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Poco Forums • View topic - Poco, Windows, and my first move into the Mac world (mini)

Poco, Windows, and my first move into the Mac world (mini)

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Poco, Windows, and my first move into the Mac world (mini)

Postby geekboy2000 » Sun Jan 01, 2006 3:09 am

I thought the group might find this interesting, particularly so to anyone who doesn't also have a Mac (or skins/tweaks their XP system to take on a Mac/Aqua appearance.

After spending an enternity with the Windows OS (except for about a year when I ran Red Hat Linux exclusively), I treated myself to a Mac mini, now after an update, running Mac OS 10.4.3. My thoughts are:

The OS itself is very slick looking, and having it's roots in *nix, is, it seems, very stable (then again, I can't recall the last time I saw a BSOD in Windows XP SP2).

It seems especially nice for audio/video functions. DVD's, sound quality, etc are both terrific.

Installing most apps requires downloading and having a drive image "mount". Then, inside the image is, it seems, usually an installer. How anyone can say this is easier than just double-clicking an exe file, is beyond me.

If you download "standard" packages, all is relatively easy. OTOH, if you download some other apps, you might see X11 requirements, "stuff-it" expander requirements, or other dependencies. Granted, such is sometimes true of Windows apps as well, but I really see the *nix-like heritage when doing things like that. So, yes, a Mac "just works", assuming you "just use it" out of the box, and don't go beyond installing a few apps.

The fonts, like Linux fonts, can look quite good, but there's no way they look as good/clear as Windows fonts on a Windows machine. And, that's with a Samsung V730b LCD monitor, which while not "top of the line" is no slouch either. I've ordered a DVI cable for it, and while I expect it might make some difference, I doubt it'll be a "night and day" improvement. Perhaps the Apple displays are vastly better, but then again, they're also priced much higher. A monitor that looks terrific on XP, does not render the kind of quality you'll see on the Apple store displays.

While Mac users often seem to be quick to criticize the stability of Windows XP and it's apps (Including IE), Safari crashed on me in the first 12 hours of use, as did the "Mac Mail" app. I switched to FireFox, added Opera, and am using MS Entourage (yes, part of MS Office 2004 for Mac) for e-mail. All of those apps have worked now for several days, without any issue. If Poco was available for Mac, it would be on there now, I can assure you.

About half of the software updates I downloaded required a re-start, despite Mac devotees often saying "You don't have to re-boot all the time". I find it's no more necessary to re-boot after an XP software update, than with OS X on the Mac.

I found that a simple photo manipulation function (simply re-sizing - not cropping an image file) appears to be missing from iPhoto. The ability to do a quick and dirty "re-size image" is standard/easy in virtually every Windows image editing utilty.

Time from "Power on" to a usable desktop? On my Windows machine *loaded* with startup apps: About 1 minute to 90 seconds. On the Mac mini, easily closer to 3 or 4 minutes.

So, is it all "smoke and mirrors"? No. The Mac truly looks cool. The dock, the way it works is nice/fun, and it's a great extra machine to play with. But, do I see any reason why MS/Windows should be worried? Not if OS X with it's current set of bundled apps is the best Apple can come up with.

Keep in mind that this opinion is based on only a few days of use, but while I've been spending almost all of my time in front of it now (tweaking it), I expect to soon be spending most of my time back in front of my Windows box.

Also, to Mac devotees: Trust me, I *want* to love OS X. I admire the design approach, the innovations that Apple has brought us, and the fact that, as I said, "It's cool". I'm just passing this on because I have a few extra minutes available to ramble on, and I though some existing Windows users might be interested to hear what I found after taking the jump.

Mark
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Postby jaxgtr » Sun Jan 01, 2006 4:33 am

I often wondered about the Mac mini. My last MAC real usage was about ver 5. Liked it, but could not function on the limited applications available. Thought about a move back once 10.x arrived, but did not want to have to replace everything.

Thanks for the info.

Brian
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Postby geekboy2000 » Sun Jan 01, 2006 7:28 am

There's actually far more compatibility than I thought there'd be. NeoOffice (an off-shoot of OpenOffice designed with OS X in mind) works quite well, but the MS Office Suite for Mac brings with it a few things that make life easier for the Windows user. Among them is Windows Media Player 9 for Mac, so between Apple's QuickTime player, and Windows Media Player, all of my multimedia files are able to be played. There's Windows Messenger for Mac, and iChat is a very nice replacement for AIM. If you're an AOL user, there is an OS X version that Window users will feel totally at home with. If you're using Firefox or Opera, you'll see no real difference at all. It is possible to access network shared Windows folders, as it's also possible to see shared Mac folders in the Windows Workgroup. So, as far as making a transition, it's not bad really. So, like I said, I'm not sure I'll leave Windows behind anytime soon, but if you or anyone was considering adding trying a Mac, the mini is a good way to get your feet wet. Chances are, as I learn a few tricks, I'll feel more comfortable with it. One such trick/solution to my image re-sizing issue is iResize, a freeware app that does just that. So, I'll just have to see how things go. :)

Mark
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Posts: 110
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