Nice, YH, very nice. I did notice people have been shaking my hand differently since the purchase...and I've noticed I've spent an inordinate amount of time downloading CDs into iTunes, which promptly lost about half of them. And then there's my friend who's Mac completely crashed...
I just offered JC and BL their choice of breakfast cereals: Frosties, Nutri Grain or museli. Both took museli. What's happened to kids these days? They're actually rejecting the sugar coated stuff for the health food.
Mrs M and I are engaged in a serious debate. Our hardy PC is now a stately 3 years old and is showing its age. As our thoughts turn to updating, the natural question becomes "now Macs are actually on the radar screen, do we make the jump"? Now I know there are two types of people in the world: Macaddicts and PCaphiles. But I need help....your help. We've spoken to the people from the Apple shop in Central (moderately helpful but no real answers...and why does Apple make it so hard to find people that sell and can explain their stuff?). But I need input from people who've used a PC and then a Mac and what their experiences were in converting.
We use our PC primarily for: email, internet, web-cam/video conferencing with the folks in Oz, music (iPod and a Sony), limited word processing and spreadsheets, photos, some scanning, some kids games. There's other stuff but these are the main tasks. The PC is adequate for these tasks and we back up the photos and music regularly to an external hard drive. One option is for us to just upgrade our current PC, and that's not a bad option. But we feel it's right to at least look at Macs, given those that use are so adamant they are better.
My questions are simple:
1. How easy is it to convert from PC to Mac, especially in importing photos, music and email?
2. What can we keep from the current setup, especailly peripherals?
3. What are the real benefits of Macs? Why the fuss? And what are the pitfalls of Macs (there must be some)?
4. Is there a big learning curve in going from PC to Macs?
5. Are our PC files and programs generally runnable on Macs (e.g. Word and Excel files)?
6. What kind of Mac is right for us?
7. What the hell is .Mac and is it worth it? We currently use Now broadband.
8. What additional software will we need to buy for the Mac?
Thanks in advance for any help you can give. In the meantime I'm going to keep on loading all these CDs onto iTunes.
2. Everything, basically, all you peripherals should be mac compatible, though you should check that first.
3. It looks good, and is easier to use. Apart from that, there really isn't any real differences between a PC and a Mac. Oh yeah, there are less viruses floating around for Mac, Viruscan problems for Mac are almost redundant.
4. 1 day.
5. You can get Mac versions of Office 2004.
6. Mac is coming out with new intel based processors, might want to wait for them. On the other hand, there are PC's now with dual-intel processors! :)
7. What the hell is .Mac?!
8. Nothing, Mac comes with basically everything you need on iLife. The rest you can get open-sourced. ie. Most people use firefox for browsing etc.
I was a Mac guy till I moved to China in 1995, and had to go PC for corporate reasons. I stayed away until 2003, bought the 17" PowerBook, and now we have 3 Macs in the house.
I'd agree on everything that from the first comment, with a few add-ons:
A. The real benefits of Mac are hard to explain, but the way I put it is that a Mac on OS X gets the computer out of the way and just lets you get on with whatever you want to do. That is SO much the case, in fact, that you'll find yourself doing things on a Mac you never would have tried on a PC because the Mac just makes doing so easier.
B. Additional software - take the plunge and buy Office for Mac 2004 - it's a lot more fun to work with than Office2003.
C. There are also other extremely cool applications that you'll find along the way. For example, I use NoteBook by Circus Ponies as an idea catch-all, CopyWrite as a non-nonsense writing tool, VisualThesaurus as my vocabulary and diction assistant, etc etc. None of it set me back more than US$50, and they're superb.
D. I use .Mac and so does my wife. It doesn't give you internet access, but it does provide some interesting services. I won't tout you - some poeple find it worthwhile and others don't. Do check it out, and maybe try a trial membership.
E. Pick up a copy of "Mac OSX - The Missing Manual (Third Edition)" by David Pogue from Pogue Press/O'Rielly. You won't need it to figure out how to use the Mac, but you'll WANT it to find the hundreds of extremely cool little features hidden in the system. I actually picked up a copy of the book before I switched back, and by the end of the first chapter I was convinced.
I'd suggest looking at the apple site first (www.apple.com/macosx/switch/ ), then going to somewhere like www.macosxhints.com which is one of the best community forums for macs around.
1. How easy is it to convert from PC to Mac, especially in importing photos, music and email?
2. What can we keep from the current setup, especailly peripherals?
it depends on what they are and what mac you buy. if you have a good monitor and mouse/keyboard, and want to keep using them, and don't need monster amounts of power, a macmini would be fine, and the peripherals would plug straight in. macs are all usb2, firewire, airport (wireless)/bluetooth.
?3. What are the real benefits of Macs? Why the fuss? And what are the pitfalls of Macs (there must be some)?
amazingly easy to use, consistent interface and use of interface throughout (especially if you're into using the keyboard for everything), no viruses, trojans, worms etc (no, really, even the two this year after the intels were released required either high levels of idiocy on the part of the user, or were proof-of-concept that required a string of very specific workflows, applications used in particular order...). rock-solid unix core, which means very rare application crashes, and even rarer complete system crashes, and no need to shut down). excellent integration of applications, like mail, address book, ical (calendar), safari, and with plugins available (like mail-tags, saft, pithhelmet), and automator (like a point-and-click scriptwriter for things you do regularly) makes it even better. great, really spectacular software, like the iLife set of itunes, idvd, imovie, garageband, iphoto, the iwork set of pages (fairly good word replacement if you don't make use of stuff like master layout in word) and keynote (powerpoint), isync use with your phone, ipod, network account (.mac or other).
?4. Is there a big learning curve in going from PC to Macs?
no, but after five years of everything from the desktop to the murky depths of terminal i still find so many new things almost every day.
?5. Are our PC files and programs generally runnable on Macs (e.g. Word and Excel files)?
the files yes. mac handles pc documents generally well (the reverse is not so true). all the usual file types are cross-platform. the pc apps won't work on mac unless a) they were released as an iso disk (having both pc and mac software on one, ) or b) you run emulator software like virtualpc. office (word, powerpoint, excel, etc) is available for mac, and is pretty good, but for a wordprocessing app, it handles fonts not so good (mac on the other hand is good with fonts).
?6. What kind of Mac is right for us?
either the macmini (max out the drive, get a 5400rpm drive you will notice the difference, make sure it has bluetooth, airport, around 768mb of ram, dvd burner if yours isn't compatible). or the imac.
?7. What the hell is .Mac and is it worth it? We currently use Now broadband.
a network storage facility/web host space/remote backup/email thing. is it worth it? some people love it, for me it's like exposé, dashboard and a few other mac things i never use, nothing you can't do a dozen other ways.
?8. What additional software will we need to buy for the Mac?
your mac should come with ilife, which will cover everything you do. maybe microsoft office, and a few useful utilities like ecto for blogging, saft, pithhelmet (for making safari browser a complete joy) netnewswire for rss, there's so many really good free utilities, check macupdate or versiontracker
Thanks for all the info. The biggest stumbling block remains the web-cam....all the family use MSN Messenger and that's not Mac compatible from what I can gather. Anyone know if that's likely to change?
It is likely than many of your peripherals will work. If you go with one of the new dualcore iMacs it comes with an iCam built in so you won't need the old web cam.
Your Office documents should work fine - once you buy the Mac version. If you are fond of using a lot of decorative fonts on the PC in your spreadsheets they might pose a formatting problem!!
Your kids pc games wont run unless you set it up to boot in Windows. (I can't imagine why one would want that)
As for the transfer, Apple has worked hard to make that as easy as possible - for obvious reason.
If you're going to look at one of the Intel chip Macs because it can run Windows, give some thought into how much time you're likely to be running XP vs OSX. If you're going to be in Windows most of the time paying the premium for a Mac might not be a good investment.
As for the benefit of going MAC, well the Mac was made for users like you. Photos, music, video, the internet and little MS Office. The beauty of the Mac is that you can use it very effectively and have absolutely no idea how it works. (I work with people that. Designers who do great things but couldn't tell you what a preferences file is.)
Bottom line is, if you're not willing to replace MS Office - not a bargain proposition - and are going to spend most of your time running Windows - Dude, you're getting a Dell. If you're going to go Mac go all the way and set it up to boot windows for those gaming emergencies.
Nearly 100% of my private clients are switchers i.e moved from PC to Mac and without exception they're all very happy. Kids games might be the only problem but with the Intel Macs you can boot into Windows too. .Mac is useful for iSync. Keep your phone in sync with your address book - never worry about losing your phone. If you need any help - let me know. BTW the service in DG in IFC is terrible. Way too pushy and its a shame as I know Francis Yip the owner very well and he's very knowledgeable but hardly ever there but try to talk to him if you can find him. Another good guy is Jerry Lee at NewVision in Wellington Street.
All the advice given here has been fabulous. Macs simply are better machines.
Three words of advice.
1) Use the free trial for the .Mac account you get when you buy your new machine. If you like it and use it, pay the subscription fee. If you don't, don't.
2) DO buy MS Office. Don't you dare pay full price. There are substantial discounts for teachers and/or students. Say you are buying the machine for your kids and ask for the 'education' discount. In London, it saves us about £200.
3) If MSN messenger isn't working (don't know, I use the iChat client), you can always download FIRE, a multi-platform IM client.
If you do go Mac, make sure to visit TUAW everyday. It is the absolute best blog for non-techies. Lots of reviews and short snippets about Mac hardware and software.
there are two pitfalls to mac ownership. one is gaming. they just don't make as many for macs yet. this is why so many people are excited about the dual boots, they can have a mac for its stability and user friendliness, then switch over to windoze for games.
two has historically been cross platform videoconferencing. msn is mac compatible, but only fully functional mac to mac. skype says it has video support, but I've never tried it.
fyi, there are two ways to run windoze on an intel mac. one is apple's boot camp, allows you to choose which os to start up in. you can only run one or the other. with Parallels Workstation you can run both osx and windows at the same time. which might be a nice last resort if none of the videoconferencing solutions pull through.
actually, there's a third bad thing about using a mac in china. you're pretty much not gonna find any ten kuai street software. ; )
Macs are not good. They are not user friendly. Go to your friend's place to try out their mac. I did, last week. It was their top of the range and latest mac. I got bored stiff using it, it was hard to use, and well...I am a computer expert, so I find macs are really all just about eye candy and nothing more. PC's are not unstable. it all depends on how you fix it up. Besides, Windows Vista will be out soon, so you may as well stay with the PC.
John C Dvorak (dvorak.org/blog) has predicted that Macs will be eventually switching over to use Windows as the operating system - he has said within 5 years, but maybe sooner. If this is true (admitedly a big IF), then it may make the whole decision moot.
I use a PC. My friends use Macs. Who cares really, computers all do the same things.
I will be out of blogging action for a week or so. With a bit of luck and a subtle hint, my co-bloggers will dazzle and post in the interim. Alternatively, please avail yourself of the comments here or the forum to talk about whatever you like.
On currency, I think the US leaders need to catch up with the basic education of relativity. If you think the Chinese currency is too low, maybe yourself is too high. Instead of wantonly push others, maybe it is time for the US dollar to depreciate. All US financial activities appear to desperately keep/appreciate the US dollar. It is against the natural trend. It can be the US dollars are kept artificially way too high. It probably is a last ditch attempt to delay the final collapse of the US financial empire. I bet that would be the day when Jesus return ;-)
On religion, I don’t see the western pro-God policies fair for all. To give you an example, the abortion clinics are constantly abused and harassed throughout the US. Imagine systems where we tax everything, business, income, bars, buses, churches; except for all Wal-Marts are tax free. I bet people will jump out yelling unfair.
Think about it, that is exactly what the western policies are doing to Christianity. All churches are tax free. The system promotes religion. The system is unfair and irrational for those who do not believe in God. The US pledge of allegiance claims “one nation under God.” Does that appear to respect individual religious freedom? Remember the west claims that their government do not dictate people what to do, what to believe … what self-contradiction.
The Christian west then pushes their ridiculous systems onto others; frequently by means of bloody wars. I think President Hu did a very good thing. He went to visit business sectors first. It is clearly a mimic of the passionate church visits by some of the US high-level officials. Religion is not a big thing in Chinese culture. I would not expect the westerners with their five-year-old level Chinese to understand China.
"Baran is decorative plastic sushi grass used for appearance and separating different pieces of sushi. Baran adds a nice appearance and serves a useful purpose in a any sushi presentation.." via sushifoods.com - though I've never actually seen it used to separate sushi pieces.
I think that game theory is the wrong approach to this problem, which is one of dominance, i.e. who is going to please whom in the bathroom. Normally, John tries to please Martha in order to maintain his place in the same bed with her. Therefore Martha is the dominant figure. If John wants to assert his dominance, he simply leaves the toilet seat up. If John and Martha want to achieve social equality, John should leave the toilet seat down after he used the toilet and Martha would raise it again after she used it.
Although John is less than equal in the bathroom, he is more than equal in the office where he can perform operation #1 in a urinal where there is no seat involved. Women, by their very nature are excluded from using the urinal.
There are two types of people in the world: those who divide people into two types and those that don't. One fundamental difference comes down to whether you scrunch or fold toilet paper. In a most interesting piece of research, I have discovered that this trait is not necessarily inherited. Middle daughter PB is most adamant she is a folding kind of girl, despite coming from a long line of scrunchers. And she's 3.
While not scientific, I wonder what the percentages are of folders vs. scrunchers. Please vote so we can resolve this age old issue.
I've already mentioned that Mrs M is pregnant with our fourth child. Naturally it's a wonderful blessing, but it comes with a dreaded curse: finding a name we can agree upon. Inevitably my favourites are Mrs M's "no ways", and her "must haves" are on my veto list*.
And so, dear reader, this is where you come in. In order to prevent a desperate, last minute brain-storming session en-route to the delivery suite, I am appealing to you to help us in our quest for names. To pre-empt your question, we don't know the sex, so make sure you list both boy and girl names. I already have Simon Junior on the list.
To make it even more interesting, there will be prizes for the best suggestions.
* It is some kind of miracle we've been able to name the first three.
While on things reproductive, The Economist (full article below the jump) explains my recent weight gain:
THE term “couvade syndrome” has been used to describe men who share the symptoms of their mate's pregnancy. (Couvade is a word derived from the French for “to incubate” or “to hatch”.) Symptoms of the syndrome commonly include indigestion, nausea, headaches and weight gain. By and large, such symptoms—in particular, pain during a partner's labour—have been seen as psychosomatic, so that couvade has been put down to an exhausting list of possible causes ranging from anxiety to pseudo-sibling rivalry, identification with the fetus, ambivalence about fatherhood, a statement of paternity and birth envy. [Psychosomatic my arse - have they ever seen the bills for this thing? - Ed.] However, a new study on monkeys hints that when it comes to weight gain, there might be more to couvade than first meets the eye.
Toni Ziegler and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison examined the behaviour of fathers-to-be in two species of New World monkey—the common marmoset and the cottontop tamarin. They found that the male's weight in both species increased during their mate's pregnancy. The 14 male marmosets went from around 410g at the time of conception of their offspring to 424g when their partners gave birth five months later. The 11 male tamarins went from 556g at conception to 568g at birth six months on. A further 13 male monkeys (six marmosets and seven tamarins), which were not expecting to father offspring, showed no weight gain. The work has just been published in Biology Letters.
What was particularly useful about this study was that the researchers were able to weigh males and females throughout the pregnancy. It turns out that the males did not follow the same pattern of weight gain as pregnant females did, which is what you would expect if the males were eating sympathetically with their mates. In fact, the male monkeys started to pile on the grams far earlier than their mates, while their pregnant partners tended to put on most of their extra weight in the last few months of gestation.
So if the male weight gain is not simply down to sympathetic eating, what is going on? In mammalian species where both the mother and the father care for infants, the behaviour of the father is crucial for the survival of the offspring. In these New World monkeys, the fathers spend as much or even more time caring for infants than the mothers. They need to be prepared to engage in caring for their offspring immediately after the birth, which involves carrying more than one infant. So perhaps the fathers are gaining weight so as to prepare for the energetic costs of caring for their offspring.
What this means for couvade syndrome in human males is not certain, but it does offer the intriguing possibility that the father-to-be might, in his own modest way, be eating for two.
Yes a happy quandrary to be in, but a quandrary nonetheless. Have you ever seen this list put together by the US Social Security administration on the most popular names in America? Granted, that is not entirely appropriate for an Aussie but there is a great deal of overlap.
Simon I would like to recommend Edmund if he happens to be a boy. I know it sounds obnoxiously British, but I've always had a soft spot for it since reading Eugene O'Neill's "Long days journey into night". Thats not to say I hope your son becomes a dysfunctional alcoholic, but the name has a certain character!
If she happens to be a girl, well I'm not too knowledgeable about this, but the standard Anglo-American fair of Emily, Katherine, or Julia is decent enough. Can't go wrong with any of those, particularly Julia. I will have you know that every woman I have known named Julia since grade school has been beautiful.
I think you should name him Mark, in honor of MAJ. Have you checked out his porn site yet? It's a crack-up, and I've been having a good debate with ACB about MAJ, marriage, MAJ, homosexuality, MAJ, Brokeback Mountain, and MAJ. Check out ACBs thread on "Banned in China". She's quite a prudish one I think but I enjoy our discussions anyway.
In a desperate attempt to squander the world's remaining resources and to continue to have as little money and sleep as possible, Mrs M has fallen pregnant yet again. Luckily maternity gear is high fashion these days.
Congratulations Simon, on the imminent increase in the size of your tribe. It is far from a minor announcement though, except in the sense of the little one being under 18 years old - but that may be the pun you intended.
Yes, for the sleep deprived posts, more taking the Mickey please.
I've been looking for a particular watch to buy and it turns out it's not available in Hong Kong. Impossible, I hear you say, that the watch capital of the world doesn't have it. Crazy that a well known watch company would widely advertise a product you can't purchase. You'd be right, but it's an impossibly crazy world.
Being a new age kind of guy, I turned to my friend Google. And sure enough, it turns out the watch is for sale, online, from a place called Orolus, which is based in Malaysia. It seems to have a good reputation, but this is a not-inconsequential amount of money. Any one used them? Any thoughts? Do we trust e-commerce enough these days?
I could do, but most of my travel is within Asia and from what I can gather this watch isn't stocked anywhere in Asia yet. What the world needs is a kind of internet central bank, where I can place funds in escrow, the merchant can deliver the goods and once received I can authorise release of the funds.
So, nu? Which watch is it? You may be able to get it from a source in the US and have it shipped to you. I might be able to either recommend a place or put you in touch with my watch guy here in NY. Let me know if I can be of assistance.
When I was in Hainan, I ordered some stuff (books) from Singapore, charged it to my credit card, and never received it. It was a hassle. After that, I started using Amazon for my book needs. I would actually like to use smaller outlets, if I could know they were more dependable. Anyway, I would get the watch from the source, if I could, like somebody already stated.
Hi Simon, I've bought Seiko watch from reputable reseller via e-bay. For any online purchase, my recommendation is to buy additional insurance for the goods, in case it is lost in transit or damaged. That way, at least you can claim with courier company. I believe normally the price of purchase exclude such liability. Normally, DHL/Fedex don't carry watch with a value over US$100...so if your watch is more than that, i think the reseller will only declared on invoice it as US$100......(fyi)
This is a tale of a vending machine, Kate Moss and irrationality.
Important update at the end of this post
We have a vending machine at work. It has proven extremely popular with the staff, especially as the drinks are provided gratis. This has provided material for an interesting experiment. Now that price has been removed from the demand equation, it can be safely assumed that other factors will come into play. Taste is one, packaging another, familiarity (i.e. advertising and experience) yet another. The machine has two rows of 8 selections. The selections were:
(Top): Coke x2, Lemon Diet Coke (why?), Diet Coke x3, Aloe Vera Tea (again, why?), Lemon tea.
(Bottom): Bonactive (I think it's water in a can), Soda Water, Soda Water, Bonactive, Orange Juice and three variations of iced coffee.
Bear with me here. Inevitably the first drinks to run out are Coke and regular Diet Coke (there's always lemon Diet Coke left, even when everything else has run out, as you would expect). Naturally you would expect the bottler to realise that Coke and Diet Coke are the most popular drinks and some of the lesser variations should be dropped to make more space for these drinks.
You would be wrong.
In a decision that can only be described as incredible, the machine has had its two lines of Diet Coke cut (insert Kate Moss joke here) and replaced with Bonactive and Soda water. Why? It makes absolutely no sense at all.
Yes, I think I work in the Twilight Zone.
Update (10/5 @ 17:08)
The machine has been refilled and restored to its natural order, with 3 lines of Diet Coke back in place.
Obviously either someone complained, someone came to their senses or the evil conspiracy unravelled thanks to this blog post.
"The company that stocks the machine is sold out of the popular products and has no choice but to stick you with left-over inventory no one wants."
Which raises the question of why said company hasn't yet managed to figure out that its stocks of certain products are always the ones which are last to sell out. There's no excuse for this, it's simply poor inventory management.
Matt, a good point, but if that was the worry they'd start charging for all the drinks, not just pull the popular lines.
Fumier is right, this has happened before. Last time I actually complained and within a couple of weeks all was restored. This time I'm going to wait to see if anyone else can be bothered doing something about it. In the interim, my secret stash of Diet Coke is secure.
Maybe you are overlooking a more obvious answer. The drinks are provided to you for free, but cost the company money. The more you drink, the more it costs the company. By stocking unpopular drinks, the company can boast it provides free amenities while reducing costs by providing amenities nobody wants....
An unprecedented appeal against human rights abuses has been made by a Hong Konger known by the initials BL, a resident of the city for 8 months.
In what may be a world first, BL has launced a human rights case against his own family. A warning to readers: some of the abuses detailed may be disturbing.
BL's claim outlines a litany of allegations. Between once and three times a day his clothes are changed, usually without his say-so. Even worse, he is objected to exposure of his privates on a regular basis, usually to females. He is often transported to new locations without any prior approval and sometimes against his will. He is forced to eat mush and occassional pieces of toast. He is only allowed to drink milk or water. His movements are constantly watched and he is often forcibly forbidden from approaching certain areas. Occassionally he is allowed to enjoy entertainments of his own choosing, but usually he is subjected to a constant regimen of repeated propaganda*. His attempts at communication are often taken for jibberish and ignored.
Despite all these privations this reporter found BL to be a generally happy and bright young man. His stoic ability to deal with the constant handling and provactions, especially from two older female inmates, is testimony to his specialness. He rarely complains and typically greets friends and visitors with a smile.
Human rights activists are seeing BL's case as a rallying point. "BL is not alone. Unfortunately this kind of treatment is all too common," said Virginia Sourkraut of the Hong Kong Association of Concerned Citizens and Busybodies. "Right across this city and the world there are others suffering in similar silence," she said as she dabbed a Kleenex.
When asked to comment, chief warden Mrs M denied all knowledge of the allegations. "You've got way too much time on your hands" she told this reporter**. On a tour of the facility where BL is being held this reporter noticed several eye-opening incidents but due to a confidentiality agreement cannot be revealed here.
This reporter was lucky enough to spend a few minutes with BL this morning to ask his thoughts. With a trickle of drool and a mouth of only two teeth, this quiet hero said "Ba ba baaaaaaaa" while gesturing wildly and grasping a soft steam engine, clearly a much loved childhood toy. A tear came to this reporter's eye as BL firmly gripping and proceeded to pinch at my arm hairs. This brief but life changing moment was interupted by Mrs M, who firmly stated it was time for BL's breakfast. With a pleading look in his eyes I was made to say goodbye to BL and his two fellow inmates, JC and PB, under the guise of "going to work".
It is hoped the UN with splash millions of dollars on the affected family. Donations can be made via this reporter at the Paypal button or by purchasing items of this Amazon wishlist. Little BL thanks you.
No babies were harmed in the making of this post. A couple of Cokes were consumed, but that was it.
* by Mattel or Disney, usually.
** this reporter declares a slight conflict of interest as he shares the same bed as Mrs M.
Another example of autocratic supression of the freedom of the masses. What does communism really stand for if not to oppose such cases of man's (and worse women's) inhumanity to man.
I hope BL gathers enough momentum to crap over his oppressors.
PS glad he love the steam engine.