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Should an engineer get a Mac?


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#1
Cloud Striffe

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I am looking at downgrading my XPS Gen 2 to the new Macbook. I was just wondering if most of the programs that engineers use in the later years, would work on a Mac, i.e programming software. This is an unbiased discussion and I would appreciate if someone could give me some advantages and disadvantages of a Mac from a students prespective.
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#2
dsenette

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software engineer or mechanical engineer or chemical engineer? what kind of engineer?
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#3
Cloud Striffe

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Computer Engineer
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#4
dsenette

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you had to pick the most vague major in college didn't you?..that depends on your school and the curriculum...i would imagine that most of their classes are going t obe geared towards windows administratioin or programming...most college courses (except for graphix or sound editing) don't do mac...i would check with the school and see what they suggest...but in my experience...having a mac won't be an advantage
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#5
Cloud Striffe

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Haha yeah i know right, it is kinda vague its like an Electrical, Optical and Mechanical engineer with less specialized classes in each. But I was worried more about the programming aspect of it, with the high level languages like C++, Java and others that i might get into. I was thinking the Mac because of its security and wireless features and that is about it. I have no strong ties to PC or Mac i was just seeing which would be the best for what I need. I need a small and durable laptop that I can take everywhere. I also like the new Calendar feature that the new Mac's have which would help out with the organization. But yet again im not really sure of the decision.
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#6
dsenette

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well....the things you mention may be nifty...but if your classes require you to do windows things...having a mac may be a detriment...windows can handle programming as good as the other operating systems...as it's all about the compilers and the programs used to write the code...

as far as security and the wireless deal...windows has that as well..as long as you choose to configure it correctly..

i would suggest that you get in touch with the school and see if they can get you in touch with the head of that department (the department responsible for that major) and get that person's opinion based on what you'll need for the classes....it's not worth your money to get something that won't make school easier
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#7
Cloud Striffe

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I will do that chief, thanks for that advise. Would you recommend a laptop PC that is less than $1100? I was looking at alienwares tiny one but i really don't know.
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#8
dsenette

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i wish i had a laptop when i was in school...would have made ignoring the teacher ALOT easier....as long as the specs are where you want them to be...the price is rellatively irrellevant...alienware is picking up speed with their systems and are deffinitely on the "ones to watch" list
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#9
warriorscot

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I like the alienwares myself, i would probably go with a PC then dual boot with windows and Linux which is what they reccomend at my uni fo rthe informatics(we dont do computer engineering in the engineering department so i dont know what they would have informatics is as close to what you describe). They do XP for day to day(lots of calendar apps that are great for XP) and then i beleive it was a fedora core modified for the univesities use for the bulk of the coding work. Seemed a pretty good way to do it.

Although they made it pretty clear what they needed according to my friend who took the course, alot of the work was in the computer labs(mostly because of the free printing and fast computers i think).

Macs are still pretty expensive i wouldnt get one or feel comfortable considering one until the prices were a bit lower in line with what you actually get. And the fact that most of the world is windows macs might put you at a disavantage.
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#10
fleamailman

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What do you teachers say, and what does your school suggest, if you follow what they suggest then you cannot go wrong I think though it may cost more.
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#11
Cloud Striffe

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I have to talk with an advisor sometime soon, but I really thank all of you for the good advise. How would i dual boot windows and linux? And what calendar programs are you talking about? I also like the feature on the Mac's that allows the computer to automatically start and shutdown. I do not believe that there is a program out for pc that does that, is there?
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#12
warriorscot

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You would partition the drive probably into three, one for XP one for linux and one for your data, then install XP and Linux and use a bootloader to pick between the two on startup. Its pretty simple tonnes of info on how to do it as well lots of tutorials.

Lots of apps can start and shut down computers, my mobo came with software to do it in the software suite for it lots of 3rd party stuff to do it but its common software shouldnt take long to find something you like and can use.

Callendar software every developer and his uncle has its own version sometimes, MS outlook is probably one of the most popular(and i bet you thought it was an email client) outlook as a callendar app is actually really good, the 2007 variant is easy on the eyes as well, ive used Sunbird from mozilla its pretty good. But its callendar software they all look the same usually on any platform its an outlook alternative like alot of the apps so its pretty similar. The nice thing about Outlook is it integrates well with other things.
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#13
Liquid_Snake

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I happen to be a computer engineer at virginia tech, we require students to get windows run machines, you're correct in the fact that programming can be done in either but in your first year you'll probably be taking some intro engineering courses, and everything outside of the digital engineering is built on a windows machine, plus, most school computer networks at relatively safe these days, I know at Tech we didn't have a problem at all
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