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New Mac User, Recommened Software Titles
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MarMac
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Mar 1, 2002, 02:56 PM
 
Hello all,

I have recently detached myself from the MS based PC world and purchased an IMac 800 w/512MB on 2/9 from the Apple store (I know, it could take awhile to receive it). Also, I plan on using an Airport for my home network.

Can anyone recommend any required software titles for a new Mac user?

I understand that the firewall that comes with the Airport is good and should be able to keep out unauthorized users.

Is there an obvious leader in the Anti-virus software arena?

Are there any "must have" tools that arn't pre-loaded? Disk utilities, zip type programs?

Thanks in advance for any help,
New Mac User
     
mefogus
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Mar 1, 2002, 03:03 PM
 
>Are there any "must have" tools that arn't pre-loaded? Disk
>utilities, zip type programs?

It depends. What do you plan on using the iMac for?

-m
     
Mithras
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Mar 1, 2002, 03:25 PM
 
Agreed that it depends what you want to do.

Out of the box, you might not need to buy any extra software. The iMac comes with:
  • Internet Explorer for the web
  • Mail for email
  • iTunes for music
  • iMovie for making movies
  • iDVD for burning DVDs
  • iPhoto for digital photos
  • AppleWorks for word processing, spreadsheets, etc.
  • Quicken Deluxe for home finance
  • Plus an encyclopedia, some games, etc.

The only other package you should immediately consider getting is Microsoft Office v.X. AppleWorks can import and export Word and Excel files fine, so it's not strictly necessary, but you may want it if you're used to it at work.

Beyond that, you won't need much else, until and unless you develop specific interests, such as doing digital design, creating web pages, creating music, playing games, etc.

As for utilties, they're not as strictly necessary on the Mac as Windows. In particular, while Norton Antivirus exists for the Mac, I don't know of any Mac OS X-native viruses at all.
But a few you might consider are:
  • Toast Titanium: Your iMac can make CD backups, but Toast lets you burn DVD backups, if you'll work with large files.
  • Drive 10: This is a disk-repair utility for Mac OS X. Again, the iMac comes with one, but this might be a little more powerful.
  • FAXstf X: Fax software, if you don't have, but do want, fax capabilities. The software isn't the greatest, but for now it's the only one available.

Good luck and enjoy your iMac!
     
SnowmanX
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Mar 1, 2002, 03:31 PM
 
Originally posted by MarMac:
<STRONG>Hello all,

I have recently detached myself from the MS based PC world and purchased an IMac 800 w/512MB on 2/9 from the Apple store (I know, it could take awhile to receive it). Also, I plan on using an Airport for my home network.</STRONG>
Hi. Why do you want to go with AirPort with a desktop cpu? Do you have a laptop you're looking to serve, too? I'm not dissuading you from doing so, but please be informed that you will need an AirPort card ($100) in your iMac and the hardware base station ($300 -- I'll assume you are looking at Apple's white flying saucer router) to serve your iMac wirelessly, and that you will be limited to a theoretical ~10 Megabit throughput -- acceptable to some, but much slower than the 100 megabits you'll theoretically attain when hardwired using ethernet. And at this point, OS X does not support "software" base station, wherein your AirPort-capable iMac can serve in place of the $300 hardware base station.

<STRONG>Can anyone recommend any required software titles for a new Mac user?</STRONG>
Instant Messaging: Adium (AIM), Fire (ICQ/AIM/Yahoo/etc.)

Nevermind...too many small, useful apps to mention. Just hang around here and there and find out. Also, check out: http://www.versiontracker.com/macosx/ from time to time -- it's indispensible.

<STRONG>I understand that the firewall that comes with the Airport is good and should be able to keep out unauthorized users.

Is there an obvious leader in the Anti-virus software arena?</STRONG>
AirPort's tools are quite good and thorough; should be sufficient for most people.

<STRONG>Are there any "must have" tools that arn't pre-loaded? Disk utilities, zip type programs?</STRONG>
Hmmm...must have tools. Here in Mac land, .sit's are as common as .zip's in Windows land. And since OS X's release, Mac users are familiarizing themselves with .tar's and .gzip's, etc.. At any rate, Stuffit Expander is what you're looking for -- it's the equivalent to Winzip for Windows. In fact, I think Stuffit Expander is pre-installed with OS X. Not sure, haven't ever re-installed OS X since official release. A couple of others are Pacifist and TinkerTools. Again, though, you'll do best by perusing these boards, etc. and checking out versiontracker.com

<STRONG>Thanks in advance for any help,
New Mac User</STRONG>
No problem. And welcome; enjoy your stay.
You can ask me anything. Just don't question me.
     
NeoMac
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Mar 1, 2002, 09:23 PM
 
Anti-virus software is genuinely unnecessary on a Mac. I'm a seven year PC convert and I've NEVER EVER NEVER seen a Mac virus. It boggles the mind.

Buying anti-virus software for a Mac is like buying snow for Eskimos.
"Last time the French asked for more evidence, it rolled through France with a German flag." - David Letterman
     
Cipher13
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Mar 1, 2002, 09:33 PM
 
Do NOT get Drive 10. Awful program.

Wait for the OS9/OSX hybrid version of DiskWarrior.
     
mindwaves
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Mar 1, 2002, 09:41 PM
 
Originally posted by NeoMac:
<STRONG>Anti-virus software is genuinely unnecessary on a Mac. I'm a seven year PC convert and I've NEVER EVER NEVER seen a Mac virus. It boggles the mind.

Buying anti-virus software for a Mac is like buying snow for Eskimos. </STRONG>
Agreed. Never had a single virus on my Mac ever. With that new iMac, there is hardly anything else that I would rdcommend since it does come wit lots of handy programs. I do recommend an encyclopedia (if you have kids) such as the IBM WorldBook (not sure if it is included) and Adium from ww.adiumx.com for free.

[ 03-01-2002: Message edited by: mindwaves ]
{{{ mindwaves }}}
     
funkboy
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Mar 1, 2002, 10:23 PM
 
Might I recommend GraphicConverter. I believe it actually comes bundled with the iMac, but I'm not sure if it's registered.

This software is the Swiss Army Knife of file conversions: if you do any sort of image editing, download this and pay $30 right away. The license you purchase will be good for life, and the program itself can read almost every pixel-based image file out there.

Don't confuse it with Adobe Photoshop, though, which is used for image doctoring and touch-ups. GraphicConverter is used for changing from, say, JPEG to GIF format - Photoshop is used you can flip OJ Simpson's shoes for bunny slippers.
     
zigzag
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Mar 2, 2002, 01:09 AM
 
The iMac comes with an encyclopedia and Stuffit Expander.

MacLink Plus specializes in converting Windows files, but you may never need it.

If you want to use apps that are exclusive to Windows, there's Virtual PC.

I agree with Cipher about DiskWarrior - it's the only third-party disk utility that everyone seems to respect. But you may never need it - the iMac comes with Disk Doctor and that has always done the job for me.

You might be amazed at what the iMac can do right out of the box. I would try it out first, then decide if you really need anything else.
     
yoyo52
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Mar 2, 2002, 01:52 AM
 
Originally posted by Cipher13:
<STRONG>Do NOT get Drive 10. Awful program.

Wait for the OS9/OSX hybrid version of DiskWarrior.</STRONG>
Agreed completely. I still haven't figured out what Drive 10 does. Al Whipple, the writer of DiskWarrior, is very definite in saying that DiskWarrior 2.1, the current version, will fix an OS X HD. I trust him completely in that. If you're curious, you can download his interview with Shawn King as an mp3 file from here. Go to the Jan. 23, 2002 section.

Here are some small sharewaer apps that I'd get right away if I were you:

ASM, which gives you the equivalent of an application menu at the upper right of the menu

Tinker Tools, which gives you more flexibility with the Dock

USB Overdrive, which allow you to speed up your mouse and to program multi-button mouses

WindowShadeX, which gives you flexibility in how you handle windows--double clicking the title bar will roll up the window if you want rather than minimizing it, which isn't always convenient.

All of these are either freeware or really cheap shareware.

I think the new iMac comes with GraphicConverter. If it doesn't, that's definitely a great shareware app to get--you won't need Photoshop unless you're heavily into graphics. There's another freeware app, called PixelEnhance, which is really neat.

I would not get Toast if you're going to be using OS X. The built in burning via the the Disk Copy utility is plenty for me. In fact, although I have Toast for X, I've yet to use it.

The big decision is whether you'll get MS Office or not. As others have said, AppleWorks can open Word documents, and AppleWorks for X can save documents in Word format. The AppleWorks spreadsheet application can theoretically open Excel documents, but what you end up with is not a pretty sight. Ditto in the other direction--AppleWorks can save spreadsheets in Excel format, but that actually seems to work much better. The equivalent of PowerPoint in AppleWorks will not save as a PowerPoint document.

I know that people say Macs are not vulnerable to viruses. Get an anti-virus program anyway.

I'd be curious to see what others suggest for backing up files. My approach is clumsy, but effective--just burn a CD with the files you want to save.

[ 03-02-2002: Message edited by: yoyo52 ]
And that's true too.--Shakespeare, King Lear
     
nigeljedi
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Mar 2, 2002, 10:07 AM
 
These are all great suggestions! But, no one has mentioned gaming. Do you play any games? If so, what type? I would recommend Baldur's Gate II from MacPlay if you like role playing, American McGee's Alice (as in Wonderland) from Aspyr if you like the first person shooter type games with a sick sort of twisted angle, or even Fly! II from GodGames if you like flight simulators.
Sure, there are many, many more great games out there, and these are just a few. Just search the games forum here for ideas, or go to the sites listed above for more.
Welcome!

[ 03-02-2002: Message edited by: nigeljedi ]
     
zigzag
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Mar 2, 2002, 02:53 PM
 
re: Photoshop - you don't need to buy the pro version. Photoshop Elements does almost everything Photoshop does, and they're practically giving it away these days. It's an incredible bargain.

I don't know if Elements will handle as many varieties of graphic formats as Graphic Converter, but it handles a lot of them.
     
yoyo52
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Mar 2, 2002, 04:53 PM
 
Originally posted by zigzag:
<STRONG>re: Photoshop - you don't need to buy the pro version. Photoshop Elements does almost everything Photoshop does, and they're practically giving it away these days. It's an incredible bargain.

I don't know if Elements will handle as many varieties of graphic formats as Graphic Converter, but it handles a lot of them.</STRONG>
Is there an X version of Elements?
And that's true too.--Shakespeare, King Lear
     
zigzag
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Mar 2, 2002, 06:11 PM
 
Originally posted by yoyo52:
<STRONG>

Is there an X version of Elements?</STRONG>
Not yet, but I've been using it in Classic with no problems.

The OS X version of Photoshop is supposed to ship in March or April. Don't know when they'll update Elements, but since they're basically the same program, it shouldn't be long.
     
MarMac  (op)
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Mar 2, 2002, 10:21 PM
 
Wow, thanks for all the great/extremely helpful responses.

Re: What do I want to use the iMac for -

I am actually a Software Engineer. I have a Comp Sci degree and have been programming for 7 years. But I really got fed up with my last machine (HP Desktop). Hardware failure, compatibility issues, and driver issues when upgrading the OS just drove me crazy. When I saw the new iMac - it just seemed to be the perfect home computer. I am starting to sound like I am on Jobs' payroll. Anyway, the new iMac is for home use --&gt; I am really excited about the movie software. We already have a DV camera which I tested at the Apple Store in Virginia. The quick demo the guy did for me (with my camera) was amazing. I plan on using Quicken for financials... I have a huge library of MP3s I want to move over from my PC... I want to do a little gaming: Links, Age of Empires. I want to setup a home network for 3 machines - 2 desktops, 1 laptop. I was even dabbling with the idea of picking up an older IMac from eBay to put in another room (on the wireless network). And since I am a programmer, I am curious about the development technologies on the Mac. I am curious to see how Virtual PC will hold up with Visual Studio technologies -- that's the reason I got the 512MB pre-loaded. Not holding my breath on that one though.


Re (SnowmanX): Why do I want the airport -

To be perfectly honest ... yea, I do like the idea of having that little saucer. But before I make the purchase, I am going to research the other wireless network devices out there. I know very little about the subject. I know you need a wireless hub and 802.11b (or some code like that) wireless cards in each machine you want to put on your network. Any suggestions on the best hub would be greatly appreciated. But the impression I got from reading other threads on this site is people tend to defend the system THEY purchased. Since apple is having problems getting all of their orders filled -- I have time.

Thanks again for all of your comments. It looks like this site will be very helpful in the future as I adapt to the Mac world!
     
   
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