Want to get a Mac?

A friend of mine who was considering purchasing his first Apple Computer (he already purchased a new iMac) had posed a series of questions to me. I thought this would make a good blog entry and I have tried to answer all his questions here in this post.  There are some questions that I really am not able to answer, and hope that others may respond and give perhaps better answers to his questions.

1. Which Macs(s) do you have? (How much RAM? disk space? Speed? Monitor size?)

I own the 24 inch iMac, which was launched now over a year and half ago.  This is the iMac that is still all white, has 1 GB of RAM out of the box and a 250 GB hard drive.  This is not the iMacs, which sport a chrome exterior and a absolute gorgeous glossy screen.  Yes I do think the new iMacs look better,  but I am extremely happy with my purchase and having the large screen was such a good idea.  I often watch video content on my iMac and there really is no substitue for a great Monitor.  

I am now getting to the point where I am thinking I could use a laptop, but this is more a life style issue.  As a principle computer the iMac is just great and I would never change that.  What I really love about the iMac is the design.  The computer is embedded into the body of the Monitor, with a recessed DVD drive.  The computer is so silent, and takes up so little space, leaving my desk at home not cluttered. With the optional bluetooth keyboard and mouse it is easy to keep your desk almost completly wireless. This was very important point for me as I really hate having a hub of wires strangling my computer.

2. Where did you get MS Office from? Is it too expensive to purchase.

OK moment of honesty here and I do feel somewhat horrible saying this, but I cannot disclose how I got my version of MS Office.  But I do have a copy and I have no idea how much it costs.  I think you get my point πŸ™‚

Just as an aside, I actually prefer iWorks to MS Office.  I use Pages instead of Word for the most part except when I absolutely need to use the dominat office suite.  I found Pages graceful and very intuitive. 

3. Do you use Bootcamp or VMWare? How well do they work for you?

As I mentioned in a previous post of mine, one of my concerns when moving over to a Mac computer was not being able to have access to my window applications.  Bootcamp and VMWare are simulators that allow users to run Microsoft Windows XP on an Apple Computer.  There is also Parallels which also works well.  The funny thing is that since I have had the Mac, I have had no reason to run Windows on it.  This has been one of the biggest surprises for me.  

I have seen a friend of mine install Parallels about a year back and it worked really good at the time. He had Microsoft Visual Studio 2003 running on his installed version of WIndows XP and it was fairly impressive to see it working.  I believe a newer version of Parralles was just released which I am sure must be even better.  I have also seen articles on the Web where people have said that VMWare is better and more stable.  Since I have not personally needed to work with either I cannot give preference to one or the other. Does anyone have any experiences here? Comments?

4. Is the extra $180 for the Apple Protection Plan worth it?

I have no idea.  I did not buy it and do not know anyone who has.  Anyone out there know any better?

5. What do you think about .mac?

I am going to defer this question because everything has changed with the introduction of mobileMe.  I will post a separate entry about my feeling on mobileMe.

6. I was reading that some updates make the system unbootable? Have you had that problem?

No comments here from me. I have not had any problems here.  Anybody else?

7. What do you think of Time Capsule/Time Machine? 

I own a Time Capsule, the 500 GB version, and I really like the device.  The Time Capsule was released this year at the end of February and is a fusion of a router and a hard drive.  Apple introduced this product with the MacBook Air which makes sense since the time capsule can act like an external hard drive that can be accessed wirelessly. This implies less need for peripherals and easy access to your information where ever you are working at home.  Imagine sitting on the couch and access an archived document that you wrote last year from your time capsule. That is real mobile computing!

The Time Capsule also has a USB port and claims that you can hook up a printer for wireless printing or daisy chain multiple external hard drives.  At the moment it looks like my old driver for my Cannon printer does not work with the Time Capsule.  I just need some more time to figure that one out.  It is however for me an important feature, wireless access to my printer via the Time Capsule and I need to get it working.

Integrating a router and hard drive into one device and then coupling it with extending network services is really a great concept.  The class N router is fast and uses Apple’s Airport software which really makes networking a no brainer, especially when compared to networking with Windows.  The Time Capsule really improved streaming performance that I could get with my AppleTV.  So for me there were immediate performance payoffs. However, writing to the hard drive is slow.  It takes really, really long, because it works over the wireless connection. However, accessing data has been a different issue where I have hardly really noticed much of an issue.

8. What programming do you do on it?

Just getting started here and at the moment I do not have any of my own projects on the go.  I will also post more about this later.

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3 Responses to Want to get a Mac?

  1. spiff says:

    I found the blog entry which came into my mind while taking a first look at mobileMe from Apple: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2008/05/01.html

    The entry is funny to read at least πŸ™‚

  2. Gandalf says:

    Microsoft Live Mesh, huh? Never heard of it. I think I heard of Hailstorm but I also heard of its demise. At any rate, mobileMe looks really interesting and if really does deliver it will be God sent. At the very least I expect an improvement over .mac which was really not worth it.

  3. staniel says:

    I have two Macbooks and am extremely satisfied with both. The only complaint I can think of is that they run pretty hot. Most Apple products are like that though. I have an Airport Express you could roast a turkey with.

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