Apple Mac questions

159 posts in this topic

Posted

I'm considering getting a Macbook (Pro) but, having only ever worked with Windows PCs, have a few questions and would be grateful if some of the MAC experts out there could help out:

  1. Can you use a Macbook to (easily) edit Word documents created on a PC? And vice versa (i.e. use a PC to edit documents created on a Macbook)? If so, is Microsoft Office for Mac all that's needed?
  2. If the Macbook is going to be used mainly for word-processing, e-mailing and the Internet, are there any other PC-MAC-PC compatibility issues to consider?
  3. Do you need anti-virus software?
  4. Do you need anti-spam software?
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Posted

Thanks for your replies!

Another question: what's the chiclet-style keyboard like to work with?

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Posted

How user-friendly is the Safari web browser? Can you sort favourites into folders as with Internet Explorer?

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Posted

Safari is great, you can organize your bookmarks into folders just as easily as in explorer or mozilla. You also have the option of making your "top" sites come up as a mosaic for your homepage, and you can also choose to have a bookmark bar stay visible on the top of your screen.

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Posted

Viruses specific to Mac's are being seen these days, ... I would advise using one...

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Posted

Can you use a Macbook to (easily) edit Word documents created on a PC? And vice versa (i.e. use a PC to edit documents created on a Macbook)? If so, is Microsoft Office for Mac all that's needed?

Office for Mac will handle Windows Office-generated Word/Excel/Ppt files and vice-versa.

but you may lose some formatting

If the Macbook is going to be used mainly for word-processing, e-mailing and the Internet, are there any other PC-MAC-PC compatibility issues to consider?

Nothing major. If you find some niche applications don't have an OS X version, you can easily run Windows on your Mac.

Games aren't compatible but you should be fine for the things you say. If you start running windows that will be an extra cost and a pain logging back in and out, plus see below

Do you need anti-virus software?

Nope. However, enabling the firewall and bolting down the Sharing options in System Prefs is a very good idea.

You may need anti-virus anyway, especially if you are running windows on your mac...

Do you need anti-spam software?

OS X's Mail application has a good spam filter built-in.

the only foolproof way to avoid spam is to choose an obscure email address and make sure no-one on the net gets it

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Posted

How user-friendly is the Safari web browser? Can you sort favourites into folders as with Internet Explorer?

The Safari web browser is user friendly, and yes you can sort favourites into folders.

You can also use other web browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, Iron, Opera.

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Posted

Coughing up the cash for a Macbook Pro for what you will be doing seems a little excessive....why not get just a Macbook and then take a holiday with the €€ you save?

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Posted

Some extra answers to questions, and answers to answers...



  • For complex Word / PowerPoint documents, there still are some formatting issues between Windows and Mac - although these seem to be decreasing with each new release. Colours in PowerPoint can change a bit, for example, but unless you've done some crazy animated blending arrangement (as I had innocently done recently) it's unlikely to be noticed. And embedding movies into presentations and then hoping to shift those to another computer always has the potential to be tricky. But I haven't encountered anything insurmountable, and mostly things go (almost surprisingly) smoothly. I find the Mac-benefits outweigh the very occasional niggly difficulty in this sort of thing.

  • While there is a Mac-specific virus getting publicity at the moment, Apple have been releasing software updates to keep it under control - without any extra antivirus being necessary. But there are a couple of free antivirus options anyway (Sophos, ClamXav), if you really want one. They might help stop you inadvertently passing on a virus-infected file to a Windows user, who could suffer more from it than you.

  • I used to be weirdly in favour of Internet Explorer before switching to the Mac, but do like Safari more now. It's good to have Firefox around too though, since some (very few) websites have had issues with Safari. But some websites have issues with Internet Explorer too anyway.

  • 'Chiclet' is a new word for me, but I like my apple keyboards more than any other keyboards I've tried.

  • I wouldn't recommend going for a MacBook now, unless finances really demand it. The one lingering MacBook hasn't been updated properly for a long time, so lags well behind the cheapest new MacBook Pros (at least in most areas) - and yet it hasn't exactly tumbled in price as much as you'd think it should under those circumstances.

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Posted

Once you go mac, you don't go back

That is, until Apple decide to switch completely to the A?? CPU on their entire Computer line

(execpt for perhaps the Mac Pro) and ditch OSX for iOS (As already hinted at by Mr Jobs at WWDC)

thus rendering all prev. OSX Applications useless.

Coughing up the cash for a Macbook Pro for what you will be doing seems a little excessive....why not get just a Macbook and then take a holiday with the €€ you save?

Or get a Nice Asus Laptop, Install Linux or a copy of osx86 (AKA: OSX for non-Apple Computers), and go on 2 holidays ;-)

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Posted

Thanks for all the useful replies. Keep them coming.

[*]While there is a Mac-specific virus getting publicity at the moment, Apple have been releasing software updates to keep it under control - without any extra antivirus being necessary. But there are a couple of free antivirus options anyway (Sophos, ClamXav), if you really want one. They might help stop you inadvertently passing on a virus-infected file to a Windows user, who could suffer more from it than you.

I've heard that Macs have an Apple store installed. Do you end up having to buy a lot of updates?

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Posted

Also, I use Sophos Anti-virus. In 4 years and 2 macs I have never had a virus (knock on wood). :)

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Posted

I've heard that Macs have an Apple store installed. Do you end up having to buy a lot of updates?

No. I buy very little from the Apple Store on my MacBook. But yes, it is there, so if you are an impulse buyer, it might be hard to resist. ;) Software updates are free, and you get them by going to Software Update on the Apple pull-down. You can set it up to inform you when updates are available. Graduating to the latest/ greatest OS costs, however.

I've been using Macs since the late 80s (early 90s? my memory is failing) and have never been 'infected'. It was just a matter of time for viruses to be written for Macs, and that time seems to be upon us. :o

My formerly Apple-phobic German husband has recently made the switch, and is quickly becoming an Apple fanboy.

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Posted

[*]While there is a Mac-specific virus getting publicity at the moment, Apple have been releasing software updates to keep it under control - without any extra antivirus being necessary. But there are a couple of free antivirus options anyway (Sophos, ClamXav), if you really want one. They might help stop you inadvertently passing on a virus-infected file to a Windows user, who could suffer more from it than you.

Are these updates free and do you get reminders to download them?

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Posted

Are these updates free and do you get reminders to download them?

Software and security updates for the current and previous versions of OS X are free.

If you want the next version of OS X (10.7 Lion) when it's released in July, you'll have to pay $25 (or equivalent), but updates after that will be free again - until the next big OS increment (10.8) which is most likely a few years away.

All about software update on Mac OS

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Posted

I have family that works at Apple....please...GO MAC!!! But seriously...

As mlovett said, the software updates are free. Granted, when they were going from animal to animal regularly (leopards and jaguars oh my..) it could get confusing. But it seems Snow Leopards will be around a while. Turn on Mac...click the notification to update...wait a few...go about your business. Kind of like the 'windows update' dealymabob on those 'other' computers.

Am I biased? Heck yeah. One trip in an Apple store and I think just about anyone would...

And my big brothers favorite pro-mac argument: Why make a program run a program (referring to windows) and lose functionality when that's the OS's job in the first place?

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Posted

Thanks for all the useful replies. Keep them coming.

Hi Lorelei,

Apple specifically had you in mind when creating their "Switch 101" and "Mac 101" websites. They've likely addressed most of your questions within them:

<http://www.apple.com/support/switch101/>

<http://www.apple.com/support/mac101/>

Apple's online support site is quite good if you have questions/problems down the road:

<https://discussions.apple.com/index.jspa>

My 2 cents: If you have the means, I would recommend the aluminum MacBook Pro (more durable than the plastic MacBook variety).

Best,

Tom

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Posted

And my big brothers favorite pro-mac argument: Why make a program run a program (referring to windows) and lose functionality when that's the OS's job in the first place?

Isn't Finder on Mac a program you use to run other programs?

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Posted

Are these updates free and do you get reminders to download them?

Like the others say, the small updates and fixes are free, the big updates you have to pay for - just like Windows. But the big Mac updates are generally much cheaper than with Windows (and there is less bewildering choice), and the small ones come out much less frequently. But you can tell the Mac to automatically check for the free updates daily, weekly or monthly, and carry on with your life.

Or you can do it my way... in Safari, go to feed://feeds.macrumors.com/MacRumors-All (or macrumors.com and click the little 'RSS' logo in the address bar) and add this as a favourite to your 'Bookmarks Bar'. It's better to add the RSS page than the main one. Now, any time there's a new article on Mac Rumors, a little discrete number will appear beside the link to tell you. If your personality defects are anything like mine, you will have to immediately click the link - just to make the number disappear. Then you will accidentally end up reading most of the headlines, and be vaguely up-to-date on all Mac-related news.

If you then go a step further and read even a tenth of the least-dull-looking articles, you'll already be well-informed. For example, you'll know about software updates or new products even weeks before they are released, as well as general computer stuff like which processors are good, and whether there's actually a virus to be nervous about and what its warning signs are. Admittedly you discover this alongside a lot of speculative rubbish, but it is nonetheless handy at times. For one thing, it allows you to swoop down self-satisfyingly into discussions now and again from a position of apparent knowledge. And if that isn't the point of learning about computers then I don't know what is.

Note: This strategy to learning requires a few extra clicks a day, but if you're active on Toytown there's a fairly good chance you're wasting a lot of clicks anyway. I find it's easier to aim to make my prevarication productive than to overcome it completely. You could also probably use this strategy to become an expert in something more noble or useful, if it is released online in suitably frequent RSS feeds, although I certainly haven't.

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Posted

Finder is, at it's base (according to big brother) more of an index that lets the computer jump right to the program(s) you want to run. Windows is a big, memory hungry program...that runs on top of the DOS system...the C:/ of old. Windows and finder and such very different creatures....I can't imagine a really good way to make an analogy between the two...

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Posted

Safari is great, you can organize your bookmarks into folders just as easily as in explorer or mozilla. You also have the option of making your "top" sites come up as a mosaic for your homepage, and you can also choose to have a bookmark bar stay visible on the top of your screen.

Sorry, but Safari is an absolutely terrible browser. Fortunately, you can install much better ones.

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