UK Potential Switcher - Need Some Answers

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Tonerl, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. Tonerl Guest

    I'm in my 60s and have used many computers in my time (IBM and Burroughs mainframes, CP/M desktop, IBM PC, etc). At present, I have a Dell on which I run SuSE Linux 10.1 and, under VMware, Windows XP. Microsoft's stealth 'updates' have worried me, while the most recent Linux versions seem full of bugs.

    I'm ripe for conversion to Mac but have some questions that I haven't seen answered elsewhere. My present thoughts are to get a 24" alu iMac and a MacBook as backup (in case of trouble).

    1 Dell gives me on-site, next day servicing (needed it only once but it worked). How does Apple compare in the UK?

    2 I've read that iPhoto '08 uses a single file to hold all your photos. That causes me some concern. What happens if the file is corrupted? Is there any way to save the photos outside iPhoto '08 for belt-and-braces backup?

    3 The Apple description of Time Machine contains the following: 'Choose any date recorded in Time Machine to set up your new Mac exactly as your previous Mac was on that date.' Would that apply if my iMac failed and I wanted to work on the MacBook?

    4 Is it wise to partition the hard disk in the iMac, separating OS & programs from data, as I do with Windows and Linux?

    Thank you in advance for reading this and for any help you are able and prepared to offer.
  2. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    It doesn't. You'll be waiting closer to a week to get your Mac back. If you have an Apple Store nearby and your machine has Applecare and can be fixed at the store, then it will be quicker - but that is dependent on you having that store.

    It doesn't use a single file. It just bundles all the folders into a single package so that newbie users can't accidentally screw up their Photo Library which used to happen. If you open up that package (by a simple right click and choice from menu), then your images are all there - and you could drag the file over to another hard drive. And Time Machine will also be there working.

    Haven't a clue unfortunately. I'd guess so but then you'd be killing whatever was on your Macbook drive if you restore the settings from a Time Machine backup. If you're really worried, I'd suggest getting an external drive that you can make a bootable backup on (using Superduper or the like). That can be backed up and worked on from any other Mac - and then that full clone can be restored to your returned iMac. Also, unless you really see yourself as unlucky or needing portability too, I'd just buy the iMac to start with. If you are unfortunate enough to lose the use of the iMac and have to take it to the store for a non-immediate fix, then buy the Macbook.

    It generally seems to me to be more trouble that it's worth. The Mac's ability to do Archive & Install allowing me to keep settings and user data while reinstalling system files means that I've never bothered.
  3. CavemanUK macrumors 6502


    Jun 29, 2006
    Rhyl, North Wales
    Agreed. All your data is stored in your home folder which is independant of the OS (ok, your program settings are stored in a library folder in there but its still independant)..

    I find it much easier running one large partition..

    As for falling back to a macbook if your main machine fails.. theres a few ways to achieve this..


    .mac is apples online service that allows you to sync all your email/addresses and so on with an online server that can be also synced back to another machine... This doesnt include documents unfortuntely and they do charge about £80 a year

    second is "Target Disc Mode".. all apple macs have a neat little feature that allows you to turn it into an external hard drive. So as long as your machines powers up, you can plug it into your macbook and copy your files from it.

    Thirdly, Time Machine.. I'm pretty sure you can restore backups from other computers as long as you know the admin password. Backups are pretty useless if your computer dies and you dont have access to the data. I havent seen a 100% confirmation of this but im confident enough to trust my own data that way. If you look at apples support pages it mentions that you "choose your backup" from your backup drive when restoring.

    Another solution is a program called Picnic (cant remember the supplier).. this program allows you to sync any folders you like whenever the 2 macs are on the same network.

    ..what I would say though is you dont really have to worry as much as you do with PCs.. Mac's tend to be very reliable overall. Im sure your aware that all forums never represent the true percentage of people with problems because people with problems seek out forums!
  4. drlunanerd macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2004
    And this is where Apple seriously fall down. Like you I've been using computers for a long time. I've used the hardware support services of various tier-one companies many times and I'd have to say Apple are the worst for speed of resolution. Dell, HP etc. beat them hands down (not that they're perfect, far from it).

    The super-annoying thing is that you can't even pay them huge amounts of money to improve their service - it's one-size-fits-all (apart from with the XServe), which is useless if your job is on the line when your Apple hardware fails. And no, AppleCare and ProCare don't solve the problem. It's a good idea to own at least 2 Macs if you rely on computers :rolleyes:

    Having said that in a home environment I wouldn't let it put you off switching. In a business I'd get a priority support contract from an Apple Reseller, as it's the only way to get close to what Dell offer AFAIK, but then they're still at the mercy of Apple's sometimes atrocious spare parts availability and less than ideal hardware servicing designs.
  5. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    From what I understand about Time Machine, not that would not apply across machines. You might be able to completely wipe the second machine with a restore from Time Machine (assuming large enough drives etc), but you could not (unless there are features in there I've not heard about) just restore a single file to a different machine.
  6. stomer macrumors 6502a

    Apr 2, 2007
    Leeds, UK
    I'd just add that you can choose whether your photos are stored within the iPhoto Library or externally.
    If you choose not to have you photos stored within the iPhoto Library, then iPhoto just creates alias with its library that point to those external photos. By external, I mean outside from the iPhoto library.
    So you can keep your photos where they are currently stored.
  7. stomer macrumors 6502a

    Apr 2, 2007
    Leeds, UK
    Well, from Apple's site: "Browse Other Time Machine Disks
    Browse other Time Machine disks with your Mac. Just plug in the drive and your Mac will recognize the Time Machine backup volume, even if it has backed up a different Mac."
    Not sure if this means that you can *restore* files using Time Machine, but you'd definitely be able to browse the files using finder and restore files manually.
  8. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Awesome :D
  9. Tonerl thread starter Guest

    UK Potential Switcher, etc

    Thank you all for replying.

    Having used PCs since the 80s, I have had only 2 failures: on a Dell, the video card had to be replaced (it was, next day); on an Evesham (UK brand), the motherboard (an Asus) had to be replaced (that took a week). Thus, in my experience, PCs from reputable manufacturers are very reliable. In the distant past, I had the odd 'freeze' but that hasn't happened since Windows XP came out - nor has it happened in Linux. A key consideration in moving, therefore, is that both the machine and its OS be ultra-reliable and be backed by a good service organization for its useful life.

    I do manual archiving weekly to DVD and to an external HDD. In both cases, the files are readable by almost any computer (ISO9660 and FAT32, respectively).

    My photos are stored in folders labelled according to place, with subfolders labelled according to date. I know exactly where my pix are!

    On the other hand, I really like what I've seen of Leopard: it would certainly make my life easier and looks fun, as well! An all-in-one would enable me to rearrange my study and reduce the tangle of wires.

    Decisions, decisions!
  10. Shaduu macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2007
    I don't know what kind of photographer you are but have you had a look at Aperture instead of iPhoto? It might be more suited to your needs.

Share This Page