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January 10th, 2001

The nifty new PowerBook

Make no mistake about it: I hate Macs and they hate me. They have consistently crashed far more often than Windows machines for me. Until recently, the oddball hardware architecture was a turn-off too. But you can’t deny that Apple’s late 90s design will be heralded for changing the look of consumer electronics – a big footprint, indeed.

The next wave has begun with the new PowerBook. It looks to be ridiculously thin, yet have a bevy of features. What are your thoughts on it? -pm

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: Terry Murphy
DATE: Wednesday January 10, 2001 -- 1:09:31AM
Apple kicks ass. I think I own more Mac's than any other type of computer. Apple is the leader in consumer-level computer design, and have led the industry for most of the past two decades. It's unfortunate that they are doing so bad, and I hope they don't stay in the red too long.

The new PowerBook looks nice. Pure titanium rocks and all. Unfortunately, the marketing team loses all credibility when they call it a 'supercomputer'. The Pentium 4 absolutely wallops the G4 (by about 50% on integer, and 25% on FP), yet Intel doesn't call it a 'supercomputer'. The ad also brags about other 'features': 100 MHz FSB, 1/2 speed L2. Hello? Intel has a 400 MHz FSB, and a full speed L2.

Of course, this isn't completely Apple's fault, since they chose to outsource CPU design to IBM. Perhaps the nicest feature is the 5 hour battery life (the low power of the G4 is one of the few really good features about it).

Also, MacOS X is coming out in March. I'm glad that they decided to improve the OS, but it's unfortunate that they sold out to Unix, instead of coming up with something new and innovative.

FROM: Tony
DATE: Wednesday January 10, 2001 -- 7:08:34AM
I too prefer the Macintosh platform of the PC. I used to own a Powerbook 190cs/66, but now own a 1400/133 . While both may be old discontiued machines, the desgin is much more pleasing to the eye than some of todays offerings. Although I doubt, before the G3 chip came out (or g4 for that matter) that the Mac had really outpaced the Pentium. The 68040LC and 68040 chips were beat to shreds by the 486 dx4. (well, In user end preformace anyway.) Somehow, Im not sure (if any) if the PowerPC (601ev) was any faster than the Pentium.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Wednesday January 10, 2001 -- 7:51:47AM
Boy, talk about technolust. What a fine-lookin' notebook, eh?

My PC preference comes mostly from experience - I've worked with the hardware and software for many many years. I've worked with Macs, too, but simply don't prefer them. OS X looks pretty sweet, and it's aesthetically beautiful.

What's funny is that I'm "supposed" to be using a Mac, since I'm a designer-creative type guy. :)

BTW, raw MHz/GHz isn't going to sell PCs for much longer. I'm feeling that right around 1.x GHz will be the sweet spot... but then again, I thought 500MHz was the sweet spot.

FROM: Tony
DATE: Wednesday January 10, 2001 -- 10:57:25AM
mmm....powerbook g4...mmmm...(drool developing at this point.)

FROM: Terry Murphy
DATE: Wednesday January 10, 2001 -- 9:55:35PM
BTW, raw MHz/GHz isn't going to sell PCs for much longer. I'm feeling that right around 1.x GHz will be the sweet spot... but then again, I thought 500MHz was the sweet spot.

There's a few different ways of looking at this:

1. PC's aren't selling anyways. :-)

2. "Nobody could possibly ever need more than 640k"

3. For the work I do, we need all the speed we can get. For our application, the P4 is something like 2x-3x faster than the P3 (mainly thanks to RAMBUS). For a two hour job (a typical workload), that reduces it to forty minutes, which is a HUGE increase in productivity. Engineers and scientists ALWAYS need all the speed they can get.

4. Whether or not "normal" users need that much speed is up for debate. Several applications cited which demand high CPU speeds are: voice recognition, media encoding, file serving (read: Napster), high bandwidth applications.

5. Look at any 3D game (e.g. Quake), and look at how far it is from "real life" (say, a DVD viewed on the same hardware). Until it's that realistic, there's always more improvement which can be done (most of which requires a fast CPU to do the extra work).

FROM: Paul
DATE: Sunday March 25, 2001 -- 7:31:49PM
Earlier I'd said that I was "supposed" to be using Macs. After playing with the new PowerBook G4 as well as the Cube today, I am drooling quite a lot and thinking, hm, maybe there's something to these Macs after all. :)

I have just been increasingly bummed by my PC's behavior as of late, probably due to Windows - while I can go with another OS, I'd rather not do so on this hardware. The G4 Cube is gorgeous, and the speakers put out impressive sound.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Sunday March 25, 2001 -- 9:45:58PM
Uh-oh, I sense an evil minion in the making. :)

DATE: Sunday March 25, 2001 -- 10:59:36PM
Paul... just put the Cube down and back away... that's right... just step away from the machine... everything will be O.K....

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Monday March 26, 2001 -- 12:47:03AM
I'm looking forward to seeing if XP changes the way we think about Microsoft in terms of quality, which may help you drop this whole Mac nonsense. I've heard a number of good things about it and the process that's going into creating it.

Of course, I'm not really an anti-Mac guy... :) Shoot, I used an Apple II-compatible for lots of stuff until 1995! I just never cared for Mac interfaces in my brief experiences with them. And that damn Mac at the radio station in college... the most worthless piece of garbage...

FROM: Paul
DATE: Monday March 26, 2001 -- 7:13:09AM
It's going to be tough to say. XP's interface looks so childish... it looks like someone stole OS X and then said, "Hey! Let's make it for 10-year-olds!"

Stability is another issue. I will say that I use NT 4 at work, and it is generally more stable than the 98 I've got at home - but it still does the random crash and etc. thing.

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