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View Full Version : Can someone help a PC Family enter the MAC world...?


Phlosphr
03-22-2008, 08:36 AM
I was originally putting this in GQ, but I realized a lot of what I need is not factual but opinion based. Basically, my wife and I have been PC based forever, we have had PC desktops, laptops etc...etc... and we have decided we'd like to enter the world of the MAC. My wife loves the MacBook but we really don't know what the best laptop would be for our purposes.

Basically, we need a nice mac laptop that is fast, nice graphics, great for internet and word processing and that's about it. We'd watch movies on it on the plane etc..etc...

My questions are this: Which MacBook or whatever is best for $2500 and below? Can I hook it to a wireless network already functioning with our PC? What about functionality with MS Word? Can I write something on the mac and put it on the PC?

Just how uncompatable are macs and pcs today? Is this a sea change or just a wallpaper change when switching from a pc to a mac?
Thanks all!

phungi
03-22-2008, 08:51 AM
I was originally putting this in GQ, but I realized a lot of what I need is not factual but opinion based. Basically, my wife and I have been PC based forever, we have had PC desktops, laptops etc...etc... and we have decided we'd like to enter the world of the MAC.
Congrats on your good judgment!

My wife loves the MacBook but we really don't know what the best laptop would be for our purposes. Basically, we need a nice mac laptop that is fast, nice graphics, great for internet and word processing and that's about it. We'd watch movies on it on the plane etc..etc...

My questions are this: Which MacBook or whatever is best for $2500 and below? Can I hook it to a wireless network already functioning with our PC? What about functionality with MS Word? Can I write something on the mac and put it on the PC?
You can get a 15" Macbook Pro for $2499. There are numerous Word processing programs that will save in Word format if you don't feel like purchasing MS Office, but .DOC, .XLS and .PPT files are all compatible both ways.

You will have no problem hooking up to any wireless network...

Just how uncompatable are macs and pcs today? Is this a sea change or just a wallpaper change when switching from a pc to a mac?
Thanks all!
The content is quite compatible, but the interface and GUI require a learning curve of sorts. I find that it is easier to go from a Mac to a PC, but it is certainly more of a sea change than a wallpaper transitioning either way. For many, there is an "I get it" factor on Mac that is the opposite of the "I don't get it" factor on a PC.

However, not having a "start" button, My Computer, or being continuously asked "Are you sure you want to do exactly what you just said you want to do" can be daunting.

freckafree
03-22-2008, 09:01 AM
When I was poking around on the Mac support web site looking for something else, I noticed this (http://www.apple.com/support/switch101/) guide to making the switch.

Seconding what phungi said, as the lone Mac user at work, I am all the time having to work with Word files created in the Windows platform. Right now NeoOffice (http://www.neooffice.org/neojava/en/index.php) does a better job of that than Office 2004, because NeoOffice will open documents created in the latest version of Office for Windows (the one that appends a x to the file extension). Office 2004 won't. Office 2008 has been released; I just haven't upgraded yet.

Phlosphr
03-22-2008, 09:14 AM
There's no "start button" ?? or My Computer??? Oh god, oh god, oh god - so are we going to buy a twitchy red headed step child? :D Just kidding.

That's interesting, so when we get the new MacBook we will be guided to hook it up to our current wireless settings??

Phlosphr
03-22-2008, 09:22 AM
What about this 90 day warranty thingy? Says we only get 90 days of a warranty otherwise we have to purchase the extended...is that worth it?

beowulff
03-22-2008, 09:56 AM
There's no "start button" ?? or My Computer??? Oh god, oh god, oh god - so are we going to buy a twitchy red headed step child? :D Just kidding.

That's interesting, so when we get the new MacBook we will be guided to hook it up to our current wireless settings??
Generally, connecting to a wireless network is trivial. You simply put in your WEP or WPA password when prompted. If you have done something more sophisticated, like hide your SSID, you will need to choose "other" and put the name of your network and the password in.

Absolute
03-22-2008, 10:33 AM
What about this 90 day warranty thingy? Says we only get 90 days of a warranty otherwise we have to purchase the extended...is that worth it?
It's 90 days of phone support, and a 1-year hardware warranty.

Generally the hardware is pretty good. I usually skip extended warranties, since they're usually statistically biased against you.

EmAnJ
03-22-2008, 11:08 AM
I have a Macbook Pro.

When you start up the computer it'll automatically search for wireless networks in your area. It'll say 'suchandsuch' network detected and ask if you want to connect to it. You enter your password and you're connected.

If you need to make any changes to your wireless router, you do it just the same as with your PC, either by using the CD or online (whichever yours uses).

I just use TextEdit for my word processing stuff. I have sent it to my PC at work and vice versa and it's worked fine.

You can buy the MacOffice utility (you get 30 days free) if you'd like and you can use all the programs (Word, Excel, Power Point, etc) on the Mac. Since I don't really use that stuff at home we didn't buy it. I was a bit worried when I did our home budget in Excel at work and sent it home, but it opened on my Mac, just in an uneditable page, kind of like a .pdf.

Johnny L.A.
03-22-2008, 11:31 AM
I bought a PowerBook G4 in 2005. I didn't buy the extended warranty. Sometime early on my computer was dropped in its Porta-Brace (http://www.portabrace.com/productA-DC-3V) case. I don't remember when or where it happened or who did it, but the screen/lid was shifted ever so slightly, so that when I press the release catch it doesn't spring up like it used to. A few months ago I was sitting on the couch and a fly buzzed my ear. (I had a problem with flies this winter for some reason. Never did find out where they were coming from.) It startled me and my PowerBook slid off of my lap and the lid hit the corner of the coffee table leaving a small ding in it. (I guess that's one thing about plastic cases -- they don't ding as easily as metal.) OK, so there have been a couple of rather minor mishaps; but the computer still works fin#≥...

beowulff
03-22-2008, 11:41 AM
I bought a PowerBook G4 in 2005. I didn't buy the extended warranty. Sometime early on my computer was dropped in its Porta-Brace (http://www.portabrace.com/productA-DC-3V) case. I don't remember when or where it happened or who did it, but the screen/lid was shifted ever so slightly, so that when I press the release catch it doesn't spring up like it used to. A few months ago I was sitting on the couch and a fly buzzed my ear. (I had a problem with flies this winter for some reason. Never did find out where they were coming from.) It startled me and my PowerBook slid off of my lap and the lid hit the corner of the coffee table leaving a small ding in it. (I guess that's one thing about plastic cases -- they don't ding as easily as metal.) OK, so there have been a couple of rather minor mishaps; but the computer still works fin#≥...
I have a friend whose Powerbook slid off the seat of his car while in it's zippered case. The zippers were centered on the top of the case, and they put a very nice ding in the back edge of the computer.

phungi
03-22-2008, 11:42 AM
I have owned Macs since 1988, both at home and work, too numerous to mention (moment of silence for my SE-30). This includes Laptops, Desktops, servers, etc. Performas, Powermacs, GX's, iBooks, iMacs, Powerbooks, etc... In all these years, i had one hard drive crash in week 1 (on a Workgroup server, and was replaced on-site), once I lost an Ethernet port following a lightning strike (and had to buy a CommSlot II card) , and my 1st Gen iMac G5 had a faulty fan (replaced by Apple).

Otherwise, they just work...

Johnny L.A.
03-22-2008, 11:43 AM
OK, so there have been a couple of rather minor mishaps; but the computer still works fin#≥...
Just kidding. :D (About the quasi-error at the end of the line.)

Anyway. I've loved the Mac since I got it. I like the Safari browser. The only thing that took me a little while to get used to was closing a window by going to the upper-left instead of the upper-right. (And vice-versa when using a PC now.) Another thing is that I've got my corners set up so that if I hit the upper-left I see all open windows and if I hit the upper-right the windows shuffle off so I can access the whole desktop. For a while I was hitting the corners inadvertently. The corners always seem to throw PC users who borrow my Mac.

One thing that I really like about the Mac is not getting the Blue Screen Of Death. My PC would crash regularly. Seldom does my Mac lock up.

The touchpad on my PowerBook allows scrolling with two fingers. Several times I've been on someone's PC laptop and have tried to scroll this way only to find it doesn't work. Maybe PCs different now, but there you are.

I have Office for Macs. Excel is slightly different from on my office PC. For example, it won't do a Find All. But it's a lot faster than working through VPN. Word works like Word. I originally used AppleWorks 6 for word processing, but since I'm used to Word I never use it now.

I have an AirPort Extreme base station. The only problem I have with it is that my HP printer won't work through it and I have to use the USB connection if I want to print something. But I don't print much here, so it's not a problem. (There are some printers that will work with AirPort and some that won't.)

I've found the Mac very easy to live with. A friend gave me an old iMac, which I never used. He asked for it back for business purposes, and I ended up getting a 450mHz iMac Indigo PowerPC for fun. I installed OS X and an AirPort card and have it set up in the back bedroom for guests/backup. It's slow, but it works like a charm.