Mac vs. PC...Why or why not a Mac?
Thread poster: Kristel Kiesel

Kristel Kiesel  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:25
Italian to English
+ ...
Apr 8, 2009

Hello friends and colleagues,

Since the hinge popped off my Compaq Presario 900 a few weeks ago and the battery is long since dead, I am looking ahead to newer, brighter computing vistas. The poor thing has only 512 mb of RAM and a 40GB hard drive, anyway, but it has suited my purposes so far, at least as far as work is concerned.

Between the clever Mac commercials and the problems this laptop has given me over the years, as well as the positive comments in the Mac forum on Proz, I am seriously thinking of switching loyalties and giving Mac a try. I've had viruses, a crashed hard drive, programs that up and quit on me, and a ridiculous number of things that didn't operate correctly or at all after the new hard drive was installed. The organization, simplicity, and raw computing power of the Macbook are starting to look really appealing from in front of this broken-down old dinosaur.

I need the computer for translation work, of course, though I don't use Trados and don't have any plans to try it (yet). I am not a gamer, but I do use my laptop a lot for e-mail, internet, and especially for digital photography. I would like to get something that can handle Lightroom 2, Photoshop Elements, the internet and Microsoft Office, and something that would play music, hopefully all at the same time. Macs seem well-equipped for this sort of thing and well-organized. This is a very big deal since I am not that savvy at navigating through menu after menu to find what I need. I also like the fact that they seem to stay current far longer than PC's do. I don't replace electronics very often, so this would be a big plus.

A friend has offered to sell me a 15" used Macbook Pro, less than a year old (not the new unibody one--it's from the generation just before that), for quite a bit less than half the price he paid for it. I've been checking out Macs and reading the Mac forum here at Proz, and it sounds like it might be worth a try.

Are there important reasons why I should or should not make the switch, from those who have tried it and fallen in love, or else found the reverie to be something of an illusion and returned to PC-land?

I have two reasons for being apprehensive about this:

1) The guy who is selling the Mac originally bought it for his furniture business, then decided Macs simply were not meant for business. Now I am thinking of buying it for my business - is this ridiculous?

2) Since whatever I purchase will be my main computer, I'm not sure how comfortable I feel dragging a beautiful 15" Mac with me everywhere I go. Portability and ruggedness are a big deal with me. I'm a terrible klutz. It sometimes seems that the more dear an object is to me the more likely I am to destroy/lose it/have it stolen. Perhaps it would be better to have a Mac for my desktop, then use a PC laptop for portability, something that just blends into the sea of nondescript laptops at local cafes.

Mac looks good, but after all these years I find that I'm feeling a certain loyalty to PC. I've heard rotten things about Vista, but I've also heard that the new version is going to sport some big improvements. I was thinking I could get a netbook AND a cheap PC laptop (or even a desktop) for the price I'm being offered for the Mac. In that case, I just don't know if either of those PC's would be suitable for business, or how long they would last me.

It's such a great deal, I'd really like to give the Mac a try. Any advice?

Thank you,

Kristie


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Ulf Norlinger  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:25
English to Swedish
+ ...
Work with them in parallel for a time Apr 8, 2009

Test the MAC (maybe you can hire it for a period?) but keep the PC for a while. After, say, 6 months you have your own opinion on the subject.

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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:25
English to Polish
PC? Apr 8, 2009

PC with which OS? There's a choice here too.

Anni


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Kristel Kiesel  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:25
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Which OS is best? Apr 8, 2009

M. Anna Kańduła wrote:

PC with which OS? There's a choice here too.

Anni


Good point. I can't imagine doing translation without Windows XP. Fortunately I can run both Windows and the Mac OS at the same time on the Macbook. At first I thought it would defeat the purpose of having the Mac. One of my purposes was to avoid Vista, but with the news I've heard about Windows 7, I've gotten over that. I think it might be nice to be able to switch between OS's using Parallels or VMFusion.

But as far as the PC is concerned, do you mean Linux vs. Vista? Vista vs. XP? I have XP now, but I would not be opposed to learning Vista, as soon as the new version comes out. I've never tried Linux. For now I think it's just a bit too much.


Kristie

[Edited at 2009-04-08 06:48 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-04-08 06:52 GMT]


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:25
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Did you consider Linux? Apr 8, 2009

Kristel Kiesel wrote:

I need the computer for translation work, of course, though I don't use Trados and don't have any plans to try it (yet).


With Linux, you can use Wordfast Pro (possibility of using WF Classic has been reported, but I haven’t succeeded) and OmegaT. Anaphraseus is also an option, but with limitations.

I am not a gamer, but I do use my laptop a lot for e-mail, internet, and especially for digital photography. I would like to get something that can handle Lightroom 2, Photoshop Elements, the internet and Microsoft Office, and something that would play music, hopefully all at the same time.


I don’t know what is Lightroom 2. Photoshop and Microsoft Office can be run via wine/Crossover Linux, and there are such free alternatives as Gimp and OpenOffice.org (both are available for Windows as well, so you can try before you decide).

1) The guy who is selling the Mac originally bought it for his furniture business, then decided Macs simply were not meant for business. Now I am thinking of buying it for my business - is this ridiculous?


You are the only one who knows every detail of your business. So, this may be quite wise.

Perhaps it would be better to have a Mac for my desktop, then use a PC laptop for portability


Are your flexible and savvy enough to have two quite different platforms and switch between them?

…the new version is going to sport some big improvements.


Who tells that? Microsoft? Do you still believe them?

I've never tried Linux.


Then try Most of distros have LiveCDs, and you can try them without actually installing to your computer. Besides, you can install Linux together with Windows on the same computer, making transition smoother.

I would suggest looking at openSUSE and Mandriva first. Both are free, but also have commercial variants (SLED and Mandriva PowerPack) that come at a price but are even more comfortable.

navigating through menu after menu to find what I need.


Both major desktop environments for Linux, KDE and Gnome, have clear and well-organized menus.

I can't imagine doing translation without Windows XP.


I haven’t booted to Windows on my desktop for over half a year. Besides, my desktop has Windows 2000 that is Microsoft’s best OS ever, so I can imagine doing translation without Windows XP

[Edited at 2009-04-08 07:45 GMT]


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BabelOn-line
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:25
English to French
+ ...
Mac. No contest! Apr 8, 2009

Well, at least in my view

I am a translator since 1999, always been using Macs, and i can't tell you the number of times i found out this was by far the best, most reasonable option.

Microsoft tries to portray Macs as funky computers for snowboarding webdsigners with purple hair.

Not quite.

For starters, the Mac operating system (OS X) works. Beautifully. It is based on Unix, which has been used on mainframe computers for decades: it is very, very reliable, especially when compared to Windows, which has been patched up millions of times but never rewritten from the ground up.

It is easy and intuitive to use for beginners, but also extremely flexible for advanced users. It is also safer. Last thing, it is a superb environment to work with - if you spend your life in front of a computer, that becomes quite an important thing.

Unless you use Trados or a PC-specific application all the time, i can't see any reason you should not use a Mac. At the very worse, you can use both Mac and Windows on a Mac thanks to a small application called Parallels. I use it and it works just fine, but frankly, when you use a Mac, the last thing you want to do is use a PC!

I never had a job where using a Mac proved a problem.

In my 10 years experience with the brand, i found that Mac laptops are pricy but rugged and usually very well tooled up. Mac dekstops are indestructible, and they have the added bonus that you never end up with extra components (graphic cards and the like) being incompatible.

When buying a Mac, i found that, if you add extra RAM memory to the basic package, you have a machine that will easily last 6 years and more before becoming obsolete.

Basically, Macs do what you ask them to do, they do it very well and make things as simple as possible for the user. And yes, they are unbeatable when you want to do graphic work.

Hope this helps!


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Valeria Aliperta  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:25
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Mac Forever Apr 8, 2009

Hello everybody,
I just totally agree with BabelOnline: get a Mac and never look back!
I have been using Macs for a year now, and at first installed XP as a single environment (I have Leopard OS).
Afterwards I also installed Parallels to use Trados and other PC-based programs/software (also the majority of dictionary CD-ROMs are for Windows only). The difference is that with Parallels (the name says it all) you run both XP and Leopard in parallel. The other option is to boot my Mac only or my PC only, separately.

But back to Parallels: it's great, you switch from one environment to the other in just a click and with the 4GB RAM I put on my MacBook Pro, it simply never crashes/gets stuck.

Macs are intuitive, reliable, and why not, a stylish environment to work in, as you really end up sharing your time with it like if it was a colleague.
It ticks all my boxes. So, if you still have a decently working PC, I may suggest to keep it alive while you get familiar with the Mac, just to have a sort of back-up machine to turn to in emergencies...
But trust me, it won't last for long...you'll end up leaving your PC mostly alone in a corner, and use Parallels (or other systems) to happily deal with your PC-based issues.

Hope this helps!

Valeria, a happy ever after Mac-based translator


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:25
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Get the Mac! Apr 8, 2009

I used PCs for something like 25 years and had gotten so used to them and all their multifarious problems that I was afraid to try the Mac. But I finally bit the bullet and did and I haven't regretted it. I would never buy a PC again, especially since I am also not a Trados user and have zero interest in becoming one (unless forced to for lack of work, in which case I'd install Parallels and XP on my Mac). You can translate perfectly well on a Mac with Word for Mac.

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