Sep 19, 2011

Do I really need a desktop replacement? The big question, Mac or PC?

I need to replace my "antique" desktop with a computer that can do photos, cards, brochures and some home movie clips. I also need to keep a customer data base for mailing and a couple of small data base type programs (not MS) I am a small craftsman, single owner. I also do my own taxes, rather basic. Any suggestions on what computer? What about external storage for photos?  

If you're not a gamer, a Mac will work very well for you. Check the refurbished section of the Apple online store for good deals on refurbished Macs. You can get some good savings that way.



If you're going to buy a mouse, spend an extra $20 and get a Microsoft optical mouse. The "mighty mouse" that ships with modern Macs is a joke.


But it's difficult to see how a $1100 iMac is just "a little more expensive" than a Windows 7 PC. You can pick up a similar HP + monitor for a few hundred dollars in savings.






or save $200 and get a 23" all-in-one PC



The tax software is better on pc's and there's free programs like Picasa for editing photos and Open Office for doing word processing, spreadsheets, and databases.




Your best choice for a new desktop is probably an iMac. Although they are a little bit more expensive than your standard Windows 7 desktop, they are easy to use, reliable, and include programs that can help you manage photos, movies, and music. Another benefit is the fact that they are immune from viruses and spyware so you don't have to worry about many of the things PC users normally worry about. The fact that you're willing to look at a Mac shows me that you're ready to make the jump.



As far as a customer database goes, I highly recommend FileMaker Pro. It's easy to use and comes out of the box with several prebuilt templates. Adding mailing labels is a 5 minute process. And since FileMaker Pro is part of the Apple family, there are even versions you can use on the iPad and iPhone to take your data with you - it's a brilliant solution that I had been awaiting for several years. Filemaker Pro also runs on Microsoft Windows and over a network if you ever need to share the data with multiple computers.



You'll want to purchase an external hard drive for backing up your data. Soon Apple's iCloud service will be online, but it only holds your photos for a month so that's not as good as the Western Digital MyBook.



TurboTax is also available for the Mac operating system, OSX. And for producing cards and brochures, you can purchase Apple Pages from the Mac App Store. 


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