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Author Topic: PC vs Mac  (Read 1716 times)
W4ZLG
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Posts: 8




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« on: May 13, 2004, 02:28:12 PM »

I've had 5 friends (2 are hams) who recently switched from using a PC and have gone to Macs running OS X.  All of them are now swearing that after using Macs for the past few months, they now shudder the thought of using Windows PC's.   The two hams are using their Macs and have found software for logging, echolink software for the mac, satellite tracking software as well as rotor and rig control software.   None of them has spent a fortune in software for the Mac.  However none of them are contesters, which is something I would like to try.

I am going to swtch and give the Mac's a try.  I researched the prices and they seem very competitive with Dell's current offerings.  The reviews on epinion.com for the iMac is rated very high.  But before I do,   I want to know a few things first.  How much external noise pollution will be introduced into the HF bands from these computers?   Has anyone had this problem with Mac's?  Has anyone found contest software for Mac OS X?  Any ham who owns a Mac, do you feel the same way as my friends do?  

Seems like in windows xp, when you get an update, you get a bug fix or a security fix.  My friends tell me when they get an update from Apple, it's mostly software ehancements.  Is this true?  And Mac's haven't been threatened by virus (yet)?

Ok fellow hams.   Should I pluck down my hard earned money on a iMac, or should a stay with my current crash and burn PC that's less than 6 months old?   I'll be especially interested in opinions from users who are familiar with both platforms.  73's!
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KF6JZC
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2004, 06:53:26 PM »

Which computer you use is a matter of personal choice. I am sure you will find lovers and haters of all types of computers.

The only comment that I can make is with regards to viruses, intrusions, and other havoc that can be had on a computer as told to me by am 'expert' in the field.  The only reason why Windows PCs seem to be hit by viruses and other problems from the outside is because the Windows PC is the most prevalent out on the market.  The MAC and the Linux PCs are just as vulnerable, it is just that most virus hackers write for the most used computer.... the Windows PC.
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W0YKZ
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Posts: 7




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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2004, 03:19:43 PM »

My personal preference is the Macintosh for general purpose and amateur radio use.The subject has been hotly debated elsewhere.

Many good amateur software programs are available for the Mac, and excellent packages exist for the PC. My recommendation is that you look closely at the results that hams on both sides are having and compare with you personal experience.

Here are some good sources of information on Mac amateur software.


Mac amateur radio software sites:

http://www.machamradio.com

http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/ham-mac

http://www.dogparksoftware.com

http://www.blackcatsystems.com

I hope this will be of some help. The experience of your friends with the Macintosh is typical.

73s Bob
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KQ6EA
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2004, 08:42:55 AM »

While he's right about virus writers targeting the more popular Operating Systems, your "expert" obviously knows very little about Linux. Linux is *much* more immune to virus and trojan compromises than a PC running Windoze because of the structure of the file system, and the concept of permissions. A Windoze PC will allow a program or web browser ActiveX applet to do things to other parts of the system that a *nix operating system will not. For a virus or trojan to do any damage, it would have to get "root" permission, and if a remote attacker can gain "root", you have a lot more to worry about than somebody hijacking your Outlook address book, and emailing everybody in it.
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N3ZKP
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Posts: 2008




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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2004, 05:17:24 PM »

<< The MAC and the Linux PCs are just as vulnerable,  >>

Not true.  The number of successful virus attacks on Mac Operating Systems can be counted on the fingers of one hand and the last one was several years ago.

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W4ZLG
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Posts: 8




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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2004, 12:05:43 PM »

Thanks for all of your replys.   I actually went out and bought an  iMac this weekend.   So far, I'm glad I did.  I also purchased MacLogger DX and I just love this program.  I can't wait to build the cables and converter so I can run the IC-746pro interface with this software.  So far, no complaints.  I'll update this as time goes by.

As far as virus is concerned, we would all be ignorant if we don't take virus seriously, regardless of the platform we decide to use.   I found that Apple indeed has a virus program called Virex as part of it's .Mac service, and it's updated regularly.  Even if Mac OS X doesn't execute a windows virus on the mac, you CAN still pass it on in email, or word attachments or whatever it arives on to other less suspecting users.  

73's de Ken
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W6RLL
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2004, 02:16:07 PM »

What did you end up using for contest software?
Thanks from Joe, W6RLL.

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AA4LR
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2004, 09:48:05 PM »


You asked specifically about the interference generating potential of Macs.

Apple has always produced computers that meet FCC Class B standards. This required a lot of work on the original Apple II design. Burrell Smith, the original designer of the Macintosh, went to great lengths to keep RFI emissions down. Every port on the original Macintosh was filtered.

Macs are built to the same standards today. Typically, you'll find great RFI resistance -- much better than in any PC clone.
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N3ZKP
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2004, 10:02:16 AM »

I have had four different Macs in my shack, the latest being a G4, and the only RFI problem I have had is from my current NEC monitor. My previous monitors were all Apple-branded and no problems from them.

Lon
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N2ERN
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Posts: 238




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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2004, 05:59:55 PM »

I prefer Norton Antivirus for Macintosh. I also run Norton Personal Firewall behind my router. Norton Antivirus checks for PC viruses, too, so you don't have to worry about passing them along to other by accident.

You should definitely sign up to the ham-mac reflector right now, if you haven't already done so. Those there know an awful lot, and will help talk you through any questions that you might have.

Even Macs need a lube job and oil change now and then, so here goes:
Don't shut your Mac down at night. OS X runs daily, weekly and monthly maintenance routines in the dead of night. You CAN run these manually in the TERMINAL window, or you can download the free MacJanitor and run them by clicking on a button.

You should own at least one of these: Norton Utilities for Macintosh (easier to use) or TechTools4 (slower and not as intuitive, but said to be "better") You'll need to repair things now and then, and defrag your HD now and then.

Once a month or so, go to Applications>Utilities>Disk First Aid and "repair file permissions"

I also recommend a subscription to MacAddict. It's non-technical, a good read, and includes a CD each month with trial stuff, free stuff and whatever. I get more good stuff out of this mag than MacUser, which is also good.

All that said, the toughest thing you'll come up against will be learning to do EVERYTHING with half the effort, keystrokes, and tears.

Welcome to Nirvana.
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W4ZLG
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« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2004, 02:03:09 AM »

Thanks for all your replys!  I am actually happy to see that there are hams who use macs.   And I've definately taken some of your suggestions.

So far, I haven't shut down the iMac since I got it.  I merely have been putting it to sleep.   What a joy it is to just click the mouse and I'm up and running!   Can't say that i've heard of many windows machines that can do that.  Especially notebooks!   The learning curve has been easier than I thought.   What still throws me off is the window shade buttons.  I still find myself going to the upper right when it's on the upper left of the active window on the screen.   I bought a new printer, didn't even have to load a driver for it.   Today, I bought a two button mouse.  Didn't have to load a driver for that either.  They gave me a software driver disk for both devices.  didn't even need them.  Everything I've tried so far on the Mac has been a breeze to install and run.

Today, the web site for Virex (McAufee) said that there was a virus listed for Mac OS X.  It think is was call MS2004 trojan.   Threat level was low.  They weren't too concerned about the threat assesment.  deletes all files in the home users folder, including the virus itself.  Oh well, nice while it lasted!  More is sure to come I'm sure.

I've found that this mac has been extremely quiet as far as rfi is concerned.   I haven't been able to really find any so far, but the cable modem is sure making up for what the mac is not producing.   It's an RCA cable modem, and I'm sure it's radiating from the power cord.   when I disconnected the CAT5 jack, it did not go away.  I also disconnected the cable line.  Still didn't go away!  Pulled the plug on the thing, and all went quiet.   I know what to do now.

So far MacLogger DX has been great and stable.  It even voice announces the spots on the DX cluster.  It get annoying when your on a node that is very active!   I've located a contest program for the mac, but haven't had the time to poke around.   Echomac for Echolink isn't a flashy as its windows counterpart, but it very simple, and works great!

The more I play with this iMac, the more I hate using windows.  The PC is still in the shack and still near the desk where the radio equipment is.  I'll still use it to keep up with the constant updates and patches for XP Professional, and to try out new software for ham radio.   But if you ask me, anyone that tries out a mac for a few days will certainly enjoy it!  How about this?  The computer now works for me!

73's de Ken
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N3ZKP
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Posts: 2008




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« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2004, 08:51:11 AM »

<< The more I play with this iMac, the more I hate using windows.  >>

Welcome to the club!
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N2ERN
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Posts: 238




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« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2004, 09:14:39 AM »

Don't put it to sleep at night. If you do, the maintenance scripts won't run.

See: http://www.user-groups.net/articles/vm_osx.html

Personally, I have the free MacJanitor in the dock, and just run it once in a while. If I go away for a couple of days, I shut the Mac down. Upon reboot, I run MacJanitor.

And that Trojan Horse you mentioned - If you don't try to steal a "free" copy of MS Word 2004 from a p2p site, you won't get it.

See: http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/num.nsf/6164320143cb6f0c88256d01004ee56c/0015a14d5745ae3e88256e940062dec7?OpenDocument&src=bar_sch_nam

Applescripts, which is what this trojan is, can be thought of as similar to ".exe" files -- that is, they will run automatically. Always know where the file you're downloading is coming from, as usual. If you click ONCE on an icon to highlight it (don't open it), type control-I (that's an upper case eye, not an ell) to GET INFO, and you will see just what kind of file it is, even if the icon has been changed.
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W8GX
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Posts: 9


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« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2004, 02:48:34 PM »

I have been a Mac addict since '98.
My old clone (one of the last ones) is what I use at home, and had no luck finding contesting software.
Just as I was about to throw in the towel and get an old PC to run contest logs, I got some online advice to use Virtual PC and N3FJP (or is it JFP?) contest software.
I bought a VPC with Windows 95 on eBay for about $10, and got the full CD of the N3FJP program....
and it works unbelievably well on my old Mac!

I can only imagine how well VPC/2000 or more would work on an OSX Mac.

Oh well. Someday.

But the moral of the story is....
Mac is better.
The world would be a better place without Mr. Bill (devilboy) Gates and his evil empire.
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W6RLL
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Posts: 3




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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2004, 07:02:22 PM »

As reported on here VPC and the software provided by Scott, N3FJP, sounds like a very good
application. Has anyone tried any of the other PC software packages running under VPC?
(WriteLog for example)
I understand that running PC software under VPC will be slower than running the same PC
software on a PC, but it might not make any difference in the actual operation of a contest (?)


Thanks from Joe, W6RLL
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