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SufficientCondition

MacBook vs PC

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I'm sure you will get a lot of Apple iFanboys telling you how great their Mac is, but for what you use strictly for law school there is no need to spend the extra money. 

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This doesn't relate to law school, but one downside of having a Macbook is that when you get a job at a law firm you wont be able to hook up your macbook to the firms network/computer system (you know what I mean) because those are configured for PC. For example I cannot access the firms servers from anywhere offsite, whereas I could if I had a PC laptop. Although many firms will give you a laptop, some will not. And even if they do, it might be an old laptop that is not very easy to use, as was my case. 

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You should have posted something less controversial like "Israel vs Palestine".

I liked my Mac during lawschool. No particular reason and gave no discernable advantage considering the Exam4 software at U of A worked on both.

When I started articling, I couldn't use my personal computer for security reasons. So maybe consider that if you are going to break the bank on a laptop - some firms will provide you with one and your lawschool setup will turn into a Netflix station for the bathtub.

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I've been considering a move to PC from my 8-year-old MacBook as I figured the Windows platform will be universal in both classroom and professional settings. The last thing I want to deal with during 1L is to accommodate an Apple OS. 

Given not all keyboards are created equal, is it worth (in your opinions) specifically targeting a laptop with a high quality keyboard and typing experience (for exams..)?    

Edited by SufficientCondition

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2 hours ago, shawniebear said:

This doesn't relate to law school, but one downside of having a Macbook is that when you get a job at a law firm you wont be able to hook up your macbook to the firms network/computer system (you know what I mean) because those are configured for PC. For example I cannot access the firms servers from anywhere offsite, whereas I could if I had a PC laptop. Although many firms will give you a laptop, some will not. And even if they do, it might be an old laptop that is not very easy to use, as was my case. 

This is not a global rule and if a law firm can't work with a Macbook they have some shoddy and low rent IT practices. My firm as well as plenty of small firms I am familiar with have easy offsite access for Macbook computers. If your firm can't set up a VPN that connects to a citrix or other software based instance of Windows, they might as well still be working with typewriters. This doesn't apply to tiny firms of a couple to a handful of people because in that case it may not make financial sense to do so.

I've used a Macbook for years, particularly because I got a free, full replacement partway through law school and haven't had to upgrade in a long time. It was fine for law school and has been fine for practice as well.

Edited by Rashabon
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Anyone encounter issues with PCs, especially with exam software? I specifically have a Surface Pro.

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21 hours ago, Aschenbach said:

Anyone encounter issues with PCs, especially with exam software? I specifically have a Surface Pro.

Someone in my year had no issues with a surface pro and the U of A software (which I think is the same for many other schools - Exam4).

You can always call the IT people at the faculty. They are super helpful with questions like this AND don't forget to keep them in mind for repairs.

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I used an HP during my undergrad, then bought another for law school ($700 gets you about 4 years). I'm more familiar with windows, so it was nicer for me. Had I bought a Macbook, I wouldn't have known how to use it, and wouldn't have wanted to take the time to figure it out with everything else going on.

On that note, if you're more comfortable with a PC, go with that; if you're more comfortable with a Mac, go with that. I saw a healthy mix in class, but I would say there were more Apples than PCs; just an observation. Couldn't tell you why that was.

I think, ultimately, it boils down to just general preferences; I don't think there's any particular considerations for law and law school. My biggest factors were cost and comfort, so I went with the HP laptop with the bigger screen.

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I'm a solo practitioner with a full time law clerk and part time assistant, and even I have a set up that can accommodate either PC or Mac logging in through the VPN. Just buy whatever you like. The exam software will work on either, its been like 15 or 20 years since MS Office became available for Mac too, and there is no reason to go with one over the other except for cost IMO. Go to the store, see what you like, make purchase. Done! :)

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35 minutes ago, ericontario said:

I'm a solo practitioner with a full time law clerk and part time assistant, and even I have a set up that can accommodate either PC or Mac logging in through the VPN. Just buy whatever you like. The exam software will work on either, its been like 15 or 20 years since MS Office became available for Mac too, and there is no reason to go with one over the other except for cost IMO. Go to the store, see what you like, make purchase. Done! :)

I feel like I should point out that MS Office has been available for Mac from the very beginning.  Microsoft has been a Mac software developer from pretty much day one.

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On 5/21/2019 at 10:28 AM, shawniebear said:

This doesn't relate to law school, but one downside of having a Macbook is that when you get a job at a law firm you wont be able to hook up your macbook to the firms network/computer system (you know what I mean) because those are configured for PC. For example I cannot access the firms servers from anywhere offsite, whereas I could if I had a PC laptop. Although many firms will give you a laptop, some will not. And even if they do, it might be an old laptop that is not very easy to use, as was my case. 

I don't think this true for most of the big firms. Just asked a few friends and no one with a mac has any problems logging in remotely. I don't think the choice matters all that much. I love my mac mainly because 1) nothing ever goes wrong and 2) if it ever does, apple makes it incredibly easy to fix and will give you a replacement while its being fixed. I am reckless with downloads and do pretty much everything wrong from a cyber security perspective and I've never encountered a virus since having a mac. 

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3 hours ago, Malicious Prosecutor said:

I feel like I should point out that MS Office has been available for Mac from the very beginning.  Microsoft has been a Mac software developer from pretty much day one.

Alright then, there you go. You could even buy a mac from 1990 for law school if you want. Although I wouldn't join Malicious Prosecutor in recommending that ;) How will you stream Netflix between classes? 

Edited by ericontario

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8 hours ago, CoffeeandLaw said:

I don't think this true for most of the big firms. Just asked a few friends and no one with a mac has any problems logging in remotely. I don't think the choice matters all that much. I love my mac mainly because 1) nothing ever goes wrong and 2) if it ever does, apple makes it incredibly easy to fix and will give you a replacement while its being fixed. I am reckless with downloads and do pretty much everything wrong from a cyber security perspective and I've never encountered a virus since having a mac. 

Ya I probably should have mentioned that the firm I work at is a small firm. 

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The exam software was slightly better on Macs as of 2013. Mac Microsoft Office still has menus if you're like me and grew up with them. And Macs are less susceptible to malware but definitely not immune.

But Mac computers have a lot of compatibility problems for things like games. Blizzard releases Mac versions but Mac gaming feels like its kind of stalled compared to when they initially went Intel. Also after Steve Jobs died the company hasn't really focused on their computers and it generally feels like they aren't as good as they were before. If you can live without menus then get a windows laptop. Basically if your laptop is going to be your main computer get a windows laptop.

I do not at all agree that macs are easy to repair. Apple doesn't really board-level repairs. They replace any time there is an issue. Apple charges a huge premium on out of warranty replacements and makes it hard for private repairers to fix things even if all it is is a bad capacitor. Applecare is a good extended warranty program but a lot of macbooks have design flaws that tend to crop up eventually, though Macs do often last longer than low-end Windows PCs. A windows PC with the same price point as a macbook is often a better machine.

If you were not on a budget I'd recommend a high end surface instead of a Macbook.

That being said I'm still using the macbook I had in law school having graduated in 2013, but the machine is definitely showing its age and I bought a desktop PC later for gaming.

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I have a thinkpad x1 carbon and love it, but both Mac and PC have their merits. It honestly shouldn’t make a difference and is just a matter of personal preference. 

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On 5/29/2019 at 3:33 PM, AnonLaw said:

1. The exam software was slightly better on Macs as of 2013.

2. A windows PC with the same price point as a macbook is often a better machine.

3. That being said I'm still using the macbook I had in law school having graduated in 2013, but the machine is definitely showing its age and I bought a desktop PC later for gaming.

1. Yes I think that was true for my classes in 2014 through 2017; it was always the PC students who had to ask for help;

2. I can't even imagine a $1700 windows laptop... that thing I could do some serious gaming on!!

3. My wife was still using a very old handmedown mac long after I blew through a desktop and 2 laptops! But yeah, wouldn't want to have to play EVE on that thing!

 

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On 5/21/2019 at 10:34 AM, SufficientCondition said:

I've been considering a move to PC from my 8-year-old MacBook as I figured the Windows platform will be universal in both classroom and professional settings. The last thing I want to deal with during 1L is to accommodate an Apple OS. 

Given not all keyboards are created equal, is it worth (in your opinions) specifically targeting a laptop with a high quality keyboard and typing experience (for exams..)?    

I just brought a keyboard to exams. I hate all laptop keyboards and only tolerate typing on them for notes because I'm not lugging around a damn keyboard everywhere.

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Quite a few people in my class brought their gaming laptop to class/exams. Those are big chunky machines with flashing lights. Any computer will do as long as it runs window/mac with access to internet and not super uncomfortable to use.

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