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Hey all you MAC fans out there....

By Andrew Pollack on 12/08/2003 at 03:11 PM EST

Yea, I know you're out there. I'm considering buying a mac -- quite possibly a used one. My only goal in using it is for testing & debugging. I'd love to get your opinions on the right one. Here are my needs:

1. Must run the current latest operating system
2. Must run the current hot browser (Safari?)
3. Must have enough RAM & Hard disk to (smoothly) run Notes & Browser
4. Must have an ethernet port
5. Should be cheap!

I know, that's pretty simple, right. Now, on top of that I know there are a ton of options. If you were me -- and you're quite sure that within the next two years you're still going to be a PC user because that's where your work is -- what MAC would you buy for a short term support & diagnostic tool? Why?

There are  - loading -  comments....

By Ben Poole on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
Well, pretty much any recent Mac (1998 and on), with the exception of the original beige G3s, will run OS X. if you can run OS X you can run Safari. I wouldn't recommend a '98 iMac like I have for really serious work, but that would be a VERY cheap set-up. Rather, go for a more recent old-school iMac (e.g. a 600MHz G3). This would run the OS happily, and would be EXTREMELY cheap (we're talking a couple of hundred bucks, if that). Of current machines, the best and cheapest option new would be the eMac: quite a lot of bang for your buck there. Or, if the system has to be portable, you should be able to get some good deals on the older G3 iBooks now that the G4 iBooks are here. The new 12" G4 iBook is also very reasonable at around $1000 - $1100. For memory and hard disks, look to get 256MB RAM / 10 Gig at least. All Macs come with ethernet as standard.
thanks, Ben...By Andrew Pollack on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
Thanks Ben. Seems like a lot of my best advice comes from guys named "Ben". Looking around, a 512meg G4 eMac 1ghz looks like a nice little machine for about a thousand bucks. How are the java development tools for Mac? Any good? I wonder if it could be a multi-use platform for me.
By Ben Poole on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
Pretty nice. I code quite a lot of Java on my Mac, and find it quite a nice experience. I haven't tried XCode, as I don't yet have Panther, but I quite like Project Builder. Other editors worth looking at include the venerable BBEdit and my current fave, SubEthaEdit. You can also run Eclipse on OS X, but I gather it's still slower than the Windoze counterpart. OS X comes with Java 2 1.4.1 as standard... there's a delay getting newer versions as time goes by, because Apple do all the Java stuff themselves: Sun only do UN*X and Windoze. Java's integrated quite nicely in the OS, and the Java Browser is way cool -- a much nicer way of displaying all the API documentation than the bog-standard JavaDoc stuff. Java apps skin up nicely with Aqua, so even one's nasty wee AWT hacks look halfway decent. With regards J2EE, you get quite a lot out of the box: JBoss, Ant, and so on. That's a bit of a braindump. But you get the idea :-)
well....I've gone and done it....By Andrew Pollack on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
On its way to me is an eMac 1ghz with a 40gb drive (who needs more when you have a network?) and one GB of ram. I decided if I'm gonna go get one of these toys, I may as well get one that's useful. So, I've opted to give up another square foot or so of desk space and live with the thing for a few weeks. It has 3 weeks to grow on me, or it gets passed down to my wife and her PC becomes my next test server. :-)
By Ben Poole on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
Congrats, and enjoy ;-)
By Ben Poole on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
PS Don't try and look at this site on Safari. You will be upset :-D
safari...By Andrew Pollack on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
Thanks, Ben. Yes -- actually that's one reason I've wanted a Mac. I hear about Safari alot, but cannot test with it in its native environment. John Head sent me a screenshot, but I'd really like to be looking at it when I make the fix.
It should be pretty easyBy Ben Poole on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
The site looks fine and as intended in Safari other than the actual middle content: this doesn't get rendered! I imagine there's some Javascript thing going on with the agent rendering the content, but can't be sure.

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