Tag Archives: apple-computers

Windows vs Mac

Olivier Prud’homme decided to respond, at length, to my post on five ways Windows Vista is better than Mac OS X. The operating system wars will never subside, but if we could just stop talking in circles for one moment – maybe we could learn a thing or two about the OSes we choose not to use? Instead of basing opinions on assumptions or second-hand experiences, perhaps we’d be better served in trying different operating systems ourselves. No matter, the following message is completely unedited – so any mistakes made are that of the original author, Olivier. What are your thoughts?

I’ve been watching a few of your videos here and there on YouTube (ever since you talked about going BACK to XP from Vista, actually… a long time ago) and the one where you reply to the article of “Five Ways Vista is better than OS X” really got my attention.

I guess you could classify me as one of those Mac users that you despise. “Fanboys”, I suppose… heck, my email address is a @mac address for crying out loud. But please, hear me out. I’ve actually got a few points where I believe Vista is better than OS X (near the end).

I’ve been a Mac user for as long as I can remember and I’ve been using PCs for almost just as long. My blood boils every single time there’s a discussion about Windows. Considering that this is the information age, it happens quite often. Why am I angry? Why am I so agitated?

It’s mainly because throughout all my life, day after day, I have to deal with people that refuse to believe that a Macintosh might actually be a decent machine. I’m talking about since 5th grade, here. Being ridiculed merely because of the computer I was using at home. It may sound ridiculous, but think about it for a second. When you’re growing up as a kid, being accepted is a huge deal. Some people just have to brag about their stuff and they do it by making fun of other people. I remember asking one of the PC geeks in my school about why that is and I’ll never forget his answer: “Windows is great. I can fix almost any issues and that makes me feel smart.”

I’ve grown into the man that I am today, constantly fighting this STUPID operating system war that never seems to end.

I deal with this kind of stuff every day; even today. A friend of mine just got a new iMac a couple of months ago and he acts like it’s new and amazing… I’ve known him for almost 15 years and he was one of the many that ridiculed me all these years ago. He just wouldn’t accept the Mac as a serious computer… a lot of people don’t. I suppose they associate it with the fact that Macs are easy to use and therefore aren’t as complex as “real” computers should.

We’re in the year 2009 and people still tolerate computers breaking down.

As a computing experience, the Mac hasn’t changed ONE BIT. However, now the Mac is suddenly popular and “acceptable”. I’m tired of saying “I’ve told you so”.

Thinking back, I guess I’m not pompous… I’m just really, extremely bitter. I’m sure others feel the same way too.

I am a power user… and just like you’ve said in previous videos, power users need to open their minds and use all sorts of computing technology.

I’ve shown my interest in the Xbox 360. A gaming system that I have yet to own and most likely never will due to the un-fixable “red ring of death” issue plaguing the console. Typical of Microsoft, if you ask me but I digress.

When Windows Vista was announced, I was genuinely excited. People would talk about all that techno mumbo jumbo that was “new” (I say it in quotes because half the time, they’re features that I’ve seen two to even ten years ago on the mac – another thing that annoys me to no end) and I’ve only retained two key features: “Windows Live” and “the colour system”.

The colour system was something I found interesting as a consumer. I don’t know if the feature actually has a name or not, but it was something that Microsoft announced where Windows Vista would scan your computer and give you a colour based on your hardware. Whenever you would buy a software, instead of looking through a list of system requirements on the box, all you’d have to do is check the colour code and see if it’s supported on your machine. For me, it was a sign that Microsoft actually tried to make things easier for the average consumer… yet, I’ve never seen the colour code on any box.

The Windows Live was a huge disappointed as well. To me, it was a sign that Microsoft was taking care of PC gamers by intertwining XBox Live with Windows. How awesome would that be? I mean, for the general consumer that might not mean much but gaming has always been something mentioned during Mac vs Windows arguments. Having more software (or games) doesn’t make one operating system better than the other, but features like Windows Live and XBox Live would’ve been a nudge in the right direction to build a very strong and UNIQUE community.

None of the features that I thought were important in making the system unique or remotely appealing ever got to fruition.

Anyways, I want to go back to your video discussing about the “five ways Vista is better than OS X” and I actually have an answer for you… coming from an avid Mac user.

This applies to Windows XP as well as Vista: DirectX. I absolutely HATE DirectX but I know performance when I see it. I’ve seen 3D software where a Windows and Mac version would be built simultaneously and even in those circumstances (rare as they might be), the Windows version runs faster even on the same hardware (bootcamp). Yes, it is just a matter of getting the programmers to write more optimized code for the mac so you can’t really blame the OS for that but between OpenGL and DirectX, DirectX seems easier to code and, therefore, is a much more appealing feature that is Windows exclusive.

As a 3D artist and gamer, this is a big deal.

I’d write more, but it’s 5am here and I doubt that I would be any coherent (assuming that I am to begin with). If you want to share any thoughts, ideas or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give me a shout.

MacBook Air Review: Stupid Decision?

Calacanis loves his, but I’m not so sure the MacBook Air is everything it’s cracked up to be. Roshan Patel submitted a “Top Five Reasons I Wouldn’t Buy a MacBook Air” this morning, after watching my recent one-second review on YouTube:

  1. No Optical (CD/DVD) Drive. I know that during the unveil at MacWorld, it was announced that you are able to use another system’s drive in order to install data, and also download your wanted DVDs from the iTunes store, but I already own many many DVDs (as discs), and installing wirelessly would virtually guarantee slower speeds. An Optical Drive is available, but why do I have to pay more for a basic item?
  2. Fragile. Apple also detailed that the case is aluminum and is very strong but I simply don’t trust it. The LCD casing is very thin, and I think that even a slight knock could bend the back (where the Apple Logo is) inward and completely destroy the display.
  3. Only One USB Port. In a world where USB powers virtually everything, I can’t just use one port. Yes, I could buy a Hub, but that would simply eradicate the portability element of a Notebook.
  4. Speed. Being considerably small, and containing small components such as processors, this could potentially run at high intensity heat, and could effectively narrow the usage life of the system. I know I have no point of reference, but I tend to use a “What If” scenario before purchasing something new.
  5. Price. Now this is what I deem to be the most important element of why I would not buy a MacBook Air. The only reason that I would even seriously consider purchasing a MacBook Air would be for the Solid-State drive, but paying more money for this, for less memory, at 64GB (80GB HDD) is a waste of time, so to avoid this, why wouldn’t I just buy a standard MacBook?

I would agree with my fellow geek from the trenches…

Is Apple Proprietary?

Ross Snowden and I have been interacting online for a while. He emailed me again last night:

I watched a video (or perhaps it was the live feed on your site) a couple of evenings ago. You were reading a letter you received from someone who mentioned they might consider switching to the Mac operating system, and you were impressed that he considered the possibility and wasn’t strictly against the idea.

I believe the video is forthcoming, so you must have watched it as we recorded it live.

I, myself, would also not be opposed to using the Mac OS, but the only thing keeping me from doing so is that the Mac uses proprietary hardware, if I’m not mistaken. You made it sound as though the Apple used the same hardware as the PC, but isn’t that just for some of the components? If that was true, I would be able to install Leopard without any problem on my machine, no? I will try it out when, and if (and that’s a big if), Apple decides to release an operating system that installs on regular PC hardware. I would consider it, though.

ATI is proprietary? NVIDIA is proprietary? Intel is proprietary? EFI is proprietary? You, and millions of others, are sadly mistaken. Apple’s Intel computers will run a full-blown installation of Windows (just as easily as they can run a copy of Mac OS X). Moreover, it’s not really Apple’s own hardware – it’s Apple’s computer, comprised largely of countless components from third-party vendors.

It’s not the hardware itself that’s proprietary, nor is it necessarily the software itself (the OS). It’s Apple’s choice to restrict the types of machines that its operating system can run on – as it’s been proven that Mac OS X can indeed run on non-Apple hardware. It’s a proprietary cocktail, but not because of raw hardware or software limitations.

Apple controls the entire “ecosystem,” and you need to think long and hard about why that’s not so horrible for consumers. I’ve written (and talked) about this several times in the past.

Until then, I’ll stick with Vista, which, for the record, has not crashed or given me any BSOD whatsoever. In fact, for me, on my new hardware, this has been the most stable version of Windows I have ever used, and I’m using the 64 bit version!

Good for you (seriously). I’ll also stick with Vista… in a VMware virtual machine on my Mac OS X desktop.

Penryn Mac Pro

34skyline is a curious community member:

Chris just wondering what are your thoughts on the Penryn Mac Pro, and why hasn’t Apple jump on the Blu-ray band wagon yet? I’m planning on getting the new MacPro 8 Core 3.2ghz 45nm processors, 2 300gb 15,000rpm SAS, 512MBGeforce 8800 GT, 2 SuperDrives, Airport Extreme, i’ve saving up for this computer over a year, sold my PC/ MAC computer equipment, sold my 23inch to get a 30inch cinema display but waiting for the new ones to come out, heard that Dell has a new 30inch out. so can you do a video on the new Mac Pro and what your opinion on it, and are you still planning on getting a Mac Pro for yourself?

First, I think the new Mac Pro looks awesome – and I’ll be ordering mine after we get back from Hawaii. Second, if you really want Blu-ray, just buy an external drive for any computer you own. Third, I’m not sure I want to go SAS or SATA, since you can only do one or the other with this machine (and SAS must be configured with the RAID card). Not sure why you’d go with NVIDIA when a single (default) ATI should suffice on OS X. I’d buy whichever 30″ is most affordable, since most of ’em are just about the same…

OS X Finder Tips

From my Mac genius friend, ‘Darwin9’…

File Paths? In the Finder, if you select the View menu | Show Path Bar, you get an interactive path bar along the bottom of the Finder window. By interactive, I mean you can drag files to each folder in the path bar allowing you to easily move content back through the folder structure.

Proxy Icon? In the Finder, at the top of every Finder window, there is a small icon beside the name of the current folder… the proxy icon. If you right-click (control-click) on this icon it shows you a drop down menu of the file path to the current folder your viewing, and you can click on each folder in the list to browse back to each folder in the file path. Also, this icon can be dragged to a different location to move the current folder (or OPTION dragged to copy, or COMMAND OPTION dragged to make an alias). This also applies to open documents!

That Command + Option keyboard shortcut is a godsend! I didn’t realize that was the way to do it until Scott emailed me. Any other killer Finder tips for me?

Mac Myths

I’m going to keep this person’s name anonymous for the time being, because I’m sure he’d get flamed out of existence for admitting to believing in these stereotypical myths about Macs.

Allow me to provide a list of reasons why I don’t like macs. If you really want to prove their equality to a Windows fanboy such as me, feel free to demonstrate their debunkery through video. Since your recent conversion to the Dark Side, I suppose even I can give the time of day.

I haven’t switched yet, but here are his seven reasons for not giving the Mac a chance:

  1. The Mac UI is so easy to use, it’s insulting to a power user.
  2. Macs are bad for popular games because few games are made for Mac and they don’t do DirectX.
  3. Most popular software won’t run on a Mac, and there is seldom a good equivalent.
  4. I haven’t seen a mac with more than two screens (Three for a laptop); do they go higher?
  5. Since OSX runs on some sort of *nix base, it can be lent to all the *nix stereotypes.
  6. Macs are more expensive than similarly-spec’d PCs.
  7. Even with all the great advances made in the past few years, one cannot “try before you buy” a Mac

Where do we begin to debunk these theories?

Mac Questions and Answers

Andre Andraos asks:

I’m buying a new laptop (Macbook Pro), and was contemplating whether I should get glossy or matte finish screen. What are advantaged and disadvantaged to each? I am using this laptop both indoors and out, and planning to use it for: playing high-end games, schoolwork, web and graphic designing, computer programs, etc. What would you recommend?

Glossy vs Matte is a matter of personal preference, and my personal preference happens to be Matte. Ponzi likes glossy.

On the heels of that email, comes a vote of confidence (and question) from Michael Gutierrez:

First, I just wanted to send you some feedback regarding a recommendation you made for me about VMWare Fusion for Mac OS X. I took your advice shortly after the you recorded the video and downloaded the 30 day trial. I was amazed how advanced Fusion was compared to Parallels product. I particularly like Unity, VMWare’s setting allowing you to run your windows apps alongside the Mac desktop instead of full screening the virtual OS. After the 30 day trial, I purchased a license and have been using it ever since. So, thank you for making that recommendation.

Second, I have another question I was hoping you can help me with. I noticed on your 15” MacBook Pro that was sponsored by lijit.com was equipped with a red Speck SeeThru hard shell case. I have been looking to purchase one of these for my MacBook Pro because I have had gotten a few scratches on my laptop that I am not happy about. What is your opinion of these? Do they provide good protection for the exterior of a MacBook Pro? Does it add any significant weight to the laptop?

Ponzi loves her red Speck shell, although she doesn’t like the actual Mac inside it because she says it’s… “too heavy.” I still use it all the time, although my preference would have been either a clear or black casing. Personal preference.

My third Mac question of the day came from Rich Schindler:

I used PC’s and Mac’s. I have used Mac’s for many years. My question is what can you suggest to run video from websites that use WMP? I usually use my one of my PC’s to watch these video’s. I am running OSX 3.9 and I can get these videos to run if I use Safari and flip4mac, but the quality of the frames is poor. Was wondering what you suggest?

VLC, which apparently also has an output setting to render the video into (color) ASCII art on the screen. As far as embedded WMP on Web pages is concerned, I… would look for different Web sites, or just run IE in Unity mode in VMware Fusion (or the equivalent in Parallels). The only other choice is purchasing Flip4Mac, which I’ve never done. Download the WMV files and watch ’em with VideoLAN.

Just when I thought I was finished fielding Mac questions, another one arrived courtesy of “cybersheath” a few minutes ago:

I’ve ordered my first Mac, a 20″ iMac, and I have a few Mac related questions. I have noticed that there are several posts on the Apple discussion boards about screen brightness issues. People claim that their iMacs, both 20″ and 24″, have unevenly lit screens. I was wondering if you have heard anything about this? I was concerned about this at first, but I think that it may just be people nitpicking. I was also wondering if you have used a program called Circus Ponies, for mac. It seems like an interesting and useful piece of software, and I was wondering if it was worth paying the $50 price tag. My last question is just for fun. You often refer to yourself as a “power user”. How exactly do you define a power user?

I’m not sure what Apple’s policies (or tolerance level) for perceived LCD problems happen to be, but you’d be wise to pick up an AppleCare contract. The only time I ever needed one was when I didn’t have one. Mind you, I’m tripping into the Apple store tomorrow to see what’s wrong with my ol’ MacBook. Hardware is imperfect, regardless of manufacturer or OEM.

As far as that software is concerned, no – I’ve never used it (let alone, heard of it). Still, since they seem to have some kind of 30-day demo, you’d be smart to try it before buying it – and then make sure you’ve tried the viable alternatives just to be sure you’re getting what you want and need. There’s plenty of Mac shareware out there to try without fear of getting infected with viruses or spyware.

Mac OS X Leopard UI Inconsistencies

When I was asked by Jim Allchin to go through Vista betas with a fine-toothed comb, I did – and I knew my feedback would be sent to the proper teams. If I knew that the right person at Apple was listening, I’d likely compile a similar (lengthy) list of Leopard UI oversights, inconsistencies, and bugaboos – and would be more than happy to do so. As it stands, however…

The lead design team can’t seem to standardize on one type of toolbar icon or another – even in the same applications (like the Finder). The Preview and Mail apps have elongated “pill” icons, whereas the Finder has silver square / rectangular icons potentially intermixed with full color icons. This seems to be an issue throughout the entire OS. If they were trying to fix inconsistencies, toolbar icon uniformity seems like it would have been a great place to start.

While Apple has certainly given us a more consistent UI throughout Leopard’s apps (eliminating Brushed Metal once and for all), seems that element spacing wasn’t considered in the upgrade. The bottom corners of the iTunes window are sharper than the bottom corners of the Finder window. Moreover, the alternating line color height is not the same between Finder’s Cover Flow List view and a similar-styled List view in iTunes. Nor are the line colors matching between iTunes and the Finder.

The Finder should work more like the Mail application, automatically adjusting the horizontal spacing of fields to fit within the space allotted. The user should never see a horizontal scrollbar unless the browsing mechanism is horizontal by nature.

When the Finder or Mail windows are background windows, their Sidebars fade to a lighter shade of grey. Not so with iTunes or Preview (their Sidebars remain light blueish). Seems like a silly thing to notice, but it contributes to the “feel” that Apple was promising. If the colors change in some of Apple’s applications, why not in all of them? I’m just asking for argument’s sake – as I’m sure the answer is much like it would be were I to pose the same question to Microsoft Windows developers.

iTunes, to me, seems like a UI holdout – more than any other app on the system. For some reason, it still contains a classic B&W stopwatch cursor – as well as a preference pane that doesn’t sport the new look in its toolbar (with slick vertical fades flanking the selected section as you might find in Finder’s, Address Book’s, Mail’s, etc. preference panes). The scrollbars are a nice deep blue, but it’s the only app I can find that has ’em.

I’m not sure which “status bar” UI is the standard to compare against, either. The iTunes status bar seems to be set at a different height than the Finder’s, and they’re both set at a different height with different icon size rules than iCal’s.

Despite numerous user interface inconsistencies, I’m still largely impressed with Leopard. OS X finally provides a much better experience for home users than does Microsoft Windows – starting with a lack of product activation all the way through to visual flourish that complements function. I’d agree that it’s an evolutionary increment for existing Mac users – but for current Windows users, it’s most certainly more than that.

Please be careful not to misconstrue my statements. It’s quite possible to love Microsoft but not one of their products. Microsoft is a different kind of company than Apple, mind you. Although both companies produce operating systems for regular ol’ users like you and me – and that’s just about where the similarity ends.

Initial Leopard reports have been overwhelmingly positive, with major upgrade hiccups potentially relegated to those who may have previously applied an unsupported system hack. You could’ve heard a pin drop in the live chat room earlier when we were stepping through OS X’s new features in real-time. You just can’t believe it until you see it, and you just can’t see it until you use it.

Mac OS X Leopard Community Commentary

I’ve never done this before, but I was reading the responses in Steve’s Top Five Reasons that Leopard will be Apple’s tipping point and felt compelled to address some of them in a space where my readers might benefit. I hope Steve doesn’t mind.

I’m keeping all grammatical / spelling errors intact:

Geoff ~ “Boot Camp – nice but adds a lot of cost”

How does something that comes with the OS add any kind of cost? If you don’t want to use Boot Camp, don’t use it – that doesn’t cost you a thing. If you’re complaining about Microsoft’s Windows licensing strategies, then complain directly to Microsoft – not to Apple for giving you the smoothest dual-boot system ever built.

The costs of migrating from a “PC” to a Mac can be mitigated if you look at TCO. How much did your backup software cost? How much does your anti-virus service cost? Your MSN Premium subscription? Your anti-spyware service? Your tech support service? Your extended warranty service?

There’s plenty of mature software for OS X out there, if the apps you need don’t already come pre-installed (like iLife, for example).

Zach ~ “While I don’t doubt that Apple’s new release will be solid, do you seriously think that people are going to look at an instant messaging program as the tipping point between a mac or a pc. That’s stupid. Maybe you do alot of messaging, but I don’t know the last time I heard someone ask a sales associate when buying a computer, Mac or PC, what instant messaging software came pre-installed.”

You haven’t seen the demo videos for iChat 4.0, have you? Apple is evolving the idea of Instant Messaging far beyond text, audio, and video interactions – and into the space of simple collaboration. The keyword isn’t “chat” so much as it is “easy.”

After seeing the public demo, I’ve heard four five people state that iChat 4.0 would improve tech support with remote friends and family members. I concur. It looks to be smoother than anything else I’ve seen or used.

Moreover, I’m guessing we’re just a year away from seeing an iChat for Windows. Not to say that it would be widely adopted, but it’s not entirely out of the question. We already have QuickTime, iTunes, Safari, and (most importantly for this prediction) Bonjour working well enough on the Windows platform. It may not match iChat feature-for-feature, but it would allow for users to experience a different level of… nevermind. You don’t get why this is important.

esteban ~ “Nothing original here, just the same fanboy cooing which quickly degrades into the oh so scientific “my aunt, mother, and cousin are all switching, it must be a sign!” drivel.”

I’ve pretty much written off these kinds of responses as jealousy. Seriously. I’m guessing this is a 13 year-old Digg user who has never purchased his own machine, pirates all his software, and brags about his FPS in random gaming forums.

Paul ~ “I think widgets are severely overrated. Sure, when I got my first Mac capable of running Tiger a few years ago, I thought they were cute. I ended up building a few and nothing much past that. Fast forward to now and many, many users associate widget with “something that slows down my Mac” – and with good reason. Search for any “speed up my mac” type articles and it’s sure to list disabling the dashboard or shutting down trivial widgets.”

I’m with you, Paul – but widgets weren’t necessarily made for you or me. My parents and father-in-law, on the other hand, are enamored with them. They don’t care about maxing out the speed of their browser so much as they love to have a flight tracker at their fingertips. Sucked ’em in for a half hour, easy. Could the same thing happen on a Web site? Yeah, but it’s not as convenient.

And that’s just it: widgets are a matter of convenience. With Safari’s “Web Clip” widget builder, the need to find someone for simple widget developemnt seemingly disappears. Take a look at Dashcode (or Automator, for that matter). Apple is putting development tools directly in the hands of users – without them even knowing it.

This is much bigger than widgets, Paul.

Colby ~ “Sorry dude, I love Apple and their OS, but this won’t be the tipping point until Apple allows for OSX to be installed on any hardware, not just Apple hardware. I see the trends too, but we’re not at the tipping point yet.”

First, there’s a space between OS and X. Last I looked, NVIDIA and ATI aren’t Apple hardware. Neither is Intel’s platform. 😉 Your complaint is less about hardware restrictions and more about software restrictions.

I would have agreed with you a year ago, but my experiences with Windows Vista have pushed me further into the “maybe it’s not so bad that one vendor controls both the hardware and software experience” camp. Licensing the OS to third-party vendors could hurt Apple, not help it.

I’m not saying that Apple shouldn’t be held in check, or that their practices are any less monopolistic than Microsoft’s, but… you should understand why Apple does business the way they do. Don’t compare their business model to Microsoft’s or Dell’s or HP’s or… anybody else’s, for that matter. Apples and oranges. 🙂

Paul ~ “Linux is handily beating Microsoft already, and most people don’t have the kind of $ it takes to get onto the Apple bandwagon. And the quality of their hardware is abysmal. Left Linux 5 years ago to to go MacOS X with a G17. Java support was terrible with bugs that affected my ability to earn a living as a java architect. Saw many people walk away from the lousy support, lousy attitude, and constant $$ upgrades (want java 5? Upgrade, because osx 10.4 doesn’t and never will support java 5).”

Linux is handily beating Microsoft already? Really? REALLY?!

Yikes. Someone must be ignoring the wealth of free and open source software available for OS X (and Windows). In all my years of interacting with “regular folks,” I’ve never heard one of ’em complain about the lack of Java 5 support in Tiger.

Doesn’t make your issue any less of an issue, but take it in context. It’s not fair to compare UNIX / FreeBSD to Linux – completely different licensing strategies, completely different philosophies. My parents and 99% of the people on MySpace don’t care about either. 😉

Balboa Peterson ~ “Until there is a two butotn mouse/trackpad, then Apple is going NOWHERE. Get over it Steve!!! Bring us two frigging buttons and I’ll start buying apples. (and no, buying a separate mouse does not count – I want it on the macbook trackpad)”

Oh, god… where do I begin with this child? You can “right click” with a trackpad by using two fingers. After trying that for a week, you’ll find notebooks that don’t have the same functionality on their own trackpads to be worthless. Trust me.

Seems to me you’d be better served by a spell checker than a second mouse button. Oh, and OS X has a spell checker built into it (by the way).

Idiot. IDIOT.

Forrest ~ “Apple is the most overrated company in existence. There products are innovative, over priced, and under-featured (the iPod STILL doesn’t have an FM tuner). Not to mention that their DRM policies are the most restrictive out there. Its funny how all the uneducated fan-boys are drawn in by aesthetic aspects of there products. People complain about Windows – but seriously; if you can’t get XP (or your linux distro of choice) to work how you want it too all the time then your an idiot.”

I had to read this assertion twice. It’s just… wow. You accused Apple of being innovative? Is that supposed to be a bad thing?

I can understand that you’d want the iPod to have an FM tuner in it (who wouldn’t, quite honestly), but Apple’s DRM policies are not all that restrictive. If you want to buy an MP3 through iTunes, you most certainly can – so long as the artist or label allow you to do so. That’s not Apple’s fault, is it?

When you call someone a “fan boy,” you erode your own position to that of jealousy. If you’re frustrated with Apple because it’s not giving you the products you want, that’s not Apple’s problem – it’s yours.

The question is, Forrest: what are you going to do about it?

Rip Ragged ~ “I disagree that Leopard is the tipping point. Vista was the tipping point. Vista failed to leapfrog anything. It’s an incremental upgrade to XP. A huge, bloated, crappy incremental upgrade, but an incremental upgrade, nevertheless.”

I wrote this in CPU Magazine over a year ago: Vista would drive more people to adopt OS X than OS X would. That said, I really do believe that Leopard is a compelling upgrade from Vista.

The tipping point started when Apple switched to the Intel platform. The tipping point continued when Microsoft released Vista. The tipping point happens with the release of Leopard (especially so close to the winter Holiday season).

Make no mistake: OS X isn’t going to draw people away from Windows by the millions. I don’t think Steve was suggesting that, either. The iPhone was a social epidemic – and if Apple plays their cards right, Leopard will be as well.

McJohn ~ “Yes, I get that dual-booting lets me play my windows games under windows on mac hardware. On the other hand, a mac desktop is very expensive compared to a windows desktop.”

Let me get this straight: you’re willing to fork out hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on entertainment for your PC – and you’re likely just as willing to fork out hundreds more for a powerful video card and PPUs and glowing neon for your case – and you’re willing to pay a subscription fee for some of those MMORPGs – and you’re… starting to understand how your position has been completely nullified now that you’ve identified yourself as a gamer?

Be careful when argue cost – cost is relative.

I started on Apple ~ “this is just one more tired Mac OS update. they havent done anything truly new in AGES. are you paid for? do you work for Apple? maybe…. trying to hype up such ‘nothingness’…”

When all else fails, accuse the author of payola.

mrp ~ “you can never come up with any feature, no matter how bullshit it is, that hasn’t been done on windows 100 times before and 5 years earlier. It’s like people don’t know you can download programs that do stuff windows doesn’t AND osx for that matter”

Heh. People know they can download programs – it’s how spyware, viruses, trojans, and keyloggers are installed. And if you’re suggesting that Windows has been enabling that experience 100 times before and 5 years earlier, you’re absolutely right.

If OS X doesn’t have the features you want, fine – but did it promise to give you something that it ultimately didn’t? I’m not going to name any Ultimate examples because… oops.

Some may be ready to assert that the new iChat screen sharing tool is exactly what Microsoft had with Remote Desktop in MSN Messenger years ago. Almost. Took me a half hour to get something started with my parents two weeks ago – and let’s not forget the fiasco that ensued when I explained to them that they couldn’t turn off the advertisements in Microsoft’s chat client. Seems to me that MSN Messenger is there to serve endless upsells, whereas iChat is there to serve the user.

That’s clearly not Apple’s problem.

Dave ~ “Does iChat suddenly work when all parties are behind NAT gateways? No? It’s still useless then. Skype wins again and is available now.”

Useless is relative. So is the functionality of Skype. You’d have to purchase an add-on or two to get the audio / video recording features that are baked into iChat 4.0. Are you upset that iChat isn’t like Skype, and if so: how is that iChat’s problem?

Let the flames begin. 😉

Leopard: The Wow Really Starts Now

This page outlines 300+ new features in Mac OS X (Leopard), but I wanted to call your attention to just a few of the changes that made me leap out of my seat and scream “WOW!”

  • Address Book: View a detailed map of any address in Address Book. Just hold down the Control key while clicking any address and select “Map of” and Safari will show you its location in Google Maps.
  • Automator: Add even more capabilities to your workflows. Use a new action called Watch Me Do that lets you record a user action (like pressing a button or controlling an application without built-in Automator support) and replay as an action in a workflow.
  • Boot Camp: Enjoy the unique hardware features of your Mac including the iSight camera, trackpad scrolling, keyboard backlighting, and volume keys using fully compatible Windows drivers.
  • Dashboard: Clip out any portion of a web page and turn it into a Dashboard widget.
  • Dashcode: Drag and drop components from an included library of GUI controls to assemble a working widget that looks the same during design and runtime. No artistic ability required.
  • Desktop: Make your Dock look the same on all the Macs you use. Change the Dock on one and it will automatically be updated on the others.
  • Dictionary: Harness the power of Wikipedia when you’re connected to the Internet — built right into it’s Dictionary. You get a great Mac OS X user interface with super-fast searching and beautifully laid out-results.
  • DVD Player: Smoothly play back even DVDs that may be damaged. New technology in Leopard can locate and avoid scratched areas of the disc.
  • Finder: Start an interactive screen sharing session with other Macs on your network. Just select the Mac from your sidebar and (if authorized) you can see and control the Mac as if you were right in front of it. [My addendum: supports the VNC protocol as well.]
  • Fonts: Automatically activate fonts as you need them. When an application requests an installed font that’s currently disabled, Leopard activates that font and keeps it active until the requesting application quits.
  • Front Row: Watch previews of Hollywood blockbusters directly from Front Row.
  • Graphics & Media: Enjoy improved color reproduction of digital photos, as ColorSync automatically takes advantage of the EXIF sRGB information embedded in image files by many popular digital cameras.
  • iCal: Effortlessly add attendees or change an event’s time directly on the event itself. The new Inline Inspector window appears when you double-click any event, making it faster and easier to change details on the fly.
  • iChat: Save your audio and video chats for posterity with iChat recording. iChat asks your buddies for recording permission before the chat starts, then stores completed audio chats as AAC files and video chats as MPEF-4 files — so you can share with others or sync to your iPod. [My addendum: HOLY SH*T, this is awesome!]
  • Imaging: Wirelessly import images from many 802.11-enabled digital cameras and Bluetooth devices. [My addendum: I smell an iPhone firmware update in the near future.]
  • Imaging: Take advantage of new Bonjour-based network scanners, Leopard leads the way with the technology required to allow scanning over a network.
  • Instruments: Improve the performance of your applications by viewing the relationships between UI events and performance metrics such as CPU load, network and file activity, and memory usage. [My addendum: So, you can expect that savvy app developers will be making your favorite programs perform better with less guesswork. Genius.]
  • Networking: Let Leopard adjust TCP buffer size automatically. Get optimum application performance, especially in high-bandwidth/high-latency environments.
  • Photo Booth: Use Photo Booth to make movie clips. Capture those precious moments and send them to your friends in an email message. You can even choose a frame from your movie to use as your account picture or iChat buddy icon.
  • Preview: Easily remove the background from an image, leaving just the subject. Simply select Instant Alpha from the Tool Select button on the toolbar and click and drag in the area of the background you wish to remove. You can also use the Extract Shape tool to select a specific area of the image to keep, automatically excluding the rest.
  • Preview: Get real information from your photos. If your image has embedded GPS metadata, Preview will show you exactly where that perfect photo was taken. Open the Image inspector and select GPS. Preview pinpoints the location where you took the photo on a world map. From there you can even open the GPS location in Google Maps.
  • Printing: Make sure you always have the latest printer drivers. Download directly to your system using the familiar capabilities of Software Update.
  • Security: Protect yourself from potential threats. Any application downloaded to your Mac is tagged. Before it runs for the first time, the system asks for your consent — telling you when it was downloaded, what application was used to download it, and, if applicable, what URL it came from. [My addendum: This is not like Vista’s UAC in the slightest. Instead of warning you every time, it does it once – and unlike Windows, Leopard will tell you where the file was downloaded from for an additional layer of relevant information. If you want to say that Apple stole this feature from Microsoft, be my guest – but their implementation appears to be 110% better.]
  • Spaces: Move a window to another space by dragging it to the edge of your screen. Spaces will switch to the new space and take your window with it.
  • Spotlight: Find answers fast. Just activate Spotlight and type in a simple or sophisticated equation, and Spotlight will instantly show you the result. Enjoy support for over 40 functions ranging from simple math to logarithms to trigonometry. [My addendum: Intelligent addition, becoming the most convenient calculator for OS X.]
  • System: You may be able to gain disk space without losing data. If a volume is running out of space, simply delete the volume that comes after it on the disk and move the volume’s end point into the freed space.
  • System Preferences: Get yourself a .Mac account and your System Preferences can stay in sync across all your Macs. No matter what Mac you use, you’ll feel right at home.
  • TextEdit: Take advantage of TextEdit support for the Word 2007 and OpenDocument formats for reading and writing.
  • UNIX: Automatically mount and dismount network filesystems on separate threads to improve responsiveness and reliability.

If you read the entire page and still don’t want Leopard, there’s something seriously wrong with you. And don’t let me catch you claiming that you can install third-party apps (for any OS) to achieve the same level of features, because the entire point is that all of the above (and then some) ship with the OS.

Even at twice the price, Leopard appears to be thrice nice as Windows Vista.