To Mac or not to Mac...

That is indeed the question.

If you follow me on Twitter (or on Facebook) you will be aware that my five year old laptop bit the dust last weekend. Considering it is a brand that isn't even made anymore (anyone know who Packard Bell became in the end?) and the fact that for a computer it is fairly ancient, the solution is to hope for a hard drive retrieval and replace it... somehow. Given that I practically live on computers when I have assignments due, using the family computer is out of the question. SB's computer lacks Microsoft Office and again, I live on it. As much as I want to be able to manage without a computer until the end of the year (well, until I am earning $$$ again), at the moment I just don't know that it is manageable.
Dad is currently putting his feelers out at work to see if anyone has a laptop going lonely at the moment - baby-sitting someone else's laptop until I'm earning full time seems like a fairly good solution. If that falls through, it may be that I need to use the Ma & Pa Scribbles Bank and get a loaner to buy new.
Should that happen, I'm definitely exploring the idea of purchasing a Mac. I know that a lot of you readers use your comps for the same thing as me - some docs, photos, minor video editing, personal organisation and productivity plus a lot of NET stuff. What do you all use? PC or Mac? What do you recommend? What specs do you run? Geek out on me Scribblettes!


  1. Hewlett-Packard? That's what I have (it was an insurance replacement for one that got stolen so I didn't have a choice what I got.)

    You could always download Open Office for free, you can save in MO format and it's pretty much the same. If you buy a new non-Mac laptop nowadays you'll probably have to buy an operating system, they generally only come with a limited demo, so keep that in mind for your budgeting.

    I used to want to get a Mac, but I think it is more because of their shiny flash hipster ad programme than because I actually wanted one. I know how to use a PC, I don't need any high-tech imaging programmes, so why bother learning something new when the old isn't broken? Although I guess in your case it is...

    I also used to work in tech support at a broadband company, so I'm not a total dunce when it comes to computers. Macs are pretty and all, but I prefer PCs, particularly since I like gaming.

  2. I tried a mac for a year and hated it...I'm a folders person so I have folders in folders in folders... so having them all stay open on my screen on a Mac as I tried to get to something peeved me off no end.

    They say they are stable but I had that little coloured whirly wheel so often in the end that I seriously doubted the media spin about them being stable.

    Then again, if you get a PC dont get Vista is horrid...worse than horrid...they have taken everything that worked and moved it and cut the useful bits out!!

    Just my two cents!
    -Aimee -

  3. My lovely boyfriend was totally crazy over Linux and hence made sure he had hardware that came with it pre-installed. However, a few months ago he decided to make the move to Mac and run Linux as well as OS10. He is seriously obsessed with the Mac and is already thinking about upgrading! I often find him stroking it lovingly when he thinks I'm not watching...
    As for me, I have recently procured an Asus EeePc ready for starting a new uni course next year and it is awesome. Very very light, but big enough with a 10 inch screen, and pretty decent specifications. I plan on getting an external hard drive just to add a bit of memory, but otherwise I would highly recommend it - very reasonably priced too!

  4. Hope you are coping without your laptop without too much stress!

    There are a few decent options at:

    The cheapest MacBook (from PB Tech) looks like it is $1686.38. That gets you a 13.3" screen, 2.0GB memory, a 2 GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 120GB disk.

    Compare this with $786 for a HP Presario CQ60-303AU from IT Direct, which gets you a 15.6" screen, 1 GB memory, 160 GB disk, and a 2.1 GHz processor. If you really need 2 GB, you could upgrade for about another $50 + 5 minutes of work with a screwdriver.

    Or $827.25 for a Lenovo G530 from Expert Infotech, with a 2.2 GHz processor, and 2 GB memory, and a 160 GB disk, with a 15.4" screen.

    Or $772 for a Acer eME625-202G16Mi from OCZone with a 15.6" screen, 2 GB memory, a 160 GB hard-drive, and a 1.6 GHz processor.

    So there are lots of options out there, but Mac costs more than twice as much for a lower spec machine.

    Have fun laptop hunting.

  5. My advice to you (as a Mac user, and a Linux user, and a Windows user, and a *BSD user) would be to go and try lots of laptops.

    Make sure you like the feel of the keyboard, and that the screen works for you in all kinds of light levels. You can angle the screen at the store to simulate this.

    Make sure the touchpad is not too twitchy for you.

    Does the machine feel "solid" to you?

    Then ask yourself what software you use. It sounds like most of what you need can be had on any platform.

    I suppose this sounds wishy-washy to some, but in all likelihood I can't really tell you what you need :) only you can.

    Make sure it is the right machine for you. You have to live with it for perhaps 4 years or more. So if you pay $700 for it or $1500 - really, per year, it isn't that much different.

    For me, my Macbook Pro is perfect (it is quiet, the keyboard has a backlight, and I'm easily tempted by flashy things - hey, I'm a stupid engineer). But I would work just as easily with a ThinkPad running who knows what, and my next machine may very well be one.

    Good luck :)

  6. Oh honey, that's so sad.

    I don't know what I would do if my laptop died on me, probably die of a heart attack.

    Have you tried getting OpenOffice on SB's laptop, it's almost the same as MSOffice and I'm pretty sure that you can save your stuff in a .doc format. Just while you get enough $$ for your new laptop.

    I'd honestly wait until windows 7 is released (hopefully by the end of the year), Vista is horrible, like Aimee Marie said.

  7. dead laptop TWINS!

    I'm trying to decide whether to mac it up or not too - I think for the now I'm going to get a super cheap dell netbook, and invest in a Mac...when I can afford to. Goodluck with the big decision!

  8. i have a sony vaio laptop and im kinda waiting for her to die so that i can get a mac!!

  9. PS - Windows 7, while a bit faster than Vista, is sort of Vista, Mark 2. I've been using it for some time (I have a TechNet subscription) and while it is better... well, it is what it is.

    On another note in favour of a Mac - if you want Windows, you could run it via VMware Fusion, or do a full install using Apple's Boot Camp.

    So if you buy a Mac and then *HATE* OS X, just install Windows on it!