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deal-mac

I am a Macintosh guy -- no bones about it. I use a peecee at work (I actually work in PC tech support, so I actually support them, too) and have no problem with that, but it is just a working relationship. I use my peecee. I love my Mac. Now, I am not one of those Mac-Zealots who makes fun of peecee users and who makes unrealistic claims about the awesome power of the MacOS. I simply prefer the MacOS (I have a few dozen reasons why -- I'll save them for another time). That is one of the reasons why I like Deal-Mac.

Unlike many Mac-advocacy sites online, Deal-Mac is for those of us who are Mac lovers without being against peecee users. Very seldom on this site will you see a call-to-arms against software manufacturers who design peecee specific software. Even the folks who populate the bulletin board are some of the most even-tempered, intelligent Mac-advocates I've ever met, anywhere. They make you feel like you are part of a family, not a pawn in a crusade.

CONTENT

On the surface, Deal-Mac is a site that helps Mac lovers find the best deals on hardware, software and peripherals for their Macs. Tips are sent in by readers or are dug up by the authors and range from the best prices on G3 Powerbooks to what games are cheaper to purchase in Mac/PC hybrid form than in pure "Macintized" form.

There's a lot more than simple deal-dishing here, though. Many retailers of Mac stuff offer special discounts through the site, knowing that savvy Mac consumers frequent it. Deal-Mac also does a lot of research when they list prices for any offer -- they can tell you if that company charges extra shipping or handling fees, and if there is any difference between advertised base cost and real out-the-door cost.

Deal-Mac also acts as a consumer watchdog. If a particular retailer or online store is stiffing customers by charging hidden fees, misleading advertising, etc., the Deal-Mac editors will post all information as a warning to consumers.

For the absolute lowest prices, check out the basement. The basement offers tips on where to get the best rock-bottom deals -- often refurbished or used products or products without warranties from unauthorized resellers. This is a great place to find deals on older systems or a cheap monitor, etc.

One of the absolute best features of Deal-Mac is dealchat. On this bulletin board you can post questions and get answers from other Mac lovers on any number of topics. I've used this feature mostly for troubleshooting advice, and I have gotten some really excellent help. A large number of extremely knowledgeable people hang out on this board and are willing to offer friendly advice to power-users and newbies alike. Whether it is a question about how to get your iMac connected to the internet or how many hard drives you can safely hook up to your internal power supply, you'll get a lot of helpful advice here.

APPEARANCE

Deal-Mac has recently undergone a complete facelift, reorganizing navigation bars and changing color schemes and title banners. While the new look is somehwat more of a logical set-up, I find I miss the previous friendlier-seeming Deal-Mac, with it's soft palette of purples and blues. The current color scheme (creame, navy, brick-red, grey) seems clinical and cold and is not pleasing to the eye. Dealchat still sports the friendlier colors, however.

Whenever appearance is addressed, advertising has to be included. Deal-Mac's advertising is a part of the site's feature set, so is not intrusive in a negative manner.

FUNCTIONALITY

The architects who designed Deal-Mac did a very good job. Navigation is simple and intuitive and organization is very straightforward. Occaisionally the dealchat bulletin board displays minor bugs -- for instance, if you choose "collapse threads" (so you can view just the headings of posts and not all of the replies) and then "older messages" (so you can see yesterday's posts), the board does not retain your "collapse" request and expands all of the threads. The fact that I can pick on such minor things, however, is testament to the smooth functionality of the rest of the site.

CONCLUSION

Deal-Mac has a great site -- lots of information and great help for Mac users, from novices to power-users. Unfortunately, its audience is somewhat limited, considering we Mac folks make up a decidedly small portion of the computing world. With the growing popularity of the iMac and the imminent release of OSX and the G4, hopefully this audience will continue to increase. If you are even remotely considering a purchase of any Apple Macintosh or Mac related Hardware, software or peripherals, or are having any problems/questions with the same, you should definitely stop here.

end of essay
David Nett Portrait David is an actor, writer and producer in Los Angeles. He's the founder and editor-in-chief of CSP, and a founding producer of the acclaimed Lucid by Proxy theater company. Despite all this, he still has to hold down a day job in the dot-com world, where he does product and interaction design. His acting has been called "committed," "detailed," "fearless," "hilarious" and "heart-rending" by the LA Times and Backstage West. His writing has been called "articulate and commanding" and "eminently readable" by Flak Magazine. His tenth grade Geometry teacher said he "does not work well in groups." | more essays by David
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