General Question

afaulkner09's avatar

How do I tell my mother that I want to buy myself a Mac?

Asked by afaulkner09 (55points) June 16th, 2010

I am 19 and I got a PC for HS graduation from my parents. This computer has Vista OS and is not really working for me. Despite my 2 antiviruses the viruses are still kicking my butt. I have a Dell whose hard drive has crashed twice, only now I don’t have the warranty that I had the other times. I have really done my homework and know that I want a MacBook. My biggest fear about just coming out and telling her that I am buying a Mac is that she will think I don’t appreciate what she got me. Please help me out!

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47 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

Don’t buy into Mac marketing. If you don’t like Vista, get a new operating system.

gailcalled's avatar

A touchy issue, I agree. But you are 19 and have compelling reasons. Tell your mother that you appreciate the gift very much; then spell out the problems. They are legitimate. it is a good test of your ability to deal with an awkward situation. They will come up regularly in your life.

@DominicX raises a good point; I assume that you will pay for the Mac.

DominicX's avatar

You just have to tell her the truth. If your mom is not completely unreasonable, she should understand. Your computer has problems; it isn’t working for you. You need a computer that works to do well in school. I just don’t think that most parents are so unreasonable that they wouldn’t understand that and see why you would want a different computer. Of course, it does depend on who’s paying for it…

Vunessuh's avatar

Explain to her everything you just explained to us in your details. Tell her why the PC isn’t working for you and then present to her all of the research you’ve done about why you think a Mac suits you better. You should also tell her that you don’t want to come off ungrateful and that you appreciate everything she’s done, but you have to be truthful about what you want and what will help you the most in the future, especially with school.
If I were you, I would sell the PC and use that money toward the Macbook. You probably won’t make much off of it, but it’ll help some.

DeanV's avatar

Lets not turn this into a Mac vs. PC war…

Have you thought of getting a copy of Windows 7 (loads better than Vista) and installing it on that computer instead of Vista? It could be a cheaper (with your student) discount way of pretty much getting a brand new computer.

frdelrosario's avatar

If you don’t like Vista, get a new operating system.

Like the Mac OS.

tadpole's avatar

i thought you meant your mum was a computer geek and didn’t like macs!!

if it’s the issue about not being grateful well you can do this if you show a great deal of sincerity and gratitude and work out how to explain what it is you really need…

regarding the macs, the mac mini has just been re designed and looks cool..obviously it’s not suitable if you need something to lug around for lessons….

good luck!!

zenele's avatar

I thought it was vernacular for… Gay… or something…

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

For Christmas one year, our father bought the 3 daughters stud earrings featuring our birthstones. Mine were hideously large blue topaz stones (December baby), and I confessed to my two sisters that I’d never wear them. They urged me to tell Dad. After some thought and research, I told him that I loved the gift and his intent, but would probably never wear them, as I rarely wore blue. I asked if they could be exchanged for something in green like peridot. The next time I saw him, he presented me with a pair of emerald earrings.

The point is, show your appreciation for the thought, and if it is something that can be changed, go ahead and let the gift-giver know the truth. Most likely, they just want you to be happy.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Your mom probably got your the PC because it was on sale, and someone at work told her she should get you a PC. Tell her that you’ve don your research, and that based upon the problems you have had with PCs, you’re going to sell your laptop and put the money, along with your own savings, towards a MacBook because your research indicates that for your needs, it’s a better fit. As you are the one who has to use the laptop at school, and not your mother, her personal preferences don’t figure into the equation.

I work on a Dell laptop at work and a MacBook at home. Dell’s great for using the applications that our IT department has designed to get work done, but when it comes down to writing papers, doing presentations, etc., the Mac is far easier to use, even from the perspective of the feel. At work, I have to connect a keyboard to the laptop in order to type in an effective manner. Your college bookstore should have Microsoft Office for Mac for about $10—$15; I recommend installing that instead of using the word processing software that comes with the Mac.

the100thmonkey's avatar

If you’re having such trouble with Vista that you’re considering buying an overpriced replacement because no one else uses it it’s “more secure”, then you should probably buy one.

I never cease to be amazed at the level of computer illiteracy in the developed world. It’s also amazing that it’s Apple’s business model.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@the100thmonkey, it’s not computer illiteracy, it’s not wanting to be interested in messing around with something you’re not really interested in putting time into. I consider my computer a tool to get work done; I’m not at all interested in having to tinker with it to get it to work the way I need it to work. I drive a Honda for the same reason. For minimal maintenance, I turn it on, it goes.

XOIIO's avatar

Dude, 2 things.

Upgrade to windows 7

Don’t, Don’t have 2 antiviruses running at once. tehy will hog the system and interfere with eachother. try switching in between then every 4 mionths, but never more than one. More is not merrier.

gorillapaws's avatar

@PandoraBoxx honestly, unless you’re doing very hardcore statistical analysis in Excel, Apple’s iWork (their competitor to Microsoft office) is wonderful, and MUCH cheaper. It has a great word processor (pages), a spreadsheet app (numbers), and a presentation app (keynote). They work really well, and integrate with the other iLife apps so getting media (photos, music etc.) from your library is dead simple. They can also import/export office formats (word, excel, powerpoint, etc).

I’ve been running OSX since 10.1 and I’ve never had a virus or malware. Also, be sure to take advantage of your student discount when you get your MacBook (you have to show a student id, or buy from Apple’s online education store.

tadpole's avatar

sounds to me like mac vs windows is imminent here….but regarding anti-virus, at least you don’t need it on a mac, and that has Got to be a truth well known?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@gorillapaws, the only problem with iWork is that it doesn’t have the same document recovery capabilities if you accidentally forget to save your document. The other great thing about the Microsoft Office for Mac is that Word comes with a format for note taking that includes the ability to record a lecture along with your notes; it saves the audio along with the document. The template that pulls up looks like a piece of notebook paper, and you automatically type in outline format. Even though I’m not in school, I find this very helpful in meetings where the content is highly informational, or I’m working with offshore resources, and need to go back to make sure I’ve understood everyone correctly. My version of Office at work does not come with this template, but I understand it can be purchased separately for PC users.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@PandoraBoxx – right. By the same token, learning how to be a responsible road user is not the duty of the driver.

If your Honda equates to not wanting to dig around the innards of an engine to make it work properly, Mac equates to a baby bouncer. Linux would be a far more apposite comparison to make.

Learning not to click on that link a stranger sends you on MSN is not “tinkering” with the OS.

Buying a Mac because you can’t be bothered to practice even a minimum of basic common sense with ac omputer is not a good reason. It’s also the most common reason I hear from Mactards for buying a Mac. It’s nonsense, and you know it is.

gorillapaws's avatar

@the100thmonkey you do realize that you can access a unix shell from the terminal if you want right? Also with Bootcamp you can install multiple other operating systems, if that’s your cup-of-tea.

If you want it, there’s plenty of hardcore stuff you can do. Although I don’t think that’s what @afaulkner09 is looking for.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@gorillapaws: Yes. Yes I do. I doubt that the OP knows what a shell is, though. By the same token, they’re unlikely to be able to cope with Bootcamp, or GRUB, or LILO, or any other bootloader.

Look, if the OP can’t keep a system like Vista clean then maybe they should go and learn how to use a computer rather than letting Apple drive for them.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@the100thmonkey, thinking that keeping your system safe is a simple as not clicking a link on MSN is rather simplistic. I got dinged at work twice last week for security issues because a comment I posted to a New York Times editorial and a comment I posted to a business site resulted in malware attacks that IT had to deal with. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to be able to safely comment on published articles.

kevbo's avatar

Upgrade to Windows 7 or go Hackintosh.

gorillapaws's avatar

@the100thmonkey the site you linked to said:

“Study can be undertaken at home or at an approved ECDL centre, and will require around 130 hours of study overall.”

Why would the average person want to go through a 130 hour course just to learn how to use their computer safely? I routinely click on sketchy links, post on published articles etc, and I never worry, I’ve never had a problem.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

This just one of the reasons why I hate my Dell that I am required to use at work. Note that the difficulty to fix this complaint is rated as moderate. I am not allowed to load software onto the work computer and they run nightly updates and maintenance to keep things up and running. I have called the help desk no fewer than 6 times for this problem, and the longest it’s stayed fixed is a week. I carry a keyboard with my work laptop at all times in order to be able to use it.

DeanV's avatar

So much about not making this Mac vs. PC. Welcome to Fluther @afaulkner09.

gailcalled's avatar

@the100thmonkey: By your logic, I should learn all the languages that books I am interested in are written. And repair my car, washing machine, telephone, gutters, grade my driveway, brushhog my fields or risk being called a retard?

gorillapaws's avatar

Assuming you do make the switch, you might want to take a look at this 100-tips series by the Cult of Mac website. At the time of this posting there are 17 tips so far, but obviously more are to come. They’re geared towards switchers and people just getting started on the Mac, so hopefully you’ll find some of it useful.

Nullo's avatar

Get Linux. It looks like Mac, is even safer from viruses, is free, will work with your existing hardware, can be installed alongside Windows, and it gives you geek cred and a nice spot on the Mac/PC fence.

jerv's avatar

First off, Vista sucks. Don’t blame that on being a PC since XP was tolerable, Win7 is decent, and Linux rocks.

Second, not all anti-virus programs are created equal. One of teh best ones I know of at any price is free, but many people don’t trust it because it they figure that you get what you pay for so the more expensive solutions must be better. A similar “logic” applies to Mac ownership as well!

Third, OS X is basically a fancy GUI for Linux. Sure, there are some differences between Linux and BSD, but both are in the UNIX-oid family and pretty similar under the hood. Combine that with the underwhelming specs on most Mac models and there really is no reason to spend twice as much for half the machine and the legal right to suck Steve Jobs off when you could get a faster PC with Linux and have enough left over to get another one just like it, and probably still have some $$$ left over.

Of course, you are amongst a crowd that does do their own computer work, many of whom built their own system, so it is to be expected that you will find a considerable amount of anti-Apple sentiment here. The fact that you have not found a reputable and effective anti-virus program and that you run Vista are also things that some geeks would consider akin to a “Kick me” sign on your back… possibly in flashing neon. Maybe if you cited reasons that you want the Mac (aside from the reasons often given by people who know less about computers than my cat) then it would be different, but the truth is that there really are few legitimate reasons to go with Mac, and many of them apply to Linux PCs as well.


But you said you’ve done your homework and you STILL want the Macbook. Well, one thing that you could cite is that Apple hardware is noted for it’s reliability and quality. Another is that, when things do go wrong, Apple has the best customer service according to most surveys. For those that cannot or merely will not do their own repairs, that counts for a lot.

Nullo's avatar

@jerv What’s that antivirus? I’ve grown tired of mine.
The real genius at Apple is in their marketing. Careful positioning and aesthetics lifted from 2001: A Space Odyssey have given them a lot of mileage.

XOIIO's avatar

@Nullo I bet he uses avast.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv what would be a comparable laptop with identical specs, build quality twice the memory, HD space, and CPU and costs half as much? Also does it come pre-loaded with equivalent software?

Also, there’s a lot more added to OSX ontop of the kernel than just the GUI.

I’m pretty sure the OP isn’t a hardcore geek like us. He’ll open up his MacBook, turn it on, and be ready-to-roll. If he has a problem, he can call Apple, talk to a friendly American without having to wait on hold, and get his issue sorted out. Also, the build quality is superb; I’ve dropped my MacBook more times than I care to admit, and it never had a problem.

Little touches also go a long way. The magnetic power cable will save your laptop from being jerked off the desk if someone trips on it, and the accelerometer will lock the Hard Drive if accidentally slips off you bed, to prevent damage.

downtide's avatar

First off I would advise upgrading your PC to Windows 7. And if one of your antivirus software is Norton, ditch it. Even AVG (which is free) is better than Norton.

The trouble with buying a Mac is that you pay around 40% more for a Mac than you do for a PC of the same specifications. There’s nothing actually bad about Macs, except the extra premium you pay for the badge.

But if you have 40% more cash to spend, then go for it.

gorillapaws's avatar

@downtide Prove it. Spec out a PC version of the MacBook with identical components, build materials, equivalent software, etc.

Everytime someone tries to claim this, they end up comparing some rickety, plastic POS, that creaks when you open it. There are well-built PC’s out there, but they are much closer in price to the MacBook.

Nullo's avatar

Mac is more proprietary than I’m entirely comfortable with. May not be a deal-breaker for the OP.

downtide's avatar

@gorillapaws I’m not expert enough to be able to do that. I’m only going by what people more experienced than me have told me.

gailcalled's avatar

@all: The 40% premium gives me, if nothing else, peace of mind and saves hundreds of dollars worth of trips to the therapist.

Plus I feel secure when poking around, upgrading, housecleaning and doing things that I never knew existed 12 years ago. The upgrades for the OS are routinely easy and smooth (and free).

Most of the techie language that @the100thmonkey is using means nothing to me. Why should I learn that instead of Arabic, which interests me more? Computer literacy is one wonderful skill; we all have things we do well and things we rely on others to assist us with.

I can’t rotate my tires, build a dry wall, cut my cat’s nails, repair the broken gear box for my garage door or write RX’s for myself. I could probably tweak the will I wrote, but I am not going to. I also have someone prepare my taxes.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo Avira

@gorillapaws Maybe child-proofing your system is worth something to you, but I have the same accelerometer in my Toshiba and am smart enough to route my cables properly and I’ve seen and heard of so many problems with that power connector that i would not consider that feature to be brag-worthy.
Also I find most of the pre-installed software to be useless to me and the stuff that is useful winds up being replaced with something else that is even more useful and often free. Again, not a selling point for me. If we want to restrict ourselves merely to the stuff that you don’t need to install yourself, then Linux wins hands down.

Oh, and I’ve seen Acers that cost half as much as a Macbook that felt more solid to me. I won’t dig through the model numbers to find a comparably-specced one right now since, quite frankly, I don’t think you’d care even if there was one that was ten times better than a Mac for a nickel. What I will say is that, while you are correct that Macs do have excellent build quality, it’s not something you have to spend $1000 for.

That said, if Apple would abandon their policy where the street price is equal to the MSRP then you would be more correct. In fact, that would remove my third biggest issue with Macs, right behind the licensing policies and the religious cult aspect. BTW, I am not really pro-PC; I just seem that way for lack of a third option. Unfortunately, computers are like politics that way.

@gailcalled I think it might be a generational thing; I’ve been doing it since I was 6 and the last 30 years have only made it easier, almost to the point of being instinctual. COme to think of it, I never realy learned most of it; I jsut somehow found myself gathering the knowledge.
Either that or I am just utterly bizarre in that I actually do want to know what I am doing. Or maybe it’s that I have always had more brains than dollars and find it easier to think that to spend. Wait… even when I do have the money, I still prefer to think, If nothing else, it leads to better results than any “out of the box” solution, and also a thicker wallet to buy more, so that can’t be it!
I wasn’t always secure repairing a 750KW generator, running a CNC milling machine big enough to chuck an engine block across the room at deadly speed, replacing head gaskets, re-writing the FSTAB on a fresh Linux install, preparing my own taxes, or many of the other things I do.
However, I never let that fear lead to complacency or stagnation. As a result, I have acquired a wide variety of skills and have become a better, more well-rounded person as a result o not taking the easy way out and/or solving everything with dollars.

tadpole's avatar

hopes the OP can see through this fog of mac vs pc and gets an answer that helps!!

afaulkner09's avatar

Its kind of confusing. But I think I may have come up with something. The general consensus is that I should basically tell her, because we are both adults. I know that the cheapest option would be to upgrade this computer. But, my fiance and I both need a computer, so I am planning on letting him have it and rebuild it for his use. Right now, I am in a situation that if I don’t get the computer now, I probably will not have the chance later. Thank you, and please keep answering, if you want to. I am always open to new suggestions!

tadpole's avatar

@afaulkner09 to join the which one debate: the new mac mini looks very nice, very portable, needs separate monitor/keyboard so might not fit your needs?

the only reason not to buy a mac is really these days just the extra bit in price…if you have no techhie experience or interest you will find it easier to use and the arguments about which is better will be mostly irrelevant anyway….if you are young and want something fashionable, well mac is the first stop here for sure…

if you don’t need a “computer” either for yourself, there’s always the ipad, which is fine for internet, email, photos, music, etc…

that’s my predictable mac fan slant on it…

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@afaulkner09 That sounds very wise. If I were your mom and you told me the situation, I’d be fine with it and never give it a second thought.

gorillapaws's avatar

@afaulkner09 You stated you plan on using this machine for college. Could you give us a bit more information about what you plan on studying, the types of things you plan on using it for? If you want to be a structural engineer, for example, I would probably steer you away from the MacBook, because there just isn’t that much software for the Mac to do hardcore architecture and engineering design work. However, I do think the Mac will work great for most majors/minors.

@jerv “Agreed”

Dude you were one of the people trying to turn this into a Mac vs. PC debate. I have been avoiding that throughout the whole thread. I’ve just been trying to correct the factual errors of others and provide helpful resources to the OP, as well as convey some of my past experiences with the Mac. I have not bashed the PC or Linux, because I think there are times when each of those are the best tool for people.

The “vibe” I get from the OP is that she wants an easy-to-use, plug-and-play solution with great support if things go wrong because she has things to do with her time that are more important than troubleshooting computer issues. I think Macs makes a lot of sense for users that fall into this category. I may be completely wrong here (please correct me @afaulkner09 if that’s the case).

You were the one who said:
“Also I find most of the pre-installed software to be useless to me and the stuff that is useful winds up being replaced with something else that is even more useful and often free.”

Wasn’t this supposed to be about what will work for @afaulkner09? Do you really think she will find the built-in iLife apps useless?

Finally, you assume a lot about me. If you could point me to a machine that was 10x better and much cheaper, I most definitely would want to take a look (I would probably run Linux on it).

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws Factual errors are a pet peeve of mine as well, like using the term “PC” to describe a Windows machine. A PC usually runs Windows, but many PCs run Linux and/or dual-boot.
I agree that there is no “one size fits all” solution; each of the three major operating systems have their place. However, I haven’t found Macs easier to use than a Windows machine for quite a while, so they don’t qualify in my book. Then again, “easy to use” is subjective enough that I will regard that as an opinion but will never accept is as fact. And I have had enough issues configuring hardware and networks with Macs that the plug-and-play aspect of things really isn’t appreciably better than Windows though it is superior to Linux in that regard.

Great support… I have often found that “official sources” often cannot not give me nearly as much help as an entire community of enthusiasts. That is true of cars and tabletop roleplaying games as well as computers. With Linux, you are effectively in direct contact with the people who actually wrote the software, and they likely know more than some customer service rep with a manual. With Windows, you have the fact that it’s ubiquity leads to an entire industry cropping up that is dedicated to support and education. While it’s true that Apple does have great support, they do not have a monopoly on it.

Don’t get me wrong; Macs are decent enough machines, but they are not a gift from God like some people seem to think, and I take issue with many of the pro-Mac arguments precisely because of factual errors, namely errors of omission in assuming that Apple is the only source of many things.

My point about the preinstalled software was that it might be useful but it might not, that Apple is not the only one that pre-installs stuff, and that when you combine those two facts then the preinstalled software angle is not a slam-dunk for Apple. Most Linux distros I’ve seen beat Apple soundly in that area.

But you are correct that the real reason we are here is to help @afaulkner09 and not to perpetuate a holy war that has been going on for over a quarter of a century. I have to wonder why you seemed to take issue with the fact that I agreed with @tadpole about hoping that the OP found a useful answer, but for now I am operating on the assumption that we both let our tempers get the better of us.

@afaulkner09 Just so you know, many of the consumer satisfaction surveys I’ve seen place Dell pretty low with Apple at/near the top and Toshiba a strong second.
As for reliability, something I think you are particularly interested in, not that anyone wants their computer to break, Apple is in the middle of the pack , though they do enjoy a substantial lead in their tech support’s ability to satisfy the average consumer.

afaulkner09's avatar

I am an Elementary Education major, so all I am looking for is something that I can type, create presentations on and some internet. I have spoken with someone at a local computer store and he told me that for what I need it for, a Macbook would serve me well in his opinion. Also,@gorillapaws you are correct, I just need something simpler because I don’t need my electronics to take over my life…

jerv's avatar

@afaulkner09 Simple is relative. Personally, I think that Ubuntu Netbook Remix is simpler than OS X could ever hope to be at least on the UI end, but that is my opinion.
At the end of the day, what matters is that you are comfortable using the computer.

gailcalled's avatar

Remember the question and keep it holy. This young woman is not looking for a argument about choice; she wants to know how to negotiate with her mother in a loving way.

@afaulkner09 : When you do your practicum, the kids in your class will be your electronics mavens.

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