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BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!

Anne Lister 18 Jan 10 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Jan 10 - 04:56 PM
robomatic 18 Jan 10 - 05:02 PM
The Villan 18 Jan 10 - 05:05 PM
Bill D 18 Jan 10 - 05:28 PM
Gervase 18 Jan 10 - 05:28 PM
The Villan 18 Jan 10 - 05:50 PM
Jack Campin 18 Jan 10 - 05:54 PM
Rowan 18 Jan 10 - 06:31 PM
gnu 18 Jan 10 - 06:39 PM
Rapparee 18 Jan 10 - 06:41 PM
s&r 18 Jan 10 - 06:42 PM
Amos 18 Jan 10 - 06:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Jan 10 - 07:03 PM
John P 18 Jan 10 - 07:18 PM
Alice 18 Jan 10 - 09:13 PM
Janie 18 Jan 10 - 09:32 PM
Amos 18 Jan 10 - 10:32 PM
Janie 18 Jan 10 - 10:43 PM
Bill D 18 Jan 10 - 10:52 PM
GUEST,crazy little woman 18 Jan 10 - 11:56 PM
Amos 19 Jan 10 - 12:07 AM
The Villan 19 Jan 10 - 12:25 AM
Joe Offer 19 Jan 10 - 01:32 AM
CarolC 19 Jan 10 - 01:40 AM
Ross Campbell 19 Jan 10 - 02:00 AM
Anne Lister 19 Jan 10 - 03:08 AM
The Villan 19 Jan 10 - 03:23 AM
Will Fly 19 Jan 10 - 03:57 AM
Stu 19 Jan 10 - 04:27 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 19 Jan 10 - 05:41 AM
GUEST,KP 19 Jan 10 - 06:42 AM

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Subject: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Anne Lister
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 04:46 PM

Some day soon I'm going to get our insurance settlement cheque to recompense us for the burglary in October. We're both thinking of getting newer (faster, better) computers. Husband needs lots of memory and power and stuff to do his computer graphics. Me, I just want a reliable machine with good graphics to play some games (I admit it!) but mostly for internet and word processing stuff. Husband needs no advice - knows what he wants. Me, I'm feeling torn about whether to move from a PC to a Mac (probably specifically a Mac Mini). It will be able to boot up as Windows or as a Mac OS, so I don't have to sacrifice what I want to hang on to in terms of created stuff and favourite programs.

So the question for you techies out there - please, without descending to insulting each other (which seems to be the norm in other forums when PCs and Macs are under discussion), is there any impartial advice? Should I spend my money on a smart new PC or go wild and get the Mac? What are the pros and cons?   (I already know that there's less of a hard drive on the Mac Mini than I could get for less money on a PC, but it comes with a better graphics card than is standard on an assembled PC).

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 04:56 PM

Can you go to a place that sells them and try one out?

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: robomatic
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 05:02 PM

I've used 'em both and enjoyed them each and had various difficulties with both and each.
Anne, if you've got experience with a PC, you should take Leeneia's advice and go try out a Mac, particularly if you've got a friend with one.
For those with no computer experience, Macs are generally friendlier. For those with specific application needs, there may be specific software you're going to want, and that will lead you to the 'puter of choice.

It's about you and your needs. There is room for happiness on both sides of that great divide.

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 05:05 PM

Stay with the PC Anne, you have more poeple that can help you in times of crisis.

It would seem that out of 100% of people that use computers, only 7% are Mac users. I think that says it all. Most Mac users have a Mac becuase they are specialists in DTP etc.

I personally do not think you need a Mac.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 05:28 PM

robomatic has it pretty close. If you do only regular stuff, there is little a Mac can't do. (Or even get Linux). If you want a wider variety of choices of applications and bell & whistles, stay with PC.

(I am hooked on the gadgets with PCs, but I am learning about Linux...and if I were rich, I'd have a BIG office and have all 3.)

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Gervase
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 05:28 PM

If you get a Mac you probably won't need a large network of PC geeks. I've been using them for more than 20 years, and I'm not into DTP, graphic design or whatever - I see a computer as a tool, and the less it 'gets in the way' the better. I don't want to play the latest graphics-intensive games; I just want to write stuff, do my accounts, prepare the odd presentation, listen to stuff, play with photographs, play with music files, browse the internet, send emails and play the odd game of mah-jong. The Mac I use does all that and more perfectly well.
OK, it's 10 years old, but it really does do all I could ask of it. In that time my other half has worked her way through four PCs and complains that her current Dell is sluggish and full of bugs. In that time, her total outlay on computing stuff is probably three times mine, and I couldn't even begin to put a price on the frustration and tantrums that the PC has induced. If I bought my Mac again today (and I would if I didn't have the readies for a spanking new one), I'd probably pay about £100 for it on eBay. For me it would be worth every penny.
I've used PCs at work, and even now have a PC laptop bought 'on the company' because there are a couple of mapping applications which won't port to my Mac (new Macs can boot into Windows and run Windows stuff, but my old chugger doesn't have an Intel chip), but my computer of choice has always been a Mac.
If, however, you see using and fiddling with a computer as a hobby in and of itself, a Mac may well be rather boring for you. In which case, get a PC.

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 05:50 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 05:54 PM

I've been using Macs for 25 years, at home and work, Unix machines for a bit longer, mainframes occasionally, PCs only when I've absolutely had to.

The Mac wins hands down for everything except games. If you want a general-purpose computer that's easy to maintain, get a Mac. If you want a bang-up-to-date games machine and don't mind spending a large part of your life fighting trojans and viruses, get a PC. Just remember that anyone else who has to do real work on the same box will hate you.

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Rowan
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 06:31 PM

When Macs first appeared I had been using mainframes and then CP/M (a lovely old Kaypro) and I was involved in a decision at the school where I worked about computer acquisition. It boiled down to a choice between Macs and Micro$oft; both are actually "PCs". We got a couple of Mac Pluses and, in the first week, assisted by our Apple IIc running the original (non-MIcro$oft) ProDos, we set up an exercise where we took a day for 70 students to produce (from scratch) 70 copies of a 70-page booklet with everything from texts, crosswords puzzles, graphics and database reports. It helped that the same keyboard commands had the same effects, irrespective of the application involved.

At the time, everything except Macs were all 'open architecture', meaning that the sorts of people who, previously, had regarded a car engine as something that could be endlessly pulled apart and modified, could now do the same with their computers. It took a long time before the benefits of standardisation were realised and developers rationalised keyboard commands across applications.

So, I've found it easier (for more than 20 years, now), much the same time as Jack and for similar reasons, to stay with Macs and have found, on those occasions when I've had to use Windows machines, that my productivity has diminished. So, I've kept with Macs. My LCIII still works OK (and I still have my original Mac SE30, as well as the KayPro, but neither is being used) but I prefer the Macs, which I have both at work and at home, for all the sorts of things that Gervase mentions. Although "only 7%" of us use Macs, it means that we don't get targeted by nasties as much as Windows users, and it's been a long time since I've had to deal with any sort of crash.

I can't use mobile phone synchronisation, GIS and some data-logging applications on the Macs without firing up Windows (doable on any Mac with Intel-Duo or -Quadro core fitted; standard on the newer ones) but they don't occupy much of my computer use.

And Villan's point, about the pool of people who can assist in times of crisis, is diminished when you consider the assisters at Mudcat. Admittedly, JohninKansas is the complete Windows guru here but, whenever a Tech: thread has mentioned a problem someone's having on a Mac, there's always been a swag of helpers ready with useful advice.

All the best to you.

Cheers, Rowan

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: gnu
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 06:39 PM

$. That's why I don't have a Mac.

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 06:41 PM

Linux. Sorry to introduce a new player, but Ubuntu and other open source OSes offer more than either Windows or MacOS does.

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: s&r
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 06:42 PM

Changed to Mac a year ago.

No regrets.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 06:46 PM

Well, that's a conclusion in search of evidence, IMHO.

I have found Macs to be generally more robust, more user-friendly, more informative, and more beautiful to use than Windows machines over the years. I would say that Windows has begun to catch up, but has not made the full distance, whereas the Apple people faced up to their shortcomings a long time back and bit the bullet, building OS X from the ground up. You will start up faster with a Mac, and if there are any Windows applications you cannot live without you can run them just as well in a Mac Windows environment. Unfortunately the reverse is not true.

I call that playing nice.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 07:03 PM

My son has a reasonably modern PC with Windows XP, and last year I connected up an ancient Mac which had been lying around. He now has the PC and the Mac sitting nbext to each other, both plugged into a cable broadband router.

He now much prefers to use the Mac.

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: John P
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 07:18 PM

I have always used Macs at home and Microsoft machines at work. There's no comparison -- the Mac works better, easier, and more consistently, always. My Mac doesn't freeze up, it doesn't start making programs behave oddly when it has been on too long, it doesn't get viruses. I don't have to be a computer tech to get it to do what I want it to. If you learn one Mac program, you already know most of how to navigate any other Mac program.

They cost more, but they are better machines. A Microsoft machine that used high quality parts would cost about the same. The inexpensive Microsoft machines have pretty dismal longevity records and need more service in general.

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Alice
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 09:13 PM

I have owned 4 Macs since 1997.
I have loved them all.
Regarding the need for support, if you do need it with a MAC, there are plenty of people who can help you, but I've rarely ever had a problem (unlike my friends who have PCs).

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Janie
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 09:32 PM

Hi Anne,

I'm not a techie, and no more than semi-literate when it comes to using the computer.    I have a Mac desktop, an older PC, and a PC laptop. Got the Mac about 2 years ago. While I have had very few problems with the Mac, and expect it to have a much longer life than the PC's, I have not found it easier to use, and the fact that it is mostly a PC world "out there" does make a difference.

When I can't figure out how to do something on the Mac, with a Mac program, I am pretty much up the proverbial creek. The Mac help menu for the assorted programs is not nearly as complete, nor as well indexed as is Microsoft, and their tutorials suck for air. The Mac programs and interface between programs is so proprietary that I feel like a captive when trying to move music, photos, or recordings I have made into another program.   And I found that when I installed my printer on the Mac, I do not have all the options available that I have on the PC. I have found that with a couple of other programs that offer OSX versions. The OSX versions do not have the same functionality that they do on my PC.

Some one mentioned this above, but with enough research, I could often find answers to problems using google to research assorted forums related to Windows and Windows compatible programs. Much less help available on the internet for Mac. (Plus, much more tolerance for ignoramouses like me on the microsoft related forums.)

I actually prefer the Mac word processor and spreadsheet (Pages and Numbers), better than Word or Excel. However, I can not send attachments using those programs that most of the world can open. The clinic where I work, and my private practice use PCs, thus Word and Excel. I did download Open Office onto the Mac, but when it converts to a Word or Excel document, formating is changed or lost so I can not work from home on the Mac. I can use my laptop, but do not have a wireless printer, so must go through some hassle and move tables around to plug in the printer to the laptop.

Speaking of printers, I loved my Canon printer with my PC, especially all the options I had for printing photos. When I installed the printer software onto the Mac, I found that most of the menu options regarding photo printing that were available on the PC are not available on the Mac. I assume iPhoto pre-empted them. I also find that the photo-editing and cataloging programs I used on the PC do not offer the same full range of options on theOSX platform. (Maybe a techie can explain this?) I do not like iPhoto. It is way too basic. But I also am not up to using Photoshop.

Were I younger when I started on computers, or had Mac been the one I learned on, I might have a very different perspective, or be more capable of a steeper learning curve.

Some, perhaps most, of the issues I have with the Mac would be resolved if I bought Microsoft Office for Mac, but it ain't cheap.

Now, having said all of that, I am not sorry I bought the Mac, since I also have the PCs. It was more expensive than a PC, but I expect it to last a whole lot longer, so I think it is still cost effective.   I have not had any of the hardware or software glitches I encountered within two years of my purchase of my last PC desktop. It is much faster after two years, than was my PC after two years, and if I will go and add another thingy of memory, I think the Mac will serve me well for many years to come. I worry hardly at all about viruses or other malware. It takes up very little space and can be easily relocated when I move furniture around without me having to deal with miles of confusing cable. For web-browsing and purely personal use it is fine, and if it was all I had, I would figure out a satisfactory solution to my discontent with the photo-editing. The one and only software issue that is important that I have not been able to resolve is that Javascript does not work and I can not find help on-line that I understand.

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 10:32 PM

(Janie: First thing to try is running the Software Update button under the Apple icon, top left corner, to see if you need an updated Javascript)


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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Janie
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 10:43 PM

(Done that, Amos.

Numerous times.)

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 10:52 PM

"Ubuntu and other open source OSes offer more than either Windows or MacOS ..."

"offer more" is pretty generalized. Depends on the category and subjective definition of "more"..

I am playing with Ubuntu, Knoppix and KDE OpenSuse in my spare time. I may try one seriously.

I also JUST discovered this way to look at Linux, I have not had time to even download it yet, but it gets good reviews.

"andLinux is a complete Ubuntu Linux system running seamlessly in Windows 2000 based systems (2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 7; 32-bit versions only). "

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 11:56 PM

Take robomatic's advice, find a friend who has a Mac, and spend time with it.

You need to see how deeply ingrained your PC habits are. Does the Mac think the same way, do things in a similar order? Or do you experience great frustration because habit tells you to do one thing, and the Mac does it differently?

When I work in the kitchen with my husband, he often gets on my nerves. We both can cook a meal, but we do things in a different order, in different ways, and moving in a different direction. How is this relevant? You need to see if the software on a Mac does tasks the way you do.

Me, I've been using IBM computers for 29 years. No way would I want to start revising 29 years of habit.

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jan 10 - 12:07 AM


Are you using Safari? Check Preference==>Security for a checkbox "Enable JavaScript".


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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: The Villan
Date: 19 Jan 10 - 12:25 AM

If I want help on issues with a PC problem, I go to website forums, that are technical enough to solve the issue.
Mudcat is not a techncal forum for IT, although there are lots of people who know a lot.

I would think that the majority of people on Mudcat are PC users and not Mac. Most of the posters here are Mac users.

Take care you don't get sucked in by the minority Anne.

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Jan 10 - 01:32 AM

I'm in a family of Mac users, and I've used PC's almost exclusively since 1988. Still my family expects me to be able to fix most everything, so I've had to do some work on their Macs. wind that PC conventions are so deeply ingrained in me, that everything I do on a Mac is a chore.
Still, Macs seem like very nice computers. My sons make very good use of Macs for sound editing, and my sisters use theirs for graphics work.

I like to use scavenged parts for repairs and upgrades - I've found that hard to do on a Mac, since there isn't such a wide variety of parts available.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: CarolC
Date: 19 Jan 10 - 01:40 AM

We have both, and I like and dislike some aspects of both. My answer would be to get one of each, but that's probably not the answer you had in mind.

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 19 Jan 10 - 02:00 AM

My brother gave me his redundant IIlc in 1996 when it was already about six years old. When it started having hard drive problems about four years after that (40 Mb hard drives - those were the days!) I bit the bullet and spent about £2000 at the end of 1999 on a beige G3 desktop (and still didn't have a scanner or CD-writer). The Apple laser-writer that came with the IIlc continued in service for a few more years. The G3 continues to live in the corner of the room, for running old software that my G4 laptop (about 2003, acquired 2005) can't do. Apart from the floppy drive (remember them?) no longer working, it still does everything it could do before. I eventually added a mono laser printer and a CD-writer which I still use if I need to copy discs/archive files. The laser printer is also connected to the laptop.

The laptop has accumulated thousands of song-files and photos in the last five years or so. The hard-drive (60GB) is by now more than half-full. It's never been De-fragmented, which may be responsible for the occasional slow-down in response when I've been working for a few hours. The only time it has caused any concern is when I've inadvertently dislodged the power-supply plug, carried on working without noticing the battery-indicator dwindling to nothing, and suddenly been faced with a black screen. Takes a few minutes re-charging to come back up. Otherwise it's left on all the time, closing the lid puts it into "sleep" mode (I usually close all applications first), opening up brings up the screen immediately and you're ready to go.

I had a problem converting my old WordPerfect files to Word files, eventually had to save them individually as Word files on the G3, transfer by ethernet or disc, and then reformat in Word on the G4 (still finding files to change now). ClarisWorks files which I produced for CD covers, posters, etc were readable by AppleWorks on the G4 but also needed "fixing", as layouts were somehow messed up in the transfer. Another reason I keep the old machine going. A similar setup, bought about the same time and owned from new, went for ten pounds recently!

I have external hard drives for back-up, but I realised some time ago that prices for second-hand Macs are by now low enough to make a duplicate computer a viable backup option (well not quite, a good-condition G4 laptop of the same vintage as mine still commands £2-300+ on eBay).

G4 versions of the Mac Mini can be found for £130 upwards, and will do everything the laptop can do. I got one a couple of years ago to use for recording music on Garageband (a bit hard to get into - as somebody above pointed out, Apple documentation is minimal, and unless you can intuit exactly how the Help programmers described your problem/query, the Help options can be very frustrating). On the other hand, I have found that the various encyclopaedic manuals that are available (eg OSX*** -the Missing Manual) provide a very thorough explanation of how to do particular things or get out of a fix.

G4 eMacs (all-in-one CRT box) can be found for £50 or less, occasionally with all their appropriate software discs, and will do the same. If you look for one that's been owned from new, it's unlikely to have suffered from child-abuse, dangerous downloads or aggressive viruses, and will still have a few years of serviceable life to it. People who spent a relatively large amount of money on something tend to look after it.

Even the iconic G3 iMacs as portrayed by McGrath above can do most of the basic word-processing, photos, email and web-searching, possibly a bit slower than the others. I have picked these up locally for less than £25, fully working with all leads and software discs, mouse and keyboard. I have a couple that cost 99p each, but they will need a bit more work to make usable (nothing major, just a software re-initialisation when I get around to it). Software discs for operating systems and word-processing etc (which you ought to have to be legal, and for possible re-installation) are also available on eBay.

Compatibility with peripherals seems to be less of a problem than it used to be, although some of the tower PowerPC G4s have connectors for specific Apple display screens. Some of these would provide the very high speeds and dual-processor capacity required by high-end graphics packages, although some models could be uncomfortably noisy.

There are things coming along in the wider world which may eventually make it essential to have an Intel processor to view web pages properly, so in the long term I will be looking out for a Mac Mini with an Intel Core2Duo board (still over £200, with newer, high-spec ones £500+)

I have Norton Anti-Virus loaded on the laptop, but can't recall it ever reporting any incursions. My usual email server ( used to pass forward spam to the junk-mail folder, where you could report it as such. The only things that appear there nowadays are legitimate, new, unrecognised emails, so I guess they have a pretty thorough spam-checker. I do get occasional reports from friends of their legitimate emails being "bounced", so perhaps that's too thorough! The only alarm I had recently was from a virus-generated email from a friend's PC. No ill-effects as far as I can see.

From my experience, Apple machines will serve you well for a very long time. Apart from the IIlc, I have not required outside technical support, manuals and internet forums have supplied any info I needed. If you bought new, Apple's phone support and repair/replace guarantees seem to work (no personal experience). The experts in Apple shops are obviously geared to all the newer ranges, so I don' expect to find any help there for the machines I have. It's only recently that I have started delving into the internal workings of my machines, and so far that's been out of interest rather than necessity (and there are also internet sites that go into great detail for rebuild or upgrade purposes if you want to get that involved). Most Apple users would never feel the need.

Good luck whatever you choose.


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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Anne Lister
Date: 19 Jan 10 - 03:08 AM

Thank you for all the input so far. I have used Macs from time to time for different reasons (did a Photoshop tutorial on one, did some digital storytelling prep on another, have borrowed friends' laptops from time to time) and I'm fairly computer savvy, in that I've had computers for years and have only rarely had the benefit of manuals. Got a brother (and a husband) who can find his way around fixing most PC problems.
And I'm thinking of buying new, not used - specifically, a high end Mac Mini with the intel chip so I can dual boot, or a Windows 7 PC with loads of memory.
Still not sure .. got a few days yet to make up my mind!

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: The Villan
Date: 19 Jan 10 - 03:23 AM

I use Mesh Computers now, as they are British and make very good PC's. Only have good things to say about them.

Mesh Computers

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Jan 10 - 03:57 AM

I've used Macs since 1987 - starting with the old SE30 - and I now use a Mac Book Pro, bought last August. In all that time, I've had one hard drive failure - on the SE30 - and one CD drive failure. Not one virus. Not one worm or Trojan or any other nasty little thing lurking around. The Mac is great for playing music, and for writing music (for which I use Harmony Assistant). I also can use Garageband (comes free with the OS) for recording music. I can create reasonably intelligent HD movies with iMovie (comes free with the OS) and surround them with arty software to burn as an independent DVD with iDVD (comes free withe the OS).

The graphics are great - the machine is superbly designed. More expensive than an equivalent PC - but all the things I've listed above make it worth it for me.

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Stu
Date: 19 Jan 10 - 04:27 AM

As a graphic designer working both traditionally and in motion graphics, I've been a Mac user since they came out, and it's no exaggeration to say I've worked on virtually every model and even the clones they licensed for a while way back in the early 90's. I have also worked extensively on PCs running the exact same software in various studios, and feel it's really what you're going to use it for that makes a difference, and how involved in the techy side of things you want to get.

Firstly, I'm not a techy by any means and the reason I like Macs is because there's not a lot of faffing about with drivers etc; virtually every accessory I've used is plug and play straight out of the box. I have little idea of the inner workings of my Mac (although upgrading the RAM etc is a breeze), don't spend hours configuring it (I could if I wanted to) and simply get down to work straight away. I recently purchased a 27" iMac and had it on my network, the internet and rendering 3D animations in about as much time as it took to install the 3D software (and the screen - ooooo!), So they're minimal maintenance and last for years.

If you're thinking of doing anything creative such as Photoshop etc then get a Mac. PC's have this godawful jerky mouse driver thing still going on after all these years, and they can feel a little like a blunt instrument after working on a Mac. That said, this is one of those things you do get used to so it's very much a personal preference. The software runs the same on both and the differences are in the way the OS handles the interface etc.

However . . . as Jack said if it's games you're after the PC has far more to offer and PC's can be picked up cheaply, although you get what you pay for of course. There is a huge amount of cheap software for and PC's can offer very cost-effective solutions to some specific problems and if my company was going to buy a render farm it would be PC-based without a doubt (although I'd stick with a Mac server). PC's also do have a huge installer base which can provide support, but with a Mac you're less likely to need it. Of course just because most people use PC's doesn't make them better; remember betamax vs VHS? Beta was by far the most superior but VHS became the domestic standard and we all ended up watching rubbish quality videos until DVD arrived, and to this day AV pros laugh in the face of VHS and carry on using BetaSP etc for their filming and editing.

If you do decide on the Mac, seriously think about an iMac rather than a Mac Mini, and preferably one with an i5 or i7 processor as they go like stink and will last you years (did I mention the screens - oooo!).

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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 19 Jan 10 - 05:41 AM

I have a Mac with a partitioned hard drive, and think the dual-boot capability is deffo the way to go. I like the graphics and text-handling much better on the Mac, and if you write seriously - as I know you do - there's a wonderful Apple-only programme called Scrivener that you would love (which will instantly convert anything to/from a Word doc if you tell it to). Its website is called Literature and Latte*, and I can't recommend it highly enough. You can organise your text/notes/summaries/research materials in a whole variety of ways and don't have to think in straight lines, as you do with a word processor. (I first heard about it in an article from the Society of Authors' trade journal, not as an advert but from an enthusiastic writer who had nothing financially to gain from endorsing it).

I like Apple best for some tasks, and still prefer Windows for others, so having the two platforms on one machine works wonderfully for me. I can tell you from experience that if you've used a PC for a long time, there will be certain applications you'll feel "homesick" for and cut off from if you make too radical a change, and this way you don't isolate yourself from anything.

Do be sure to investigate options such as the programmes Parallels or Virtual Machine (? I think it's called) before actually partitioning the drive, because these accomplish the same thing but work in a different way, so this may be the best answer for you; but it needs a separate thread and I don't have the expertise to advise, though there are Mudcat Maccies around who do.

Also of course the Apple is much more secure, so I use it for all my email and internetting. I don't know if the "virtual" option I mentioned above is as secure online. With my partitioned drive the two are completely separate (getting from one to the other requires a reboot, which Parallels/VM apparently don't) so I simply don't use the Windows side on the web, though of course one can have both.

Best of luck in whatever you decide - keep us posted. (Almost feels like moving house, doesn't it? Maybe they should have computer-warming parties...)


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Subject: RE: BS: PC or Mac nicely, please!
Date: 19 Jan 10 - 06:42 AM

I started to use Macs as my old company bought a bunch in the late '80s. The PC world was then on MS-DOS (ah remember the command interface...)

I bought my first desktop Mac in 1992 when I left that company to start my own business. That one, an LC2 was in continuous use by me until 1997 and by my daughter to 2002 - so it lasted 10 years. The new iMac I got this year is only my 4th desktop (including the LC2) since 1992. So the desktop machines are extremely reliable, and the lifetime cost is pretty good. The laptops, which I use for client sessions (training etc) will break - I've had a few with screens going. Maybe I shouldn't drop them... So get a desktop unless you really need a laptop.

Softwarewise, I have found OSX in its various guises to be very stable. I also recommend getting OSX 'the Missing Manual' book which is very comprehensive. It has a good section on setting up a Windows partition for running Parallels/VM.

What don't I like? MS Office can be a problem - I work with big files for training purposes and often crash Word and Powerpoint. In theory, you can make pdfs of your MS Office files to send to clients/co-workers, but sometimes the files become huge. I'm just at the point of investigating the various Mac iWork packages as I suspect they will make better (smaller) pdfs.

Other niggles? My oldish HP network printer stopped working when I went from 10.3/4 to OS 10.5 (leopard). It took a long time to sort that, and I'm resisting going to 10.6 (Snow Leopard) as a result. And the latest desktops come with a keyboard without a separate numeric keypad.

Apart from that, Macs have worked for me over the years.

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