Skip to comments.Vanity: Should I buy a MacBook Pro?
Posted on 04/25/2011 9:49:28 PM PDT by balch3
So, an older relative wants a laptop so he can surf the web from his recliner. His computer skills consist of being able to turn the computer on, open his browser, and do simple word processing/printing. He's tired of viruses and malware. I've been talking up the Macbook. He's decided on the Macbook pro with 17 inch monitor, Way more computer than he needs, but he likes the big monitor because it will be easier on his eyes.
All sounds good, right? That is, until I go online and look at the price. Yikes! Nearly $2500. He can afford it and doesn't seem phased by it, but...still, Yikes! My worst case scenario fantasy is he isn't satisfied and I'll feel guilty for giving him a bum steer. Or, something goes wrong and we have to send it back. Or, I have trouble setting up the wireless LAN--Seems simple enough, but I've never done it before. Or...well, you get the picture.
Somebody talk me into (or out of) this, please?
The transition you talk of is actually far easier than you make it sound.
For starters, the Mac GUI has been ferociously consistent from version to version since... well, since I first laid hands on a Mac in 1986. The Mac doesn’t go through a gratuitous change in GUI every new software release that comes out. If there’s one thing that infuriates me about Windows, it is the new GUI on ever major release. I set all of the GUI’s, regardless of Windows version, back to the “classic Windows” UI on every release. I have no need of all the CPU and memory sucking effects of the newer Windows UI’s.
Second, you can remap the keyboard’s command, control, option, caps lock etc keys to where you’d like them if you wish. Simply configure it thus in the System Preferences. If you want to get deeper into hacking your keyboard, you re-map the entire keyboard if you want something like a Dvorak layout.
The truth is, the PC was the one who did something “different” with the keyboard. The PC keyboard didn’t follow the conventions set on IBM mainframe terminals or the conventions set on minicomputers and ASCII terminals at the time. The PC keyboard did stupid things like put the control off to the lower left of the keyboard. #1 gripe I have against the PeeCee keyboard was the relocation of the Control (CTRL) key. For an Emacs user, this key simply cannot be relocated away from the left of the “A” key. With the Mac, I can put the control key back where it belongs - to the left of the “A” key.
I never have the problem with Apps you describe. I’ve seen Apps fail or terminate, and I get a dialog box telling me that they’ve hoarked up a furball and would I like to look at the problem, send an error report or just ignore the situation?
As for applications: You can download OpenOffice or NeoOffice. Free. Works as well or better than MS Office in all aspects but the most complicated macros for Excel. OpenOffice or NeoOffice are free. There’s even AutoCAD on OS X again, after more than a decade, and the UI is the best of both the PeeCee version of AutoCAD and the Mac GUI. Very, very slick.
As for video games: Nope, never been into video games. When I touch a computer, it isn’t for entertainment. Never ran video games when I used a PeeCee. Never run them now. Don’t have a gaming console, never will. The last game I played on computers was “ADVENT” in high school on a PDP-11/03 under RT-11 on a DECwriter II terminal.
“To save money, you can get Open Office, but surprisingly it works better on Windows.”
NeoOffice is the way to go. The internal code is from OpenOffice, but the user interface has been ported to MacOS (Cocoa). It works well.
For a very nominal amount you can also go with iWorks, which is great for most uses.
It was quite easy for me. The interface is quite intuitive, of course it was designed that way from the beginning. My biggest problem was learning new keyboard shortcuts. People report quite good results handing the elderly a Mac and having them up and running with minimal instruction.
The only reason Macs dont get viruses is that virus-makers want to do the most damage they can for the least effort
Well, there is the hardened UNIX architecture. There are 50 million Macs on the market, most without any protection. That's a big, juicy target, especially considering that the demographic tends twoards people with more money to steal from. So far the most we've seen in the wild is the rare trojan that requires an admin password to install. Almost everything else has been in the lab, usually by created by those trying to sell antivirus products.
Windows Vista bombed because its hardware requirements pushed the limits of what was available.
Vista bombed because it sucked. The development effort was plagued by mismanagement and changing scope so much that it had to be suspended and eventually restarted from scratch near the end. The bloated hardware requirements were just an effect of the core problem, and exacerbated by pressure from Intel and poor advertising strategy. Another was trying to tack on Mac-style security to a very poorly designed and factored security system, which resulted in UAC popping up every other time you clicked on something. One example going back before XP, if you want to prevent someone from changing the clock, you also prevent him from opening the clock at all, because the entire thing was under one privilege set. Mark Russinovich's complete refactoring of the whole security system is one of the reasons Windows 7 is so much less annoying, almost Mac-like.
. Windows 7 is more scalable, and stopped the trend of continually upping the ante of the hardware needed to run it.
As an example of how bad Vista was, Windows 7 will run well on hardware that would have had Vista crawling. When people with a Vista machine ask what they can buy to make their computer faster, my first suggestion is usually to wipe it and install Windows 7.
The reason being there are a lot of idiots out there who don't know what they're talking about. At least the term "Microsoft tax" actually had some factual merit a while back.
Apple is going to miss Vista.
No, he should not get a Macbook pro. Not just for web surfing. Instead, get him an iPAD2 . . . Only $500I had a thought... if he doesnt need mobility and mainly wants to use it in his lazy boy... get a Mac Mini and hook it up to the TV. Use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and save about $2,000. As an added bonus, hell be able to stream Internet video content directly to his TV. Thats what Id do in this scenario.
36 posted on April 26, 2011 1:45:14 AM EDT by pgyanke
Apple sells a wire to connect an iPad2 to a TV, so that would make the iPad option viable from the viewability POV.That would leave the question of the need for a keyboard, in the unlikely event that he wants to do enough text input to matter. But there's an add-on for that, to.
Advantage over the MacBook pro, obviously, of almost $2K, plus less concern over heat on the lap.
Plus, of course, when he isn't on the couch he can take his iPad with him. Throw in an extra few bucks for iLife and iWork for completeness.
The other side of that ledger, he doesn't have as much storage capacity for photos - but the photos he does have, he has.
But hey, he pays his money and he takes his choice. I wouldn't worry too much about buyer's remorse in any event. If he's willing to spring for $2500, Apple will definitely provide the user experience he expects - most esp. if he lives in shouting distance of an Apple Store.
The only reason “Microsoft Tax” is not still valid is competition. Apple has managed to stile any valid competition. Apple users therefore still pay the Apple Tax.
Show me where Apple does not comply with the BSD software license for its use in OS X.
I’d prefer to leave this thread alone. Look at the entire history of Apple software development to answer your question.
From Google engineer Ian Hickson's talk on HTML 5 (note title bar):
Google engineer Brad Neuberg gives talk on the future of the Web (note eye candy along screen bottom):
Why is it that those who know computing best do not use Microsoft products?
Actually, I have found a need to do that. The OS X GUI has very simple and effective power management, in fact I loved the UPS automatically being a part of it when I plugged it in, instead of having to install drivers and programs. But what's underneath is much more configurable. I wanted to do some power management a bit more fine-grained, so I had to drop to Terminal and use pmset.
If you go here:
You’ll find several apple refurb macbook pro 17” models for a good deal less than $2500. They come with a 1 year warranty (or used to) and you can get an Applecare extended warranty on them.
I’d get the cheapest one of them listed, and then max out its memory.
That’s true, but you didn’t NEED to drop into terminal. There are configuration options I set via command lines, but you don’t NEED to do them.
There’s plenty of times you NEED to go mess with regedit on Windows (eg, getting rid of viruses). The first time I have to help someone over the phone get into regedit to recover their machine... you can always hear the fear in their voice when they open that puppy up.
“Am I going to hurt my computer doing this?”
“Yes, unless you do EXACTLY as I tell you...”
“Oh....” (and the whimpering begins...)
For a professional in large-scale computing like Google, OS X is the best of all possible worlds.
I can run a Windows installation as a guest VM. I can run Linux as another guest VM.
OS X is solid as the host OS.
And then when I need the GNU/FSF Unix-based sw development tools, I can install them onto OS X as if it were any other Unix machine.
The only thing that Macbook Pro’s lack (IMO) is a good old fashioned serial port and built-in modem. The USB dongle solution works, but it isn’t as good as having a built-in port. The Firewire ports are rather cool, especially when there’s problems with your mac or another Mac and you fire up the problem machine in Target Disk Mode. Oh, that’s a clever feature...
I almost never use the dock. I keep it hidden below the bottom of the laptop screen.
The easiest way to start apps on the Mac is to type Cmd-Space, then start typing the app's name. Watch the Spotlight window in the upper right. Hit Enter when your app appears. Spotlight learns what you look for, so, after a few times looking up an app, the right one will appear after a keystroke or two or three, and you won't even need to look at the list.
Much easier than the dock or keeping the dock stocked with the right set of apps or searching through the Applications folder with Finder!
Each application doesnt have its own menu bar in its own window; theres one menu bar across the top, and it corresponds to whichever application has focus.
That saves screen real estate, promotes the use of motor memory (menu is always in the same place) and leverages Fitts' law, where stuff at the top of the screen is faster to click, even faster than other stuff that might be closer (like an individual app's menu).
there is no desktop icon in the dock to get to a blank icon.
If you meant like Windows' "show desktop," that's pretty much unnecessary once you get used to Expose. What I do miss is the right-click option to create a document of a certain type at that location. I'm sure an AppleScript or something could do it, but I do miss it by default on OS X.
Apple no print screen; no MS Draw; no Notepad (you can download Text Wrangler).
Print Screen on a Mac, saves resultant graphic as a file on the desktop:
Instead of Notepad, you have Text Edit, which is like Word Pad. And Paint? Does anybody use that for anything but pasting screen caps into to save?
And I was totally surprised by the lack of software.
I was surprised by the abundance of software. That is especially true now since you can now use the App Store to safely and securely install free and paid apps. Find an app, click, wait for download and automatic install, click to run. Brain-dead easy, and a lot safer and easier than searching various Internet sites. I quickly got my kids a ton of free kids games that way.
Do you really think it’s that difficult for someone used to Windows to get used to a Mac? I’ve only ever had PCs until I got my Mac last fall. I’m older (that’s ALL I’m sayin’ about that!) and it took me about 3 days and I was pretty comfortable. Occasionally I still have problems (mostly little things like with photoshop, but it’s not anything that’s a big problem—mostly because I have a few coordination problems which are peculiar to me).
CAVEAT: If he has vision problems, don't waste money on a maximum-resolution screen. The higher the resolution (pixels/inch), the smaller the fonts appear.
Of course, Mac even has a "Increase/Decrease font size" tool you can drag up into the Safari toolbar. Also, you can control font size with "Pinch in/out" gestures on the multi-touch trackpad, too... My eyes are failing, so I use those features all the time.
FWIW, I haven't used a mouse in years, The Mac trackpads are so good that I even use mine for drawing complex graphics -- including creating super-detailed maps.
The 17" is extra-nice for browsing/FReeping. I keep a pair of windows open side-by-side -- and with FR's "slave window" option, I have the forum in the left window and the current thread in the right Window.
Of course, I have nine "desktops" running simultaneously in Spaces. Right now, I'm toggling between FR. designing a presentation in Canvas, and monitoring a desktop with several weather radar screens running. (NE TX is under Tornado Watch -- and has 90 - 125 MPH straight-line winds predicted for this evening!)
If it is what he has his heart/head set on, I don't see how you could go wrong with a 17" MacBook Pro... (For one thing, he'll never "outgrow" it... '-)
I have to admit, after years of mostly (not all, but mostly) bad customer service for my many PCs I am blown away by what I get when I walk into the Apple store. They actually know their products and they actually appear to be glad I’m there and want to help me. After my last experience with the Geek Squad at Best Buy I have to say, it’s like bliss... I did joke with my husband that they must spray a pheromone into the air that makes you feel happy, but the truth of the matter is they just give the customer what they want. Good service.
The "Microsoft tax" referred to Microsoft using its dominant position to force OEMs to sell a Windows license for every box that went out the door, or lose inexpensive licensing terms, which would render them unable to compete in the OEM market. Because of this, users of other operating systems such as OS/2 and Linux could not buy OEM hardware (which was the cheapest due to volume) without also buying a copy of Windows. This was especially bad in the notebook market where DIY is not an option. This practice basically killed OS/2, as even IBM's own PC division couldn't ship a PC with only OS/2 installed, instead having to sell Windows too, making OS/2 the more expensive option over Windows.
Apple has no equivalent. You can buy from Apple or not, your choice. You want a tablet? Go buy one from one of many mainstream manufacturers. It may be inferior to Apple's, but you don't have to put a dime in Apple's pocket to buy one. Same for phones, same for PC hardware.
The only thing Apple has done is produce superior, more highly desired products. Such products generally command higher prices, regardless of the manufacturer or the market. It is this price premium that the ill-informed refer to as the "Apple tax."
Don’t get a Mac. No one cares. I think you should get what makes you happy. You’re happy, I’m glad. :)
It was too easy a target. Windows 7 is much harder to make fun of. But at least Apple still has Windows Phone 7 to beat up on.
The Mac drivers for those dongles are buggy. There are lots of dongles out there, but they all seem to use the same chip, from Prolific Technologies, of Taiwan.
A while ago, our company found itself with a bunch of old electronic signs that were driven through a serial port. They were not compatible with new software we were installing, but, because their modern replacements are quite expensive, we didn't want to get rid of the old signs all at once, even though they were clunky and totally obsolete.
We needed to drive them off a small diskless industrial computer which had real serial ports and ran Linux. I threw together a simulator for the electronic sign and wrote a program to drive it with data from the new software (both the simulator and the driver app were in Python and ran on the Mac, initially). I got that setup working on the Mac using pseudo-terminal pairs. Next, I bought a pair of dongles and a cross-over cable on Amazon, and hooked the driver up to the simulator in loop-back mode at 9600 baud. That mostly worked, but had problems due to different bugs in the Prolific driver and its open source equivalent. Next, I fired up a pair of Ubuntu virtual machines in Parallels, with the simulator in one and the driver in the other. They worked fine. Finally, I ran the simulator on a sample of the industrial computer, hooking its serial port up to one of the dongles, which was attached to the Ubuntu VM with the simulator. Worked fine. Last step, plugging a real sign into the industrial computer, worked the first time, with only a brightness adjustment needed.
Then you should have done that.
Look at the entire history of Apple software development to answer your question.
The history shows Apple-created or properly licensed software. Compare to Microsoft illegally using Apple code in Windows. BTW, Microsoft uses BSD-licensed code in Windows too.
You see something different than me...
Vague, unsupported claims will be regarded as trolling. Make a specific, supported claim or do leave the thread.
For now. W7 Phone may be another Vista. W8 Phone may be another Windows 7. We’ll see how it goes.
Wireless induction charger for your keyboard. They also have an induction charging pad for your magic mouse, and the bar can charge your magic pad as well. Click the pic to learn more.
But do waste money on a large external monitor. I have an HP LP3065 (same size as Apple's 30-incher, but better quality at about two thirds the price). I leave the menu bar and the dock on the laptop's screen and position the external monitor logically to the right of the laptop display. That arrangement allows me to use the external monitor's full 1600-pixel height for application windows. E.g., I am now running Firefox 4 with only the Title Bar and the Add-on Bar showing. I have the location bar dragged into the Add-on Bar at the bottom of the screen. The whole rest of the window is devoted to the thread. And, with the 2560-pixel width of the HP monitor, plus the 1440x900 15-inch laptop screen, there is plenty of room to have additional browser windows and other apps open.
Awesome, thank you! :)
I specifically said that I didn’t mean to say that Windows was BETTER, but that for someone USED TO Windows, there’s some difficulty in transitioning because its DIFFERENT.
I had to get used to not being mad at my computer.
LOL Yeah, and I had to get used to the idea that I didn’t need to go find something else to go do while it booted up...
I started with computers in the early to mid-eighties for ten years with Macs, then went over to PC’s and Microsoft for a decade, then four years ago came back to computer heaven with a MacBook Pro 15.5 along with a 23 inch Apple screen.
The MacBook Pro fully and completely fulfills desktop machine requirements plus allows me to travel whenever and wherever. Coupled with an iPod Touch 32g it provides almost constant email and internet news access and iTunes Apps. My decade experience (from ‘97 to 2007) with PCs was tiresome, frustrating, and labor intensive, with anti-virus software updates, constant scanning for problems, and weekly defragging — none of which is necessary with my Mac. The transition from PC and the new MacBook was simple, unlike the other way around.
Macs are intuitive, faster than blazes, cost effective because they don’t break down, but if the ever do, the Apple store has the best customer service around. There, that’s my testimonial, unsolicited and unpaid for...
I have antivirus on my mac. Makes my son crazy, but I am so programmed from years of PCs... Eventually I guess I will feel safe.
I thought that was what I just did. 18 known malware for the Mac OSX system that can attempt to "trick you into installing it" only to have the System itself warn you about it without installing any anti-malware from a third party... Vs. Thousands of malware on Windows that requires you install a third party anti-malware coat of armor for protection.
That makes the ratio of malware to installed base roughly the same, lending credcence to the observation that there’s less of it written for the Macs because there are fewer of them.
I get it. It appears you just intended to do a hit-and-run troll attack without being called on for your false and defamatory statements.
My time is much too valuable to read each reply so if your relative wants a Mac Book Pro and it’s his/her money then buy for them. My wife uses her 6 month old 15” MBP every night with it on her lap and has never complained of over heat as a matter of fact I just checked it and it is COOL to the touch. Perhaps if she was one of those of juvenile mind still playing games it might be a problem....
I had to get used to things “just working” and me not having to do things the hard way.
My favorite example is the UPS I bought for our PC and the Mac. PC went through the whole spiele, turn off computer, hook it up, but don’t plug in USB, install drivers (don’t plug in USB first or you’ll be sorry), reboot, plug in, find custom app to control the UPS, make settings.
I searched for drivers for the Mac for a while, couldn’t find any. Finally I just plugged it all up (including the USB) and turned the system back on. Still couldn’t find a configuration app. Then I found out the Mac automatically puts UPS settings in with the Energy Saver preferences when an UPS is detected.
It was so easy I had a problem with it. It’s like I had an old hand-crank starter car, and when I got one with an electric starter I was stumped trying to find out where to insert the crank. Much of learning the Mac is actually un-learning bad habits and low expectations.
Let him buy whatever computer he wants. It is his money, not yours, not yet at least.
He will love the MacBook Pro. If it is more than he needs don’t worry, at least it won’t give him problems.
Don’t bother setting up wireless internet for him. He can do it himself without you and it will work first time out. That is one of the beauties of a Mac.
He should get Applecare and max out the memory. He will call Apple instead of you, he will talk to someone who speaks good idiomatic English in an accent he can understand. Someone based in the US or Canada.
I have a MacBook Pro and a wireless router. I have had a lot of people visit over the past two years. Every single one with a Mac, I tell them the network name and write down the password. No one ever has a connection problem. Every single Windows user, I give them the same info and they can never connect. All the teenage kids claim they must have gotten a virus. Inevitably, I can get their computer connected, but it takes 15-30 minutes to fight through the Windows settings.
We became an all-Mac family several years ago and the time fighting computer problems dropped to less than 10% of what it used to take. Anything I can’t fix at home, even with free phone help, I make an appointment (same day) at the local Apple store, and they fix it for me — free.
I think the real “Windows tax” is the time it takes to do anything.
I have never noticed a lack of software for my Mac, although I do not play games. I see no disadvantage there.
Everything else works just like you think is should, not the way Windows thinks it should.
I run Parallels and Windows stuff works just fine on my Mac, running right alongside my Mac programs, right down to the same crappy mouse response I always get on a Windows box.
MS Word and Excel work on both Mac and Windows, and the files exchange seamlessly. Powerpoint, not so much. Pagination and fonts are different, but that is Microsoft’s problem, not Apple’s.
WHAT!? What statistical universe are living in? 18 Mac malware to 50,000,000 installed OSX Macs. V. 2,000,000 Windows malware to 1,600,000,000 installed Windows PCs.
That's 1 : 2,777,777 vs. 1 : 800 !!!
They aren't even in the same order of magnitude by FIVE orders.
You are begging the question... You claim that the evidence there are no Mac OSX viruses is NOT because it is inherently difficult to write one... it's because it is obscure. We have pointed out MANY TIMES that crackers have profitably written viruses for far more obscure devices to 50,000,000... such as the Witty Worm virus that successfully infected ALL ~12,000 un-updated BlackIce protected Windows Machines it was designed to infect less than 45 minutes after it was released into the wild regardless of where they were situated in the world; or the ~30,000 cellular phones another virus writer created his opus to infect; or the dozens(!) of iPhones that had been converted to run Linux that an enterprising cracker had written a malicious virus to infect... yet not one cracker has successfully written one to infect the 50,000,000 sitting duck OSX computers out there, of which more than 97% are conservatively running sans AV? And only 18 have come up with anything close to a viable Trojan? Give me a break. What this proves is that the malware writers go WHERE THEY CAN MAKE MONEY... where the vulnerabilities are. It proves they have learned to go after the low lying fruit.
Security by obscurity where Mac computers are concerned DOES NOT APPLY!
THAT is the point.
You’re trying to convince him that if he goes out and buys a new PC today, every piece of Windows malware ever written is just waiting to infect his computer.
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