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Author Topic: Worth moving to Mac?  (Read 76275 times)
stewarthemley
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« on: February 01, 2008, 04:46:48 AM »
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I'm considering moving to Mac after many years with PC and I wonder if the grass is really greener or just seems that way. I really DON'T want to start a platform war!!! I'm simply looking for real-life experience from people who have made the change, and also from people who can tell me some of the disadvantages of Macs. There must be some.

At the moment, I think I'll get a macbook pro and also a hefty tower jobby- a macpro. I'll be working with big files (39mp, 16bit, MFDB) often with quite a few layers, as I do now with my PC. At present, all my programs are PC and one or two of them I will hope to use on the Mac using Parallels (if that's the best way), programs like Qimage and my accounting program, etc. I And will be asking Adobe if I can change CS3/Bridge/LR to Mac.

I know there have been some teething troubles with Leopard but that's normal and probably no worse, or slightly better, than Vista (I'm still on XP) so I'm not put off by that. Any advice would be most welcome.
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k bennett
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2008, 07:12:09 AM »
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We were a multi-platform office until a few months ago. Had to be -- the vast majority of the university is PC-based, and we needed PC's to do accounting work, and test website development. All the creatives worked on Macs, but there were PC laptops sprinkled around the office.

No more. We recently purchased new Macbook Pro laptops for about half the staff. They run Parallels to do any work that requires a PC, and this works seamlessly. The designer and photographer (me) are still Mac-only, but everyone else is able to run their PC apps right on their Macbook Pros.

I don't know how well the specialized apps will work -- like Qimage -- but an accounting app should be no problem at all.

Other than that, it's just a different operating system. Though they seem similar, PCs and Macs to work differently, and you'll just have to get used to it. I am trying to move my spouse from her old Vaio to a new Macbook, and she's having a hard time with the transition. But my teenage daughter picked up the Mac like she was born to it (after many years on a PC).

Good luck. Our designer has a new Mac Pro tower, and it just screams. I'm jealous.
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2008, 07:25:00 AM »
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The main issue is whether any software that you need is PC only, as Parallels, VMWare, CrossWeaver are not perfect, so do not rely on them solving the problem.
However, you can simply have a dual boot set up and use the Mac as a PC [which is what is is anyway]. That may be a good thing in one way as you don't try and do all things at once. Having to turn off from photoediting and concentrate just on office work is not a bad thing. You can also simply keep the PC and use that as a machine for PC only software.

As for whether it's better. Both Windows and OSX are very good and if you know what you are doing there's nothing in it. They are both good and rubbish, albeit in different places. I was at a collegues yesterday and he's only ever used a Mac and I cannot stand warching him work, as it's so remarkably inefficient and slow. And it's not the Mac that's at fault. I see the same thing with people using Windows, though not quite as bad.  Most computer issues are PEBKAC.

My pet hate with OSX is Finder. I absolutely loathe it. In Windows I use a programme called Directory Opus as my Windows Explorer replacement and it is so powerful, customisable and good at making life easy. Explorer is better than Finder and DOpus is so many leagues above that. Not found a Finder replacenment any where near as good. But once you are in most programmes you won't notice much difference anyway. Though where Macs may well catch you out is trying to resize a window - only the bottom right [duh!] and trying to find a programme as it's open but nowhere to be seen, because the desktop is visible through the programme. I like to have all my progs open full screen and I do not want to see the desktop through them. Others love it. Each to his own.

I'd say the grass just seems greener, both are very good, if you know what you are doing, both are a bit pants otherwise. But if you do web work, being able to test sites in OSX and Windows natively and at the same time is very handy.
But if you need a new PC and are prepared to spend enough to afford a MacPro and the new Macs are currently reasonable value [they certainly weren't before update] and you can use which ever OS you want. Do not buy memory, hard drives etc from Apple, they will gouge you horrendously. They'll charge more than double for an identical item sourced elsewhere. even the staff at the local Apple shop suggest buying memeory from Crucial. The default MacPro setup is the best buy. Also remember there is no monitor included.

The above post just reminded me, a friend who is a lecturer and has always used Macs, recently changed to PCs as the dept stopped using Macs [couldn't get the software to run on Macs]. Once he got used to the different look and feel, he was perfectly happy. I think he now prefers it.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2008, 07:29:32 AM by jjj » Logged

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Per Ofverbeck
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2008, 07:25:04 AM »
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... I'm simply looking for real-life experience from people who have made the change, and also from people who can tell me some of the disadvantages of Macs. There must be some.
...[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=171464\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well, since I had to use Windows at work, I decided never to pay personal money for any Microsoft product, so my own computers have been Macīs from the start.  And while i COULD imagine a situation where I would switch to Linux, nothing would ever drive me back to Windows...

My present Macīs are a 2x2 Intel MacPro with 30" Apple Cinema Display, and a 15" PowerBook thatīs now just over 2 years old.  Iīm still on Tiger; tried Leopard, but decided to wait for one or two further updates (10.5.2 should come any day now; it might be whatīs needed).

As for disadvantages of Macīs, I can only think of one significant: letīs call it the "minority effect".  Whenever buying third part equipment or software, youīll meet the attitude "Did you say Mac? I only know Windows..." from salespersons or service desks.  So youīre on your own whenever you have a problem (well, there are several excellent web pages and discusswion groups that will be of great help).

That said, as long as Iīve read the specs before buying things, Iīve never really had to give up on anything Iīve bought.  And the time spent on solving such problems is learning time: youīll settle the next one far faster.
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jjj
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2008, 07:55:02 AM »
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I am trying to move my spouse from her old Vaio to a new Macbook, and she's having a hard time with the transition. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=171479\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Mac don't make an equivalent to my Vaio, as it is a 13", that is powerful, has a DVD, a full set of Connectors a nice big, non compromised keyboard and is lovely to use. MacBook Pros are too big for my needs and Mac Books are too underpowered/compromised. MacAir! HotAir morelike. So that's the big drawback with Macs, very little choice. I'm going to have to use my old Logitech keyboard with my new MacPro as it's wireless yet has all the keys. With the new Mac keyboards, you get wired with all keys or wireless without a lot of keys I always use. I want wireless but with no keys missing. How hard is that?
My Girlfriend's VAIO also has a 1600X1200 Screen which is bigger than the 17" Mac Pro and is not as big physically and comes with a much much better keyboard too. This is cost cutting by Apple, using the same cramped keyboard on the massive 17" tea tray as on the old [discontinued] 12"  and why their profit margins are so high.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2008, 07:56:13 AM by jjj » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2008, 08:06:58 AM »
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I also hate those passionate wars between Mac and Pc users and I would not like it. To begin with I say I use both Macs and Pcs, I own both and I am no fanatic of either. All I care is to do my work properly and cost effectively. So I like Macs, they look nice, they work real nice, they are stable, generally speaking. But... IMO, maybe... (don't get me wrong), they cost a lot. So to speak with facts, I recently bought a Mac Pro basic with 3gb ram, which cost me 2800Euros. I also wanted a second engine for the studio, but I did not have the budget for an other Mac, so I contacted a friend who builds  Pcs for designers and he put together a nice beast. It runs a Quad Core, 3gbs of Ram and Two Raptors 150Gb each at 10000rpm! It is mad fast, I only run CS3 photoshop on it, it does not look very nice and I honestly cannot detect speed differences with my mac. Best thing though, was the cost: 1300Euros...
If it gets built by a good mechanic, I believe a PC can be very stable. For PC users one can say they can find software on the net more easily, if you know what I mean... (please say I never said that  ).
In other words if you don't mind using a PC for any reason, you can get away with a smaller expence and for sure you ll do things fast and reliably. On the other hand if you feel you have the money for the Mac, then go for it, you will not regret.  
If you know how both platforms work, you will have no trouble doing your workflow smoothly. If you have never used a Mac before, then for sure you will find it a bit strange at the beggining, ut soon you'll get used to it.
Oh I forgot to mention I ve used both engines on 39mpxls files.
It is a huge conversation to get into, but for me it is very simple. Ask your pocket first.
George
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ChrisJR
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2008, 08:28:27 AM »
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Around 18 months ago I made the switch from PC to Mac and have never looked back. I used PCs for around 15 years but was sick of my pcs constantly crashing (I've owned everything from super cheap to high-end custom builds), and thus losing files and time and inducing large repair costs. Took me absolutely no time to learn the OS X operating system and it's so much more intuitive than the PC OS. No going through menu after menu, just one click and you're there.

If you want to run PC applications on a Mac, you could consider getting Boot Camp installed. You'll then be able to use your pc applications in tandem with OS-X but have the Mac reliability. Since Adobe released CS3, Photoshop and other design softwares run as smoothly if not smoother than I've used on PC.
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drew
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2008, 08:57:15 AM »
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At the end of last year, I very nearly tumbled for Macs. I have had a 12 inch PowerBook for about four years and desktop PCs of a similar vintage. The Powerbook has been very reliable. I have had no bad problems with PC stability, but I have replaced a lot of power supplies. The PCs were home built and you get what you pay for in terms of hardware quality.
In the end, I plumped for PCs, Vaio laptops (a 17 inch and an ultra-portable TZ series) and an HP XW4400 workstation with 30 inch Dell ultrasharp monitor and a Mesh desktop that had had very good reviews. I looked very hard at the Macs and I was certainly very tempted, but the real deal breaker for me was the cost and the limited choice. The tower macs are probably reasonable value, but are over specified (IMV) for still photographic processing and so the cost cannot be justified. The iMac is a gorgeous product, but I do not want hardware inextricably linked to the display. The Powerbooks are expensive and not ultraportable (the 17 inch Vaio was well under half the cost of a 17 inch Powerbook). So as well as limited choice, not much bang for your buck either. The only other thing that struck me is that it no longer seems to make sense to build your own PC desktop. Both the Mesh and the HP machines cost about the same as the parts and the software bought individually, but obviously came without assembly hassles and with proper warranties. So far, Vista seems fine to me. I pointed all this out to my brother who remains an absolute fanatic where Macs are concerned and for once, he really did not seem to have any good alternative reasoning for going down the Mac route. Photoshop et al looks the same on both platforms.
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« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2008, 12:54:33 PM »
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Super bowl commercial:

Mac Guy: "Leopard is better than Vista"

PC Guy: "I use Vista fine... no software is perfect"

Mac Guy: "Leopard is better than Vista"

PC Guy: "What's better about it?"

Mac Guy: "Leopard is better than Vista"

PC Guy: "Oh wait that's right you're still waiting for Apple to ship their computers"

This post is meant in jest not to start the "less filling/better taste" argument as I'm patiently waiting, over a year, for Apple to ship their new MacPro with a decent video card
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2008, 04:25:49 PM »
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OSX's GUI is one thing you may be annoyed with. Finding where you can turn things off can be frustrating because each GUI behavior can have preferences in different places. The bouncing and swooshing animated icons in the Dock can be turned off either in System Preferences or by using a special keyboard combination within the interface itself except for the swoosh animation opening folders and closing windows which there is no preference. This all can be can be hard to remember as well and makes my 2004 G5 20" iMac seem slow.

Went to OSX Hints website, copied a boolean based command line straight off the web page and pasted it in Terminal, a Unix based system utility, hit return while in Administrator User Mode and quit Terminal.

No more animations. Double clicked on an empty folder that spans the entire screen I use to check white luminance and the folder instantly opened as fast as turning on a light switch. Closing it was just as instantaneous.

I was terrified of Terminal and the Unix subsystem having no experience at all from being on Mac OS Classic for 8 years. I stopped troubleshooting computers because it all seemed so endless. My motto became-"If it doesn't work get rid of it." Fortunately the three Macs I've bought online since 1998 are all still working within their own OS version and all run compatible versions of Photoshop flawlessly.

The only positive experiences I've had using Windows PC's has been for surfing the web on huge networked systems at two local libraries. Screaming fast and stable. No Photoshop work though.

I've been on about five home based and custom built PC's belonging to friends and relatives since I seriously got into digital imaging in '98 and they always had trouble with streaming content off the internet and/or printing out of either Photoshop or Word. I've yet to be work on a really nicely put together PC system using Photoshop. I've always felt like I'ld have to find some guy with a lot of experience putting systems together to really trust a PC for working in Photoshop.
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luong
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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2008, 07:30:06 PM »
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Besides price and compatibility, the main disadvantage of the Mac is that it doesn't work as well as Apple would you believe. I've been using Macs as my main platform since the switch to OS X.  I recently took delivery of a new Mac Pro early 2008, and without going into details, it has been nothing less than a calamity (the Apple tech support own word), requiring hours on the phone and eventually a complete system re-install that wiped out all applications and custom settings that took me days to install and tune. Just to give an example of minor annoyance, in Photoshop CS3, under Leopard (Mac OS 10.5), something as basic as the crop tool does not work properly: when you input numbers to constrain proportions, they remain free.
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2008, 08:19:55 PM »
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Just to give an example of minor annoyance, in Photoshop CS3, under Leopard (Mac OS 10.5), something as basic as the crop tool does not work properly: when you input numbers to constrain proportions, they remain free.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=171667\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

No problem with crop tool here under 10.4.10.

As far as I am concerned, the main pain was in migrating the software from PC to Mac. Since it is done, i have had very few problems with my high speced Mac Pro. I only have the feeling that all those cores are sadely under-used because of limitations of the OS/applications.

Hopefully 10.5 will help with some applications, but I am still concerned about stability and applications issues like the one you mention above.

Cheers,
Bernard
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stewarthemley
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« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2008, 04:19:41 AM »
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First, thanks for all the replies and it's great that nobody started "the war"...

And what a mixed set of views. I was sort of hoping people would come down heavily for the Mac so I could justify all that outlay but it seems more balanced than I was expecting. Maybe PCs have progressed in the last few years, maybe Macs have slipped. Maybe at the higher end, where I suppose I have to be for the big files, Mac still has the edge? My view is that Macs can accept and use much more RAM which has to be a big factor.

One area I feel Mac has the edge is in some minor but useful touches. Eg, I often use my PC laptop in a dark theatre and can't see the keys. (I've now bought a USB LED light) but one of the directors had a Mac and his keys were lit up. Small things like that make me believe that Mac designers are more on the ball.

Clearly I need to spend more time checking out the basics like relative speed, stability and workflow. I know you have to try things for yourself, we all have different requirements, but still its useful to hear from people's experience. Thanks again to eveyone.
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« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2008, 06:44:56 PM »
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Macs haven't slipped, they are much better than they were, as are PCs, but the area where Apple has always really excelled is marketing. The reality is that Mac mags have much the same content as PC mags, both full of tips on how to optimise your computer and letters from readers asking for solutions to all the problems thay have. Several photographers I know use Macs and have had problems, just like PC users do. The main problem with PCs is that anyone can build them including you and I. The chance of them working smoothly is much less compared to say a Vaio or a Mac, but there are probably a lot more of these cheap builds than there are Macs, so all PCs get a bad rep.

For every great idea/design Apple have, they also have an equally stupid design/idea. Magnetic laptop connector, brilliant, a screeen that tilts back half as far as my Vaios, very annoying/limiting. I'm typing this on my lap with my knees up using a Vaio. Something I find very hard to do with a MacBook Pro. Most of the time, I stand at my desk for better ergonomics and again a Macook Pro laptop is frustrating to use as the screen doesn't tilt back far enough to see properly.
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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2008, 08:00:35 PM »
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If you are thinking of moving from PC to MAC and you use Epson professional printers, you may wish to first do some careful research on the user-friendliness of the Epson driver with the Apple operating system you will be using.
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2008, 08:40:20 PM »
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As a recent Mac user my 2 yen:

I expect to buy an MFDB within the next six months, hopefully a Sinar. Exposure 6 will be supported for Windows at some point, but I'm not holding my breath. I bought a cheap used iBook G4 12" with 640MB RAM running 10.3.9. This is certainly not the latest and greatest, but was bought simply to get used to the OS.

I currently use it to tether to my Betterlight scanback on location and for web browsing. No image editing is done on this machine.

The good:

Great battery life. I get 3 to 4 hours on a single charge. If I'm careful with the sleep settings, it lasts a whole day. This is pretty good for a machine of this vintage.

The bad:

Window resizing: It's a pain to have to drag every single window to maximize it to full screen.
Creation date: When I transfer files from the Betterlight, the creation date changes to the date the file was transferred. I then have to change the date using another program. This is stupid, to say the least.
File numbering: I name files this way Date_Location_Number. On the Mac, the Betterlight software does not accept numbers starting with 0, so for every folder I have to rename the first 9 files to add a zero. I don't know whether it has to do with OSX or Betterlight.
No right-click: Copy-paste, context menus are a pain with OSX.
No backspace key: On Windows, the delete key deletes characters after the cursor, the backspace key deletes those before.
No IrfanView: I haven't found a replacement for this great free program. Where are all the creatives who only use Mac when it comes to writing great, small, free  programs?
Opera is my choice of browser. In Windows, I can click on a tab to minimize it. I see no such option on the Mac.

The ugly: The Finder, the Dock.

It's possible that some of these problems have been resolved in the latest versions of OSX, or I may simply not know how to use OSX. I would be glad if someone could point me in the right direction.

I shoot perhaps a maximum of twenty images a day, so I have no particular need for 8 core machines. I hope Sinar gets out the Windows support before I buy the back!

Cheers,
Kumar
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2008, 09:24:07 PM »
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Macs haven't slipped, they are much better than they were, as are PCs, but the area where Apple has always really excelled is marketing. The reality is that Mac mags have much the same content as PC mags, both full of tips on how to optimise your computer and letters from readers asking for solutions to all the problems thay have. Several photographers I know use Macs and have had problems, just like PC users do. The main problem with PCs is that anyone can build them including you and I. The chance of them working smoothly is much less compared to say a Vaio or a Mac, but there are probably a lot more of these cheap builds than there are Macs, so all PCs get a bad rep.

For every great idea/design Apple have, they also have an equally stupid design/idea. Magnetic laptop connector, brilliant, a screeen that tilts back half as far as my Vaios, very annoying/limiting. I'm typing this on my lap with my knees up using a Vaio. Something I find very hard to do with a MacBook Pro. Most of the time, I stand at my desk for better ergonomics and again a Macook Pro laptop is frustrating to use as the screen doesn't tilt back far enough to see properly.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=171863\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You note "anyone can build a PC" but all your other posts have been mentioning laptops.  You really can't build a PC laptop, so this whole point is moot.

Some things about the Mac, in particular the lack of a registry, mean it really is TONS easier to maintain a Mac than a PC.  You can move from one Mac to a new one in about an hour.  With Windows, you have to re-install every application (gag).

There are pluses and minuses to each platform -- I've spent a lot of time on both -- and I definitely prefer the Mac.  It's a minority platform still, but the market share is around 7% these days and increasing continuously -- there are many fewer people that have no idea how one works these days.
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2008, 09:50:10 PM »
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Some things about the Mac, in particular the lack of a registry, mean it really is TONS easier to maintain a Mac than a PC.  You can move from one Mac to a new one in about an hour.  With Windows, you have to re-install every application (gag).

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=171899\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It depends. If you are migrating from one computer to another using the same version of the Windows operating system there are mirror porgrams which are supposed to avoid the kind of re-install you are talking about. But it is very limited. Even a migration from Windows XP Home to Windows XP Professional cost me three days of time re-installing the whole system. That will also happen to any one migrating between platforms. And the up-grade from OS9 to OSX I understand was no picnic. The people who migrate from one machine to the next within OSX have a real advantage in this regard, but does it work migrating from one "animal" to the next, and is Apple committed to this functionality going forward? If so, it would be a strong plus, becase we find ouselves up-grading our computers a least every several years these days.
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2008, 10:53:19 PM »
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The bad:

Window resizing: It's a pain to have to drag every single window to maximize it to full screen.
The standard window in OSX has a green button top left - that should fill the screen with the window - there are exceptions, however
Quote
No right-click: Copy-paste, context menus are a pain with OSX.
I got used to option-clicking until I got a multi button mouse (even Apple sells that functionality, finally!
Quote
No backspace key: On Windows, the delete key deletes characters after the cursor, the backspace key deletes those before.
I learned something today - the delete key next to the += key does indeed delete to the left of the insertion point BUT the delete key under the "help" key above the left arrow key deletes to the right of the insertion point (all these years...)
Quote
No IrfanView: I haven't found a replacement for this great free program. Where are all the creatives who only use Mac when it comes to writing great, small, free  programs?
You mean like BreezeBrowser and QImage that I think a lot of us would like to be able to use
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Opera is my choice of browser. In Windows, I can click on a tab to minimize it. I see no such option on the Mac.
Both Safarai and Firefox have tabbed browsing - what are you missing? Is it that the Mac version of Opera doesn't have tabbed browsing?
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Kumar
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2008, 11:26:11 PM »
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Quote from: AJSJones,Feb 3 2008, 01:53 PM
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The standard window in OSX has a green button top left - that should fill the screen with the window - there are exceptions, however

Not with Preview at least.

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I got used to option-clicking until I got a multi button mouse (even Apple sells that functionality, finally!

No mouse on location. And to get that function, I need to buy something??

Quote
I learned something today - the delete key next to the += key does indeed delete to the left of the insertion point BUT the delete key under the "help" key above the left arrow key deletes to the right of the insertion point (all these years...)  

I have only one delete key, under the F12 key. So OSX is intuitive?

Quote
You mean like BreezeBrowser and QImage that I think a lot of us would like to be able to use

The Betterlight files are huge and my usual procedure is to convert them to jpegs to do an intial selection. IrfanView does this quickly with great quality. It also reads many kinds of RAW files. I'm currently using Graphic Converter, but the quality of the jpegs isn't great.

Quote
Both Safarai and Firefox have tabbed browsing - what are you missing? Is it that the Mac version of Opera doesn't have tabbed browsing?

It does have tabbed browsing. In Windows, there's an option to let you minimize a tabbed window by simply clicking on the tab. It then remains minimized until you want to see it again. Not so on the Mac.

Cheers,
Kumar
« Last Edit: February 02, 2008, 11:52:26 PM by Kumar » Logged

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