Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 29th Sep 2017 21:31 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y

This is quite a find by Cabel Sasser. Apparently, Apple is still hosting an article dedicated to arguing the Macintosh is a better platform for computer-generated video content than the Amiga (part 1 and part 2). It does so by explaining how easy it supposedly was to create Pencil Test, a short 3D animated video made on the Macintosh II.

Some have seen non-Apple solutions that include a single, Amiga-based package with automated, three-dimensional, frame-by-frame generation of NTSC video sequences. The package also handles the problems of hiding window boarders/title bars, genlocking, and so on.

Most have seen the "Pencil Test" video and feel that the quality of this video is acceptable, but they were told from one of the other vendors that Apple invested incredible resources into creating "Pencil Test" and that the process used for "Pencil Test" was very time-consuming and inefficient.

What was the exact process for the creation of "Pencil Test"? How many people worked for how long to produce the video?

The publish date at the bottom of the currently published version of the two-part article is 2012, but this is clearly just the result of some automated migration process from an old database to a new one. The actual publishing date of the article is probably around from when Pencil Test was published - so somewhere between 1988 and 1990.

The Amiga had carved out a decent niche for itself as a 3D animation and special effects platform in the late '80s and early '90s. Famously, the science fiction TV series Babylon 5 used Amiga Video Toasters for its special effects in its first few seasons, making it one of the first TV series to move to digital special effects over the use of models. Apple clearly wanted in on this market, and the support article is part of that effort.

And the article is bizarre. In it, Apple argues the merits of the open, modular system, the Macintosh, and condemns the integrated, hardware-and-software-designed-together approach of the Amiga.

There are advantages and disadvantages both to the totally integrated systems and the open modular systems. Totally integrated system's advantages include having hardware and software tied directly together and having one place to get support. Disadvantages include being locked into the one company's point of view about how to do things, working only with their tools, and, often, being locked into that company's software. An integrated solution on non-Macintosh systems is most likely pieced together from a variety of third-party products.

I can't value the merits all the technical claims being made about the capabilities of the Macintosh and its software at the time compared to that of the Amiga, since that's way beyond my area of expertise. Still, this article is a deeply fascinating relic from a bygone era, and I can't believe Apple is still hosting it.

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Comedy gold
by Poseidon on Sat 30th Sep 2017 20:14 UTC
Member since:

It is comedy gold, considering their Metal and Apple closed ecosystem they're peddling right now.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comedy gold
by fmaxwell on Sun 1st Oct 2017 16:17 in reply to "Comedy gold"
fmaxwell Member since:

It is comedy gold, considering their Metal and Apple closed ecosystem they're peddling right now.

They've open-sourced Swift, their development language. They released the source to XNU, the Unix-like kernel used in macOS/OS-X and iOS. Their "screen sharing" uses the industry-standard VNC. Their Terminal command line is bash and they make zsh, tcsh, ksh, and sh available, too. They have editors like vi/VIM and nano. They have industry standard interfaces like USB and 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet. Their RAM in most of their systems is standard SODIMM. Their hard drives use standard interfaces.

There's nothing closed about their Mac ecosystem. I've got hundreds of programs from sources all over the world. I can add more using Fink, Macports, Homebrew, or pkgin, with many building the sources on my Mac.

Apple introduced their Metal and Metal 2 APIs, because that benefits consumers with far faster, lower overhead graphics. I started engineering before IBM ever released a PC, so I've got little patience for luddites who treat each new hardware or software standard as some form of evil, even when it offers clear benefits.

Edited 2017-10-01 16:24 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: Comedy gold
by Earl C Pottinger on Sun 1st Oct 2017 19:13 in reply to "RE: Comedy gold"
Earl C Pottinger Member since:

Good, now how do I plug a standard video recorder into a Mac as that was the original discussion?

All you talked about applies about the latest developments applies to my Windows 7/10 systems with just some software downloads - heck I can get most of that on my Haiku-OS system too.

The original discussion is what the Mac delivered in the 1980's compared to the Amiga in video graphics vs what their ads said then.

Edited 2017-10-01 19:17 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Comedy gold
by Poseidon on Mon 2nd Oct 2017 08:00 in reply to "RE: Comedy gold"
Poseidon Member since:

I could develop a game to be cross compatible for most operating systems with some mods via Vulkan, or I could develop a game using Metal only for iOS and macOS.

There’s nothing Luddite about it, they want control over the API and a benefit is keeping developers without much resources on the platform.

It’s no different than Microsoft and their direct x 12.

Reply Parent Score: 3