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SwitcherX

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getting a Mac
« on: October 20, 2008, 01:53:07 AM »
After using them at various jobs, it looks like I'm finally going to get a Mac that runs OS X.  Probably an iMac.  I have a couple of questions.

1) Does it come with quicktime Pro, or do I have to buy it?
2) should I get iWork , or is open Office good enough?
3) what freeware/shareware, or paid apps for that matter, can't you live without?

ponder, then reply
Switcher X
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Palomine

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Re: getting a Mac
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2008, 03:58:32 PM »
 Generally, the iMac (any generation) is the most cost effective (as opposed to buying a tower and putting everything in/adding everything on yourself). The current generation is gorgeous, and the base model (2.4GHz, iSight cam, 20" LCD, etc...) is about $1,200.

I used to have QT Pro, and it was separate (the Pro features were extra and not part of standard consumer Quicktime). I seem to recall upgrading the base QT app seemed to disable the Pro upgrade, which seems like a bummer... not sure though as it was a while ago.

I like iWork (formerly AppleWorks formerly ClarisWorks) because it's fast, easy and simple but I imagine anything comparable will be fine and if it's free, so much the better.

As for apps, I use a whole bunch... I don't have a recent list.

MacPar Deluxe, Split & Concat, E Plurubus Unum & The Unarchiver are all handy for dealing with archives.

Thoth is by far my fave newsgroup reader (though I'm on a NG hiatus so haven't used it in months).

MacCam (for 3rd party cams), FTP Thingy (like Fetch, but free), VueScan (scanner control shareware, ideal for older scanners for which their mfgrs never released OSX drivers), GraphicConverter (came with the Mac), etc... are all handier than their cost would imply (free or almost free). Guitar Band is included with the iMac's iLife suite, if you're into that sort of thing too.

Good luck!

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gonZo

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Re: getting a Mac
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2008, 05:06:37 PM »
There's a rumor that speed-bumped iMacs are coming before xmas, and if so, the previous models may get marked down handsomely at Amazon.  (MacBooks that were retailing at the Apple Store for $1099 last monday are now $869 at Amazon with free shipping and no sales tax.)  The Apple Stores (on and offline) also usually have a one-day sale on the day after Thanksgiving.

The Pro upgrade for QuickTime costs $29.99 here.

Adding to Pal's applications list...  Perian, which makes most video formats and codecs QuickTime-friendly.  Flip4Mac for playing WMVs in QuickTime (because WMP for Mac is a joke).  Flash Player beta 10.x (because Flash 9.x for Mac is also a joke).  TubeTV for grabbing Flash media off the web.

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Struik

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Re: getting a Mac
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2008, 10:43:02 PM »
Quote:

SwitcherX said:

1) Does it come with quicktime Pro, or do I have to buy it?




It comes with the "normal" Quicktime which you can then upgrade (at a cost), should you desire to do so.

Quote:

SwitcherX said:
2) should I get iWork , or is open Office good enough?



A trial version of iWork is included as far as I know (if not you can download a 30-day trial version from the Apple website for free). Then you can decide for yourself whether you prefer OpenOffice or if you buy iWork

Quote:

SwitcherX said:
3) what freeware/shareware, or paid apps for that matter, can't you live without?




Flip4Mac like gonZo said, furthermore MacTheRipper and Handbrake for ripping DVD's and video conversion are the ones that come to mind.
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MasterDragonfly

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Re: getting a Mac
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2008, 03:32:57 AM »
What they said, although I'm less familiar with some of the apps Palomine mentioned.

Switcher, you're more into the low-level geek stuff, right?

- Growl - a notification system, and there are quite a few apps which support it (Firefox being one) - http://growl.info (the site lists Growl-ready apps)

- Adium for chat.  Think of it as Trillian for the Mac, only more nimble, more soothing to use (visually and aurally).  And it's Growl-ready. - www.adiumx.com

- Skype, if you like that sort of thing.  Growl-ready.

- Fink - think of it as apt-get for OS X - http://www.finkproject.org/

- Mac Ports - think of it as BSD ports for OS X - http://www.macports.org/

- Fugu - to OS X what WinSCP is to Windows - http://rsug.itd.umich.edu/software/fugu/

- XChat - if your business calls for IRC access - Growl-ready.

- TextMate - a kickass text editor (contextual markup, and all sorts of stuff I'm still trying to get my head around); not free, but worth it - http://macromates.com/

- Tunnelblick - OpenVPN client (borne out of the Google Summer of Code) - http://code.google.com/p/tunnelblick/

- VoodooPad Lite (or Pro - I recommend Pro) - more than just a note-taker or personal wiki, it's a dumping ground for your brain.  You can paste screenshots in addition to all sorts of other wonderful stuff.  It auto-saves at various points (so you don't have to), and the built-in search is quite impressive. - http://www.flyingmeat.com/voodoopadpro/

- VLC (don't think anyone mentioned this yet) as the usual standby

- LocationChanger - I haven't used it myself, but I had the note handy, so I thought I'd pass it on. - http://tech.inhelsinki.nl/locationchanger/

I've also snagged apps such as Yasu, Snak, SSHTunnelManager, Meerkat (something to do with ssh tunnel mgmt), JellyfiSSH (another ssh tool), Cyberduck, Camino, but haven't used them much, so can't remember what all of them do.  I'm pretty sure that Conversation and I think Snak are IRC clients.  Cyberduck is an SFTP/FTP client.

That should be plenty to get started.    If you find you're having gaps in functionality vs what you do today on Windows, just let us know and we'll likely be able to point you in the right direction.


Before I forget:  Mac OS X Leopard from The Missing Manual series (two-tone green on white background covers the book) has got some great stuff in there.

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TheZookie007

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Re: getting a Mac
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2008, 10:20:35 AM »
Would it be more cost effective to get a Mac Mini as opposed to getting an iMac/MacBook?
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Palomine

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Re: getting a Mac
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2008, 07:45:00 PM »
 Re: cost effectiveness... it depends (of course). If you are on a small budget, and plan to re-use the display, mouse, keyboard and peripherals from some other computer AND you can live with the finite expandability of a Mac Mini, then it's not a bad deal at all.

However, the Mac Mini has no slots (neither do the iMacs or laptops, but the Mac Pros do) and I also don't think it has dual monitor support (there is an aftermarket adapter but it's like $100.) and I don't think any Mac Mini has Firewire 800 either (I haven't looked at specs lately though).

You can compare specs/prices at the Apple site and then revise the pricing via Amazon or MacWarehouse/Zone/Mall/Connection resellers re: clearances.

I still think the base 20" iMac  is a helluva deal, but a base Mac Mini is about HALF the price if you can live with the caveats.    

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SwitcherX

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Re: getting a Mac
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2008, 09:30:50 PM »
Quote:

MasterDragonfly said:
Switcher, you're more into the low-level geek stuff, right?





I laugh at hex.

Quote:


That should be plenty to get started.    If you find you're having gaps in functionality vs what you do today on Windows, just let us know and we'll likely be able to point you in the right direction.




Most of what I use is posrts of Unix programs so it shuoldn't be a problem finding OS X versions of them.  I'll look thru what I use and ask if I can't find a port for it.

I do have 1 very important question though.  Do new Macs come with an install cd/dvd?  You know, in case you deide to directly edit the master boot record with a debugger and end up scribbling all over you hd?  
Switcher X
A.K.A. Tina Fey Eichmann

"Thank you herr professor Tina Fey Eichmann, nuclear brain surgeon and moustache jockey."
-- Mammeister


"SwitcherX, you were always Mammeister's favorite...you bastard."
-- Notty

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Struik

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Re: getting a Mac
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2008, 09:54:28 PM »
Quote:

SwitcherX said:
I do have 1 very important question though.  Do new Macs come with an install cd/dvd?




Yes.
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TheZookie007

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Re: getting a Mac
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2008, 02:49:00 AM »
Eh? The new MacBook/MacBook Pro does not come with a built-in Firewire port? What gives?
"When your city is French in origin, and your Mayor and Governor are Democrats, and those most affected by this natural disaster are Black, don't expect much help from Bush." -- Left of Y'all (and the link works now too! )

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MasterDragonfly

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Re: getting a Mac
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2008, 03:00:03 AM »
Quote:

TheZookie007 said:
Would it be more cost effective to get a Mac Mini as opposed to getting an iMac/MacBook?



I picked up a refurb Macbook (before the most recent hardware announcement) for $899.  Off Apple's own site.

When you go to Apple.com, just use their search box in the top-right corner and start typing "refurbished".  Within a few keystrokes, you'll see a few useful links.

For those who would prefer just clicking on a link:

http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore?node=home/specialdeals/mac

For those who prefer to go direct to the refurb Macbooks:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB403LL/A?mco=MTUzODMwOQ&fnode=home%2Fspecialdeals%2Fmac

Uhh... okay, that's showing $1049.  That's $250 more than I paid for mine.  Hmm....

Anyway, as you may have heard by now, don't buy extra RAM direct from Apple.  Places like Newegg.com will help you get the right boosts in RAM without paying around $100/GB.

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Palomine

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Re: getting a Mac
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2008, 06:53:14 PM »
Quote:

TheZookie007 said:
Eh? The new MacBook/MacBook Pro does not come with a built-in Firewire port? What gives?



 
I don't know what you're looking at but the new (pretty iMacesque) MacBook Pro DOES come with a firewire port: Firewire 800 (no less! ) and USB 2.0 also, etc.:

   
From what I see, the new MacBook (not Pro) doesn't have firewire ( ) but uses USB 2.0, 802.11n (airport extreme), bluetooth and gigabit ethernet as built-in I/O ports. I'd like it more if it too had a FW800 port, but I guess they have to differentiate it from the MacBook Pro in features to justify the cost difference.

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SwitcherX

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Re: getting a Mac
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2008, 10:11:27 PM »
i've been going thru the programs I use and have a coupleo f questions.

I use 7-zip for all of my file compression needs.  I found an OS X version of it, but does it handle all of the Mac formats?  I feel very old asking this, but is Stuffit and Compactor Pro still around?

I asked about Quicktime Pro mainly so I could play all of the video formats.  If I want to be able to play any video clip, what is the way to go?

I use IrfanView for view pictures.  What does everyone use in OS X?
Switcher X
A.K.A. Tina Fey Eichmann

"Thank you herr professor Tina Fey Eichmann, nuclear brain surgeon and moustache jockey."
-- Mammeister


"SwitcherX, you were always Mammeister's favorite...you bastard."
-- Notty

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Palomine

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Re: getting a Mac
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2008, 10:30:27 PM »
Quote:

SwitcherX said:
i've been going thru the programs I use and have a coupleo f questions.

I use 7-zip for all of my file compression needs.  I found an OS X version of it, but does it handle all of the Mac formats?  I feel very old asking this, but is Stuffit and Compactor Pro still around?

I asked about Quicktime Pro mainly so I could play all of the video formats.  If I want to be able to play any video clip, what is the way to go?

I use IrfanView for view pictures.  What does everyone use in OS X?




I have that 7zip thing for Mac somewhere... DL'd it only because the 7zip files (wwhich seem pretty rare, at least on NGs) didn't decompress with anything else. Of course I remember Stuffit and assume it's still around but since OSX, I've just been zipping and unzipping archives within the OS itself and haven't needed any additional/3rd party tools.

QT Pro (vs regular QT) offers the ability to re-save/export vids into other formats, as well as a few other features. If you're just looking to play as many formats as possible, regular QT (with all the appropriate free add-ons like Flip4Mac to play WMV, etc...) along with a copy of VLC player should cover 99% of what you encounter vid-wise. Those are the only 2 that I have, and I almost never find a stand-alone vid file that won't play.

I'm probably a Luddite, but I just double click on a pic or a bunch of pix to look at them... I don't load them into iView Multimedia, or iPhoto or anything link IrfanView. Again, if the OS does it already (at least well enough for me... I almost never need to make thumbnail pages) then why bother with yet another application?

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gonZo

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Re: getting a Mac
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2008, 11:35:31 PM »
In 10.5, you can also select one or more picture files and just hit your spacebar to invoke a simple Finder-level viewer called QuickLook.