages like Dreamweaver, and your standard big beefy grapics apps like Photoshop and Illustrator, and of course you can preview pages in Mozilla (same rendering on both platforms), Safari, Windows IE (via VPC), and Opera (native or VPC), all from the same local directory (of course, if you write good code for Mozilla, it'll pretty much work in everything else anyway).

    OSX also has the advantage of having Apache built-in on a standard install, so it's easy to test server-side stuff with very little additional effort. Perl is installed by default, and adding PHP, MySQL, and other goodies is relatively easy.

    I personally write all my code in BBEdit (nice Mac-only GUI text editor), but there are lots and lots of choices starting with emacs.

    Since you're into math, I'd recommend checking out packages like Mathematica (http://www.wolfram.com/) or the spiffy and cheap little data visualization application Kaleidagraph (http://www.synergy.com/)--we use the latter a lot at the research lab I work at.

    Since you're interested in becoming a teacher, get yourself a copy of Apple's Keynote, get good with it, and show all those Powerpoint folks how good a presentation can be.

    If you're into development, start with Apple's XCode (ships free with the OS, which is nice). That'll let you get started in Objective C, which is powerful once you get used to it, and it also includes Applescript Studio, which is a pretty impressive simple application development tool for the beginner.

    As for geeky stuff, you can play around in the command line with whatever *NIX tools you want--since OSX is UNIX, a full compliment of goodies come pre-installed, and you can compile just about anything else you want on your own (I've peronally dabbled with Perl modules, but there are almost unlimited possibilities). If you want to get into graphical UNIX applications via X11 (it's basically a cross-platform graphical shell for cross-platform applications), there's plenty of fun to be had there as well.

    Oh, and there's always iMovie--endless fun to be had there once you get started.

    If you haven't already, I personally recommend going to VersionTracker (http://www.versiontracker.com/) and just doing some searches on whatever strikes your fancy--there are all sorts of fun freeware and shareware apps in there to do just about anything you could want.
  18. ShadowHunter thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2003
    Wow, thanks for the tips everyone!

    What's a good C++ compiler I can start out with on the Mac?
  19. VegetaPunk macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2002
  20. ShadowHunter thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2003
    Really?? Sweet!

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