Mac [TELL] Me about macs! (Read 746 times)

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Hey guys,

Some of you probably know that I am in a music production program in college, and as a result I'm thinking of buying a mac for myself. I know several GWers have macs and I'm looking for some advice on them. Namely:

- Must have programs
- Tips to help ease the transition to mac for a windows power user
- How do I go about "factory restoring" / formatting a mac if I have problems?
- Any other helpful information you might have

I don't do any PC gaming, so I'd prefer to not have this turn into a PC vs. Mac topic if possible.

Anyway, looking forward to hearing what you guys have to say!
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- Must have programs
- Tips to help ease the transition to mac for a windows power user
- How do I go about "factory restoring" / formatting a mac if I have problems?
- Any other helpful information you might have
Must Have Programs:
Office 2008
Logic for audio recording/production, I'm sure you know about this software if you're in music production school
Final Cut express/pro for video production
iLife for well designed kind of multimedia programs that aren't quite professional-quality, iPhoto is a great tool for pulling pictures off of a camera or scanner
VLC for video playback
roxio toast for burning CDs
Parallels/VMWare Fusion for running windows

Tips for a windows power user:
The Systems Preferences control panel has just about everything you'll need for everyday use, the rest is in the utilities folder
Applescript and Automator are awesome once you learn how to use them
get to know the command line and learn to edit files inside of it, if you're a "power user" then will be things you'll want to poke around that are only accessible through the terminal

To reformat: Insert the DVD that came with your mac, restart the computer, hold C after the chime and you'll be able to restore the system, use the terminal, or use the disk utility

Useful Info: If you're at all familiar with a Unix filesystem structure, OSX should be a piece of cake for you. The biggest problem I have to help people with is where things go. Take time to go through your home folder and get an idea for how everything is set up.

If you're planning on doing any kind of professional stuff as far as audio production goes on a laptop, get a macbook pro and buy a 4GB RAM upgrade from a site like newegg because upgrading with Apple is a waste of money. If you plan on getting an iMac, I'd suggest you go and research the OSx86 project and just building your own PC compatible with OSX to save a bunch of money(ever since the switch to Intel processors, macs are basically generic PC components in pretty cases)
Last Edit: September 09, 2008, 10:26:19 am by DietCoke
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The only problem with the above post is the suggestion of Office 2008. The only reason to ever use office 2008 is if it comes factory installed. Get open office.
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No. You NEED Office 2008 if you want to do any serious work with something else than Word. Especially Exel or Powerpoint, because when you do that shit you want it to be compatible with other people, especially Exels... And Open Office's compatibility with Exel 2008 is not very great.

Also, neat programs my bro/I could now never live with....

-Quicksilver, takes a few days to get used to but makes your life easier and keeps cluttering off your dock.
-Caffeine, allows disabling of power-saving/screensaver features with a single click on any screen. (I don't know if this is an issue on desktop though)
-mplayer as well VLC, I find that it is generally more friendly... VLC's new build has better compatibility for some stuff but runs a bit slower.
-There is an awesome widget that basically allows you to drag shit into it and upload it to Bluetooth devices OR to an FTP to which it puts a link on the clipboard.
-Pzizz.
-Can't remember any more, will get back to you later.

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-transmission (torrenting program)
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Take a look at the Utilities directory.

Textwrangler (or Textmate), Transmit, Colloquy, Adium... and pretty much everything else mentioned in the topic.
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-Pzizz
-Photoshop CS3
-GarageBand (is this part of iLife?)




-a pc with windows xp  :shh:
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-There is an awesome widget that basically allows you to drag shit into it and upload it to Bluetooth devices OR to an FTP to which it puts a link on the clipboard.
osx has builtin bluetooth stuff so i dont think you need this...

most of the apps mentioned are great (like quicksilver, colloquy, adium) and you definitely want them.

if you're going to be using the terminal get iTerm.

as for switching over from windows, it is -really- easy. just spend 10 minutes looking around the system and you'll get the hang of it, and be pretty fluent within a day. if you consider yourself a windows "power user" it should be even easier. you wont have to do much black magic to get osx to work the way you want (because when you use it, you'll realise that its already set up perfectly. that's the beauty of great design)

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Yeah, I never touched or saw a real life mac until like a month ago. And I got the hang of it pretty quick (the control button/apple button and stuff still screw me up sometimes though).
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It's been said, but seriously, if you are getting a laptop and not a desktop, get Caffeine right away. It makes your life so much easier.  Toast is also a must-have.

Also if you do want Pzizz for the Mac you will probably have to buy it because I could never find a working serial.  Maybe you'd have better luck but who knows.
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Yeah, I never touched or saw a real life mac until like a month ago. And I got the hang of it pretty quick (the control button/apple button and stuff still screw me up sometimes though).
i've been using a mac at work for 3 weeks now and i keep trying to press alt+left/alt+right instead of home and end when im at home :|
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If you're using a laptop, immediately go into the settings and enable two-finger scrolling on the trackpad and two-finger right-click, then get used to it.

It'll seem weird at first but it's really nice once you get the hang of the whole multi-touch thing.

Quote
The only problem with the above post is the suggestion of Office 2008. The only reason to ever use office 2008 is if it comes factory installed. Get open office.
Open Office is awful if you're doing any kind of serious work that needs to be looked at by other people not using Open Office(almost everyone).
Last Edit: September 11, 2008, 08:36:42 am by DietCoke
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the powerpoint compatibility and word compatibility is perfectly fine (especially if you save them as rtfs word documents are needlessly gigantic). If he's studying music i don't see why he would need excel or access or some shit like that and it's hardly enough to justify 300 dollars or whatever for the full version of office when you could put open office on a pen drive if you want other people to see it. if everyone used open office (they don't but they should), then there'd be no reason for anybody to buy office 2008.
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the powerpoint compatibility and word compatibility is perfectly fine (especially if you save them as rtfs word documents are needlessly gigantic). If he's studying music i don't see why he would need excel or access or some shit like that and it's hardly enough to justify 300 dollars or whatever for the full version of office when you could put open office on a pen drive if you want other people to see it. if everyone used open office (they don't but they should), then there'd be no reason for anybody to buy office 2008.

Office 08 is pretty cheap with a student discount. I'm all for open source software and everything, but Open Office is just inferior in nearly every way to MS Office, especially on the mac(you've either gotta run it through X11 or use beta software). It's coming along nicely, but if I receive a chart or speadsheet via email I'm gonna want it to work right.
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open office is terrible
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I know there's built-in bluetooth, for all I know perhaps this widget is built-in in the laptop. But the "Upload to an FTP and get a link placed on the clipboard" is just too great to pass.

Also, there's an application that slims other applications, deleting shit like languages you'll never use and basically saving you some HD.

Hmmm, Despite the huge bloatware, I'll really recommend Vuze, after using Transmission for quite a while and Going to Azureus/Vuze and then back to Transmission and finally back to Vuze... Vuze seems to be a lot faster.

Also, if you have a laptop, get a program called MiniBatteryLogger, it's paid but extremely worth it.

And, I'm not sure what else to recommend atm.

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