Linked by mjhi11 on Thu 16th Sep 2010 20:13 UTC
Apple I love OSNews, but it does seem like some of its editors enjoy just a little too much taking a good natured jab at Apple upon occasion (well, more like every chance that particular editor can get). I thought it time for a little good news and analysis about Apple that critics often overlook.
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Comment by Kasi
by Kasi on Fri 17th Sep 2010 05:00 UTC
Kasi
Member since:
2008-07-12

"An awesome side-effect of Apple's efforts is now many artists (for example, Imogen Heap) can release self-produced albums on iTunes and heap, er reap virtually all of the profits which is where music lovers have always wished the majority of record profits would go."

I've not seen this reported anywhere before. Where did you find this? This is actually very nice news and something that should be spread if true.

"Fact is, I've been a life-long PC user, and over the last 10 years or so, a closet Mac user, usually at home until the last few years when I introduced my Mac to my company, and in each case, the Mac I purchased was within roughly $100 of the PCs I purchased for work, and more important, I've been able to get three or four years of use out of each Mac before I felt the itch to upgrade to something newer, better or faster."

This, while a nice story of personal satisfaction, it doesn't really tell a great deal.
What is your normal criteria for upgrading? Do you upgrade on hardware specific issues? Is that there is some killer software that forces an upgrade? How do you usually do upgrades; piecemeal or the whole box at once?
Without some of this information all that can be extracted from this is your upgrade habits are different for an Apple - can't tell if its for better or worse.
An example would be "Person X upgrades his PC often, in piecemeal by getting new video cards every 8months for the latest games coming out, now that he owns a mac its 2k to upgrade the box but the pacing of high end game releases is slower so he don't have upgrade as often". People might no see that kind of story as an advantage.
The point is without specifics the picture you paint doesn't mean much.

"I wondered whether Apple would become just another PC clone. I'm pleased to report, not only did Apple not become another PC clone, but they've also made integrating my Mac into my company's network painless and more important, technology such as Boot Camp, Parallels, VMware Fusion and VirtualBox has for the first time given me the ability to use the best tool for the job, regardless of platform, Mac, Windows (even 7 with Aero) and Linux."

I take issue with this comment. Yes, the transition to Intel processors is good thing for apple computers, it was time for Apple customers to get a processor from a vendor who was interested in the desktop. However, Parallels, VMware, Virtual Box, BootCamp (ie dual booting) have very little to do with Apple. It basically comes down to having a x86 instruction set based computer and being able to run x86 complied software. This absolutely should be an expected behavior not extra to be praised! Otherwise everyone should praise Dell, HP, Acer, Asus, etc that their PC can run Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, OpenSolaris, Haiku, BeOS, AtheOS, Syllable, etc.

"And now, I can not only stream music, but also photos, video and metadata across the network. Never before has networking been so easy."

There is an opposite side to this in that never before has networking been so restricted. Yes it is convenient between Apple devices, however the keyword is Apple devices. This ease of streaming is due to DAAP from iTunes, which is not a standard and is not interoperable with many devices. DLNA, surprisingly, is a decent standard where most local network media sharing is converging at the moment between many vendors including Sony, Samsung, Logitec, Western Digital, HP, Dell, MS, with over 8000 certified devices. Within this ecosystem there is much broader range of support for devices, and formats. The Apple method of easy through limited device and format functionality/choice - is not a panacea.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Kasi
by mjhi11 on Fri 17th Sep 2010 16:37 in reply to "Comment by Kasi"
mjhi11 Member since:
2009-08-15

"An awesome side-effect of Apple's efforts is now many artists can release self-produced albums on iTunes"

Imogen Heap (highly recommended) is just one example. Kevin Arnold, founder and CEO of digital distributor Independent Online Distributor Alliance (IODA), said that legal online music has removed geographic and genre boundaries for music buyers.

http://www.macnewsworld.com/story/35012.html?wlc=1284737471

"This, while a nice story of personal satisfaction, it doesn't really tell a great deal. What is your normal criteria for upgrading?"

I have no hard and fast rule, if anything it's based on the "frustration factor". My work requires travel so my system is a laptop.

It's really frustrating that despite treating a laptop carefully and investing in proper cases, the last two $2100+ PC laptops have developed a variety of anomalies. One keyboard failed requiring a swap out. Another required a wireless adapter swap out.

The closing latch broke on one of them and the screen hinge on the other became loose so I was constantly re-adjusting the screen throughout the day. Additional frustration having to constantly update Windows, then update anti-virus, then update anti-malware, then update system utilities was another source of frustration and the need to defragment the drive occasionally also became a chore.

It's also absurd the size of the power supplies that this particular PC laptop manufacturer ships with the laptops. They're almost as heavy as the laptop itself and half the size of the laptop, and the strain relief for the wires always seems to fail so we're often replacing power supplies.

To maintain peak performance I'd reinstall Windows from scratch and reinstall my applications, then copy data over approximately once a year.

I've just overhauled a few other laptops for my company and the wear and tear on them was much greater than any Apple I've ever owned. Scratches, broken plastic parts, broken strain reliefs on the power supplies, etc.

On the other hand, take my current MacBook Pro for example. It's almost 2 years old now and looks brand new. No broken plastic, no scratches, no chance of the the latch lid breaking as it's magnetic instead of plastic. Screen quality compared to the PC laptops is superior. The power supply is smaller than a bar of soap and includes a wire-wrap. The magnetic connector minimizes the chances that your laptop will fall to the floor if you trip over the power cable (something that happens pretty regular in business). I've not been compelled to reformat and reinstall OS X and my applications as there has been no noticeable degradation in performance from when it was new.

Fact is, my MacBook Pro is serving me so well that I don't anticipate replacing it for at least another couple of years. So while my associates are getting 2 years of life out of their systems, I'm getting three or four.

"I take issue with this comment. Yes, the transition to Intel processors is good thing for apple computers, it was time for Apple customers to get a processor from a vendor who was interested in the desktop."

Well, I take issue with the statement that Apple's prior choice of processors demonstrates a lack of interest in the desktop. The PowerPC was an exceptional processor for many years, superior to Intel processors for some of those years, comparable in performance for most of those years and like Apple products it's RISC based architecture was rather elegant in design.

"However, Parallels, VMware, Virtual Box, BootCamp (ie dual booting) have very little to do with Apple."

Well, Boot Camp has everything to do with Apple. They very well could have continued to "ignore" Windows and in fact, many feared that when Boot Camp was announced that Apple might lose developers once customers had the ability to run Windows applications so easily on a Mac.

But they did the "right thing" recognizing that it was in the best interests of their customers to take advantage of the Intel platform and allow their customers to run both Windows and OS X, a rather enlightened position in my view. And yes, while Fusion, Parallels and VirtualBox are independent programs from other companies, the fact that Apple customers have the "best of all worlds", PC, Linux, Unix, BSD OS X and other operating systems is a competitive advantage.

"Never before has networking been so restricted."

Let's be fair here, if any company can be accused of forcing proprietary technologies upon their customers, it's Microsoft. Every couple of years I'm tempted by the "low price" of a PC to set one up as a media server. Each time I've abandoned those efforts, either because of dissatisfaction with the complexity of getting Windows Media Center up and running, or DNLA issues getting my systems to recognize media on other machines, poorly written PVR software, video capture drivers and cheaply built hardware. And talk about the frustration factor, try going a day using your Media Center PC without a popup notifying you of a critical security update, a critical virus update, or the maintenance that you have to do regularly to keep the system performing well enough to serve up media.

While Linux addresses some of the "openness" concerns, let's face it, because of the content publishers much of the content you want to watch or listen to is wrapped up in proprietary DRM and you can't blame Apple or Microsoft for this fact. It was the content publishers that drove these decisions. So the fact is, if you have a pure, "open" system without proprietary technologies such as Flash, you won't be able to view or listen to much of the digital content that's available today.

I'm a proud "geek" and of course I could probably get a lot of this to work acceptably with some effort, but when I go home and turn on the tube after spending the day repurposing an older desktop, or setting up a new system for sales staff, or fielding technical support calls, the last thing I want to do is reboot routers, troubleshoot DNLA problems and interrupt my viewing to install the latest virus update.

Fact is, the general public far out number we geeks, and they just what things to work. For those who believe in open standards, etc. the beauty is we have options here too. 20 years ago we didn't. That's why it's great to see commercial companies and open source succeeding in parallel. We truly have the best of both worlds today and that hasn't always been the case.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Kasi
by Kasi on Fri 17th Sep 2010 23:52 in reply to "RE: Comment by Kasi"
Kasi Member since:
2008-07-12

"It's really frustrating that despite treating a laptop carefully and investing in proper cases, the last two $2100+ PC laptops have developed a variety of anomalies. One keyboard failed requiring a swap out. Another required a wireless adapter swap out.

The closing latch broke on one of them and the screen hinge on the other became loose so I was constantly re-adjusting the screen throughout the day."


Okay, this I can understand and agree with. It is frustrating to have extensive things break. In that regard yeah Apple build quality is very much ahead. Admittedly though thats not anything to do with the longevity of core functionality - ie utility as a computer.

I had an old G4 PowerBook that I kept around for 7 years. It still looked good so I never tossed it but it was far from useful for 5 of those years. In the first 2 years what was considered everyday computer changed and totally passed the system by. With 8mb of VRAM - youtube was a nonstarter, the upgraded 512mb of system RAM meant that by OS 10.3 iWork/iLife or Office were a lesson is pain for the hard drive. In the end I had a pretty looking machine that couldn't view youtube, or any other flash enabled site easily, was slow for productivity, and in general was only tolerable for web browsing. So my impression would be the functional life of powerbook was really 2 years with 5 years extra of looking nice but not doing much.


"Screen quality compared to the PC laptops is superior."


I would be careful with this one. Referring to resolution or backlighting it is very common for Dell, Vaio, HP, etc to offer a larger range of resolutions per size laptop in both CCFL or LED. On Dell's site presently 1920x1080 is available on 15" and 17", and 1600x1400 on 13" - if you look at the business notebooks, then 1920x1080 is available on 13" as well. This is not the case with Apple's offerings the size defines the resolution. When it comes to "picture quality" Apple and everyone else uses TN panels (there are a few sites to google showing the actual LG/Samsung panels each has) so viewing angle, color parallax, are all basically crap compared to both an SPVA HD TV or an IPS monitor.


"Well, I take issue with the statement that Apple's prior choice of processors demonstrates a lack of interest in the desktop."

Actually thats not what I said, I meant that the vendor producing Apple's processors had little-to-no interest in advancing performance for the desktop market. This is not to say that PPC is bad processor, its a very nice architecture. However optimizations for the desktop market were never focused on by IBM or Motorola and that hampered performance starting with introduction of the P3 and continued to get worse. At the end of the day, a nice architecture with a disinterested manufacturer is not as useful (and arguable was becoming more and more visibly detrimental to Apple) than an inelegant architecture that has a manufacturer that wants that market.

"Well, Boot Camp has everything to do with Apple. They very well could have continued to "ignore" Windows..."

We may be discussing different points here, but as far as I can tell BootCamp is no more than tool for dual booting. Furthermore, if BootCamp did not exist - Apple would be unable to "ignore" windows as dual booting is trivial to do through EFI itself for windows or with any modern boot manager like grub/lilo for linux. The ability to run other operating systems on Apple's Intel hardware did not take any extra effort on Apple's part to allow. However it would have taken effort to prevent - and thats why I feel its a bit silly to praise Apple for letting the machine hardware do what its designed to do.


"But they did the "right thing" recognizing that it was in the best interests of their customers to take advantage of the Intel platform and allow their customers to run both Windows and OS X, a rather enlightened position in my view."

I'm a bit surprised you have this view coming from a PC background. One of the basic tenets that the IBM clone industry embraced very early was the idea of open hardware is which any software could be written to use a piece of hardware. The notion that only certain software should be allowed to run on a specific machine irrespective of technical feasibility was part of the driving force for IBM clones to become successful. So hearing a PC person say it was an enlightened position for the vendor to let me use the hardware I purchased/own to run any software I want is very scary.

What is worse is that this mentality is being engendered in the nascent smart phone market. Where locked down operating systems that don't allow you to control a device that you supposedly bought and own (rather than licensed) are becoming the rule.


"Let's be fair here, if any company can be accused of forcing proprietary technologies upon their customers, it's Microsoft."

I'm inclined to say two wrongs don't make a right. However Apple limits choice as well. A clear example is in the device world. Zune vs iPad/iPod. The Zune sync's with windows media player. However it is also possible to sync both windows media player or the Zune with other third party products. Apple's iPad/iPod they sync with iTunes anything else is not easy to do and certainly not encouraged or condoned. More specific,(and abstract) to OS X would be the blatant ignoring of BSD configuration files for binary proprietary files that are not user accessible.


"Each time I've abandoned those efforts, either because of dissatisfaction with the complexity of getting Windows Media Center up and running, or DNLA issues getting my systems to recognize media on other machines, poorly written PVR software, video capture drivers and cheaply built hardware. And talk about the frustration factor, try going a day using your Media Center PC without a popup notifying you of a critical security update, a critical virus update, or the maintenance that you have to do regularly to keep the system performing well enough to serve up media."

I have a great suggestion for you, Netgear Stora. Its a NAS that includes a DLNA server. There is no setup as its a turnkey device (unless you want to play with it over SSH but that is totally optional), it shares your media that place/link into a particular folder across the network to any DLNA client. There are no pop-ups mid-movie, there are issues about underlying operating system software or having to use certain programs. This is the strength of having a large and open standard to build around. Not all the advancements have to trickle slowly from one source and you are not tied to a specific product. If the NAS isn't for you then there are DLNA devices from HP, Western Digital for clients and about 4 different DNLA servers for windows, linux and the BSDs and Apple. The idea is that there is a lot of choice out there by trying to force the one Apple vision.

Reply Parent Score: 1