Monday, March 24, 2008
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
I don't do product plugs, but I consider this a public service. My three-year-old laptop Dell laptop, which has served me well from corporate life through three schools and lots of travel, was showing motherboard wear (the on-off button was balky), and it was getting kind of RAM and hard drive capacity obsolete. Both my son and my son-in-law (who directs all the personal computing IT for Hunter College) are Macintosh aficionados, and both have MacBooks. We had an IMac (the old version that showed up in a lot of schools) that came with OS 9, and I hated it.
But I read Walter Mossberg in the New York Times, and listen to my children, and the thing that sold me was the video iChat feature, with which I can conference with Matthew from Ann Arbor, so I took the plunge. I bought the MacBook with 2.4 Ghz and 2GB RAM and the 160 GB hard drive (not the MacBook Air that Steve Jobs is holding.)
It does take a little effort to master a new operating system, but it's worth it, in my view. This is just a simpler way to engage with the virtual world. I am reminded of this frequently by the RSS feed function in Mail, the e-mail program, which is just the best I've encountered. The RSS headlines show up in your e-mail like e-mail message headers, and you can flip through them or delete them in a heartbeat.
Here are some suggestions if you are considering making the switch:
1. The book "Switching to the Mac" Leopard edition by David Pogue is good.
2. Don't use the Symantec Norton Antivirus. There are better ones out there.
3. A program called Missing Sync allows you to sync with Windows Mobile (I have a Motorola Q.)
4. A program called O2M from www.littlemachines.com that costs $10 is great for transferring all your e-mail files.
5. Microsoft Office for Mac is available. It is out in a new version (2008). This is the only glitch I have encountered so far. For some reason, the "PRINT" command is not showing up in my file menu in Word, and so I don't get the option to select pages. I suspect I got a bad CD, but I'm checking into it. My kids insist that the Apple iWorks, which is Pages for word processing and Keynotes for presentations are better than Office, but I'm still a troglodyte on that. (You can convert a Pages document to Word if you send it to somebody else.) UPDATE: we figured out how to deal with the PRINT issue. For some weird reason, it doesn't open in the file menu, but if you have the cursor anywhere in the document and click Command P, it opens the print dialog box. Also here's a new one. I have a neat little HP LaserJet 1020 which doesn't want to work with a Mac. Apparently there are solutions on the internet, but I haven't gotten to them yet.
6. Be careful if you have Windows remembering your passwords, and you don't remember them. I have already done the Annie Hall thing of forgetting my mantra a couple times.
7. I'm now using the Safari browser, which is the Apple version. Occasionally you run into sites (like the Suffolk Law course management site!) that won't work, so you need to have Firefox or Explorer running.
8. I'm just now doing my first post in Safari on TypePad, and it looks like it doesn't completely recognize the program. The WYSIWYG feature doesn't seem to be here, and it is a little balky on putting in HTML commands automatically. (It's definitely a Safari thing because now I'm over on Firefox and it works. But Firefox operates a lot more slowly than Safari.)
Let me know if you want any more advice!