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Saturday, 05 October 2013

Comments

I am seriously considering one if those new Macs. They do seem like a last hurrah for "personal workstation" type PCs.

But I am more in need of a good monitor. Running Aperture on a 13" MacBook is restrictive, and I find myself thinking that a 27" iMac would be the most sensible way to upgrade my computer and luxuriate in a large screen.

Mike,
The Mac Pro is overkill for still photography but if you are going to be into 4k video ( HD is so yesterday) then this new tower can support three 4K displays at a time.
But you are not the On Line Videographer are you?

Nor am I, but I still want to see this thing anyway. See does not mean buy.

Personally, I love the new Mac Pro but then I came up looking at PC's as second rate cheap toys compared to real computers and workstations that I wanted but couldn't afford. Apple, at it's best, is in that "workstation" class.

I'd lust after the purple boxes from SGI the way more normal fellows did Corvettes. Even though the last one shipped in 2007 & the company no longer exists, I still lust for an SGI Terzo workstation. Or perhaps I'll get even more old school and get a PDP-11/84 to run BSD Unix on... ;)

I'll probably be one of the last to go completely to gadgets & the cloud. But that's ok, it took me till Christmas 2011 before I found a digital I was willing to buy (Olympus E-PL1) so I'm not worried about it.

If you get it, be sure to write it up. I'll be interested in reading about it and, still being broke, I'll get the same joy of wishing for that workstation as much as I did when SGI workstations were still available new...

I am waiting for the new Mac Pro "flux capacitor" fusion machine, because my perfectly functioning 2007 Mac Pro which works wonderfully can't be upgraded to run the latest version of Lightroom (5) and truth be told it is almost 7 years old. So although I wish something could be done to my old machine I know time marches on and so must I. I just wish Apple would get off their duff and give us a little more info on cost and when, so that I can budget for it. Of course I realize already that it will cost more that I wished but please Apple, hurry up. Chappy

How can anyone not like jewish people when they include Andre Kertesz and Garry Winogrand?

Be very careful Mike - some of those things are "over" and others are just fading from retail and investor visibility. The later is what is happening to PCs. They're not "going away" any more than hydro-turbine generators or large electric motors or penumatic tires are going away. But they'll no longer be the ultra-hot growth market (one of the most spectacular in history) that they once were. This has huge implications for public conversation, for business, for investment. But it's quite a different thing than the end of the horse as a mainline means of transportation.

As for liking Jewish people - I don't think of it that way - I happen to know, think highly of, and rather like, a number of people - who turn out to be of various genders, many religions, a variety of ages, and have a wide variety of complexions. Some of them happen to be Jewish.

The problem with the new Mac Pro is that it's dramatically a niche product. Three high-end graphics cards put the price at somewhere north of $2500 just for the pieces (presumably Apple will add their usual 25-30%), but for current software (Photoshop, Lightroom etc.) you're not going to get much better performance than a current high-end desktop. The styling is bold, I'll grant that, but as a general-purpose 'personal computer' I see absolutely nothing to be excited about.

Call me old-fashioned. I like the Mac Pro as it was through 2012, with my storage internal and upgradability that didn't require expensive Thunderbolt add-ons. I use lots of hard drives, and if I can keep four of them internal, all the better.

This is one type of post you'll get. As with most political-type arguments, this one will go along party lines.

Devices. I got an iPod touch early on. Too small to actually do anything on. The screen measures about 1 3/4"x2 1/2". Almost one-sixteenth the size of a sheet of typing, excuse me, printer paper. If that diminutive size was appropriate for reading, books would have been from the outset, way smaller. It isn't. They still aren't.
Next, I bought an iPad. Early on. Order #3775. Nine minutes after they went on sale online.
iPad screen size is much more readable. Books can be read easily. Photographic images can be seen well, and pinched out to enlarge.
Much better. But still. I own computer equipment primarily to do photographic work.
I sit in front of a 20" iMac (yup. four years old) screen. In order to do careful image editing, I want that kind of screen real estate. In fact, image editing is THE PRIMARY REASON I own a computer.
But, have I not considered the advantage of being able to pull out a hand-held device wherever I might take the fancy, and use inferior software to edit images? Like at a coffee shop? Or instead of texting, while I'm driving my car? Am I not a little embarrassed to have to return to my studio to do the kind of work I love to do?
Not at all.
PCs are darkrooms on steroids. Do not take them away from me.
I'm 67 years old. Too old (30 somethings) to allow marketing geniuses to tell me what I need to buy next. Old enough to know what I want, and why.

This kind of computers is not for us, Adobe software users. Xeons are for the most part now favoring multiple threads over sheer speed, because of thermal envelope limits.
Final verdict when we have the actual part numbers of the available Xeons.
It isn't more upgradable than an iMac so the premium paid is not worth it.
But for my day job, CAD and rendering they'll be perfect and we'll buy half a dozen right when they show up.

I haven't had a desktop computer since the Mac IIsi (early 90s). After that I went to a Powerbook, then various Compaq, Sony and Toshiba portables and then back to MacBook about 5 years ago. I've always wanted to be able to just grab all of my computer-related stuff and go.

To simulate a desktop, I do use an Apple Cinema display.

If I was doing big video editing projects or animations, I might consider a Mac Pro. Nowadays, it appears the most important feature to a computer is how fast its network connection is, along with other wireless links (Bluetooth, cellular, NFC, etc.) ...

I think that the desktop computer coupled with an enormous monitor will be, like the large-sensor camera, more and more of a niche tool but won't ever go away. There are some things that will always be better accomplished with a bigger package, and many creators of those things will always want the most powerful tool they can get.

Will small portable computing devices get more and more powerful, with ever better screens? Yes. Will a small portable device ever match all of the capabilities of a powerful desktop computer feeding a 30" screen, neither of which is limited by the size, battery-related, or cooling concerns of the portable device? No.

If one is dedicated for many hours in the same room every day to image creation and editing (photo, video, or graphics), the best tools will never be the most portable ones.

Yes, I am looking forward to them.

BTW, I remember the cassette tape deck as a computer storage device. I was in high school with Radio Shack released its first computer and we were in awe of it.

I very much remember PONG and how many hours one could spend playing.

Yes, I really am that old.

@Kalli, an iBook. I remember the Osborn luggable computers and even owned an Osborn 1. A friend owned the Commodore version of that (with color screen).

The new MP is going to be very different. Just thinking about all the Thunderbolt hubs for the different drives and devices, unless drives and devices build in extra ports for daisy-chaining, is going to make for a cluttered work space.

Just my 2 cents.

We have already been in the era of the "device". When ever the Uniter States detonated a atomic bomb at the Nevada test site it was never an "atomic bomb" but a "nuclear device". Or, if they wanted to obfuscate even more it became a "Teller-Ulam device".

And here all along I thought a "device" would typically be used to describe.....oh I don't know, something like a can opener for instance.

Why has it got an old Kodak Carousel magazine on the top?

[Hi Alan, That's the fan, but you're in the wrong scale--the new Mac Pro is only 6.6 inches in diameter. --Mike]

I was at WWDC this year when they unveiled this beastie, and lordy how I want one. Yeah, it's overpowered for many things. So what? For some users, the power will be incredibly useful, for most others, it's the level of thought and ...Apple-ness that makes it a must-have. Plenty of things cost a lot of money; if they make you happy, they're not too expensive.

Seems to be that unless you're a card-carrying Apple Aficionado™, whether to invest in the new Mac Pro comes down to three issues:

(1) Does whatever primary computer you're using now have performance limitations that bother you?

(2) Do you have any OSX application dependencies?

(3) How much to you prefer OSX (i.e., UNIX) to MS-Windows?

It probably won't be difficult to match the Mac Pro's performance and beat Apple's price-point with a properly configured WIntel machine. (Some custom integration may be required, at least for a while.) So—for me, at least—the equation eventually reduces to the operating system issue.

I don't have any general dislike of Microsoft. I use Microsoft products and I think in some respects, including open communication with customers, Microsoft has significantly more user-friendly corporate policies than Apple.

But even in its current, much-improved incarnations, I find MS-Windows a very unpleasant operating environment. It just seems to fight me every step of the way, reminding me of the long-ago observation by a fellow techie that Windows makes the hard things easy and the easy things hard. I also have a long personal history of UNIX software design and system administration, which no doubts make the OSX environment more comfortable to me; and I have lots of home-grown software (mostly scripts but a few compiled executables) which would be a real pain to port to MS-Windows.

I'm not particularly concerned about the new Mac Pro's lack of internal expansion capability, since I use network-attached devices for most file storage and an inexpensive high-capacity external drive is more than sufficient for my attached storage needs—e.g., my photo archives. (I use Lightroom for asset management, and will store the LR catalogs and previews on an internal flash drive.)

My only concern about buying the new Mac Pro is that Apple, in its ideological zeal to decide what the customer needs—i.e., to impose Apple's way of doing things—may drive away the large institutional accounts with more demanding requirements for internal configuration flexibility than I have. I depend on that customer base to maintain an ecosystem that will support broad and competitive offerings of complementary third-party hardware.

Still, the new Mac Pro appears to be just about the ideal primary desktop for me: a retired UNIX bigot who needs to upgrade to a current-generation platform for photographic post-processing, wants a congenial environment for general computing, and isn't overly price-sensitive.

If I were still running an institutional IT organization that supported a lot of audio and video professionals, however, I think I would wait to see how the commercial market reacts to the product before making a substantial commitment. And, much as it might offend me esthetically, I'd be wondering if maybe WIntel workstations would be a safer bet.

The only computer I have ever had that was problem free, completely problem free..., was an OSBORNE. The KAYPRO was not and since that time it has only become worse.

Since that time I have attended ONE computer presentation that has been problem free - Tom Zimberoff's presentation on his pro photographer business program. Every other presentation has been marred with glitches, 'try this', 'wiggle that', plug, unplug, boot, re-boot - whatever.

If the guys presenting the stuff can't get it to work right in major demos there is no hope for real world flawless performance.

And my 8x10 Deardorff still chugs along with no glitches, does what I want, is still solid on the tripod and just plain works.

Looks like a tiny Cray, or one that went through the wash. I'll guess cooling can be executed more easily with this cannelloni than the cannelloni box.

Am anchored in the Win world, so it's not on my radar. Am finding, at least for still work, my existing CPU, memory and graphics capacity are more than adequate, but I simply can't have too much storage. And storage backup.

So storage and monitor are what I care about most (while still sifting through my options to going cloud with a too-expensive-for-me Adobe subscription).

Cheers,

Rick

If you already have a 2010 27" imac, you don't need to upgrade at all. Just save the money, or spend it on film.

>Or perhaps I'll get even more old school and get a PDP-11/84 to run BSD Unix on... ;)

William, you don't need that PDP-11 to run BSD Unix. Just get a Mac. OS-X sits on a foundation of BSD Unix.

(Wikipedia says iOS uses BSD Unix too! So just get an iPhone!)

I have a late 2009 27 inch iMac with 8gb ram and a 2tb HD. I use LR5 and PS CC with Nikon D800 raw files. I find that after one back and forth I run out of ram and must kill the apps to do the next file. I feel limited by ram and will consider sometime in the near future a new iMac with 32gb of ram.
All else is fine and this machine will be passed down the family chain to a less demanding user.
MacPro is not for me, I am an amateur.

Sometimes things not only stick around; they proliferate. I remember growing up when the only folks who knew what a bagel was were Jewish. But it is harder to find a good one.

I have to agree with you Mike - the 27" iMac is the best computer I've owned since the original Mac (I started with the 512 k model; I still have my MacOS 1 disks around somewhere)

I've only ever taken one computer science class, and the programming involved punch cards ( now that's dating me).

Steve

It's the new Cube. I'll eventually get one when I can afford to replace my current Mac Pro, and in ten years it'll sit on the same shelf as my G4 Cube, holding up the other end of a row of photo books.

Whether or not I get it will depend on how many of my friends get one. I don't want to be different or a rebel or a stand out. I like to be in the middle of the herd. I'm a yuppie.

My main edit machine is a 2007 MacPro Quad core 3.0ghz w/16GB Ram. It has been updated through the years with an SSD Boot drive, ATI 5770 graphics card driving 2 23" cinema displays, an internal Raid 0 Aperture library. CalDigit USB3 card and a Sata 6G Card.
It has been a fantastic machine.
I've frozen it at 10.6.8 and Aperture 3.2 PS CS5 because it all works.
But it IS showing it's age, and the next version of many key applications will not run on this machine.
My PLAN had been to buy the next MacPro , and two new displays.
For displays I was planning to buy 10bit displays byEizo or NEC w/ hardware calibration.I've kept my Cinema Displays almost 10 years, so when I replace them it makes sense to go with the now emerging 10bit technology.
I was also waiting because strangly NO current Mac supports 10bit color. It has not been announced if the new MAC pro will.
We also own recent 27" iMacs and Retina MacBook Pros (which seem to have the best color of any current Mac.
We have another MacPro used for Audio & Video via PCI Cards.

So we are really not sure what to do here, until more information becomes available.
There are many creatives who rely on PCI technology, and everyone I know has a dozen FW800 drives, so while the Baby Cray looks to be a real powerhouse, and a neat machine, it almost seems that they went out of their way to render thousands of dollars of hardware for a great many core users obsolete.
If the new MacPro is priced as high as many estimates, and then we are forced to buy PCI expansion chassis and external T-Bolt raid systems in addition, that will put it out of reach for many loyal Mac Users.
I've actually been thinking about buying a current generation MacPro because all my drives will fit, My USB3 & Sata 6 cards will fit, and I'd have to give up thunderbolt, and hope that Mavericks supports 10 bit color.
If someone has a better Idea, I'd like to hear it.
Michael

Gee, this is the first I've seen the new Mac Pro. It does look like a baby Cray, Rick, at least from the photo's p.o.v.!

Last year, fearing that Apple would soon stop making real computers and after discovering that my Mac Pro was not able to run any newer Mac OS I upgraded my Mac Pro system to the biggest, baddest latest model on the planet. It's a glorious thing of beauty that munches on my Lightroom library while calculating new Fibonacci numbers and verifying the 24-hour NWS weather forecast calculations.

Life without my Mac Pro is not worth contemplating.

I shake my head every time I hear Apple say we're in the "Post-PC Era." Really, Apple?? When is the last time you (seriously) edited photos or video or music on an iOS device? Never. For 95% of the population, sure (and an iPad over a computer is what I recommend to almost any non-artist). But when you need to make an audio or visual product, we are not post-PC.

I thought briefly about a new Mac Pro, despite bad experiences with my two earlier ones, but a few days ago, Ctein talked me off the ledge, for which I'm grateful. Also, although I don't understand a lot of it, because I'm not a computer guy, what I could get out of an ars technica review didn't help:

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2013/06/a-critical-look-at-the-new-mac-pro/

Mac has always been concerned with machine aesthetics, but some of it drives me crazy. In the case of the new MacPro...no ports on the front of the case? (That's how I get my photos into a computer -- plug in the card reader, then unplug it and put it back in a drawer.) No optical drive, so you have to buy one...but the Mac Superdrive doesn't work with it? Only 4 USB ports, but six Thunderbolt? Right, for all that Thunderbolt hardware I have stacked up, waiting for the right machine. No extra internal drive spaces? That's okay, though, because Apple will sell you Cloud space...forever. The ars reviewer had some problems I didn't care about -- you can't replace the video cards, and though they're apparently good ones, when you get them, that's what you've got -- but overall, the machine sounds like it's expensive...and the purchase price is only the beginning. As for the new iMac, I understand that they dropped the optical drive on that, too -- and I just used mine, on an older iMac, last night, to print out the GX7 manual. All this Apple fascism is beginning to get to me.

[I hear that. The new iMac has an SD card slot...on the BACK of the computer. What exactly was wrong with having it on the side, where I can reach it? Oh, yeah, because I really needed a computer with razor-sharp edges. ??????? Sometimes the aesthetics-over-functionality really is mindless. What's the point of making good features WORSE just for the sake of change? --Mike]

"I have to admit that's almost certainly what I'll get next...even if I didn't listen to Ctein, which I do. My mid-2010 27" iMac has been nearly perfect for still photography and general computing, the best computer of all I've owned or used beginning with the original 1984 Macintosh."

I think you might get away with using the old iMac as a monitor for a new MacPro.

Yea, and the cloud is going run off iPad's v8. Simply not going to happen. The idea that one form of computer is going to replace the other is total is nonsense.

The reality is we are all being surrounded and engulfed by computers. They are already everywhere, and if I asked you today how many computers you own you would probably be off by at least a factor of 2 times. That is, 2x less than you already own or use.

Your car probably has at least 10, every digital camera is another, you phone, tablet, notebook, TV, and on and on, even perhaps your coffee pot has a computer in it. If you take it to the extreme your credit card may have processor in it. Get use to it, there are computers everywhere, robot's too and the pace is as always the same for this type of tech: more, faster, better, smaller, cheaper, and now on or even inside you.

The server farms of today and that central "desktop" - think home server farm - are not going away, they are all moving to the background where they just work or not :)

I've gone totally free (as in speech) and open-source (FOSS) for my computing, including photo editing. My next computer, as all mine after the first (a 286-10) have been, will be one I spec and assemble myself.

It looks like one of those cylindrical backpack vacuum cleaners that office cleaners use. I wonder if it's as noisy, and if it's one of the cyclonic dust-bag-free types?

I'm very happy with my Mac Mini with maxed-out RAM. And a Sony Trinitron CRT display, with a second LCD for an expanded desktop.

From an architectural viewpoint I wonder if Apple is going the wrong way. Why not allow several Macs to perform as a distributed computer, or a cluster? Those are common supercomputer configurations. If Apple designed computers that allowed users to configure their hardware this way it would put massive computational power in the hands of anyone who needed it, without being locked into a single box that becomes obsolete. Most Mac households have more than one Mac, let alone most workplaces.

Could Apple's standardised architecture make this approach possible? It would be a game-changer - "buy a Mac mini, get a great computer. Connect 4 to get a powerhouse workstation. Connect 20 and get a mini supercomputer. Talk to your Apple-Power consultant."

Aha. The photographer on the left behind the fancy computer appears to be using an OM-D.

I remember I waited for g4 before moving to mac. I still have my 15 yo iMac being used as a print server- hasn't missed a beat. Don't know about apple software limitations but the hardware is great. New pro? I want one- now please.

So you think the state of pool is declining? Consider that of the 3 cusion billiard player. I played 3 cusion thru my college years ('50s), then went to work outside NYCity, and haven't hardly seen a real billiard table since.
And yes, I remember Commodore and Northstar computers, and people building their own. All with 14 inch displays, if you had money.
But Bryan Willman is right. Desktop computers aren't going away any time soon. There are many reasons, beyond display size for that.
I got down on Mac early on, when I couldn't even get basic software, such as a Fortran compiler (and yes, Fortran is still in use). Much of the curse is gone now, but there isn't any real motivation to change over.

[The decline of 3-cushion is really amazing--or rather its former popularity is amazing. It was once hugely popular almost beyond belief. And now it is almost gone--now, it is to cue sports about what 11x14 film is to photography. --Mike]

I can relate, Mike. I got my Bachelor's in Comp Sci in '89 and a Masters a few years later while working. I always bought IBM or Dell computers. A couple years ago, as a coworker was prognosticating the end of the PC (in favor of the device) I finally decided that it was time to build a PC. Of course, PCs today are far simpler in terms of components (the components themselves being more complex) than they were 20 years ago. So it was a pretty simple and rewarding project. It also cost me half what it would cost at a "boutique" PC site (and not available through Dell), so it was financially rewarding as well. I was just amused that I only finally got around to doing that as iPads are making PCs obsolete for some people. (As a photographer with 50,000 photos in Lightroom, and a DSL connection, a cloud-based solution is impractical, but I'm not sold on the cloud anyway. I still buy TurboTax and run it on my PC.)
As for Mac ... I've never owned one and don't know what's planned, so can't comment, but I guess I'll have to find out what the latest fuss is about.

I read Lloyd Chamber's article on what hardware peripherals he would have to get to transition to the new Mac Pro. http://macperformanceguide.com/blog/2013/20130612_1-new-MacPro-converting.html

Doesn't seem worth the time and money for most of us. And by the time you hook up your external drives and other devices, the new Mac Pro is going to look like a mess. It really looks nice and retro with nothing plugged into it --- not even a power cable.

In my case, I like PCs. I have two Linux based file servers that are very economical to add hard drives to (one has 22 drives; the other 12). As I upgrade the drive capacity on the main server, the older drives ends up in the secondary server. The secondary server only powers up when I backup data to it and do parity checks every month. Also got offline storage going (bare drives that fit into a drive caddy on the servers or main PC). A whole lot cheaper than going with firewire or USB 3 external and holds a lot more storage than a lot of the turnkey solutions out there.

I love laptops for portability, but, my desktops are a lot more powerful and quiet when I'm working on large files. It is a pity, I am not happy with Apple's current non-desktop options.

"...You actually know what came before PCs...?"

--You ARE referring to "pencil and paper" and the occasional Sliderule, aren't you?

And not my Timex Sinclair with 16K extended RAM? :-)

I remember in high school punched tape on a teletype 44 was the cool new thing but the old timers were fond of pointing out how you could edit your code by simply replacing a few cards in the middle of the pile ( deck, stack, batch, shoebox? I can't remember what we called them )

And a screen where you could have part of the screen refresh instead of the teletype spewing a couple yards of newsprint on the floor seemed pretty cool.

I've been thinking of getting one of these
http://www.ebay.com/itm/261279822436
or
http://www.ebay.com/itm/261256446386

or something similar to run photoshop, microsoft ICE , gimp and the like. I seem to be more memory constrained than anything else.
Marc Gibeault , what's this about Adobe software not utilizing multiple threads?

I'll be getting one for work, to replace the aging six year old Mac Pro on my desk (USB started getting wonky last week, so I can't wait much longer). But then I'm not paying for it, and I do get paid to run simulations that'll bring it to its knees. There's no way I could justify the expense for personal use.

As an aside, I randomly picked tonight to visit the Getty, and there was this guy giving a tour of the photos like he knew something about how they were taken, leading around a crowd full of very preppily, and expensively, dressed folks. I tagged along for a while, surreptitiously checking my smart phone, and this fellow looked amazingly like the photographer that popped up. Huh. So that's Abellardo Morell.

His comments had more to do with how he took the picture (camera obscura, tent) than why. As in, when critics get together, they talk about art, but when painters get together, they talk about where they buy their brushes. This was very much in the vein of how did he choose that particular brush.

Life's a funny old thing...

I recently browsed the website of photographer Zack Arias. He said he uses a Mac Mini for photo processing... with as much RAM as it'll take. Just a thought.

Mike, when I'm finally ready to part from my 3-yr. old Mac Pro, which has served me very well, I will probably just go with as powerful Macbook Air as I can afford, and then add a 27" cinema screen (or two), mouse, track pad and a Pro keyboard for home use. Then I can just unplug the peripherals and take it with me for photo road trips. Best of both worlds. The Airs are already eating at my Pro's performance specs, and the next upgrades will certainly be plenty powerful for any photo-mangling mission. Many a video professional will even edit on an Air or Macbook Pro for remote jobs. Yes, they probably also have a Mac Pro back at home base too, but how much power do you really need for photos? The new pro looks interesting though.

The "personal" computer may be in decline, but Macs and PC's are living a perfectly healthy existence . For example, where all the stuff that runs on your "device" is developed.

My Mac Mini still does a fine job taking the files out of my 16Mp camera and pushing them through my 13-inch Epson printer. So no upgrade necessary YET. I'm sure some forced change down the road, like Google 'upgrading' their e-mail service to the point that I have to buy MacOS 12.7 and my Mini chokes and dies trying to digest it.

By the way, that new Mac looks awfully much like R2D2. I'll bet when a buyer starts it up for the first time, a hologram of Steve Jobs will appear out of thin air and congratulate you on for having such good taste in computing finery.

I have the seen the future in portability and returned to the present.

Lenovo Helix, 11.6" screen 1920*1080 resolution. 3.8lbs a useable 8.5 hours of battery life.

I love the touchscreen and now find myslef trying the same on all my other computers - even down to using a pen on the screen. Much lighter than my other laptops to carry.

However, read that screen resolution again. Being myopic, without my glasses i can work just 4" away from the screen and resolve the text, but one eye has to be closed. With my contacts in - forget it. After 2 weeks of testing, I gave it back.

Ravi

Mike,
Have a look at an assembled non branded PC loaded with free software like Ubuntu, GIMP and UFRAW.
You select the largest monitor available in the market.
You might like it and buy one.
And you will save lots and lots of money.
You also have the option of loading any new software or OS in the cloud for free, any time.
I have been using them for a long time and am perfectly happy with them.
Ranjit Grover

Remember when you simply "took pictures?" or went out on a "shoot?" Nowadays, everyone "captures" an image.
Shooting, I suppose is also so yesterday, but who the heck goes "capturing?" That is so Frank Buck. (There. I REALLY dated myself.)

Read this post on my desktop computer that’s playing a compact disc with a corded phone inches from my hand. Wish I could remember where I put that #$%*&^ bran muffin!

Although this comment may seem awfully OT, perhaps it is not.

I proposed to our local community college a course called "Shoot Film!" They accepted and will start this spring.

A photography magazine with a four page ad has, at the bottom of the fourth page, a section describing the film they are selling.

A friend says he has dusted off his Apple II and is having fun with it.

Perhaps a certain portion of our society looks for ways to backpedal, so to speak, to simpler times. I know when I recently upgraded to the latest Apple OS and lost the ability to use a $600 package of Adobe software, I was one of them.

Don't get me wrong. Technology is wonderful. Like chocolate cake, however, it's better for us in moderation.

Hugh Crawford: "Deck".

Well, I don't actually know what you and your friends or cow-orkers called them, but the standard term was "deck".

For me, cards were before paper tape.

The early home computer generation I completely skipped -- no Commodores or whatever in my lineage, I regarded them as toys not nearly worth the money. They were so far behind what I used at work that I had no interest in owning one.

There are still remnants of card decks within three feet of me, the data is of no interest (partial object decks of IBM 1620 programs), but real used computer cards now feel like historical artifacts to me.

There's nothing worse in the world than having to upgrade when your stuff is working perfectly, because the companies are 'pushing' the technology at you to make sales. Part of the 'pushing' process is to not support the old, perfectly functioning stuff, so that you are boxed in the corner and can't function anymore. I was perfectly happy with Windows 95 and am still happy with Windows 98 (on an off-line computer). The only upgrades that have been forced upon me have to do with needing to change the browser to they can bombard me with ads and track my comings and goings, otherwise they could have made practically any software I use function fine on Windows 98.

This weekend, I've had my Yahoo account automatically upgraded by Yahoo, against my wishes, and now my computer is allegedly not using a browser good enough to use all the functions, so it's asking me to upgrade my browser, which I cannot do without upgrading my computer. When I click back to an older version, it actually takes me back to a version that doesn't function correctly on my computer, not the last version that was working fine. All this change has been to enhance the social media aspects of yahoo (which I don't and will never use), and to track me better to push more ads to me (which I never go to, nor even "read" in my site-line). Otherwise, I could be using Yahoo from 1999, just fine.

This is why a few of my friends have gladly reached retirement age, left work, never bought a home computer, and are answering e-mails and buying stuff on-line with their smart phone.

Talking of "really good and not very popular", I am still the proud owner of a HP B9180 printer and oodles of nearly free ink that is all past its expiration date. I remember your affair with one, but mine seems to just keep on going. Will I replace it? Probably not!

Hi Mike,

Unlike with cameras, with computers it is easy in most places to hire someone to make a computer to suit you. Just a thought.

My 2006 Mac Pro at work is still limping along, but time (and modern RAW files, HD video and even modern websites) has left it behind. What I really want is a desktop-style mac with a nice i7. I don't need the Xeon power or the high-powered graphics cards, honestly, but I want more than a glorified laptop. As far as connectability, it appears whether it be Macbook, iMac or Mac Pro now, I will have several external drives and other devices connected somewhere under my desk with a mess of cables. I see it as the progressing consumerization of Apple.

You know, one day you'll need no hard drive. You'll store everything and have access to programs in a cloud. All you'll need will be a keyboard and a monitor (the mouse will be made obsolete by touchscreen technology). Or a tablet, if you need the mobility. In that future there'll be no sense in choosing Apple vs. Microsoft or vice-versa. You'll be talking Android or something of the kind.
You'll also have no privacy and the system will be prone to hacker attacks. And you'll pay a heavy fee to access that cloud. (Hmmm... David Cronenberg, are you reading this?)
As I heard in a song many years ago: 'The future's so bright I gotta wear shades.'

About 15 years ago, graphic designers were able to do, on high-end desktop computers, what not much earlier could only be done on outrageously expensive specialized graphic arts equipment. Now they do things that are far more sophisticated technically, on machines that are much much smaller and less expensive. Their computing needs have expanded, but the machines' capabilities have expanded faster. The same pattern holds for photographers, for video production, for anything that's enabled by digital technology.

It's tempting to think that as computers shrink, we're losing capabilities, but that is not the case. The method of working may change, but the capacity will continue to increase. When Apple eventually stops making Mac Pros, it will be because all the needs they serve today, will be more than adequately served by smaller, less expensive machines.

For several years now I've divided my work between a MacBook Pro and a Mac tower (currently an 8-core Mac Pro), upgrading each as it made sense, and regularly migrating tasks from the desktop to the laptop as the capabilities allow. I foresee a day when I'll be able to migrate the last remaining tasks—giant photoshop projects and video—after which I probably won't have need for a non-portable computer. That won't mean that my needs or the equipment's capabilities will have diminished one iota.

I'd love to have one-- but I just hope my dog doesn't mistake it for a handy fireplug.

As Ctein pointed out, the new MacPro may well be overkill for most Photographers, But for those of us who use MacPro's Now especially those with Dual Graphics display's and PCI cards, internal RAID's etc, it appears to be the ONLY option although a frustratingly incomplete and expensive one.
Lloyd Chambers points that out clearly herehttp://macperformanceguide.com/blog/2013/20130612_1-new-MacPro-converting.html
You can't just buy the new MacPro and continue to function, you need a bunch of external stuff.

Perhaps Apple will surprise us with a propper break out box and new 10bit RetinaThunderbolt Displays, which would be great, but likely VERY pricy.

What many of us could use is a MAC MIDI a big brother to the Mini, with upgraded processsors, space for dual SSDs and a propper, upgradable graphics card, and a full array of ports, so that we can use the new generation of 10bit Displays with true hardware calibration, and run Applications that rely on beefy graphics cards to full advantage.
That would be enough for the vast majority of us.

Interestingly with Apple's obcession for minimalism and neatness, a fully configured 'working' Mac Pro is likely to be a nest of wires and boxes all of different design. Good design contemplates how a thing will actually be used.
Perhaps someone should manufacture an identical black cylinder as a big breakout box with drive bays and PCI Slots----now that would be neat ; -))
Michael

Re the "device":
I just got back from a walk in the local marsh to take a few early fall pictures. It was a drizzly morning and I encountered only two other people taking pictures. Both were using full-size iPads.

That doesn't look like a mini-Cray. I work upstairs from their corporate offices, and their current line of code-crackers resemble soda pop vending machines.

Being of the "chosen" people (Tevya said "next time God, choose somebody else"), I initially was startled at Mike's comment but then I realized it was innocuous. Each ethnic group tends to be a bit sensitive when referred to by a member of another, even in a positive way, as in "some of my best friends are..." Just sayin'...

Apple ceased to be competitive in the worlds of production NLE and 3D animation some time ago. This is where the real bucks are to be made in the workstation segment, and Apple is not there and is not even close to re-entry with the new "Power Mac".

I remember coding punchcards at college in the late '60's for IBM 360's (I think; I'm too old to trust my memory). Now I have a 27" iMac and love it. But I can't edit too well on my Macbook Air. Size matters.

Oh, by the way, I like you, too, Mike.

The most expensive Mac-Mini with a Cinema display is appropriate for 95% of all still photography work.

The new desktop Mac Pro will be much faster.

The question is how much speed should you pay for? This is similar to deciding how much sensor surface area (or film surface area) do you need to meet your photographic goals.
Don't buy more than you need until you need it.

I'm waiting to see if the Haswell-updated Mac Minis will include the super-fast PCI storage (such as in the Macbook Air and recently updated 27" iMac) and if they might possibly take 32GB of RAM. If so, I think a 4-core version would be plenty for even the most demanding photo work and would likely cost a (largish) fraction of the new Mac Pro. I'm coming from an original 2006 Mac Pro (largely a file server these days) and a 2011 Sandy Bridge Macbook Pro (1st version with Thunderbolt).

I still use a 2006 i.mac with maximized RAM = 3G! But I need to upgrade because of the need of recent SW. Is the new Pro an option for me? not sure, it depends on total price (pro+extermal HDs) and on when it will be on the market (any idea?). Alternative are the mini or the i.mac whose high gloss screen I do not like at all (I have a window behind my desk) + an Eizo or NEC monitor.
robert
PS: my first computer was a Sinclair Spectrum :-) yes, I'm old!

Ctein is right Mike. I'd love to own one of these Mac Pros, but there is nothing (except for a motion picture production) that would justify the expense and trouble. Either a new 27" iMac or an updated Mac Mini (soon to come) with all the bells and whistles you may want to add is a much better alternative for your kind of use.

Still ... wouldn't it be nice?

Mike:
It's simple & you briefly touched on it above, albeit tangentially - it does resemble a High End amp, although for the moment I can't remember whose, maybe German or Swiss? but it's suggesting that you'll get both in one object (well if you went to hard disk for playback...). Get the version with the plasma tweeter while you're at it.

I once "bought" a computer to take advantage of employer's offer. Other than that I always build my computers and update the hardware as and when needed, never tied to a vendor's update cycle and marketing whims. For me, this flexibility is what makes desktops "work" for me.

I wish that mobile devices could be modularized in the same way.

Dear Kalli: For some of us, the iBook G4 was a significant laptop upgrade. Just sayin'....

Depending on price, I don't necessarily agree with the anti- Mac Pro crowd. I just priced out a 27" iMac, and for a well-loaded machine you're looking at just about $3k. For me, since I already have two monitors and will have to buy some kind of external storage box anyway, the base Mac Pro may well run even with the iMac, and frankly last a lot longer. I've had my Mac Pro since 2006... it's creaky, sure, which is why I'm looking to replace it, but it still does what I need it to do (lightroom, photoshop, indesign, mostly) and does it well.

I'm not excited about the Mac Pro, per se. But…

I'd assume new Cinema Displays capable of displaying 4K video natively will be released at the same time. And should Apple simply double the resolution of the existing 27" screens (which it did with the MBP Retinas, making life easier for developers) then the 18MP files from my 7D would almost display natively at 100%. Photographs are just going to look simply amazing on screen.

When those screens appear in "iMac Pros" a year or so later then that's when I - and I suspect many other photographers - will be powerless to resist upgrading.

You're certainly right with the `good and not popular'. IIRC I got a MacbookPro G4 in about 2003 some time and it was the happiest Apple experience I've had; the G5 that replaced it was slow for its kind and the MacbookPro that replaced that went through copious harddrives and Apple's phase of getting more evil.

Got a 2010 Mac Pro and superb NEC PA 271W wide gamut monitor with the integrated calibration solution. I hear talk about people getting ready to upgrade from their 3 year old iMacs and can only think, my Mac Pro is barely broken in, much less close to retirement. Yes, I'm running the boot volume from a small SSD, main storage is a 4 disk raid 0 and I back up everything to a jbod enclosure. And I also back up all my photos and important documents to a portable hard drive kept off site. I dismiss the idea that a Mac pro is only for "power users", that is malarkey. I'm not a power user, I'm just a guy that likes things to work well and last a long time. A Mac Pro is a machine for the long haul, set it up and use it for years and years while everybody else is trying to figure out how to squeeze some more life out of an iMac whose very design and form factor restrict it's useful life.

Since for 16 years I worked with many and big photos and big websites I would normally be very interested in the upcoming Mac Pro.

But I have sold my girly websites DOMAI.com and soon I will not be running them any more, and I doubt that in the foreseeable future I will need more power than the iMac or even a MacBook Air could give me. I would hook it up up to a bigger screen though when home.

Granted its beauty and great power and flexibility is a big turn-on for me, but it would probably be at least $1500 more than I need to pay for what I need, so…

Oh, besides, I'm a minimalist of heart. I like a small camera which just does what I need, in high quality. And the same with computers.

Re Fred's Comment about his 2010 MacPro/ NEC 271
You articulate perfectly what the MacPro Has always Been, a machine for Power Users too, but mostly a Robust upgradeable, workhorse that lasts and lasts (because of build quality and upgradeability).
To me, and many others this internal upgradeability is the Hallmark of the MacPro
In that sense the new machine ought to have a different name, because it is not very helpful to many long time users of previous MacPros.

My Aging 2007 3ghz Quad core (SSD Boot, USB3 &SATA3 PCI cards, 5770 graphics) is still working perfectly.
However, it will not be supported by Mavericks, the next version of Aperture, Lightroom or PS. So reluctantly it's time to upgrade.

I might be better off buying a used 2010 MacPro such as yours, than the New Machine

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