Buying a Mac

Four helpful links for anyone considering a Mac for the first time, or experienced buyers looking to sharpen their deal-finding skills:

  • Which Mac Are You: Apple outlines the options and helps you choose.
  • The New Rules for Buying a Mac: Or, as I like to think of it, Mythbusting the Mac buying experience.
  • Mac Shopping Advice: How to drive the best bargain in a market with (relatively) limited options.
  • Mac FAQ: Potential switchers can check out Apple’s frequently-asked-questions doc on what the Mac is all about.

Image © Apple, Inc.

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Converting Exchange to Address Book/Mail/iCal/anything

One of the more annoying facts of living with Microsoft products is their preference for/corporate reliance on proprietary data formats. If they’re not tying your information up in a file nothing else can read, then they’re hampering you with half-assed or nonexistent export tools. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just an annoying roadblock to moving your data to a non-MS app (which is, of course, the motivation…maybe not the only one, but it’s in the top 5 I’ll guarantee).

Last night I found Outport, an open-source project designed to extract all kinds of information from Outlook and convert it to standard formats. So programs like Apple Address Book and Apple iCal — which use standards like iCal and vCard — can get access to your previously Outlook-bound data. Presumably, since Outport converts to widely-used standard formats, lots of non-Apple stuff can read the output as well. I just happened to be chin-deep in a Windows-to-Mac conversion, and desperate for a way to move a huge calendar.

So far, I’m very happy with what Outport does, and grateful to the developer for building it. Pity it seems to have fallen by the wayside.