Questions

buy an iMac or a PC?

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buy an iMac or a PC?

bakwas.reg
Hello everyone,
Time has come for me to buy a new machine. I have always used PCs at home, work.

I am now toying with the idea, that may be I should get myself an iMac. I guess what's holding me back is I don't know anything about Macs, never used them. As a result I am unable to evaluate the specifications .

Also, is it difficult to do upgrades to memory, hard disk extra once I buy it.

So is it better to get a PC or an iMac

Thanks in advance.
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    NOW LEFT TR

    and then put your fav PC OS on it AS WELL as the Max OSX. It can be done with a little work.

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    onbliss

    Then just get one.

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    atroon

    I've toyed around with the idea of getting a Mac for a while now, especially since the Intel based systems came out. I like the POSIX-based kernel as well as the OS, but I've consistently noticed a few things about Mac systems that follow on naturally from Apple's position as a 'cool' company and a 'maintain control' company, as well as a 'Zen simplicity' company, viz. the image they've created for themselves in the post-iPod world.

    1) It is not possible in general to purchase a slower/older processor when you know you don't need the top of the line for your needs. This translates into the fact that you will ALWAYS pay top dollar for a MacBook or any other product, because they continually upgrade the systems and they maintain the price while improving the hardware; many other manufacturers will keep the hardware around for longer and decrease the price on existing systems while introducing new ones at the top of the pricing tiers.

    2: Most Macs that I have spec'd, while being at the top of the line in processor, video, hard drive, etc. are almost always short on RAM. Plan on upgrading whatever you get with double the RAM that's installed when you get it. A photographer friend of mine said his studio doesn't even power on new systems before putting in more memory. It will smooth out your life immensely.

    In sum, you can get a Mac, they're great systems, but you will pay for the greatness and the design and all the other 'cool factor' that go along with it. The question is whether or not you're willing to shell out the cash for the intangibles. For some people, like artists, it's a no brainer...they will plop down $3000 for a laptop without batting an eye because they need the design factor as much as they need the PC itself. For me, I'm not there yet.

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    JackG058

    Atroon, you make it sound like this guy is going to have to pony up 3 grand just to enjoy the Mac experience. WRONG! The Mini can be had for around $700. I agree that one should up the standard memory from the included 512mb to 1gb. I did it myself and it cost me $130 for the memory. I also purchased Parallels for Mac, and then proceeded to install Windows XP with almost as much ease as just putting it onto a standard PC. The great thing is that I notice no speed decrease, and this way I also don't have to boot to go into Windows (not that I go there very much now).

    If you have an original XP disk with SP2 on it, you may also use Apple's own Bootcamp for free. You have to have SP2 on the CD though, which was my limitation.

    Mac OS X though is far superior to XP, IMHO. I only use XP now for my already paid for Office XP, and and old scripture program that I cannot get anywhere else and that requires Windows. You can buy MS Office for the Mac if you prefer, or you may use the free OpenOffice for Mac.

    Hope this helps in the decision of the Mac seeker, and that it clears up the misconception that the Mac is too expensive. Used to be, but no longer.

    MAC OS X - the cure for the Windows headache!

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    atroon

    The Mac Mini is a good product, and it is priced a lot more attractively. At the same time, which Mac Experience (tm) are we talking about here?

    The Mac Mini will excel (no pun intended) at office applications and web browsing, but it's not beefy enough to handle large/serious media or graphics editing which most people think of as the Mac specialties. It will publish a blog and photos with iLife/iPhoto, but by and large, you're still paying more for a Mac Mini than the equivalent Windows hardware _because Apple won't let other people manufacture their hardware_, which, as I said, ensures the 'cool' factor but keeps prices higher.

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    phlcarp

    Don?t be afraid to buy an iMac : from the very beginning,
    Macintoshs are well known to be very easy to use ; with
    Mac OsX, they are known to be very secure (no viruses at
    all) ; and the new Intel iMacs are also very powerful...

    And, with an iMac, you will get for free a whole
    development system, an assortment of easy to use media
    applications, a complete Unix system, and the possibility
    of running Linux and (if you are fool enough) even
    Windows ! I don?t know any computer that have a better
    capabilities/price ratio.

    You only will have to abandon some (bad) habits you got
    with Windows, and learn some (good) others for your iMac
    : for example, control click instead of the right mouse
    button to get a contextual menu... And as a reward, you
    will get a very powerful navigation tool in the file system
    with the column presentation of the Finder, and a lot of
    other nice things that Windows Vista has finally copied.

    Memory upgrades on iMacs are easy ; and no problems
    with external hard disks... you can even boot from them.

    Get an iMac without fear ; you will never get back.

    phlcarp

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    jattas

    I have used Macs, since the infamous 1984. Being in the Publishing business, it has always been perceived that Macs do graphics better. Perhaps they do. Although today, the price performance ratio of a PC vs Mac, still points to PC. I read with interest the now well established fact that Apple's business model for the Mac, has always been very egotistic. A high performing Mac, will cost you 4 times what a high performing PC will cost you today! Check it out. Apple has always been a proponent of bait and switch. Yes you can buy a cheap Mac, but if you want to run important business or production software, you need a well equipt Mac. I have always considered the Mac to be a machine for the people who need graphics for their job, but don't want to learn computers. To this degree the Mac is superior, no doubt about it.
    I used to sell Macs, as well as PC's in the publishing industry. Any program you run on any version OS will run faster on a PC with the correct equipment list.
    Finally, I can never forget when Apple would ship it's standard models, with too little memory, and the cost of buying memory from them was prohibitive. So we all bought generic memory, when they changed over to generic memory. But then Apple voided your warranty if your Mac, had more memory than the sales slip indicated. This is part of the Apple mentality. If you can live with it, buy a Mac.

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    umerckel

    As a present day certified Mac tech and also someone
    who's used them since 1984, I have to correct you on one
    point.

    The only time Apple would "Void" a warranty for installing
    memory is if you were installing it yourself in a slot you're
    not ment to get into as a user. Even then, the only
    example that comes to mind is the iMac G4 (LCD Display)
    due to the fact that to get access to the non-customer
    installable slot you needed to break the thermal paste seal
    between the base and the processor which can cause your
    system to overheat.

    Now while I might not agree with some of the other things
    you say, I just wanted to correct that one fact as you are
    allowed and expected to have your own opinion... So
    please don't take this as "bashing" it's just a slight
    correction :)

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    jattas

    In reply to Umerckel:
    You just nailed it on the head. I know if you have been using Macs since 1984, you as I have had to open more than a few MACs and be totally disappointed in their serviceability. Your response about memory access, is exactly what makes the MAC a "black box" not serviceable or upgradeable by owner. It's one of my personal MAC critiques over the years. I again don't have a grudge or otherwise. My original statement was that we used them profusely in publishing. I just didn't like having to manage and repair/update them.

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    JamesRL

    As an owner of the early Macs, yes the Mac 128/512/Plus etc were not easy to service. I bled a couple of times.


    But the Mac II generation were frankly easier to service than PCs back then.

    The Mac II CX/CI etc were easy. There was no need for any screws, though there was one case screw spot, we usually took it out. I was at a press launch for the LC, and watched a press guy assemble an LC from components sitting on a table in under a minute (Case, PSU, MB(ram already on), HD Floppy).

    On the other hand when I got my new 9500 at work and went to install my RAM upgrade I was majorly pissed with poor design. There is no excuse in a full tower case to have to take out the HD carrier to install RAM.

    I never had a course in repairing Macs, I learned on my own, though I did work with Apple trained techs, many of whom considered me an equal.

    And I stopped messing with Macs 6 years ago, so I haven't worked with the Mac mini. But I would never advise someone to buy one with the idea of upgrading later in mind - they are an appliance and you should order whatever you need or anticipate you need.

    James

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    JackG058

    In my case, I bought my Mac Mini from the local CompUSA store that is shutting down. I didn't have the option to upgrade at purchase, and the 512mb installed did seem to be the minimum requirement. I purchased from Other World Computing a 1gb matched set of dimms, and followed their excellent video demo on how to change the memory on a Mini, and presto, I'm running with twice the memory now. The Mini is difficult, in terms of case opening and compared to a standard PC tower. However, with the video presentation it made it a fairly simple process for me, although I have been a field engineer for over 15 years and am not squeamish when it comes to procedures like this.

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    JulesLt

    Jattas - while I don't disagree with a lot of what you're saying about Apple's business strategy (even last year I heard staff in an Apple store advising a customer to buy their extra memory from Crucial!) a lot of what you're saying about the hardware is no longer true.

    Current Macs are, since the Intel switch, PCs. Benchmarks show that, running Windows, they are amongst the fastest PCs available. The high end Macs - the Mac Pro and XServe - also beat the equivalent Dell machines on price for spec. (Largely down to Apple having an exclusive deal with Intel, while Dell have annoyed Intel by using AMD CPUs). The MacBook Pro is at a similar price point to the equivalent spec Dell and Sony machines.

    It is only the lower end Macs (Mini, iMac and MacBook) that are higher priced than equivalent spec Windows machines.

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    jattas

    Jules-You are right about the lower level machines. But the higher level game machines I believe are a different breed altogether, and there the manufacturers of these machines have a similar paradyne to Apple. My comments in general were meant to compare middle of the road products. I realize that things have changed since the intel Mac arrived. However the philosophy of Apple (which I personally have objected to for many years) has not.

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    Dumbterminal

    'You only will have to abandon some (bad) habits you got
    with Windows, and learn some (good) others for your iMac
    : for example, control click instead of the right mouse
    button to get a contextual menu...'

    Sounds like a pain in the arse if that is true. What if you only have one arm.
    Biased and silly post

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    TechExec2

    I use both Windows XP and MacOS (Linux too). Currently, my primary computer is a Windows XP one. But, now that you can easily run Windows XP inside a VM on an Intel Mac, this might change someday.

    The iMac is an "information, communication, and entertainment appliance". You cannot upgrade it and mess with the hardware in the same ways that you can most Windows PCs. If you like to do that, an iMac may not be right for you. If you don't like to do that, an iMac can be an excellent choice. I suggest you go down to an Apple retail store and play around with one there before you buy one. They love converting Windows users to Mac users so you should get a lot of help and support there.

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    Memory: It is easier to add memory to an Intel iMac than most PCs. You don't even have to open the case. There is a little door like a notebook has. But, there are just 2 SODIMM slots on an Intel iMac. So, you will often have to REPLACE memory sticks in order to enlarge, not just ADD sticks. I don't find this a problem as I just equip my PCs with a large amount of memory from the get-go.

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    Hard Disk: You can replace the internal HDD in an Intel iMac, but there is no room to add one. You can easily add fast and inexpensive external hard drive(s) via FireWire or USB 2.0.

    -----

    Drive bays: None in the iMac. So, no additional optical drives, no internal Zip drives, etc. But, once again, these can be added via USB or FireWire.

    -----

    PCI Slots: None in the Intel iMac (the very expensive Mac Pro has them). So, no additional VGA cards for additional monitors. No addon cards for anything else. If this is important to you, the iMac is not for you.

    Note: There is a very limited number of PCI cards that work in the Mac Pro compared to Windows PCs.

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    Keyboard: I do not like the feel of the Mac keyboard. I replaced it with the same keyboard that I use on my PC and it works fine (1). This way my hands always feel at "home".

    The one I bought has special keys for sound volume and mute, to control iTunes, and to get direct access to documents, pictures, music, mail, web browser, calculator, log off, and sleep. They work the same on both the Mac and the PC.

    Note: The Apple Mac keyboard has some very minor layout differences. For example: 1. There is a dedicated CD eject key on the Mac KB. You just use PF12 on the PC keyboard (just like on the Mac notebooks). 2. There is a special "Apple" key about where the ALT key is. The ALT key does this job fine on the Mac. Apple+C = Copy, Apple+V = Paste, etc.

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    Mouse: I don't like the Mac mouse either! Once again, I replaced it with a great mouse, the same one I use on my PC (2). The mouse I got is fully supported on Mac OS X including right clicking to get context menus (the Mac mouse has only one button by tradition), the scroll wheel, and the programmable buttons. Note: Mac OS X has wide support for context menus via the right mouse button just like Windows.

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    Monitor: When the monitor is integrated into the computer as it is with the iMac, you cannot upgrade it or replace it easily.

    -----

    Third Party Hardware: The number and variety of 3rd party hardware for Macintosh is very limited when compared to the Windows PC world. The Mac does everything it is designed to do very well. But, if you like changing your computer hardware around to make it do different things, the iMac is not for you.

    -----

    It just works: The Mac just works. Period. Example: I recently purchased a 3rd party UPS at a retail store for use with my Mac. I connected it up, including the USB cable that is supposed to enable the Mac and the UPS to work together. Nothing happened. I was not surprised because this scenario never works on my Windows PCs either. But... Upon opening the Mac OS X "control panel" (there was no software to install) I was delighted to discover that the two had automatically started working together! The Mac was already monitoring the status of the UPS and would automatically shut down gracefully if the power ever failed. This exact same thing on the Windows PC was a mess (looking for drivers, installing software, fiddling around, yadda, yadda, yadda).

    The Mac is simply a joy to use without any reservations or qualifications.

    -----

    (1) Microsoft Digital Media Pro Keyboard
    http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/productdetails.aspx?pid=030

    (2) Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000
    http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/productdetails.aspx?pid=049

    (3) Ten thoughts on the new Intel iMac
    http://news.com.com/Ten+thoughts+on+the+new+Intel+iMac/2100-1003_3-6029335.html

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    nobby57

    TechExec2 --

    Thanks for the informative and specific post. The kind of information that people can really use to make a decision. Posts like that are too rare!

    Reid

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    Dumbterminal

    Good advice from someone who realizes computers are not religions, and very rare indeed

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    TechExec2

    ....

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    TechExec2

    ...

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    JulesLt

    Small tip :
    You can switch the 'Apple' and CTRL keys around so they're the same shortcuts as Windows.

    However, it is worth noting that the idea is that it's easier to reach Apple-C than CTRL-C.

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    TechExec2

    Now...Why would I want to "break" this feature of the Mac? I like Apple+C/ALT+C. I've been waiting for years to get carpel tunnel syndrome from CTRL+C!

    :^0

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    bakwas.reg

    Thank you all for such insightful comments. I will go to the apple shop and try using the computer. The store near me also has a getting started workshop. Will try to attend it.

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    TechExec2

    ...

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    jmero

    I'm a long-time PC User (15 years) who has recently converted to Macs (not entirely though, I still use both). I got started with a Mac Mini and am now a proud owner of a MacBook Pro. Nothing beats the reliability (and interface!) of Mac OS X.

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    bakwas.reg

    Is there an equivalent of remote terminal in Xp for Mac?

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    Yes

    TechExec2

    Yes. Microsoft has a free Mac client that can connect to a Windows workstation or a server. Looks good on paper. I have never used it so cannot offer any opinion.


    Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac
    http://www.microsoft.com/mac/otherproducts/otherproducts.aspx?pid=remotedesktopclient

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    stilmas

    There really is no difference between the systems today. Get what you are most comfortable with. They can both do the same exact things, although PC's network much better. Everyone touts the fact that MAC systems come with all the software that you will ever need, most of it is crap so you will have to buy software if you want the real stuff and it will be top $$$. The ideal thing is to have both systems depending on what you're doing. As for running Windows on the MAC system, it's really f'ing slow. What I would do is build an i386 system and install OS X and Windows on it if Apple let's you do that, I don't see why not since they both run on identical platforms. Just my 2 cents.

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    TechExec2

    "As for running Windows on the MAC system, it's really f'ing slow."

    This is incorrect.

    Running Windows XP in a VM on the Intel Macintosh is fast. It is about 2/3 as fast as Windows XP native (1). I understand that Parallels (the VM software) is improving as well.

    It was slow on the PowerPC Macintosh because the Intel architecture had to be emulated.

    Running Windows XP natively (dual boot) on an Intel Mac is even faster than in a VM.


    (1) Parallels Desktop for Mac (speed test)
    http://www.macworld.com/2006/06/reviews/parallels/index.php

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    JackG058

    I run Parallels for Mac on my Mac Mini. I don't find running Windows any slower or faster than I did on a native PC. However, the downside to the Mini is onboard Intel graphics. When I wish to run heavy games, such as the forthcoming "Splinter Cell: Double Agent" that I am waiting for next week, I use my P4 3.4Ghz with 2GB memory, and ATI X700 Pro with 256mb memory PC. This will run the games swiftly, yet doesn't really perform any better than my Mini.

    My Mini has the Intel 1.66Ghz Due Core processor with 1gb of ram, FYI.

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    TechExec2

    And, thank you for sharing your experience with the Mac Mini, Windows XP, and Parallels.

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    JulesLt

    Well, what would you expect from someone who'd build a 386 based machine :-)

    Windows performance on Intel Macs also varies enormously dependent on available memory. Just as running Windows under a VM on a Windows machines varies enormously dependent on available memory.

    Unless he's thinking about Virtual PC on a PPC Mac, which was pretty slow?

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    JulesLt

    For connecting into Windows - Microsoft Remote Desktop client.

    For connecting into Macs - Apple's Remote Desktop. Or you could just connect to it as a Unix server via SSH, but you don't get the GUI.

    You can also run VNC on both Macs and PCs - you can find free versions around. I've used this to connect both ways.

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    tl542681893

    I operated a G4 dual processor Mac for 3 years continuously with not one crash. It was running Eudora, Dave, a high-level scientific graphics program, Office X for the Mac, some utilities, virus protection, and the full version of Windows XP Pro for the PC in a separate PC environment. XP Pro was slower on the Mac than on a regular PC but it was extremely stable. Not a single program ever crashed. I finally had to power down for a move.
    During that same time, if I had a nickel for every time my PC crashed I could buy another Mac. And I would, too.

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    dm3haggitt

    I started out in the early 80's with a Z80, VIC20, & Apple
    IIc. Later I switched to PC's for all the 'software' reasons.
    Now PC software stinks, esp. Vista. I just bought a
    MACmini and I love it. OS X is smooth and intuitive (once
    you switch a few brain gears). There are fewer steps,
    fewer errors, and less clutter. The software is full
    featured. I don't have to buy anything out of box
    (software wise). And if I want, I can run WinXP natively on
    my Intel CoreDuo MAC. I'm going to start servicing and
    selling MACs and using them exclusively for my personal
    use.

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    p.j.hutchison

    Macs are very easy to use and work out of the box, no messing with drivers or compatibility problems, very few viruses and no malware.

    There is one problem with Macs, the software base is much, much smaller than PCs, and the gaming side is very, very small. So, don't expect to have Mac equivalent software for all your PC software.

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    dm3haggitt

    So far the software I have seen seems superior. I would
    rather have less software that is better, if this holds true.
    Also, if the OS X core is BSD, the Berkley edition of Unix (or
    am I mistaken), wouldn't MACs have the potential to run an
    enormous library of software if run through the proper
    compiler, module, component, or whatever?

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    p.j.hutchison

    Yes, it does have that potential, MacOS even includes X Windows (has to installed seperately) but some of the gadget/gui sets are not all are available in the box.

    See http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=43139

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    dm3haggitt

    I think I installed X Windows in order to install OpenOffice
    2.0.4.

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    JulesLt

    I'd agree with the 'less but better' philosophy - my view is that comes out of the fact that these days the only developers left on the platform are those that love it.

    A telling point from a developers mailing list was complaining that XCode only offers developers 16 or so widgets, as opposed to the hundreds available in Visual Studio. That is a reason why there is more consistency between Mac apps, and thus why it is quicker to learn a new app. (It's worth thinking of art - does using more colours lead to better art??).

    There is an awful lot of Unix software available for the Mac, particularly non-GUI stuff. It's one reason Macs are popular in scientific academic circles (one area where Unix GUI software took off).

    While the core of the operating system is BSD Unix, which is responsible for a lot of the stability and security, a lot of the quality of Apple apps comes from the NextStep/Cocoa framework that Apple inherited from it's purchase of NeXT.

    In the past this was also available on top of Solaris and Windows, as a cross-platform development framework.

    (Apple obviously also have something internal they use for developing iTunes and the Quicktime player on both Windows and Mac).

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    warzjohn

    I switched to a Macbook Pro in Feb, 2006, after years of repairing windows pcs for others, it became mostly saving data or spending hours removing more and more infections, and less of hardware issues. I just plain got tired that windows allowed this to happen to their OS. So after I switched in Feb. 2006, no infections, no spyware clogging, no trogen sending my personel infomation to eastern europe. I for one will have to see a damn great improvement before going back to that pettri dish of a OS again. Although it still keeps me busy with working on others machines daily. ;-)
    john

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    dm3haggitt

    This is exactly what I was wanting to say. Thanks for expressing what I was dancing around.

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    jattas

    Well John, I am sure that you as well as most of us in the business do keep busy with the virus thing. I personally believe that the Mac is no more tolerant of viruses etc than the PC. There are too few Macs to interest those who would do damage to us.
    In my former environment, we had 2,000 pcs, and 75 Macs. percentage wise, we had the same number of infections on Macs with Os 9 and 10 as we did on the PC's. There is no magic bullet. When was the last time you g ot the "bomb" on the MAC. It still exists, and gives you no clue why.

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    sMoRTy71

    I have used PCs exclusively and have *never* had a virus. I've also never had a spyware issue.

    I keep my AV software up-to-date and I use the latest Windows patches. I also don't know stupid things when browsing the web.

    Keeping machines virus and spyware free is a direct result of the awareness and care of the end user, not of the OS.

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    jdclyde

    if patches being up-to-date is not enough to protect an OS, then there is a problem with the OS.

    Can you name me a few other products that REQUIRE you to buy at least two other products in order for the original product to work properly?

    The question is how many viruses "in-the-wild" are there that will affect a patched Linux or MAC box by simply viewing a web page? (dumb users clicking on dialog boxes they don't understand do not count, because that is a user problem, not an OS problem.)

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    RexWorld

    While I do agree with you to some extent, there are definitely other products that require you to buy additional bits to work properly. I can think of two off the top of my head: car, and ipod. Your car requires that you buy gas, that you pay a license fee, that you pay for a smog check-up, etc. Your ipod requires you have a recharging device (usually a computer with USB but could also be a separate power brick) and you have to buy music, either CD's that you rip or downloads from iTunes.

    Keeping with the analogy, if a user is dumb enough to never recharge their iPod they can't expect it to just magically keep on working. To smorty's point that a careful and conscientious user is the most important part of keeping a computer virus-free.

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    bakwas.reg

    I guess the point is if there is a road A that has a higher rate getting pot holes and the second road B has a lower rate of pot holes, and if the user has never been on the road B, its a smart user who continues on road A skirting all the pot holes,instead of taking road B, as it its new.

    hmmm thats a thought

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    Dr Dij

    especially if both are toll roads, and road A is half the price of road B, it may pay to avoid the potholes!

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    sMoRTy71

    if you know how to drive, each road is equal. Each will have its share of bumps, but if you know how to drive carefully, you can avoid them.

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    hatfira

    Try your car! If you don't keep gas in it and oil in the crankcase, it will most certainly not work for long. Maintaining your OS is no less important. While I do think the OS should do a reasonably good job of protecting you, it will always require more specialized apps to complete the set.

    I personally love Macs for the ease of use and workability, but I won't give up my PC anytime soon. I do feel it's up to me to keep both systems (and my Kubuntu Linux, too!) up to date. When you're dealing with millions of line of code, you will inevitably have issues. It doesn't matter the OS. If the poster wants a Mac, then by all means he should try it! Just make sure to get one that's Intel based, and you can have your cake and eat it, too. Even if Windows won't scream on it, ad I'm not saying it won't, you will have flexibility you don't have now.

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    Hmm

    JulesLt

    I too have kept my PCs spyware free, but I find myself continually fixing things for relatives - particularly those with teenage male children, who are drawn to do stupid things when browsing the web. (Like turning the firewall off to get p2p to work). Now parents should, in an ideal world, know what their kids are doing on the family computer, but realistically most of them don't have a clue.

    Overall, however, your attitude is a bit like saying that it's a home owners responsibility for their own security. To a large degree that is true, but for a long time the default installation of Windows was like selling a house without locks on the doors and windows.

    More crucially, because most people know little about IT, they didn't know they were missing. Firewalls have been a standard part of most operating systems for decades.

    To be fair, Apple was in a similar boat pre-OS X. Both Windows and the classic Mac OS were never designed to work in a hostile networked environment.

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    sMoRTy71

    No one can design the perfect solution for ignorant users. If you aren't willing to invest a little bit of time to understand how to maintain your equipment (whether a PC or a car or your home), then it is really your own fault when you have problems.

    To use your analogy, if someone were to sell you a home with no locks and you weren't smart enough to install locks, then that is your own fault.

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    JulesLt

    I know which one I would rather have the computer illiterate members of my extended family using.

    And yes, I do wish people would treat their computers more like cars, but they don't want to - they want 'the internet' to work, like television. A lot of people want their cars to be the same (hence the growth in diagnostic display systems in cars).

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    JulesLt

    I'd be astounded if you had infections on any of your OS X machines that were not actually infections in the 'Classic' (OS 9) partition or Virtual PC. There are ZERO known viruses for OS X, and only a couple of 'concept' Trojans.

    The very fact that OS 9 had a large number of viruses and OS X does not, belies the theory that it is market size that protects OS X. The actuality is that it is the Unix foundations that protect OS X. (Solaris and many flavours of Unix are as secure, but are unknown by most desktop users).

    As for the bomb - I haven't had it on OS X. Mind you I've not had a PC completely lock up in a couple of years either.

    If you actually believe what you have written then I'm quite worried - an IT administrator should be acting on facts.

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    dm3haggitt

    I do believe viruses can be written for any OS or app. So I do use iClav or something like that.

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    mjd420nova

    If for no other reason than to learn how to use them and service them. They are a different beast from the outside, but inside they still use the same chips and must follow the same logic in diagnostics. It will be a real learning experience and if you really want to learn them, get one for your home and learn how to use it. If you are buying, a PC is the answer, but if you have to get your work to pay for one for you, that way it will be easier to learn and you won't feel so intimidated by them. I learned them when they first came out, but service was reserved for the certified APPLE techs. Hogwash, a computer is a computer, just the overlying software makes it a bit strange, but you'll get used to it.

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    dm3haggitt

    Yes, if for no other reason than the experience. It always helps to know first hand what it is like in the other guy's shoes. (Perhaps I talk too much. I'd like to think I'm just excited by good advice.)

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    danmcl

    I agree, about 12 months ago I was exclusively PC based. My Wife bought me a mac mini (powerPC) for christmas and now the only time I use a PC is at work and our servers run on Windows as well.

    I was that amazed by the mac mini that I have just bought 2 macbooks, a black one for me and a white one (2.0GHz) model for my wife. There is a bit of a learning curve as you relearn how to do things
    http://img231.imageshack.us/img231/3951/osxsatisfactionchart1qk.jpg

    As for remote desktop I recommend the excellent CoRD 2.0, the MS one can only have one terminal open at a time unless you use a launcher for it where as CoRD does it all in one window and its easy to switch between them.

    But once you go mac you never go back!

    http://danmacs.blogspot.com

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    Yes

    JulesLt

    Firstly, in terms of hardware specs, since the switch to using Intel CPU, it is now much easier to compare specs with a Windows PC. Now you only have to deal with comparing AMD and Intel's different ways of measuring performance. Memory - can be upgraded easily enough. Hard disk - less so, but I'd go external if you need that volume of storage. (I'd look at a wireless home network storage device as these are coming down in price. The advantage with these is that you can share them between computers).

    What I will say is that if you're the kind of person who considers the spec of their machine, then the only Mac you'll be happy with is the Mac Pro, MacBook Pro or an XServe - these are the only machines in Apple's range that are seriously price competitive for the performance they deliver. The lower end machines are all more expensive than equivalent spec PCs, whatever anyone tells you. Partly you're paying a premium for the name (about 15%) but you're also paying for the industrial design, unique motherboards, etc. The USB sockets on my Mac Mini, for instance, are rock solid compared to laptops over twice the price.

    The only real reason for going for a Mac isn't the spec of the machines, but the operating system and software. OS X is a really great system, especially if you've got any Unix experience. But even if you just stick at the graphical level you can achieve a lot - it took me 5 minutes (including searching the Internet) to set up a folder where I could drag files that would then be transferred via Bluetooth to my phone. You can use AppleScript to automate pretty much anything (even if programs don't support it you can script key-press events) - I've used that to configure my mouse to launch tools. Features like Expose are great, although Vista will bring similar to Windows.

    Software - there is a LOT less than on Windows. In the old days, when you had to go to shops to buy software, this was a bad thing - little choice. These days I buy almost all my software as direct downloads via the Internet. I would say that while Macs are more expensive, I have found the software to be cheaper. (Mac developers often swear by the Cocoa framework, when they are not swearing at it, for allowing them to develop this stuff rapidly / easily).

    The other plus side is that most software on the Mac is developed by Mac users / fans - i.e. people who put a high value on a good user interface. My experience is that the average quality of Mac apps / shareware is far higher than with Windows. That is not the fault of Windows itself - the issue is that Windows is the dominant platform so attracts more people out to make an easy buck.

    Take a look at the following apps : If you can see yourself using them then I'd give the Mac a try : OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, Delicious Library, TextMate, iMovie, Garageband. I know I have way more installed (including some simple ones like BluephoneElite) but I'm at work so can't check. If you're into higher end video and audio work then there's a whole load of apps out there.

    Personally - I went from a high-spec AMD games rig to a low-power Mac Mini because I realised my computing needs had changed. I mostly use a console for gaming these days, and I wanted something quiet and small for Internet use and light code editing in the study. It's only 1/4 of the performance of the current Mini, yet I'm more than happy with it, and feel no real need to upgrade (other than the usual itch).

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    guitarplaya2000

    I would suggest to buy a mac mini first. It's not big investment, $600-700. It uses the monitor, keyboard and mouse that you own already. If you have any of those as a spare, you can use the Mac Mini as second system and learn the OS until you are comfortable with it.
    Then when you are ready, you can invest in a iMac.

    Good Luck!

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    NOW LEFT TR

    and then put your fav PC OS on it AS WELL as the Max OSX. It can be done with a little work.

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    onbliss

    Then just get one.

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    atroon

    I've toyed around with the idea of getting a Mac for a while now, especially since the Intel based systems came out. I like the POSIX-based kernel as well as the OS, but I've consistently noticed a few things about Mac systems that follow on naturally from Apple's position as a 'cool' company and a 'maintain control' company, as well as a 'Zen simplicity' company, viz. the image they've created for themselves in the post-iPod world.

    1) It is not possible in general to purchase a slower/older processor when you know you don't need the top of the line for your needs. This translates into the fact that you will ALWAYS pay top dollar for a MacBook or any other product, because they continually upgrade the systems and they maintain the price while improving the hardware; many other manufacturers will keep the hardware around for longer and decrease the price on existing systems while introducing new ones at the top of the pricing tiers.

    2: Most Macs that I have spec'd, while being at the top of the line in processor, video, hard drive, etc. are almost always short on RAM. Plan on upgrading whatever you get with double the RAM that's installed when you get it. A photographer friend of mine said his studio doesn't even power on new systems before putting in more memory. It will smooth out your life immensely.

    In sum, you can get a Mac, they're great systems, but you will pay for the greatness and the design and all the other 'cool factor' that go along with it. The question is whether or not you're willing to shell out the cash for the intangibles. For some people, like artists, it's a no brainer...they will plop down $3000 for a laptop without batting an eye because they need the design factor as much as they need the PC itself. For me, I'm not there yet.

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    JackG058

    Atroon, you make it sound like this guy is going to have to pony up 3 grand just to enjoy the Mac experience. WRONG! The Mini can be had for around $700. I agree that one should up the standard memory from the included 512mb to 1gb. I did it myself and it cost me $130 for the memory. I also purchased Parallels for Mac, and then proceeded to install Windows XP with almost as much ease as just putting it onto a standard PC. The great thing is that I notice no speed decrease, and this way I also don't have to boot to go into Windows (not that I go there very much now).

    If you have an original XP disk with SP2 on it, you may also use Apple's own Bootcamp for free. You have to have SP2 on the CD though, which was my limitation.

    Mac OS X though is far superior to XP, IMHO. I only use XP now for my already paid for Office XP, and and old scripture program that I cannot get anywhere else and that requires Windows. You can buy MS Office for the Mac if you prefer, or you may use the free OpenOffice for Mac.

    Hope this helps in the decision of the Mac seeker, and that it clears up the misconception that the Mac is too expensive. Used to be, but no longer.

    MAC OS X - the cure for the Windows headache!

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    atroon

    The Mac Mini is a good product, and it is priced a lot more attractively. At the same time, which Mac Experience (tm) are we talking about here?

    The Mac Mini will excel (no pun intended) at office applications and web browsing, but it's not beefy enough to handle large/serious media or graphics editing which most people think of as the Mac specialties. It will publish a blog and photos with iLife/iPhoto, but by and large, you're still paying more for a Mac Mini than the equivalent Windows hardware _because Apple won't let other people manufacture their hardware_, which, as I said, ensures the 'cool' factor but keeps prices higher.

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    phlcarp

    Don?t be afraid to buy an iMac : from the very beginning,
    Macintoshs are well known to be very easy to use ; with
    Mac OsX, they are known to be very secure (no viruses at
    all) ; and the new Intel iMacs are also very powerful...

    And, with an iMac, you will get for free a whole
    development system, an assortment of easy to use media
    applications, a complete Unix system, and the possibility
    of running Linux and (if you are fool enough) even
    Windows ! I don?t know any computer that have a better
    capabilities/price ratio.

    You only will have to abandon some (bad) habits you got
    with Windows, and learn some (good) others for your iMac
    : for example, control click instead of the right mouse
    button to get a contextual menu... And as a reward, you
    will get a very powerful navigation tool in the file system
    with the column presentation of the Finder, and a lot of
    other nice things that Windows Vista has finally copied.

    Memory upgrades on iMacs are easy ; and no problems
    with external hard disks... you can even boot from them.

    Get an iMac without fear ; you will never get back.

    phlcarp

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    jattas

    I have used Macs, since the infamous 1984. Being in the Publishing business, it has always been perceived that Macs do graphics better. Perhaps they do. Although today, the price performance ratio of a PC vs Mac, still points to PC. I read with interest the now well established fact that Apple's business model for the Mac, has always been very egotistic. A high performing Mac, will cost you 4 times what a high performing PC will cost you today! Check it out. Apple has always been a proponent of bait and switch. Yes you can buy a cheap Mac, but if you want to run important business or production software, you need a well equipt Mac. I have always considered the Mac to be a machine for the people who need graphics for their job, but don't want to learn computers. To this degree the Mac is superior, no doubt about it.
    I used to sell Macs, as well as PC's in the publishing industry. Any program you run on any version OS will run faster on a PC with the correct equipment list.
    Finally, I can never forget when Apple would ship it's standard models, with too little memory, and the cost of buying memory from them was prohibitive. So we all bought generic memory, when they changed over to generic memory. But then Apple voided your warranty if your Mac, had more memory than the sales slip indicated. This is part of the Apple mentality. If you can live with it, buy a Mac.

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    umerckel

    As a present day certified Mac tech and also someone
    who's used them since 1984, I have to correct you on one
    point.

    The only time Apple would "Void" a warranty for installing
    memory is if you were installing it yourself in a slot you're
    not ment to get into as a user. Even then, the only
    example that comes to mind is the iMac G4 (LCD Display)
    due to the fact that to get access to the non-customer
    installable slot you needed to break the thermal paste seal
    between the base and the processor which can cause your
    system to overheat.

    Now while I might not agree with some of the other things
    you say, I just wanted to correct that one fact as you are
    allowed and expected to have your own opinion... So
    please don't take this as "bashing" it's just a slight
    correction :)

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    jattas

    In reply to Umerckel:
    You just nailed it on the head. I know if you have been using Macs since 1984, you as I have had to open more than a few MACs and be totally disappointed in their serviceability. Your response about memory access, is exactly what makes the MAC a "black box" not serviceable or upgradeable by owner. It's one of my personal MAC critiques over the years. I again don't have a grudge or otherwise. My original statement was that we used them profusely in publishing. I just didn't like having to manage and repair/update them.

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    JamesRL

    As an owner of the early Macs, yes the Mac 128/512/Plus etc were not easy to service. I bled a couple of times.


    But the Mac II generation were frankly easier to service than PCs back then.

    The Mac II CX/CI etc were easy. There was no need for any screws, though there was one case screw spot, we usually took it out. I was at a press launch for the LC, and watched a press guy assemble an LC from components sitting on a table in under a minute (Case, PSU, MB(ram already on), HD Floppy).

    On the other hand when I got my new 9500 at work and went to install my RAM upgrade I was majorly pissed with poor design. There is no excuse in a full tower case to have to take out the HD carrier to install RAM.

    I never had a course in repairing Macs, I learned on my own, though I did work with Apple trained techs, many of whom considered me an equal.

    And I stopped messing with Macs 6 years ago, so I haven't worked with the Mac mini. But I would never advise someone to buy one with the idea of upgrading later in mind - they are an appliance and you should order whatever you need or anticipate you need.

    James

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    JackG058

    In my case, I bought my Mac Mini from the local CompUSA store that is shutting down. I didn't have the option to upgrade at purchase, and the 512mb installed did seem to be the minimum requirement. I purchased from Other World Computing a 1gb matched set of dimms, and followed their excellent video demo on how to change the memory on a Mini, and presto, I'm running with twice the memory now. The Mini is difficult, in terms of case opening and compared to a standard PC tower. However, with the video presentation it made it a fairly simple process for me, although I have been a field engineer for over 15 years and am not squeamish when it comes to procedures like this.

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    JulesLt

    Jattas - while I don't disagree with a lot of what you're saying about Apple's business strategy (even last year I heard staff in an Apple store advising a customer to buy their extra memory from Crucial!) a lot of what you're saying about the hardware is no longer true.

    Current Macs are, since the Intel switch, PCs. Benchmarks show that, running Windows, they are amongst the fastest PCs available. The high end Macs - the Mac Pro and XServe - also beat the equivalent Dell machines on price for spec. (Largely down to Apple having an exclusive deal with Intel, while Dell have annoyed Intel by using AMD CPUs). The MacBook Pro is at a similar price point to the equivalent spec Dell and Sony machines.

    It is only the lower end Macs (Mini, iMac and MacBook) that are higher priced than equivalent spec Windows machines.

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    jattas

    Jules-You are right about the lower level machines. But the higher level game machines I believe are a different breed altogether, and there the manufacturers of these machines have a similar paradyne to Apple. My comments in general were meant to compare middle of the road products. I realize that things have changed since the intel Mac arrived. However the philosophy of Apple (which I personally have objected to for many years) has not.

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    Dumbterminal

    'You only will have to abandon some (bad) habits you got
    with Windows, and learn some (good) others for your iMac
    : for example, control click instead of the right mouse
    button to get a contextual menu...'

    Sounds like a pain in the arse if that is true. What if you only have one arm.
    Biased and silly post

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    TechExec2

    I use both Windows XP and MacOS (Linux too). Currently, my primary computer is a Windows XP one. But, now that you can easily run Windows XP inside a VM on an Intel Mac, this might change someday.

    The iMac is an "information, communication, and entertainment appliance". You cannot upgrade it and mess with the hardware in the same ways that you can most Windows PCs. If you like to do that, an iMac may not be right for you. If you don't like to do that, an iMac can be an excellent choice. I suggest you go down to an Apple retail store and play around with one there before you buy one. They love converting Windows users to Mac users so you should get a lot of help and support there.

    -----

    Memory: It is easier to add memory to an Intel iMac than most PCs. You don't even have to open the case. There is a little door like a notebook has. But, there are just 2 SODIMM slots on an Intel iMac. So, you will often have to REPLACE memory sticks in order to enlarge, not just ADD sticks. I don't find this a problem as I just equip my PCs with a large amount of memory from the get-go.

    -----

    Hard Disk: You can replace the internal HDD in an Intel iMac, but there is no room to add one. You can easily add fast and inexpensive external hard drive(s) via FireWire or USB 2.0.

    -----

    Drive bays: None in the iMac. So, no additional optical drives, no internal Zip drives, etc. But, once again, these can be added via USB or FireWire.

    -----

    PCI Slots: None in the Intel iMac (the very expensive Mac Pro has them). So, no additional VGA cards for additional monitors. No addon cards for anything else. If this is important to you, the iMac is not for you.

    Note: There is a very limited number of PCI cards that work in the Mac Pro compared to Windows PCs.

    -----

    Keyboard: I do not like the feel of the Mac keyboard. I replaced it with the same keyboard that I use on my PC and it works fine (1). This way my hands always feel at "home".

    The one I bought has special keys for sound volume and mute, to control iTunes, and to get direct access to documents, pictures, music, mail, web browser, calculator, log off, and sleep. They work the same on both the Mac and the PC.

    Note: The Apple Mac keyboard has some very minor layout differences. For example: 1. There is a dedicated CD eject key on the Mac KB. You just use PF12 on the PC keyboard (just like on the Mac notebooks). 2. There is a special "Apple" key about where the ALT key is. The ALT key does this job fine on the Mac. Apple+C = Copy, Apple+V = Paste, etc.

    -----

    Mouse: I don't like the Mac mouse either! Once again, I replaced it with a great mouse, the same one I use on my PC (2). The mouse I got is fully supported on Mac OS X including right clicking to get context menus (the Mac mouse has only one button by tradition), the scroll wheel, and the programmable buttons. Note: Mac OS X has wide support for context menus via the right mouse button just like Windows.

    -----

    Monitor: When the monitor is integrated into the computer as it is with the iMac, you cannot upgrade it or replace it easily.

    -----

    Third Party Hardware: The number and variety of 3rd party hardware for Macintosh is very limited when compared to the Windows PC world. The Mac does everything it is designed to do very well. But, if you like changing your computer hardware around to make it do different things, the iMac is not for you.

    -----

    It just works: The Mac just works. Period. Example: I recently purchased a 3rd party UPS at a retail store for use with my Mac. I connected it up, including the USB cable that is supposed to enable the Mac and the UPS to work together. Nothing happened. I was not surprised because this scenario never works on my Windows PCs either. But... Upon opening the Mac OS X "control panel" (there was no software to install) I was delighted to discover that the two had automatically started working together! The Mac was already monitoring the status of the UPS and would automatically shut down gracefully if the power ever failed. This exact same thing on the Windows PC was a mess (looking for drivers, installing software, fiddling around, yadda, yadda, yadda).

    The Mac is simply a joy to use without any reservations or qualifications.

    -----

    (1) Microsoft Digital Media Pro Keyboard
    http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/productdetails.aspx?pid=030

    (2) Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000
    http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/productdetails.aspx?pid=049

    (3) Ten thoughts on the new Intel iMac
    http://news.com.com/Ten+thoughts+on+the+new+Intel+iMac/2100-1003_3-6029335.html

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    nobby57

    TechExec2 --

    Thanks for the informative and specific post. The kind of information that people can really use to make a decision. Posts like that are too rare!

    Reid

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    Dumbterminal

    Good advice from someone who realizes computers are not religions, and very rare indeed

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    TechExec2

    ....

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    TechExec2

    ...

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    JulesLt

    Small tip :
    You can switch the 'Apple' and CTRL keys around so they're the same shortcuts as Windows.

    However, it is worth noting that the idea is that it's easier to reach Apple-C than CTRL-C.

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    TechExec2

    Now...Why would I want to "break" this feature of the Mac? I like Apple+C/ALT+C. I've been waiting for years to get carpel tunnel syndrome from CTRL+C!

    :^0

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    bakwas.reg

    Thank you all for such insightful comments. I will go to the apple shop and try using the computer. The store near me also has a getting started workshop. Will try to attend it.

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    TechExec2

    ...

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    jmero

    I'm a long-time PC User (15 years) who has recently converted to Macs (not entirely though, I still use both). I got started with a Mac Mini and am now a proud owner of a MacBook Pro. Nothing beats the reliability (and interface!) of Mac OS X.

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    bakwas.reg

    Is there an equivalent of remote terminal in Xp for Mac?

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    Yes

    TechExec2

    Yes. Microsoft has a free Mac client that can connect to a Windows workstation or a server. Looks good on paper. I have never used it so cannot offer any opinion.


    Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac
    http://www.microsoft.com/mac/otherproducts/otherproducts.aspx?pid=remotedesktopclient

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    stilmas

    There really is no difference between the systems today. Get what you are most comfortable with. They can both do the same exact things, although PC's network much better. Everyone touts the fact that MAC systems come with all the software that you will ever need, most of it is crap so you will have to buy software if you want the real stuff and it will be top $$$. The ideal thing is to have both systems depending on what you're doing. As for running Windows on the MAC system, it's really f'ing slow. What I would do is build an i386 system and install OS X and Windows on it if Apple let's you do that, I don't see why not since they both run on identical platforms. Just my 2 cents.

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    TechExec2

    "As for running Windows on the MAC system, it's really f'ing slow."

    This is incorrect.

    Running Windows XP in a VM on the Intel Macintosh is fast. It is about 2/3 as fast as Windows XP native (1). I understand that Parallels (the VM software) is improving as well.

    It was slow on the PowerPC Macintosh because the Intel architecture had to be emulated.

    Running Windows XP natively (dual boot) on an Intel Mac is even faster than in a VM.


    (1) Parallels Desktop for Mac (speed test)
    http://www.macworld.com/2006/06/reviews/parallels/index.php

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    JackG058

    I run Parallels for Mac on my Mac Mini. I don't find running Windows any slower or faster than I did on a native PC. However, the downside to the Mini is onboard Intel graphics. When I wish to run heavy games, such as the forthcoming "Splinter Cell: Double Agent" that I am waiting for next week, I use my P4 3.4Ghz with 2GB memory, and ATI X700 Pro with 256mb memory PC. This will run the games swiftly, yet doesn't really perform any better than my Mini.

    My Mini has the Intel 1.66Ghz Due Core processor with 1gb of ram, FYI.

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    TechExec2

    And, thank you for sharing your experience with the Mac Mini, Windows XP, and Parallels.

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    JulesLt

    Well, what would you expect from someone who'd build a 386 based machine :-)

    Windows performance on Intel Macs also varies enormously dependent on available memory. Just as running Windows under a VM on a Windows machines varies enormously dependent on available memory.

    Unless he's thinking about Virtual PC on a PPC Mac, which was pretty slow?

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    JulesLt

    For connecting into Windows - Microsoft Remote Desktop client.

    For connecting into Macs - Apple's Remote Desktop. Or you could just connect to it as a Unix server via SSH, but you don't get the GUI.

    You can also run VNC on both Macs and PCs - you can find free versions around. I've used this to connect both ways.

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    tl542681893

    I operated a G4 dual processor Mac for 3 years continuously with not one crash. It was running Eudora, Dave, a high-level scientific graphics program, Office X for the Mac, some utilities, virus protection, and the full version of Windows XP Pro for the PC in a separate PC environment. XP Pro was slower on the Mac than on a regular PC but it was extremely stable. Not a single program ever crashed. I finally had to power down for a move.
    During that same time, if I had a nickel for every time my PC crashed I could buy another Mac. And I would, too.

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    dm3haggitt

    I started out in the early 80's with a Z80, VIC20, & Apple
    IIc. Later I switched to PC's for all the 'software' reasons.
    Now PC software stinks, esp. Vista. I just bought a
    MACmini and I love it. OS X is smooth and intuitive (once
    you switch a few brain gears). There are fewer steps,
    fewer errors, and less clutter. The software is full
    featured. I don't have to buy anything out of box
    (software wise). And if I want, I can run WinXP natively on
    my Intel CoreDuo MAC. I'm going to start servicing and
    selling MACs and using them exclusively for my personal
    use.

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    p.j.hutchison

    Macs are very easy to use and work out of the box, no messing with drivers or compatibility problems, very few viruses and no malware.

    There is one problem with Macs, the software base is much, much smaller than PCs, and the gaming side is very, very small. So, don't expect to have Mac equivalent software for all your PC software.

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    dm3haggitt

    So far the software I have seen seems superior. I would
    rather have less software that is better, if this holds true.
    Also, if the OS X core is BSD, the Berkley edition of Unix (or
    am I mistaken), wouldn't MACs have the potential to run an
    enormous library of software if run through the proper
    compiler, module, component, or whatever?

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    p.j.hutchison

    Yes, it does have that potential, MacOS even includes X Windows (has to installed seperately) but some of the gadget/gui sets are not all are available in the box.

    See http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=43139

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    dm3haggitt

    I think I installed X Windows in order to install OpenOffice
    2.0.4.

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    JulesLt

    I'd agree with the 'less but better' philosophy - my view is that comes out of the fact that these days the only developers left on the platform are those that love it.

    A telling point from a developers mailing list was complaining that XCode only offers developers 16 or so widgets, as opposed to the hundreds available in Visual Studio. That is a reason why there is more consistency between Mac apps, and thus why it is quicker to learn a new app. (It's worth thinking of art - does using more colours lead to better art??).

    There is an awful lot of Unix software available for the Mac, particularly non-GUI stuff. It's one reason Macs are popular in scientific academic circles (one area where Unix GUI software took off).

    While the core of the operating system is BSD Unix, which is responsible for a lot of the stability and security, a lot of the quality of Apple apps comes from the NextStep/Cocoa framework that Apple inherited from it's purchase of NeXT.

    In the past this was also available on top of Solaris and Windows, as a cross-platform development framework.

    (Apple obviously also have something internal they use for developing iTunes and the Quicktime player on both Windows and Mac).

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    warzjohn

    I switched to a Macbook Pro in Feb, 2006, after years of repairing windows pcs for others, it became mostly saving data or spending hours removing more and more infections, and less of hardware issues. I just plain got tired that windows allowed this to happen to their OS. So after I switched in Feb. 2006, no infections, no spyware clogging, no trogen sending my personel infomation to eastern europe. I for one will have to see a damn great improvement before going back to that pettri dish of a OS again. Although it still keeps me busy with working on others machines daily. ;-)
    john

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    dm3haggitt

    This is exactly what I was wanting to say. Thanks for expressing what I was dancing around.

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    jattas

    Well John, I am sure that you as well as most of us in the business do keep busy with the virus thing. I personally believe that the Mac is no more tolerant of viruses etc than the PC. There are too few Macs to interest those who would do damage to us.
    In my former environment, we had 2,000 pcs, and 75 Macs. percentage wise, we had the same number of infections on Macs with Os 9 and 10 as we did on the PC's. There is no magic bullet. When was the last time you g ot the "bomb" on the MAC. It still exists, and gives you no clue why.

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    sMoRTy71

    I have used PCs exclusively and have *never* had a virus. I've also never had a spyware issue.

    I keep my AV software up-to-date and I use the latest Windows patches. I also don't know stupid things when browsing the web.

    Keeping machines virus and spyware free is a direct result of the awareness and care of the end user, not of the OS.

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    jdclyde

    if patches being up-to-date is not enough to protect an OS, then there is a problem with the OS.

    Can you name me a few other products that REQUIRE you to buy at least two other products in order for the original product to work properly?

    The question is how many viruses "in-the-wild" are there that will affect a patched Linux or MAC box by simply viewing a web page? (dumb users clicking on dialog boxes they don't understand do not count, because that is a user problem, not an OS problem.)

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    RexWorld

    While I do agree with you to some extent, there are definitely other products that require you to buy additional bits to work properly. I can think of two off the top of my head: car, and ipod. Your car requires that you buy gas, that you pay a license fee, that you pay for a smog check-up, etc. Your ipod requires you have a recharging device (usually a computer with USB but could also be a separate power brick) and you have to buy music, either CD's that you rip or downloads from iTunes.

    Keeping with the analogy, if a user is dumb enough to never recharge their iPod they can't expect it to just magically keep on working. To smorty's point that a careful and conscientious user is the most important part of keeping a computer virus-free.

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    bakwas.reg

    I guess the point is if there is a road A that has a higher rate getting pot holes and the second road B has a lower rate of pot holes, and if the user has never been on the road B, its a smart user who continues on road A skirting all the pot holes,instead of taking road B, as it its new.

    hmmm thats a thought

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    Dr Dij

    especially if both are toll roads, and road A is half the price of road B, it may pay to avoid the potholes!

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    sMoRTy71

    if you know how to drive, each road is equal. Each will have its share of bumps, but if you know how to drive carefully, you can avoid them.

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    hatfira

    Try your car! If you don't keep gas in it and oil in the crankcase, it will most certainly not work for long. Maintaining your OS is no less important. While I do think the OS should do a reasonably good job of protecting you, it will always require more specialized apps to complete the set.

    I personally love Macs for the ease of use and workability, but I won't give up my PC anytime soon. I do feel it's up to me to keep both systems (and my Kubuntu Linux, too!) up to date. When you're dealing with millions of line of code, you will inevitably have issues. It doesn't matter the OS. If the poster wants a Mac, then by all means he should try it! Just make sure to get one that's Intel based, and you can have your cake and eat it, too. Even if Windows won't scream on it, ad I'm not saying it won't, you will have flexibility you don't have now.

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    Hmm

    JulesLt

    I too have kept my PCs spyware free, but I find myself continually fixing things for relatives - particularly those with teenage male children, who are drawn to do stupid things when browsing the web. (Like turning the firewall off to get p2p to work). Now parents should, in an ideal world, know what their kids are doing on the family computer, but realistically most of them don't have a clue.

    Overall, however, your attitude is a bit like saying that it's a home owners responsibility for their own security. To a large degree that is true, but for a long time the default installation of Windows was like selling a house without locks on the doors and windows.

    More crucially, because most people know little about IT, they didn't know they were missing. Firewalls have been a standard part of most operating systems for decades.

    To be fair, Apple was in a similar boat pre-OS X. Both Windows and the classic Mac OS were never designed to work in a hostile networked environment.

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    sMoRTy71

    No one can design the perfect solution for ignorant users. If you aren't willing to invest a little bit of time to understand how to maintain your equipment (whether a PC or a car or your home), then it is really your own fault when you have problems.

    To use your analogy, if someone were to sell you a home with no locks and you weren't smart enough to install locks, then that is your own fault.

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    JulesLt

    I know which one I would rather have the computer illiterate members of my extended family using.

    And yes, I do wish people would treat their computers more like cars, but they don't want to - they want 'the internet' to work, like television. A lot of people want their cars to be the same (hence the growth in diagnostic display systems in cars).

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    JulesLt

    I'd be astounded if you had infections on any of your OS X machines that were not actually infections in the 'Classic' (OS 9) partition or Virtual PC. There are ZERO known viruses for OS X, and only a couple of 'concept' Trojans.

    The very fact that OS 9 had a large number of viruses and OS X does not, belies the theory that it is market size that protects OS X. The actuality is that it is the Unix foundations that protect OS X. (Solaris and many flavours of Unix are as secure, but are unknown by most desktop users).

    As for the bomb - I haven't had it on OS X. Mind you I've not had a PC completely lock up in a couple of years either.

    If you actually believe what you have written then I'm quite worried - an IT administrator should be acting on facts.

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    dm3haggitt

    I do believe viruses can be written for any OS or app. So I do use iClav or something like that.

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    mjd420nova

    If for no other reason than to learn how to use them and service them. They are a different beast from the outside, but inside they still use the same chips and must follow the same logic in diagnostics. It will be a real learning experience and if you really want to learn them, get one for your home and learn how to use it. If you are buying, a PC is the answer, but if you have to get your work to pay for one for you, that way it will be easier to learn and you won't feel so intimidated by them. I learned them when they first came out, but service was reserved for the certified APPLE techs. Hogwash, a computer is a computer, just the overlying software makes it a bit strange, but you'll get used to it.

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    dm3haggitt

    Yes, if for no other reason than the experience. It always helps to know first hand what it is like in the other guy's shoes. (Perhaps I talk too much. I'd like to think I'm just excited by good advice.)

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    danmcl

    I agree, about 12 months ago I was exclusively PC based. My Wife bought me a mac mini (powerPC) for christmas and now the only time I use a PC is at work and our servers run on Windows as well.

    I was that amazed by the mac mini that I have just bought 2 macbooks, a black one for me and a white one (2.0GHz) model for my wife. There is a bit of a learning curve as you relearn how to do things
    http://img231.imageshack.us/img231/3951/osxsatisfactionchart1qk.jpg

    As for remote desktop I recommend the excellent CoRD 2.0, the MS one can only have one terminal open at a time unless you use a launcher for it where as CoRD does it all in one window and its easy to switch between them.

    But once you go mac you never go back!

    http://danmacs.blogspot.com

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    Yes

    JulesLt

    Firstly, in terms of hardware specs, since the switch to using Intel CPU, it is now much easier to compare specs with a Windows PC. Now you only have to deal with comparing AMD and Intel's different ways of measuring performance. Memory - can be upgraded easily enough. Hard disk - less so, but I'd go external if you need that volume of storage. (I'd look at a wireless home network storage device as these are coming down in price. The advantage with these is that you can share them between computers).

    What I will say is that if you're the kind of person who considers the spec of their machine, then the only Mac you'll be happy with is the Mac Pro, MacBook Pro or an XServe - these are the only machines in Apple's range that are seriously price competitive for the performance they deliver. The lower end machines are all more expensive than equivalent spec PCs, whatever anyone tells you. Partly you're paying a premium for the name (about 15%) but you're also paying for the industrial design, unique motherboards, etc. The USB sockets on my Mac Mini, for instance, are rock solid compared to laptops over twice the price.

    The only real reason for going for a Mac isn't the spec of the machines, but the operating system and software. OS X is a really great system, especially if you've got any Unix experience. But even if you just stick at the graphical level you can achieve a lot - it took me 5 minutes (including searching the Internet) to set up a folder where I could drag files that would then be transferred via Bluetooth to my phone. You can use AppleScript to automate pretty much anything (even if programs don't support it you can script key-press events) - I've used that to configure my mouse to launch tools. Features like Expose are great, although Vista will bring similar to Windows.

    Software - there is a LOT less than on Windows. In the old days, when you had to go to shops to buy software, this was a bad thing - little choice. These days I buy almost all my software as direct downloads via the Internet. I would say that while Macs are more expensive, I have found the software to be cheaper. (Mac developers often swear by the Cocoa framework, when they are not swearing at it, for allowing them to develop this stuff rapidly / easily).

    The other plus side is that most software on the Mac is developed by Mac users / fans - i.e. people who put a high value on a good user interface. My experience is that the average quality of Mac apps / shareware is far higher than with Windows. That is not the fault of Windows itself - the issue is that Windows is the dominant platform so attracts more people out to make an easy buck.

    Take a look at the following apps : If you can see yourself using them then I'd give the Mac a try : OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, Delicious Library, TextMate, iMovie, Garageband. I know I have way more installed (including some simple ones like BluephoneElite) but I'm at work so can't check. If you're into higher end video and audio work then there's a whole load of apps out there.

    Personally - I went from a high-spec AMD games rig to a low-power Mac Mini because I realised my computing needs had changed. I mostly use a console for gaming these days, and I wanted something quiet and small for Internet use and light code editing in the study. It's only 1/4 of the performance of the current Mini, yet I'm more than happy with it, and feel no real need to upgrade (other than the usual itch).

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    guitarplaya2000

    I would suggest to buy a mac mini first. It's not big investment, $600-700. It uses the monitor, keyboard and mouse that you own already. If you have any of those as a spare, you can use the Mac Mini as second system and learn the OS until you are comfortable with it.
    Then when you are ready, you can invest in a iMac.

    Good Luck!