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Saturday, 26 April 2008


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I must not be the only one! The next computer I buy will be a Mac.

I felt I knew Win 3.1 really well. Ever since I have been confused by Win 95, 98, and XP. And infuriated by the way XP goes walkabout every time I want to get work done.

If I have to learn a new operating system it will be OS X, not Vista.

One word tells the story: Vista.

The 250-plus comments below this story say it all:


Microsoft's worldwide monopoly could dissipate much faster than anyone imagined if a new, non-encrusted OS to replace Vista isn't out within a year or two.

Tom V,
I've been using Macintoshes since 1984, the good ones and the bad ones, and I have to say that OSX made more difference to my experience of computers than any other single advance, with the exception, of course, of the first time I ever used a computer period--which was the original 128k Macintosh. OSX is great.

Mike J.

If they'd just put out a $1000-ish Mac tower on the market, they could increase their market share even more. I'm sure there's quite a few customers, such as myself, who want the expandability that a tower has that don't have $3k to spend on (or that really need) a Mac Pro.

Nothing fancy, just a fast processor and the ability to load up on memory with the simplicity of OS X. And the ability to choose my own monitor / use the monitor I already own.

Joseph Vavak,
I agree completely. The only thing I don't like about my 20" iMac is the monitor. I'm used to it now, but it's just not as good as my previous CRT monitor. And the limited ports mean I'm always swapping cables. And of course S. Jobs couldn't ruin the pretty casing by putting any ports on the FRONT, where they'd be handy and easy to access!

A midsized, mid-priced Apple tower would be just the ticket.

Mike J.

I concur with Joseph and Mike.
In fact this is the only reason I still have a Windows XP based computer.

Hopefully Apple will wake up eventually....

Outside of a couple of Linux boxes we're an all Mac house. Same for me at work. I'm dying for a sub-1k mini tower. I'll roll my own hackintosh if one is announced at WWDC. I've a G4 Mini that's a bit too long in the tooth for the media center type stuff I'm using it for.


I'm looking forward to the time when Ubuntu (and other Linux systems) reach full maturity for the keen photographer. As a licenced user of Bibble and Lightzone, I know I've the option of running full Linux versions of the software, but there isn't an off-the-shelf screen and printer calibration solution available for Linux yet.

Right now I'm using a Macbook Pro for most of my computing, but I agree with Mike and would dearly like an affordable home-upgradeable desktop option. Just a bit more graphics grunt and hard drive options (without going to the expense of a Mac Pro) is desirable. I'm hoping that the commercial developers like Pantone eventually put together Linux drivers so I can achieve the same using Ubuntu.

Other thumbs up here for the Mac. It took a while to make the shift from System 9 to OSX, but once I got the hang of it, I was very, very pleased. No, the Mac is not perfect, but it works. For me the deal maker was Apple's multi-lingual functionality way back in 1991 (I work with both English and Japanese). After the first purchase, I have never looked back.

Dear folks,

I think patience will get you what you want -- affordable and upgradable desktop Macs. The former will happen purely as a consequence of new models coming along. You want a really cheap Mac? Buy one that's two or three years old. Macs hold their value better than PCs, but they still deflate at an amazing rate. It's too early in the Intel Mac era for us to properly reap the benefits of that, but give it another year or so.

Macs have traditionally been upgradable, both the desktop and a laptop machines. In fact both of my previous PowerBooks were very much souped-up boxes. This hasn't shown up for the Intel Macs, though. I don't know if there are some inherent hardware issues or if it's simply that that class of product hasn't been around long enough for there to be big performance differences between the very first and the current Intel Macs. The upgrades for older machines need to improve performance sufficiently to justify the substantial costs.

Macs are never going to be as upgradable or configurable as PCs... at least I hope not. One of the reason that Mac systems are, on average, more stable than Windows systems is that Macs are, on average, much more "vanilla" machines. Fully Windows-certified systems are extremely stable, but that's not what most of us end up buying. The Mac you buy new comes that way, by definition. Consequently consumer expectations have been set high enough that there is much less tolerance for third-party components that end up breaking the OS. But it does happen. And there's nothing about OSX that makes it more stable when run on an arbitrary platform than Windows. (Windows isn't even the worst; try OS/2 for a true hardware nightmare.)

~ pax \ Ctein
[ please excuse any word salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital restorations http://photo-repair.com

When my second XP laptop died, I went Mac. At first I was a bit unsettled by the function of OSX, but in short order I was a convert to its ease of use, the incredible UI, and the overall stability. It may be a small thing, but the very first thing that I noticed and *appreciated* was the complete absence of extra crap that I didn't want on the machine; no internet subscription info, no third party sales pitches, no expiring trial programs. Nada, clean. That I like.

Of course learning the new system, and coming to love it, made me want to replace my desktop as well. Having just built it a year ago, I was not keen to do that however. I planned on moving to a Power Mac, or whatever that level machine would be called, when the need arose. Little did I know that the need would arise *much* faster than I ever expected. In one long weekend, the entire system imploded. I lost my entire RAID array, lost my optical drives, had to completely upgrade then roll back the BIOS, and finally re-install Windows. Boy oh boy am I glad that I had double external back ups of all my work.

Suffice to say, I have ordered a new Power Mac built to my specifications. Not a cheap option for sure, but I would hope to eliminate the kind of scenario that I just went through. Of course now I have to figure out how to make everything work together again, including getting all of my photos into the new machine, and loading the LR catalogs in and trying to get it all to come together again. If anyone has had experience with this transfer, please let me know.

Signed, A Convert. (Pat in Milwaukee)

I love my macbook, and can't imagine going back to the PC world, nor looking after more than one computer, desktop + laptop or home + work.

But I am puzzled by requests for a mid-range tower, over an iMac: what exactly is it which you want to upgrade? Memory you can already; if you really need more than 1TB of storage inside or multiple hard drives for speed then you're not in the mid-range anymore. Upgrading processors is a bit '90s, there are so many other bottlenecks now.

And if it's the thought of throwing away the screen that bothers you, I urge you to check to prices of used macs on ebay: you don't throw it away, you trade it in for the next one.

So, in short, I think people want to buy one because that's what they always used to buy, from dell. (Although I'm open hearing better reasons...) On the other hand, since so many people want it, perhaps apple should sell it to them, although that's not very Steve is it.

I'd probably put in a few onboard hard drives, more ports, and choose an aftermarket monitor. Plus I assume I could put a few ports on the front, which would be very handy for the things I constantly have to swap (I have 3 USB and 2 firewire ports on my iMac; the firewire ports are currently daisy-chained to five devices, one USB port goes to a hub with four more non-power-intensive USB devices attached to it, and five other devices/peripherals have to share the remaining 2 USB ports. It's a pain, especially since the ports are on the rear of the computer).

Mike J.

"Fully Windows-certified systems are extremely stable, but that's not what most of us end up buying. The Mac you buy new comes that way, by definition."

Hear, hear.

For instance, how many drivers there are for Nvidia graphic cards? Five versions of Windows are supported. Read my lips, F.I.V.E. And then two for Linux, one for Solaris and one for BSD. No separate drivers for OS X.

If Apple went the way of "open" architecture like it seemed to have done a long time ago with PowerPC "Macs", you would have exactly the same problems like on Windows. But no, the control freak at the top decided he didn't want everybody in his sandbox, stealing his lunch money. And now Mac users create a virtue out of necessity.

I have an 11 year old Pentium 133 machine that still runs Windows 95 happily. I really went to town on that OS, installing and deinstalling garbage on it, deleting and undeleting and what not. The OS has never been reinstalled, though.

I have a six year old Pentium 1.7 with Windows XP that died the other day because the motherboard (Intel, BTW) fried. The only times when I had to meddle with the OS was when I installed Service Pack 2 and when the disk with the OS died last year.

I never had to upgrade Windows programs because of _hardware_ incompatibility. Microsoft never decided you need Firewire ports to run XP or whatever. So please...

I'll rather deal with Windows and their foibles than depend on what one man decides I need.

I've been using Macs since they were black and white. Welcome all of you who've come over from the "dark side".

Why are Macs so popular now? As someone once said, "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door".

Maybe Apple should have used the strapline "What do you want to do today" and left Microsoft with the "Where do you want to go". Getting there is so frustrating when on my Mac I just get on and do stuff without having to fight the operating system or providing so many options to perform a simple task.
I have to fight Windows at work every day; at home I just do stuff on my Mac.

We are a Mac House......

Could Apple please stop running those inane "Hi I'm a Mac" commercials.

That and work on the longevity of the products they sell. They have the OS and design fully under control.

Am I the only one who these to be a little too snide?

I am sitting at my desk writing this, while my Macbook has 3 external drives attached as well as a 20" external monitor, a flatbed scanner, a wide carriage printer, external key board and mouse, a Wacom tablet, a firewire card reader, and external speakers all running flawlessly. BTW it's running silently! After using PC and Mac towers for years you don't realize how nice silence is while working on your images!

I don't entirely buy the argument that Macs would have the same problems as Windows if they had to use the same range of hardware. There's definitely some truth to it, but in my experience Linux handles diverse hardware better than Windows does. To be fair, Linux doesn't handle as much hardware as Windows does, but I am talking about my experience here: extensive time dual-booting on the same crappy hardware (Linux at work, Windows at home for Photoshop). My last Thinkpad, for instance, was horrible: weird lockups from day 1 on a machine allegedly designed for Windows, and the wireless would stop working if I unplugged the power cord. Not so on Linux (which admittedly has its own, different set of problems).

So let me extrapolate to Mac OS X. Would OS X stability suffer if Apple had to support the same range of hardware as Windows? Definitely. Would it handle it better than Windows does? I strongly suspect it would.

Anyway, I broke down and bought a MacBook Pro in March after the new models came out, and overall I'm happy with it. I have to call Adobe and get my Photoshop license transferred (I've been running on an eval copy), and I haven't gotten around to installing Windows XP on it yet, but I will.

Mike thanks for the reply:

"I have 3 USB and 2 firewire ports on my iMac; the firewire ports are currently daisy-chained to five devices, one USB port goes to a hub with four more non-power-intensive USB devices attached to it, and five other devices/peripherals have to share the remaining 2 USB ports."

I'm impressed. What are all these devices? How many film scanners do you have?

Then Michael says:

"3 external drives attached as well as a 20" external monitor, a flatbed scanner, a wide carriage printer, external key board and mouse, a Wacom tablet, a firewire card reader"

I used to leave much more crap plugged into my PC, but now I only plug in a card reader when I have a card to read, etc... and I find the main limit is my brain's ability to multitask, not the 2 usb + 1 firewire ports. But I don't have a printer, scanner, or a tablet. With these maybe I would want more ports.

And another comment: Michael Eckstein makes an excellent point about silence. It's really stressful sitting next to a big whirring piece of machinery, and I never realised it until it went silent. I can hear the birds and how the teapot's doing.

I also didn't realise how much I'd love not being tied to one desk in one room. I do most of my sorting and editing (not to mention surfing) on the couch, next to a nice big window, moving around as the sun moves... Of course for fine photoshopping you want a bigger screen and more controlled light and such. But the earlier steps, choosing which pictures to work on, or indeed all work if it's only for the web, can be done quite happily sans desk.

Both of these are really points in favour of laptops, rather than apples, of course.

"What are all these devices?"

Nothing too fancy. The Firewire devices are external hard drives. Other than that, the keyboard, the mouse (I use a Microsoft ergonomic keyboard that doesn't have a port for the Apple mouse), the hookup for recharging and syncing my son's iPod, the USB DAC for my own music, a laser printer, an inkjet printer, a V700 scanner, and a card reader. My USB DAC, keyboard, and mouse are plugged into a hub, which takes up one USB port on the computer (none of the other devices will run off the hub); the two printers, scanner, card reader, and iPod hookup have to share the remaining two USB ports.

It would be nice to just have enough ports to plug everything in and leave it plugged in all the time. It's only a pain because to swap the cables, I have to get up, walk around to the other side of the desk (which I've sited out in the middle of the room just for this reason) and plug and unplug cables.

One thing that does help is that I use color-coded USB cables. They light up in different colors which makes it easy to see visually which cable is plugged in and which isn't.

It does annoy me just a tad that to keep the front of the computer clean and "designy" Apple opted not to put any ports on the front of the unit, where they would easily fit, and where they would be much more handy. None of this is a very big deal, though, all things considered.

Mike J.

Where did you get the colored cables? That sounds like a great way to keep some order amongst the tangle.


Apple have only 6% of the market. Not exactly the most popular.

What I don't get about Apple is all the disciples. All this jumping up and down and gleeful bad mouthing of Microsoft. Don't see Microsoft users indulging in this type of behaviour very much. Makes me wonder is it a manifestation of an inferiority complex ? (Very tongue in cheek)

And didn't I read there were problems with the latest machines and Adobe programmes ? And Adobes arrogant response that the only answer was to get the latest version of their software.

I prefer freedom of choice myself. There is a huge amount of software available for Microsoft and little of it at the inflated prices demanded for niche machines like Apple

Sorry to disappoint all of you, my Windows box is very silent, runs 1TB of storage at RAID5, a separate HD for the OS, 24" screen, 4GB of memory and an external USB backup drive. All for less than the cost of an (almost) equivalent 24" iMac, at least here in New Zealand.

There is no comparison whatsoever between an external USB or Firewire drive and an internal SATA-300 hard drive. The speed of the system is what makes it usable for me.
It is stable, runs 24x7 and have no problems at all.

When Apple can get a computer that doesn't cost the earth and I can add as many INTERNAL drives as I like, let me know, I'll be first in line.

Radio Shack, although I can't find them on the RS web store.

They have a color LED in each connector, and (apparently) a fiberoptic strand running through the cable itself, because it "sparkles" with the color when it's active. Makes it easy to trace the cable among a thicket of cords.

Mike J.

"There is a huge amount of software available for Microsoft and little of it at the inflated prices demanded for niche machines like Apple"

That's a bit disingenuous, considering Apple computers come bundled with a significant amount of excellent software at no charge.

The iMac I have comes with:

* Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard (includes Time Machine, Quick Look, Spaces, Spotlight, Dashboard, Mail, iChat AV, Safari, Address Book, QuickTime, iCal, DVD Player, Xcode, Developer Tools)
* iLife ’08 (includes iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iWeb, GarageBand)
* Front Row
* Photo Booth

It's true you still have to buy some things, but I have relatives who have never purchased a software app. They just use what came with the machine. In photography, compare iPhoto for free and Aperture for $199 to Lightroom for $299 and Photoshop for $649. So "inflated prices" hardly seems like a fair accusation.

Mike J.

Well, Mike, a Windows machine comes with Internet Explorer, Outlook Express for mail, Windows Media Player for music and films with support for DVDs, Windows Movie Maker, WordPad, Windows Backup, Synchronize and tons of other stuff that I never even looked at.

But there are people who never move from Explorer or Outlook Express or Windows Media Player. They don't have to move to other programs like I did.

BTW, my still-alive-and-kicking computer has three fans in the case plus a big one in the PS. It's still very much silent, you only hear air rushing out. It all depends on the quality of the gear you bought.

I'm a committed PC user (I fix them for a living) but almost feel ashamed to work in the computer business since Vista came along - it's disgraceful that none of the big manufacturers/distributers had the nerve to say no to Microsoft. They should have said "look, this an unusable operating system, please go away and come back when you've got it right".
Those who have a Vista box that "seems" to run OK should consider how much faster and smoother all that CPU & RAM power could run XP (without tripping them up on every mouse click).
I've been using the last two versions of Ubuntu very happily but have to reboot into XP to do scanning and photo printing, once that gets some real support from Epson, HP, Canon etc I'll happily leave Windows behind.
Macs? - pah! funny looking white things, cost a fortune, look like bathroom furniture, the toytown user interface even manages to make Vista look serious.
This is the 21st century folks, computing doesn't have to cost all that money, please stop lining Jobs' and Gates' pockets - spend the money you save on more lenses & film!

Cheers, Robin

The best operating system is the one that is invisible to the end user.

A user shouldn't have to care what operating system he/she is using. It's about getting the job done, and that requires ease and flexibility of purchase, configurability, and use of all the productivity applications installed on top of the operating system.

For the last three years, as far as my computer is concerned, I have strictly been an end user, and haven't paid any attention to the operating system my computer is running.

I happen to run WinXP Professional. Now back to work.

I'd love a Mac, I just can't afford one. When Steve Jobs decides to provide a mac tower thats not crippled for the average joes, I'd buy one in a New York minute. I refuse to buy an iMac, since it has limited ports, and its got limited expandability. Or if they would just allow us to run OS/X on PCs then I would be in computer nirvana. For the same $2,500 I can get a kick@ss PC, but a crippled iMAC. Please, Please, Please o deities of Apple, bring out an affordable Mac Tower......

A few months ago I purchased a 2 yr old iMac and a brand new Vista loaded Acer. The difference in the two systems was immediate and glaring. The apple cold booted to the desktop in 60 seconds, the Acer in nearly 120. To wake up from sleep, the Mac took 5-10 seconds, the Acer nearly 50. To goto "sleep", the Mac took about 5 seconds, the ACer nearly two minutes. The Windows media player couldnt even play a rental DVD and it suggested getting an update (on a brand new O/s!) After 20 mins of fighting the windows application the Acer media player jumped in and ran the DVD. Needless to say the same DVD ran in a few seconds on the iMac without any fuss.
I only keep the ACer because it has one mapping program that isn't available for Mac - but the secondhand Mac G3 still beats it in terms of speed and reliability and functionality.

"The best operating system is the one that is invisible to the end user.

A user shouldn't have to care what operating system he/she is using. ..

.. and haven't paid any attention to the operating system my computer is running."

I second that, that whole which OS is better thing is just plain silly. It just needs to get a job done (= display windows/applications, print and manipulate files), without hassle. period.

90% of my usage is now browser based anyway.
for the rest it's about the *applications*, not the OS.
Linux can be as instable as windows, or windows can be rock stable.
It simply depends on if you have a decent installation done or not.
I simply use windows, not because it's better, but because I know how to configure/debug it. And on the malware side: I run no virusscanner on my windows boxes and I have had the last 15 years one (1) infection (9 years ago) due a infected pc put in my network - so now I have a firewalled "geust" network. And yes, I do scan my boxes every 3 months or so from a cdrom to check them :)

Mac is nice (I have one) but the hardware is way overpriced. sorry.

As a new IMac user, my only complaint is that I can`t seem to get the screen to more closely match the prints. What have you done about this, aside from learning to live with it. Also, the aluminum keyboard provides two very handy USB ports for things that need to be plugged in temporarily.

While I have been impressed with the new Macs, I have far too much money tied up in PC software to ever consider a switch. And, yes, I know that you can dual boot and run XP and OS X on the same box; but since so much of the allure of an Apple computer is the OS itself, running XP on a Mac seems somewhat of a travesty.

Vista has me seriously thinking my next computer will be a Mac. I'm putting Linux on an old laptop now - I work with Linux and enjoy it from a 'geek' point of view, but at home, I want the consumer electronics simplicity that Apple promises.

Gary, depending on the software there are plenty of ways to run Windows software on OS X. For instance, I'm running Office 2003 through a trial version of CrossOver Office (I used the Linux version to run Office for years). I'm also trying to get a trial version of VMware Fusion (I need something like that anyway), but they were having problems yesterday. I'll set up Boot Camp when I can risk downtime.

For the photo software, most of it runs on Mac already. I've put off calling Adobe about the licensing, though, and run the trial version of Photoshop.

I got an Acer w/Vista loaded last Oct. and the times you mention for booting are the same I timed. I gave Vista two weeks of use and finally couldn't stand it any longer, wiped it and put in XP. Critter now boots in 50 seconds. It's Vista, not Acer doing you wrong.
I have enjoyed this good old-fashioned Windows/Mac dust-up, haven't seen one for a while, used to pay attention, but it really comes down to what pleases YOU not somebody else. I go with PCs simply for the richness and diversity of available software and the fact that I can build a new box when I want, how I want, for how much I want. Also, I really can't stomach the idea of Emperor Jobs and his idea of what is good for us.
But you know...? it really doesn't matter how the electrons get pushed as long as they get pushed.
Best wishes

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