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Computer for college.
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broct
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Apr 6, 2009, 01:52 AM
 
Hi,

I've decided that I want a Mac this autumn for my freshman year, and my parents will be giving it to me as a graduation present. Right now I have an HP laptop and I like it okay. It's quite large and heavy though,and a bit worn after 2 years. I'm having trouble deciding which Mac to get, and what all I should get with it. I'm stuck between an old white Macbook, or the new MacBook. I'm leaning towards the new aluminum ones. The only thing I was thinking of buying with it was a word processor. I was thinking about iWork, but since I'm more familiar with Word, and since it's much more popular I may go with Microsoft Office. Also, my college says if you get a Mac to get an Airport extreme. I don't mind getting one, but if I have one does that mean that I can't get wireless anywhere on campus. It's a 100 acre campus, if that means anything. Like if I wanted to go outside into the quad and enjoy the weather with my laptop, would I be able to with a Mac? I already have an iPhone and it's great, so I kind of want to get all my electronics Apple.
     
Simon
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Apr 6, 2009, 02:44 AM
 
If you already like your iPhone you'll probably love Macs.

Do you need FireWire? If not, forget the white MB. Get a new unibody MB. Refurbs start at $1099. Personally, I'd get the high-end MB with its backlit KB and all the extra goodies, but I don't know how tight your budget is.

You can get a student license for MS Office. That makes it a bit less ridiculously expensive. Otherwise check out OpenOffice and NeoOffice. They are Office clones, but they're free. iWork is a fine package and at it comes at a great price, but if you're looking for a Word-like app, it might not be what you want.

The AirPort Extreme is a feature-rich and inexpensive wireless base station. You'll be able to hook up to the net within the vicinity of your AP Express (your dorm, the corridor, neighboring dorms), but it will never cover your entire campus. Usually the university takes care of that with their own wifi network.
     
Hg2491
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Apr 6, 2009, 03:51 AM
 
Definitely go with the Alum MacBook. If you get it during a certain time in the summer you get a free iPod Touch and a free printer after a $100 rebate.

I don't get why they specifically say an Airport Extreme for a Mac. Could they mean an Airport Extreme card?

Also, what are you going to be studying broct?
     
cwkmacuser
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Apr 6, 2009, 11:35 AM
 
I agree. Go with the new MacBook. Personally, I would get iWork. It is compatible with most Microsoft Office files, making it possible for you and other students (and teachers as well) to email each other files and open them. Personally, I don't consider OpenOffice to be as easy to use nor as user-friendly than iWork. Plus, iWork has more templates. iWork is sure to be less expensive than Microsoft Office. Apple is making a good product instead of bankrupting everyone.
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wrambro
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Apr 6, 2009, 07:18 PM
 
The only caveat I'll put out there is the screen of the Unibody MB. It's not that great. I guess as long as you're not doing anything that requires super-clear details, it'll probably be okay. You can certainly go out in the quad and have internet (assuming your school's wireless will reach that far) but you may have trouble with glare off the screen if it's too bright out. But other than that, the unibody MB seems to fit your needs perfectly.
     
nickw311
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Apr 7, 2009, 01:43 PM
 
Get the new unibody - there is no reason to buy an older version.

I am in my third year of law school and have had a white MacBook the whole time as my only computer and it has worked great. It's small enough and light-weight enough to take to class every day, yet powerful enough for anything I need it for.

As far as the wireless - don't worry about it not working. All computers run on essentially the same standard.

One suggestion though, if you buy MS Office, check with your school to see if you can buy it with an educational discount. I was able to get it from my school for about $70.
27" iMac C2D
     
klb5090
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Apr 7, 2009, 01:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by nickw311 View Post
One suggestion though, if you buy MS Office, check with your school to see if you can buy it with an educational discount. I was able to get it from my school for about $70.
x2 this is great advice, i was able to purchase a license for Office 08 for 50/60$
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 7, 2009, 02:25 PM
 
Yeah, but you still spent money on a pile of **** they should be paying YOU to be wading through.

Sorry, but seriously: Office 2008 is utterly, utterly insulting.
     
ctt1wbw
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Apr 7, 2009, 02:28 PM
 
Dude, don't get a Mac. You can't do anything with them. According to the commercials I see nowadays, the HP laptops are fantastic. Some dude with a foreign name with a slurry accent likes them, so they must be great. Plus, you can't word processing on a Mac, there are no games for the Mac, you can't synch your iPhone to your Mac, contrary to what these bumms above say... You can't get online with a Mac, because no Mac supports TCP/IP, or HTML, or Java, or POP3/IMAP...
     
ctt1wbw
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Apr 7, 2009, 02:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Yeah, but you still spent money on a pile of **** they should be paying YOU to be wading through.

Sorry, but seriously: Office 2008 is utterly, utterly insulting.
I keep hearing that. I don't use it on my Mac, I have Pages. But on Windows, Office 2007 is great. I love Word's new features. However, I despise Powerpoint and Excel. Those are both going to lead to the downfall of the human species.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 7, 2009, 04:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by ctt1wbw View Post
I keep hearing that. I don't use it on my Mac, I have Pages. But on Windows, Office 2007 is great. I love Word's new features. However, I despise Powerpoint and Excel. Those are both going to lead to the downfall of the human species.
The last good version of Word ever was v5.1a for Mac. Ca. 1992.
     
cwkmacuser
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Apr 7, 2009, 04:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Yeah, but you still spent money on a pile of **** they should be paying YOU to be wading through.

Sorry, but seriously: Office 2008 is utterly, utterly insulting.
I agree. I hate every program that runs on Windows except those created by Mozilla and Apple. Windows doesn't let you be. There's always something you have to attend to.

Windows: Work...BEEP...Click...Enter...Work....Work...Ding, Ding, Ding...Click...Enter...Bong!
Mac: Work...Work...Work...Work...Work...Work...Alert Sound...Click....Work...Work...Work...Work!
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Hg2491
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Apr 7, 2009, 04:48 PM
 
^ You forgot the part where you have fun .
     
olePigeon
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Apr 7, 2009, 05:11 PM
 
Office 2004 works fine, by the way. Even on the Intel Macs.

Also, check with your college or university. Sometimes they have their own special Apple Stores with even cheaper prices than the normal Apple Store educational price. Like 20% or more. Some special deal the school worked out with Apple.

Hold onto your HP OEM Windows discs. You can use that to install Windows via Boot Camp so you can still play all the games.
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DCJ001
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Apr 7, 2009, 07:14 PM
 


Originally Posted by ctt1wbw View Post
Dude, don't get a Mac. You can't do anything with them. According to the commercials I see nowadays, the HP laptops are fantastic. Some dude with a foreign name with a slurry accent likes them, so they must be great. Plus, you can't word processing on a Mac, there are no games for the Mac, you can't synch your iPhone to your Mac, contrary to what these bumms above say... You can't get online with a Mac, because no Mac supports TCP/IP, or HTML, or Java, or POP3/IMAP...
Don't listen to that guy. He's puts down all computers since he got fired from Dell.

A MacBook running Office will be great. It comes with an Airport Extreme card for WiFi. You would only need an Airport Extreme base station if you wanted to created your own WiFi network.
     
cwkmacuser
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Apr 7, 2009, 07:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Hg2491 View Post
^ You forgot the part where you have fun .
Whoops! Sorry about that. Yeah, visualize the fun wherever you want!
Chris K.
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cwkmacuser
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Apr 7, 2009, 07:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by ctt1wbw View Post
Dude, don't get a Mac. You can't do anything with them. According to the commercials I see nowadays, the HP laptops are fantastic. Some dude with a foreign name with a slurry accent likes them, so they must be great. Plus, you can't word processing on a Mac, there are no games for the Mac, you can't synch your iPhone to your Mac, contrary to what these bumms above say... You can't get online with a Mac, because no Mac supports TCP/IP, or HTML, or Java, or POP3/IMAP...
Why are you on a Mac Forum if you don't like macs.
Support:
TCP/IP: Yes
HTML: Oh, Yes
Java: Yes
POP3/IMAP: Yes

Ask anyone else here! I can guarantee you they will give you the same answer!
Chris K.
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broct  (op)
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Apr 8, 2009, 01:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
If you already like your iPhone you'll probably love Macs.

Do you need FireWire? If not, forget the white MB. Get a new unibody MB. Refurbs start at $1099. Personally, I'd get the high-end MB with its backlit KB and all the extra goodies, but I don't know how tight your budget is.

You can get a student license for MS Office. That makes it a bit less ridiculously expensive. Otherwise check out OpenOffice and NeoOffice. They are Office clones, but they're free. iWork is a fine package and at it comes at a great price, but if you're looking for a Word-like app, it might not be what you want.

The AirPort Extreme is a feature-rich and inexpensive wireless base station. You'll be able to hook up to the net within the vicinity of your AP Express (your dorm, the corridor, neighboring dorms), but it will never cover your entire campus. Usually the university takes care of that with their own wifi network.
Thanks. My budget isn't too tight, but I doubt my parents will be pleased if they have to spend over $2,000. I've never actually used iWork, so I'll try to check it out at the Apple Store or somewhere before I make a decision about a word processor. I just want whatever is best to type papers in.
     
broct  (op)
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Apr 8, 2009, 01:19 AM
 
I'm going to study International Studies and Economics. Thanks for the help everyone! So, now I'm curious, when do you have to purchase a Mac to get a free iPod touch? I have a two year old Nano and have been wanting one with more memory for a while!
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 8, 2009, 01:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by cwkmacuser View Post
Why are you on a Mac Forum if you don't like macs.
*sigh*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcasm
     
Simon
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Apr 8, 2009, 02:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by broct View Post
Thanks. My budget isn't too tight, but I doubt my parents will be pleased if they have to spend over $2,000.
In that case have a look at a refurb high-end MB for $1299. That leaves plenty of money for OpenOffice (free), iWork ($79), or even MS Office ($$$).
     
Simon
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Apr 8, 2009, 02:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by broct View Post
So, now I'm curious, when do you have to purchase a Mac to get a free iPod touch? I have a two year old Nano and have been wanting one with more memory for a while!
You'll have to wait until summer for that. Usually Apple offers an iPod nano for free (or an equivalent discount on more expensive iPods) when you purchase a new Mac during back to school buying season.
     
cleary_jp
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Apr 8, 2009, 02:47 AM
 
I study at Uni that exclusively uses Microsoft Office and I've been using iWork 08/09 for a while now and haven't ever had a problem. If you just handing in typed reports and you will be fine with iWork. All of the PowerPoint slides I've opened on Keynote have worked fine aswell.
     
polendo
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Apr 8, 2009, 10:09 AM
 
Does iWork works with the new (be it 2007-8) office file standard? (.docx, xlsx, etc etc).
--
Nevermind.. you might want to read this article
http://www.macworld.com/article/1339...orkoffice.html
( Last edited by polendo; Apr 8, 2009 at 10:24 AM. Reason: update)
     
Hg2491
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Apr 8, 2009, 11:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by broct View Post
I'm going to study International Studies and Economics.
So you clearly don't need much power from a computer. Any current Mac that you get will suffice in speed and versatility.

Originally Posted by cleary_jp View Post
I study at Uni that exclusively uses Microsoft Office and I've been using iWork 08/09 for a while now and haven't ever had a problem. If you just handing in typed reports and you will be fine with iWork. All of the PowerPoint slides I've opened on Keynote have worked fine aswell.
I have had problems exporting Numbers to Excel and opening some Word documents with embed graphics. PDF FTW!

Originally Posted by cwkmacuser View Post
Why are you on a Mac Forum if you don't like macs.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
     
JTh
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Apr 8, 2009, 11:47 AM
 
you should consider buying a Time Capsule or external hard drive for a backup solution in your dorm room. It's not a fun purchase, but you'll appreciate it if your MacBook or hard drive crashes in the middle of a research project :-)
     
Hg2491
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Apr 8, 2009, 01:00 PM
 
^ He has a point. I find myself irrationally hitting  + S and forcing Time Machine backups every time I'm working on a project.
     
amazing
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Apr 8, 2009, 02:22 PM
 
main thing is to wait until the back-to-school deals come out.
     
rogalarasmutata
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Apr 11, 2009, 06:41 AM
 
I cannot give you any advice on iWork but I can tell you what happened last time one of our editors insisted on using Open Office instead of MS Office like everybody else. He didn't get along too well, let me tell you that. Even though the Open Office folks claim to be MS Office compatible it's a bunch of nonsense - the only thing fully compatible to Word is Word, and even that fails every now and then. The issues we've had to face with Open Office in a Microsoft Office environment (accidently that guy also insisted that Linux was the greatest thing since sliced bread and kept trying to convert every single editor, whether Mac or PC person, to Linux) were multilayered - sorry, that's the best descriptive self-explanatory term I could come up with: formatting issues, lost images, footnotes gone berserk, unreadable files, etc.

The bottom line is: ff you need to exchange documents with the rest of the world you have to fork out a few bucks for Microsoft Office 2008 - I promise you won't regret it. And since you'll be going to college I assume that document compatibility will turn out to be a huge issue sooner or later. If, however, compatibility is not an issue for you at all, aka you won't be exchanging documents with anyone else ever, then you can give alternatives such as Open Office, NeoOffice/J, Mellel, Pages, Abiword, Nisus Writer, etc. a shot.
     
cwkmacuser
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Apr 11, 2009, 02:49 PM
 
[QUOTE=rogalarasmutata;3826298]I. Even though the Open Office folks claim to be MS Office compatible it's a bunch of nonsense - the only thing fully compatible to Word is Word,
QUOTE]

No, it's not. My dad uses Open Office all the time and has almost no trouble at all. I use iWork 99.99% of the time and often use MS files. I have no problems. Buy iWork or get OpenOffice for free if you want (this is for everyone). There are very few compatibility issues.

Sorry, that quote got screwed up.
( Last edited by cwkmacuser; Apr 11, 2009 at 02:50 PM. Reason: Quote was screwed up. Wanted to claify, I didn't do that on purpose)
Chris K.
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Simon
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Apr 11, 2009, 02:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by cwkmacuser View Post
Sorry, that quote got screwed up.
You acknowledge you screwed up the quote but then don't fix it. Umm?
     
cwkmacuser
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Apr 11, 2009, 03:07 PM
 
Obviously, I don't know how to properly quote sections of text! Can you help me with that?
Chris K.
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shifuimam
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Apr 12, 2009, 01:00 AM
 
To the OP: before you buy Office or anything else from the Apple Store, make sure your school doesn't provide Office for free or really, really cheap (like $10 cheap).
     
gradient
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Apr 12, 2009, 04:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by cwkmacuser View Post
Obviously, I don't know how to properly quote sections of text! Can you help me with that?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBCode
     
ctt1wbw
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Apr 12, 2009, 12:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by cwkmacuser View Post
Why are you on a Mac Forum if you don't like macs.
Support:
TCP/IP: Yes
HTML: Oh, Yes
Java: Yes
POP3/IMAP: Yes

Ask anyone else here! I can guarantee you they will give you the same answer!
Oh, I know. I'm just being very very sarcastic. I've been using Apple's since the Apple //c. I'm on my 5th or 6th Apple now. Plus the iPhone, the single greatest gadget in the history of human beings.
     
mkerr64
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Apr 12, 2009, 12:56 PM
 
You should also wait until june 15 if possible, as new products will be coming out
R.I.P Steve Jobs
     
cwkmacuser
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Apr 12, 2009, 01:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by mkerr64 View Post
You should also wait until june 15 if possible, as new products will be coming out
What ones?
Chris K.
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Simon
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Apr 12, 2009, 02:14 PM
 
June's the iPhone.
     
cwkmacuser
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Apr 12, 2009, 03:53 PM
 
Oh, OK. I don't have one so it doesn't matter to me.

Is that when the OS X system will be put on the iPhone?
( Last edited by cwkmacuser; Apr 12, 2009 at 04:16 PM. )
Chris K.
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Simon
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Apr 12, 2009, 04:27 PM
 
The iPhone already runs OS X.

June's the new iPhone and iPhone OS 3.0.

September is OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.
     
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Apr 12, 2009, 05:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by cwkmacuser View Post
No, it's not. My dad uses Open Office all the time and has almost no trouble at all. I use iWork 99.99% of the time and often use MS files. I have no problems. Buy iWork or get OpenOffice for free if you want (this is for everyone). There are very few compatibility issues.
As long as you're only exchanging text without any special elements no compatibility issues, even as simple as formatting woes, will ever occur. Add some images, tables, (multipage) headers & footers, a table of contents and other cross references, and any Word document will inevitably become completely unusable in Open Office, Pages, and any other word processor that claims full Word compatibility. Been there. Done that. Not worth it.
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cwkmacuser
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Apr 12, 2009, 06:25 PM
 
I'm not sure about that. But, the newest version of Pages is supposed to have better Word support.
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phoenix78
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Apr 12, 2009, 09:22 PM
 
the highend mb FTW! they are very small and thin, powerful, and stylish! I want one too but already have a mbp! Maybe ill get myself one next year :-)

Make sure you get the VGA adaptor for when you need to make presentations and to use a larger screen. Also, you may like to invest in a large lcd (22" ?), keyboard and mouse, for use when you are at your desk in your room. So the adaptor will come in handy :-)

I have had font style/size issues when interchanging files with iwork and office.

Regarding the writing of papers, iwork will fail due to the fact that it does not have an equation editor or figure/table captioning, or referencing support. It does if you buy equation editor for like $90 and if your college has a site license for endnote (otherwise its stupidly expensive). So, iwork has already shot its self in the foot.

MS office 08 is plenty good enough. And it will work better with all the word/excel/powerpoint files that other windows users throw at you.

I would say that Open Office is a pile of crap. I have opened several word files in open office to find that it has mangled the layout of the word file. Do yourself a favour and stay clear of this tool.
     
Simon
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Apr 13, 2009, 03:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by D'Espice View Post
As long as you're only exchanging text without any special elements no compatibility issues, even as simple as formatting woes, will ever occur. Add some images, tables, (multipage) headers & footers, a table of contents and other cross references, and any Word document will inevitably become completely unusable in Open Office, Pages, and any other word processor that claims full Word compatibility.
That is correct. However those problems will also appear between Word for Mac and Word for Windows, between Word 98 and Word 2002, between Word XP and Word 2007, etc.

Word isn't even compatible to itself for Christ's sakes, so if your major worry is compatibility you probably ought to stay away from Word in the first place.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 13, 2009, 04:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by D'Espice View Post
As long as you're only exchanging text without any special elements no compatibility issues, even as simple as formatting woes, will ever occur. Add some images, tables, (multipage) headers & footers, a table of contents and other cross references, and any Word document will inevitably become completely unusable in Open Office, Pages, and any other word processor that claims full Word compatibility. Been there. Done that. Not worth it.
All true.

Except Pages 08 had better .docx compatibility than Word 2008 when it came out.
     
D'Espice
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Apr 13, 2009, 06:01 AM
 
Let me quote something that has been said before, in this very thread less than two days ago:
Originally Posted by rogalarasmutata View Post
[...]the only thing fully compatible to Word is Word, and even that fails every now and then.
Nuff said
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one
pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside,
thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, shouting GERONIMO!"
     
Spheric Harlot
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Location: 888500128, C3, 2nd soft.
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Apr 13, 2009, 06:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by D'Espice View Post
Let me quote something that has been said before, in this very thread less than two days ago:

Nuff said
Almost.

Again: When Word 2008 came out, the then-current version of Pages had BETTER .docx compatibility than Word 2008.

Quite honestly, the only way to full compatibility is for all sides to avoid Word altogether.

I do get the impression that OpenOffice is slowly, but steadily, approaching critical mass.
     
bindigok
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Join Date: Mar 2009
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Apr 13, 2009, 06:07 AM
 
It always amazes me how fast and how many responses you get when asking for buying advice. I'm not sure why your school says buy an Airport. Almost every college campus, even community colleges, have wireless networks that will work with Macs or Microsoft PCs, and all Mac notebooks come with wireless (although they didn't used to, so maybe that's where their recommendation comes from). Anyway, don't buy more than what is practical until you are there. Get the computer and software you want first, other things can wait. Sounds like people have you on track. I used a Mac through college in a Microsoft PC world, and had few problems using iWork. But I also had Word on my computer for those rare times I needed it, such as with the comment feature that you use a lot in college research. It really depends on how YOU use your computer. But if you can get a cheap copy of Office from your school, then go for it - it doesn't hurt anything (well except for the fact that the installation is retarded). And you may need Excel given your area of study. And while Keynote is far superior to PowerPoint, I found it useful to check my presentations using PowerPoint on my own computer before heading off to present in class (sometimes you will have to present on a Windows machine). I still do this at work too, Keynote is not always available and even exporting as a PowerPoint file can cause odd things to happen. It's usually better to check it yourself before your presentation. Good luck, and enjoy dude.
--bindigok
iMac 24" 3.06GHz, 4GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 130
15" PB G4, 2GB RAM, 100GB HD
     
   
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