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 Post subject: Wanted: Advice on Purchasing and Using a Mac
PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 1:27 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:53 pm
Posts: 914
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Right now I do all my RB programming in Windows,but I'd like to purchase a Mac so that I can tell whether my RB projects work equally well on a Mac.

Do you have any advice on what I should buy and where?

Also, are there significant differences between Windows and the Mac that are especially important to know as I seek to modify my RB Windows programs to run well on a Mac?

Thanks in advance for the advice.

Barry Traver


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 Post subject: Re: Wanted: Advice on Purchasing and Using a Mac
PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 2:00 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 10:46 am
Posts: 4931
Location: San Diego, CA
First off.. .do not buy an "older" MAC.... make sure it is a more recent INTEL based unit...
AND that it capable of running Mountain Lion. (most models 2008 and newer can do so).
I recently bought a 27" iMac to replace my MacPro because the MacPro was a 2006 model
and cannot run Mt.Lion :(

I have not done much cross-platform stuff yet.... but 99% of your code should run AS-IS
The default "SYSTEM" fonts are not the same
And if you have WIndows code that uses the Registry, or DLL/OCX/API calls those things need to change (the opposite would be true if you had a Mac and used Carbon/Cocoa declares, PLISTS etc)
but those can be wrapped in Compiler Directives so the correct code compiles based on desired Platform

As far as a Mac computer is concerned... If it is going to be a test bed only.... I would suggest looking for a pre-owned MAC-MINI (a brand new one runs $600)
but again... MAKE SURE IT HAS (or can be upgraded to Mt.Lion)... A Mac-Mini requires adding a keyboard/monitor. or depending on your budget an iMac (various sizes/models here)

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iMac I7[2012], OSX Mountain Lion 10.8.3 RB2012r2.1
Note : I am not interested in any solutions that involve custom Plug-ins of any kind


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 Post subject: Re: Wanted: Advice on Purchasing and Using a Mac
PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 5:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:53 pm
Posts: 914
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Dave S.,

Thank you for your very helpful post. It is exactly the sort pf thing I was looking for. The specifics were especially much appreciated.

Warm regards,

Barru Traver


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 Post subject: Re: Wanted: Advice on Purchasing and Using a Mac
PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 10:03 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2005 11:00 am
Posts: 583
Location: Beautiful Taiwan
barrytraver wrote:
Right now I do all my RB programming in Windows,but I'd like to purchase a Mac so that I can tell whether my RB projects work equally well on a Mac.

Do you have any advice on what I should buy and where?

Also, are there significant differences between Windows and the Mac that are especially important to know as I seek to modify my RB Windows programs to run well on a Mac?

Thanks in advance for the advice.

Barry Traver

I would suggest also thinking about if you want to develop Retina apps or not. If this is a possibility then look for a machine that either is already Retina (like the Retina MacBook Pros) or a machine that either has a large screen 1920 x 1200 or higher or can be plugged into a large external display.

The other thing to consider is that as Mac's can also boot into Windows or run Windows in a virtual machine, is when it's time to replace or upgrade the Windows machine is to look at getting a Mac. Yes I know they are a tremendous amount of money, but then you'll have one machine to rule them all and if you really don't like the Mac OS, then you simply stay in Windows all the time.

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rMBP 15" @ 10.8 & '08 MBA 13" @ 10.6 + 10.7, RB2012
http://www.ohanaware.com/
AppWrapper - Prepare Apps for Mac App Store & OS X 10.8 - http://www.ohanaware.com/appwrapper/


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 Post subject: Re: Wanted: Advice on Purchasing and Using a Mac
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 12:41 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2006 4:00 pm
Posts: 1282
Location: Heidelberg, Germany
When I sell a computer people always ask me about battery life, RAM, speed as if those are the most important things. They are not.

The two most important characteristics on a computer are the screen (that's what you look at all day long) and the noise level (even a tiny whine or the occasional clickclick from a harddisk can be incredibly annoying and distracting - for that reason I cannot recommend fast 7200 rpm harddisks in a laptop).

The thing I like most about Macs is that most of them are quiet. I build/used/repaired hundreds of PCs, and sooner or later (bar a few exceptions) they always sound like a jet engine. It might not matter much in an office, but at home I find it unacceptable. I have a 17in MBP and a 24in iMac in my living room, and both are VERY quiet.

The iMacs have gone downhill in expandability over the last few years. Since 2009 you can't simply use any harddisk anymore, you need to use a harddisk with a build-in temperature sensor. Or use third-party software to regulate the harddisk fan. The new 2012 iMac is a nightmare to open up, and even the techs don't want to do it.

I would recommend a Mac Laptop: it is quiet, has a good screen, and you can take it with you. I use a 2010 17in MBP with a 2,53 GHz Core i5, 8 GB of RAM, 512 GB SSD (just upgraded from a 256 GB), 750 GB HD, external LightScribe DVD writer. I got a 2011 17in MBP with a Core i7 and 16 GB of RAM which is twice as fast but sold it again. I didn't need the power, and the fans run too often for my taste.

Screen size: a 13in is wonderful for portability, but you might find the screen estate a bit limiting. A good combination might be a 13in with a 24in monitor. Get an LED monitor, not an LCD (the energy savings can be substantial). A 17in is my preferred size (I've used one for the last 5 years) but its weight is noticeable. A 15in might be a happy medium for you. Retina is great but not widespread yet. New Retina models are expected in June (see http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/), so if you can afford it you might want to wait.

Speed: I find a Core i5 is a good compromise between power and heat production. The i7 has more power, but the fans run distinctly more often. The i3 is not really worth it - you loose too much power for very little financial gain.

Expandability: The MacBook Pro is actually quite easy to get into and upgrade: I have and recommend 8 GB RAM, a 256 GB SSD and a 750 GB HD, with the optical drive in an external enclosure. The MacBook Air is great for portability but forget about expanding anything on it.

Software: I still run MacOS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard - I don't particularly like Lion or Mountain Lion. The monotonous greyishness might be a designers dream, I find it bland. Snow Leo still has lush gorgeous colors as distinguishing features without drifting into the garish mickymousiness of Windows.

Windows & Linux: You can run a range of operating systems in emulation - I run Win98, Win2000, WinXP, Win 7, Ubuntu on my MBP (that's where the larger SSD comes in very handy, though 256 GB is plenty for this). VirtualBox is free but neither I nor a friend have made the best experiences with it (might have to do with the German keyboards and the English WinXP system, but it was exceedingly buggy and not worth the savings). I got both Parallels and VMware Fusion as part of $49 bundles, and they are much better. You can even run Snow Leo Server (available from Apple for about $25) in emulation (which you can't do with the normal Snow Leo).

Backup: The importance of at least one backup can't be stressed enough. Better have two, one of them off-site. A theft, a burglary, a fire will still be a nightmare, but it will only cost you money to replace the computer to be up and running again. My father has over 84,000 pictures in his iPhoto library - if they should be lost I better not come home again.

What I like especially about the Mac is how well it works: currently I have FireFox (3 windows with 14 tabs) and Safari running (36 windows with 156 tabs), Word, Excel, Entourage, NaviCat for SQlite, REAL.studio, Xojo, EverNote, Win7 in VMware, Preview, GraphikConverter and about 15 smaller apps (I highly recommend Alfred to everyone). My Mac has now been running for over two weeks like this (since the last system update required a restart). I try this on any of my Windows machines at work they go pear-shaped. Windows machines scroll a lot faster but that is a sham because Microsoft didn't put a max scroll speed in, which means they can scroll so fast to be useless.

If you buy a Mac be prepared for some adjustments - some will be easy, others will be hard. I accompanied about 40 people from Windows to Mac, and most moan for 4-8 weeks "maybe I should stay with Windows". The biggest hurdle seems to be to get rid of the complicated way of thinking that Windows seems to instill. However except for one (a hard core gamer who should never have bought a Mac in the first place) nobody wants to use Windows again.

There would be lots more to tell but duties await.


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 Post subject: Re: Wanted: Advice on Purchasing and Using a Mac
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 5:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:15 am
Posts: 712
Location: Southern California
I second a lot of what Markus had to say. I would add the following:

* I love the 13" size for the portability. At home I plug my MacBook Pro into my monitor / keyboard and mouse / ext hard drives.

* I've got the i7 and use smcFanControl. Apple keeps the fan as low as possible until about 80-85C at which point it goes to jet engine mode. I keep the fan speed elevated to begin with and hardly ever hit that point, even with Windows running.

* I've used both VMWare Fusion and Parallels and both are good. Currently I use Parallels because it lets you assign full screen VMs to specific desktops. Fusion insists on creating a new desktop when you go to full screen, and I hate that. I have all my desktops on hot keys. Parallels also seems a bit faster at the moment.

* Without question your main drive should be a SSD. That is the single greatest speed improvement you can make today to any computer once you have enough RAM.

* I'm on Lion and am about to finally move to Mountain Lion. Snow Leopard was a great release. I just have to be able to test against Lion.

The #1 thing Markus pointed out that really impresses me with Mac OS is how you can just leave everything running for weeks at a time. I typically have FireFox, Mail, iTunes, Pandora, Real Studio, pgAdmin and/or Valentina Studio, Parallels, and OpenOffice running. My apps are assigned to desktops so I'm never looking at a cluttered screen and everything is a key press away. Everything remains responsive even with a Windows or Linux VM running. I don't restart unless I update the OS, I only sleep/wake. So everything might run for weeks or even months. I've never been able to reliably do that with any of my PCs.

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Daniel L. Taylor
Custom Controls for Real Studio WE!
Visit: http://www.webcustomcontrols.com/


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 Post subject: Re: Wanted: Advice on Purchasing and Using a Mac
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 5:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 1:07 pm
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Location: NotEvenOnTheMap, CT
I run a Retina 15" MacBook Pro. The weight and thickness make it extremely portable, though I'd imagine a 13" Retina MBP would be even more portable. Don't even consider an Air though, they are overall less powerful that machines a few years old. They are secondary computers, not very good as primary computers.

I'd rank portability on the MBP line as follows:

1. 13" Retina MBP
2. 15" Retina MBP
3. 13" MBP
4. 15" MBP

Trust me, the Retina models are so light compared to the non-retina equivalent. It's almost comical how different they feel.

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Thom McGrath - @tekcor
Web Framework Architect, Real Software, Inc.


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 Post subject: Re: Wanted: Advice on Purchasing and Using a Mac
PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 8:19 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2006 4:00 pm
Posts: 1282
Location: Heidelberg, Germany
Thom McGrath wrote:
Don't even consider an Air though, they are overall less powerful that machines a few years old. They are secondary computers, not very good as primary computers.

That used to be true but isn't anymore. Geekbench scores:

13in 2012 MBPro: 2.5 GHz i5: 6690 2.9 GHz i7: 7841

13in 2012 MBAir: 1.8 GHz i5: 6105 2.0 GHz i7: 6804

So the Air is certainly no slouch.

While power isn't an argument against the Air for most users, I still prefer a Pro with a SSD / HD combo and its easier upgradability.


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