EquestriAnn

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I am finally getting a new computer and replacing my beloved Dell from 2003 :D I am 99% sure I don't want to go Mac (no offense to the ibook lovers and I'm not trying to start a debate), but I'm not sure what kind to get next. I liked my Dell well enough, and if I knew it were the best out there I would get another, but I just don't know! It is a graduation gift from my parents and it's essentially free through my dad's company, so I'm not just looking for the cheapest thing out there (but of course we don't need to be wasting money here). I was thinking about an IBM, anyone have any experience with them? Or any other suggestions? I will be using it for graduate school, I don't necessarily need it to be featherlight, I want it to be fast and reliable, etc. etc. I'm sure there are other things I'm not specifying, but I can't think of anything else....
 

Ollie123

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Very happy with my Dell Latitude:) Dell has been very good to me (and I guess its irrelevant for you, but I got about $400 off mine for being an APA member) so I will probably stick with them. I'm partial to PCs just because I do computer programming with some software that isn't Mac compatible, plus my lab is all-PC so just for interfacing purposes it keeps things simple.

If I had the money I'd probably get a Toughbook. Nothing beats a laptop you can spill your water bottle on or accidentally drop down a flight of stairs without worrying about it;)

My only recommendations are don't get Vista if you can avoid it (because unless there have been some major revamps since I last used it, it still hogs resources like nothing else and really contributes nothing other than "prettiness"), and load up on RAM and processing speed. Especially in your case since if I remember correctly you are a fellow neuroscience geek? I imagine analyzing EEG data would be pretty ugly with slower processors or less RAM, so I'm very glad I invested in it.
 

blindchaos

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Thank You Equestriann!!! :D

I am in the same boat (though my Dell is 2001 :eek:). I am SO excited to get a new one just in time to start a PsyD program but I don't know what I want to get! I like Dell and Windows just fine though I've heard very mixed reviews of Vista (I currently have XP and I like it!). Anyway - let me (and EA!) know what yalls thoughts are on computers! :) I'm looking specifically at laptops but am open to any brand :)
 
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paramour

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I second the Latitude, opting for XP, and upgrading memory/processing. :thumbup:
 

Therapist4Chnge

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I've had most brands between work and school (compaq, sony, toshiba, ibm, dell, and HP). If you want to stick with a PC, go for an IBM....err....Levano ThinkPad. They have a few different models, and make sure to buy it through a school/business/etc, as their discounts make it on par with the other companies, otherwise they will cost a couple hundred more.

I'm going for a Mac with my next laptop.
 

RileyG

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I've been hooked on macs for the last 4-5 years and would absolutely recommend one to everyone I know. So even though you are 99% sure you don't want one, I think you should give that 1% due consideration. :D
 

SeaSquirt

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I got an iBook G4 for free in 2005. I loved it - no viruses, pop-ups, spyware, crashes, freezes, excessive lag or start-up time.

I upgraded to a Macbook this year... would never look back.

Macs are considerably better than PCs, but you don't quite appreciate the difference until you've tried both. If you go to Apple.com, you can make an appointment with the Retail Bar to get a personal tour of the Macbook. (Apple stores are very busy, which is why they have appointments.) They don't pressure you to buy anything.
 

toby jones

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I absolutely adore my new black macbook :love: that I got late December of last year. It is my first mac - had always been a PC user previously.

- Don't have to worry about anti-virus protection!
- Can sleep / wake it instead of turning it off so FAST to get going
- Terrific battery life
- Less temporary folders splattered around in places where you can't find them (Microsoft Software the biggest culprit here)
- Time machine provides a wonderfully easy way to back up your system and you can search through past states of your desktop
- Nice and portable and lacking unnecessary ports
- Leopard is pretty nice, too, and surprisingly easy to get used to
- Robust. Quality components.
- Wonderful keyboard (not too clacky)
- Compatible with PC often enough for collaboration to not be a problem.

But best of all: THEY NOW COME IN BLACK :love:

Maybe we can get the 1% to expand a little...
 

psychanon

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I am going to add to the Mac chorus, although a bit more tentatively because I literally just got my first Macbook last week and am still adjusting. I love it so far-- there are so many amazing features that I can't believe Windows hasn't gotten around to offering yet. I thoroughly did my research before switching-- I went to the Apple store like someone else suggested and spent an hour talking to a guy who works there, I watched tutorials on Apple.com, I read forum after forum, and the only compelling reason to stay with Windows seemed to apply to hard-core gamers, which I am definitely not. You can even run Windows on Mac, so if there are any programs that you really need to use that aren't supported by Mac (e.g., AMOS), you can still use them through Windows. Macs are more expensive, but you do get better equipment for the price. The better laptops like Sony and IBM are more expensive anyway. Anyway, I'm definitely not one of those smug Apple cult members who smugly disdains anyone using Windows-- I just switched last week-- but I honestly think that if you do your research, you'll come to the conclusion that they're the best option available.

As for Dells....my last laptop was a Dell, and I loved it for the first year and a half or so that I had it... it was reasonably priced and worked great...then all the problems started. The hard drive crashed, causing me to lose all my data (so back up, people-- this is why I'm psyched for Time Machine). Since then, I've learned that almost every Dell hard drive crashes at around the 3 year mark. I then had a million other problems, and had wait for hours on customer service every time. I think Dell is an OK option if you don't have a lot of money right now and don't mind replacing it sooner rather than later, but if I were getting another PC I'd get a ThinkPad or maybe a Toshiba. Just don't get an HP.
 

Jivan

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I'm on my second Toshiba Tablet PC (the first was a Portege M200, the second a Satellite R10). I love having a tablet and being able to keep all my notes on my computer, including hand written equations and diagrams. I can highlight articles on my computer, so that I don't have to print out everything and kill a forest to do research. (Though I sometimes do that anyway, paper still has its benefits.) Can take notes in classes on my computer without obtrusive typing noises or a screen blocking me off from everything else (was important for my undergrad; very small classes).

The main downsides for me have been slow speed because tablets have a ton of extra processes running in the background, and the fan can get a little noisy.

If Apple made a tablet, I would probably switch to it. Until then, though, I would have a hard time giving this up and going back to a regular laptop.
 
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EquestriAnn

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Aw man, really? Macs? I mean I guess I could consider it, I have just been so anti-mac. Even when I go to the library at school I hate to use the macs because they are so. freaking. slow. I guess I should go try one out at the store.... :cool:
 

toby jones

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You can game via bootcamp...
I was put off macs because the macs at university were slow, too. But that was because they were old. The PCs were pretty slow too ;-)
Microsoft Office 2007 is pretty slow on initial bootup for the Intel macs because it doesn't run native on them.
My way around this is to sleep my system rather than shutting it down (good for other reasons). Opening Word when it is already active in the background (nice mac feature) is much faster.
Microsoft Office 2008 does run native on Intel macs, though. I need to hit up computer support at work for a free copy!!

But really... One should use LaTeX any rate <sniff>
 

mik86

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I personally am planning on getting the HP mini-note when it comes with the isaiah processor. However, if I had 1000 dollars more then I would go with a lenovo X61 tablet so I could annotate my PDF's with notes and pictures and never have to print out anything. They have great battery life, 12 inch screen, spill-proof keyboards and a lot of other features.. light too!
 
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Cosmo75

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I have a Mac mini for my desktop and an old powerbook for my laptop. The powerbook is on loan from a friend who buys too many gadgets then never uses them :D I went 100% mac about 4 years ago and love it. There are some PITA's about software, but overall I've hit no major snags. SPSS 16 now runs on the intel based macs.
 

sunshinejenn

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I used to be the most anti-Mac person around, I was perfectly content with my Dell Inspiron laptop. However, I became so sick of the viruses, spyware, popups, etc., and after seeing my friends with Macs, I figured why not?

I will never in a million years go back to a PC. Of course, there is an adjustment period to get used to a Mac, but I can't believe how easy they are compared to the PC's. No viruses. No spyware. No freezes. Loads everything super quick. Beautiful graphics, everything looks so high-tech, and believe me, it IS high-tech.

I've converted my whole family, as well as my boyfriend, onto Macs.

I agree that you definitely need to try one out to appreciate the differences between PC's and Macs.

SPSS works on my Mac, as well as Microsoft Office. Most external hookups like printers/cameras, etc., are all 'plug and play', which means you just need to plug the USB into the computer, and it immediately works. No installing software required, which saves a ton of room in the memory department. Most programs now are all Mac compatible, I've never run into any problems at all, and I've had mine for a couple years now.

I use the 15' Macbook Pro laptop, and I also have an iMac sitting at home. LOVE them!
 

blindchaos

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Geez...the macs are really making a case here! I think that 1% is growing (coming from a PC user no less!)
 

cogsciapp

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Hey, I just got my first laptop, an HP Pavilion dv2700. I like it okay, but have some problems with the lcd and keyboard flex--I guess not too uncommon among laptops on general. I'm running Vista Ultimate 64 bit, and it's a very nice OS; haven't really run into problems with it. I used XP on a desktop for a long time, and Vista is definitely prettier...of cours, if some have found it buggy, it won't be the greatest, but I haven't had any problems with it. It's pretty fast for me. I have a fingerprint reader too, and that makes logging in and out much faster.

I switched to PC about 10 years ago because of compatibility issues. Always had a Mac growing up. But when I looked into notebooks, I didn't even consider the Mac because of $$ and incompatibility. Now I hear HP is bad and Mac is good! :( I'm going to have to wait till this thing wears out before I can get a new one...

So, T4C, what problems do you see with HP that you recommend not getting it?

Also, mac fans, how is it that it doesn't need anti-virus? Does Office 2007 really run on it okay? SPSS?

I should've gotten a Mac...
 

FSUJenner

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I am also a new Macbook user (as of February 2008) and will never go back to Windows.

Think about it!
 

sunshinejenn

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In terms of Macs not needing anti-viruses, I have heard it's because of one main difference between them and the PCs.

Apparently, Macs do not advertise that they are on the internet. Meaning, when you are on a Mac and you go on the Internet, the Internet itself cannot track you. When you are on a PC and you go on, the computer sends a message out to the Internet essentially declaring that it's online.

Another reason is that anytime the computer tries to download something malicious (say you reach a website that has some suspicious code on it), the Mac automatically has a popup come on the screen saying that a program wants to download onto the computer, and whether you would like to allow it, or not allow it to happen. PCs do not have this feature. That's how viruses and spyware are transmitted onto the computer-most of the time it's due to background processes you are not even aware of. You are always aware of them on Macs.

Microsoft Office works perfectly on my Macbook Pro. Powerpoint, Word, Excel, etc., all work just as they do on PCs I have frequently made a powerpoint presentation on my Mac, and then presented it in class using the classroom PC, and have never once had a compatibility issue. I've sent Word documents to professors and the like who are using PCs, and once again, have never had an issue.

The whole Mac compatibility thing is really more of an urban myth now, though granted back in the day it was much more common to have issues. Most programs now work on Macs, and even if they don't, you can run a feature called 'Bootcamp', which allows you to run the Windows operating system on the Mac. However, if you do this, you will need anti-virus, because the Windows operating systems are always unstable and prone to viruses (it's the Mac Operating System that is incredibly safe, not the Mac itself).

Hope that's of some help! :)
 

paramour

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Another reason is that anytime the computer tries to download something malicious (say you reach a website that has some suspicious code on it), the Mac automatically has a popup come on the screen saying that a program wants to download onto the computer, and whether you would like to allow it, or not allow it to happen. PCs do not have this feature. That's how viruses and spyware are transmitted onto the computer-most of the time it's due to background processes you are not even aware of. You are always aware of them on Macs.
Not true. My PC does exactly this. It can be annoying as frak with all the pop-up windows, but I'd much rather have to deal with them then a completely frakked up computer later on.

Not that I'm hating on macs or anything! :D I actually considered one with my last computer purchase but they didn't have the desired screen size/type on the laptop that I wanted, so I went elsewhere. I could have done without the thumbprint scanner on the new laptop, however. Seriously. I'm not quite that paranoid. :p
 

Sarahanne

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Hey everyone, goodstuff! Thanks for putting in your 2c, as I am also in the same boat and will be needing a computer for all my data and classes and what not.

First disclaimer- I am a total tablet fan. What could be better than writing notes on your screen, and have them automatically turn into text? At the same time you can record the entire lecture while writing your notes, so when you go to go over them and realized you forgot to write down a key point you can just listen to that part of the lecture.

Toshiba M400 was originally my favorite, but then I moved on to the ASUS R1F, which has a ODD/ Super Multi Optical Drive which can act as an extra battery, dvd/cd player, and/or extra hard drive space. It also has a larger screen 13.1in and only weighs 4.3lbs. It also uses BIO technology, which is a finger print reader (although several tablets have this security feature out there) but I think its ideal for protecting participant's data. And the ASUS is one of the more reasonably priced ones out there, however HP just starting putting out its line tablets that are much less expensive-HP Pavilion tx2000 is their latest one I think.

However, I am also a huge mac fan. So its rumored that Asus has teamed up with mac to produce (gasp! :eek:) a mac tablet!! Yay! Now if only it would come out before school starts...but it looks like it will be longer than that. The earliest I've heard it may come out by is November....anyone else heard anything about this?
 

Jon Snow

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Here's one vote for vista and office 2007. Excel 2007 is pretty cool and it allows more columns than older versions. There are some file structure/management advantages to Vista that I've found useful. It is prettier.
If you must, dual boot with Ubuntu, or whatever.

Mac is ok. The rep, of course, in the past is that Macs were computers for people who didn't know how to use computers. That's changes a lot, but the vestiges of that are still present. For what it's worth, I do like osX (based on unix). I have a mac laptop dual booting with Vista, but my desktop is a Windows machine.

My advice:

Build your own machine. You'll likely get a cheaper, faster, and more configurable system.

Newegg.com . . .

If you go middle of the road, you could grab:

COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

$53.99

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

$129.99



MSI K9A2 Platinum AM2+/AM2 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard

$154.99




SAPPHIRE Toxic 100225TXSR Radeon HD 3870 512MB 256-bit GDDR4 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card


$20.00 Mail-in Rebate

$189.99

Thermaltake W0116RU Complies with ATX 12V 2.2 & EPS 12V version 750W Power Supply
$174.99




GeIL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model GX24GB8500PDC

$133.99


AMD Phenom 9850 BLACK EDITION 2.5GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HD985ZXAGHBOX
$235.00

Subtotal: $1,072.94


That's a pretty nice system. You could play with it and make it more expensive or cheaper depending on what you want. I highly rec building your own. I didn't include any optical drives (or a mouse, or keyboard) in this build above, but they're cheap. I figure you probably already have one.
 

sunshinejenn

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Not true. My PC does exactly this. It can be annoying as frak with all the pop-up windows, but I'd much rather have to deal with them then a completely frakked up computer later on.

Not that I'm hating on macs or anything! :D I actually considered one with my last computer purchase but they didn't have the desired screen size/type on the laptop that I wanted, so I went elsewhere. I could have done without the thumbprint scanner on the new laptop, however. Seriously. I'm not quite that paranoid. :p
Haha, okay maybe some PC's do this, but if all of them did it, they wouldn't have the spyware and virus issues that they do!

Here's an interesting link regarding the Mac vs. PC virus issue, it's pretty interesting (and funny). I'm sure it's hard to come up with completely realistic stats, but this is an interesting read, nonetheless.

http://www.macobserver.com/editorial/2003/08/29.1.shtml

It is a little outdated, but the gist behind the whole thing still rings true today.
 
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Jon Snow

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Also, I'd argue that most of the problems with Windows are user error. The reason Mac is perceived as less buggy is because they maintain a stranglehold on the OS and the hardware. Intel designs macintosh computers now. The hardware is no different than you would find in a non-mac x86 machine. But, the fact that it is standardized makes it easier for Apple to manage. Microsoft has to worry about compatitbility with every piece of obscure hardware thrown at it. Given that, their OS is an amazing accomplishment.

Also, I think the reason we don't see may viruses on the Mac is simply marketshare related. . . and user error on windows machines.

You can make yourself invisible with a Windows system. Hell, you can make yourself appear to be someone else with a Windows system, or a linux system. It's not so challenging.
 

Ollie123

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Also, I'd argue that most of the problems with Windows are user error.
Agree 100% with that:) Pretty much every problem that has been stated about PCs (viruses, crashes, etc.) hasn't been a problem for me for about 10 years. Throw up even the cheapest-of-the-cheap firewalls (e.g. Zonealarm) and you're not going to have many of the problems people mention.

I'd also second the building your own system provided you want a desktop. Building laptops CAN be done but its a painful process compared to a desktop which you can throw together in a couple hours. I recommend a laptop for grad school though:)

Maybe I'm just bitter though - I think Mac was the reason Microsoft completely borked Office 2007 with the new menus to make it "pretty" like the Mac. Sorry Jon, know you like it (and as you said, they did do SOME things right with it) but I cannot stand the menu system. I'm happy navigating a DOS environment, so I obviously don't care much about the graphics;) I think they released GUI templates to let you change it back awhile ago, though I haven't had a chance to track them down yet, but there was an irritating few months of adjustment!
 

sunshinejenn

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Oh, I definitely agree that a lot of the problems with Windows systems are due to user error.

However, the fact that these same users then convert to Macs and don't experience the same errors does speak to the hardiness and reliability of the Mac operating system.

Believe me, I used to be as anti-Mac as they come. I used to hate the old Macs that my high school used...they froze every time you opened a program, and took FOREVER to load anything up. The Internet always froze and I had to save documents every other second to make sure to protect them from the inevitable crash.

But Macs have come a LONG way since then, and are much more reliable and safe than they used to be. The plug and play features of Macs is really amazing, I love that I plugged in my digital camera through USB into the Mac, and it automatically uploaded my photos without any form of software being installed. The same deal with my all-in-one printer.

Macs however, can be pricey, but I believe that they are worth the money. You don't need to get one of the high-end laptops to have an efficient computer, many of my friends have the lowest end Macbook and still adore it. However, I would definitely make sure that you are positive you want a Mac before spending the money on it, and the great way to do this is to go to an Apple store and have the 'Apple Geniuses' (seriously...they call them that), give you a tour of all the different computers and the different features.

They can sell it a lot better than I can! :D
 

psychanon

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Macs are actually much faster in my new experience. There's barely any bootup or shut-down time, and everything works beautifully, at least so far. If you experienced them as slower, it's probably because it was a really old machine or because you weren't accustomed to the set-up (you get used to it after a couple of weeks, I hear). Macs have improved a lot lately-- believe me, I used to despite the ones I used back in high school, and I never considered converting until recently. Mac just has so many intuitive ideas, like using color coded labels for folders, smart folders, and time machine. I'm not saying it's perfect-- my macbook has an annoyingly sharp edge and i can't get the windows to maximize properly-- but overall it seems to be just a superior OS.

I think that the new Office 2007 is the work of the devil. Why did Microsoft feel the need to radically makeover something that worked perfectly fine? The ribbons are so annoying. For what it's worth, the Mac MS Office 2008 does not have that-- they have good ol' drop down menus.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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I've built many a' FrankenTower from spare PCs, but most users probably aren't comfortable building a desktop.

As for end user errors.....that is why they have PBK&C and SEU error codes.

PBK&C = Problem Between Keyboard & Chair
SEU = Stupid End User
 

Jon Snow

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However, the fact that these same users then convert to Macs and don't experience the same errors does speak to the hardiness and reliability of the Mac operating system.

. . . or how closed down/inaccessible the OS is. Remember the one button mouse. :) Saw a great Mac/Mock add a few years ago with a no-button mouse ; liked that one.

I think the market share issue is a big reason why OSX experiences less virus and spyware issues. It's certainly not due to any sophistication relative to the programming of Safari.
 

sunshinejenn

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. . . or how closed down/inaccessible the OS is. Remember the one button mouse. :) Saw a great Mac/Mock add a few years ago with a no-button mouse ; liked that one.

I think the market share issue is a big reason why OSX experiences less virus and spyware issues. It's certainly not due to any sophistication relative to the programming of Safari.

Haha I love the Mac mouse! It makes me laugh. I don't use one for my laptop, but I do use one for the iMac. It's actually pretty awesome! Lots of random buttons everywhere that I am still not sure of their purpose...however, you can use a normal 'Windows type' mouse on a Mac, and they work fine.

I agree that the market share is a reason why OSX isn't targeted as much, but hey...who cares? Whatever works! If Mac OSX is going to be spyware/virus free because they don't have a big market share, who cares in the end? The end result is that you are spyware and virus free! :laugh:

And all the browsers are compatible with Mac (Internet Explorer/Firefox, etc.), but the native browser (Safari) is definitely not bad. I have had less trouble with it than I have had with IE. Could just be coincidence, but hey, once again, whatever works!
 

myelin

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. . . or how closed down/inaccessible the OS is. Remember the one button mouse. :) Saw a great Mac/Mock add a few years ago with a no-button mouse ; liked that one.

I think the market share issue is a big reason why OSX experiences less virus and spyware issues. It's certainly not due to any sophistication relative to the programming of Safari.
This is very true. All too often, I come across people who think that Macs can't get spyware, malware, and viruses. This simply isn't true. People who develop the malicious programs want to affect the most number of systems they can. Since there aren't as many Mac users as there are PC users, there are more people writing malicious code for the PCs.

PC or Mac, anything created by man can be exploited by man.
 

toby jones

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There haven't been any 'in the wild' viruses discovered on OS X 10.

So... Er... What are the virus protection programs for mac (also unix and linux) scanning for????

Microsoft files can get viruses, yup. If you send on a file that has a virus to a PC user and that PC user doesn't have virus protection then they can get the virus. Poor them. They should have had virus protection.

There was a malware / trojan (that worked via spotlight - which isn't a feature of Leopard):

> The only way you can get the Leap-A malware on your machine is if you take some action to put it there yourself. You might receive a file from a buddy in iChat, or download something from the Internet, or open an attachment to an e-mail message. The program code is presently hiding in what claims to be pictures of OS X 10.5, Apple’s next major OS X upgrade. To get Leap-A on your machine, you must (a) receive the file, which is compressed; (b) expand the archive; and (c) double-click what appears to be an image file to execute the code. You cannot get the malware by simply browsing the Internet, reading e-mail, or chatting with friends in iChat.

So to catch that the user needs to:
1) Receive a compressed file
2) Decompress
3) Open it

The system asks you 'are you sure you want to download this off the internet?'. The system asks you 'are you sure you want to open this program that you downloaded off the internet?'. There isn't much that you can do to protect the user from themself...

In the words of someone else:

> To date, since the release of the first Mac OS X product by Apple 9 years ago, I (a professional consultant on Mac and Unix systems for more than 10 years now) have yet to see a single virus for this platform.

> In fact, a user of Mac OS X had less of a threat of getting a virus over the last 9 years than they did of getting hit by lightning. And this isn't an idle boast, as a Mac user who was struck by lightning pointed out once.

> So here is a question for you... based on threat of lightning striking you (which currently is greater than the threat of you getting a Mac OS X virus), do you put as much time and effort into protecting yourself from lightning as you do from virus attacks on your Mac? A virus attack on your Mac may cost you your data, but being struck by lightning could cost you your life (a consequence significantly higher than data loss in my book).

> What steps are you actively taking to protect yourself from lightning? And are they more extensive than the steps you are taking to protect yourself from Mac viruses (which are currently a significantly smaller threat)?

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=430436&page=3

I think that Unix systems actually are harder to crack / disrupt / infect and it isn't solely a matter of market share (macs are Unix at base). You could always run Linux on your PC...
 
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Ilovecows

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Hmmm...because I want to get a new laptop before applying to grad school...and I'm debating btwn Toshiba and HP
Anyone have suggestions?
 

islandgirl1

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I just had my 2004, faithful, but very geriatric, hardly-holding-together Compaq replaced by a new Dell Vostro. :)
 

Markp

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I am finally getting a new computer and replacing my beloved Dell from 2003 :D I am 99% sure I don't want to go Mac (no offense to the ibook lovers and I'm not trying to start a debate), but I'm not sure what kind to get next. I liked my Dell well enough, and if I knew it were the best out there I would get another, but I just don't know! It is a graduation gift from my parents and it's essentially free through my dad's company, so I'm not just looking for the cheapest thing out there (but of course we don't need to be wasting money here). I was thinking about an IBM, anyone have any experience with them? Or any other suggestions? I will be using it for graduate school, I don't necessarily need it to be featherlight, I want it to be fast and reliable, etc. etc. I'm sure there are other things I'm not specifying, but I can't think of anything else....
I love my Compaq(HP) laptop, they are pretty tough and do a decent job for low $$$.

I also have a clunky old E-Machine, HOWEVER, the best thing I ever did was set it up with 2 HP 2207 22" monitors that can be either full page or wide screen. This makes working with my document in one window and PDF research docs in the other window VERY easy. I highly, highly recommend a dual monitor setup on a desktop for research work. It will make you much more productive.

I might add, as a former IT security specialist, yes... Unix type OS's are better, but that doesn't mean that Windows is going to be a nightmare. I prefer Linux over MacOS and Vista,XP,etc. However my Windows machines are at the point that they are almost as reliable as my Linux machines used to be. My Windows boxes are often online for weeks at a time (my record on Linux was 960 days of non-stop uptime [Yes,on the net - no firewall and never exploited], then I had to move.)

There is nothing magical about the MacOS, under the right circumstances it too can be exploited and vulnerable. It is a unix machine under all the pretty graphics and I do like that about them. I have considered the Mac but I really just can't get used to the interface and the idea of buying a Mac just to use the command line seems altogether backwards.

Mark
 

Markp

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Hmmm...because I want to get a new laptop before applying to grad school...and I'm debating btwn Toshiba and HP
Anyone have suggestions?
I've had lots of broken Toshiba's and very good luck with HP. N=1

Mark
 

Ilovecows

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I've had lots of broken Toshiba's and very good luck with HP. N=1

Mark
I've had one toshiba - it's lasted me for 5 + years. Does the HP last for so long too do you think? Is it as durable and the like?
HPs are sexier I've heard, but Toshiba's are supposedly 'better quality'...but I'm not too sure.
 

WaitingKills

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I just replaced my 2003 Dell Latitude for a new red Dell Inspiron 1525 in anticipation of going to grad school. I loved my Latitude until the last 6 months, never had a problem with it, so decided to go with Dell again. I upgraded stuff in my Inspiron and it works like a dream so far. So much faster and lighter and prettier then my Latitude. :)
 

Markp

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I've had one toshiba - it's lasted me for 5 + years. Does the HP last for so long too do you think? Is it as durable and the like?
HPs are sexier I've heard, but Toshiba's are supposedly 'better quality'...but I'm not too sure.
I'm tough on laptops... the old IBM thinkpads were indestructible (I'm not sold on the new Lenovo's), the old toshiba's always fell apart, I've had good luck with the compaq/hp. I think a lot of it is luck of the draw. If you find one that is good quality at a particular place in time... that's the one to get.

I don't want to call any one brand out, because today's star can be tomorrows turd.

Mark
 

Psycycle

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I switched to Mac last year and have no regrets. When my husband's PC died we got our first MacBook in March, and when my PC died in November we got our second. It's fantastic so far - very few problems. Occasionally Firefox will freeze, but that's about it. Opening Word 2008 and Word 2004 and trying to use Endnote in 2004 since it doesn't work yet in 2008 has been an issue, but that's nothing to do with Mac and hopefully will be fixed soon.

I will never, ever switch back to PCs. The 25 second boot time - I think my PC took 5 minutes minimum - is fabulous. The general lack of freezing, never having to reboot due to computer problems, the lack of spyware/viruses, the lack of all kinds of add on software installed, the STABILITY - it's wonderful. As for the one-button mouse, it's no trouble to hold down function and click to get all of the right-button properties.

As for long-term stability - my GA computer is a 2003 eMac and works as well as the day it was born.


I adore my Macbook!!
 

toby jones

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1) What ya doing using Firefox? I agree that firefox is better than IE but Safari is pretty good (and Camino can be a nice backup). Took me a while to make that switch (Firefox is the coolest thing in the world on PC) but I guess Firefox has been a force in driving Safari to the good state in which you find it today. It is pretty good.

:)

2) The one button mouse I COULD NOT get used to. I use my scroll pad for a mouse but have invested (or rather my department has invested) in a bluetooth wireless keyboard. Niiiiiiice. My officemate has the matching bluetooth wireless mouse but no way (IMHO). I could get used to the two-fingered click (right mouse click function) but don't like the one button mouse. Don't like it AT ALL.

4) An external screen is super dooper nice. I got (or the department did) a nice stand for it so that I can pull the monitor back and forward and left and right and higher and lower and tilted lest and tilted right etc etc etc. It is nice to type into tex on my macbook and compile the PDF for viewing on the external monitor. Or play games / check email on my macbook and display my work on the external monitor (angled strategically towards the door incase supervisor is lurking)

:)

(PS always always always offer to water the departmental secretary's plants for the holidays. Secretary's have important access to important things such as 'use it or lose it' information technology student budgets)
 

immortalavalamp

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I have an HP, and I absolutely love it. It came with Vista, but it's possible to have XP installed instead.

I have three friends and an advisor who had their Dells die on them in the last four years. One was an honors student who lost all of the recent work she'd done on her thesis, because her Dell just DIED one day. She was a comp sci major who also tried to mod computers. If she can't bring it back, no one can...and she couldn't. Another friend of mine was able to get most of the data she needed off of the harddrive, but needed her computer to be completely replaced. A friend of mine JUST had her Dell die last week (she's had it for two years). My advisor's harddrive died two weeks ago. She got the "blue screen of death," and couldn't retrieve anything from her computer. Luckily, she had all the files backed up.

I know this is anecdotal evidence and that some people have good experiences, but four Dell deaths in my immediate circle of friends = not good. I would really go with another company. ANY other company.
 

Markp

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As for long-term stability - my GA computer is a 2003 eMac and works as well as the day it was born.


I adore my Macbook!!

LOL, My thinkpad 2645 P-II 266 MHz still runs, does that make it adorable? Hmmm, good question, but it does work well for tuning cars. Circa 1998 or so.

Mark
 

WannaBeDrMe

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I go through a laptop a year. Don't ask...

I have had 3 HP's, 3 Toshiba's, 1 Sony VAIO, 1 Dell Inspiron

Just my opinion:

HP: Horrible customer service, frustrating, try to get out of warranty issues, I had 2 HP laptops catch fire in my lap, all of them the cords frayed and fried the mother board, I stopped buying HP

Toshiba: I have one now that is huge, 17 inch, superfast, I like it, but it's more cheaply made, the keys show wear after only a few months, it has very few issues, runs VISTA well, and was CHEAP... maybe $700 total?? Toshiba's customer support has been GREAT, all warranty issues were fully repaired, paid shipping, quick turn around time, and again cheap

Dell: I hated it, it was for work, and it was the slowest most evil computer I've ever owned, it was also heavy and expensive

Sony: I loved it but it was very, very pricey and ended up dying about a month after warranty ran out over a known issue (per the internet blogs I read after it died)... it is fixable but I haven't taken the time to address it, I almost bought another Sony before this one, but it would have cost double than this Toshiba...

I have considered Macs too b/c they are sexy little things.... but in the end, the salary of a poor mental health worker won out over the sexy. Plus, I have serious trauma from computer classes that were forced on me in elementary school and centered around programming the old Apples. Grrrr... I never could get my flower to draw. :)

good luck with your choice!
 

clinpsychjack

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Dell Latitude 630! I love it...it has everything I need minus all the useless crap (that becomes outdated really fast) that they put on inspirons.

I bought it last July through the small business division...which saved me like $600. I highly recommend doing that. If you don't work as an RA with a university, they you can use your undergrad institution as your "small business". You can have it delivered to home, and they really don't check to see if you're buying it for business or personal use.

The only thing I regret is chosing Windows VISTA. It's horrible. My work computer has XP so I have to switch back from XP (at work) to VISTA (at home) everyday and I definitely like XP more. VISTA is slow, the screen goes black whenever it's loading/installing/troubleshooting (which is a lot), it's more difficult to navigate and find folders/documents, and it won't let you download copies of anything (except maybe music). For instance, I have a copy of SPSS from work, but it won't download on to VISTA b/c of VISTA's security/anti-piracy features. I had no problem downloading this CD onto XP. I don't know what I'm going to do for grad school, but I'll do anything I can to avoid spending 1000s of dollars to buy a new SPSS CD. Anyone have any advice on how I can download copies of software onto Vista?
 

myelin

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Dell Latitude 630! I love it...it has everything I need minus all the useless crap (that becomes outdated really fast) that they put on inspirons.

I bought it last July through the small business division...which saved me like $600. I highly recommend doing that. If you don't work as an RA with a university, they you can use your undergrad institution as your "small business". You can have it delivered to home, and they really don't check to see if you're buying it for business or personal use.

The only thing I regret is chosing Windows VISTA. It's horrible. My work computer has XP so I have to switch back from XP (at work) to VISTA (at home) everyday and I definitely like XP more. VISTA is slow, the screen goes black whenever it's loading/installing/troubleshooting (which is a lot), it's more difficult to navigate and find folders/documents, and it won't let you download copies of anything (except maybe music). For instance, I have a copy of SPSS from work, but it won't download on to VISTA b/c of VISTA's security/anti-piracy features. I had no problem downloading this CD onto XP. I don't know what I'm going to do for grad school, but I'll do anything I can to avoid spending 1000s of dollars to buy a new SPSS CD. Anyone have any advice on how I can download copies of software onto Vista?
I'm not sure what the problem is. Do you have a physical CD of SPSS? Can you get SPSS to install on VISTA? Or do you get the "SPSS processor unavailable" error?

When I built my new PC over the holiday break, I installed both XP Pro and Vista 64. I'm also running SPSS v 15.0 on both operating systems with no issues.
 

clinpsychjack

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I'm not sure what the problem is. Do you have a physical CD of SPSS? Can you get SPSS to install on VISTA? Or do you get the "SPSS processor unavailable" error?

When I built my new PC over the holiday break, I installed both XP Pro and Vista 64. I'm also running SPSS v 15.0 on both operating systems with no issues.
I have the SPSS CD, but it's a copy from the original software. I got it from a coworker, and was able to install it on my work computer and my old computer--both have Windows XP. However, when I got my new computer, I wasn't able to install it on Vista b/c I guess Vista recognized it as copied software.

I guess I can try again, but did you have an original SPSS CD or was it a burnt version?

Another problem I had was that I had a burnt copy of Microsoft Office 2003 and it wouldn't download to Vista either b/c it recognized it as a copy. Luckily I was able to obtain a copy of Office 2007 (the original CD with barcode) from a friend.

Before I start grad school, I would really like to get SPSS on my computer, so if you have any advice let me know! Thanks.
 

psychanon

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I go through a laptop a year. Don't ask...

.....

I have considered Macs too b/c they are sexy little things.... but in the end, the salary of a poor mental health worker won out over the sexy. Plus, I have serious trauma from computer classes that were forced on me in elementary school and centered around programming the old Apples. Grrrr... I never could get my flower to draw. :)
Are you talking about Logo? Do you remember when all the teachers thought the Logo was the wave of the future, and we all needed to learn it so we could succeed at our future careers? :laugh:

BTW...I understand being poor, but perhaps it would be cheaper to invest in a laptop that will last more than one year...:)

clinpsychjack said:
Before I start grad school, I would really like to get SPSS on my computer, so if you have any advice let me know! Thanks.
Sounds like you have two options:
-Switch back to XP (and do it soon before they stop selling it)
-buy copy of SPSS
-find an illegal copy on a torrent website (but you didn't hear that from me!)

If you buy SPSS, check out whether your future university offers it at a reduced price once you're officially enlisted as a student. My school offers the full version for $50 (that's for a year subscription, btw-- gone are the days of only having to buy it once-- stupid profit motive). I've even heard of schools offering it for free. Or maybe if you have an advisor with lots of spare grant dollars, he or she will buy it for you.
 
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