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Podcast 024 - Mac vs. PC

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Credit: Kevin Murphy

Paul gives a history of computers and explains how he is hoping to
find a computer that will last him five years. Back in 2004 Paul bought an IBM
think pad and he reached a point where it did not have enough memory. When Paul
went to replace his think pad he discovered that Lenovo had taken over for IBM.

The Lenovo think pad was nothing but a headache. This computer was
very lemony. The new laptop ran out of memory, so Paul tried to add memory and
that was troublesome as well. Paul decided he needed a new laptop, but the
question was what to buy. Paul went to a local
because they have a good 90 day return policy.

Paul found the configuration panel and set the install updates to
"always ask" and the computer would shut down. Norton, Adobe and
several other software vendors would pop up and interrupt his work. Paul lost
work on a few occasions when the computer would shut down and not save his work.

Paul talks about Firefox (FF) and some of the problems he has
experienced with FF. Paul can have over 100 FF sessions open and he would see
CPU spikes when he was doing nothing. He is just sitting there, doing no other
work on the computer and Paul thinks that the number of FF sessions open in
windows should not matter. When Paul does video playback and editing and a
glitch appears he is not sure why. Is it because of FF? Paul seems to be
fighting with this a lot. FF seems to buffer the keyboard a lot. Paul tried
Chrome and was not happy with this browser either. FF seems to not use
resources efficiently.

Paul spent over a thousand dollars on his HP computer. Paul tried
a Mac. Paul tried Linux too. It pains Paul to give money to Microsoft and Bill
Gates. Linux was not all that easy to use unless you are a power user. Paul
feels that recompiling the OS is kind of a pain in the butt. Paul feels that he
just wants a computer to be his slave not the other way around. MAC does not
even need virus software. The Mac is optimized for creative use. Paul thought
because of the work he was doing the Mac might be a good solution. MAC seemed
easy to use. Paul took the leap and got a MacBook Pro. It had 4 gigs of memory
and a 15" display. When Paul looked at his google calendar he could not
see the complete weekly view.

Paul wanted to buy local but there were only two places in Missoula.
Paul asked about the return policy, but the 30% restocking fee was a turn off.
Best Buy was Paul's next call. BB was a 14 day return policy no questions
asked. Paul returned his MAC but not before experiencing problems with only 15
windows open. Paul feels DOS worked better than windows. While waiting for a
sales person he had a conversation with a MAC person and they told Paul her gripe
was that there is no delete key and when you write a lot you need a delete key.
Paul likes a keyboard with more keys rather than one with less. Paul decided he
was not a MAC guy. He gave it two weeks and it was too painful.

Copying files to an external drive was a problem on the MAC. This
was typical of problems Paul had on the MAC. Paul was disappointed with the MAC
fonts. The software for editing movies was very expensive. The MAC display was
kind of small. Paul does not like the touchpad on the HP. The MAC touchpad was
better. Paul really likes the red joystick on the think pad. At one point
Paul thought he could just get a larger display on the MAC but trying to
complete a video edit was just too frustrating, so the MAC got returned.

A staff member at code ranch suggested Paul run some software to
remove the crapware. Paul paid a computer tech to work on his machine for 8 hrs
and most of the crap was removed. Upgrading to windows 7 also makes Paul
nervous. Dell came up and Paul was not impressed with old product but tried
getting to the business people and after navigating the phone system they were

A gamer system is similar to what you need to do video
editing. The dell offers something called Alienware. Paul likes that the
keyboard glows. The computer seems to be put together well and has no crapware
on it. On the HP Paul figures switching to Chrome should help with the FF
problems. Paul did research and found lots of overly positive feedback that
almost seemed like it was paid for. On one forum Paul found a truer
review and how the Alienware was full of crap but he did find a good reference
to DigitalStorm.

The DS review was of a quality machine. The DS people care about
their product. They are trying to fill a niche of high quality product with no
crap. DS is one year warranty on parts but tech support was free. Paul hopes
that he will not need much support. Paul is looking for a high quality laptop
and decent antivirus software. Paul's research led him to ESAT for antivirus.
Paul specs out what he wants and the laptop is around $1400. The sales person
Paul spoke with was really really knowledgeable and enjoyed comparing the DS
product with other computers on the market. The price for upgrades was very
reasonable and the DS person was able to save $300 on a processor swap out. The
screen on the DS will be 1920 x 1080. The DS will have an i7 processor where
the HP has an i5. Paul got an extra AC adapter for working at home and a DC
adapter for working in a car. The DS machine comes with a backup OS on DVD. DS
provides a VGA adapter which is handy when you do presentations. Paul was happy
with the overall price which came in at about half of $2800 or close to $1400.
Paul can continue to use his video editing software too.

Paul wants to do some software development work and PCs are the
preferred platform there too. Paul is a big fan of Java, and Apple seems to be
quite proprietary. Paul would give Linux a chance but it is still a little too
far behind Windows products at this time. Over the last four weeks Paul was
done way more research than he wanted, but his conclusion is that the DS
product is high quality with no crapware. Paul will make a second podcast to
report how he is progressing in about a month.

Relevant Threads

Thinking of Getting a Mac
Getting a New PC and Selecting Virus Software
Issues with Browser

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Location: USDA 5b - Central IL
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To avoid the extra junk on COTS PC's don't buy one. I have been building my own PC's since 2006. I have heard of whitebox/DIY laptops but have not tackled one of those. I don't use Windows Home OS editions since XP Home gave me problems, I go Pro or bust.

Video Editing Software - I use Power Director 10 and I like what I can do with it. The ultra version (and above) of this software can do 3-D I believe. You might look into it.

I checked out Digital Storm and they have some high end computers that is for sure. I wish they offered Win OS Pro as the base OS and AMD Processors. All in all they offer some powerful systems at great prices.

Thanks for the recommendation on ESET.

I disagree that FedEx is 1st class. I have seen them take the most indirect route to deliver a package to me and since I used to work for a logistics company that just irritates the crap out of me. They could have taken a more direct route and chose not to, they made the package backtrack from Wisconsin to Indiana then back to Chicago (the package went through Chicago on its way to Indiana), seriously that is just inept. If its between FedEx and Snail Mail, I choose snail mail.

I hope to find a podcast in the next bunch I buy that gives a review of your PC from Digital Storm.
Adrien Lapointe
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Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
purity dog forest garden fungi trees tiny house chicken food preservation woodworking
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Erik, Paul reviews his laptop experience here: https://permies.com/forums/posts/list/40/18695
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Although Linux (or Windows or Mac or...) may not be the right solution for everyone, it has come far over the years, and it's worth revisiting. Please take a moment to read my post about it here:


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