What’s Under the Hood
A wonderfully useful article on shareware in this month’s issue; I’ll refer to it again if I ever get a new Mac with OS X.
But I’d like to mention that over the years I’ve paid for a lot of shareware for my old Mac. Most of the authors promised to keep me in touch for updating, providing new information, etc. But I cannot remember even one shareware provider ever bothering to e-mail me again after I paid up.
My MacLink expired and I could no longer open Word documents from my friends. Gravis/eBay offers AW 6 for 30 euros. I’m so glad I searched the net for AW 6 and came to this site! Saved me some money because the features I am looking for are not in AW 6. So, I will continue to work with my old StarOffice 3.1 (which has easy to use pop-up menus and great style features e.g. you can determine which style follows a style) and open Word documents with RagTime 5.6.1 (which they throw out for free). It is too bad that Apple did such a poor job with this program. I had hoped it was a leaner alternative for MS’s big Word program. Thank you very much for describing all the details—a very helpful review, a great site!
—Hartmut Bick, Sassenburg (Germany)
Roll Your Own: Charting Your Success
Nice basic article—as advertised. Thank you for taking the time to help the newbies and the re-born to get in (or back) to programming.
—J. Scott Anderson
Mac OS X 10.2—First Impressions
OS X 10.2 still sucks.
Today, at the place I intern, they finally upgraded the aging Pentium II 266 with more memory and Windows 2000. It made a huge difference and I swear the thing is far, far faster in most of what I do everyday than my TiBook 550 at home. Web surfing on the slower connection that they have compared to what I have at home is much snappier. In 10.2, there are still annoying menu delays that make the computer feel like it’s running some emulator. For several weeks, I have been using a 25-page document with about 20 Excel graphs in it. The TiBook is dog slow in Word v.X and, on the P2, everything I did was easily 2-5 times faster, particularly in the responsiveness in scrolling. I can’t imagine how fast a 2.6 GHz PC feels doing the same thing. Other than the crappy screen and mouse, it was just a lot easier to continue editing the document on the PC.
Apple has a long way to go before OS X becomes usable. Faster machines should help, but jeez, they have been developing OS X for 6 years, before there was even a G3; and in the GUI, 10.2 still gets creamed speedwise by an old PC clunker. This all made me very sad.
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I totally agree! Jaguar is overblown. Take away the bloatware which I will never use and you’re left with an OS that is pretty much the same with a few minor speed tweaks and a few minor slow downs. It took a year to go from 10.1 to this? $129? Barely worth the $19.95 for those who recently got a Mac. While some of the minor bug fix updates in 10.2 are nice, they are only that. And don’t give me any nonsense about Quartz Extreme. As has been documented extensively elsewhere, it does little to nothing to speed up the interface. Apple has really blown it this time. I think everyone who is oohing and ahhing about 10.2 must be smoking crack or hasn’t used a Mac since the Mac Plus.
• • •
There are some minor flaws in the operating system, overall, and a number of non-intrusive defects. However, to say that Apple has blown it is an overstatement of Microsoftian proportions. It is an accepted standard that a minimal operating system takes around 2-3 years to develop, test, and market. However, when quality comes into the picture, that time extends. Mac OS X 10.1 was amazing, but not the end-all. Mac OS X 10.1.5 was a needed improvement and took care of most of the defects. Mac OS X 10.2 has successfully made the Mac OS a contender in the enterprise world.
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I have been a Mac-head for years. I have a love-hate relationship with Apple and their consistent two steps forward, one step back approach. I have grown to accept what this great company has to do to survive in this Windows-based world. I just purchased the dual 1 GHz G4 and I am mostly pleased with its performance running Jaguar. However, I am aware that there are some design flaws in the architecture, generally with the throughput bottle-necking issues which I think do not allow the full potential of the OS to be realized.
But despite this flaws, for me, in comparison to XP, I prefer OS X any day, even if it is slower for now in general usage issues. I have both platforms—five Macs running OS X, one PC running ME, another running XP Pro—and was considering building a Athlon power-house machine for a fraction of the cost. But when I spend time on this new machine with all its flaws, I still prefer it hands down. I have no desire to buy the Windows machine no matter how fast the applications start up. So you guys can say what you want to. I really think Apple is doing the right thing in the directions they have chosen, even though I don’t fully comprehend some of their decisions (removing the restart buttons etc.). Unix is and always has been the ultimate OS, and I am glad Apple had the insight to merge the best of both worlds, Unix and Mac, to come up with OS X.
Give it time. You will one day see. For now, you can’t see the forest for the trees. (For those who prefer to find whatever is wrong instead of celebrating what’s right.)
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I run both Mac OS X and Windows XP, too. I have to say that, even in Jaguar, basic operations on basic software are way slower than what they take under XP.
I have to add something. Apple’s actual strategy tends to despise old fans by kicking off some of its most useful features. I do not refer to SCSI issues, which are normal in a sense. I do not even think about Quartz Extreme which is incompatible with non AGP boards. No. I am talking about the DVD Player. On “unsupported” Macs (such as beige G3), it was possible to install the Player after one simple trick described on various sites.
And Apple did it again. They consciously limited the Player, excluding unsupported Macs (say, Macs older than two years). Under 10.1.5, DVD Player worked absolutely fine, provided you made the trick and had the required hardware to decode MPEG2. Now it’s over.
So what’s going on? Why are they bothering people that can’t afford buying a new computer each year? This is crazy. Now I play DVDs on my PC. I have no choice (third party software, like Videolan, has its own issues. It doesn’t take profit of hardware graphic acceleration, choppy images, etc.). And again, there is absolutely no reason to that. It is just a commercial strategy to kick off Mac clients who have the odd idea to keep their computer alive more than one year. PCI Radeon-equipped QuickSilvers will suffer the same slings and arrows from their beloved manufacturer.
Is that the Apple way of life I used to know? I used to think that Microsoft acted like that.
• • •
Until OS X remembers my window settings, and when pushing the green button makes my windows expand to properly cover the enclosed files, and doesn’t try to connect to the Internet at totally random times regardless of what my TCP/IP settings are, and allows me to start up a Classic program at boot—I think OS 9.2.2 is the more productive OS. There are probably dozens of little quirks that drive people crazy in OS X that a user would think is something they’re doing wrong, but actually are system bugs users put up with because they simply don’t know any better.
I use OS X Jaguar as my daily OS only because I’d really like to see it succeed, and I’m just surfing or retrieving e-mail. But when I’m in a rush to finish a valuable project, it’s OS 9 for me. At least I know that all my hardware will work. And, by the way, OS 9.2.2 is really more stable on my Cube than 10.2. No “spinning pizza of death” as I’ve laughingly seen that silly cursor referred to. Give me function over unneeded form any day.
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