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Hobbit 07-24-2010 11:25 PM

New Computer Choice
Folks---I am considering the purchase of a new laptop. Currently, my wife and I each have one in constant use. Both are Windows machines, one running XP Pro and the other Vista Premium. Both will need to be replaced before too long, but I will do one at a time. I am open to a change in platform if I would be better served and in fact am leaning toward Mac.


1) Who out there is using a Mac....and Why? MacBook Pro versus MacBook??

2) I hear that the Mac products are very stable and have very few (or no) problems with viruses.....Yes or No??

3) Putting price/value aside, is the Mac a better quality platform??

4) If I stay with Windows, which machine would be your choice if price were not an overriding factor?? I am not a brand snob, but I am not looking for CHEAP either.

Also---I am NOT looking for flaming "anti" sentiment here. I know some of you have a readily apparent dislike for Windows, Microsoft, Bill Gates, etc.. but PLEASE.....I am looking for serious information and opinion here. If you have an opinion please also say why you think the way you do.

Your thoughts and insights are greatly appreciated!! :) :)

Jim Farrell Tiler 07-25-2010 12:38 AM

i have had mac's for the last 8 years, dont have a laptop at the moment but will soon be buying 2 mac laptops for my sons when they go to university, my current computer is a imac G5 hasnt missed a beat or had a virus in the 5 years i have owned it

sandbagger 07-25-2010 01:19 AM

well, Howard, glad to help you spend your money. :yeah:

I'm a Mac guy at home and Win XP at the office (not by choice.) I've used both platforms for over 20 years, and used to build PCs for a hobby. I often tell friends I use a Mac because I know too much about Windows. ;)

1) I didn't actually spend my own money on a Mac until 2000 when I bought one of the first dual-processor G4 desktops. :wohoo: It served me well for 7 years and still works; I'm just not using it right now. My MacBook Pro just turned 3 and I expect to get at least another 3 out of it. The usable life of a Mac is generally a lot longer than a comparable PC. The fast user switching of OS X makes it easy for my wife and me to share it as our only computer.

While the MacBook provides great value, you sound like a Pro user. I debated between the two for some time and am glad I spent the extra $$ for the Pro.

2) Mac OS X is based on Unix. It's no accident that the bulk of the internet servers run Unix. Viruses do exist, but a little common sense and you can easily avoid them. Like keeping teenager off your computer. I don't run AV and have never had a problem. My Mac is connected to the internet 24/7 via cable. I wouldn't dream of running Windows this way.

3) Quality is in the eyes of the beholder. I have no problem telling you that from an industrial design perspective there just isn't anything remotely close on the PC side. It's hard to open up a laptop, but if you go to the Mac store I'm sure they'll open a desktop for you. I haven't seen the new ones, but I suspect it's about the same as my old G4. One latch and the side of the case drops down, laying the system board flat and in full view. All cables are neatly routed. And don't worry about catching a sharp edge on the inside of the case, there just aren't any to catch.

4) I dunno. There was a time when I recommended Dell to anyone who asked, but I don't like anything I hear about them today. :shake: I think IBM is still pretty solid. But why? If you want to run Windows there's Fusion or Parallels. You already have XP, and if you shop you can prolly get one of those thrown in for free or nearly so. (MacMall is good for that.) I run Parallels and XP Home so I can run Quicken for Windows. (Mac version stinks.)

If you get serious about buying you'll want to check out MacMall and all the free or discounted bundles.

sandbagger 07-25-2010 01:23 AM

gee, I almost forgot maybe the best argument of all for Mac OS X - no Registry! :wohoo:

JTile 07-25-2010 01:57 AM

Per the original post, last paragraph...

I am one that has made my feeling about Windows very clear. I won't do so again. :calm:

But since you asked for opinions...

Its all about what you really want to do with your systems. While Mac has its benefits (I still debate whether there really are any) the cost factor is something to be considered. A new dual core laptop with enough muscle will cost you about $500 bucks in today's market. I haven't priced macs but would think a comparable system could be close to double that.

Any decent new windows laptop you buy will most likely come with Windows 7. This OS has been pretty well received. If you are considering switching to a Mac environment, why not consider trying a linux one instead? When friends ask me my opinion, I simply suggest getting a Windows laptop and installing a dual boot system with a good linux distro. This way, they can still use their windows crutch to fall back on and learn the linux environment when they can. Surprisingly, the GUI's of most of the current linux OS's are very much the same as windows and most people don't find the switch over to be very troublesome at all. In the end, you'll be free from adware, viruses, and the dreaded blue screen of death.

jgleason 07-25-2010 07:12 AM

A computer is a tool. Buy one that meets your needs and will run the applications that you expect to use.

For the vast majority of people a $499 dual-core notebook with Ubuntu installed would be more than adequate. Heck, a $250 netbook paired with an external LCD monitor would be fine too.

Plenty of options to use other operating systems, I use VirtualBox so I can run pretty much whatever OS I want in a virtual machine.

Dave Taylor 07-25-2010 11:18 AM

Computers suck! :noid:

Their commie plots! :suspect:

Buy beer instead. :p

Beer don't need no OS..... and beer makes you happy you have it.

Hobbit 07-25-2010 12:23 PM

Thanks folks. :)

To add a little clarity.....I have been using personal computers since the days before Windows existed. I built my first machine from component level. It used an Intel 8080 processor, 16kb of RAM, 8" hard sector disk, and a Z-19 terminal. It was barely functional by today's standards, but it could run some dedicated software that was designed for it. I used it mostly as a learning platform for design and Assembler and machine code programming. That was 35-40 years ago. In today's world I cannot keep up with the changes (and have no inclination to even try).

I mention this only to indicate that I am not afraid of change and am willing to experiment some where necessary.

These days I USE computers for the tools that they are. I do research constantly and write for internal use as well as publication (technical writing, grant writing, internet course development, some newspaper columns, and some prose narrative mostly for my own enjoyment). In addition, I trade some in the equity markets, and do historical research for genealogy.

I use a lot of memory intensive programs, audio and video editors, image editors, HTML/XML editors, real time trading platforms, some CAD, and of course standard word processing, spreadsheet, and database applications. Today, I think it is safe to say that I am more familiar with application software than the hardware that runs it.

Some years back (maybe 10-12..??) I dabbled with the idea of installing Red Hat on my system. Did not do it for whatever reason. I also considered setting up a dual boot system with Unix/Linux. The drive partitions and software and the operating systems software were just too much. Too much overhead for what I considered limited functionality (IMO at the time). I have not given it further consideration......??

My primary considerations are.....Processing Speed; 100% Reliability; Data Integrity and Storage; Viral Resistance; Cross Platform Compatibility; Manufacturer Support.

Now, you know a little more ;) Any specific ideas?? To Mac or not to Mac?

What say you?? Hold forth. All opinions welcomed.

Thanks again. :)

ob1kanobee 07-25-2010 12:58 PM

I'm wondering how the real time trading platforms will work with a Mac.

How is that working out for you btw? Most of the traders I knew are in the poor house, at least the ones who made it over the learning curve. Then there are ones who didn't even get past the learning curve but I'm speaking about day trading. You might not be day trading......

jgleason 07-25-2010 02:24 PM

If you have a bunch of favorite programs that you have been using in a Windows environment you will need to find equivalents on the Mac, or Linux. You might not find everything you want and what you do find may be better or may be worse than the software you use today.

Hobbit 07-26-2010 02:45 PM

Right you are.....Software is going to be a driving force. I will need to do some more investigation. I am separating the software I use into "piles." There will, of course, be a "mandatory" pile, as well as a "CDW" (Could Do Without) pile. Maybe an "IP" (If Possible) pile as well. I think most of the issues can be solved, I will just have to review and rethink the options. :scratch:

Ben, most of the trading platforms run on scripts (at least mine do). These are either "server side" or "user" scripts or sections of code that run in a browser window. Understand, I am not certain about this, but I cannot see how the Mac platform would handle these any differently than a Windows platform. However, I think you raise an interesting point. I will need to look further into the Mac browser(s?) and the possible conflicts. The trading platform guys will know the answer to this, I guess. Thanks for bringing it up!! :)

As far as your question about how it's working out......The short answer is "okay." There are wins and losses (of course) but overall I am "green" and plan to stay that way. After playing in the market for years and losing ground betting on "sure things" and listening to "experts" advising me to "hold it" and "go long," I have come to some conclusions.

1) TINSTAAFL (There Is No Such Think As A Free Lunch)----'Sure things don't exist' and 'It is never easy'. If they did, and it was, everyone would be doing it and would be rich.

2) Those who fail do so because of one underlying tenet....GREED. That coupled with a lack of true understanding causes their downfall.

3) It is necessary to realize that you are not an expert. You cannot "beat the system" reliably. There are forces at work in the marketplace that will break you, if you let them. (See #2)

4) Never let a bad position ruin a good day. Dump all losing positions, chalk it up to experience, and enter your next position with a fresh outlook.

and finally....

5) You, and only you, can determine your risk tolerance. If any position you take causes indecision, sweating, fear, or the inability to walk away from your terminal at any time...you are in too deep. Back out, take a breather, and start over in a much smaller position. You can always take a small rain shower, there's no reason to fall into a torrent and drown.

I keep something similar to this posted on the edge of my monitor as a simple reminder......AND I refer to it often!

Steven Hauser 07-27-2010 03:48 AM

Hi Howard,

I use a mac book pro and run both systems. I use 10.6 called Snow Leopard on the native mac side.

I also run the windows environment. The software is the deal maker and breaker.

What I found was this. Soft stuff like viewing video, artistic graphics, and other qualitative items work better and more intuitively in the mac environment.

The database, spreadsheet, and bulk of software gizmos are geared to a windows environment.

The schizophrenia starts when you are in one OS and want to do something in the other. Fusion allows a pretty seamless transfer, but answering an email for instance is a pain. Networking is somewhat trying, file transfer is problematic.

All in all, I woud say if you buy into the advertising by Apple and purchase one, continue purchasing.

If you don't, there are several good options now available in a PC.

My .02

Hobbit 07-27-2010 05:44 PM


Thanks for your input...this is exactly the type of information I am looking for. :)

A couple of questions, if you don't mind..??

1) You said:

Fusion allows a pretty seamless transfer, but answering an email for instance is a pain.
Does this mean your computer based mail handler doesn't handle the interface well? Or? Are you using a web based mail handler? I typically use the mail handler supplied by my internet provider, sooo,....everything is handled through a browser window. What do you think??

2) Also:

Networking is somewhat trying, file transfer is problematic.
Is this a problem with a wireless home network, or?? Is it a Mac issue, or a software problem caused by the interface between Mac and PC software??

3) Help!!...:o

I use 10.6 called Snow Leopard on the native mac side.........Fusion allows a pretty seamless transfer...
I am not familiar with Snow Leopard at all (probably should be I guess)...What do I need to know?? My understanding about Fusion is that it allows PC software to run in the Mac environment. Is my understanding correct?? If you are using PC software with Fusion (or something else??), do you need to have the Windows OS loaded on the machine also?? Or does Fusion provide the necessary interpretation to run under the native Mac OS??? :scratch:

4) All of the newspaper folks I have worked for/with use Macs. Why is this (if you would hazard a guess)?? What is there about the Mac platform that lends itself so well to journalistic endeavors?? Is it something in the hardware, or a particular software application?? No one I've spoken with seems to know the answer.

5) Last question (for the moment anyway..:yeah:):

if you buy into the advertising by Apple and purchase one, continue purchasing.
Sounds like you are sort of disenchanted with Mac (or maybe not...:shrug:)
Continue purchasing what??

Thank you for taking the time---as you can tell I really need the help!!


Trask 07-27-2010 05:56 PM

Howard for what it's worth I switched over to a Mac Book this year for day to day stuff and surfing...I'll simply never go back to a PC without a fight. I find everything about the Mac to be intuitive and easy.I had to adjust a bit for the first month but it was well worth it.

tileguynky 07-27-2010 06:36 PM

As a known mac fanatic, I will take an answer at some of your questions. First, I am not that knowledgable on the programing side. Perhaps because I have never had a need to be with what I do on the computers. Anyways,
1.) This one I can not answer, because I do not use any PC software. You will be amazed at the amount of stable and fairly safe freeware that exist for the Mac, here. My mail is handle by MobileMe (Apple's product-I like it for the video and photo sharing with family, the email integrates smoothly with all 4 Macs in the house and the 2 iPhones we have)
2.) I have never had any trouble sharing files over the home network with the other computers, again we are all mac. I think the original talk was between a file being used on one computer that has both Windows 7 and the OS 10.6. Since the Macs are now built with Intel hardware, the hard drive can be partitioned and you can run both OS on one computer, with it being hard to share a file between the two.
3.)OS 10.6 Snow Leopard is the most current operating system for the Macs. It is the first OS to run 100% on the intel based units. OS 10.6 will not work on the old PowerPC chipsets. This was the reason for my latest upgrade. I wanted to update Quickbooks to the current version (a lot has changed since Pro 2004) and it will only work on 10.6. My G5 tower that I have is 10.4 and is currently used as a huge hard drive on the home network.
4.) Macs are the computer to have in the publishing and graphic arts industry. I can not tell you why, but I do know a few people at the local paper and they all use Macs.
5.) Personally for me, all of the Mac products that I have purchased work together out of the box. Just that simple. I will continue to look at any new Apple products to see if I can integrate them into my lifestyle.

Again, I am a Mac Addict and will continue to be one.
Just a list of the Mac item currently in use in my house; MacBook, a Mac Mini, G5 tower, emac, two iPhones, an iPod Nano and the old iPhone 2G being used as an ipod by my 4 year old. I also use the Mobile Me for my email exchange and web hosting ability. I also like that the MobilMe keeps all of the computers synced. Anything I add on my iPhone will be updated to all other units at home within the hour.

edit:Years ago I went from a Mac PowerPC to the Dell. With the Dell I purchased a few high end software programs. When I switched back to the Mac, Adobe let me buy the current upgrade for a Mac instead of buying the complete software package. If you have a software maker that makes for both platforms, some will do this if you are switching to the Mac. I also use iWorks from Apple instead of the MS Office and have no trouble opening any Office file sent to me and saving any changes so that it can be opened in Office.

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