Advice on Mac versus PC?


#1

I am thinking of getting a new laptop. I noticed the cheapest mac was
about $1000, whereas I can get a cheap HP for about $550. The cheaper
machine is kind of appealing, but the idea of a linux type system for
a mac appeals to me however. I’ve always liked working on unix/linux
at various companies, but I’ve always owned IBM clone PC and have
never owned a mac.

I have a HP laptop that is not quite 3 years old. I’ve downloaded
alot of stuff, and the machine seems to run alot slower than it used
to. It takes along time to boot, and it’s gotten really bad, though I
do have AVG. I get the impression that spyware on a mac would be less
of a problem and that type of degradation might not happen as fast on
a mac or that I could more easily figure out what the heck was running
on the machine ?

I also hear that there is less software for macs, I might like to use
winscp, a graphical SVN or such that is not to hard to install. I’m
not sure what else ofhand … OpenOffice must work on a mac I might
guess …

Right now my ITunes library is on an external USB drive, I assume if
I started up ITunes on a mac it would import stuff from my IPod to
itself as this happened when I first moved my lib to an external
drive.

I get the impression that Rails development on a mac might be
somewhat better, but I’m curious what people have to say on that ?


#2

removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

I have a HP laptop that is not quite 3 years old. I’ve downloaded
alot of stuff, and the machine seems to run alot slower than it used
to. It takes along time to boot, and it’s gotten really bad, though I
do have AVG.

Backup, format and re-install windows. Every computer needs this now and
again. I do that to my desktop about every 3 months, keeps it running
like new, plus you’ll have the experience for when a hard-disk dies.

I get the impression that Rails development on a mac might be
somewhat better, but I’m curious what people have to say on that ?

A Mac runs what is probably the most popular rails IDE/editor: Textmate.

I’m not going to start editor wars again, but it really is a cracking
editor (I use it occasionally but I’m on windows 90% of the time).

It’s all down to personal preference really.

HTH

Matt


#3

Using Rails on Mac is a rather good experience in my subjective opinion.
Also, there’s no any problem with running some kind of linux distro on
any
modern mac laptop. Regarding most of the software there exist plenty of
ports and analogs of corresponding PC versions.
There also exist Microsoft Office for Mac and OpenOffice, NeoOffice and
iWork are pretty good alternatives. Spyware and viruses are not a
problem,
in place of them Mac OS has Software Updates which rarely may cause some
weird system crashes, so the rule No. 1 for me is to make System Update
only
after 3-4 weeks period after it was tested by other users :slight_smile:

So, I think If you’re experienced in *nix console programs, the switch
to
Rails dev on Mac will be a simple one while promising a better
experience.
Also you can run Win on Mac, but I’ll call that a perversion :slight_smile:

2008/12/26 removed_email_address@domain.invalid removed_email_address@domain.invalid


#4

On 26 Dec 2008, at 10:35, removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

I also hear that there is less software for macs, I might like to use
winscp, a graphical SVN or such that is not to hard to install. I’m
not sure what else ofhand … OpenOffice must work on a mac I might
guess …

Well it’s certainly true in some areas such a games, and specific
business areas. For rails development this isn’t usually the case as
most of the tools are cross platform anyway (and often more at home on
a *nix like plaform than on windows). OpenOffice works fine for me.

Fred


#5

On 26 Dec 2008, at 12:33, Matt H. wrote:

I have a HP laptop that is not quite 3 years old. I’ve downloaded
alot of stuff, and the machine seems to run alot slower than it used
to. It takes along time to boot, and it’s gotten really bad, though I
do have AVG.

Backup, format and re-install windows. Every computer needs this now
and
again. I do that to my desktop about every 3 months, keeps it running
like new, plus you’ll have the experience for when a hard-disk dies.

You gotta be kidding. Windows users do seem to think reformatting and
reinstalling the operating system regularly is normal. Most people I
know do it every year (like spring cleaning), but every three
months… And even then, reality is most, if not all of us Mac users
don’t ever reinstall their operating system, and the majority probably
doesn’t even do it when there’s a major system update. Same goes for
all our linux boxes btw. Not every computer needs it, simple.

Best regards

Peter De Berdt


#6

Peter De Berdt wrote:

You gotta be kidding. Windows users do seem to think reformatting and
reinstalling the operating system regularly is normal. Most people I
know do it every year (like spring cleaning), but every three months…
And even then, reality is most, if not all of us Mac users don’t ever
reinstall their operating system, and the majority probably doesn’t even
do it when there’s a major system update. Same goes for all our linux
boxes btw. Not every computer needs it, simple.

I consider it normal for windows, thats it. I’ve got 3 linux boxes and a
solaris box sitting next to me right now. One of the linux boxes is
running dual P2-350s and has been installed for nearly 8 years.

It’s just my experience that unless you really spend your life learning
windows internals, you will have to re-install, its a fact of life.
Maybe i’m just a windows dunce, but it’s far easier for me to reinstall
than mess about with anything else.

I can format and re-install my windows machine with critical apps in
under 2 hours, so much easier than fiddling for days.

Matt


#7

I didn’t read through everything, but why not also think of buying a
cheap laptop and then dropping a modern Linux distro on the thing? I
run Ubuntu on my Thinkpad X40 and could not be happier with it …
well, if they had a SSD that worked with my laptop I’d be a little bit
happier.

Just a thought.

On Dec 26, 10:20 pm, “removed_email_address@domain.invalid” removed_email_address@domain.invalid


#8

Thanks for the advice,

Can a mac read an external USB drive that came from a Windows XP
machine ?

The mac sounds interesting. I like the idea of being able to pop open
a native shell to the system and do ‘ps -ef’ and see what is running
and be able to write a ruby script that does a fork() that works
correctly etc.
I use cygwin on windows, but it doesn’t feel the same …

I know you can install dual windows/linux using VM-Ware or some such,
but it sounds complicated to me. I guess I don’t like the idea of
reinstalling windows, but if I am going to stick with windows, I guess
I need to consider that. I’d be affraid that one of my backup CD’s
would go bad or that I would screw it up somehow. I’m wondering if I
can backup windows to an external drive and reinstall it that way ?

On Dec 26, 6:14 am, “removed_email_address@domain.invalid”


#9

if u dont worry about the additional 500 bucks, buy the mac. it’s so
easy and intuitive to work on this OS - u’ll love it.
try to buy an refurbished mac, you’ll get some extra bucks back !
search in the apple store for refurbished products and you safe about
20% !

dont care about itunes. if u have your lib on a external drive, you
could import your music simply.


#10

On Fri, Dec 26, 2008 at 8:20 PM, removed_email_address@domain.invalid
removed_email_address@domain.invalidwrote:

Thanks for the advice,

Can a mac read an external USB drive that came from a Windows XP
machine ?

Yes, it can read FAT32 formatted drives.

I need to consider that. I’d be affraid that one of my backup CD’s
would go bad or that I would screw it up somehow. I’m wondering if I
can backup windows to an external drive and reinstall it that way ?

Yes, I’m using VMWare where I have xUbuntu, FreeBSD 6.3, and FreeBSD
7.0 virtual machines (VM) to mimic our deployment servers locally. I
simply
double-click the particular VM and it boots because there’s no
installation
process.
Furthermore, you have the option to configuring the VM by downloading
and
installing additional software.

Next, if you backup your Windows to an external drive, this isn’t the
same
as
reinstalling the OS because you can be potentially be restoring from
a compromised
backup (i.e. saving virus infected OS).

Lastly, I use my Macs for many types of development/work including
Rails.
Thus,
you invest in something where you can get the most bang for your buck.
Also, I
wouldn’t make decisions to buy a system because it has more software.
This
is
not very logical as the basis for buying anything.

Good luck,

-Conrad


#11

removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

I know you can install dual windows/linux using VM-Ware or some such,
but it sounds complicated to me. I guess I don’t like the idea of
reinstalling windows, but if I am going to stick with windows, I guess
I need to consider that. I’d be affraid that one of my backup CD’s
would go bad or that I would screw it up somehow. I’m wondering if I
can backup windows to an external drive and reinstall it that way ?

I think you could get something like Acronis True Image and that can do
a lot of stuff including backup your entire OS image and your data. If
something goes off, you can probably restore the image within a couple
of hours almost back to where you left it.
http://www.techsupportalert.com/drive-imaging-reviews.htm

Cheers,
Mohit.
12/27/2008 | 2:22 PM.


#12

Does having VMWare as an additional layer create any inefficiencies or
problems ? I think at one time I shyed away from this idea because I
was affraid of blowing away the OS that my laptop came with.I had
brought my laptop to a linux group a few years ago and they couldn’t
get linux on my laptop without blowing away the OS and seemed
reluctant to try it. At any rate, the perceived complexity of the task
made me hesitate to seriously consider it at the time.

I also seemed to have the impression that linux distros where safer
with a desktop than a laptop and the only safe distro for laptops was
SUSE.Others may have problems with your printer, the wireless card etc

The backup of the OS to an external drive I am not familiar with, but
I’ll have to research it. If I eventually buy a new laptop, I could
possibly play around with my old laptop for experimentation purposes
perhaps. Right now I have a HP Pavillion DV1000 with about 30 gig
drive which I bought brand new in May 2006.

The only other stuff I had heard of on Macs is that software
companies often loose money in developing for macs and seemed to
question if macs will be around for years to come. Also, mouse
functionality on macs is allegedly less convenient, maybe there is no
right click ?


#13

On 27 Dec 2008, at 16:10, removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

I also seemed to have the impression that linux distros where safer
with a desktop than a laptop and the only safe distro for laptops was
SUSE.Others may have problems with your printer, the wireless card etc

Got several laptops with ubuntu in the office, no problems on that
front.

The backup of the OS to an external drive I am not familiar with, but
I’ll have to research it. If I eventually buy a new laptop, I could
possibly play around with my old laptop for experimentation purposes
perhaps. Right now I have a HP Pavillion DV1000 with about 30 gig
drive which I bought brand new in May 2006.

The only other stuff I had heard of on Macs is that software
companies often loose money in developing for macs and seemed to
question if macs will be around for years to come.
They’ve been saying that for a long time and apple are still there.
Besides, not really a factor if you’re writing web apps

Also, mouse
functionality on macs is allegedly less convenient, maybe there is no
right click ?

You can right click if you want (and with the current models, even the
trackpad has an (optional) right click).


#14

It’s possible things have changed since I played around with linux,
but I have booted I think it was knoppix from my laptop CD.
It was fun to play with at the time, but I think I had to configure or
mount things every time I booted.
Right now my laptop CD drive is no longer working and I have been
using an external CD drive through USB.

I had also played with installing vector linux, DSL linux, and
knoppix on some older junk PC’s that people gave me and which only had
10 gig drives or something. I had tried booting Ubuntu once on my
mothers newer desktop, but I don’t think it had enough memory.

At any rate, the unsolved question fro me is if I would want to go
the route of linux on an IBM PC laptop or consider getting a Mac
laptop. The first option would involve me researching what I would
need to do or learn in order to install linux myself, which distro I
should select, which laptop I would need etc,

On Dec 27, 11:40 am, “Hassan S.” removed_email_address@domain.invalid


#15

On Sat, Dec 27, 2008 at 8:10 AM, removed_email_address@domain.invalid
removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Does having VMWare as an additional layer create any inefficiencies or
problems ?

No, it’s just another app, but one that makes it possible to use one
system to test on all major platforms. I have a MacBook Pro running
VMs of Windows(2000, XP), Ubuntu, CentOS, OpenSolaris.

So if you /really/ need some software that’s Windows-only, no prob.

And a generic three-button/scroll-wheel mouse works on it just fine,
as well.

If I were you I’d pop down to the nearest Apple store (or dealer) and
play around with a MacBook in person before you make a decision.

As far as problems installing Linux on your laptop (unsupported
peripherals, etc.) – many distros offer bootable CD images that can
run without installation. Just download an ISO image, burn to a CD,
and try it out risk-free. Alternatively, does your BIOS support booting
from an external drive? That’s another non-destructive option.

FWIW, and good luck,

Hassan S. ------------------------ removed_email_address@domain.invalid


#16

On Sat, Dec 27, 2008 at 9:10 AM, removed_email_address@domain.invalid
removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

At any rate, the unsolved question fro me is if I would want to go
the route of linux on an IBM PC laptop or consider getting a Mac
laptop. The first option would involve me researching what I would
need to do or learn in order to install linux myself, which distro I
should select, which laptop I would need etc,

Or just buy one – I believe both Lenovo and Dell sell systems with
Linux installed; if not, you can probably find someone local selling
pre-configured systems.

But as I said, try the Mac and see what you think. There are things
I dislike about mine, but overall I think it’s the best solution for a
mobile Web developer. YMMV!


Hassan S. ------------------------ removed_email_address@domain.invalid


#17

Hey, that’s really interesting. I found dell laptops with ubuntu
starting at $500.
http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/linux_3x?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

I assume that they could read from my external drive as well ? Can
ITunes run on ubuntu ? Is installation of software involve more steps
and complexity on ubuntu ?

anyway, that’s a good price, what advantages do you think a mac has ?
I know it was mentioned textmate IDE for rails …

On Dec 27, 12:26 pm, “Hassan S.” removed_email_address@domain.invalid


#18

I’m not as serious a web developer as some, and at the moment I have
a job doing back end Ruby stuff mostly, but I have to keep an eye to
the future just in case. I come from a back end programming
background, and have tried to get into front end a bit, though I seem
to prefer back end work and do better with that. That had something
to do with why my last stint with web development ended which was my
first job doing web stuff, though it was PHP and the management got
sick of me trying to push Rails …

I saw there are some u-tube videos on dual booting with vmware, I’ll
have to check them out when I am someplace with a higher speed
internet. From a quick look at some web sites, it seems like at least
a slightly complicated thing to figure out …

If I got a mac, I could possibly set up my older HP laptop to run
Ubuntu, it has 500 meg of ram … I thought I saw ubuntu can run in 380
meg of ram, but I’m not sure if 500 is ideal or not. Assuming it was,
that way I’d have ITunes on the mac and could still play with a
serious linux distro and put my old laptop to good use as it is
getting bogged down with XP it seems as time goes on …

On Dec 27, 1:57 pm, “Hassan S.” removed_email_address@domain.invalid


#19

Sent from my iPhone

On Dec 27, 2008, at 10:04 AM, “removed_email_address@domain.invalid”
removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Hey, that’s really interesting. I found dell laptops with ubuntu
starting at $500. http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/linux_3x?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

I assume that they could read from my external drive as well ? Can
ITunes run on ubuntu ? Is installation of software involve more steps
and complexity on ubuntu ?

You should be able to if it is properly configured. iTunes is only
available for Mac and Windows. Lastly, it really depends on the
package management system you’re using. In general, it’s fairly easy
to perform software installs.

anyway, that’s a good price, what advantages do you think a mac has ?

Again, this really depends on your personal preference. Also, please
feel free to visit your local Apple Store and test drive the Mac OS
X. It’s like buying a car where you try before you buy.

I know it was mentioned textmate IDE for rails …

I wish that you don’t purchase a Mac to only use Textmate. You should
have bigger goals for investing in a Mac or at least using it more
than to run Textmate. In short, you should evaluate your goals as
well as your budget constraints in making your purchasing decision.

Good luck,

-Conrad


#20

On Sat, Dec 27, 2008 at 10:04 AM, removed_email_address@domain.invalid
removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Hey, that’s really interesting. I found dell laptops with ubuntu
starting at $500. http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/linux_3x?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

I assume that they could read from my external drive as well ?

Presumably :slight_smile:

Can ITunes run on ubuntu ?

No, though you could run it on Windows under VMWare (or Parallels)

Is installation of software involve more steps
and complexity on ubuntu ?

Sorry, too vague a question to reasonably answer, IMO.

anyway, that’s a good price, what advantages do you think a mac has ?

As I said – on a Mac, you can do browser testing (or desktop software
testing, for that matter) of the three major platforms: Mac/Win/*nix.

On a Windows or *nix machine, you only get two of those three.

I like OmniGraffle for IA work (flow charts, etc.). And there’s consumer
stuff that’s available for Mac and Win* that isn’t available for *nix,
but
you just have to decide how important that is to you.

My primary dev system for a long time was a SuSE desktop machine
so I was used to the minimal-consumer-toys issue. Though I had to
use it for a week recently when my MBP logic board died and mostly
I missed Twitterific :slight_smile:

Anyway, HTH!

Hassan S. ------------------------ removed_email_address@domain.invalid