Converting my wife from Windows to Mac is about to begin

Last Saturday my wife and I went to our local Apple store with the intent of buying her a new MacBook and taking advantage of the educational offer they had; buy a qualifying Mac and get up to a $299 iPod free. My hope was that we would be able to get one of the new iPods but instead they told us we could only get either an older 8GB iPod Touch or a previous generation Nano. We decided to pass this up and simply wait a little longer since Allison's birthday isn't until the end of the month.

I thought about holding off until the next generation MacBooks are released (highly likely they will be next month) but came to the conclusion that it was better to simply get her a new machine right now instead of waiting. I want to have the machine in-house and set up for her so that she has it for her birthday.

I've had good luck with Apple Refurbished systems—my Mac Pro being one of them—so I decided to go that route. Since her needs are really minimal and she likes both of my daughter's MacBooks I went with the least expensive MacBook I could find in the refurbished deals section:

White MacBook
2.16 GHz Core Duo
1GB Memory
120GB HD
8X Superdrive

While a pretty entry level machine it's more than powerful enough to handle the basic web surfing, e-mail and word processing that Allison does. The $949 price was great too. I also picked up a refurbished 500GB Time Capsule for her at $249 and added in Apple Care to round it all out. The way I see it the Time Capsule should be just what she needs to keep Time Machine working for her behind the scenes.

On my short list to pick up for her are a Bluetooth mouse and some additional RAM. Given the low price of memory I'll likely overbuy there and go with 4GB since there is no such thing as too much RAM, especially with Firefox leaking like crazy.

The other challenge will be to see if she wants to use Microsoft Office or iWork. I personally bought iWork and moved to that after my trial of Microsoft Office left me feeling... meh. Pages is a much less complex product and I may try to get her to give that a shot instead of Word.

So the countdown to converting my wife from Windows to Mac is on. The machine is due early next week and I'll be giving it to her that weekend. Hopefully before then I can get all of her files on the machine and set it all up for her so that she can just jump right in and start using it.

A little help with a name
One thing I could use help with; I'll need to name the machine. She's a high school teacher now but is also an accomplished attorney that served as a child advocate for many years. For her sake I want to avoid the Star Wars themes I've used for names since she's apparently allergic to science fiction.


Anonymous said...

Call her machine 'Counselor'—covers both the attorney and high school teacher angles.

Gerard said...

"Teacher's Pet"

Gerard said...

Or name it "Hot Momma". Good for both a compliment to her and grossing out the kids at the same time, and that's priceless.

Anonymous said...

You'd better wait for the new machines. You're going to kick yourself afterward if you don't.
Nobody ever thinks "I wish I'd gone ahead and bought the old machine" once the new ones arrive.. especially from Apple.

Anonymous said...

I always use Latin words for computer names. Why not go with: magister.

It means teacher but it's English derivative, magistrate has a nice "law"-ring to it.

Paul said...

What about "MrChips"?

As in the 1939 film about a popular schoolteacher "Goodbye Mr Chips".

IMDb Goodbye Mr Chips

Cyclist At Large said...

I use latin flower and plant names for my machines. Here's the ones that I can remember:


devburke said...

Allison Alison? Call it Alllison!

Seriously though, wait for the new Macbooks, they update rarely and it's right around the corner.

American Fairy Tales said...

Just curious, did you check out MacMall before ordering the refurb machine from Apple? Sometimes MacMall's deals are exceptionally good and you can get a new machine for $75 - $100 less than Apple wants. Plus, as they don't have a retail presence, at least in my State, you get to avoid paying sales tax.

As for a name, what subject does your wife teach? You might be able to find inspiration there. Or, you can the flattery route and just call the machine MILF or TILF. Unless, of course, that isn't something either of you would find cute or humorous.

Another idea would be to go really old school and name the machine Plato, or Aristotle. You could also go with Argonaut, or something else out of Greek/Roman mythology.

David Alison said...

I really like the latin idea, it's got a nice tie in there. She's a history / government teacher so that plays into it as well.

@Anon: on waiting and buying the new model, I don't want to wait around until mid-October to get her birthday present and what she has now is dying pretty rapidly. If it was for me I likely would have waited.

@Devburke: I was waiting for someone to figure that one out. A true sign of love is when your wife decides to subject herself to that name. Alllison would be rather amusing, though I also like Gerard's idea.

David Alison said...

@American Fairy Tales: thanks for the tip on I just checked there and they don't really have anything too close to the price I paid - the machines that looked closest in price had the Combo Drive, not Super Drive, which she will need to burn DVDs.

Janssen said...

I first named a Mac when I was studying Shakespeare in school. Ever since then I've named computers after Shakespearian characters and works, like Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius, and Tempest. I then pick another related character or word to name the hard drive, like Ophelia, Banquo, Caesar, and Prospero (I don't like making the network name the same as the HD name, or I get confused).

Why not name it after something related to what she teaches?

Darren Wheatley said...


How about - Cicero?



Welles said...


On the mouse front... I use a Logitech mouse with a USB receiver so small it stays plugged in all the time including in my slip case. Solid reception and tracking and a good deal on Amazon.,en

Chris said...

Ouch, *bad* time to be buying an Apple laptop, with new models imminent. Even if the new models don't offer anything you can't live without, at the very least you'd get a much better deal on the current models.

And if the new models *are* a significantly better redesign, your wife will be unhappy to have the outdated model.

Anonymous said...

Re: Buying before the MacBook update

[controversial]Is it because you don't want the wife to have a Mac with newer/better features than yours?[/controversial]

William said...

Open office 3 is a M$ office alternative that might be easier than Pages if she has to deal with .doc and .docx with the school. In Pages you have to import and export to the formats instead of just working with them as is. Bean is simple and fast for .doc also, if basic needs are all you need.

David Alison said...

@Welles: I like the tiny receiver on that mouse - would be even better if it was just Bluetooth though. Thanks for the link. While I hate the drivers that Logitech has forced on the Mac community I really like the hardware they produce and it is my preferred mouse. My wife has small hands so I may see if the Microsoft Bluetooth Laptop Mouse I tried out a few months ago (but gave up on) will be a good fit for her.

@Chris: She really is not technically inclined at all - computers are tools to her and she views them in a very impersonal way. My hope is that she gets into this Mac like she has her iPhone and starts to use it as more than an e-mail / web browsing / word processing device. If that does happen then round about Christmas I'll be upgrading her to a newer MacBook and pushing this MacBook down to my son, the last one in the house still on a PC. All part of the plan ;-)

@William: thanks for the reminder on Open Office. I should let her try that out and see if it works for what she needs. She has lots of .DOC and a few .docx files to deal with and that's the standard medium at her school. She also deals with PowerPoint PPT files as well so I have to factor that in.

@Darren: I really like Cicero, very appropriate. That's in the lead now for me.

Keleko said...

I use the Logitech wireless mouse and keyboard. It isn't bluetooth, but that actually helps in that I can leave bluetooth turned off to save power when I've gone mobile. It also makes it easy to swap it between computers by just moving the receiver dongle. I did that for a while when using the work laptop on the same desk as the personal laptop. While "at work" I just plugged it into the work laptop.

The other reason I got the Logitech wireless over Apple's is the Logitech has a numeric keypad. I do some accounting duties which makes having the number pad pretty much required. That may be important for her attorney needs, too.

I have a Time Capsule, and it is just perfect for my backups. The disk is a little loud when it is running, though. It isn't spinning-whine loud but static-noise when writing noise. I can always tell when Time Machine is going to run when I hear the Time Capsule disk start up. I also use it to share my music files to my work laptop in my office. I don't use iTunes on my windows laptop, so it doesn't interfere with the files there. I just use it as a read-only network shared drive for the music files. I back them up separately from Time Machine so I can get to them.

qka said...

I believe that currently there is a promotion going on at the Apple stores for a $100 rebate on select printers (making a $99 printer free!); this rebate was not part of the summer educational promotion. You may want to investigate the printer promotion deadline and take that into your buying plans.

Owen said...

I would suggest Hypatia, as a name for the MacBook.

David Alison said...

@qka: Thanks for the heads up on the printer promotion. I indeed saw that but we're full up on printers here with a good mix of multi-function black laser, color laser and injet photo printers.

I've noticed that printers are now going for ridiculously low prices; keep in mind the cost of replacement cartridges for them. That's often where the vendor makes up the promotional price. I've also noticed that every printer I've bought recently had a "micro" sized cartridge that only has a fraction of the capacity of standard replacement cartridges—usually on the order of 50% of what a standard replacement cartridge contains. They do this so you will have to go out and buy a much higher margin replacement sooner rather than later.

@Keleko: I would really like to get her comfortable with the keyboard that's built into the MacBook. She doesn't use the numeric keyboard on her laptop right now so I don't think that will be a factor. She loves the idea of portability and I'm trying to get this machine set up so that she simply pops the magnetic power cord and grabs the machine. We'll see how that works out.

Anonymous said...

Computer names? You got it!

Blend two words to get...
Ed Torney
Legal Ed
Ed Law
Eddie Law
Eddy Law

Or mix up...
Perry Mason
Ally McBeal

Mr. Chips
Mr. Kotter

To get...
Perry Kotter
Perry Chips
Ally Kotter
Ally Chips

And there were all those teachers on Room 222. But that may be too obscure.

Hope these are helpful. I know she's gonna be thrilled with her new Mac.

John R.

Anonymous said...

I know you're set on bluetooth for a mouse/keyboard, and I have the same deal in the form of a Mighty Mouse and Apple bluetooth wireless keyboard, but keep in mind this caveat: Bluetooth doesn't have a whole lot of bandwidth apparently. I know this because I use it to talk to my phone, and when it's transferring pictures, contacts, ringtones etc. over bluetooth I gotta remember to shut off my mouse and keyboard because during that time they become quite unusable and the transfer slows down even more than it would be otherwise.

But hey, it's not a big deal since my Macbook has that brilliant built-in trackpad and it's own keyboard. Plus it beats buying a cable for my phone.

Good luck with your wife's conversion. It didn't take a whole lot to get my wife converted over. She's happy as can be with her sexy black Macbook that she's happy to use with just it's own screen, keyboard, trackpad, and portability. Me, I have to hang a 23" external LCD, a firewire external drive, a USB external drive, a USB hub with printer, scanner, Wacom, camera, media reader, external speakers and the bluetooth mouse/keyboard off my Macbook!

Going portable with this thing is like launching the Space Shuttle with it's own checklist. *) Monitor off disconnect; *) Resize dock; *) All windows to internal; *) Eject external drives; *) Firewire disconnect *) USB drive disconnect; *) External speakers disconnect; *) Mouse off (won't sleep otherwise) *) Power to internal (disconnect magsafe); *) Lid closure *) 'breathing' sleep light confirm... LIFTOFF! ;)

-walkerj from the Mac forums.

Anonymous said...

My close friend didn't want to wait when I warned him new iBooks were due. He jumped in and bought one anyway. A G4 iBook. A couple of weeks later the Intel MacBook arrived, was twice as fast and cost less. He was sick about it, The old saw, anything worth having is worth waiting for certainly applied there.

Steve said...

What about "Callista?" I'm not a Star Wars nerd, but I found it on wikipedia's list of star war names:

And it's from the greek for "Most Beautiful". So you win "husband points." :-)

gerry.croce said...

Hi David. I like to use native american names on my home network, like hopi, zuni, lenape, seneca, mohawk, cree.

I went with the 4G memory too. I thought I'd need it for running Parallels.

You might want to get your wife a second monitor at some point. It makes a huge difference.

MaxPug said...


I always enjoy reading your blog. You post something at 10:00AM and by 9:04PM you have 27 comments. I read in your blog switching to iWork from Office. I just bought my copy of iWork yesterday for my birthday. I did have a question for you did you go with .MAC/mobileMe?

For a name I always string things together so my suggestion would be MOMWIFETEACHERLAWYER.


MaxPug said...

P.S. VMWare Fusion 2.0 came out.

David Alison said...

@WalkerJ: Thanks for the feedback on the Bluetooth interference issue - I hadn't thought of that. Welles has me thinking of the Logitech for her; since that USB receiver is so small that may be the way to go.

Your lift-off analogy is great; I only have a couple of things plugged into my MacBook Pro but it feels like that when I need to pull it as well. Lately I've just been using the track pad to keep it more mobile.

@Steve: Husband points; I like it. The first thing I thought of with that name was Calista Flockhart though. My wife would probably look at me and wonder why I did that. "Because it's Greek for Most Beautiful!". Allison: "So she's the most beautiful person to you, is she?!?"

I don't like where that one might go.

@Gerry: I do have a spare wide screen monitor that I may hook her up with, though she seemed to be pretty happy with the 13" when she was trying out our daughter's MacBook.

@Max: I didn't go with Mobile Me. Even though we're flush with Macs and iPhones now I don't see the value based on the cost. Glad you like reading the blog! I'm not writing as often as I used to but it's still fun to jump into it, especially if it helps me keep my mind off the stock market.

Paul said...

Been there - done that - almost survived - if she uses Outlook you will find this well worth the $US10

O2M (Outlook to Mail)


Howdy David,

I've always had fun with the naming of my computer systems and various other network peripherals and gadgets. I almost always over think them, but it's a fun pastime.

I do like to do some minor research and find just the right clever name for a device and to try to match it to the individual or circumstance.

Please forgive the following short story (Humor):

When installing a small computer network many years ago over summer break at a grade school in rural Oregon, I came up with the idea of naming all the systems after our solar system.

This worked quite well as it was educational and we had exactly 10 systems including the server...

It made perfect sense to name the server "Sol" and from that point on each system for the various teachers were named after planets according to my recollection of their personality.

When summer ended and all the teachers came back to their classrooms they loved the amount of thought I'd put into who got named what.

The only person that required a name change to his system was the Vice Principal. I renamed his system to "Planet X."

All the teachers felt that the original name of "Uranus" fit the circumstances much better, but he was the one writing the checks after all! :-)

Anyway, onto your project:

How about "Hope?"

As in you hope she loves it, you hope she takes to it quickly, and you hope she never has to go back to a Windows box! It's optimistic, short, sweet and easy to remember.

Also, don't forget to name the Time Capsule too. Maybe "Pandora's Box." It's a nice tie-in with "Hope" and has the whole Greek thing going for it.

Here's another possibility along a completely different line...

How about "Phoenix." Since it's a refurb, the whole idea of the rising from the ashes to live a again seems apropos.

I admit, I've already named one of my refurb systems "Benu" which is one of the alternate spellings for the Bennu Bird and roughly the Egyptian equivalent of the Phoenix.

It may be time to start a blog or website for Mac naming assistance similar to the baby name sites out there!



SD said...

"Allison Alison" ;-))
As I'm not native English speaker, is it pronounced the same?

David Alison said...

@Raster: Thanks Jeff - I really like "Hope". Simple, short and meaningful. Perhaps "Faith" for the Time Capsule works because we'll have to have faith that it's actually backing up her files.

@SD: Yep, pronounced the same.

Anonymous said...

Snow Fairy > White Macbook

Anonymous said...

remember the movie Artificial Intelligence: AI ?

there was a Blue Fairy, a symbol of everlasting love for children; your wife is school teacher and a mother of two.

the Macbook is white, the color of Snow

Snow Fairy

Nicholas Tolson said...

I think my wife runs on some old version of Linux, because I have a really hard time figuring out what commands work with her. How'd you convert your wife to run on OS X?


David Alison said...

@Nicholas: My wife is currently running an older, unpatched version of Wife 1.4. While the command set is essentially the same as newer versions there are quite a few quirky things that I've had to work through. In particular I'm hoping that after this upgrade her "Let's Redecorate the Bedroom" subsystem will not fire up as often as it does now. Only time will tell.

David W. Martin said...


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