Author Topic: Mac users - Help wanted!  (Read 2762 times)

Jules

  • Has dropped his aitch!
Mac users - Help wanted!
« on: May 02, 2008, 05:49:51 pm »
I've been using and supporting PC's since the IBM PC back in 1982 but have never owned a Mac and my Mac Knowledge is virtually nil. I understand that if I buy a new Intel-based Mac I can run Windows either dual boot or by using virtualisation - but I don't need to do that and it's unlikely to get past my wife's audit of the bank account.

I just want a cheap Mac to play around on to learn a bit more about the OS so I can teach classes based on Mac software as well as those based on the PC. If I  become Uber-cool at the same time that would be a benefit ;D

I see I can buy  a second-hand PPC based iMac, running OS X 10.3 or 10.4 for about £50 on EBay. If I'm just looking  for something to play around with is this a sensible use of £50 or are they so slow, horrible and out-of-date that they are a waste of time?

If this isn't too bad an idea is there any particular model I should be looking for or should I  just try to buy one with the most memory, biggest hard disk and fastest processor? I'd like one with a Firewire port if possible - Is that all the G3s or just the later ones?

Thanks


Audax on the other hand is almost invisible and thought to be the pastime of Hobbits ....  Fab Foodie

JT

  • Howay the lads!
    • CTC Peterborough
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2008, 05:55:13 pm »
I would have thought that, in most cases, to learn the very latest version of things you'll need something capable of running Leopard (10.5).

But for £50, you'll still get a good start and most stuff will be pretty similar.
a great mind thinks alike

Lonewolff

Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2008, 05:58:57 pm »
Among my collection on Macs i have an iMac G3 which runs MacOS 10.4 (but is unable to run 10.5). It is capable of running most software. If you want to run the latest MacOS (10.5) you will need at least a G4 or newer - my iBook G4 runs 10.5 quite nicely. You can probably pick up a G4 mac mini on ebay for not too much money.

Valiant

  • aka Sam
    • Radiance Audio
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2008, 06:57:50 pm »
I'm a little confused, you mention running windows, but then you say you want a PPC model. Are you hoping not to run Windows on the machine you are looking at?

At the very least I would be looking at a G4 upwards, and 10.3 still supports most stuff, and 10.4 is good :)
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.

Support Equilibrium

Jules

  • Has dropped his aitch!
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2008, 09:10:43 pm »
Confused you will be!

I've got a load of PCs I can run Windows on so I'm not at all fussed if any Mac I buy can't run Windows and was trying to avoid any helpful posters suggesting I  buy an Intel based Mac so I get the best of both worlds.

I'm not sure what ver 10.5 (which If I  understand correctly needs a newer, more expensive, mac) offers over 10.4 and how much that matters.  My present impression is that about once a year Apple brings out a point release of OS X with a few new toys and that their fanatical customer base slings them the best part of hundred quid each to make sure that nobody sneers at them.

I'd be the last to be an apologist for Microsoft, having using Windows since the dreadful Windows-386 back in  1988 (when it was bundled with Aldus Pagemaker and Microsoft Excel) but this behaviour is at odds with that of many Windows users who frequently need a lot of convincing to take up new versions of Windows, as can be seen with the slow take up of Vista. Windows-XP, which I've been using since 2002, is reliable enough, the upgrades have been free, and I've not been forced to buy a new OS. I'm not sure if this is the case with OS X and whether the later releases  fix a set of bugs or just provide more shiny toys?


Audax on the other hand is almost invisible and thought to be the pastime of Hobbits ....  Fab Foodie

Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2008, 09:55:15 pm »
My present impression is that about once a year Apple brings out a point release of OS X with a few new toys and that their fanatical customer base slings them the best part of hundred quid each to make sure that nobody sneers at them.

...and there's me posting this on OS 9.2.2  ;)

Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2008, 10:05:44 pm »
No one is forced to by a new os. I know fellow graphic designers who are still using 10.3 quite happily. Tiger (10.4) came out in April 2005 and every update to it since then has been free until the release of Leopard (10.5) at the end of last year.

Not that much has changed between 10.4 and 10.5. It's a bit prettier and has nice toys like stacks, spaces and time machine but it's not as big a jump as say XP to Vista for instance. 10.4 is a perfectly stable os and there's no need to make the upgrade in my view. I've still to meet a fellow designer who has done so. I only use it because it came on the macpro I bought at the beginning of the year. I was using an emac running 10.4 up till then. Good little machines although not as upgradable as a G4 tower which is what I'd be looking at if I was you.

Valiant

  • aka Sam
    • Radiance Audio
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2008, 10:26:47 pm »
I'm still running 10.3 on most of my machines, stable and secure. There are fixes and updates every few weeks/months. Each new version of OSX is namely more for new programmes and features and upgrading isn't essential.
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.

Support Equilibrium

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2008, 03:52:48 am »
I'm running 10.5 on my current machines (including this 1 day old hi-res 17" MacBook Pro  :P )

New releases of OSX have generally run faster then the one they replace. 10.4 is great. 10.3 is OK. Do not settle for 10.2
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Valiant

  • aka Sam
    • Radiance Audio
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2008, 04:20:13 am »
Show off :P
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.

Support Equilibrium

Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2008, 05:01:27 am »
I'm running 10.5 on my current machines (including this 1 day old hi-res 17" MacBook Pro  :P )

New releases of OSX have generally run faster then the one they replace. 10.4 is great. 10.3 is OK. Do not settle for 10.2

Agreed. The biggest jump in look and performance was between 10.2 and 10.3.

It's difficult for me to tell how much of a performance increase there is between 10.4 and 10.5 since I've upgraded from a single processor 800mhz emac to a dual 2.8ghz quad core Mac Pro. :P





This showing off isn't helping much is it?  :-[

Woofage

  • Ain't no hooves on my bike.
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2008, 02:24:37 pm »
What about a Mac mini? OK, they a little bit pricey for the spec but they will run the latest OSX. Plus you won't end up with a redundant kb or monitor if you get one of those switches (KVM?). I'd have bought one (I like the form factor) if the performance was better.
Pen Pusher

Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2008, 05:18:16 pm »
anything with a g4 processor and 512k ram or more will be fine to explore the fantastic mac os. that said, i'd leave 10.2.5 alone if it's an emac or low spec imac, as although it runs fine, turning the thing off becomes a bit awkward.
she was quite innocent, 'till she got that bicycle - sykurmolanir

Jules

  • Has dropped his aitch!
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2008, 10:22:31 pm »
(1) I've been using and supporting PC's ...
(2) I just want ... to learn a bit more about the OS
(3) ... so I can teach classes based on Mac software

These three things seem to be key.

To be teaching Mac software you will need to be conversant with OS X (10.x any version). With the move to unix (FreeBSD) the OS was rewritten from scratch at OS X (10.0) and so works very different to OS 9 or lower.

Mac OS X 10.5 system installation requirements
Mac OS X 10.4 system installation requirements
Mac OS X 10.3 system installation requirements

I concur with the others about 10.3 being a significant leap and would advise you to look at 10.3 or newer. Generally (but not exactly), any Mac with USB ports will run 10.3.

- - - - - - - - - -

Having said all that, if you want a beige 128MB RAM, 40GB HD, G3 PowerPC Mac that has OS 9.2 on it (the latest it will run), I have one that I don't use any more which you are welcome to have for free, with keyboard (and a mouse if I can find one - it has a graphics tablet attached at the moment) but without a monitor (VGA or Mac). I may even be abe to stretch to giving you (as in passing over legally licensed ownership) of QuarkXPress 4.01, PageMaker 6.5, Illustrator 8.0, GoLive 6.0, Acrobat Professional 5.0, Norton Utiities 5.0, Route Britain 2000, and more (including quite a few music programs) - all stuff that I have had to buy new rather than an upgrade to get to OS X. All in Hazlemere, 5 km north of High Wycombe.
Audax on the other hand is almost invisible and thought to be the pastime of Hobbits ....  Fab Foodie

Jules

  • Has dropped his aitch!
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2008, 10:32:16 pm »
(1) I've been using and supporting PC's ...
(2) I just want ... to learn a bit more about the OS
(3) ... so I can teach classes based on Mac software

These three things seem to be key.

To be teaching Mac software you will need to be conversant with OS X (10.x any version). With the move to unix (FreeBSD) the OS was rewritten from scratch at OS X (10.0) and so works very different to OS 9 or lower.

Mac OS X 10.5 system installation requirements
Mac OS X 10.4 system installation requirements
Mac OS X 10.3 system installation requirements

I concur with the others about 10.3 being a significant leap and would advise you to look at 10.3 or newer. Generally (but not exactly), any Mac with USB ports will run 10.3.

- - - - - - - - - -

Having said all that, if you want a beige 128MB RAM, 40GB HD, G3 PowerPC Mac that has OS 9.2 on it (the latest it will run), I have one that I don't use any more which you are welcome to have for free, with keyboard (and a mouse if I can find one - it has a graphics tablet attached at the moment) but without a monitor (VGA or Mac). I may even be abe to stretch to giving you (as in passing over legally licensed ownership) of QuarkXPress 4.01, PageMaker 6.5, Illustrator 8.0, GoLive 6.0, Acrobat Professional 5.0, Norton Utiities 5.0, Route Britain 2000, and more (including quite a few music programs) - all stuff that I have had to buy new rather than an upgrade to get to OS X. All in Hazlemere, 5 km north of High Wycombe.

Thank you for your succinct and very accurate summary of my needs and your very kind offer which I was keen to take up. However I  put in a stupidly low bid for an IMAC located about 2 miles away from me last night before going off to the Isle of Wight for the day and have returned to find that a) I've won it and b) Paypal wants to give me a £10 discount vouchure which makes it even cheaper so it looks like I'm getting an G3 with extended memory and OS x 10.3 instead.

Thanks though.
Audax on the other hand is almost invisible and thought to be the pastime of Hobbits ....  Fab Foodie

Jules

  • Has dropped his aitch!
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2008, 10:33:46 pm »
What about a Mac mini? OK, they a little bit pricey for the spec but they will run the latest OSX. Plus you won't end up with a redundant kb or monitor if you get one of those switches (KVM?). I'd have bought one (I like the form factor) if the performance was better.

Terribly cute and I'm all KVM'd here anyway - awful lot of money though even second user.
Audax on the other hand is almost invisible and thought to be the pastime of Hobbits ....  Fab Foodie

Valiant

  • aka Sam
    • Radiance Audio
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2008, 04:45:42 am »
You are now uber c00l
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.

Support Equilibrium

Jules

  • Has dropped his aitch!
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2008, 11:11:39 pm »
You are now uber c00l

First post on Mac G3. Not sure I have l33t Mac 5k1ll5 yet -BTW this isn't leet  - just problems with the (to me) very choppy keyboard, on which I  have yet to discover the Delete key.

Have managed to set up admin user account -fortunately previous owner hadn't put a password on their account so it now says its mine. Ethernet refused to configure so I went for a coffee and it sorted itself out while I was away then did two years worth of software updates.

 I've set up a 60 day .mac account and discovered x-terminal.There really is Unix under there.

Suspect the hockeypuck mouse isn't staying around for long as its a bit small for me.

Off to tidy house and put on more coffee as wife back soon and she is likely to notice this new addition to the family
 O:-)
Audax on the other hand is almost invisible and thought to be the pastime of Hobbits ....  Fab Foodie

Valiant

  • aka Sam
    • Radiance Audio
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2008, 06:18:04 am »
A normal 2 button usb mouse will work fine. The keyboard might just need a clean lol
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.

Support Equilibrium

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2008, 06:31:56 am »

First post on Mac G3. Not sure I have l33t Mac 5k1ll5 yet -BTW this isn't leet  - just problems with the (to me) very choppy keyboard, on which I  have yet to discover the Delete key.


There might not be one depending on the keyboard but <ctrl><backspace> should do it

Jules

  • Has dropped his aitch!
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2008, 08:29:54 pm »
Just a quick update on my Mac experiences and another request for advice.

The G3 has been great fun. I've managed to get NeoOffice, the PPC port of Open Office,  and the NVU HTML editor installed. I can access folders on the hard drive from PC's on my network (SharePoints was useful for that) as well as having an old FAT drive hanging off the USB port , and have got it working as a PHP/MySQL test server with the use of MAMP. It short it's doing what its predecessor PC was doing (Backup and local web server) and for something with only a 333mHz Processor it doesn't seem too slow.

However it's taking up too much of my desk and I could do with more disk space, and probably a DVD drive  -  as was pointed out by a couple of people up there a G4 might be better. Now the questions.

If I buy a G4 can I add and remove drives and memory like I can with a PC. Are the drives IDE?

What's the story with the monitor? Do they all take standard PC-type VGA monitors or do I need one from Apple? I'm currently using a PC-type KVM switch and hoping to be able to continue to use this?


As I'm currently happy with the performance of a 333mHz G3 with 256mB memory would a similarly speced G4 be Ok for doing the things I'm doing now? If I  went up to OS X 10.4 (mainly as it seem sa lot of recent software has this as a minimum spec) would I  need a faster processor to get the same apparent speed? (i.e does 10.4  need a faster processor for the same apparent performance)

thanks

Audax on the other hand is almost invisible and thought to be the pastime of Hobbits ....  Fab Foodie

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2008, 11:26:52 pm »
Probably best to post exactly which machine you have.

Apple Menu : About this Mac : More Info : Hardware Overview

Then we can probably help.

A G4 at 1Ghz will run 10.5, so will cope with 10.4 happily.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Rhys W

  • I'm single, bilingual
    • Cardiff Ajax
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2008, 12:05:22 am »
I'm late to this thread, but... I installed OS X on my old 350MHz G3 iMac and it ran quite happily on 512K of RAM. What slowed it down was graphics - the graphics cards in Macs of that vintage struggle to cope with what OS X demands in terms of screen re-drawing. Still very useable, but a G4 is a much more capable machine.

 I've just given the iMac away on freecycle, if it had firewire and a DVD drive I could have found a use for it.

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2008, 08:21:31 am »
Not sure about drives (but I don't think that it's any different as I've heard of people on other fora doing that) but you can add memory as with a PC, up to the system limit. The Mac Mini is a bit of a 'challenge' to open but it can be done .

Monitors are standard connection and KVM (via USB) works fine - that's how I'm set up to typ ethis :)

Re: Mac users - Help wanted!
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2008, 04:54:58 pm »
You should have a look at xlr8yourmac. It's a really good site for what can and can't be upgraded on nearly every model of mac with brilliant step by step instructions on how to go about upgrading stuff and what model drives/cpu/memory are best to use.