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  #41  
Old 18 April 2010, 02:19
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Gentlemen,
Beyond that, I know that Mac is Unix-based...is it as easily customizable as Linux, or is it just 100% proprietary?
I can't give you much guidance regarding media servers, but am familiar with Mac OSX and the *nixes.

OSX is based on Darwin, which is an open source port of FreeBSD. Apple's pretty graphics and other APIs are proprietary and are added on top of the Darwin distro. So it's partially open source.

It's possible to use x11/xorg on a Mac (there's an app that comes with the system) but it doesn't replace the fancy graphics libraries --- it's just a full-screen app. It may not even be a full X11 server.

I wouldn't say it's as customizable as Linux. What's possible is hard, and there are some impossible ideas (3rd party attempts at theming are broken with every OSX major update) as opposed to Linux :-)

That said, a lot of stuff _is_ possible on OSX. The possibilities are particularly apparent if you are a programmer, webmaster, or user of unix-based applications for work.

When deciding to get a Mac: get a used tower or be prepared to add external storage. I say a tower because Mac Minis are small and look great on entertainment centers, but Apple's hardware serviceability has become more difficult since the switch to G5 processors. (I know this because I used to work in a used Mac store and spent many an hour fiddling with machines of all ages.) This means that upgrading that 80GB hard drive in the machine will be a bitch, and setting up external storage with a decent transfer rate will be pricey and will just increase the mess of cords in your entertainment center. Towers can hold several hard drives, probably a few TB total if you fill up all the bays. And they're generally easier to work on if you dive into that yourself.

The other key word I mentioned is "used". If you open a new machine to expand, warranty is voided. This may even include installing more drives on a tower (I'm not sure). The price savings, of course, can also be significant; this is especially true if you decide a Mini is not the way for you to go. If you decide you hate The Mac Experience (tm).

Of course, this all depends on the actual needs of the system, which I am not sure about.

If you have any further questions regarding OSX, I'll help as much as I can.

God this post is long. I've been awake for 41 hours now (took the FE exam today) and should crash for a while.

TLDR: partially open source; not as customizeable as Linux; your first Mac should be used; Minis are hard to expand.
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  #42  
Old 18 April 2010, 02:45
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Roger that. As to the needs of the system, all I need is a fast enough processor to handle movies and streaming audio/video. External storage is not a problem...I have a few nifty solutions laying around the house. I do have a great deal of experience working with *nix...I worked as a Unix sysadmin for a while in the Navy, as well as working as a Redhat engineer for DISA. As I said before, I could do the job at a very low price just building a PC, but I'm curious on this whole "mac," thing. I suppose I'll start looking for a used Mac mini, and just have fun messing with it. Beyond functioning as a media center, it's sole use will be as a subject for my experiments.
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  #43  
Old 20 April 2010, 10:29
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I asked this a little while ago, but didn't get an answer. In regards to the Apple MacBook processors; Is there a huge difference in processor speed/efficiency/functionality between the 2.53 and the 2.66GHz processors? I know that one has the i5 and the other i7. What other gizmos/software is recommended or needed. I thought the iNumbers stuff was pretty cool.
Can the Mac handle Excel operations. I'll need this for grad school applications.

I'm getting ready to buy this thing, and I want to make sure the machine can handle similar Microsoft office apps/programs without bogging.

BTW, the Alienware had to get re-listed on eBay, thanks to the Nigerian scammer POS.
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  #44  
Old 20 April 2010, 11:02
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Can the Mac handle Excel operations. I'll need this for grad school applications.
Highly unlikely you could do anything in excel the mac, in either form, couldn't handle. Personally - I would get the cheaper / 2.53 - You probably don't do anything intensive enough to notice the difference...

In response to SOTB's "it just works"

My Ubuntu system does just that. It starts up and shuts down amazingly fast, does everything I ask it too, runs Openoffice perfectly, etc etc.

I took an old laptop my friend had, installed the latest ubunut on it, and after working through all the setup related problems - gave it to him to use for school. He's *NOT* a computer person, but it has *just worked* for him since.

I would put my mom on a mac, but I encourage everyone to try Ubuntu with an open mind.

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  #45  
Old 20 April 2010, 13:34
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Can the Mac handle Excel operations. I'll need this for grad school applications.
You have 3 options off the top of my head:

1. Microsoft makes Office for the Mac. No idea on pricing but you can probably get a student discount.

2. Openoffice.org runs on a Mac via X11 or using a native Aqua port. I haven't used it, running apps through X11 while certainly possible, sucks IMO and I just haven't tried the Aqua port because I've been happy using NeoOffice. Cost = Free

3. Use NeoOffice. I've used this for years. It's a port of Openoffice.org to Aqua so it runs natively on the Mac. To date, I haven't run into anything it would not do in regards to editing/creating documents (Office, Excel, PPT) that were cross compatible with MS Office. Cost = Free
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  #46  
Old 20 April 2010, 14:04
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You have 3 options off the top of my head:

1. Microsoft makes Office for the Mac. No idea on pricing but you can probably get a student discount.

2. Openoffice.org runs on a Mac via X11 or using a native Aqua port. I haven't used it, running apps through X11 while certainly possible, sucks IMO and I just haven't tried the Aqua port because I've been happy using NeoOffice. Cost = Free

3. Use NeoOffice. I've used this for years. It's a port of Openoffice.org to Aqua so it runs natively on the Mac. To date, I haven't run into anything it would not do in regards to editing/creating documents (Office, Excel, PPT) that were cross compatible with MS Office. Cost = Free
Student discount price was $99 when i was in school...

I personally use open office and would recommend it very highly. It doesn't handle graphic or animation intensive power point presentations quite the same way as powerpoint does - but otherwise I've never run into any issues creating, editing, or viewing Office format items in OpenOffice.

I've done a fair amount of excel function programing, and all the code seems to be the same in OpenOffice's spreadsheet program.

If you are taking classes in excel in school, the steps are probably going to be slightly different and you might not have access to the same plug ins that the class has - but 99% shouldn't be an issue big enough to make you pay for the microsoft software.

However, the choice between mac and windows shouldn't be influenced by the office software package as it runs natively on both platforms.

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  #47  
Old 20 April 2010, 14:08
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Are you talking about Macros when refering to "plug ins"? I'm guessing that if I enter a formula in the bar it will still calculate for the given cells, correct?
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  #48  
Old 20 April 2010, 19:49
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In response to SOTB's "it just works"

My Ubuntu system does just that. It starts up and shuts down amazingly fast, does everything I ask it too, runs Openoffice perfectly, etc etc.

I'm in the same boat with 10.04.

With 9.10 and previous distros, and running a tablet, you had to know quite a lot about *nix to get everything configured...with 10.04, everything just...works. It's amazing. Can't wait for the stable release.
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  #49  
Old 20 April 2010, 20:11
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I asked this a little while ago, but didn't get an answer. In regards to the Apple MacBook processors; Is there a huge difference in processor speed/efficiency/functionality between the 2.53 and the 2.66GHz processors? I know that one has the i5 and the other i7. What other gizmos/software is recommended or needed. I thought the iNumbers stuff was pretty cool.
Can the Mac handle Excel operations. I'll need this for grad school applications.

I'm getting ready to buy this thing, and I want to make sure the machine can handle similar Microsoft office apps/programs without bogging.

BTW, the Alienware had to get re-listed on eBay, thanks to the Nigerian scammer POS.

I use MS Office 2008 for Macs on my iMac 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 with OS 10.6.3 and on my other Macs using 10.4.x. The MS Excel works just fine as does other Office applications like Word, Power Point and Entourage. I trade Excel files, Word and Power Point files with Widoze users all the time with no problems. I seldom use Entourage.

BTW: The iMac 27" 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7, is the fastest and nicest Mac I ever used and I've been buying Macs since 1986. I think the new mac books are coming out now with an i7 processor. So, my advice is try to get one with that processor and as much memory that you can afford. The MS's 2008 Office student or other versions, would also be a good buy as well.

BTW: The new Mac magic mouse (wireless) is a great mouse.

http://www.apple.com/magicmouse/
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Last edited by Trip_Wire; 20 April 2010 at 20:14.
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  #50  
Old 20 April 2010, 22:16
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Student discount price was $99 when i was in school...
Depending on the school (I think maybe it only applies to private schools) they might actually buy them bulk and hand them out for free. Mine did, and the people that had purchased Office over the summer were pissed. So just something to maybe look into, save some funds.
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  #51  
Old 20 April 2010, 22:22
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It looks like Apple did away with the ADC Student Developer program as of March 1st. That would have offered a huge discount. It looks like I'm going to get 10% at most
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  #52  
Old 21 April 2010, 00:38
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I'm in the same boat with 10.04.

With 9.10 and previous distros, and running a tablet, you had to know quite a lot about *nix to get everything configured...with 10.04, everything just...works. It's amazing. Can't wait for the stable release.
But can it sync a smart-phone or event regular cell phone out of the box?

That was the last straw for me...

H
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Old 21 April 2010, 00:52
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Hmm...that, I don't know...I don't own a smartphone, and I'm trying to hold out as long as I can. As for a regular phone, mine has a data cable for file transfer and such...when I get off work, I'll try it and see if 10.04 recognizes it. I'll let you know.
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  #54  
Old 21 April 2010, 02:10
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Hmm...that, I don't know...I don't own a smartphone, and I'm trying to hold out as long as I can. As for a regular phone, mine has a data cable for file transfer and such...when I get off work, I'll try it and see if 10.04 recognizes it. I'll let you know.
Therein lies the problem with Linux as a desktop. If there is a question regarding daily relatively menial tasks, it will never be a mainstream desktop OS. For die hard Linux fans, it's all good to play with the code, compile kernel modules etc. but for the business person or even recreational user that simply needs to get things done, the time and frustration associated with it is simply not worth it.

Having been a power Linux user since Red Hat 6.2 (circa 1999) Linux has come a long way and is an excellent server option, but give me Mac (with MS Office) for a desktop any day. Whilst iWork etc., Neooffice etc. are all good as stand alone systems, they are often almost compatible with MS Office, and almost is often not good enough. Try running a presentation created with NeoOffice, iWork or other on a Windows machine and visa-versa and there will be significant incompatibilities.

I love the idea behind the GPL and GPL2, but quite frankly need a system that works allowing to spend my time having my computer work to get things done as opposed to me working to get the computer working as it should.

H
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Old 21 April 2010, 02:57
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Definitely understand where you're coming from...that said, Ubuntu is really making a push to be competetive as a mainstream OS, and it's coming up quickly. It's not there yet, but if they continue at the pace they currently hold, I don't think it will take too much longer...then again, if it gets to be mainstream, it'll end up being just as proprietary as anything else out there...
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  #56  
Old 21 April 2010, 11:07
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Therein lies the problem with Linux as a desktop. If there is a question regarding daily relatively menial tasks, it will never be a mainstream desktop OS. For die hard Linux fans, it's all good to play with the code, compile kernel modules etc. but for the business person or even recreational user that simply needs to get things done, the time and frustration associated with it is simply not worth it.

Having been a power Linux user since Red Hat 6.2 (circa 1999) Linux has come a long way and is an excellent server option, but give me Mac (with MS Office) for a desktop any day. Whilst iWork etc., Neooffice etc. are all good as stand alone systems, they are often almost compatible with MS Office, and almost is often not good enough. Try running a presentation created with NeoOffice, iWork or other on a Windows machine and visa-versa and there will be significant incompatibilities.

I love the idea behind the GPL and GPL2, but quite frankly need a system that works allowing to spend my time having my computer work to get things done as opposed to me working to get the computer working as it should.

H

FWIW I used to do a lot of work in power point, and I agree that Open office is only about 95% of Powerpoint.. with about 93% compatibility. Text and graphics work fine, but when theres a lot of animation things might not always work exactly the same when being transferred between systems.

But its getting better. I just switched to OpenOffice 3.2 and I can already see its better.

With regards to cellphones, When I plug my cellphone in m Ubuntu laptop recognizes it as a cellphone right away and mounts the sd card as an external hard drive.

With regards to syncing... I'm an android user. Everything I do in my calander on my phone automatically shows up in my web browser / Gcalander and vice versa. Syncing is automatic and push for me.

What kind of phone do you have? If it requires propriety software to sync (like blackberries) then there is a good chance you could still run the software through a package like Wine.

Again, its an extra step and perhaps not a good option for everyone, but at least personally - The extra work is all worth it.

I love having an OS that I can completely customize, tinker with, adapt the interface to be perfect for my needs, etc. At this point I probably couldn't function without my 4 compiz desktops on the rotating cube.

My linux experience is def different though, Thinkpads and Linux have always gotten along very well. Most of the devices I use are linux based - or get overwritten and have linux re-installed on them.

..

Back to power point... you know since OpenOffice is free and has windows, mac and linux native versions - you could just download and install OpenOffice on any machine that you wanted to run the presentation you made in open office on. I know convincing business partners, clients, etc to use a different software package just for you isn't realistic, but the better the software gets and the more people that realize they don't need to pay the HUGE sums to put mircosoft office on all their business computers - you might be surprised how many people are using the same software you are.

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  #57  
Old 21 April 2010, 11:08
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But can it sync a smart-phone or event regular cell phone out of the box?

That was the last straw for me...

H
Not in regard to Blackberry's...
but, that is why I have a laptop with W7 and BB Desktop manager on it.

BOFH--
I have been playing with Beta2 for a couple of days now. Everything seems to be working better than before. My dual monitor set up and graphics card were flawless. The only thing I am having problems with is my Lexmark printer. I went to the Lexmark webpage and they actually have a Linux driver for it! Installed it and it is still giving me error messages. I will keep screwing with it. Hopefully it will be better when the final releases.
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  #58  
Old 22 April 2010, 12:25
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Well it looks like the newest Mac Book will not have the Intel i7 2 Core processor. It does however have a 2 Core in it.

http://macs.about.com/od/currentappl...-2010.htm?r=94
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  #59  
Old 22 April 2010, 23:53
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As an aside, I said before that I don't have a smartphone, by my ericsson does sync just fine with Linux.
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  #60  
Old 23 April 2010, 11:04
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I'm running windows on this here Mac right now. Aside from the tendency for it to occasionally "forget" that it has a usb port (windows, that is) it has been THE most trouble free compy I have ever owned or used. Spend the bux, you won't be disappointed. Also, don't dump water in it.
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