Remembering TCPaul, 2016-2019

PC vs Mac as a solo?

Macs more reliable, but PCs cheaper. Is it worth the investm nyctemp02/22/19
When I was in solo practice a few years ago I used at the ti nubiansage02/24/19
Aside from price, you should also consider the software you uknownvalue02/22/19
Mainly Microsoft Office and maybe some discovery software nyctemp02/22/19
Certain specialized software is made for PCs only, and not f guyingorillasuit02/22/19
PC for a number of reason. Software, easier to repair, and b irishlaw02/22/19
PC. Some programs will only run on windows. Make your life e isthisit02/22/19
A PC is better for a law firm. Just plan to replace your PC blawprof02/22/19
You should get what you can afford and are used to..... keep superttthero02/22/19
I've got one, maybe. Does mac still run Java? I thought I bigbossman02/23/19
I briefly googled this but it looks like JAVA website suppor superttthero02/23/19
PCs. My old firm was hip and we used Macs. I liked it, b jd4hire02/24/19
I would go with a PC as well. Not only is most business soft flharfh02/25/19
I love Macs, but those software issues referenced above will onehell02/25/19
my experience with macs is that their longevity beats PCs ha dingbat03/01/19
True. Always amazes me how old the machines are which recent onehell03/01/19
PCs typically need to be replaced every 3-5 years. Higher p dingbat03/01/19
I have an Imac that is 10 years old. bcls03/01/19
Sadly, your choice will be dictated more by software than an qdllc03/01/19
nyctemp (Feb 22, 2019 - 4:14 pm)

Macs more reliable, but PCs cheaper. Is it worth the investment?

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nubiansage (Feb 24, 2019 - 7:05 pm)

When I was in solo practice a few years ago I used at the time a 1+ year old $500 laptop that I had initially purchased for my own personal use. Biggest mistake! I'm fully aware that PCs eventually slow down as they age but I couldn't believe it was operating so slow that it affected my productivity. I purchased a new (actually refurbished) MacBook Pro that was several years old than my PC. Man, that MacBook was lightning years faster than my PC! I sworn that I never again would purchase a PC again due to the "slowing" down as it ages and being vulnerable to viruses.

But I agree that with the Mac/Apple you may be limited in terms of software but for my practice it was perfect. In terms of software, I purchased Office but a lot of the law based applications I routinely used were web based (including Clio case management). For me, the software thing wasn't an issue at all.

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uknownvalue (Feb 22, 2019 - 4:56 pm)

Aside from price, you should also consider the software you will be using in the determination; some programs will only be written for PCs.

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nyctemp (Feb 22, 2019 - 6:03 pm)

Mainly Microsoft Office and maybe some discovery software

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guyingorillasuit (Feb 22, 2019 - 4:57 pm)

Certain specialized software is made for PCs only, and not for Macs. If you use this software, please buy a PC. You will spend days debugging Macs booted into PC mode otherwise. If you need professional help, you will write a check the size of which you will regret for a year.

Macs are not good computers in the legal business. I am a fan of them in my personal life, but business still runs on PCs. I replace my PC laptops every couple years, and I am ok with it. By the way, this is Section 179 depreciation.

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irishlaw (Feb 22, 2019 - 7:48 pm)

PC for a number of reason. Software, easier to repair, and better price range. You can get a good PC for $500 and if you are a baller you can go as high as you want.

Mac is costing you like minimum $1500 for something a PC can do perfectly fine for much less.

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isthisit (Feb 22, 2019 - 7:49 pm)

PC. Some programs will only run on windows. Make your life easier.

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blawprof (Feb 22, 2019 - 8:07 pm)

A PC is better for a law firm. Just plan to replace your PC ever 2-3 years. Don't get a Chromebook. You will need Office.

An iPad can be nice for e-discovery on the go. Check out the iPhone JD website.

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superttthero (Feb 22, 2019 - 8:29 pm)

You should get what you can afford and are used to..... keeping in mind the software you'll need: MS Office, a PDF editor/creator--for both I recommend you bite the bullet and pay for office and acrobat. If you need area-specific software make sure it supports what OS you want to get.

Everyone will say "PC for law" or "PC for business," but I really see no reason, assuming the area-specific software you want runs on mac (i.e. tax preparing software) and you are willing to pay for MS office and Acrobat, how it really makes a difference... particularly for a solo.

Can anyone answer:
If a person enjoys the Mac OS enough to pay the premium, and all the right software they need runs on Mac, what is the negative here for a solo? I haven't used a Mac since 4th grade Oregon Trail days and I really can't see a negative here.

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bigbossman (Feb 23, 2019 - 2:44 am)

I've got one, maybe. Does mac still run Java? I thought I heard it doesn't. Some old sites, looking at you crappy federal government and CJA sites, still use java. Be a bummer if you needed it and it didn't work. Otherwise, sure - word and adobe are on mac and that's 90%+ of lawyer life. Safari to browse this site is the rest probably.

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superttthero (Feb 23, 2019 - 4:01 pm)

I briefly googled this but it looks like JAVA website support just isn't pre-installed but you can download it for that functionality.

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jd4hire (Feb 24, 2019 - 11:24 am)

PCs.

My old firm was hip and we used Macs. I liked it, but we had to run a bootcamp style program and ran into issues with certain software. While Macs have Office, it's not near as intuitive or user friendly on Macs, IMO.

Personally, I use Macs but have gotten really fed up with them in the last 4 years. I spent nearly 2k on a laptop that sucks, IMO. You can't do internal upgrades on RAM/ internal storage anymore. You pay a premium for the name. Where they outperform is video editing/ processing. It used to be true for photos, but they got rid of their high-end platform (Aperture) and dumbed down iPhoto to Photos (which sucks).

As posted above, you can get a good PC for $500. If you spend $1,000 it should be really nice. Inversely, buy-in on a Mac is exceedingly expensive.

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flharfh (Feb 25, 2019 - 1:07 pm)

I would go with a PC as well. Not only is most business software built for PCs, but they are just a better value. Maybe 5 years ago an Apple laptop actually had better performance and reliability, but in 2019 you can get a PC equivalent in power and reliability for half to 2/3 the price of an Apple. With an apple laptop you're essentially paying for the premium branding/image, just like with the iphone.

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onehell (Feb 25, 2019 - 2:08 pm)

I love Macs, but those software issues referenced above will arise and they will arise at the worst possible time.

What I would do is that if you prefer Mac, then buy the Mac for your main, fancy, use every day type of computer. But also buy a cheap windows laptop just to have one around for the occasional time when you run into something that just won't work right on a Mac. There are Dells as cheap as like $200. Just grab one from Walmart or whatever and boot it up every week or so to keep Windows updated. And get an Office 365 subscription; that will allow you to install Office on both Windows and Mac.

Of course, PCs are cheaper. No one can argue that Macs are the most cost-effective choice. It's the computer equivalent of a luxury car: No one NEEDS it and no one can rationally claim it's the most cost-effective (or fastest in raw horsepower-per-dollar terms) means of getting from point A to point B. But you're going to spend a lot of time at the computer; if you prefer the Mac experience then it's worth paying the Apple tax for it for the same reason that some people are willing to pay extra to make their commute ensconced in the all leather interior of some Mercedes or something. Then, if you have a Mac-based office, then a PC is like a fax machine. One of those things that you rarely use but you keep some very basic cheap crappy one around anyway just in case.

You can also just buy a copy of Windows 10 and Bootcamp your Mac, but that requires a certain level of tech-savviness and problems can always arise with drivers and whatnot. Or you can use Parallels so you don't have to reboot into Windows but that costs another like $80. And besides, a full retail copy of Windows 10 Pro costs (I think) around $200. So you could spend nearly $300 for a copy of Windows 10 and a copy of parallels, or you can just spend the same or less on a basic PC laptop and not have to spend all day configuring partitions and virtual machines and whatnot or dealing with rebooting. Something isn't working right on the mac, just grab the PC and fire it up.

For a business, IMHO that's the most viable solution. You're already paying the Apple Tax knowing that it's a fundamentally unnecessary luxury, so what's another couple hundred bucks to have a failsafe at the ready?

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dingbat (Mar 1, 2019 - 11:40 am)

my experience with macs is that their longevity beats PCs hands down, and the fact you can keep a mac around for much longer comes a long way to closing the gap in price.

(note: they're still more expensive overall, but not as much as their sticker price would make you think)

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onehell (Mar 1, 2019 - 2:27 pm)

True. Always amazes me how old the machines are which recent versions of OSX will run, and run well. Mojave will run on machines dating back to 2012, and even something 10-ish years old will run Yosemite which is good enough for the latest version of Chrome and that'll go back to 2008 or so. It is theoretically feasible to use a 10 year old Mac for basic office and web-type tasks to this day, and with that high build quality, chances are quite good that a machine that old will actually boot up when you turn it on. So you still see a lot of old macs out there that people get as hand-me-downs or buy off ebay or whatever and use quite happily.

Plus, if you buy a cheap PC from Walmart or whatever it is not going to come with a clean install of Windows; the OEM will load it down with bloatware so it will be slower than it could have been right out of the box and the problem only gets worse as everything you install mucks with the registry and Microsoft pushes out updates that require 4 restarts every week or two.

The macs are still a luxury product, at least if you're buying new or near-new, but these considerations do offset the higher price points somewhat. I like to buy from the apple certified refurbished store. Saves a few hundred and gets you a machine that will last a long time.

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dingbat (Mar 1, 2019 - 3:50 pm)

PCs typically need to be replaced every 3-5 years. Higher priced ones can perform longer at a lower level, but if that's acceptable you shouldn't have spent that much to begin with.

Macs can last 8-10 years, though it might struggle a bit if you're running high-end programs like renderman, maya, or houdini.

Taking replacement rates into consideration, depending on your usage they may actually be more cost-effective.

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bcls (Mar 1, 2019 - 6:44 pm)

I have an Imac that is 10 years old.

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qdllc (Mar 1, 2019 - 9:07 am)

Sadly, your choice will be dictated more by software than anything else. There is little issue being able to save in a MS Office-compatible format, but many 3rd party software packages might be MS only. A Mac might be able to run them under an emulator, but then you need to be sure it’s 100% stable when run that way...necessitating consulting an IT expert to ensure it works smoothly.

Now, a PC/MS laptop does tend to slow down over time, but this is due to software issues that need to be addressed on a regular basis (system optimization). Stay on top of it and this doesn’t have to be an issue.

Now, if you have good reason to have a Mac over a PC, you could see about a multi-boot option so you can run Windows and Mac OS on the same machine...as long as you don’t need stuff on each OS at the same time. If you just want Mac hardware, you can have it run Windows (last I checked).

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