Some questions about Macs

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by marine610610, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. marine610610 macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2007
    About 2 months ago i had the chance to use a MBP that a buddy brought to work and i was very impressed with the whole experience. Seeing as how my wife is starting college and she already knows windows, i figure its a good time for me to get my own laptop. (I also purchased an Ipod Nano and was impressed with that, the halo effect apple talks about is absolutely true.) Anyway i have a couple of questions that im sure the members on here can help me with.

    1.) I love the white Macbooks, but my wife keeps saying she thinks they will show a ton of dirt? Is that true? Easy to clean?

    2.) I have worked in the IT sector since i was 17 (25 now) but i don't have much experience with Macs, what is the learning curve like? Will your average guy be able to jump on it and do ok with college work?

    3.) For any of you have taken online courses, did you have any problems with your Mac working with the college software? (Blackboard etc...)

    4.)Do most of you even bother with anti-virus/ad-ware type software on your macs?

    5.) When Apple realeases a new version of their OS, do they generally upgrade the hardware on their machines as well? Im waiting for leopard either way... i will stick it out with an old desktop until it does come out.

    Anyway if anyone could help me out with these questions, i would appreciate it. After using my buddies Mac for a couple of hours i was so impressed by it, i just cannot understand how windows has the market. Thanks ahead of time for the help.

  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    1.) My white MacBook is still clean, but the trackpad is showing some wear.

    2.) The hardest part is using common sense, rather than using your past experiences with Windows. You'll find that OS X is much simpler and intuitive. ...You shouldn't have any problems. Plus, there are always your friends over at MacRumors who are willing to help. :)

    3.) Can't help you much here. You should check with the software manufacturer for OS compatibility. Plus, there's always BootCamp if you need Windows.

    4.) Not needed unless your running Windows. Then you'll need anti-virus for your Windows partition (but it is completely unnecessary for OS X).

    5.) Because it has been so long since Apple's last hardware update, it is somewhat likely that Apple will update their hardware with the release of Leopard.
  3. Aniej macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2006
    1.) No they will not show a ton of dirt, but can, like all laptops you touch, show a bit of dirt. This is easy to clean with just a damp micro-fiber cloth and very mild cleaning solution.

    2.) Honestly, my girlfriend who does not know computers very well just got a macbook and she feels very comfortable with it after 1 week. I generally tell people within 5-7 days on it you will feel very comfortable using it. within 3-4 weeks depending on your knowledge and use, you will feel in complete control over every basic application included on your computer.

    3.) Not a single problem at all in terms on accessing material online. Only issue is sometimes, but very rarely, you might need firefox.

    4.)I actually do just because I like the reassurance, but it is not critical. The point is, Mac use is increasing and with it is sure to come the potential for attacks and vulnerabilities.

    5.) No. There is no direct correlation between the OS release and an upgrade in the hardware. However the somewhat of the opposite is true, i.e., when they release a new OS, any Mac that ships after the release date will include 10.5 with it. That's not really the opposite, but you get the point.
  4. mpw Guest

    Jun 18, 2004
    1.) You're wife worries too much. I won't tell you what I've spilt onto my white MacBook, but it's fairly easy to clean.

    2.) I know a 3year old who managed to figure out by themselves how to print to a network printer wirelessly, along with saving and finding files they made. The simply stuff really is that simple, even I can use it!

    3.) I used it with Blackboard with no problems, even though the college said I 'needed' XP, I failed the course however.

    4.) No, never have and never had a problem *touches wood* **decides touching wood feels nice, but isn't appropriate in a family restaurant**

    5.) Never really noticed, I go for the hardware first, but upgrade OSs as and when they turn-up.
  5. BengalDuck macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2006
    I have a powerbook (before the intel almost 2 years old) and it's not too dirty. Keyboard gets a little dirty, but that's easy to clean. The biggest problem I have is dust, so there really isn't a problem, period.

    I'm a student, and everything works flawlessly with Blackboard and everything else that I use as a student. I took a computer class and the one program I can't run is MS Access (not made with the Mac:Office)... and I'm not sure if you need that, but it's easier to run on Intel Macs because of Boot Camp/Parallels.

    No, but maybe I should. I've *knock on wood* never had a problem.

    I've only been a "switcher for shy of two years but I've seen a lot of hardware updates before I have seen a new OS. The one thing I have noticed is that a lot of new hardware comes out just after school starts (so right around October). I believe I missed the new intel macs by about two months because of this...

    Trust me, it'll be the best decision of your life.
  6. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    1.) You can get a case for the outside. Speck has some nice ones. You can also get hand rests and keyboard protectors pretty cheap. But unless you're a heavy smoker or type with greezy fingers, you should be fine.

    My iMac is still almost white as new, despite being several years old, but not the same I guess.

    2.) Average, yes. If you know a little about Windows, you may need to unlearn some things. Surprisingly, once you think about it, OS X is actually more intuitive. Windows is very unintuitive. But you get used to doing things in Windows. If you can't adjust, there is 3rd party software like Witch (free) and others to modify things.

    3.) Never had a problem myself, but I use FireFox. My gf had some issues, but it barely worked in IE, let alone IE 7. Personally, I think it was a user issue (but don't tell her I said that). If nothing else, there's always Bootcamp, Parallels, or VMWare.

    4.) No antivirus, no antispyware, but there are options if you're worried.

    5.) Sometimes. Usually. But Leopard probably won't be here until June. That's about the time the Santa Rosa chipset will be out, and there should be some new machines coming.
  7. marine610610 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2007
    Thank you much for the help! Im sure after i do buy it ill be on here asking a lot of questions about how to do things. Thanks again fellas...
  8. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

    Nov 17, 2004
    The Msp
    Just on #1 there, I'd recommend the Marware protection pack, as it covers the wrist area where you're most likely to get dirt and wear. Plus, they come in black or white!
  9. richard4339 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2006
    The others have all been answered to death, but there is one thing I will tell you. As far as college software, I'm a computer science student, and I've had a little trouble using Macs over Windows, in the sense that my university has a contract with dell, so all of our labs use Dell computers and Windows XP. So, because of that, all the software we use in our courses is designed for Windows.

    So, while there are usually programs for the Mac that will do the same things, it does get difficult when taking a C++ course and they're teaching you everything for Visual Studio, you have to use TextMate. When they're going over UML and use Visual Paradigm, you have to go get the Mac version which has a completely different UI.

    You can do everything on a Mac that you can do on a PC, its just that sometimes you have to go about it in a slightly different way, and thats where it can get interesting.

    Of course, if you install Parallels or Boot camp, all these issues go away!
  10. marine610610 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2007
    This was going to be my next question of course....thx.

    Wont the new Macs come with Boot Camp? Is there a comparison on which one is better (Parallels/Boot Camp) ?
  11. polevault139 macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2006
    Leopard is supposed to have Boot Camp already installed. As of now Boot Camp is better if you need more intensive programs, but if you want to run just basic programs Parallels should work fine.

    So if you only need to run a few simple appliations Parallels is better but if you need to run some graphically intense programs Boot Camp is your better option.
  12. shikimo macrumors 6502

    Jan 17, 2007
    Lyon, France
    Just a couple details to go with the excellent advice already posted:

    1) While I had no trouble with my white laptop getting dirty, the case did seem to scratch rather easily. You had to look at just the right angle to see them and they didn't bother me at all, but they were there nonetheless (Hopefully the rat-bastard in eastern France who stole it isn't too offended by the scratches either :eek: )

    2) Myself and others find the Mac OS to be more 'intuitive' than Windows, which is tricky to define, but I think it comes down to trying not to think in parallel to Windows right after you switch. You will have some bumps and bruises, but I think the learning curve is very, very steep; you will be swimming in the deep end in no time.

    3) [nothing to add]

    4) I say better safe than sorry; we all know how rare dangerous Mac-attacking viruses are, but why risk it? Besides, as a student there is a good chance you have free access to antivirus software and other protective goodies. I keep mine active even though it's probably not necessary.

    5) The connection between OS releases and hardware releases is mysterious, difficult to pin down and the subject of many many threads on this site. No matter what you may read, no one really knows jack about what's coming out or when...which is of course half the fun :cool: .

    Good luck, have fun, and get ready to enjoy your computing in a whole new way. Macs aren't problem free the way some Mac lovers would have you believe, but OS X is magnificent, the hardware (always) looks and (almost always) works great, and it feels good to not be locked into Windows anymore. Now, with Boot Camp and Parallels there's just no reason to stay with next Mac will run Leopard alongside Linux and I will have everything I ever wanted from my home system.
  13. MacbookSwitcher macrumors 6502


    Mar 13, 2007
    The White Macbook will get dirty slowly over time. I have a keyboard protector as well as thin plastic protectors over my trackpad and track buttons.

    Overall, it's a great machine that you'll love. Hook it up to a big monitor like me :)
  14. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    Depending upon the makeup of your skin and skin oil, there are still reports of them staining. Buyer beware.

    With access to MacRumors, I switched in January 2006 and NEVER found myself stuck for more than a few minutes. This community is like having thousands of personal tutors and the response is almost immediate. This forum is the most valuable resource I had as a switcher.

    Parallels runs the very fussy HASP-locked software that I have to use for school.

    I did at first, and all I ever found were Windows viruses...and lots of them.

    There may be a bump. Don't expect the Intel Santa Rosa upgrade to be actually shipping until July.
  15. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    3. I have never been able to get LearnKey to work, but I don't know about Blackboard.
  16. TechHistorian macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Ivory Tower
    You should have no trouble with Blackboard whatsoever. I've taught classes using Blackboard and had no issues. Safari interfaces with Blackboard just fine.
  17. uaaerospace macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2005
    I work in the technical support department for the University of Alabama's College of Continuing Studies. We offer support for WebCT, Blackboard, and Desire2Learn courses. The only problem we have encountered with Macs is an incapability with our Mediasite lecture viewer (uses WMV) and the Flip4Mac software. There is a workaround for this though, so honestly you should be fine taking online courses with a Mac.

  18. PCMacUser macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    On (2), all I can say is that some things in OS X are easy and great, but other things are so irritating and awkward compared with Windows XP. But overall it's worth having had the experience of learning both systems. At home I spend about 50% on each of my PC and Mac laptops. The Mac I use for email, Internet and music, and the PC I use for work and games.
  19. queshy macrumors 68040


    Apr 2, 2005
    To answer 3), blackboard works fine on my imac. The learning curve was like 5 minutes for me...a few days later I was using all the shortcuts, etc. It's really easy to use. imo, the best thing about the mac is the tight integration it offers with the software it comes with. youll also be surprised that anything you plug into it literally"just works".

    BTW: How do you quote just a piece of Dennis' post? (and not the whole thing)
  20. shikimo macrumors 6502

    Jan 17, 2007
    Lyon, France
    You can delete any part of a quoted post as long as you don't delete any of the information in brackets before and after the quote. These are the commands that tell the user interface program to format what's in between them as a quote and not as ordinary text in the input box.
  21. sturigdson macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2006
    1. I have a MBP, but I've had several white ibooks. They're not too difficult to clean, but the cases do get hairline scratches over time- it's normal wear and tear, I feel.
    2. I think the best advice I've heard for someone moving from XP to Mac is to try not to think about what you did in XP, but rather try to think of what you want the computer to do. The shortcuts and terminology are just different enough that you'll pick it up in a breeze if you think about what you want to achieve ["I need to copy and paste"] instead of how you went about it ["I need to Control-C this text"]. That way you can look it up in the OSX help file, and actually learn it without complicating things too much. OSX is easy, but there are things that you do by habit in any operating system that it will do differently.
    3. Never used school software... sorry...
    4. I don't use this stuff on my home systems because it seems kind of redundent/unnecessary. We do, however, use Norton at the school labs I monitor- In the past 2 years on our very-high-traffic open network of some 30 macs, we've had one outbreak of a "virus" in word documents that caused some headaches.
      People would open a .doc file and it would become corrupted and unreadable after a short period of time. Thing was, this was actually a windows virus. While it would corrupt the .doc file in our macs, it couldn't propagate, and so it was contained to that computer. Norton successfully eradicated it from that computer.
      Of course- if you're using Windows on Parallel or BootCamp, you're open to every vulnerability in windows, so you'll definitely want to consider anti-virus software.
    5. Some of the other comments kind of gloss over the fact that, while there are no formal ties between OS upgrades and hardware upgrades [i.e. when an OS upgrade comes hardware automatically is upgraded to match it], Apple tends to upgrade software and hardware relatively closely to one another. Just seems to work out that way.

    Good luck! Enjoy the macs!!

Share This Page