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Thinking of \"Switch\"ing...
Old 07-24-2003, 10:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Over the years, I've been working with PCs and now I am rather sick of them. So, here is the question:

How is Apple?

Currently, the only programs I run are Photoshop and Netscape which both are available on both platform. But I have serious questions for the Mac users:

How reliable are your Macs? Did you purchase the extended warranty?

I am thinking of purchase the 12" Powerbook w/ 640MB ram, 60HD, and WiFi.

Thanks in advance,

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One set for another
Old 07-24-2003, 11:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I use both PC and Mac.

Maybe u should use the money to investigate getting a stable system which might mean only upgrading to Windows 2000 or XP. What OS are you using now?

IMHO you are only trading one set of problems for another. BTW Netscape is gone AOL is dropping it. And one last thing you couldnt get me to do serious photoshop on a flat panel screen much less a laptop because of contrast and gamma.

Good luck


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Just added a 12 Powerbook to my toolset
Old 07-24-2003, 11:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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And, that is exactly what it is. A tool.

I've used PCs forever as I never liked the fact that there was no good supply of GAMES for the Mac. I had weathered thru the time when there was no photoshop ( I was doing freelance Graphic Design ), and I used Corel Draw.

Things have changed! I love windows XP -- It Almost NEVER crashes, and support for all sorts of different add ons has been great. I Have about everything you need - Wacom Tablets, Flatbed scanner, Card Readers, 3 different Hard Drives, 3 different printers, DVD Burner, CD Burner, and tons of software. This thing is so stable! A far cry from the good ole Win 3.0 days, and that was an achievemnt.

I shoot mostly digital now, and wanted a solution to 1) save me the hassle when in the field to download images, and 2) give me some basic tools if I'm on a trip somewhere.

I decided on the 12" Powerbook based on a few things, and so far, I love it. I got 640mb ram, the Superdrive, 40mb hard drive. To support redundancy I got a 60GB Firewire external drive, which works on both the PC and with OS X, althogh that was a chore. If you decided to do this, evidently to mount right on the Mac, it needs to be FAT32 File system, so you have to partition the drive. Not a huge deal, I think more like minor pain in the butt. The beauty is I can hot swap the drive between either computer. The reason for the Extra Drive to take with me is one of redundancy. I would have to have shot a ton of good stuff, and then have the computer go bad. Now, I will have two copies.

I have only had it this week, like 5 days now... and it has presented a couple dislikes to what I did. A couple crashes, but nothing major, and I think it did it because I didnt wait on certain things... meaning, I can probably learn what will lock it up.

Here is the biggest snag of the system, and why id advise anyone to think hard about. One is my investment in Software. I have paid $$$ for initial purchases, and upgrades to the standard programs I use alot, and I cannot afford to get them on the Mac. So, with the orignial intent of having a portable to do limited work on while on the road, I can settle with Adobe Photoelements, although it is a pain in the butt since im so used to Photoshop 7. The other big problem is that of Raw converters for os X. On the pc, I swear by Capture One DSLR, by . Great workflow, and batching capabilites. For OS X there is nothing worthwhile that supports the Eos 10D. While ive gotten used to shooting first ( setting the camera to RAW and then not fretting about the white balance til later, either using a Kelvin setting or some other non automatic setting ), then correcting the white balance to what I need later, NOW im going to have to get it close. Takes a few minutes longer at each shoot, and when I do the raw files, I am invariably going to do it once more, there is one thing that this particular camera does that I like. It shoots RAW format with an embedded JPG. I can set this to small or large file, and then, using the file utility that came with the camera, on os X, batch remove the jpg files, and do whatever editing I may want while on the road. Its like, I can go thru the images I know are going to be good right away, and get a jump on doing some pre editing before I even get home.

I will be glad when Capture One Le comes out for OS X. I sure hope it would, then I could go back to the easier shooting method.

Hope you find this info helpful.

One last thing I want to mention is the "Cool" factor. It's not the 15" or the 17 inch bohemeth, but it certainly was cooler than any other laptops I looked at. I found it to be commonly used by travelling photographers in searches too.


ps, now I want one of those 21" Cinema displays- simply beautiful!

Re: Thinking of \"Switch\"ing...
Old 07-25-2003, 01:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The 15" 2001 model Powerbook G4 I'm using at this moment is my 4th Mac. I've had very few problems, but I've got one now. My FireWire port went AWOL and I'm on the road. It's under warranty (AppleCare is a great warranty program and WORTH IT if you've got a laptop) and when I return home Apple will fix it within two days, or supply me with a new or refurbished one, no questions asked. My very first Mac had a SCSI bus problem right out of the box and they replaced it the same day. I've never had any other hardware problems and I've been using them for 8 years now.

The full Mac version of Photoshop will set you back ($700? I've been using it so long I forget exactly how much it costs) and you need to factor that cost in, as well as any other Mac software you might need, which tends to get pricey. Test Strip is a definite recommended plug in. I bought the last version for $50 and I'm sure it's still less than $100 for the new OS X/Photoshop 7 version.

And OS X rocks. Rock solid steady (I often run 5 or 6 apps at one on my G4 400 with 512MB RAM and I've had exactly one general system crash, and very few application crashes. In OS X if one application crashes 99% it does not effect the system. And all the old complications about worrying about system extensions and all that old Mac stuff does not apply anymore thanks to the way OS X doles out memory to the apps. And it's easy to use and it's got a gorgeous graphical interface. Hell, the whole computer is gorgeous, it just looks so cool. Whenever I see one of those new 12"ers I can't decide whether to hug it or drive it...

And one more thing that Apple improved in the current generation: the built-in LCD. The biggest (really the only) drawback with my 15" is that the viewing angle is pretty limited, making color correction in Photoshop kind of hairy (adjusting levels by the histogram one moment the image looks dark and flat, move your head a tad and all of a sudden you're blasted in the face with white light, which rendition that you're seeing is everyone else going to see). The new model fixes that.

Best of luck to you. I'm confident that if you try it you'll love it. It's a great piece of hardware and a great system.
My reply.
Old 07-25-2003, 08:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Macs continue to be far more stable and reliable than wintel machines.

That said, they do occassionally do something weird, which is partly a problem with peripherals etc., being well behind in catching up to the innovations. I have had to have the apple store techs, solve a couple problems for me, because I have had a heck of a time finding any training in OS X, so I still don't fully understand the OS as well as I need to. That's partly my fault, and partly a failing on Apple's part, because they aren't offering any in-depth training in the OS, themselves, and no one else is either!

The newest version of OS X is a storage hog (like wintel), so get the largest HD you can. I can't even install it on my G4 400, without putting in a bigger HD (just have a 10 Gig). (I am running OS 10.2.3).

My 14" ibook has not had any problems, but I have fewer pheripherals that I run on it. (It is also running OS 10.2.3). I did max out the ram.

My comparison is to a Gateway E-5200 running Windows XP, w/ 1 gig of ram. The windows machine is ok, but it is a real pain to add, delete, or otherwise change, anything on that machine, without fouling up something else. Just putting another hard drive in it, created all manner of changes in the drive directory, which required much time to fix. The windows machine is far more unstable than the Mac, but is still the most stable of any Windows system I have used yet. The other thing that just drives me bananas, is that windows is always trying to think for me, instead of with me, which I find terribly irritating, because it always wants me to do something other than what I want to do!

At least, on the Mac, you are in charge, and not Microsoft (unless you use Office......which I am getting ready to delete and switch to something else).

I just would rather use a system that works with me, and not against me, so I still choose Mac over wintel, and in side by side capability comparisons, there isn't that much difference in cost anymore, if you truly compare what it takes to make a wintel machine do what a Mac does (which most people don't really understand).

Hope that's a help. I am by no means a computer guru, but that's my story. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
Re: Thinking of \"Switch\"ing...
Old 07-25-2003, 09:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I use both systems and recently upgraded my PC to XP and about 8 months ago I upgraded my Mac's to OSX jaguar I'm a lab tech and I oversee about 80 of them. The Mac system is much more stable than any windows system I've ever used. The biggest reason that I keep a PC at home is because the games I like to play arenít available for the Mac's. But I also like to keep my hand in with both, at my work I have a few PC's to maintain and it's also a marketable skill. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

I use Photoshop 7 in both platforms as well as other "work" programs. My iBook laptop (500 MHz G3 processor with 640MB of ram) is a few years old but it still works with no problems and is extremely reliable, I don't think it's crashed since I upgraded to OSX but it wasn't that common for it to crash when I was running it with OS9.

I thought about getting one of the new Titanium G4 PowerBooks a while back so I went to the local apple store and looked at them and though they were cool, the larger 15 and 17 inch ones defeated the purpose of a small portable machine to me. My iBook will easily fit into the side pocket of my camera bags and the standard firewire port is great. You have to pay extra to get one of those on a PC laptop. Now that they have the 12 inchers out I may go look at them again.

So my advice to you is to get that sucker, but put more ram in it than that. With Mac's a few hundre MB of ram is more important than a few hundred MHz, especially with OSX.

Hope that makes sense
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A good point
Old 07-25-2003, 09:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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In my experience - and when I'm not lawyering at the design studio I work for, I kill time by being the system admin for a 25-station network - you will have problems with any machine if you try hard enough. I have been using Macs since 1988 and my main personal computer is a 350MHz Macintosh G4 with 704MB of RAM and 100GB of HD storage. At work I use a 1.5GHzP4 with 512MB of RAM and 60GB of HD storage. I find that they're both equally frustrating at times, but I tend to play with things at the OS level. (Example: I can log into my file server at work, from home, from the Terminal, without looking up the command. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] ) Neither of them is magic. I must admit that I'm very impressed with Windows XP - it still sucks, but its level of suckage has gone from, oh, say, FIFTY Lovelace to maybe, 5. (The Lovelace is the unit of how much something sucks: I am not making this up.) I'd give MacOSX a suckage factor of .5 to 2 Lovelace, depending on what you're trying to do.

Some people can cheerfully do image work on an LCD display and some have the screaming heebies when they even attempt it. You won't know until you try. It *will* be a huge change from using a CRT monitor. Mac laptops are a lot better than most PC laptops about using external monitors, although it can be done on either platform. I have two users right now who are using Powerbooks hooked to external monitors: one of them has a 17" Cinema Display and the other has a 19" Trinitron monitor. They put the image on the bigger screen and use the laptop's screen for menus and toolboxes. Neither of them, however, deals much with bitmapped photographs. Mostly we work with vector images (a la Illustrator.) I have used my laptop for image editing and while it's okay, I definitely prefer my CRT.

One advantage of new Macs is you get OSX, which includes iTunes, which ru13z, and Safari, Apple's proprietary web browser, which ru13z squared and cubed. If you think you might like to do video work someday, you'll have to use something other than Premiere, because Adobe is discontinuing it for the Mac because Apple's video software is too competitive, but Photoshop for Mac OS should be around for a long time to come. (I use Photoshop 7 on my Mac and it's the bees' knees.) Windows XP and Mac OSX are both multi-threaded OS's, which means that in theory when one app crashes it shouldn't take the rest of the system with it. In practice, you can still get system crashes on either OS, but OSX is the sturdier of the two.

And, to address another point, the selection of Mac games is improving by the day, although there's still usually a lag of a few months between the PC release and the Mac release of mainstream games. (There's lots of great Mac-only games.) Since Mac OSX is Unix-based, developers in future who are building for Linux will probably be likely to also release Mac variants of their apps, which is another source of software that won't come from the Windows world.

Physically, Mac laptops are somewhat more durable than the PC laptops (Dell, Compaq, IBM) I've had any serious experience with.

Okay, enough rambling. To get back to the prior poster's point, if your machine can support it, you might try an upgrade to XP first. Then you'd only be out a hundred bucks (and you could always sell it to somebody else.) If that works, great. If not, then look into laptops. You can get some great deals on last year's laptop on eBay or uBid - I've bought several for people on eBay and never had a problem (although I only buy from people with good feedback who offer a no-DOA warranty.) Refurbs are also a good buy and usually come with a full manufacturer's warranty.

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Re: Thinking of \"Switch\"ing...
Old 07-25-2003, 04:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi Kevin,

My personal favorite is Linux. I work with Unix on a daily basis and NOTHING has stability like a Unix/Linux-based system. I also use Windows 2000 Professional and I have never locked it up. I am using 700+ GB of RAM, two 40GB hard drives (not striped though) and I run PS 7.0, along with almost every other Adobe product as well as all of my Macromedia applications. No freezes, no runs, no hits, no, sorry, watching the Red Sox again. Seriously though, I've had no trouble with Windoze 2000 Pro.

The beauty of using a Linux box is that it is an open-source operating system...that translated means free software. There is a program called GIMP (I'm not kidding) that is FREE and has all the functionality of PS. There are many other free programs that do all that MS Office does AND there is no concern (as far as those programs are concerned) with compatibility because it will open all file extensions that Word/Excel, etc., does, as well as the file extensions for PS.

I do believe that the Mac OS/X operating system is based on the Unix operating system (or Linux....not sure...pretty much the same) and that is a MAJOR step in the right direction for Apple. Stability is the name of the game for me and I think ANY vendor moving towards Unix/Linux as an OS is "the bomb".

My .02 cents (along with 19 years of using Unix/Linux OSes).

Good day!

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The Mac is dead, long live the Mac!
Old 07-25-2003, 05:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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After many years of intensive use, my first generation G4 finally developed a fatal illness. After years of hard work, that 'entry level', under powered, overloaded Mac is now gone and replaced by the latest generation of G4s. Arriving home with the new G4 yesterday at about 4:30 pm, it took me about 15 minutes to unpack it and reconnect the power cords for the various peripherals I use. It took maybe 15 minutes to boot it up and go through the registration process, the maybe 10 minutes on the phone with earthlink to get the correct settings. Bear in mind I had never even seen OSX before yesterday evening. By about 5:15, maybe 30 minutes from setting the box on the floor, I was on the net checking my backed up email. Maybe 20 minutes of loading software and downloading a couple of drivers from epson, within an hour, it was fully functional with all peripherals working.
Within an hour anda half of setting the unpacked box on the floor, I had accessed my email, scanned a negative and printed an 11x14 test print.

There's an old story about two computer users talking over breakfast one morning. One was telling of what he did 'to' his pc the night before. The Other told of what he did 'with' his Mac the night before. I'm still not comfortable with OSX, it's radically different, but I was functioning in it within minutes after booting the system. Comfort with it will come with practice.

Being a phptographer rather than a 'puter guy, I don't care hwow it works and don;t really care, I care only that it works when I want it to. Macs do that and they do it pretty easily and quickly. I find they are user friendly and reliable. That's all I want! Yeah, if you like thousands of games and games other software choices, Mac may not be right for you. But in my own view, if Mac doesn't have it, I can probably get along without it!

The Mac is dead, long live the Mac!
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Re: Thinking of \"Switch\"ing...
Old 07-25-2003, 06:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Nowadays PC's and Mac's are pretty even as far as ease of use and reliability goes. I would think hard on this - do you really want to go through the learning curve with a totally new interface/ OS and hardware? Something to consider before you jump in.

BTW, just read the post from the guy who had done so much with his computer in the hour and a half since he set the box on the floor. I think I got ya beat. I BUILT my last PC w 3 HD, hooked it up to printer, cable modem, etc, installed the Windows XP, went online, got my emails, checked the Newsgroups, sites like this, hooked up my D100, downloaded the shots I'd taken that day, all in just over 90 minutes!

Really BOTH PC's and Mac's are so incredibly easy to use. I like PC's because I can build one to my exact needs easier than I could put together an Erector Set kit when I was a kid. Everything just plugs in and you're ready to go.

My two cents worth.

Robert Jensen
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