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Dear Reader,

I get the Mac vs. PC question all the time from workshop attendees and readers of this e-letter. Everyone wants to know which is better. And the answer is simple for writers and photographers…

Anything you buy today (Mac or PC) is miles better than it was just two or three years ago. So you really can’t go wrong. Get something that fits your budget and your style (small, light-weight portables are great for traveling) and you’ll be fine.

You’ll hear people say that Macs are great, but expensive. But others will say Macs are actually on par with comparable Windows models in price. It’s just that the keyword is: comparable. There are a lot more budget Windows laptops then there are Macs. Therefore it looks like Windows machines are cheaper.

My advice on Mac v. PC: Buy the computer you can afford even if it isn’t your “dream” model. If money’s tight, a netbook-sized, Windows-based portable, especially if it has that built-in SD card slot, will fit the bill quite nicely.

My friend — tech writer, Mark Kellner, for The Washington Times — recommends Acer’s Aspire Timeline AS5810TZ-4433. It sells for $650, weighs only 5.3 pounds, and gives you a 15.6-inch screen with full keyboard (including number pad).

And if you have a little more wiggle room in your budget, Mark recommends the MacBook Pro. The lowest-priced MacBook portable is $999. But you’re much better off spending $200 more and getting the MacBook Pro, which includes an SD card slot for quick photo transfer, he says.

The thing I like MOST about buying a Mac is that you can sign up for free workshops at your local Apple store. They’ll teach you how to download music, prepare presentations, create your own website, and more.

To my knowledge Windows doesn’t offer this service. (Though, you can often find free videos online for your Windows machine that’ll teach you how to do those things, too… minus the personal interaction).

The thing I like LEAST about Apple is how proprietary they are. And how expensive all their “extras” are. Lose or damage a power cord for your iPhone and you’re out $50 or more. Buy a replacement cord and it’ll come in a pretty white envelope wrapping a small box that holds another black box that folds out to reveal a black velvet pouch that holds a Ziploc bag that (at last!) encases your power cord. (And guess who’s paying for all those frills!)

And good luck getting your Mac fixed if everyone you know owns a PC and you don’t live near an Apple store.  Mac fans will say that Macs don’t crash or have technical problems but that’s hogwash.  Every Mac-user I know has lost a hard drive at some point.  And I know several who have switched back to PCs after spending a year or two on Macs.

According to PCMag.com, one of the top computer websites, Apple always comes out on top in terms of reliability, though, followed in 2009 by Asus, and then Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba, and Dell. Gateway, Acer and Hewlett Packard are in a three-way tie for last place.

And even though more people own Macs today than ever before, they’re still rarely susceptible to viruses. Hackers spend their time creating viruses for Windows machines and tend to leave Macs alone.

But perhaps the most important thing to remember when you’re considering Mac v. PC is that it’s the user — and not the machine — that must keep your photos organized and accessible. If you think buying a new laptop will fix all your problems, you may be right. But if you think the laptop is going to take pictures for you and upload them automatically to editors and photo buyers around the world, you’ve got another thing coming.

— Lori (Five year Toshiba Portégé M200-S838 owner and proud of it.)

Lori Allen
Director, Great Escape Publishing

P.S. The best photo editing software on the market, Adobe Lightroom, works well on both Mac and PC computers. If you’re not yet familiar with Lightroom, you can download a free 30-day trial at the Adobe.com site. Or, join us at our next live workshop and find out how to edit your photos for sale in person, here.

Reader Comments — Scroll Down to Leave Yours Below

“As a Global traveler, the thing I like most about a Mac is that you can have it fixed in any large city in the world. Four years ago I was flying from Sydney, Australia to Bali when the screen on my iBook went blank.

After an overnight stay in Bali I arrived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where I bought my iBook to be repaired. I didn’t need proof of my warranty because Apple stores the registration number in its database.

After being an Apple user for 20 years, this is the only problem that I have ever had. Did you mention how user friendly it is? Apple is not a geek machine but a tool to assist those with ideas to be productive without frustration.” — Arthur Poirier

“In the 2 years since I’ve owned my Mac Book Pro, I’ve not had a single issue that I could not resolve myself. So yes, buy what you can afford. I found that iWork 09 cost far less than MS Office 2008 — and you have to have some kind of office suite software. It’s not as robust, but it works. Or there is Open Office — a free shareware software that remains a really good solution.

Lightroom — I’d like to recommend you wait a few weeks if you don’t own this already. Adobe has a beta out for Lightroom version 3. It is vastly better than what I came to love in Lightroom version 2.

So if you can wait until the new version comes out, you will LOVE it.” — Nancy Lamb

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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