Recommendations for Mac

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}{eLLfiSh

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Jan 6, 2003, 7:47:02 PM1/6/03
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Hello. First off, I know nothing of Macs.
I want to be rid of the world of Windows... Microsoft with all its
activation and what not has crossed the line for me. I find Windows ME
terrible, and crashes often. I tried switching to Linux, but find that
much software is severely lacking in DV-editing/image manipulation.

Maybe a mac is my soluiton.

* I use the PC mainly as a webserver running Perl/PHP/MySQL. I maintain
a family-only (password protected) type site where
pictures/stories/etc.. may be posted by the family.
* Lately i've started c++ programming as well.
* I edit my family videos (miniDV), and publish to DVD for playback on a
standalone DVD player.
* I extensively utilize Photoshop for web graphic creation, as well as
tablet drawing, and digital photo editing.
* Games are not installed, as I have a console (nintendo) to keep the
kids (and sometimes myself) happy.

There are no Mac dealers in my area (SE Idaho), so I don't know what is
available. What is my "perfect mac", and why?

Thanks,


--
}{eLLfiSh

Dan Lowe

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Jan 6, 2003, 8:48:35 PM1/6/03
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}{eLLfiSh <HELL...@guess.it> wrote:
>
> * I use the PC mainly as a webserver running Perl/PHP/MySQL. I maintain
> a family-only (password protected) type site where
> pictures/stories/etc.. may be posted by the family.

OSX comes with Apache built in. PHP and mod_perl are also built in but are
inactive unless you edit httpd.conf to activate them.

MySQL is not there, but you can download it from
http://www.entropy.ch/software/macosx/ in an easy-to-install format.
The PHP that comes with OSX is MySQL-capable.

I will say this one other thing. OSX has Startup Items but DOES NOT have
Shutdown Items. This means that on shutdown or reboot, OSX will not
automatically (i.e. cleanly) stop MySQL for you. You must do it yourself;
or, just hope it is okay when the system comes back up, if it got shut down
uncleanly during a reboot or whatever. That is my one big pet peeve with
OSX as a server platform. I am hoping it is fixed in a future release.

> * Lately i've started c++ programming as well.

New Macs come with the Developer Tools Installer (you have to install it to
use it) which is Apple's (very nice) IDE suite. You can download Dev Tools
also, with a (free) account on Apple's Developer Site. I really like it;
it's designed mostly for Objective-C and Java but you can do C, C++, Perl,
PHP, really anything you want. One project I use it for is a mix of PHP,
Perl, POD documentation, images, tar.gz bundles, etc. You can use
Makefiles as targets within it, too, if you like (that's what I use to
build my PHP files into one larger "index.php" to distribute it).

On the command-line, you have GCC, Perl, Python, etc. GCC is only
available if you install the Developer Tools. Python is only available if
you install the BSD Subsystem of OSX. Perl is always available, I think.

GCC3 is default, but GCC2 is also there (you can switch between the two
with the "gcc_select" command, i.e. "gcc_select 3").

> * I edit my family videos (miniDV), and publish to DVD for playback on a
> standalone DVD player.

iDVD ships with new Macs, as does iMovie. I think iMovie can only cope
with firewire input but iDVD can read files like Quicktime, MPEG, etc.
I don't use either one, though, so don't take my word for it - check on
apple.com or watch for other people to answer here.

There are probably plenty of other applications you can use though; those
two just happen to ship with new systems.

> * I extensively utilize Photoshop for web graphic creation, as well as
> tablet drawing, and digital photo editing.

Photoshop 7 is quite nice in OSX, I haven't used Elements 2.0 but it's
available. For Photoshop you want plenty of memory, of course. I usually
just max the system out. I have 1.5GB on my G4/933 and Photoshop runs
quite nicely.

> There are no Mac dealers in my area (SE Idaho), so I don't know what is
> available. What is my "perfect mac", and why?

Since you do a lot of Photoshop and DVD creation, I would avoid any of the
portables/laptops. Only the very highest-end portable (1GHz TiBook) can
even burn DVDs and it probably goes through battery like crazy. It burns
at 1x when on battery, too, I think (60m of video takes 60m to burn...)
So that's kind of useless IMO for a DVD-creation platform.

The two I would look at are the G4 iMac LCD and the Powermac G4 tower.

iMac LCD is smaller, quieter, and has the display built in on the swivel
arm. But some people don't like that "all in one" solution and prefer to
have a bigger, more expandable system. If you're one of those, then the
Powermac G4 is what you ought to look at.

The iMac is available as a 15" or 17" LCD. (17" is quite large, I replaced
my 21" Sony CRT with a 17" LCD and it's much nicer IMO).

Powermac G4 can use any DVI, ADC or VGA display. So you can recycle your
old PC VGA display for the Mac, if you want. Will be cheaper than buying a
new display.

The iMac maxes out at 1GB RAM, the Powermac G4 at 2GB RAM. But either is
plenty of memory, IMO. I have 1.5GB in my G4 and it runs very well. You
should have at least 512MB to keep OSX running happy.

I don't know you or your habits well enough to say which would be best for
you... but based on what you posted, I would say one of these two is it.
They're each available at varying prices/features... but if you want to
burn DVDs you'd need one with a Superdrive, certainly. None of the other
optical drives can burn DVDs.

--
Solving a problem simply means representing it so as to make the solution
transparent. -Herbert Simon, "The Sciences of the Artificial"

Ray Fischer

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Jan 7, 2003, 12:27:06 AM1/7/03
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}{eLLfiSh <HELL...@guess.it> wrote:
>Hello. First off, I know nothing of Macs.
>I want to be rid of the world of Windows... Microsoft with all its
>activation and what not has crossed the line for me. I find Windows ME
>terrible, and crashes often. I tried switching to Linux, but find that
>much software is severely lacking in DV-editing/image manipulation.
>
>Maybe a mac is my soluiton.
>
>* I use the PC mainly as a webserver running Perl/PHP/MySQL. I maintain
>a family-only (password protected) type site where
>pictures/stories/etc.. may be posted by the family.
>* Lately i've started c++ programming as well.
>* I edit my family videos (miniDV), and publish to DVD for playback on a
>standalone DVD player.

All Macs come with a IEEE 1384/FireWire port that will let you plug in
your DV camcorder and import video with no extra hardware or software.
Except, probably, the cable needed to connect the two.

>* I extensively utilize Photoshop for web graphic creation, as well as
>tablet drawing, and digital photo editing.
>* Games are not installed, as I have a console (nintendo) to keep the
>kids (and sometimes myself) happy.
>
>There are no Mac dealers in my area (SE Idaho), so I don't know what is
>available. What is my "perfect mac", and why?

I'd pick the dual 1GHz Mac with the Superdrive. The fastest Mac costs
and extra premium for quesitonable gain. You probably alrdeay have a
monitor you can use with a mac. It's expandable - you'll probably
want to stick another hard drive in the case for storing video and
add RAM for PhotoShop. The SuperDrive will let you burn DVDs.

--
Ray Fischer
rfis...@sonic.net

Phil Lefebvre

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Jan 7, 2003, 2:57:58 PM1/7/03
to
In article <Xns92FBB4EB6...@129.250.170.84>,
"}{eLLfiSh" <HELL...@guess.it> wrote:

> Hello. First off, I know nothing of Macs.
> I want to be rid of the world of Windows... Microsoft with all its
> activation and what not has crossed the line for me. I find Windows ME
> terrible, and crashes often. I tried switching to Linux, but find that
> much software is severely lacking in DV-editing/image manipulation.

Agreed. I switched to Macs 6 years ago, after a decade of using
everything else, and despite the glitches all tech stuff has, and the
annoying 2nd-class citizen status in some regards, my Macs have been
very satisfying, and really opened up my creative side; I've definitely
got my money's worth.

> Maybe a mac is my soluiton.

All of the things you listed below are Mac strengths.

> * I use the PC mainly as a webserver running Perl/PHP/MySQL. I maintain
> a family-only (password protected) type site where
> pictures/stories/etc.. may be posted by the family.

I also use my OS X Mac as a server for our lab. I agree what another
poster said about the lack of shutdown items being a drag. The bright
spot is the stability of OS X 10.2 is amazing. I've only had one kernel
panic since I installed it on the 5 year-old Mac I'm typing on. The only
other restarts are for system updates and ignorant software installers
that require it.

> * I edit my family videos (miniDV), and publish to DVD for playback on a
> standalone DVD player.

A real Mac strength. Not that that isn't available on Windows, but the
Mac system is very well integrated, supported by great 3rd party stuff,
and fun to use. Major updates to several iApps are expected today or
Real Soon Now.

> * I extensively utilize Photoshop for web graphic creation, as well as
> tablet drawing, and digital photo editing.

Macs are optimized for Photoshop. It is one area where even at 1/2 the
MHz rating, the G4 is able to do many PS tasks faster than P4s. (BTW,
software MPEG encoding is another such function.)

> * Games are not installed, as I have a console (nintendo) to keep the
> kids (and sometimes myself) happy.

That's the same solution many Mac-using gamers choose. OTOH, there are
enough Mac games to keep people less fussy about latest-and-greatest
happy.

> There are no Mac dealers in my area (SE Idaho),

There probably aren't a lot of Mac anything in your area, but there are
plenty of excellent online Mac retailers, and the Mac web is pretty
extensive and helpful. The "Mac community" is a very real benefit of
using a Mac. Start at a place like http://www.sitelink.net/ as a guide.

> so I don't know what is
> available. What is my "perfect mac", and why?

What's your budget and upgrade requirements? The "consumer" stuff is
pretty self-contained and mainly expandable with external peripherals.
The Power Macs are better for power users.

The least expensive DVD-making Mac is the eMac. Nice all-in-one solution
with 17" CRT, though it's highest resolution, 1280x960, doesn't have a
high enough refresh rate for me. So, if was going to run a Mac at
1024x768, I'd rather get a 15" iMac G4 with Superdrive for $200 more.

You sound like you'd make better use of the 17" iMac G4. The wide aspect
screen is really top notch (Apple LCDs in general are among the best
available) and great for video editing and multitasking. The 800MHz G4
generally is able to keep up with a 1-1.6 MHz P4. Yes, that's pretty
weak, but the Mac OS X system is pretty efficient at multitasking (with
enough RAM, at least 512 MB), the OS offloads a lot of the window
rendering to the graphics card, and it is "fast enough" for the majority
of tasks. Plus, the e/iMacs are due for a major system upgrade Real Soon
Now.

Best may be the Power Mac Dual G4s. The base Dual 867 will run about
20-50% faster than an e/iMac. It sounds like you already have a DVD-R
drive. If it is a (-), not a (+), then you can slip it into one of the
optical drive bays and iDVD will work with it. (iDVD will not work with
external DVD-Rs.) Otherwise you can add one, and the next models up
include one.

You can run dual monitors on any Power Mac's stock video card, including
whatever VGA monitor you have using the DVI-VGA adapter that comes with
it, and/or the ADC-DVI or ADC-VGA adapters available. They'll also take
any HD, most USB and FW peripherals, many PCI cards, and compatible RAM
(but OS X is picky about RAM quality), so you may have all the upgrades
you need.

Finally, the PowerBook G4 is the most world-class machine Apple makes.
True desktop replacement in a 5+lb 1" thick package. Worth every penny,
even (maybe especially) the high-end model with DVD burner.

Anyway, poke around the Apple.com site to see what they're capable of.
Wait a week or two to see what updates shake out after Macworld. If
price is an issue, check out the refurbs at the Apple Store and dealers
like Smalldog.com and powermax.com (all come with full Apple warranties
and are really like new), or the bundles available at most online
retailers. Used Macs are also very good way to test the waters. Any
Power Mac G4 will suite your needs, and are very upgradeable.

--
Phil Lefebvre
Chicago, IL
Remove GO from e-mail address to reply.

}{eLLfiSh

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Jan 8, 2003, 4:37:07 PM1/8/03
to
Greetings all!

Thanks for the input you all have suggested. I have some questions.

Will a new mac interface with a PC (ie, microsoft) wireless network?

Do Macs support USB 2.0? I've a CF card reader that is USB 2.0.

It seems Macs are quite a bit more expensive than equivalent PCs.
Someone mentioned a 1GHz Mac is like a 1.6Ghz PC. What about the dual
1GHz systems?

What are the better Mac Fan/News/Reviews web sites?

Does Apple require an "activation" type system? What about 3rd party
software?

Can someone explain the whole Mac OSX thing? Does software must be
designed to run on OSX, or will OSX run older software, like the image
browser application that came with my digial camera (Canon S40).

Any thing I should know as someone migrating from a PC, from someone who
has done the process?

Will I regret plopping down 3 grand down for an Apple?


--
}{eLLfiSh

Jay Maynard

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Jan 8, 2003, 5:12:24 PM1/8/03
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On 8 Jan 2003 21:37:07 GMT, }{eLLfiSh <HELL...@guess.it> wrote:
>Will a new mac interface with a PC (ie, microsoft) wireless network?

Yup. I do it on my Ethernet all the time, and the wireless stuff is the same
way.

>Do Macs support USB 2.0? I've a CF card reader that is USB 2.0.

Not that I've seen. OTOH, it will support USB 2 devices at USB 1 speeds, I
believe. I use a LaCie USB 1 card reader, and it's fast enough.

>Does Apple require an "activation" type system? What about 3rd party
>software?

None that I've seen, either Apple or third-party. (Unless Intuit has
introduced it for the Mac version of TurboTax, like they did for the Windows
version - which I paid for before realizing that's what they'd done...so
this is the last year I use TurboTax.)

>Can someone explain the whole Mac OSX thing? Does software must be
>designed to run on OSX, or will OSX run older software, like the image
>browser application that came with my digial camera (Canon S40).

You can run OS 9 software under OS X, with some restrictions on directly
accessing the hardware. Canon has been introducing native OS X drivers for
their hardware, so a check of Canon's web site is in order. In general,
though, if you're buying softwrae, buy native OS X versions; they run much
better, and take advantage of the vast improvement in OS X's architecture.

>Any thing I should know as someone migrating from a PC, from someone who
>has done the process?

What specific applications do you use? Those will ultimately control how
easy or hard the migration is.

>Will I regret plopping down 3 grand down for an Apple?

I've got over $6K in mine, hardware and software, and don't regret it for a
minute...in fact, there's one of the new 12-inch Powerbooks in my future, as
soon as my income tax refund arrives.

Phil Lefebvre

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Jan 8, 2003, 8:04:36 PM1/8/03
to
In article <Xns92FD94BCE...@129.250.170.84>,
"}{eLLfiSh" <HELL...@guess.it> wrote:

> Will a new mac interface with a PC (ie, microsoft) wireless network?

My guess is still that it will work fine. All new Macs have a separate
slot for 802.11 cards that should work with any 802.11b device. If it is
802.11b-compliant, it should be transparent. (Then again, expecting
Microsoft to follow standards can be a recipe for pain.)

> Do Macs support USB 2.0? I've a CF card reader that is USB 2.0.

USB 2 devices are backwards compatible with the USB 1.1 ports on all
Macs. CF readers don't need more speed than USB 1 provides anyway. If it
does, there are USB 2 PCI and PCMCIA cards that will work in Power Macs
and PowerBooks with OS X.



> It seems Macs are quite a bit more expensive than equivalent PCs.
> Someone mentioned a 1GHz Mac is like a 1.6Ghz PC. What about the dual
> 1GHz systems?

Duals aren't twice as fast, but more like twice as efficient, meaning
you can be playing or encoding some multimedia file on one processor and
still have another processor free to surf the web at full power. IOW,
multitasking is twice as responsive as a single CPU system. Anyway, a
digital video magazine website recently ran a head-to-head between Macs
and PCs and found the Dual 1.25 GHz G4 ran their benchmarks in the exact
same total time as the average P4 2.5 GHz they tested. Even I was
surprised they ran so even. (Sorry, can't recall the site.)

Certain applications that are dual processor aware can do their work
twice as fast, but they are not that common. Many of the multimedia
applications are G4/Dual aware; e.g. iDVD, Photoshop, iTunes. Apple has
a list.



> What are the better Mac Fan/News/Reviews web sites?

This is a good place to get an idea:

<http://lowendmac.com/botmw/fall02/botmw.html>

I think Macintouch.com is the best overall for news and analysis of Mac
issues, good and bad. xlr8yourmac.com is one of the best overall
hardware sites.



> Does Apple require an "activation" type system?

Nothing that requires you to phone home at all. Heck, even the standard
"register your hardware" intro screen can be ignored. Some of Apple's
high end software have really long serial numbers to type in, but
nothing requiring Apple's permission to run apart from that. Honestly,
if you bought a Mac with cash and didn't let the registration screen
dial out, Apple would never know you existed.

> What about 3rd party software?

Supposedly the new TurboTax for Mac has that. Screw them, I'm getting
Tax Cut again. Otherwise, serial numbers are usually the worst you'll
run into. (Some dongles on high end stuff.) OTOH, Canvas annoys me in
that you need to register to download updates (though it gets updates
within the app without it). Some other companies may be doing that too.

> Can someone explain the whole Mac OSX thing? Does software must be
> designed to run on OSX, or will OSX run older software, like the image
> browser application that came with my digial camera (Canon S40).

There are 3 major environments of Mac apps. Classic is for pre-OS X
software. It's akin to the DOS windows in Win 95. You can tell you're in
Classic because many of the GUI elements revert to the OS 9 look and
function.

95% of pre-OS X Mac software runs fine in Classic. Your digital camera
software (or anything that access hardware directly) will probably work,
but may not work perfectly. OTOH, Canon may have an OS X version
available anyway. Regardless, I know your camera will work flawlessly
with Apple's Image Capture and iPhoto.

Carbon is Mac OS apps that can run in both OS 9 and OS X. How well it
works in either environment is up to the developer, but they can be
considered 100% native.

Cocoa is OS X-only apps that Apple really wants everyone to make, since
it is pretty slick and efficient. Still, you'd have to be pretty
perceptive to figure out what is Carbon and what is Cocoa.

There are other environments, Java being the most famous, X11 being the
most recent. For the most part things will just work so that you usually
don't need to know or care what the environment is.

> Any thing I should know as someone migrating from a PC, from someone who
> has done the process?
>
> Will I regret plopping down 3 grand down for an Apple?

It was easier for me migrating from DEC mainframe/DOS/Win3.1 since the
Mac was so different I didn't expect anything to correspond. Still, that
allows me say that you'll be most happy if you approach the Mac on it's
terms, and you'll regret it if you expect everything to be like Windows.
A former Mac-hating sysadmin friend who switched to a Power Mac G4 Cube
a couple years ago summed it up best when he realized a lot of his
frustration was from expecting things on the Mac to be more complicated
than they were. Now, he's a bigger Mac fan than I am.

Of course, there are plenty of things that don't "just work" in the Mac
OS, just like any technology, and some holes with regards to
availablility of certain things, (my son's pretty bummed that the Planet
Hot Wheels.com game site is not Mac-compatible; then again, that's why
there's Virtual PC) or prices of what is available. You'll hate the Mac
if you expect it to have the same access to the computing universe as
Windows. You'll do great with a Mac if you just say "I have X tasks to
perform, what is the most straightforward way of accomplishing it?" e.g.
Not, "I want to use my Canon image browser" but "How can I browse my
digital photos? Oh, iPhoto. Cool." You'll hate the Mac if you want to
build your own computer or have the latest and greatest of every gadget
that comes out. (That _was_ me.) You'll love the Mac if you want the
computer to just get the hell out of your hair. (That's me now, and as
the home sysadmin, I'm glad our house is now 100% Mac.)

Spend some time poking around the Mac sites. Take that list of what you
want to do and see how other Mac users do it. Get the book "Mac OS X:
the Missing Manual" (2nd Edition covers OS X 10.2) and see if it
describes an environment you want to be in. (It also has a great
Windows<->Mac glossary.) I have that book and it describes the Mac OS
perfectly for me.

}{eLLfiSh

unread,
Jan 9, 2003, 12:12:52 AM1/9/03
to
Thanks all. I think I'm going for the Mac. Good-bye Windows!
I have just one more question...

Rather than going with the Dual 1GHz Power Mac G4, I'm thinking
something a bit different.

I can grab a used, but "like-new" 450MHz G4 cube for 500. This will get
me into the Mac game right now, and without spending my hard earned
cash. I can play around with the system and decide if I like her. If
it's a keeper, I can shell out the cash for a PowerLogix Dual 1GHz
upgrade for the cube, and up the memory to 1GB.

Only thing stopping me is I must have the capability to burn DVDs from
my DV source, to be played back on a standalone player. Can the cube's
internal drive be upgraded to a superdrive? Or maybe an external DVD-
R/RW drive that works with the iDVD or whatever it's called?

Any pitfalls going with a cube? I think it is a sweet looking system.

Or, should I just wait for tax returns and grab up the D1GPMG4 and hope
for the best?

--
}{eLLfiSh

Phil Lefebvre

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Jan 9, 2003, 12:31:49 PM1/9/03
to
In article <Xns92FDE2057...@129.250.170.96>,
"}{eLLfiSh" <HELL...@guess.it> wrote:

> I can grab a used, but "like-new" 450MHz G4 cube for 500.

That's a nice deal. They got anymore? :-)

> Can the cube's
> internal drive be upgraded to a superdrive? Or maybe an external DVD-
> R/RW drive that works with the iDVD or whatever it's called?

My friend with the Cube is asking the same question. iDVD will not work
with external DVD-Rs. There are two options we've come up with:

1) Remove the DVD drive and route an IDE extension cable out the slot to
a DVD-R in a 5.25" case. Theorectically feasible, but my friend just
doesn't want to bastardize his beautiful Cube that way.

2) Wait for the laptop Superdrive to show up at retail and swap one in
for the DVD drive. People have already done that with slot loading
DVD/CDRW combo drives. That's what my friend is waiting for, as he's in
no hurry to make DVDs yet. However, I don't expect to see them at retail
for several months.

Formac sells a FireWire DVD-R with a nice new DVD authoring application
for $399. ADS Technologies sells a hardware MPEG encoder that will take
analog video in via USB and make DVD-ready files, but the software is a
rough v1.0, the Mac version is $399, and you still need to buy a DVD-R
drive. Ouch.

There are some hacks out there to get iDVD to work with external DVD-Rs.
I don't have a source, but I see people whisper about them on the MacDV
list. You can input and edit DV with iMovie, use Virtual PC (or a PC) to
create DVD-R images using Windows utilities, then burn then to DVD-R on
a Mac. There are some (mostly Unix) DVD utilities out there that will
work with external DVD-Rs. There are more solutions showing up every
day, but nothing like the smooth intergration of the iLife stuff, which
is half the point of using a Mac.



> Any pitfalls going with a cube? I think it is a sweet looking system.

I agree, and my friend just loves his. He has the 500 MHz with the
Radeon, up the RAM to 1.5 GB, put in a WD 120 GB 7200 rpm 8 MB cache HD,
and it flies in OS 10.2. When I told him about the new CPU upgrades, his
comment was "Eh, it's fast enough." This from a guy who runs
quad-processor HP Unix beasts at work.

The only bummer is expensive graphic card upgrades. He'd like to get a
card that supports dual monitors, but they're well over $200. Anyway, to
get more info on Cube stuff, check out <http://cube-zone.com/>.
xlr8yourmac.com also has a lot of Cube upgrade info.

> Or, should I just wait for tax returns and grab up the D1GPMG4 and hope
> for the best?

I think a Cube is great, and if you want to work in peace and quiet,
it's unbeatable. It's also a lot easier to be happy with something you
didn't feel you overpaid for. OTOH, if you need iDVD _today_, or want
lots of power and expandability in a relatively small package, the Power
Macs are great, if you don't mind fan noise.

I got a Dual 1 GHz Power Mac because I wanted to get all my noisy
external hard drives and CDRW off my desk and in the tower, but it's
loud too. Apple is supposed to be working on a fix to quiet them down,
but for now they can be annoying when the house is quiet. I've seen
switchers say the noise is no different from a lot of screaming PC
towers, but I'm not used to it. Just FYI.

Timothy Binder

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Jan 9, 2003, 2:29:25 PM1/9/03
to
Jay Maynard <jmay...@thebrain.conmicro.cx> wrote:

> >Does Apple require an "activation" type system? What about 3rd party
> >software?
>
> None that I've seen, either Apple or third-party. (Unless Intuit has
> introduced it for the Mac version of TurboTax, like they did for the Windows
> version - which I paid for before realizing that's what they'd done...so
> this is the last year I use TurboTax.)

I've seen reports that the version of QuickBooks that comes with the new
PowerBooks will launch only 25 times. After this, you _must_ register it
with Intuit. Sounds like they're starting to do activation across the
board.

--
As of posting, the email address above is valid. If you choose to reply
via email and the message bounces, just increment the number and it
should go through. (I change it when I start receiving spam.)

David C.

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Jan 9, 2003, 9:19:54 PM1/9/03
to
"}{eLLfiSh" <HELL...@guess.it> writes:
>
> * I use the PC mainly as a webserver running Perl/PHP/MySQL. I
> maintain a family-only (password protected) type site where
> pictures/stories/etc.. may be posted by the family.

Just about anything running UNIX (Linux, BSD or MacOS X) should do
this with no problem.

> * Lately i've started c++ programming as well.

Anything can do this. MacOS includes developer tools, which includes
a full C/C++ environment.

> * I edit my family videos (miniDV), and publish to DVD for playback
> on a standalone DVD player.

Any G4-based Mac with a SuperDrive can do this.

All Macs include FireWire ports, which you can use to attach your
camcorder.

All Macs include the iMovie software, which provides basic capture
and editing features.

If you need some more advanced editing, Apple just released Final Cut
Express, which costs $300. It's got most of the features of their
$1000 Final Cut Pro movie editing package.

All Macs that include a SuperDrive include iDVD, which will let you
burn your movies to a DVD-R, providing some basic "themes" for use as
menus.

If you need professional DVD production features, Apple sells DVD
Studio Pro, for $1000.

> * I extensively utilize Photoshop for web graphic creation, as well
> as tablet drawing, and digital photo editing.

Photoshop is out for MacOS. It runs very well. As a matter of fact,
Photoshop is one of the programs that Apple routinely uses to
demonstrate the speed of Mac hardware :-)

Graphic tablets are available. Just about any USB-based one should
work.

> * Games are not installed, as I have a console (nintendo) to keep
> the kids (and sometimes myself) happy.

No problem here then :-)

> There are no Mac dealers in my area (SE Idaho), so I don't know what
> is available. What is my "perfect mac", and why?

Given that you will be running some CPU-intensive apps (Photoshop and
video production stuff), I'd recommend one of the G4 tower systems.
They are all dual processors and come in three speeds (867MHz, 1GHz
and 1.25GHz.

Use your favorite monitor with it. Any VGA-type monitor will plug
straight in. Apple makes their own line of flat-panel displays, and
you can attach a DVI-based flat-panel display using an adapter.
Personally, I'd recommend something with a CRT for graphic and video
editing.

-- David

David C.

unread,
Jan 9, 2003, 9:34:44 PM1/9/03
to
"}{eLLfiSh" <HELL...@guess.it> writes:
>
> Will a new mac interface with a PC (ie, microsoft) wireless network?

I'm not sure exactly what a "microsoft" wireless network is.

If you mean an 802.11b WiFi network, no problem. Apple's "AirPort"
card is a compatible tranceiver card. All currently shipping Macs
include a slot and antenna for the AirPort card. You can use any
802.11b base station or buy Apple's if you prefer.

Once you have connectivity, OS X will mount Windows file shares
without any real problem. You need third-party software if you want
Windows to mount a MacOS file share or to get MacOS to export a file
system using the Windows sharing protocols.

> Do Macs support USB 2.0? I've a CF card reader that is USB 2.0.

The USB ports built-in to all Macs are 1.1. You can buy USB 2.0
cards that plug into the PCI slots of a G4 tower. The other model
Macs (iMac/eMac/PowerBook/iBook) don't have PCI slots and can't take
2.0.

Note, however, that a USB 2.0 device will work with a USB 1.1
interface. It will just run slower.

> It seems Macs are quite a bit more expensive than equivalent PCs.
> Someone mentioned a 1GHz Mac is like a 1.6Ghz PC. What about the
> dual 1GHz systems?

This is the subject of much debate. For Photoshop (which is one of
the applications you said you'd be using), it performs incredibly
well. You might find this chart interesting (or at leat amusing):

http://www.apple.com/powermac/specs.html

According to this, Photoshop 7 on a dual 1GHz Mac G4 performs 69%
faster than a Dell Dimension 8200 (2.53GHz Pentium 4).

I will admit that Photoshop 7 is not typical of all apps, but since
it's something you said you'd be using, the chart is appropriate.

> What are the better Mac Fan/News/Reviews web sites?

I'll have to leave this to others.

> Does Apple require an "activation" type system? What about 3rd
> party software?

You mean like the fascist Windows XP, where Microsoft treats all
customers like criminals?

No, MacOS doesn't do anything like that. Some third party programs
(especially the more expensive professional versions) may use some
aggressive copy-protection schemes like activation codes or dongles,
but most apps do not.

> Can someone explain the whole Mac OSX thing? Does software must be
> designed to run on OSX, or will OSX run older software, like the
> image browser application that came with my digial camera (Canon
> S40).

MacOS X runs two kinds of applications "natively":

- Cocoa apps are using Apple's object-oriented API, which is based on
the NextStep/OpenStep API. They can only run on OS X.
- Carbon apps are more traditional Mac apps. They will run on OS 9
and OS X. Some will also run on OS 8.

Pre-Carbon apps (for both PowerPC- and 68000-based Macs) run in the
"Classic" environment. Classic is an environment where MacOS 9 boots
into a virtual machine - pre-Carbon apps run in that virtual
machine. Most older apps run fine under Classic. Some don't.

You should note, however, that there is probably an OS X app that
does what you want. In the case of your digital camera, Apple's
iPhoto (bundled with hardware) will import photos from cameras and
provides browsing, simple editing, and printing facilities.

> Any thing I should know as someone migrating from a PC, from someone
> who has done the process?

I think the biggest deal is migratind office documents. If you use
MS Office on Windows, you can get MS Office for MacOS. There are
other less expensive office suites, but the results of importing
documents may suffer in the process. (I found that a lot gets lost
when importing MS Word/Excel files into AppleWorks.)

> Will I regret plopping down 3 grand down for an Apple?

I don't think so.

-- David

David C.

unread,
Jan 9, 2003, 9:39:51 PM1/9/03
to
"}{eLLfiSh" <HELL...@guess.it> writes:
>
> Rather than going with the Dual 1GHz Power Mac G4, I'm thinking
> something a bit different.
>
> I can grab a used, but "like-new" 450MHz G4 cube for 500. This will
> get me into the Mac game right now, and without spending my hard
> earned cash. I can play around with the system and decide if I like
> her. If it's a keeper, I can shell out the cash for a PowerLogix
> Dual 1GHz upgrade for the cube, and up the memory to 1GB.

You may want to see what speed used G4 towers you can get for that
$500. The cube looks great, but I've always considered it to be
underpowered compared to similarly-priced towers.

But it looks awesome. Especially in conjunction with a Studio/Cinema
display monitor :-)

> Only thing stopping me is I must have the capability to burn DVDs
> from my DV source, to be played back on a standalone player. Can
> the cube's internal drive be upgraded to a superdrive? Or maybe an
> external DVD- R/RW drive that works with the iDVD or whatever it's
> called?

If you use a third-party FireWire DVD-R drive, iDVD won't work with
it. Some drives include their own DVD authoring software. Or you
can spend a fortune on DVD Studio Pro.

There may be a way to hack a SuperDrive onto a cube, but this is
definitely not Apple-approved. I don't know if it will work or not.

> Or, should I just wait for tax returns and grab up the D1GPMG4 and
> hope for the best?

I would pick one (any one) of the new PowerMac towers. Even the
dual-867 will perform nicely. One of the previous generation model
G4 towers with a SuperDrive might also be a good idea.

-- David

dude2

unread,
Jan 11, 2003, 6:19:09 AM1/11/03
to
David C. <sha...@techie.com> wrote:

> "}{eLLfiSh" <HELL...@guess.it> writes:
> >
> > Rather than going with the Dual 1GHz Power Mac G4, I'm thinking
> > something a bit different.

wise move, that windtunnel should be avoided..



> > I can grab a used, but "like-new" 450MHz G4 cube for 500. This will
> > get me into the Mac game right now, and without spending my hard
> > earned cash. I can play around with the system and decide if I like
> > her. If it's a keeper, I can shell out the cash for a PowerLogix
> > Dual 1GHz upgrade for the cube, and up the memory to 1GB.
>
> You may want to see what speed used G4 towers you can get for that
> $500. The cube looks great, but I've always considered it to be
> underpowered compared to similarly-priced towers.

maybe, but if he puts a 1Gig CPU in he should have enough power.



> But it looks awesome. Especially in conjunction with a Studio/Cinema
> display monitor :-)

and its quiet, not sure if it can stay that way with the 1Gig CPU
though..



> > Only thing stopping me is I must have the capability to burn DVDs
> > from my DV source, to be played back on a standalone player. Can
> > the cube's internal drive be upgraded to a superdrive? Or maybe an
> > external DVD- R/RW drive that works with the iDVD or whatever it's
> > called?
>
> If you use a third-party FireWire DVD-R drive, iDVD won't work with
> it. Some drives include their own DVD authoring software. Or you
> can spend a fortune on DVD Studio Pro.
>
> There may be a way to hack a SuperDrive onto a cube, but this is
> definitely not Apple-approved. I don't know if it will work or not.
>
> > Or, should I just wait for tax returns and grab up the D1GPMG4 and
> > hope for the best?
>
> I would pick one (any one) of the new PowerMac towers. Even the
> dual-867 will perform nicely. One of the previous generation model
> G4 towers with a SuperDrive might also be a good idea.

they are ALL noisy, the Cube idea is better if its feasible.

dude2

--
1st world medicine only for countries with 1st world birthrates

David C.

unread,
Jan 11, 2003, 1:16:17 PM1/11/03
to
ba...@theranch2.com (dude2) writes:
>>
>> You may want to see what speed used G4 towers you can get for that
>> $500. The cube looks great, but I've always considered it to be
>> underpowered compared to similarly-priced towers.
>
> maybe, but if he puts a 1Gig CPU in he should have enough power.

And then it won't cost $500.

>> I would pick one (any one) of the new PowerMac towers. Even the
>> dual-867 will perform nicely. One of the previous generation model
>> G4 towers with a SuperDrive might also be a good idea.
>
> they are ALL noisy, the Cube idea is better if its feasible.

Some people appear to by hyper-sensitive about fan noise. Given your
responses, I suspect that you are such a person.

But not everybody shares that opinion. I, for one, wouldn't pay
extra money and give up my PCI slots simply because of fan noise.

-- David

Karl von Laudermann

unread,
Jan 12, 2003, 1:20:34 PM1/12/03
to
In article <Xns92FD94BCE...@129.250.170.84>,
"}{eLLfiSh" <HELL...@guess.it> wrote:

> What are the better Mac Fan/News/Reviews web sites?

I'll answer this one, since you didn't get many responses from others.

http://www.macnn.com/ is a good daily Mac-related news site. They also
have product reviews, and a web forum.

http://www.macworld.com/ is another Mac news and review site.

http://www.macdesktops.com/ and http://www.iconfactory.com/ are great
places to download custom desktop pictures and icon sets, respectively.

http://www.versiontracker.com/macosx/index.shtml is a great place to
download Mac shareware/freeware.

http://www.chezmark.com/ provides weekly recommendations for recently
released or updated shareware/freeware programs.

http://www.macfixit.com/ is a Mac troubleshooting site. It's always
worth visiting before downloading Mac software updates, so you'll know
in advance what problems you might encounter.

--
-- Karl J. von Laudermann -- karlvonl(at)rcn.com --
-- <http://www.geocities.com/~karlvonl/> --

dude2

unread,
Jan 13, 2003, 3:43:16 AM1/13/03
to
David C. <sha...@techie.com> wrote:

> Some people appear to by hyper-sensitive about fan noise. Given your
> responses, I suspect that you are such a person.
>
> But not everybody shares that opinion. I, for one, wouldn't pay
> extra money and give up my PCI slots simply because of fan noise.

I felt the same way until I got this G4 1Gig dual..
PCI slots: I got myself some extra USB ports and guess what happened?
The G4 refused to go into proper sleep mode, the noisy darn fans kept
blowing! Sold that PCI board within a week.
If one enjoys quiet music iTunes is ruined, might as well get a PC.

dude2

Andreas Hollmann

unread,
Jan 13, 2003, 7:12:15 AM1/13/03
to
David C. <sha...@techie.com> wrote:

> - Carbon apps are more traditional Mac apps. They will run on OS 9
> and OS X. Some will also run on OS 8.

Not all Carbon apps will run under OS9. If a Carbon app is a "mach-o"
build, it only will run under OS X.

Andreas

David C.

unread,
Jan 14, 2003, 1:20:15 AM1/14/03
to

Not going to sleep is a device driver problem. IIRC, Adaptec SCSI
cards had that problem until they fixed up their device driver.

As for the fan noise, I keep my Mac in a room with several other
devices. The fan in my PC and the fan in my Ethernet hub are both
much louder than the one in my QuickSilver G4. So much so that I
can't hear the Mac unless the other two devices are turned off.

I suppose it might be more of an issue if it was my only computer, and
was in my bedroom. But I spent many years (all of college and several
years afterwards) with homebuilt PC's (with relatively noisy fans in
the power supplies) in my bedroom. That kind of sound stopped keeping
me awake after the first two weeks, back in 1987.

-- David

dude2

unread,
Jan 14, 2003, 3:04:40 PM1/14/03
to
David C. <sha...@techie.com> wrote:
> >> Some people appear to by hyper-sensitive about fan noise. Given
> >> your responses, I suspect that you are such a person.
> >>
> >> But not everybody shares that opinion. I, for one, wouldn't pay
> >> extra money and give up my PCI slots simply because of fan noise.
> >
> > I felt the same way until I got this G4 1Gig dual.. PCI slots: I
> > got myself some extra USB ports and guess what happened? The G4
> > refused to go into proper sleep mode, the noisy darn fans kept
> > blowing! Sold that PCI board within a week. If one enjoys quiet
> > music iTunes is ruined, might as well get a PC.
>
> Not going to sleep is a device driver problem. IIRC, Adaptec SCSI
> cards had that problem until they fixed up their device driver.
That figures, it was a cheap no-name with no drivers of its own..


> As for the fan noise, I keep my Mac in a room with several other
> devices. The fan in my PC and the fan in my Ethernet hub are both
> much louder than the one in my QuickSilver G4. So much so that I
> can't hear the Mac unless the other two devices are turned off.
Your ethernet hub needs a fan?!
I'm getting a Netgear router/WAP soon, do they also need fans?


> I suppose it might be more of an issue if it was my only computer, and
> was in my bedroom. But I spent many years (all of college and several
> years afterwards) with homebuilt PC's (with relatively noisy fans in
> the power supplies) in my bedroom. That kind of sound stopped keeping
> me awake after the first two weeks, back in 1987.

I've only had Macs, and the Quicksilver is the noisiest. The PCs at work don't bother me
because the background noise is much louder there.
I'm amazed by my wife's iMac, its almost silent. Its the reason I'd like a Cube. Do you
know if the 1Gig upgrade requires a fan in the Cube?

David C.

unread,
Jan 15, 2003, 12:26:33 AM1/15/03
to
ba...@theranch2.com (dude2) writes:
>
> Your ethernet hub needs a fan?!

It's a Compaq Netelligent repeater. A rack-mount 24-port managed
10BaseT hub. It has a fan because it's designed to be packed into a
rack with routers, hubs and all kinds of other heat-producing
devices. (It also has an internal power supply - it uses a standard
AC line cord instead of a wall wart for power.)

Why do I have a piece of industrial gear for my hub? Because I got
it for $30 at a flea market, Even at 10M speeds, that's a great
price for 24 ports.

> I'm amazed by my wife's iMac, its almost silent. Its the reason I'd
> like a Cube. Do you know if the 1Gig upgrade requires a fan in the
> Cube?

The iMac is specially engineered to be quiet. But note that it's
also not as powerful as a QuickSilver G4. A single 700- or 800-MHz
processor in a case designed for heat dissipation (with ventillaton
slots on the top) doesn't need as much of a fan as a pair of 1GHz
processors in a tower case.

As for the cube upgrade, I have no idea. The first I ever heard of
this upgrade was as a part of this discussion thread.

-- David

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