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At 73 am I too old to change to a MAC?

by Omieof4 / July 3, 2010 2:30 AM PDT

I have read many of the posts about MACs vs PC but for me I still need an answer about the problems that come from knowing PCs well and knowing nothing about how MACs work. How complicated are they compared to my PC laptop?

My granddaughters rave about their new MAC laptops and tell me "you will love it" and then add "It will take you months to learn." They think I am 'technology challenged' & on some things I am.

I find that "housekeeping of my PC laptop" takes more time than I like. My current laptop is a a Toshiba Sattelite XP 2005 and has problems. My Outlook Express has changed, PC taking too long to boot and I can't always get connected to a web site. My Time Warner tech guy suggested getting an estimate, as he didn't know what all was going on. But he felt that it was time to buy another laptop.

So what will it be a MAC or a PC? Confused

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Never too old!
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 3, 2010 6:44 AM PDT

Just intruding here to offer my thoughts. I only use a Windows PC and have never used a MAC, but if you are willing to try I bet that, in time, you will love your MAC. This is the message I hear from many who have switched.

Yes it will take time, but that is true of any new computer systems. Just cast your mind back to when you got this new Toshiba. If you had a PC before, was it very different to that? If you were new to PC's then that was perhaps an even greater learning curve.

I can't say what you should do, but others here will tell you more about MACs, so I hope they help you come to a decision.

In the meantime, if there are any problems you feel the helpers here can assist with your current PC problems, feel free to ask, in one of the Windows forums, or the Computer Help or Computer Newbies forums. They are listed in the column on the left.

You may find Grif's now comprehensive, "A few tips for Computer Newbies" thread useful.

Good luck.


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Thanks Matt Re: Not too old for a Mac
by Omieof4 / July 6, 2010 2:51 PM PDT
In reply to: Never too old!

I am listening and will be going for a Mac. Thanks!

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It's Mark
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 6, 2010 8:53 PM PDT

but I'll put that slip down to your age.

Ohh sorry, we're saying you're not too old Devil


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Not even close to being too old!
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 3, 2010 9:07 AM PDT

You will find that the learning curve is not that great.

You already know the basics.
You can use mouse, you can click left and right, you know what a window is, you know how to launch programs, you know how to use a web browser.

Take a tip from your granddaughters, get yourself a Mac. Unless a laptop is absolutely essential, you might want to consider an iMac, an all in one, as your next machine.

You also have the added advantage of at least two sources of Tech Support, your granddaughters!
The Mac forums, here on CNET, will also be available to you.

They are just making fun of you when they say that you are "technology challenged", you can surprise them once you find out how easy it is to use a Mac.

Go for it.


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I concur
by Jimmy Greystone / July 3, 2010 1:55 PM PDT

I concur with the others. Apple and Microsoft have been ripping off one another's good ideas for decades, so there's really very little in the way of fundamental differences. Just little things, like how on Windows when the last window of a program closes, the program closes, but not so on a Mac. You need to explicitly close programs or they stay running. It'll no doubt get you a few times early on, but eventually you'll get the habit down.

One minor thing however, Mac doesn't need to be in all caps. It's short for Macintosh, like the type of apple (<sarcasm>ha ha</sarcasm>), not an acronym like PC.

But honestly, the only time we're too old to learn something new, is when we give up on the idea that it's possible to learn something new. You don't need to know every little nook and cranny of the system, just enough to get you by for what you do. And I don't know how active a social life you have, but plenty of people your age don't really have a lot to occupy their days. So, why not pick up a new computer? So what if it takes months? Better than sitting around watching TV or something else completely mindless isn't it? And it sounds like an excellent excuse to have your grandkids around more often, which I'm sure would be a nice thing.

The one thing I will strongly recommend, especially with a laptop, is to get the AppleCare plan. I know you may well be on a fixed income, and the extra $250 or whatever may seem like a lot, but virtually any repair ever done to the system will cost close to that much. There are plenty of repairs where if done out of warranty, will cost you significantly more than the price of the warranty plan. It also gets you phone support with Apple's techs, who are usually somewhere in the US. The worst you may have to deal with is a southern drawl. So, it's not like you're calling someone in India with as poor a grasp of english as their accent is thick and hard to understand. You may also want to look into Apple's One-on-One program. Not up on the particulars, but I think the general idea is you can buy blocks of time, and then go into any nearby Apple store, and some employee will help train you on whatever you want. May or may not be worth it to you, but something to look into.

Anyway, the long and short of all this is that I'd say go for it. Several months from now you'll still be several months older. However, you could be several months older in more or less the same place you are now, or you could be several months older having learned a new skill. Or at least in the process of. You have little to lose.

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Re: Several months from now you'll still be . . .
by Omieof4 / July 6, 2010 3:01 PM PDT
In reply to: I concur

Jimmy et all,

You and my grandson have convinced me to get a Mac! I will be shopping as now my laptop has a new message "you can not update your data base etc . . ." I am tired of fixing this machine!

Also your comment about "being older months from anyway" is just what I told my grandson when he decided to go for a PHD in a new field of study.

One moe year and he will be a pharmacist with a PHD.

PS Who isn't on a fixed income - having an income is what is important! :o)

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Switch to Mac
by onemoremile / July 9, 2010 8:34 AM PDT

My mother made the switch to Mac at 70 years of age and the process has gone well for her. She was inspired by friends who had been raving about their Macintosh.

If you live near an Apple Store, you might want to do what my mother did and sign up for One to One lessons. The cost is 100 dollars and, for that price, you can get a one-hour private lesson every week for a year. If you buy a laptop you can even take the lesson on your own machine. The trainer will train you on the Macintosh operating system or on any other Apple software that comes with the machine or that you purchase at the same time as the machine. You choose the topics. If you can fit them into your schedule, the One to One lessons are a great deal.

I agree that you should buy the Apple Care warranty, too. That product extends your warranty and gets you three years of support. You can get the help you need at an Apple Store or over the phone. The best thing is that Apple's support techs speak English fluently! Have fun!


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I am NOT TOO old Thanks!
by Omieof4 / July 6, 2010 2:49 PM PDT

Thanks for the response

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With A MAC, its not a matter of being too old....
by EscapePod / July 9, 2010 8:33 AM PDT

...its a matter of being too poor.

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Too Poor!!!???
by Ras-x / July 9, 2010 8:54 AM PDT

Sorry, even though the responses to this post have been very civilised, I must detract and say that this is rubbish. The cost of a mac can be expensive to modest, depending upon your needs, your choice of machine, and the configuration.

Seriously, cost has not been an issue with macs for some time. Yes the absolute bottom price PC is cheaper - but you get what you pay for, and even most PC users (like my sons) would counsel against buying too cheaply. However, once you get past the 'junk' machines, the price difference evaporates.

A lower end iMac will meet all your needs, will be very reliable, will mean you never have to worry about 'virus', and that means your machine will not be slowed d-o-w-n having to run clumsy virus detection software, and, you can run high level, high energy games (if this is your bent - check out STEAM for very cheap prices),you can run all the Office suite, have access to cheaper and just as effective similar software, in fact do anything you can do on a PC and do it better:)n- the free 'i' range of software is brilliant!

Glad you are joining the Mac community - you will not be sorry, just wonder why you didn't do it sooner, and, bye-the-way, I'm in my mid 60's and have been using macs since 1978 - no regrets at all!

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by geffgeorge / July 9, 2010 9:53 AM PDT

my father is 86 and he got a mac a couple of months ago he likes it better than pc w(witch was always getting jammed up.he is having a little trouble adjusting,but my older geek brother changed and so did my sister.I dont like change so i am staying for a wile or until the people i know who fix mine change over.

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And then again,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 9, 2010 11:32 AM PDT
In reply to: pc/mac

maybe when you make the switch, you will not need "the people i know who fix mine change over."

Just a thought


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Too old?
by wcrutcher / July 9, 2010 11:18 AM PDT

I am 73 too and took on managing our local church's network that includes 13 Apple computers of various vintages. It has been a challenge after working with computers for more than 35 years. I have enjoyed it in a perverse way!

IMHO there is nothing "wonderful" about Apple computers other than their marketing skills. They know how to make you want to buy their products. They cost about what a high end Windows machine would cost. If you don't need to game, do graphics, etc. you spend more than you need to spend when you buy Apple.

There is no trouble free computer. There is a very steep learning curve moving from Windows to OS X. I think you are never to old to learn, but some people don't like change of any kind. All computers need periodic maintenance to make them function properly.

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I like Mac after swtching over
by loliko / July 9, 2010 11:47 AM PDT

I just switched to Mac two years ago, and I've been using PC for many years.
The most hassle-free about Mac is how to uninstall most programs/software. Just drag the icon and drop it into the Trash can, empty Trash can and you are done!

Never too old to learn something! Happy

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Apple.. here I come
by brean2 / July 10, 2010 8:48 AM PDT

Go for it man,
I was given a 24" iMac at same age... and within no time it is No1.
I could not go back to PC, I wont even load it on to my Apple (Windows for IMac)
Happy surfing,
Brian (Australia)

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I made the switch a couple of years ago
by f0rtyLeGz / July 9, 2010 1:49 PM PDT

It took me a couple of weeks to know my way around, and a few months to really feel comfortable. I wouldn't go back.

I have been on a DOS computer since 8088 days, and my complaint was the same as yours... too many little problems. Too much house keeping and too much trouble with viruses. On a Mac there are none of those problems. There are no big surprises.

My one suggestion would be buy a new modem when you buy a Mac Wink

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No, you're not too old to learn something new...
by Doh_1 / July 9, 2010 2:44 PM PDT

In fact, learning new things keeps your mind younger. The move from Windows to the Mac is pretty easy, really. And you'll learn as you go, using online forums, the Apple support site, the usual tool set for learning how to do things when necessary.

However, keep in mind that there is no garden of eden when it comes to computers. Mac is based on a UNIX-variant (BSD UNIX), which is currently less of a hacker target, but there are hacks out there for it, phishing, etc. And there are things that can be difficult to do, as well, but you learn to take that along with the good stuff. And you'll pay more for everything, since it isn't a commodity world, it's all proprietary stuff.

I have a friend that just switched from PC's to Mac's, and he's very happy with it. Nice hardware, nice OS, less stress about viruses, malware, etc. But everything costs more, too.

Have fun with it.


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Phishing for Virus'
by Ras-x / July 9, 2010 3:37 PM PDT

Yep, they do exist, but how often have they caused a problem on a Mac? Do a search on Google, you'll find it pretty slim pickings - and while I think the 'good' people at Apple do sometimes make slips with the software development, the (free) OS.X updates attend to almost all the intrusive malware. The fact that OS.X is Unix based makes it infinitely safer than Windoze, but in addition, just practicing safe sex (sorry, safe computing practice), will minimise the intruders even more.

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by Jimmy Greystone / July 9, 2010 11:09 PM PDT

Actually, the BSD's are "official" Unix flavors, not variants at all. There was actually a court case about this not too long ago. And the core of Mac OS X is called Darwin, which is just a slightly modified FreeBSD. Apple regularly imports big chunks of code from the FreeBSD project, and also will dump huge amounts of code onto the FreeBSD project. Safari is based on the rendering engine created by the people of the KDE project, known as KHTML. Apple also uses CUPS for printing, VNC is the foundation for their Remote Desktop, GCC is still the official compiler IIRC, SAMBA is used for the Windows file sharing support. There's free software just about everywhere you look in OS X.

But what does it really matter what the underlying OS is? The Aqua GUI will allow you to continue on blissfully ignorant of the underpinnings of the system. Does it really matter that from Windows 95 to Me, that the underlying OS was DOS? No, most people never knew or cared, and it never had any real impact on their daily life.

At the end of the day, I would say your average Mac is considerably cheaper than a PC. The up front cost is certainly higher, but there are a lot of things you don't need. If you're free to actually USE the system for longer periods of time, and aren't stuck constantly trying to maintain the status quo, I'd say that lowers one of Microsoft's favorite little metrics: Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

It's like I tell people who go into places like Best Buy and look for the cheapest system in the store. You can either pay up front in cash, or you can pay in installments of frustration later, but one way or another, you WILL pay. The gods demand a sacrifice, and they will not be denied.

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All "proprietary stuff" is not exactly accurate,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 9, 2010 11:13 PM PDT

Other than my iMac itself, nothing else has the Apple logo on it.

My cable modem, wireless router, external hard drives, the internal iMac RAM, the internal iMac HD, the USB hub, the card reader, the keyboard and the printer are all things that do not have the Apple logo on them.

What are you referring to when you say "proprietary"?


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When I switched
by f0rtyLeGz / July 9, 2010 3:50 PM PDT

I did not buy the Apple Care. I bought a used refurbished MacBook. It was a learning experience.

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Wrong Question
by Flatworm / July 9, 2010 11:21 PM PDT

The question is not whether or not you are too old. The question is whether you are stupid and wasteful enough.

Macs are different. Do you really want to be different when so much of the purpose of a computer is to share with others? And do you really want to spend roughly 30% more for the same performance point?

And also think about whether you want the manufacturer to have that much control over how you use your own property? Apple keeps a Nazi-like proprietary control over their products that most people find deeply offensive. Indeed, that is the #1 reason I will NEVER, EVER purchase any Apple product despite their herculean efforts to cultivate an oh-so-hip attitude that appeals to the childish and stupid who elevate style over function.

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There's a difference
by Jimmy Greystone / July 10, 2010 12:58 AM PDT
In reply to: Wrong Question

There's a difference between Apple's computers and their electronics.

While some of your points are clearly valid for the likes of the iPhone and iPad, they don't apply to their line of computers.

But in all honesty, Apple is a company that obsesses over minor details that other companies completely ignore. If you've ever spent any amount of time using some of their products, this becomes pretty clear. There's no single big thing, it's a bunch of little things. Granted, unless things have changed significantly with iOS 4, that is a complete unmitigated disaster UI wise compared to Mac OS X, but you can still see that they spend a lot of time on the little things, same as the big things.

As for the price... Yes, there is a premium, but at least with their computers, when you really compare what you're getting... The price is pretty competitive. Go out and try to build a system with similar specs at any other major OEM. And make sure you get the details right, like using DDR3 RAM instead of DDR2. You can't just match the amount. I'm betting you'll find that you're hard pressed to find a significantly cheaper offering. And it's not always about price anyway. Plus, at 73, why not treat yourself a little? When he was younger he was probably doing the responsible thing, saving money, providing for his family, etc. Let them have this one thing. If it brings them some level of joy in the later years of life, how bad can it be?

You might consider trying this yourself. Instead of being stingy and only buying the cheap stuff, indulge yourself a little once in awhile. You don't need to go to a 5 star restaurant, for example, but maybe some place where you actually sit down, order food from a waiter. No point making yourself bitter by denying yourself some simple pleasures. And yes, that does come across quite clearly from the way you phrased your post. I'd even be so bold as to go out on a limb and assume you're a frequent Walmart patron. Maybe even some of those dollar stores and bulk warehouse clubs.

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A little extreme
by onemoremile / July 10, 2010 1:13 AM PDT
In reply to: Wrong Question

"Nazi-like?!" Wow!

I think that a fanatical attention to a quality user experience is a little different than Adolph Hitler's approach, Flatworm. Preference for a particular business model if fine; I would prefer that we tone down the hyperbole here.

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Not only that
by Jimmy Greystone / July 10, 2010 3:44 AM PDT
In reply to: A little extreme

Not only that, but most people who say those kinds of things really don't have any concept of what life was like in Nazi Germany. They tend to confuse it with all the cold war propaganda about communism, which was really closer to a totalitarian dictatorship than it was communism as it was defined by Karl Marx. If you take a big greasy slab of meat, full of fat and done up in just about every unhealthy way you can imagine... It doesn't mean sprinkling a little parsley on top will somehow make it health food.

But it's pretty clear they have their mind already made up, and it's based on a lot of second hand information (at best). So probably not a lot of point continuing. There's no reasoning with people who are still arguing the Mac vs. PC debate. You can only hope for them to wake up one day with a level of intellectual and emotional maturity that they lacked the day before, so they can fully appreciate the utter stupidity of their actions. It's usually a futile hope, but it's all you have.

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You'll need to watch that.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 10, 2010 5:39 AM PDT
In reply to: Wrong Question

Calling people stupid often earns a delete in these forums.


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You're not too old - computers should be FUN, not a pain
by carolgleadhill / July 10, 2010 4:46 AM PDT

I?m eighty-one and admittedly have used only Macs for the past 17 years (before that PCs). I love Macs for the relative lack of problems compared with what Windows users experience. I?m on the PC users ?grapevine? and it is totally devoted to problems they experience with their computers. By comparison, our local Mac Users Group also has an online chat group and complaints have dried up! I used to do some in-home Mac repairs and servicing for MUG members, but since the introduction of OSX I never get any requests for help.

The closest Mac repair service facility is an hour?s drive from our little town in eastern North Carolina, yet local Mac users don?t feel like they?re living on the edge. Apple?s tech support is the absolute best in the business (confirmed by Consumer Reports? annual reader surveys). However, I would second one CNET poster?s suggestion: sign up for three-year extended Applecare coverage, particularly if buying a laptop. It means you won?t have to worry or spend any money on repairs for three years. Apple will fix or replace it.

Finally, Mac computers come preloaded with a lot of excellent, free applications that PC buyers have to pay for.

I recall all the hassles I used to have with Windows and I?m awfully glad I switched.

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Too old for Mac?
by Donald Ishikawa / July 10, 2010 5:36 AM PDT

Hardly. Both the PC and Mac have improved much since the early '80s and are much more user friendly. Apple may have had an ease of use advantage for a long time but Microsoft has wised up and is easier now, too. Sure, the PC's are more vulnerable to attacks but with proper protection they're safe. We use both in our older household (both of us in 70s). My wife prefers the PC but I am comfortable with both. She has a year old HP with the Vista OS and I loaded software from her 5 year old PC laptop (Windows XP) whose screen was dying. She did not want to use the newer versions of MS Office, etc. Her new HP laptop (17" screen, lower end but with adequate processor speed, 4 GB RAM and 250 GB HD space) works satisfactorily as the MacBook Pro (13", 2.53 Ghz processor, 4 GB RAM, and 250 GB HD). Price wise the HP was almost 50% less because we did not buy any new software except for the virus, fire wall, etc. software. I like my Mac but not fanatic about it. I do like the support from Apple and from people in our Mac Users Group. By the way neither machines have caused us any grief in the past year even as we lugged them across the country and back by car using both almost daily. Sounds like you'll have great support from your grandchildren. Go for it.

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TOO OLD @73?
by lilburn / July 10, 2010 7:37 AM PDT

Heck, no! I am 77, just three years after I switched from PC to Mac OSX. Prior to that, I used Windows for about ten years. Before that, I didn't know from computers.

There are definite differences between the two. I had some problems, to be sure. I finally took the easy way and put in my old reliable Yahoo account. That pleased my wife also. It is now possible to add Windows to Mac. I also use my old Hotmail account. All of this old PC stuff can be imported to the Mac

My one big advantage through all of this is that our son uses computers professionally and trained me at age 65 on equipment he helped me select. 10 years later as my third PC was getting ready to bite the dust, my son gave me his seven -year-old Mac as he was in need of a more advanced OS.

The latest chapter in this saga is that the Mac finally quit. Since the beast is 10 years old, I had some serious thinking to do. Should I spend money for repairs or buy a cheapie PC or blow the budget with a new Mac. Macs are outrageously expensive to purchase when your monthly SS check is pretty lean. But, once again my son and his wife came to my rescue. The wife had just acquired a new Mac Notebook so she volunteered her three year old MiniMac. I was saved. The Mini is a real jewel. I t will almost fit in a large Kleenex box.

Final comment. If you go for a Mac, get the Mini unless you have need for some much heavier computing power. It is the least expensive and takes up very little room. Note also, no matter which Mac you choose, you no longer need to spend a bunch of money each year for various anti-virus, anti-this and anti-that. Mac takes care of it.

Hope this helps you decide. Feel free to respond if you wish.

Good luck.

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Mac ?
by Dynac3 / July 10, 2010 10:45 AM PDT

I am 65, with two pcs. and 2 macs. I don't own a laptop. I like my mini and Imac the best. I have never had any trouble with either. The pcs slow down every monthe. I have used click fix and several programs, but they continue to do so.

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