willing to switch, but.. [graduate/law school]

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by thisisvb, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. thisisvb macrumors newbie


    Jun 11, 2006
    Hey guys,

    I've done most of my research and am now convinced regarding my switch. I've decided on a 15" macbook pro, but everyone I speak to points out numerous potential problems that I could/will face.

    My biggest concern: I'll be going back to school (for my mba) and everybody is suggesting that I stick to using a PC since most universities don't *officially* support mac.

    Recently, I again heard that I'd have problems connecting to an existing wireless network at school and would further face trouble while setting up a wireless printer. I'm also told that when I use mail, others would receive certain files (that are totally blank and thus unnecessary) as attachments??

    PLEASE HELP!! could someone who's using a mac for law school/graduate school comment??

  2. hacksaw-C87 macrumors regular

    Jan 12, 2009
    Birmingham England
    I've got a friend at law school (albeit in the UK) using a Mac and he says he has no problems. I don't understand how they couldn't 'support' a Mac. They may not support certain file formats (i.e. pages) but you can save all your word processing in PC-friendly format. Are there law-specific programs that you need to run that wont run on a Mac? Don't forget you an always run windows via VmWare/Parallels or Boot Camp.

    What exactly are you concerned that they will not support? I'm currently an undergraduate at a 'PC' University in the UK and there's never been a problem, Macs use all the same power outlets as PCs, so it's not as if I can't use it on campus if I want to. I think you'll be fine!

    EDIT: My apologies, I've just re-read your post and missed you concern about the wireless network. I've never had any problems- in fact- I took mine to the library just last week and they set up the wireless network with no problems whatsoever on my Macbook.

    I've never set up a wireless printer so I'm afraid I can't help there.
  3. Norco macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    The most important thing to know is if they use any specialty Windows programs. Otherwise its all just fear tactics. A wireless network doesn't care if you have a PC, Mac, or ipod.

    I'd imagine the universities out there who officially support Apple computers are far and few. The good thing is OS X is pretty solid, so you won't need the kind of support your fellow Windows counterparts have. Regardless, when you buy a new Mac you get 90 days phone support, so in the event that you need it, it's there.
  4. schizoidwoman macrumors regular

    Jan 12, 2009
    On top of a steep hill in West Yorkshire.
    I work in a uni in the UK and use my MacBook here virtually every day and I have never had any problems with the wireless network. I have been able to set up a wireless printer too but that's probably something it's worth checking with the institution.

    I have experienced the blank file attachements from a colleague who uses a MBP but he's the only one who manages to do that and I suspect it's something to do with him rather than the MBP since there are three others in use and it doesn't happen with any of them!
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Simply put, this is false.

    Doubtful, as long as you're in range.

    Shouldn't be that much different than setting up a normal printer.

  6. ditzy macrumors 68000


    Sep 28, 2007
    I don't think that you will have any problems. I've found that macs connect to wireless networks easier than PC's do.
    Plus if worst come to worst, which I don't think it will, you could bootcamp windows, which would mean you had a PC anyway.
  7. Jordashebasics macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2007
    My wife is a 3rd year law student, and has been using a mac since her 2nd year began.

    The network that she connects to does have certain issues, because they rely on certificates. None of those issues were related to her using a mac.

    She has had difficulty with one printer in particular, but most of them she hasn't had any problems with. The only one she did was a fairly fancy printer that the law review had. And her problem was only that leopard's update somehow messed with the compatibility, so it wasn't able to handle all of the fancier commands.

    The extra files that get mailed out are not a function of operating system or mail program. We get them all the time using the school's mail system, and it's a function of their mail server. My messages sent using outlook at work also have that little file as well.

    Ultimately, the students who have been working on macs at the school haven't had many problems in comparison to those using windows machines. Some of the windows users have been lucky, but a fair amount of them got too sluggish after about a year and a half of use.

    This is something to consider - if you buy a macbook, you're likely to be using it for the entire time in school, plus a few years. If you buy another laptop, unless you get a very, very high end one, you'll be using it for - at best - around 2, 2.5 years.

    The learning curve is a little annoying, but it only takes about a week. Get it before classes start, and it'll be fine.
  8. yoppie macrumors 6502a

    Oct 19, 2007
    I'm currently a third-year law student and I've been using my MacBook since 1L year. There's a lot of students here that use macs and there hasn't been too many problems (that I know of). I have Windows XP installed through boot camp but the only time I log into that side is during exam period. Our school uses examsoft and it's Windows only. Other than that, the mac has been perfect.

    Check with your school and see if they support mac using students. Also, if you haven't already, check out the site maclawstudents.com. Lots of useful info there.
  9. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    Given the number of Macs on lots of campuses these days, I'd be very surprised to find a school that doesn't support them. Mine didn't support wireless printing in the libraries until recently, but that's about it...

    Install Parallels or Bootcamp and you'll be able to do anything.
  10. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    I don't know a university that doesn't "support" mac.
    That's news to me. I've successfully connected to many wireless networks with Windows, OSX, and Linux. I've never had a problem.
    I've never set up a wireless printer, but adding an already established network printer couldn't be simpler in OSX.
    I've never seen this happen. I don't use mail; you aren't compelled to use mail either.
    FWIW, I'm in graduate school. Honestly though, anyone could help you with those questions.
  11. robo456 macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2008
    New Jersey
    I might be wrong about this one, but I have a feeling this might be people who use "stationary" for a background or use a picture as a signature file. I see that all the time at work and I use Microsoft Outlook 2002 (Office XP).

  12. thisisvb thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jun 11, 2006
    Thanks for your feedback guys! certainly helpful.. @norco, I don't know of any specialist windows programs as yet, but I've def heard of examsoft before (@yoppie) and I know it's used widely.

    I always planned to install XP via parallels and never through bootcamp. However, now I have a couple of questions regarding bootcamp.

    First, if I've already installed windows through parallels, can I install windows again via bootcamp? Is it recommended? will the separate dual installation cause a problem?

    Second, is it better to install windows via bootcamp and then use that via parallels? Again, I'm just trying to understand the diff b/w using xp through parallels and using bootcamp-xp via parallels? which is recommended?

    what if I want to uninstall bootcamp?

  13. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    AFAIK, yes, you can install Windows under Parallels and Bootcamp without any troubles.

    As to which is better: Windows will run faster under Bootcamp, period. Parallels runs in conjunction with OSX, so the computer is splitting resources between the two. If you've got lots of RAM and/or aren't doing anything intensive in Windows, it won't be a big deal. But if you were working with CAD software or gaming (for example), you'd want to be using Bootcamp.

    Thw downside to Bootcamp, obviously, is that it requires rebooting. From the sounds of it, you should be able to use Parallels for all of your Windows needs. Don't forget your school will have computer labs if you ever run into something you need Windows for that your Mac for some reason can't handle... but I can't imagine that situation occuring often, if it all.

    I run Parallels on my first-gen BlackBook with 2GB of RAM, and it's perfectly servicable. I suggest turning off all the eye candy in Windows to speed things up, but otherwise it's fine.
  14. scienide09 macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    Just to agree with other posters, you should have no trouble using your Mac. Any university that respects its students and wants to protect its reputation will have some support for Macs. And as most have noted, the points raised are either unrelated to the platform, or just irrelevant.

    I'm using a Mac through my current grad school program. My wife used her's through her grad program, and that was 6 years ago.
  15. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    You can install both in parallels and bootcamp, but what a waste of space! Plus you'd probably need two license keys. Bootcamp will require you to reboot your computer to use windows, and then it will run as a native windows box (because it is one at that point!). Parallels (or VMware or VirtualBox) will run windows at near native speeds. This is usually sufficient for most programs, just don't expect to play any graphics intensive games or do any CAD work. What do you need windows to run? Running a virtual machine will likely be enough, and its nice to simultaneously work on OSX too.

  16. yoppie macrumors 6502a

    Oct 19, 2007
    You do not need two keys for boot camp and Parallels. Only one key is needed.

    If you're going to have boot camp and a virtual machine (VM) solution, it's better to install boot camp first and then install Parallels/VM Fusion because the VM will automatically detect the boot camp partition, there will be nothing for you to do besides opening it.

    Also, if your grad program uses Examsoft or any other Windows only exam program, in order to use your mac, you're going to have to install boot camp. Parallels and VM Fusion is not allowed for the exam software because the software needs to lock down your computer to keep you from accessing the internet or any other application on your computer. It can't lock down your computer if you're using Windows through a virtual machine so that's a no-no and will be considered cheating if you're found out.

    If you go with the mac (I hope you do), install boot camp on a small space and be done with it. You can then install Parallels or VM Fusion and let it read from there without worrying about a "waste of space," if you're so inclined. This way, you'll have the best of both worlds and you'll be able to stay within the rules and boot into Windows properly (boot camp) when exam period roll around.
  17. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    Ahhh, I forgot that Parallels can boot off of a bootcamp partition. That is a good way to go then! You won't be wasting space and you won't need two keys.
  18. miggitymac macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2009
    Test out your University's signal by bringing a friend's or family member's Mac to the school and see if you have any issues connecting. And ask the school whether there are any specific programs/software that you'll be required to use (i.e. ask them if they use Examsoft).

    I'm not sure what people told you about using Mail and getting blank attachments, but I regularly use Mail to send Office documents to people on PCs and haven't had any issues so far. And like someone else pointed out, you can always stick to Gmail/Hotmail/etc...
  19. MuDPHuDStudent macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2009
    Hanover, NH
    I'm doing both med school and a PhD in engineering and my 2.4 unibody macbook is great for both. Actually, macs (at least at my school) are better for med school because many of the PCs have trouble viewing some powerpoint images when the presentation was made on a mac. Since every lecture in med school was ppt and half the lecturers had macs, that made for a painful time for a lot of the pc users.

    The mac also does a great job with all the engineering software I need to use (especially matlab).

    If you really need to, as others have said, you can always just use bootcamp/fusions to boot into Windows and use your macbook as a windows machine.
  20. longball11 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2009
    Im hoping to go to Grad school and will be in the same situation but this is good to hear. I didn't know about any of this stuff. One thing, where do I get bootcamp?
  21. kmaute macrumors 6502


    Oct 5, 2008
    Law school shouldn't be difficult, just a small bootcamp partition for examsoft and your golden. It's a stupid piece of software that accomplishes very little except inhibiting productivity. Google ExamSoft and you'll see how easy it is to circumvent. But nevertheless, gotta play by the rules...

    Now, some grad school programs require specialty software that can be a pain. I had to install bootcamp to run SAS for one of my classes, virtualizing it was difficult and the software would often crash when running intensive routines - particularly anything with a loop. Once bootcamp was installed, no big deal. You may want to install a bootcamp partition regardless just as an emergency tool. Last minute projects and idiots for group members can put a serious damper on cross-platform compatibility and sometimes you'll just need to bite the bullet and conform.
  22. DiamondMac macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2006
    Washington, D.C.
    I recently did work at a local Law School with my Mac and had ZERO problems with wireless and printer connections.

    I did run into a problem running a program for their finals on my Mac but if you ever run into that problem, just use BootCamp and your problem is done.
  23. yoppie macrumors 6502a

    Oct 19, 2007
    Boot camp comes with Leopard. It's free. You only need to have a Windows disc.
  24. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    No problems running my MBP at my grad school.
  25. davidwarren macrumors 6502a

    Aug 28, 2007
    I graduated from law school last spring with my MacBook. Didn't have any trouble- and we used exam4 which had a mac version, and we used something else before that which also had a mac version, I think it was examsoft. Most of the tech guys there ran macs.

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