Opinions, experiences sought on Mac computers....

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Margo_C-T

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I am being urged to get a Mac computer by my son, a Ph.D. who is also very 'computer-knowledgable'. A good friend who uses computers in her work also recently went over to a Mac on the advice of an IT tech we both know(he is the one I got my wonderful Dobie from; his job is as an IT at at high level; we are all part of a circle of friends/acquaintances)...and she loves the Mac, now that she is used to it! Another old friend, a very sharp/smart gal who actually used to do a lot of computer work for AMHA, has ALWAYS touted the Mac, going back well over 15 yrs. now.So....for those of you who use them, what do you think, and what would you advise? I do NOT know much @ computers, and my uses are pretty basic, and will likely continue to be. I know that I want to get a higher-speed internet (finally available in my rural area at a price I can afford, it now seems)...not the very fastest speed, but a huge improvement over dial-up, I'm told. I would like to be able to watch videos, and not wait FOREVER for most things to download, mostly...just not have EVERYTHING I do, including downloading my emails, take so long! I have MSN as my ISP, and have since early '99, when I got my first computer(not that I would not be open to changing the ISP!).

I do know that Macs are more expensive than PCs; but have been saving, and do think I could manage one soon. I like the advantages I've heard about them.

All input appreciated, In advance!

Margo
 
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Charley

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I just recently switched both my home computer and my laptop and bought Apples. I also had to buy all new software. Most things are the same but some keys for shortcuts in some programs are different. I haven't found anything that I can't do on my Mac computers that I did routinely on my pc. It has been well worth the change. They don't give me the blue screen of death or lock up and it boots up much faster. So far so good.

Lois
 

ohmt

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Macs are wonderful-all my university has now too which is wonderful. It does take time to learn to use it if you've only ever used a pc. They're frustrating for a couple of weeks and then once you've got it down you'll never go back to a pc again
 

ozymandias

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You can't go wrong with a MAC!!!! I'm a HUGE fan (that and my ipod and iphone lol) They both get the job done...just think of it as getting there in a Maserati vs a bicycle.
 

Rhondaalaska

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I have both and I don't see any difference in boot up or download time between them.

I do know that I can't use the same programs on the Mac that I use on the pc. I like the mac I use it more for

Mac based programs and photography and my pc for my pc based programs. It just depends on what you want to use the computer for. I do use both computers, as well as my iPad . I would research both options and decide which one fits you best.
 

Sterling

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Love them. I would not go back to a PC if they paid me. Think of it as a little adjusting to when you do get it, because it's so much simpler. There is a program you can download called Bootcamp which enables you to install Windows on your Mac. I have it and have to say I never use it.
 

susanne

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Margo, I've been a diehard Mac user since 1989. I adore my Mac -- it is truly my left hand (I'm a lefty) and it is a seamless extension of my brain (now, THAT is scary!).

After starting on Mac, I have since also become comfortable on the PC.

The major difference between the two (for me, at least) is that Macs are more intuitive and right-brained, more like pencil on paper, whereas the PC is left-brained and more analytical. The Mac is visual, the PC is literal (even though its graphical interface would appear to be the same.

Today almost any software is available for either and do the same things, so it's really a matter of how you work. For example, graphic designers, who work in concepts and deep right-brain mode, typically prefer Macs, while web developers who think in code and function in more of an analytical left-brain mode, more typically use a PC. Photographers lean toward Macs, while accountants and financial folk almost always insist on a PC. Creative writers prefer Mac, while technical writers are more likely to use a PC. People who love jumping into things, sink or swim, tend to be Mac users; those who read manuals first and like precise directions are more likely PC users. Those who improvise when they cook will probably prefer a Mac; those who insist on following the recipe at all times will likely prefer a PC. None of this is absolute, but rather what is more typical.

Both Mac and PC are great computers -- as much as the Mac is perfect for me, it is not the absolute choice for everyone. You want to go with the computer system that you enjoy, are comfortable with, and are best able do what you want and need to do. Your son certainly knows you better than I do, but be certain he's thinking of what is best for you rather than what he prefers for himself.

Anyone can use either platform, but switching from one to the other always takes adjustment. If you've used a PC for a long time, you almost certainly will have some measure of discomfort until you shift into the way the Mac "thinks." When I first started working on a Mac (I had never used a computer before), I asked what NOT to do (what would break it, lol) and then dove in and explored. I still think this is a great way to start.

Good luck, and have fun!
 
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vvf

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I bought a Mac 3 yrs ago... It was a bit of a learning curve and I did take an hour class that the store offered.. After I bought the Mac, both our daughters each bought a Mac and love them.. Personally, I will never buy another PC
 

Charley

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When I first switched to the Mac, I bought Parallels so I could run my windows based programs. I found it awkward and soon uninstalled Parallels and sold it and all my windows software and bought new software for my Mac. Now I am happy. I was not happy switching back and forth between the Mac and the Parallels.

Lois
 
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Matthijs

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I bought a macbook air about a year and a half ago after years of using windows based machines. I now only still use the pc for my quickbooks program to do my book keeping and invoicing.

The macbook air ( I have the smaller I think it is 11") is so small that i do not need a desk and can do all my reading and social computing in a comfortable chair.

I think only if you need very specific programs that one can only get for the one of the other that will determine what route to go. For example photography and design things you have more professional programs available for the mac and like my bookkeeping and invoicing pc has more software available.

As mentioned before the mac is faster on startup the macbook air is almost instant and you do not need any anti virus software, that is a biggie as that really slows your pc down.

Matthijs
 

kristen_tg

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As mentioned before the mac is faster on startup the macbook air is almost instant and you do not need any anti virus software, that is a biggie as that really slows your pc down.
Here you're quite wrong. Due to Macs' popularity viruses are indeed out there for them. The only reason Macs didn't "need" antivirus is because they were such a small % of the market nobody bothered writing big nasties for them. That's changing. Rapidly.

For example photography and design things you have more professional programs available for the mac and like my bookkeeping and invoicing pc has more software available.
This is also not true. If anything, there are fewer programs for Mac.

Margo-

Your choice of operating system isn't going to speed up your download speeds any signifcant degree. That's limited by your ISP and the actual "wire" your connection is coming in on.

I have no dog in this fight. I did Mac tech support for years, I use PCs that run Linux and my whole office runs Windows.

My parents LOVE their Macs. My sister adores hers. A lot of people adore their Macs. I know tons of folks who love their Macs. I also know a ton of folks who have been disappointed and outright enraged. Here's what I've learned:

1) You get less hardware for the money. With a Mac, part of what you're paying for is the brand, the pretty package and the experience. Dollar to dollar and component to component, you get LESS "engine" for MORE money. I know that for a lot of people they are perfectly pleased with this, the hardware is fully adequate for their needs and they'll pay for the pretty. Heck, we're horsepeople, right? White socks don't make the horse any better, but man, I will pay a little more for chrome just because I love it!

I know I think my father's Air is just beautiful. I would love to have a laptop that looked like that. It's gorgeous. And I find his stories of how he'll be flying around the world, his prescious Air will (on occasion) have a problem and he'll just go to the nearest Apple store (except when he's in say... Honduras) and viola, problem solved. I'm like "Wow, Dad, that's so epic." Because, frankly, that IS pretty epic.

2) Depending on where you buy it you may NOT be able to just take it to any Apple Store and have them fix it. Choose your vendor very, very, VERY carefully. If you want to buy it for the full Mac experience you probably want to buy it directly from Apple, and not through another retailer. This may end up costing you more. I know a few poor souls who purchased their Mac from a certain vendor only to find out that Apple transferred warranty service to said vendor.

2b) If you live in a very rural area with no Apple store nearby for that vaunted Apple service, then you have to consider if the Apple experience is even something you'd get to... you know, experience!

3) Lack of upgradability (is that even a word)? Now this isn't a problem for a lot of people because they run screaming at the idea of opening up their computer case and touching anything (even though in today's day and age I kind of think that being able to put in RAM sticks or change a harddrive is as necessary to know as how to change a tire...) but it's worth noting. With my PCs I can increase their useful lifespan by upgrading components. The three easiest components to upgrade are frequently the three that dramatically increase performance and lifespan: memory, video card and harddrive. Whole new computer? Not necessary. Mac doesn't make this very easy to do. It can be done, but well... it's just easier and cheaper with a PC.
 

MajorClementine

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I won't by anything but a Mac. I do a lot of photos and you can't surpass a Mac for that. They have come a long way as far as being user friendly. IMO you get what you pay for. My FIL bought a "non-Mac" (dell or something) 5 years ago. He is already on his second one. I urged him to get a Mac but he didn't want to spend that much. His first computer crashed 3 years later. His second one is starting to have "glitches" after 2 years. The computer I am typing this on is a MacBook that I bought used from my brother at the same time my FIL bought his first one. This computer was already 3 years old. So it's 8 now and I have never had it crash on me. Never froze up on me. And I don't have to pay for virus software. I realize that there is Mac malwear out there but OS X has it's own pretty good filter and I try to be smart about what I open or upload. Also the best anti-virus for Mac is free and doesn't slow your computer down to snail speed.

My parents just got a new Mac after having their old iMac for 15 years! It was still working great but my dad decided it was time for an upgrade. The old one is still up and running and the grandkids do school reports or browse the internet on it. You won't regret buying a Mac you'll just wonder what took you so long
 
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kristen_tg

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My parents just got a new Mac after having their old iMac for 15 years! It was still working great but my dad decided it was time for an upgrade. The old one is still up and running and the grandkids do school reports or browse the internet on it. You won't regret buying a Mac you'll just wonder what took you so long
Really? They have a functioning first generation iMac? You have no idea how lucky they are. LOL. That's sort of like having a Corvair that still runs.

When that paticular model came out the school I went to/worked for sold TONS of them to students because they were so cheap, they came in various colors and fit into small dorm rooms. I can't tell you how many we junked as lemons, or not worth fixing because they'd break in such glorious fashions. I could tell you some great stories.


My thesis was typed on a 1994 era Performa 475 and 1986 Mac SE. I still have both and both still run. But they're exceptions. And your iMac is a HUGE exception. They were plagued with problems. Is it orange, by chance? Because I rarely saw the "topaz" ones that needed fixing. Never knew if it was just happenstance or if they were made in different factories or something....
 

susanne

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My old G4, purchased in 2000, is still going strong as my backup/secondary file storage. I used it for 11 years before getting my MacBook Pro. I've always been very demanding of my Macs and only had problems with the G4 in the past couple of years. Same things with my LaCie monitor...it was purchased in 1999. A couple of years back I called LaCie with a question, and they couldn't believe it was still working.
 

BigDogs & LittleHorses

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Margo, I've been a diehard Mac user since 1989. I adore my Mac -- it is truly my left hand (I'm a lefty) and it is a seamless extension of my brain (now, THAT is scary!).

After starting on Mac, I have since also become comfortable on the PC.

The major difference between the two (for me, at least) is that Macs are more intuitive and right-brained, more like pencil on paper, whereas the PC is left-brained and more analytical. The Mac is visual, the PC is literal (even though its graphical interface would appear to be the same.

Today almost any software is available for either and do the same things, so it's really a matter of how you work. For example, graphic designers, who work in concepts and deep right-brain mode, typically prefer Macs, while web developers who think in code and function in more of an analytical left-brain mode, more typically use a PC. Photographers lean toward Macs, while accountants and financial folk almost always insist on a PC. Creative writers prefer Mac, while technical writers are more likely to use a PC. People who love jumping into things, sink or swim, tend to be Mac users; those who read manuals first and like precise directions are more likely PC users. Those who improvise when they cook will probably prefer a Mac; those who insist on following the recipe at all times will likely prefer a PC. None of this is absolute, but rather what is more typical.

Both Mac and PC are great computers -- as much as the Mac is perfect for me, it is not the absolute choice for everyone. You want to go with the computer system that you enjoy, are comfortable with, and are best able do what you want and need to do. Your son certainly knows you better than I do, but be certain he's thinking of what is best for you rather than what he prefers for himself.

Anyone can use either platform, but switching from one to the other always takes adjustment. If you've used a PC for a long time, you almost certainly will have some measure of discomfort until you shift into the way the Mac "thinks." When I first started working on a Mac (I had never used a computer before), I asked what NOT to do (what would break it, lol) and then dove in and explored. I still think this is a great way to start.

Good luck, and have fun!
Very well said, susanne!

Since I grew up with various early home computers, I was quite comfortable with DOS & CP/M commands and "thinking" like a computer in its more raw state, which I found challenging and quite fun. The Mac changed all that. I hated it, and I was a big Apple II fan, all ready to embrace the next great Apple product! I still get on a Mac and feel lost and it doesn't feel natural to me. Likewise, when I got an iPod and iTunes (Apple) software on my PC I could not figure out how to move songs around because I wanted to work with the songs as DOS files, and the iPod as any other USB drive device as I had been doing for years. iTunes doesn't want you to work that way. It's all about "syncing". I LOVE the iPod but hate the darned iTunes program.

I think Apple wants to make their electronics feel the least "computery" and the most organic or human as possible. They don't want you to see the man behind the curtain, but that's who I often want to deal with!

Macs seem to be most popular with arty farsty type people, PCs with more industrial / engineering types, like myself. In fact, with my 17 years in the building automation system industry, I have yet to find a system that is Macintosh based.

While it was certainly true that for years Macintoshes had much more stable operating systems, the differences now are much more minor. Windows 7 never crashes on me and is user friendly. Don't know anything about Windows 8.

It does sound like Mac might be the choice for you, especially if you're not a computer geek. I hear that Mac people like their brand because it "just works" for them.
 
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Margo_C-T

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I can't tell you all how I am enjoying, and learning from,the inputs from ALL of you who've responded; thank you VERY much!

Susanne, I had to chuckle about your remark about your 'old' computer from 2000!! Nearly everything I OWN(and still use/wear, usually 'steadily'!), is older than that, some by a LOT!! I was raised to fully utilize, conserve, and take very good care of, most possessions(so they'd last and LAST!); also, I do not care much about 'appearance-sake', so can better get by with this approach...lol! In my observation, though, most modern technology doesn't really have a chance to actually 'get old'by MY definition....;>)

Daryl, I am about as far from a 'computer geek' as one can get!!(BIG grin!) I just came into 'doing' a computer too late in life, I suppose,to really even want to learn ALL their ins-and-outs. I am pretty bright(qualified, at least a few years ago, to join Mensa- I didn't want to, but admit to enjoying knowing that I perhaps could have!), but when I 'finally' got a computer in early '99, I knew zilch about how to operate one, and to this day, know precious little, in the overall scheme of things; that said, I honestly have no real desire to know more than 'just enough' to do what want to on one!I have NEVER taken any sort of instruction(probably a mistake, I realize)...but have managed for the most part to do what I enjoy with/on a computer...email, surf sites that interest me(mostly horse-related), participate in forums/discussion groups on the subjects that interest me(also mostly horse-related, access informational sites of various kinds. Because I've always so far been on dial-up,I have NOT been able to view many videos; I would like to be able to do that w/o it taking 'forever'. I understand that getting a Mac would in no way 'speed up' the slow service of dial-up; am working to find out what I can access, and afford, in the realm of higher speed delivery, no matter whether I have a PC or a Mac.

My son, who does know a lot @ computers, has always used/preferred a Mac, and stands ready to help me get what I want, but he doesn't live here and is not the best instructor...he's impatient w/ my difficulty in 'getting it' where computers are concerned(I think it's because I really have little interest in 'knowing all about' them; I just want them to let me do the simple things I enjoy doing on a computer.)However, I hope to get him to plan a weekend or a bit more here, and let him know that I expect him to be a HELP in getting me started on a Mac, should I decide to get one.

I live @ 30 mi. from Albuquerque, where there IS a Mac store; I'd have to go into the 'city' to get pretty much ANY computer serviced, so no bigger deal than having a PC, I don't think.

Anyway...I am digesting ALL of your opinions and experiences, which will surely be helpful...so please, whomever else has something to add, please do so!

Margo
 

susanne

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I have to laugh, Margo. I am the last one to have any interest in buying the "latest thing." I keep everything long after its supposed shelf life, and appreciate the patina of age. I still resist getting a cell phone...

It is sad to consider something 10 years old to be obsolete, but using my computer in professional graphic design work and image correction, I have to stay at least somewhat current just to transfer working files back and forth with clients, photographers, ad agencies, publications, printers, and web developers. A 12-year-old computer is a dinosaur in that world, and while I had pushed my system beyond all reasonable lengths, I had no choice but to update.
 

Margo_C-T

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Susanne, I completely understand! Whole different thing from using it just for 'fun'....!

I do have a cell phone(for emergencies; SELDOM used), but you should see it! It is so old most people don't even recognize it as a cell phone! My most-recently-acquired 'house'(landline) phone, which I got w/ a $25 gift certificate a couple of years ago, is a little very basic wireless phone that is almost smaller than this cell pnone....

Margo
 

barnbum

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I need a new computer--but I MUST have all my PC stuff put on a new one. I have tons of documents I've created for school and photos galore. And quilting programs. Can everything be moved from a PC to a Mac?
 

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