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Archive through May 07, 2002

Sepulchritude Forum » The Absinthe Forum Archive thru June 2002 » Archive Thru May 2002 » For Computer Nerds Only! » Archive through May 07, 2002 « Previous Next »

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Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 9:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I wouldn't use Macs for enterprise work because the hardware isn't up to it. IMHO, the OS ought be fine. If you're running the OS as a server, you'll probably rarely (if ever) touch the GUI. If you're adding hacks and desktop goodies to your server, you deserve to have your machine go down :) .

For OS X to be a viable server platform, Apple needs to (at minimum) release a rackmount machine with redundant power supplies, hot swappable drives and more than two processors. Even with this, I wouldn't expect the hardware to directly compete with the big Sun machines.

There's a reason why Sun dominates the enterprise server market. Their servers are monsters.
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 8:52 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Where I work, we are kind of a showcase for Apple. We get software and hardware before it's released, they gave us OS X long ago when 90% of it didn't work and was a barely functional interface. OS X is much better and is "Unixy" under the hood *BUT* the GUI is always what gets you into trouble. Mac or Windows, the GUI is what screws you. Trying to make it so user-friendly takes a lot of sophisticated voodoo. I'd use Macs for fun/graphics or music, but I wouldn't use them for anything enterprise (except a 6th grade reading lab).

I'm a Unix Admin now so it's Solaris all the way, baby - solid as a rock! Work from home, work from a club, anywhere I have a connection!

Anyone want to buy a G-3 PowerBook or an Blueberry iBook? Was gonna put them on ebay but if anyone's interested, let me know.
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 8:39 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm not entirely sure what you mean, Rabid. It is true that Apple's Display PDF is doing some things (anti-aliasing, shadows and the like) that are not (currently) hardware accelerated. This is due to change in 10.2 due out in the summer.

I don't think the lack of 3D hardware acceleration for Quartz would impact the rendering of non-anti aliased text in your browser. Unless there are other optimizations in the OS, I wouldn't expect IE to get much faster with the update.

You see substantially faster render times in the X11 version of Mozilla when you run it side by side OS X native Mozilla. This says to me that the OS X Mozilla team hasn't done as much optimizing as they could. This probably comes from having a smaller team of developers working on optimizations than on the X11 development effort rather than weaknesses in the OS itself.

Perhaps you could expand further on what old school stuff you think is slowing down browsing.
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 8:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Most of it is render speed. OSX has a lot of old skool stuff kicking around in there that isn't taking the hardware environment into account.

On a PC, I can have my graphics card render a page. No such luck with a Mac, and that isn't a bad thing, except the way OSX is set up that's sort of what it's trying to do. Opera goes slow on em too, not just IE.

Apple said 'um, yeah... we'll fix it, as soon as we can!'
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 7:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The new iMacs aren't designed to be slow on the Web. The problem is that IE just doesn't run very fast on any Mac. Under the Apple/Microsoft development agreement, Apple was required to exclusively promote IE over all other browsers. That agreement recently expired, so you might begin to see other browsers come installed on Macs.

There are better browsers than IE available for OS X. Mozilla is significantly faster than IE at rendering pages and recently reached release candidate 1. It's still not as fast as it ought to be, but it's a big improvement.

The browser situation on the Mac is unfortunate. Downloaded the X11 version of Mozilla. Under XonX (an xFree86 environment for OS X), it runs *way* faster than native OS X Mozilla. No one's managed to put out a feature-complete fast as hell browser yet. Browsers like Mozilla are adequate, but are not as good as they could be.
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 6:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Mac might be fucking up that loyalty soon- those new flatscreen Imacs run slow on the web. Apple knew about it before release, cause that's how they are designed.

But they didn't exactly spread it around.
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 6:05 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm a big fan of Macs, especially OS X. However, in all fairness, I do have to say that I have crashed OS X. I managed to hose the gui to the point where I needed to reboot in order to recover.

When the crash happened, I was away from my home network, so I may have been able to recover by ssh'ing to the machine and killing the the UI. Still, any crash where I have to ssh in to recover counts as a pretty bad crash :) .

Still, I've found OS X to be very, very, very stable. Under my very hacked-around-with OS 9 system, I could crash my machine every other day or so. I've crashed my games-only Win2K box many times.

Considering the heavy use my G4 Powerbook gets and the amount of hacking around I do with it, I'm pretty impressed that I've only had a couple of crashes over the past year or so.
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 5:14 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


I guess my main gripe is that with Macs, I could fix the problem by turning off an extension, throwing out preferences, or giving a program more memory. That worked 95% of the time. With PCs it was never that easy.

Well, you can pretty much solve 95% of PC problems by doing similar things. You just have to know where they are. But you have more information to help you figure out what to throw out or turn off first.

That other 5% is a bitch on either platform.
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 3:40 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

you are correct in many ways blackjack, that mac users are like part of a devoted cult, particularly because they've been the underdog in the personal computing world for so long. And OSX does give you the ability to log in as what they refer to as a "Unix Root User", and you can type stuff into command lines to your hearts desire and destroy your entire system (or make it faster if you're smart enough) if you like. I agree that it sucks to have to go to Norton Utilities everytime you have a file structure problem, and it was a huge pain with the old Mac Os's. OSX however is completely different, and got rid of the stupid resource fork/data fork structure which was silly. It has learned some smart things from the PC like protected memory and all that. I guess my main gripe is that with Macs, I could fix the problem by turning off an extension, throwing out preferences, or giving a program more memory. That worked 95% of the time. With PCs it was never that easy. I would say that if the argument here is about ease of use, I think the mac wins hands down. If the argument is about system level manipulation, I would say that the PC is easier to tweak that way (I've played with Mac resource files and it sucks!), but so convoluted that it's very easy to ruin your computer if you don't know exactly what you're doing.
And by the way, I can name a file with a slash in it, and my computer won't get confused and think it's in a directory! And my hard drive's name is anything I want it to be, not "C:". And I was just watching a quicktime movie, writing this post, creating a disk image of unreal tournament, and posting files to our server at work simultaneously and my computer didn't even hiccup....
Yeah, I'm a Mac elitist and an honorary donating member of the Steve Jobs cult, but it's justified :)
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 3:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


I will have XP, Lindows, Red Hat, BeOs and Free BSD on that bastich.

Which is one of the beauties of the PC.
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 3:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


The beauty of the mac is that you don't need a command line to fix things.

That entirely depends on what you are trying to fix. There are a great number of things which are remarkably easy to diagnose if you have, for instance, direct access to the file system, or the ability to batch-modify configurations, which require a great deal of voodoo, guess work, or third-party utilities to fix on a Mac. Not to mention real error cods, as opposed to little sad-faces...

For day-to-day, low-end, use, Macs have some distinct advantages, but higher-end, memory- and disk-intensive applications, especially when networked, can cause some severe problems. The Mac filesystem is (or at least was, circa OS 8) a complete mess which actually made FAT16 look robust.

And using a command line is not programming. It's just the difference between being able to go into a restaurant and say "I'd like a porterhouse steak, medium rare, with a baked potato and a caesar salad," vs. only being able to point at a picture on the menu and grunt. Trying to troubleshoot a Mac is an awful lot like trying to fix a car with a permanantly sealed, translucent hood. You can't get DEEP enough into it to figure out what is going wrong.

I haven't had the chance to use OS X yet, but if it lives up to its potential (the ease-of-use of a Mac interface with the stability and scalability of Unix) it should be pretty impressive.

First and foremost, let me point out that I am not a partisan. I am equally comfortable on both platforms. I use PC's primarily in my present job, and I have one at home for various reasons, but I don't think they are "better". They just suit my purposes. I like to tinker with hardware, and PC's offer a lot more tinkerability.

However, I do find it amusing the degree to which hard-core Mac fans resemble members of a religion, or the subjects of a totalitarian regime. To them, Apple can do no wrong. It is the single source from which all things computerly flow, and they will embrace anything Apple provides. I have eriously heard people before MacWorld saying "I don't know what they are going to unveil this year, but I'm going to buy one."

PC owners, on the other hand, are more like the people of a first-world democracy. Rather than ADORING the source of their thechnolgy, they are constantly complaining about it, demanding that it be made better, and searching for alternatives. They despise Microsoft, resent Intel, and take joy when an icon like IBM shoots itself in the foot (cough--Microchannel--cough--OS/2). Rather than a single monolithic source which produces or approves everything, there are numerous competing manufacturers, platforms, and standards.

It's just a matter of preference, I suppose, but I prefer people who are suspicious and resentful of those in power over those who are obedient...
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 3:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ever seen the WSOD on a Mac? (White Screen o Death)

I have!
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 2:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm going to be building a machine in a couple weeks.

I will have XP, Lindows, Red Hat, BeOs and Free BSD on that bastich.

It oughta be interesting...
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 1:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

yeah but 99.9% people wouldn't know what the fuck to do with a command line if they had one. The beauty of the mac is that you don't need a command line to fix things. I've fixed every mac problem I've ever had without having to type in some sort of inane code bullshit...
Leave that for the programmers...
I do agree that it's wrong to say "being a mac user never means having to say I'm down" because that's just simply not true because Macs do go down (although from experience OSX literally seems to be crashproof: applications may crash, but it never affects the OS or memory). But from experience, I still yet to have found a Mac software problem I couldn't fix, wheras I know many many people who have had to call tech support to fix their PC problem so someone could tell them what to type in some incomprehensible command line.
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 1:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Being a Mac user means never having to say "I'm down... "

Oh, bullshit. I've supported both platforms and Macs are in no way any more stable, and twice as hard to troublshoot, because you can't exit to a frikkin' comand line...
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 10:39 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Argument #2 against windows:
Anything that puts "shut down" under the "start" menu has got to be stoooopid.
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 9:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I hate to tell you, but this has been around for a while. Windows 98 backs up your registry every time you boot your machine. You just have to know where to look. XP just makes it obvious for the average user. Or you could just you Linux and not have a registry at all and a journaling file system with no corruption, but hey....what do I know.
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 9:44 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hear hear Mr. Smith!
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 9:37 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

My G4 powerbook running OSX has never crashed. EVER. I would also argue against anyone saying you lose performance on a Mac. Look at any application that's for both Mac and PC and the minimum system requirements for that app to run on a Mac are usually half of what it takes on a PC. I was looking at a program for both PC and Mac and for PC it required at least an 600mhz PIII with 256 MB of memory on windows XP, while for Mac OS X it only required a 300mhz G3 and a 128mb of RAM.
Also, every professional I know prefers macs over PCs for graphics, sound and music recording and editing, and film editing. I do agree that Macs running OS 9 would crash, but the troubleshooting to fix that crash didn't require a call to tech support, and it was always found to be either a memory allocation problem or an extensions conflict, and any schmoe can figure that out as opposed to having to tweak autoexec.bat files and 3rd party drivers and worrying about which com port is set to what.
Destiny, you should try OS X. OS X is as stable as unix,(you can even run unix applications faster than unix machines can--try doing that on a PC!) and it has never ever crashed on my computer. Macs do break, but they're much easier to fix in my opinion than PCs, and Mac tech support is a billion times more intelligent than PC support. Most PC support people you call rarely even speak english, and if you have some 3rd party CD drive or video card or memory or basically anything custom, they won't support your machine. Give up windows. Everything I've ever wanted to do for computing can be accomplished on a Mac, and I see no reason to give Bill Gates my money for a machine that has a clunky cluttered interface that isn't reliable and is designed by 300 different companies as opposed to Apple, which is one company.
I'll step down off the pulpit now.... :)
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 5:47 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I kind of look at it this way - Compare PC's to cars. How often do average people do engine swaps, change gearing in the transmission, put in a limited-slip differential, etc? In the PC world, it's expected to know your machine in that much detail. The PC is like owning a "kit Car," or a custom hot rod. It breaks down a lot, but it provides high performance when it works.

The big manufacturers like Compaq/HP, Dell, etc. do NOT equate to car companies like Ford or Chevy - as much as they try, they still provide about as much support as the kit car people in the back of Popular mechanics. Maybe Gateway equates to Yugo, but that's it.

The only manufacturer who equates in my mind to a big car manufacturer is Apple. They provide a complete computer from start to finish, and most Mac users never even have to open the case.

Do Macs still break down? Yeah, sure, but not as much as PC's do. Do Macs provide the performance PC's do? Some Mac fans would argue this point, but the fact is you are losing performance for the reliability. Macs never have the best graphics cards, can't play the best games, and typically have to wait for new software releases. On the other hand, I've never had to spend 6 hours on a Mac trying to get a new video card to install, only to find that it's incompatible with my motherboard.

Owning a Mac is like owning a Honda. Push the button and go. Don't think about how it's getting you there. That's why I recommended to my Mom to get an iMac.

One PC Company I'm excited about is AlienWare. They make fully tested systems with a usable owner's manual. Unlike Dell and HP and other name systems, they test for things like IRQ conflicts, shared resources, etc. They also have the best future-proofing warranty I've seen in the PC world - for a couple of years they will upgrade your system at their facility for the cost of the new component. In other words, if you want the latest GeForce 4 card, bring your PC in, and they will do the installation, and will only charge you the WHOLESALE cost of the card. Now, THAT'S service!!
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 5:10 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I work in PC land... it is not by choice... I spend far more time on my Mac than on the PC's at work, this thing is a workhorse baby, treat it right and it'll love you forever! A PC? Dime a dozen, like a dirty diaper, disposable, dispensible, diabolical... PRAISE BILL GATES!!!! WHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!!! Suckers...
Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2002 - 1:15 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I've done tech suppport for over 200 Macs - believe me, they go down - A LOT, especially if they're networked (for real, with switches and routers, not a "mac networked"). The OS is better than it used to be, but considering that Apple makes produces both the OS and the hardware, Macs *should* be as stable as Unix.

The Johnny Cochran school of tech-support works well for Macs:

"if it does not compute, you must reboot"
Posted on Monday, May 6, 2002 - 11:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My G-4 was down at work for two weeks.......they all can break.
Posted on Monday, May 6, 2002 - 10:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Being a Mac user means never having to say "I'm down... "
Posted on Monday, May 6, 2002 - 9:57 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hot Damn! I think I finally learned something today!

On Saturday, I watched a brown-out corrupt my system registry. I got the dreaded "Windows cannot load because the following file is missing or corrupt..." message.

Luckily, XP keeps a copy of the registry every time you create a restore point. Using the "repair console," aka a DOS prompt, I was able to find all 5 backup registry hives and replace the bad copies! I don't have to reinstall all freakin' night!!!!

Love it or hate it, XP is better than the old Windows!

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