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Old 08-27-2010, 11:11 PM   #1
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Default ITT: I rant for a little while.

A while back I was up in San Jose doing an install, and I had some free time one weekend so I decided to visit an old friend from school. I hadn't rented a car when I got into town (took a cab to the hotel, which was right next to the jobsite) so she drove into town and picked me up.

That evening, while she was making dinner, we decided to rent a movie. Well, she decided. I didn't even realize that movie rental stores still existed, but offered to run out so she could finish up there. She tossed me a keyfob-looking thing, which she explained was the "key" to the car. RFID or some such.

The car, by the way, is pretty cool. Very slick-looking thing, all shiny and silver. I got into it, closed the door, fastened my seat belt, and went to start the engine. Huh, nowhere to insert the key-thing. Oh, pushbutton start, I guess. So where's the damn pushbutton?

"It's on the back of the car, near the exhaust," she says.

Uhm, ok.

So I get out of the car and walk around back, and sure enough, there's the button. I press it.

Nothing happens.

I press it again; still nothing. I hold it down for a few seconds; still nothing.

"It's on," she says. It is? The button isn't lit up, and it sure looks like the sort of button that would light up. I walk around front, and sure enough, the headlights are on. And when I put my ear down to it, I can hear that it is, in fact running. Quiet little sucker.

So I get back in again and set off. Weirdly, there's no steering wheel and no pedals, just this totally smooth and perfectly spherical white orb on the dashboard. You run your hand across it, and the car goes. Get to the store and go to back into the parking space. Except I can't figure out how to get the car to go backwards! So I call her on the phone.

"Oh, yeah. If you want to activate the reverse option, you have to open the trunk and then pop open the little compartment, and there's a button inside you can mount on the corner of the dashboard to go backwards."

What the **** is going on here?

"BTW, why the hell doesn't this car have a steering wheel and pedals?" I ask.

"Oh," she says "you can have those if you want. The car comes with a box of parts that you can use to configure the driving control system any way you want it. It's totally customizable to your needs."

"So where's the box?"

"It's in the car configuration package, which is back here in the garage. There's no space for it in the car."

Despite being a tad frustrated by this point, I decided to be a nice guy and fill up the tank on my way back. Pull into the station, grab the pump nozzle, and shove it into the car. Well, almost. Turns out that the fuel filler on this vehicle is a rectangle measuring about half an inch wide by three inches tall.

I stare at it, dumbfounded. The filler port is perfectly vertical, so there's no way I'm going to be able to just dribble gas into it. And then it hits me- that's what the weirdly-shaped thing in the glovebox is for- it's a funnel that you stick into the car and then you can pump gas into it from a regular nozzle.

I finally get back home, dinner is just about ready, but she insists on showing me the configuration-thingy. Sure enough, there's about a hundred different ways that this jumble of bits can go together. And the weird part is that they're basically just stickers you can apply over the spherical orb. They don't actually move or give you any sort of tactile feedback.



Ok, so this isn't about a car at all. It's about a computer. Can you guess which brand of computer this parable is about?
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:19 PM   #2
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:24 PM   #3
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I figured this was going to end... "then I woke up" or something like that.

I guess Mac, at least they used to be that way if they still aren't.
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Old 08-28-2010, 01:17 AM   #4
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There's no question about it, I'm not much of a fan of Macs. It's not that I feel any specific hostility, I'm not a fan of them in much the same way that I'm not a fan of whatever that olympic sport is where they slide large rocks down a sheet of ice. I don't really consider myself a "Windows bigot" or a "Linux bigot", I just like things that work well and are easy to live with. I'd happily run VMS if that's what worked for my needs.



My first hands-on exposure to Macs was in high school. There was one room, accessible from the library, which had a number of first-gen Macs in it; the ones with the built-in 9" monochrome display. Not sure which model precisely, but I do remember that they had hard drives in them (Hard drives, while fairly common by that time, were still not considered standard on all PCs.) There were also a couple of Imagewriter II printers (dot matrix, tractor-fed) and they were networked to the computers. You could use them for word-processing, which was pretty neat. I think that was my first interactive WYSIWYG experience, actually. At home, I was still using WordPerfect 5.1 under DOS, where you did all the text entry in an 80x25 screen, added markup tags for formatting, and could only see what it was actually going to look like in a print-preview sort of screen. So, first experience- very positive.



A few years later, I did some work for a software company called Southern Software Inc. Essentially, SSi were in the business of ripping off Adobe's typefaces and selling knockoffs of them cheap. This was before you could download fonts for free, mind you, so paying $100 for a CD full of them was a bargain. (Google it. Lots of fascinating stuff written over the years, most of it fairly hostile and derogatory. I can add a little tidbit of info to the story that almost nobody else in the world knew, however- the owner of SSi, a man named Paul King, was also the pastor of a small church and poured nearly all of SSi’s profits into building a non-profit private school.)

I still chuckle when I read some of the legal documents and industry articles about the whole charade and the various lawsuits. People in the typeface business still reference SSi today in blogs, despite the fact that Paul died years ago. They think we forged file dates on our code and all sorts of other ****, claiming it would have been impossible to actually write all that PostScript code for each individual CD in such a short period of time, or that we couldn't possibly have generated them from vectors or re-kerned them all. We didn’t forge anything, we just automated large portions of the process that everybody else was still doing by hand.

Anyway, our computers were a mix of PCs running Win95 and Quadra / Centris macs. To stay properly legal (insofar as copyright law was understood to work at the time), we operated in a “clean-room” environment, where the fonts got torn down into vectors on the PCs, re-mastered on the Macs, and then brought back onto another set of PCs for proofing and distribution. There was, in particular, one piece of software called Fontographer which, at the time, just didn’t exist for Windows.

Boy, what a pain in the *** that was. I recall very clearly how the Windows machines natively supported TCP/IP, communicated easily over ethernet (and to the internet) etc., had a reasonably useful scripting language built right into the OS, and what an impossible task it was to get the Macs to talk to anything that wasn't a Mac without bending over backwards and licking my own anus. It was like the Wintel-class machines had actually evolved over time, overcome some of their deficiencies and become more modern, more adaptable, more interoperable, more capable; and the Macs… well, they had color monitors now.

But that's all in the past.



Of late, I haven't been seeing a lot of Apple products, even in the environments where they were once dominant, such as audio and video editing. Voxpro, ProTools, Avid Media Composer, everybody runs 'em on PCs nowadays.

But last week when I was up at USC doing the KSCR install, well, let's just say that they're a Mac house. So I finally got to play with one of the new Mac Minis that everybody has been talking about.

Out of the box comes the machine. Cute little thing, actually. We misplaced the adapter that lets you plug it into a standard DVI monitor, and that took a while to find, but after that I fired it up and started to play with it.

For starters, The Magic Mouse bugs the **** out of me. Ok, so the entire top surface of the thing is one big multi-touch pad, and that's awesome. I loved it. But c'mon, still only one button? I asked the station manager "How do I open a link in a new tab, like I would with the right button on a PC?" and he says "hold the Apple key on the keyboard and click the link."

I look. There’s no Apple key.

“Oh, yeah. It’s the Command Key now.”


"Ok, and how do I do a save image as, like I would with the right button on a PC?"

"Oh, well, first you have to set up the lower-left corner of your screen as a "hot corner" for the desktop, and then you drag into that and that saves it to the desktop."

"And what if I want to save it somewhere other than the desktop?"



WTF? Macs are supposed to be intuitive and easy to use, and now I have to set up poorly-documented shortcuts and do multiple steps and memorize key combinations and use two hands and two peripherals to do simple tasks that I can do with one finger on a Winux machine?

They have so much potential with this mouse, and yet they're just barely exercising it. And, c'mon, no side buttons? Every single mouse I own has side buttons, so I can go forward and back easily. In every browser in the world (including PettingZoo, or whatever they call it) there’s two buttons in the corner. The one on the left goes back, and the one on the right goes forward. It’s intuitive.

Ok, so there's some software app that lets you configure it. You can segment the surface into virtual buttons, assign functions to them, yadda yadda. Is that somehow supposed to be simpler than a mouse which I just plug in and it automatically has two buttons on the top and two buttons on the side and a wheel in the middle, and all of the buttons have discrete tactile segregation so I can tell from feel which one I'm on, and I don't have to memorize any swirly actions to use them? I thought swirly actions died with the Palm Pilot.

And the ******* keyboard- what the ******* **** happened to the ******* numeric pad? This isn't a ******* Netbook, it's a ******* desktop computer, and the last ******* desktop computer I owned that didn't have a ******* numeric pad was a ******* Commodore 64!



That’s kind of where I’m at with this whole Mac thing right now. Maybe if I wait another 15 years, they’ll have invented a device which reads my thoughts and automatically does what I want.

I kinda doubt it, though.
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Old 08-28-2010, 01:44 AM   #5
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I am a professional network engineer with almost a decade of experience in wintel systems on a client and server level. To say the least, when it comes to windows, I know my stuff.

That said, I am totally lost when I use a Mac. I always feel like it was a computer designed by people who had never seen a computer, like something the Russians would make.

Whenever I use one, I feel like a clueless end-user. I don't like that feeling much.
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Old 08-28-2010, 01:49 AM   #6
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Oh, I did manage to setup a new Mac desktop for a client once. Everything went great until I had to install a printer driver from a cd, and the slot loader drive mangled the he'll out of the cd. This of course meant I had to package up the whole machine for her to bring it to the nearest Apple Store over an hour away.
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Old 08-28-2010, 02:02 AM   #7
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I just like to touch all the parts inside and put it all together myself. Nothing like getting that box from newegg with all the various computer parts inside. And then that first boot up... Mmmm finally get to see how fast the new beast is.

Besides, I feel like any task I do enough to be bothersome if it was tedious, is already easy enough. Why change something good?
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Old 08-28-2010, 02:31 AM   #8
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Name one thing my pc can do that your mac can't: Right click.

My first Mac experience resulted in it crashing within 5 minutes. I tried to transfer my friend's songs to my iPod with iTunes. Utter and complete failure was the result.
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:03 AM   #9
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When I was in grade 5 or 6 my buddy's dad got the latest Mac. We didn't understand it so when we wanted to play Warcraft II over kali (the latest and greatest gaming innovation at the time imo) he had to use the old Windows 3.1 PC with 16k modem. My dad had a superior 28k modem.

All my university computer stuff was in Linux, Mac users (not many programmers with these) often had issues with the FTP assignment submission requirement.
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trent View Post
I am a professional network engineer with almost a decade of experience in wintel systems on a client and server level. To say the least, when it comes to windows, I know my stuff.

That said, I am totally lost when I use a Mac. I always feel like it was a computer designed by people who had never seen a computer, like something the Russians would make.

Whenever I use one, I feel like a clueless end-user. I don't like that feeling much.
You put into words what I have always felt about Macs, but never could really put my finger on why. Really to me, even the newest Windows versions have been leaning that way (Vista and 7). Too many "user friendly" options that takes control out of my hands and gives it to the OS, which is typically bad, since it never does what I want it to. I'm used to having full control over my ****.

I have been amazed at how well Apple products have done over the last ~5 years or so. None of them have appealed to me what so ever. And then they just re-release the same damn thing every 6 months with a new feature and stupid people ****** them up. Can't blame them for taking peoples money, they seem to want to give it to them.

My only real experience with a Mac outside of photoshop 7.0 in art class in high school was my iPod nano (the little one that did video, 4GB), which I ******* HATED! The click wheel thing SUCKS! So clumsy and hard to navigate menus. Then you have the fact that you have to do all of your organizing in iTunes (another pile of ****, worst music software I have ever used). Yet people rave over the damn things. I just feel out of touch with the new trendy "technology people". If it's not PC related, I'm pretty well lost. I use a 4 year old slider phone, Sony Walkman, I have never texted in my life, and have no use for a touch screen apps computer with a phone function that will break the first time it slips out of my pocket, with it's sleek scratch attracting face and glossy back cover...

Rant mode over for now.
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FRT_Fun View Post
I just like to touch all the parts inside and put it all together myself. Nothing like getting that box from newegg with all the various computer parts inside. And then that first boot up... Mmmm finally get to see how fast the new beast is.

Besides, I feel like any task I do enough to be bothersome if it was tedious, is already easy enough. Why change something good?
That is one of the most fun things to me. I've been itching to build another new machine with a 6-core processor. My current machine is only ~1 year old, but I love building them too much and experiencing new speed. Plus SATA2.0 just isn't cutting it anymore. Plus I want to build the system with SSD. I have a lot of data, and not a lot of patience to wait for hour+ transfer times between physical drives.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Maybe if I wait another 15 years, they’ll have invented a device which reads my thoughts and automatically does what I want.

I kinda doubt it, though.
A few months after you spend a small fortune on that item, they will come out with one that can read your thoughts from double the distance, and has a huge harddrive that can remember your previous thoughts so it can execute them at triple the speed next time you think them.

I dont really think Apple stands much of a chance against the open-source-ness of Android.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryce View Post
Name one thing my pc can do that your mac can't: Right click.
Erroneous.

Ugh not another mac/pc debate.
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Old 08-28-2010, 01:00 PM   #14
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lets hope joe p doesn't ever have to try out being a woman for a day.

"wtf, you stand in front of the urinal and..."
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Old 08-28-2010, 04:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icantthink4155 View Post
I dont really think Apple stands much of a chance against the open-source-ness of Android.
I don't see Android as a threat in the same way that HP wasn't a threat to the LaserWriter and all of the other MP3 players weren't a threat to the iPod.

Apple isn't about technology, it's about a state of mind. Seriously, I'm not saying that in a derogatory way, it's just a fact that Apple is a cult of personality, and that seems to work for them. They've made some good business decisions over the years, and some bad ones, but Apple is about the brand. As Elmer Wheeler once famously observed, they sell the sizzle, not the steak.

White people who know the difference between good **** and bad **** may well find their way to Android or WinCE, but the masses will continue to suckle at the ivory teat. Frankly, I both respect and envy what Apple have created.



Quote:
Originally Posted by y8s View Post
"wtf, you stand in front of the urinal and..."
Hahaha! Ok, now that is some seriously funny ****.

Honestly, I've got this mental image of me in sort of a Steven Fry / James May character role, in an alternate reality where it's possible to test drive other bodies, trying to figure out "how in the bloody hell is this damn thing supposed to work?"

Last edited by Joe Perez; 08-28-2010 at 08:30 PM. Reason: Threat. Not thread, threat.
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Old 08-28-2010, 05:34 PM   #16
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You know what really grinds my gears.....

The term "app", it's application (or program or software etc) people! Are you so illiterate from texting and chatting that everything needs to be short form and trendy for you to understand it?

This is exactly what Joe is talking about when he refers to what I like to call the "Icult". The all knowing Steve comes up with a device and phrasing to match and the faithful willingly obey and shovel out more money for something unnecessary to be part of the 'cool' club.

Clearly he has (finally) got his marketing right with the Ixxx strategy but how long until the fluff isn't desirable? It can be maintained (look at the devoted fans of certain auto brands) but is quite a task to keep it up in something as fast paced as electronics.
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:33 PM   #17
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:33 PM   #18
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I spelled out my disdain for apple products in posts five and six, but quite hypocritically did so from an iPhone 4. I hate their computers, but this is seriously one of the best phones I've ever owned.
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:29 PM   #19
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The originals (with integrated monitor) were the Mac 128k's. These days there are instructions on the internet to turn a Mac SE/Classic into a fish tank.

I had the (dis)pleasure of working with Macs at my first job in a computer store. The one on my desk was a LC II.

They weren't quite as bad back then as they seem to be now. Back then it was almost like they were trying new things for the sake of trying new things. Now it seems like they're just doing it so they can be terminally hip.
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:46 PM   #20
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Before the switch to intel processors I believe every last one of them were garbage. Toys for geeks and fanboi hipsters. But now with Intel processors, you have the ability to run whatever OS you want on some really nicely designed hardware. I have a 2009 Macbook pro and I really like it. Even OSX does not need garbage protocols like appletalk anymore, integrates with windows SMB servers, exchange, etc. nicely. Does everything I want it to do without crashing, unlike my vista box. I'm not too keen on the "mini display port" but other than that its nicer than my HP business laptop that cost much more.
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