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HardOCP Spends 30 Days With MacOSX 708

Posted by Zonk
from the i'm-going-on-several-thousands-of-days-with-xp dept.
boyko.at.netqos writes "Hardocp.com has published "30 days with MacOSX" — with the same author from "30 days with Linux" and "30 days with Vista" doing the evaluation. Ultimately he likes the stability and security but other concerns keep him from recommending it. From the article: 'The hardware lock-in and lack of quality freeware makes owning and maintaining a Macintosh an expensive endeavor ... Mac OS X has some amazing capabilities, but you spend a lot of money. Indeed, it seems the preferred method for solving Mac computer problems is to buy your way out of it. Slow computer? Buy a new one. Want to convert a file? Buy a utility. Want to do simple tasks? Buy a commercial program. Peripherals don't work? Buy replacements.'"
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HardOCP Spends 30 Days With MacOSX

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:25AM (#19397151)
    it's a flamewar brewin, i tell you what.
  • Yeah, well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dosius (230542) <bridget@buric.co> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:29AM (#19397237) Journal
    Sure, the Mac fanboi attitude is to buy stuff, but remember, OSX is a BSD, and a lot of the same stuff Linux has can easily be ported to OSX and probably has been.

    If not - you can always try to do things the "source" way ... though that's not for the faint of heart even if it is as simple as ./configure && make && sudo make install

    -uso.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ... It's based on a bsd but most people who use the BSDs (Free, Net, Open.... Dragonfly _) consider Darwin to be the bastard disfigured child of BSD... It's not exactly the same
    • Re:Yeah, well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ajanp (1083247) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:06AM (#19398055)
      At first I was surprised that after writing an article on 30 Days with Linux, he didn't realize that there were alternatives to Mac programs. But then I checked out his Linux review, and it seems like everything he used came directly from whatever Add/Remove programs gui was available on the particular Linux distro he was using. He likely had no idea that there could be any compatibility with Linux programs and Mac programs. More likely, he didn't want to spend time to figure out how to port Linux programs over, or really, deal with any ported programs; after all, he had 30 Days with Mac OSX, so he was looking at how Mac software functioned on a Mac. There are certainly other options to Mac programs/iLIFE, but regardless of that, his overall point is valid. Macs, in general, will cost more than your typical PC, and Mac software typically runs better than many of the cheaper/free alternatives you could use. Mac hardware upgrades can also be a lot more expensive/complicated when compared to upgrading PCs.

      Keep in mind that he just finished up his reviews on 30 Days with Vista and 30 Days with Linux, so he had just dealt with the exposure to the large amount of Windows programs and numerous alternatives, and also the massive amount of Linux software available. Now he is testing out Macs, which have fewer programs available when compared to Windows/Linux, although the programs that are available are quite good. The point could be argued that Macs can be cheap, but in reality, Macs will be more expensive when comparing high-quality software (and performing hardware upgrades) with that of Windows/Linux/PCs, and it's a point that should be emphasized if you're in the market and deciding if you want to go with Mac OS X/Windows/Linux.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by misleb (129952)

        At first I was surprised that after writing an article on 30 Days with Linux, he didn't realize that there were alternatives to Mac programs. But then I checked out his Linux review, and it seems like everything he used came directly from whatever Add/Remove programs gui was available on the particular Linux distro he was using. He likely had no idea that there could be any compatibility with Linux programs and Mac programs. More likely, he didn't want to spend time to figure out how to port Linux programs

  • Fink (Score:3, Informative)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:29AM (#19397247)
    Want FOSS install fink, and apt-get install whatever.
    • by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:35AM (#19397385) Homepage Journal

      Want FOSS install fink, and apt-get install whatever.
      Most apps on Fink are designed for toolkits other than OpenStep. GNUstep apps can be easily ported to Cocoa, but anything that uses, say, GTK+ will look horribly out of place on a Mac.
      • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:45AM (#19397601) Homepage Journal
        Yeah, and ultimately you end up running the X server a lot, which is a bit of a memory hog on top of the already memory hoggy OSX. Worse, stuff like printing and even copy and paste can be hit and miss depending on what toolkit the application originally used and how well it was ported. Even more annoying is how some free applications suddenly become not-free when they are ported, often becoming crippleware.
        • Why informative? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by br14n420 (1111329) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:39AM (#19398703)
          Yeah, and ultimately you end up running the X server a lot, which is a bit of a memory hog on top of the already memory hoggy OSX.

          I use osx, x11, xp (parallels), firefox, thunderbird, itunes, etc all day long on 1GB w/ a 2GHz MB. The last time I saw the pin-wheel was during bootup sometime last week.

          BUT.. if we want to complain, Linux and Windows is always still there for the taking. I, personally, just think it is nice to have so many tools available in such a newbie OS without needing a credit card. Mind you, this is getting outside the realm of what the OP was driving home:

          The guys over at HardOCP are just being the idiots they can't help but be. Whatever opinion is 'cool' in the gaming community, at any given moment, will be what they blindly repeat and get all opinionated over, and instantly dislike anything that doesn't "fit" with the "scene".

          Things the author missed that were so painfully stupid are all over the article. Just like the whole deal with Windows having ready access to openoffice. If these chaps knew anything about this free software they need and support, then they should know there's a branch named Neo Office which works just dandy with OSX. Just like how the author could not find a "wordpad-like" program.. TextEdit anyone? It's Wordpad on steroids, and it's built into the operating system. Don't get me started on the simple things missed, like Dashboard and Spotlight. Spotlight should have been the first thing he clicked on when unable to find things.

          Don't trust these articles for anything, really. The only reason Linux didn't get a complete thumbs down is due to it being "cool" in the "scene" (note above), ever since Carmack did some fps dev under Linux back in the day. So, regardless of how little he understood, how much trouble things were to get done, Linux had to have a good review or else he would not fit in with his gamer buddies. That's the impression I get when OSX gets knocked for having some of the exact same tools, with same level of knowledge needed to make them work in either OS.

          • by blhack (921171) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:42PM (#19399979)
            actually I think that you totally missed the point of the article. The point was to see what somebody who had absolutely NO exposure to a mac would think after 30 days of using it. If he didn't use spotlight, thats probably because he couldn't find it, or had no freaking clue what the hell "spotlight" meant. Same thing with dashboard. What does that app's functionality have to do with a dashboard? (at least in the sense that the vast majority of people think of it). Sure, you might know what these things are, or that you can find openoffice for mac by searching for "neo-office", but how is this guy supposed to know that "textpad" is just like wordpad on steroids. The point is that a user should not have to search all over the place to find these things. They should be able to just sit down in front of the keyboard, and get their work done.

            And don't even start about fink, or macports, or whatever else is out there. The casual user should NOT have to install some goofy third party port-of-a-port of a BSD application.
            • by br14n420 (1111329) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:46PM (#19401135)
              No, I didn't miss the point. I am simply pointing out how flawed the article is. If you really want to stand up for the same person who wrote such crazy things as insinuating that the average Linux user writes his own software to replace commercial applications only found in Windows, then be my guest. Every article reads like that of a 13 year old who's excited about gaming and little else.

              If you want to take that line of thinking further, then review the Vista comparison. That should have been done by a person who never used Windows before, since about 90% of the interface is the exact same thing with a more osx-looking title bar at the top. Alternatively, as this same thinking should have been applied to switching to Linux. In order to take on that task, there were three outlets of support mentioned as last resorts before giving up on any issue.

              The things you have issue with are the things any OSX user will find within 10 minutes if they are a former windows or linux user. Spotlight is on the desktop at all times, it even looks like a search function to someone who has had SOME form of computer exposure in the past, as it has the icon of a magnifying glass.

              Expose/Dashboard/Spotlight are all covered in way too much detail on the apple's switch site, the tiny little quick start manual that comes with the system, and all over the internet. This isn't just a case of a new user not being able to figure out how to progress with their new system, this looks more like someone sat around getting frustrated and calling something stupid before they even bothered to approach the problem with some logic. Other things, like the applications he couldn't find that were at his fingertips. Not to mention, how Apple sort of made these features key points in all their switch advertising text. These are of the few things that differentiates the brands anymore, and our hardware expert wasn't aware of any of them.

              In 30 days, if you have not found your applications folder or spotlight in osx, you probably just want to go back to playing Q4 on Windows and calling yourself a "power user". The fact he missed the Applications folder's beauty is another bit of evidence of the personality we are dealing with. For those who aren't mac-inclined, it's like the Program Files folder in Windows, only without all the settings and clutter. Typically, there's just a list of .app files and the occasional folder for a productivity suite or other big program that doesn't stick to this simple convention.

              I'm certainly going to put a Windows XP partition on Whakataruna for the near future - but I've decided to keep the bulk of my hard drive - and most of my day-to-day operations, in Linux. XP is going to be my OS for gaming, audio loop editing, and Photoshop, but for everything else, Linux has transformed into an attractive, utility-driven, customizable, and generally easy-to-use interface that takes all of the virtues and none of the faults from the other major OSes and gives it to the consumer for free.

              Here's some more chatter from your friend. If he had actually been using ubuntu since that text was written, he would have probably had something to say about how nice it is to be able to run his xapps off his Linux box on the laptop. He probably would have known what apt is by now, thus not crying about the lack of software. There probably would have been mention of how nice it is having a terminal icon on the desktop, so he could do things the way he did them in Linux. Can't have none of that, mainly because I don't believe much of what happened in the article reflects upon any reality outside of his teenage tech fantasy land.

              I suppose the thing I find most annoying is the fact that I picked up osx and started using it right away, with no problems, using only google. My new boss came in one day and sat down new little macbook and said "Here's your laptop!". Within half an hour of first boot, I made it further and had used more features than this sap found in 30 DAYS. I'm not some
    • Re:Fink (Score:5, Informative)

      by Stamen (745223) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:43AM (#19397553)
      Yup, or MacPorts, and "port install" whatever you want. But shh, there isn't any open source software on the Mac, this guy says so, so it must be so.

      Other things he is completely wrong about:
      * NeoOffice is the Mac port of OpenOffice, it does not require X11 to run. It works well, IMHO.
      * There are plenty of free open source apps, just like in Linux and Windows: Handbrake and MacTheRipper for DVD ripping, etc.
      * The model between the Mini and MacPro is the iMac

      I use OS X and Linux a lot, and there are some real issues with OS X, that's for sure. But this article didn't go into any of them. I could go on, but I'm sure this thread went from 3 comments to 200 by the time I hit submit.
      • Re:Fink (Score:5, Insightful)

        by boyko.at.netqos (1024767) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:59AM (#19397909)
        As I mention elsewhere:

        * NeoOffice is the Mac port of OpenOffice, it does not require X11 to run. It works well, IMHO.

        That is a typo, and it is being corrected. The line: "While AbiWord and NeoOffice are both available through X11," should be "While AbiWord and NeoOffice are both available, and OpenOffice is available through X11,"

        * There are plenty of free open source apps, just like in Linux and Windows: Handbrake and MacTheRipper for DVD ripping, etc.

        The issue is not that there is no freeware, in fact, I used Handbrake and Transmission and Colloquy in the article. However, DVD Ripping, BitTorrenting, and IRC chatting are all secondary compared to WordProcessing and Graphics Editing - and NeoOffice/AbiWord/OpenOffice(X11)/GIMP all had significant problems with either stability or ease of use. BitTorrent is nice to have, but word processing is mission critical. That's the lack of quality freeware I was talking about.

        * The model between the Mini and MacPro is the iMac

        I don't know what you're referring to here. I say that there is no consumer-priced model from Apple that has easily accessed components, like the former PowerMac stand-alone tower line. To get to upgradability of that nature, you need to go all the way to the MacPro - is that what you mean?
  • by repetty (260322) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:30AM (#19397259) Homepage
    I RTFA.

    I shouldn't have bothered. To save everyone else the time here's a summary:

    1. Hate Apple, Apple hardware, and hate the Mac OS X.
    2. Review it.
    3. Result: Hate Apple, Apple hardware, and hate the Mac OS X.

    I have to admit that I didn't expect much, really, when I read in Slashdot's article summary that there's a "lack of quality freeware" for Mac OS X... the author definitely doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about.

    Must be a slow news day.

    --Richard
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by e4g4 (533831)
      Yeah, the freeware point was the one that seemed to me to be the most ridiculous. I've found the average quality of free- and donation-ware on mac os x is *much* higher than on windows, and very often, the first tool I download for a job does it very well. On windows (assuming I have a task for which I have not yet found a good freeware tool) finding the right tool can involve trying dozens of different solutions before I find one that works as advertised.

      And one further point - the *only* machine that i
      • by jmc (4639) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:54AM (#19399025)
        Couldn't agree more.

        One of the best parts of my switch to OS X has been the quality of the freeware, and the ease of finding it. Some of my personal favorites: Adium (IM), Colloquy (IRC), Smultron (text editor), Transmission (torrent client), Cyberduck (FTP), Xee (image viewer), backuplist+ (backup), etc, etc. All are nicely featured, well polished products. The counterparts I've managed to find for XP all feel like half assed crap in comparison.

        I really couldn't believe that quote about the lack of freeware in the article summary.

    • by microbox (704317) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:44AM (#19397579)
      My girlfriend uses Windows, which I also use at work. I've got OS X 10.4 at home on an aging PPC mac mini. Frequently I'm asked "can I do that on my machine", and my response is... you have to buy a program. Everything on my mac, I got for free (except little snitch), and there's _lots_ of quality freeware and shareware out there. And then there's fink.

      Indeed, it seems the preferred method for solving Mac computer problems is to buy your way out of it. Slow computer? Buy a new one. Want to convert a file? Buy a utility. Want to do simple tasks? Buy a commercial program. Peripherals don't work? Buy replacements.

      I couldn't agree less.
    • A few good points (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Charles Dodgeson (248492) * <jeffrey@goldmark.org> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:44AM (#19398793) Homepage Journal
      Amidst the weird confusion in the article, there are a few good points. They are old news, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be pointed out.
      • If you want hardware upgradability (beyond adding RAM) you need the (expensive) PowerMac. For people who do want to upgrade video cards, add disks etc, the typical Apple product is not for them (unless they are willing to spend what it takes to get a PowerMac. And that is fine with most Apple customers. Others shouldn't get a Mac. But the author still draws the wrong conclusion from this fact. Many people do get more good years out of their Macs than people do out of PCs. Sure the people reading this may be squeezing the last bit of use out of machines that are nearly a decade old by swapping parts and so on, but that isn't most users. On the whole people replace their Macs less frequently then PCs.
      • X11 ain't Cocoa. As many have pointed out, there is loads of free software for OS X. But even people like me who have used X Windows for decades, don't look using it on OS X. Maybe if I tinkered, I'd get an X11 setup that didn't annoy me. But I find myself strongly preferring Cocoa apps to X11 ones. For others in my family (who haven't used X11) I don't even bother installing X11 apps on their Macs.
      • Office Suites. I'm a LaTeX user (and there is great free software of OS X for that), but ever more frequently I have to deal with MS-Word documents. I don't enjoy using OpenOffice on the Mac (it seems to feel much smoother on my Linux box), MS-Office is expensive, and Pages in iWork (family license $99) is great for some sorts of documents, but not all. Still today we have the announcement of the OOo Cocoa alpha test release. There are a lot of people waiting for this to become something really useful. And I wonder to what extent the author's statement about not enough good free software for OS X is about one particularly product: OOo.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sootman (158191)
      Slow news day? More like OLD news day. My first thought was--what the fuck is this, early 2001? OS X has been out for SIX FUCKING YEARS--who cares that some douchebag just now spent 30 days with it?

      The use of, benefits of, and shortcomings of Mac OS X have been thoroughly documented on a thousand* different sites. It's not like it's even a new version--10.4 has been out for TWO EFFING YEARS!!! Where has this retard been? (Reminds me of the NewsRadio episode when Bill discovered rap.)

      Up next: 30 days spent b
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LizardKing (5245) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:30AM (#19397269)

    it seems the preferred method for solving Mac computer problems is to buy your way out of it. Slow computer? Buy a new one.

    Which other operating system can I use that doesn't require me to buy a new computer when this one feels too slow? If it's a lack of RAM that's slowing things down, then I'm just as likely to be able to chuck more memory into a Mac or a PC. If it's the hard drive, then again, I can put a whizzier one in regardless of whether it's a Mac or a PC.

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

      by boyko.at.netqos (1024767) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:35AM (#19397379)
      LizardKing:

      If it's a lack of RAM that's slowing things down, then I'm just as likely to be able to chuck more memory into a Mac or a PC. If it's the hard drive, then again, I can put a whizzier one in regardless of whether it's a Mac or a PC.

      As the guy who wrote the evaluation, I have to disagree here. Apple no longer makes an affordable "PowerMac" line where you can add new components. You can upgrade the RAM on a MacMini, but it is extremely difficult and risks damaging the case, you can upgrade the RAM and hard drive on a MacBook, but that's about it for upgrades. In order to get any decent expandability, you really need to go with the MacPro line, which is overkill for most people's computing needs and wallets. That's what that line is about.
      • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:44AM (#19397581) Journal
        As the guy who wrote the evaluation, how come you didn't find the mountains of free open source software for the Mac? I've never bought a utility for my PowerBook, save a piano tuning utility (and I've not found an open source piano tuning utility yet for any platform).
        • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

          by boyko.at.netqos (1024767) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:53AM (#19397769)
          I did find mountains of free, open source software. It's just that the free software that I did find for the most common tasks - word processing and graphics editing, were buggy and too unstable to be used - even compared to their counterparts on other OSes. There is some good quality freeware out there, like Transmission and Colloquy, and I mention them - but BitTorrent and IRC aren't what I need to get my work done.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Hozza (1073224)
            Except you also say you use MS Word on Windows. Any particular reason why you completely reject the Mac version, other than the demo's watermark? Oh, BTW, the italics problem in NeoOffice can be solved with 10 seconds googling: http://neowiki.neooffice.org/index.php/Accessing_H elvetica_Oblique_and_Courier_Oblique [neooffice.org] And the Canon scanner drivers? As it says on the download page: Double-click the " ScanGear CS Installer " file in the folder. Installation starts automatically.
          • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:22AM (#19398393) Journal
            I don't do graphics editing so I can't comment on that, but I've used NeoOffice/J for around 18 months or so and found it to be perfectly stable for doing wordprocessing and spreadsheets. Indeed, I've never seen NeoOffice/J crash on my PowerBook. How did you come to the conclusion that NeoOffice needs X11? I don't even have X11 installed, yet I quite happily use NeoOffice. How is NeoOffice hard to install? It's trivially easy to install. Indeed, pretty much all the free stuff is trivially easy to install - just drag the folder to Applications. I can't think of any other OS that has an easier installer.

            It does seem a teeny bit like you had your mind made up before starting the review, with a glaring error like that one.

            Before you ask, no, I'm not a Mac zealot; my main workstation runs Fedora.

            • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

              by boyko.at.netqos (1024767) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:13PM (#19399437)
              It's a typo - and you're about the 12th person to notice it.

              Look, when you type up a 14,000 word article, you're going to make a mistake somewhere in there. NeoOffice. OpenOffice. Similar programs. Similar names. Exact same function. Any surprise I got them a little mixed up at the end? I've already sent a correction - it'll get changed soon.

              Sorry to be snippy, but I've been breaking my back on this article and 90% of the criticisms are from people who haven't even read the damn thing (not you, but... people...)

              "Why didn't you try Fink and MacPorts?"
              "I spent 2000 words on Fink and MacPorts, and both get their own page."
              "Why do you complain about Microsoft Office not being free for Mac when it costs the exact same amount for Windows?"
              "Because the Windows platform has OpenOffice for free and the Mac platform doesn't."
              "Why didn't you just use NeoOffice/Abiword?"
              "I tested both and neither were stable."
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I'd add that upgrading a HD in an iMac isn't exactly trivial either. Video card? Forget it.
      • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by monomania (595068) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:56AM (#19397821)

        Where your argument falls apart is your construal of "most people's needs". If you had put forward the thesis that your target for evaluation was the casual user who wanted a computer for basic daily computer needs (some WP, some email, web browsing) than the idea of "overkill" of course makes sense because the Mac Pro is a professional's tool for professional uses. As for the Mac that targets the "typical user" you infer in the conclusion -- well, the issues you raise of upgradability, exandibility, and professional applications, (or Unix apps and their availablity, functionality, etc) -- are moot for this user -- yet in the openeing you appeared to be evaluating a Mac Mini (!) from the standpoint of a Power/Professional user(!!). You yourself are confusing audiences for these products in unfolding your own arguments. You are confusing your own arguments in the balance of the review in fact. WHAT are you reviewing and WHO for? Please decide before you start typing.

        And your entire argument of little or no freeware, that's just daft. Aside from the Unix/X11 apps, there are thousands of Mac OS X native freeware apps that fill nearly ever niche. I know that in thirty days of searching it's hard to find them all (easier if you are looking for something specific rather than saying 'where's the freeware?') and not surprising you didn't find them (although a little search of VersionTracker would have clued you in) -- but that's a very different matter than saying there are none.

        This strikes me as one of those reviews where some communication with an actual professional Mac user could have made all the difference. Reminds me of a review of the Mini I read when it first came out, from a PC user who'd heard that MS Office ran on Macs, inserted his PC-version CD install disk, and had it fail. As he had (or utilized) no other resource than his assumptions, he wrote (and published) that the claim of Office running on Mac's was false.

        Yours is not journalism, but anecdote, and not well-informed for the weight of the conclusions it posits.

      • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Funny)

        by paiute (550198) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:14AM (#19398237)
        The most important question is why we should give credence to someone with a 7 figure ID.

        Either he has been in a tech coma for some time.

        Or he is 12 years old.
      • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Informative)

        by mmarlett (520340) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:50AM (#19398943)

        I semi-agree with you on this -- on the current MacBook line you can't even replace the Airport card without performing major surgery, and getting the RAM in there is a complete bitch. On the other hand, I currently use two Macs in my house: a last-fall's MacBook and the one I'm using right now -- a formerly top-of-the-line PowerMac that turns 6-years-old next month.

        "Affordable" is what you make of it. I bought this thing for less than $4k six years ago. My modifications are probably still under $4k. I've bought five HDs (usually I keep filling them up; I had one fail) and used it as the main production computer for a weekly newspaper for three of those years. I've replaced the DVD drive and just last month the CPU fan started making some noise, so I freshened it up. Oh, and I've worn out three keyboards. Not spilled anything in them, just wore them out. I type a lot.

        I wish I had some idea of the number of hours of actual use this machine has had. I've owned it for far more that 50,000 hours and had it on and running (not sleeping) most of that time. $4k for 50k hours would be 8 cents an hour. You figure most people use their computers for 8 hours a day for two years (roughly 3000 hours) and then get a new one, and even if they're $600 machines then it's still 20 cents an hour.

        I don't know how one would adjust for inflation (well, I do, as it would be about $4,600 in today's dollars) or adjust for the fact that you can just add a lot more to a MacPro than you could those old PowerMacs. I mean, you can drop anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 now. I can build one that I'd be real, real happy with for $3,800.

        And as far as software goes, I can't possibly disagree more. Excluding games (yes, they have them for Macs), I've purchased exactly three commercial software packages for business use -- Office, Adobe Creative Suite (back before it was called that and then upgrades), and Stuffit Deluxe. Everything else I've ever used has been freeware or shareware or was bundled with the OS. I generally don't use Office or Stuffit now and today's earlier post on CS alternatives have got me investigating those, though it'll take a small miracle to pry InDesign from my hands. But you clearly just had no idea what you had or how to use it -- and were comparing it to something you did know, which is not the same as being a total noob.

        In the end, though, you get what you pay for.

      • Maybe I haven't purchased a PC laptop in a long time but... are there non-Mac laptops where components other than the RAM and HD are easily upgradeable? I suppose some models make it easy to swap the optical drive, but I don't see a lot of people upgrading their video easily (and CPU swaps on laptops are a pain no matter who makes them). Upgrading the wireless is also easy on modern Mac laptops.

        With that said, the one area that I've never liked Apple's current product line are the iMacs. I hate integrated m
  • I've had no problems finding free software to do most everything I want. In fact, the only commercial applications I have on my PowerBook are GraphicConverter (which came bundled with it), Microsoft Office 2004 (which I wanted for work) and Transmit (which I really don't need, since it duplicates built-in functionality, but I liked the way it worked).

    Almost anything on the Mac can be solved with freeware.
  • NeoOffice needs X11? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jonny_eh (765306) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:32AM (#19397317)
    "While AbiWord and NeoOffice are both available through X11, neither had the full functionality that we needed, not to mention that we had a hell of a time getting them to work at all."

    If I'm not mistaken, NeoOffice is a native Mac app that is as easy to install as any other, and integrates just fine with the OS. Is the author think of openoffice.org?
  • Hardware Lock-In (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NeoTerra (986979)
    On one hand it limits the available options and raises prices because of a lack of competition, but on the other hand it makes the product more stable in a sense of no mystery products/drivers that could break something else on the system. The review seemed fair in what I got out of it.
  • They characterized NeoOffice as "being available through X11". Methinks they must not have even bothered to download and try it. The entire point of NeoOffice is to not need X11. There are valid criticisms that can be made about Neo's load time, Office compatibility, interface quirks, memory requirements and so forth but needing X11 isn't one of them.
  • Peripherals don't work? Buy replacements.

    Isn't this what you always do when your peripherals don't work? ;) I use FreeBSD, Ubuntu, Mac OS X, and occasionally windows at home and none of them can magically fix a broken mouse.

    Article summary: The UI is pretty, there is less freeware, Minis aren't good for games.

    Wasn't all of this known to the author before he wrote this detail-light article?

  • Indeed, it seems the preferred method for solving Mac computer problems is to buy your way out of it.

    Not just preferred, but official.

    Let me tell you all (again) the story of my Blue and White G3, Revision 1.

    This particular hardware has a CMD IDE chip. Apple screwed up implementing it. Various people claim that it is a problem with the chip, but the identical chip is used in oodles of other hardware (including early UltraSparc workstations) and it works fine there. So Apple blew it. What did they blow? If you use UDMA transfer modes with it, most devices will experience data corruption. The problem occurs most when the CPU is heavily loaded (if you have one of these systems, a bit of testing will bear this out) but it can happen any time. And it's easy to load the CPU (even if just for a moment, which is long enough) when it's a ~300MHz G3.

    Apple published a TIL (TechInfo Library) document on the subject. Their solution? Either purchase an add-in IDE host adapter, which for the mac at the time cost something like five times as much as for the PC, or purchase software like FWB Toolkit to disable UDMA transfer modes on the disk. That's right; Apple's solution is to spend money to make your computer slower. No logic board replacements were proffered.

    That isn't the worst of it, though! When Apple rolled the TIL into their new Knowledge Base (KB) the article was deleted. I used to have the TIL document # noted down and actually searched for that, and could not find it. The information on this problem is available on lowendmac.com, by the way... The point here is that Apple not only treated their customers like shit by selling them flawed hardware, then knowing and admitting they were flawed, and suggesting a ridiculous solution (spend more money) but they then later attempted to bury the evidence of the incident by eliminating the best reference to it on the web.

    If this is the kind of company you want to patronize, that's your business. But Apple has never been shy about making users spend money, even when it's Apple's fuckup that you're working around.

    • by Nimey (114278) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:14PM (#19399461) Homepage Journal
      Evidently you've never compiled your own Linux kernel. The kernel has a special option, set by default, to disable DMA on the CMD IDE chip, because the chip is buggy and using DMA on it can cause data loss.

      The only fault with Apple is that they didn't issue a free driver update to disable DMA on those chips. I won't fault them for not replacing the chips, because no PC maker I'm aware of did either, and the things were fairly popular in the mid-'90s.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by stewbacca (1033764)
      Pure nonesense. I went through a similar IDE host adapter problem and the solution was to pay $49 for a PC formatted Maxtor? adaptor and download a little utility that flashed the rom to make it work with OS 9. Of course I COULD have taken my Mac to an authorized dealer and paid $100 just to drop it off to them, then paid $129 for a similar ide adapter, but I chose to go to OfficeMax and spend $49 and about 10 minutes of my own time to fix it.

      Or how about this gem (albeit anecdotal, still 100% true)...

  • by plalonde2 (527372) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:34AM (#19397361)
    Well Duh. I'd much rather buy my way out of the situations he names than spend my time scrounging around for semi-adequate "free" solutions a la linux, or borked spyware crap a la windows. Maybe his time is free, but mine isn't.
  • Lack of freeware? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:40AM (#19397495)
    I have never had a problem with a lack of freeware for the Mac. There are a couple pieces of shareware I have paid for because I like the software and want to support the developer, but that was never a matter of functionality. The only other piece of software I have paid for is Apple Remote Desktop, and that could be replaced by VNC, ssh, and shell scripting if necessary. He mentions that he can't find any DVD shrinking software. He must have not looked very hard, as I know Mac the Ripper is just one of many free programs that do just that.

    Yes, you do have to pay for MS Office and Photoshop, but no shit. You have to pay for these on Windows as well. He states that the free options like Abiword lack all the features necessary, but that's going to be true of any Office or PS knockoff. So not only do you have the option to buy Office and PS (just like on Windows, and unavailable for Linux), but you have a number of free alternatives, most of which aren't any harder to install on OS X than on Linux.

    All told, the author is either ignorant of or biased against Macs. He complains about the Mac Mini lacking a more powerful graphics card and more RAM, but he fails to point out that it's a $600 entry level machine. He also complains about OS X not running on non-Apple hardware. That's a business argument for another day (and one that he would have a hard time winning), but it shouldn't be relevant to a technical review.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jackjeff (955699)
      The lack of freeware argument is sort of really astonishing to me too. I think it reveals the lack of knowledge of the user about the platform and especially of good places on the Net to find stuff (macupdates / versiontracker)

      It might be true in terms of pure quantity: there are more freewares on Windows ok... but you usually have 3-4 competing freewares doing the same thing on Windows, but only one which is actually good. Let's take an example. A utlity like DiskSize on Windows has many many freeware/shar
  • Windows (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dissy (172727) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:41AM (#19397503)
    Wow. The description is not at all like my experence with OS X. However is frighteningly describing my usual Windows experence.

    Saying OS-X has no freeware is both wrong directly (there is plenty of good freeware for OS X) and indirectly (Alot of open source unix apps compile directly, have premade binaries, or have ports going)
    Using fink one even has the full apt functionality from debian and debian based systems.

    Although things have been changing slightly in the past couple years, freeware for windows is harder to find, and before then almost impossible. Everyone was on the bandwagon of crappy worthless shareware apps, and worse, apps labeled as freeware but require a serial to unlock, by definition shareware.

    I'd say only recently has windows even come close to a freeware pool like the OSS crowd has enjoyed, and continue to enjoy under OS X.

  • by pubjames (468013) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:41AM (#19397517)

    No freeware, maybe. But one of the things I really like about OSX is the amount of high quality, reasonably priced useful mini apps there are for it. Things like TextMate (or TextWrangler, which is free!) and Transmit are worth the money. There is a lot of "freeware" for the PC, but a lot of it would be better termed "crapware".
  • Lack of software? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Glock27 (446276) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:42AM (#19397541)
    The author is basically clueless.

    While Apple computers are more expensive up front, you do get quite a bit of bundled software, and a good, standards compliant, OS. I feel the software more than makes up for the extra cost.

    Once you've paid for your Mac, you now have the world's most flexible computer. It'll run MacOS, Linux and Windows. With VM software you can run it all at once, with few compromises.

    That means you can run freeware for all three operating systems, so the Mac actually has more free software available than any other computer. Many Linux programs build flawlessly under MacOS for instance.

    Good stuff!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by stewbacca (1033764)
      Yeah but you are locked-in by the hardware! If you buy a Mac, you are FORCED to use OS X, Win, or Linux! Gasp! The only choice you don't get is buying other hardware that only runs one or two of the three.

      I wonder if the "lock-in" crowd will ever get it? Don't want to be locked in to a good product? Ok, your choice...buy a Dell and enjoy your MS Experience. Why come to a Mac OS party and complain about Apple Hardware lock-in?

  • Quality Freeware (Score:3, Informative)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:44AM (#19397583) Homepage Journal
    I'll admit you can't beat Linux for the shear range of freeware available, but the Mac has its own share of freeware, donation ware and cheap solutions. There are certainly solutions that you have to pay for and if they are worth it you will contribute to the development, by paying a few dollars, but if they aren't worth it then they are left to die and you quickly search out an alternative. What ever you have to say about buying software, at least you aren't promised free software only to pay out of your teeth, or the privacy of your computer, which I see happen too often on the MS-Windows side.

    MacPorts and Fink provide access to a large range of open source solutions, but they are clearly aimed at the IT savy. As for replacing hardware when it is no longer good enough, well this is not different to replacing your video player when it no longer does the job. If you have a non-compact computer then you can upgrade it all you like, but a compact computer such as a portable will always have limited upgradability, and the target audience really doesn't seem to mind. What makes a good computer depends on who you are and what you are doing with it, but the greater public once something that just works, and does not want to play around with the innards of their system unless they are forced to.
  • by drDugan (219551) * on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:48AM (#19397659) Homepage
    I am now Windows free for 3 years, loving OSX.

    I am sadly disappointed in the support that apple has given the open source community. there are a LOT of free applications that do work well on mac osx, but apple does not seem to care. there is almost no official support for integrating open source applications. dports, fink, etc. - none of them really work well. you walk into an apple store and they say "if you are typing into a shell, we don't want to (read:can't) talk to you," literally. selecting and promoting open source software would be a way for apple to take a commanding lead in the os market, but they don't.

    apple should have a marketing campaign like: "set yourself free" or something like that and let people choose them as a real windows alternative.
  • by u-bend (1095729) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:49AM (#19397673) Homepage Journal
    As a musician who uses Macs almost exclusively (disclaimer: I use other platforms for other stuff, not a rabid Macboy), I've constantly over the years been both rewarded and punished by the platform. He gets it right when he complains about the hardware upgrade schedule. It's only been recently that I've found a nice balance between my OS, hardware, and all the intensive stuff that my software needs to do, without having to upgrade one of those three things in a six month period.

    Where he gets it wrong though is about the freeware. I've found a wealth of freeware and tinkering advice for getting more into/out of your Mac--I'm always amazed at how much is actually out there, considering the relatively small user base. And that doesn't even count projects like Fink, if you want to do real tinkering. So he's right and he's wrong, but it seems he entered the argument with his mind made up, and that's the real mistake.
  • Nice tech article. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Night Goat (18437) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:53AM (#19397759) Homepage Journal
    From the article:

    Additionally, the hardware lock-in - a lock-in that is Apple's choice - makes it hard to get exactly what you need. The Mac Mini I purchased originally would have been fine to complete this test if it had come with more RAM, but replacing the RAM was so daunting a task due to the ultra-compact form factor, I didn't bother.

    So you're telling me that an author from HardOCP, an overclocking website, considered the task of adding memory to a computer to be too daunting to bother with? Come on. It tells you how to add memory to the computer in the manual.
    • Author is biased (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BeanThere (28381) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:52AM (#19398999)

      I'm definitely not a Mac 'fanboy' but the review seems undoubtedly slanted against Mac. He also claims:

      ... you'd think that it would know when 512MB of RAM isn't enough. ... only one corporation with blood on its hands ... we marvel at the fact that ... it would conscionably sell a computer that it knew would not perform up to par and would be virtually unusable under any kind of duress.

      "Virtually unusable" with 512MB RAM? I have one of the first Mac Minis with only a meagre 256MB RAM, and I use it all the time for many kinds of tasks and actually pretty seldom run into any performance problems. Yet with horrendously over-dramatized hyperbole he states Apple has "blood on its hands" for releasing a machine with "only" 512MB RAM?

      Either he is a serious power-user with intensive day-to-day tasks (in which case his criticism has no relevance for the man on the street), or he is outright lying.

      He also criticizes that its X support is not great. But Windows comes with all of absolutely no X support!? He also points out that if you want to do serious photo-editing you need to pay for Photoshop - gee, I didn't know the Windows version of Photoshop was free. And there is GIMP for Mac [gimp.org] so he can't complain that its because Photoshop is the only option or something.

      Either the reviewer is trolling for ad-views for his website, or he is a corporate shill for MS, or he is biased and using different sets of standards to evaluate the Mac vs. (one can only presume) Windows.

  • by Tmack (593755) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:53AM (#19397775) Homepage Journal

    I'm not sure what caused it, but somehow my USB external hard drive ceased to work at one point and was rendered useless on all OS platforms. After running a few apps and commands, perhaps due to some degree of simultaneousness, something caused it to start working again. This was unsettling and unpleasant, but there was no data loss.

    Wtf? If my external drive ceased to work, and it did so on anything I plugged it into across multiple other OSs, I would blame the drive, not the OS. This guy is grasping for reasons to blame OS X for stuff and for ways to give it a bad review. Typical FUD: my drive died, while using OS X, so Im cautious about using any drives with it cause it obviously kills drives!! heh. His other complaints are just as laughable, blaming OS X for making people buy hardware? Name the last Windows version that did not require a Major upgrade in hardware over the previous just to run? Name an OS that wont go faster without buying more ram or faster processors? It like saying "my car wont accelerate any faster unless I replace the engine with a bigger one, so I must be a crappy driver." And the comment on lack of quality free software, how many quality free aps can you get for windows? Almost anything from the Linux/Open Source/*nix world will compile on OS X, there's even this project called Mac Ports that makes bringing normal FOSS stuff into the native OS X environment easier. Gimp is a prime example. If you look around, there is plenty. This guy is just spewing FUD, looking to complain about everything, riding the thought that to get better viewer ship for his articles he has to be negative, just like the major TV news is these days.

    Blah

    Tm

  • by Andy_R (114137) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @10:57AM (#19397859) Homepage Journal
    The main 'faults with OS X' the reviewer finds are:

    The MacMini only has 512Mb ram (because I configured it wrong)
    The MacMini has Wifi and bluetooth with I don't need instead of more ram (because I configured it wrong)
    The MacMini isn't expandable (I bought the wrong machine)

    Which product was he supposed to be reviewing?

    Why does the MacMini suddenly turn into a MacBook when he tries to return it?
  • by Anarchysoft (1100393) <anarchy@anarchysoft.cCOUGARom minus cat> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:00AM (#19397941) Homepage
    The author of this article is wrong on many points in the article and displays a lot of ignorance that any experienced Mac user can identify.

    One won't get far using a Macintosh from day-to-day without a word processor, for example, and the effective choices are limited to the iWork and Microsoft Office suites. Only the latter has features that professionals find themselves using with regularity (like edit tracking).

    So we all need edit tracking?! How many of us really need the feature-creep of Office 2007? There are some, and there are some who really are doing DTP with a word processor, but the vast majority of people do not. Most of us would be well suited with TextEdit.

    While AbiWord and NeoOffice are both available through X11, neither had the full functionality that we needed, not to mention that we had a hell of a time getting them to work at all.

    AbiWord works like a charm and does not use X11, nor, IIRC, does NeoOffice. What functionality does this author 'need' that exists in Word for Mac but not AbiWord or NeoOffice? The Microsoft logo?

    From time to time, there are small, niche apps that cost you - like the DVD shrinking software or the WMV converter - which have a freeware equivalent on both Windows XP and Linux.

    How about HandBrake? While I've always been annoyed at the 30 dollar QuickTime fee, the same libraries for conversion, etc, are freely available on Mac so many free alternatives exist. Which WMV convertor for Linux are we talking about? If VLC, it also exists on Mac.

    Not everyone needs BlueTooth and WiFi - and I would have rather had a computer I could use.

    What is this doing in the article?

    Dual-booting on a Mac brings the Mac platform an ability to play the games that were once the sole province of Windows. This should have been a net bonus for Mac but the limited and underpowered graphics solutions coupled with the inability to upgrade them negate that advantage.

    So he tested on a Mac Mini and found that it couldn't play games well since they didn't cram an 8800 into the fat sandwich case. Great. Now, try the brand new MacBook Pro's video card or the iMac or the Mac Pro and see how that goes. And, the Mac Pro is upgradeable.

    Furthermore, though people complain about DRM in Vista, the DRM of an Apple computer puts it to shame. There is no technical reason why Mac OS X can't run on other hardware, and even where technical compatibility is a problem, no one is asking that Apple have any sort of support for third-party hardware. Third-party drivers can take care of that, but we want to be able to have a user-friendly, stable OS to use on any hardware that we want without Apple actively preventing it.

    Vista and OSX DRM issues are quite different. Apple has an understandable rationale for not wanting OS X to run on any hardware. If you don't agree with it, it is not at all impossible to subvert as a quick peek at Pirate Bay will show.

    It is also expensive. The OS is sadly chained to the anchor that is Apple hardware, and I am less enthusiastic about that. It means that to use Mac OS X, you need to spend at least $600 on a new computer, and more for a computer that actually runs well. It also means that unless you go for the absolutely top-of-the-line Mac Pro line, you will need to replace your entire system when it starts to become outdated, rather than gradually solving bottlenecks by upgrading components.

    600 dollars. Tragic, isn't it? If that is a problem, buy a used Mac. One of the effects of Macs being excellent, consistent 'package' computers is that they are very loved in the resale market, both for buyers and sellers. If only they would let me but this 600 dollar graphics card in the Mac Mini though...

    Furthermore, the lack of freeware requires either resorting to illegal activity or resorting to paying out the nose for commercial software. Don't get me wrong, comme

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:17AM (#19398309) Homepage
    And how, exactly, is this different from the situation in the PC world?

    "Many ill-fated customers who upgraded have yet to get their PCs back to perfect working order" it says here [hardwareanalysis.com] and in many other places. Vista broke quite a few hardware drivers. And if your device is more than a few years old, the MBAs who decide these things are likely to decide against spending development money just to please loyal customers, so in most cases the simplest option is... to buy your way out of it.

    Conversely, there are many things Mac OS X can do that Windows can't do unless you locate commercial products or shareware. I just found out yesterday, for example, that, unlike Mac OS X, Windows XP has no built-in way to check the S.M.A.R.T. status of a hard drive. And, of course, as far as I know there's no way to create a PDF file on a Windows machine without installing extra software.
  • Peripherals (Score:3, Informative)

    by ktappe (747125) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:19AM (#19398347)
    Dozens of others have pointed out how NeoOffice does not require X11 or how he was complaining about the rock-bottom Mac not being powerful enough, so I'll concentrate on the peripherals he complained did not work with the Mac:

    * HP 1020 printer -- This is a bargain basement printing solution that HP made reliant on Windows in order to keep it under $100. It clearly states on the product page that is Windows only. Yet he somehow blames Apple and MacOS X for not supporting it. HP chose to make the product this way and he chose to buy it.

    * Canon CanoScan LIDE 30 -- Another bargain basement device; it's worth all of $25 now from various camera shops and is listed as being compatible with "MacOS X 10.1 and higher". This means it's been around since 2001 and that Canon did not upgrade the drivers on an obsolete, low-end product. And somehow this is, again, Apple's fault instead of the manufacturer's or the buyer's.

  • DRM in OSX? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by argent (18001) <peter@nospAM.slashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:36AM (#19398651) Homepage Journal
    The DRM module in OSX does one thing and one thing only - it keeps you from running OS X on non-Apple computers. It's no different from the CD-Key you need to install Windows, and FAR less of an imposition than activation, "Windows Genuine Advantage", Secure Audio/Video Path, DRI, signed drivers, and everything else that Windows imposes on you.

    Having to buy Apple hardware to run OS X seems to be about 90% of the author's complaints, and it's a valid one, but the fact that on *some* Macs (and not all) this uses a DRM chip to enforce the lock-in doesn't mean that this is DRM, any more than using a Power PC rather than an intel chip was DRM in the previous generation. The only actual DRM in OS X as shipped is the barely-honor-system-quality encryption that iTunes uses... and that is hopefully on the way out...
  • by bynary (827120) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @11:53AM (#19399015) Homepage
    my ass. There is plenty of high quality freeware/shareware available for Mac OS X. HardOCP either doesn't know where to look or ignored what's out there. Check out Apple's download section [apple.com] or macupdate [macupdate.com]. Shoot, just do a Google search for OS X Freeware [google.com].
  • by rbanzai (596355) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:27PM (#19399721)
    I spend a fair amount of time at the HardOCP forums when I'm looking for PC info. It is one of the most virulently anti mac websites I've encountered in the last ten years. It is rare for any post concerning the mac to receive anything other than a tidal wave of antimac troll posts.

    There are plenty of intelligent people over there, but when it comes to the Mac they behave like a bunch of fucking baboons, and this "review" should be taken with a very large grain of salt.
  • by itsdapead (734413) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:46PM (#19400075)

    I think that - although biassed and with some suspect statements (NeoOffice requires X11 and is impossible to install? WTF??) there is a grain of truth in what he says. OSX is not the worlds greatest platform if your main requirment is GUI-based Open Source.

    I certainly share the impression that there is less native free (beer) ware than Windows - and that although most of the FOSS stalwarts have been ported they do often rely on X11. This is rather second-best, Since the Unique Selling Point of OSX over Linux/FreeBSD is its GUI, many of the advantages of which disappear under X11, this does rather defeat the object. There's quite a lot of reasonably priced shareware though, and I get the impression that things are stepping up a bit post-Intel.

    So, basically, if you want a totally free ride, use Linux or FreeBSD - its no great revelation that OSX is aimed mainly at people who are either going to use iLife + (maybe) Office or shell out $$$HOW MUCH!? for professional creativity gear.

    I've been using OSX for web development (targetting Linux servers) using Eclipse, PHP PostgreSQL and its largely great - proper unix filesystem (unlike Windows - what's ths point of living if you don't have symlinks?) better/more responsive GUI than Gnome/KDE, easy testing on Firefox & Safari & fire up parallels for testing on (multiple versions) of IE. However - I've had a few issues with the PostgreSQL/MySQL GUI tools not being up to snuff on the Mac.

    PS - last time I looked there were multiple sources for Apple-compatible RAM - which isn't so much non-standard as not-the-cheapest (e.g. SODIMS instead of regular sticks). Crucial and Kingston will even arrange - for far less than Apple's price - for the traditional seventeen virgins to journey to the summit of Mount Fuji laden with gold and crushed lotus blossums and obtain from the ancient and venerable hermit therein the rare and valuable FB-DIMM chips coveted by the Mac Pro.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      ...there is a grain of truth in what he says. OSX is not the worlds greatest platform if your main requirment is GUI-based Open Source.

      If that had been the author's premise, to evaluate the state of GUI open source on different platforms, I might agree. I do not, however, think many people would consider that to eb a very interesting or useful study. Most people don't care about GUI versus CLI as much as they care about what works easily for their needs, which varies by audience. Also, most people don't care about open versus closed source nearly as much as they care about freeware versus payware.

      I certainly share the impression that there is less native free (beer) ware than Windows...

      "Native" is a pretty subjective term.

  • by NateTech (50881) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @01:20AM (#19407583) Homepage
    First:

      "We'd start testing on Apple's lowest-end computer, a $600 Mac Mini. We wanted to see if a low-end computer could handle the Mac OS X operating system. We would then move to a higher-end $1500 MacBook."

    Both are the bottom of the barrel for performance in their respective classes of machine. One in the desktop category, the other in the laptop category. He didn't even hit "mid-grade" in the performance curve of the overall Apple hardware lineup (presumably because he couldn't afford them), but complaints about performance in the article must fall on deaf reader's ears who understand that Apple has ALWAYS under-powered their lower-priced machines.

    Second:

    "Additionally, each program does not terminate when you close all its windows. To do so, one has to either choose to quit the application from the menu bar, or right click on the icon in the dock to quit it. This is a boon when you want to keep an application resident in memory because you know you'll use it frequently, and a bane when you close out the windows and forget to close the application."

    A skill learned by most regular Mac users is keyboard shortcuts. (Truthfully, by any user of any OS... if they're smart.) A simple Apple-Tab (analogous to ALT-TAB in Windows and in virtually the exact same keyboard location, not much "learning" to do there) and Apple-Q to Quit the application selected, and it's gone in two keystroke sequences.

    Just like Windows... ALT-TAB, ALT-F4.

    Plus, the OS will swap out anything that's not truly running/doing anything... any modern OS will -- it's not sitting in active RAM making your machine sluggish, unless you left the application DOING something...

    Third:

    "Yes, there is right clicking in Mac OS X - there has been for some time - and Apple even sells two button mice now. If you're on a notebook without a mouse, holding Ctrl while clicking the trackpad works as well. Right clicking in the dock brings up a list of commands, which include quitting an application. Holding down the alt button while doing so brings up an alternate list of commands - including a "force quit" option for misbehaving applications."

    He also never read the manual or looked at the online help -- all Mac laptops today ship with touchpads that understand multiple finger-presses. Drop two fingers on the pad, and hit the single mouse button, instant "right-click" functionality. (Working on my wife's older iBook which doesn't have this functionality or my work IBM/Lenovo laptop that also doesn't have it drives me crazy now...)

    Fourth:

    "Though the Mac Mini does not have a DVD burner, there was an option to save it as a disc image (an .img file)."

    You can buy Mac Mini's with DVD burners, or add external ones. No brainer. Apple's consistent use of "Combo Drive" for CD burning drives, and "SuperDrive" for DVD burners, is a bit obtuse, I'll admit. Clicking and reading the specs on the two choices for Mini's makes the option abundantly clear for anyone REALLY shopping for a Mac.

    Fifth:

    "Had Apple sold a computer configuration that was easily upgradeable at a lower price point than the quad-core Mac Pro line, I probably would have made the decision to go with it for my evaluation."

    He completely disregarded the iMac, probably on aesthetic, not technical merits. Then complains that there's no "mid-range" machine he could have purchased.

    Summary:

    He didn't do a very good job for a professional reviewer... but we're all used to that from tech writers these days.

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