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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Is a MacBook for me?

Is a MacBook for me?
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doctor.alf
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Nov 13, 2006, 09:49 AM
 
I know you guys must all be sick of these threads, but please humour me, I've been a Windows boy for 10 years now

I've decided that it's time to ditch my noisy, aging XP box and go for a laptop. Problem is that I want to buy it for the start of the new semester next year (which makes it start of March, I'm in Australia so we start at a diff time to the you guys up there). That would make it around the same time as the release of Vista and Office 2007, and theres no way I will pay the inflated price for those two. Realising that I figured I either have to get a laptop running XP (which would be kinda pointless, who wants outdated software?) or get a Mac.

I've been looking at the Macbook, but I've got a few questions that some recent (and not so recent) switchers might help me figure out:
  1. I've been using Windows for a very very long time, and am very "comfortable" with it. I mean, I even used Windows ME . Anyway, I know how to do things on XP inside out. Will this make it harder to switch to MacOS?
  2. I mainly use my computer these days to blog, surf the web, chat (msn messenger), write assignments and run SPSS analyses. I know Macs handle multimedia really well. The problem is, however, when it comes to Word and the other Office programs. I've been using Word for so long that I find it painful to use anything else (I tried OpenOffice for a while, but it felt like an equally bloated yet crappier version of MS Office). I also really like the UI of the new MS Office. I've heard a few people say that Office 2004 runs excrutiatingly slowly on Intel Macs. My question, is there an alternative (like iWork or whatever) that is cheap and similar to MS Office? And, any ideas about when the new Office for Mac will be rearing it's ugly head?
  3. Do apple laptops still come with a single mouse button? I know they've released the mighty mouse, but I don't know how I'd handle it not having two buttons to use when a mouse is not an option. Is it hard to adjust to?
  4. How likely is Leopard to be out around March (I know the site says early 2007, but how early is that?)?
  5. If anyone has any must-have software to recommend, please add so I can start compiling a list

That's all I cant think of for now, any help would be great
     
C.A.T.S. CEO
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Nov 13, 2006, 12:16 PM
 
Word will run slow on Intel macs but if you max out the RAM (2GB) it will not be as slow.
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Peter
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Nov 13, 2006, 12:34 PM
 
1) No, OS X is very easy to use in general
2) Office is fine on Intel Mac, Very useable. New office is out late next year.
3) yes one button. It isnt hard at all, OS X is designed around one button.
4) pretty likely, i highly doubt it'll be delayed.
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jamil5454
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Nov 13, 2006, 01:11 PM
 
I use Office 2004 for Mac on a near-daily basis and I find it very usable. As long as you've got plenty of RAM (I'd recommend 2GB) then you'll be perfectly fine.

As for must-have software, I'd say most must-haves are made by Apple and included in the purchase. But other than that, Azureus is a nice Bittorrent client (cross-platform as well), check out Adium for an alternative to MSN messenger, and believe it or not, Opera 9 is actually a very fast and featured browser. I believe that it wins most of the browser speed tests on the Mac. Oh, and something you'll probably want to do is install Apple's X11. The easiest way I've found to do this is to reinstall the OS when you first get your machine and make sure to check the box for X11.

The one-button trackpad is very easy to get used to, mostly due to the fact that nearly all apps for OS X are designed to be used with a one-button mouse. This generally makes the software simpler and easier to use. However, if you need to right-click you can so easily by placing two fingers on the trackpad and then clicking using the button. You can also do 360 degree scrolling by placing two fingers on the trackpad and moving them together accordingly. Honestly, Apple's trackpads are some of the nicest I've used on any laptop.
     
polendo
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Nov 13, 2006, 01:34 PM
 
In all honesty, if you are really used to MS Office for XP, try to use OSX version before you buy anything. I found OSX version a bit slow for my taste, specially Word.
Also, check SPSS if they are launching an intel native application for Intel Macs, since that app. is cpu intensive and you would have to run it using Rosetta (emulation) which could slow you down a bit. I tried SPSS for PPC cpus and it runs fine.
If both things aren't what you expect, you can also install XP on your Mac via Bootcamp or Parallels and get on with your specific things.
     
jesrae
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Nov 13, 2006, 03:45 PM
 
SPSS is currently not supported on Intel-based macs since supposedly Rosetta interferes with the calculations on the current (13.0) version for Mac. I've used it, and it seems to work ok, but you're best bet is probably to use a PC version through Parallels or Bootcamp until a newer Mac version comes out.
     
mduell
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Nov 13, 2006, 05:54 PM
 
2. The next version of Office for Mac will probably be in about 2008.

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doctor.alf  (op)
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Nov 13, 2006, 07:12 PM
 
I'm not too fussed about SPSS not being Intel native, I wasn't planning on buying it until a native version came out (can always use it in the labs ).

I figured, I don't have that much to lose. If it turns out that wordpressing is horribly painful using MacOS then I'll run XP through Bootcamp/Parallels.
     
giggs11
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Nov 19, 2006, 09:49 AM
 
Re: the one-button mouse, that's the one thing that took me a while, and I suppose I never really got used to it since I use the right-click menus in OS X frequently. At first I used a Microsoft USB two-button mouse, and now I'm using the Wireless Bluetooth Mighty Mouse.

Other than that, I've used DOS/Windows my whole life and still do every day at work, but didn't have much trouble picking up OS X. There are always going to be a few quirks when you learn a new system, but it was pretty straightforward.
     
jferth
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Nov 19, 2006, 10:13 AM
 
Hi all new to this forum and about 2 weeks with my new 2.0Gz MacBook. Doctor I had been a die hard Windows user for 10 years before buying my Mac. I will never go back to Windows! Everything about the Mac screams ease of use and reliability. I switched over and within a day of playing with the Mac I had all the differences worked out. You will love it!
I currently use NeoOffice (an OpenOffice variation for Macs) and am quite pleased. Before shelling out the money for Word or even iWorks I thought I would try it out.
My work uses an atiquated Windows forms program that I HAVE to use so I tried out the Parallels software. After using their trial version for a couple of hours, I bought a license. Just as their site says, it took about three clicks and I have Windows XP home running as an application on my Mac! It's the best of both worlds. I was able to use an "old" copy of XP and used my "old" activation serial to install within Parallels. So for $79.00, I can run about any Windows program on my MacBook.
Anyway don't worry about switching to Mac, I did and will never look back!
     
gooser
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Nov 19, 2006, 11:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by jferth View Post
Hi all new to this forum and about 2 weeks with my new 2.0Gz MacBook. Doctor I had been a die hard Windows user for 10 years before buying my Mac. I will never go back to Windows! Everything about the Mac screams ease of use and reliability. I switched over and within a day of playing with the Mac I had all the differences worked out. You will love it!
I currently use NeoOffice (an OpenOffice variation for Macs) and am quite pleased. Before shelling out the money for Word or even iWorks I thought I would try it out.
My work uses an atiquated Windows forms program that I HAVE to use so I tried out the Parallels software. After using their trial version for a couple of hours, I bought a license. Just as their site says, it took about three clicks and I have Windows XP home running as an application on my Mac! It's the best of both worlds. I was able to use an "old" copy of XP and used my "old" activation serial to install within Parallels. So for $79.00, I can run about any Windows program on my MacBook.
Anyway don't worry about switching to Mac, I did and will never look back!
what a very pleasant post for a sunday morning! welcome to the forums.
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Mojo
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Nov 21, 2006, 10:06 PM
 
Try switching to a programmable two-button trackball (or mouse if a trackball doesn't float your cork...) and after a couple of days I would be surprised if you still yearned for a MS two-button mouse.

My fave trackball is the Kensington Orbit; I prefer the "mechanical" version over the optical version. When I need a "portable" mouse I switch to the Kensington PocketMouse Pro; it uses the same software driver as the trackball. I have used an Orbit for years and it saves both time and my wrist. Kensington programmable input devices can be customized to offer functions specific to the application being used, which can come in handy for some people.
     
stefanicotine
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Nov 21, 2006, 10:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by jamil5454 View Post
However, if you need to right-click you can so easily by placing two fingers on the trackpad and then clicking using the button.
I hope you don't do that everytime you right click

You can just tap the trackpad with one finger (left click) or two fingers (right click). You never have to actually use the button.
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wilsonng
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Nov 22, 2006, 03:26 AM
 
you can also hold down the control key and click on the trackpad button to simulate a right-click....

Just another option to use if you're not used to the two-finger method....
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analogika
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Nov 22, 2006, 05:32 AM
 
Note about Microsoft Office:

At least in the German version, Microsoft follows their completely braindead "well-the-feature-exists-so-it-HAS-to-be-turned-on-even-though-nobody-will-ever-use-it" doctrine that is responsible for so much of the Windows security nightmare:

Turn off the live Grammar check, and Microsoft Word becomes MUCH more responsive. Still not nimble, but a lot better IME.
     
   
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