O'Grady's PowerPage » Opinion

Unraveling The PowerPC Obsolescence Myth

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Date: Monday, June 12th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Opinion

This myth is so fantastically absurd that it has to involve Mark Stephens, writing under the name Robert X Cringely. Remember, Cringely was also involved with spreading the Red Box Myth, the Mac OS X Microkernel Myth, and the Mac OS X Needs a Linux Kernel Myth.
His recent speculation that Leopard would not work on PowerPC Macs managed to imply some sort of Osborne Effect for Intel Macs that could only be managed by Apple actively obsolescing all PowerPC Macs this year:
“Speeding-up performance is great, but normally a system vendor won’t want to do that for older hardware, which might encourage some users to keep their old box and just add a new OS. […] For this reason alone, I’m guessing that the new OS X Kernel won’t be backward compatible to PowerMacs. But this is just a guess.”
Read more in “Unraveling The PowerPC Obsolescence Myth
Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RoughlyDrafted


Ask the PowerPage: PC or Mac Notebook?

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Date: Tuesday, May 30th, 2006, 09:00
Category: Opinion

Dear PowerPage:
I remember the first time I bought my first laptop, a Sony Vaio laptop with Intel Centrino technology. The first time I opened the box to my laptop I was really excited to use my Sony Vaio because it was a Sony Vaio. After two years of using the Vaio I have realized the benefit of the MacBook’s longer battery life and am now deciding to switch.
I often ask myself, should I really do this? Switching would mean changing operating systems from Windows to Mac. Should this be of concern?
A bigger concern for me is battery life. I normally use my notebook for long periods of time and it only runs for two hours on a charge. If I am sitting in the library and I need to use it for a long period of time, the PC is no good. From everything that I’ve heard this is where the Mac shines.
Apple’s notebook comparison chart states that the battery life of the MacBook is “up to 6 hours” and that the MacBook Pro is between 4.5 and 5.5 hours, but recently I went to a local store and the member of staff told that it only is really more like two hours. Is this true?
Thank you for any help with this important decision!
– Confused

Dear Confused:
The first thing to note is that if you buy a Mac you’re not only limited to using Macintosh software, you can still run Windows and Windows software by installing Apple’s free Boot Camp software, or by installing Parallels Desktop (US$49) – just remember to keep your WinXP CD.
On the issue of battery life, manufacturers always inflate their battery life estimates on notebook computers to the point of it being almost fraudulent. Their battery estimates are usually based on a “perfect world” environment: brand new cells, monitor dimmed and little or no disk or CPU access. This is not reality. I usually take Apple’s battery life estimates and half them for something closer to reality. For example: Apple claims that my MacBook Pro should run for “up to 4.5 hours” but about two hours and 15 minutes is more like it.
That said, jump right in and grab a MacBook or a MacBook Pro and you’ll never look back.
Readers: What are your thoughts on this buyer’s quandary? Should he go with the Mac or stick with a PC notebook?


Unraveling The Mac OS X Linux Kernel Myth: Part 1

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Date: Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006, 08:00
Category: Opinion

mk.jpgOn the surface, the idea sounds great: replace bits of Mac OS X that date back to 1985 with today’s Linux: the buzzword compliant, speedy, standardized tech darling of the moment.
There are three problems however:
1. A kernel replacement would be extraordinarily difficult, time consuming, and a major investment of development resources for Apple. This is simply overlooked anytime the myth is retold, but it factors strongly against the idea.
2. Reasons for wanting do this are based on faulty information. I’ll show why.
3. Reasons for not moving to Linux are clear and substantial. I’ll give examples.
Read more at RoughlyDrafted
Contributed by: Daniel Eran


Unraveling the Mac OS X Microkernel Myth

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Date: Friday, May 19th, 2006, 09:00
Category: Opinion

mk.jpgAccording to proponents of this myth, Mac OS X is in grave danger because it has a microkernel and Linux doesn’t. They’re wrong; here’s why.
The Myth Weavers
This myth is of the wishful thinking type, making it more of an irritating distraction from reality than devious misinformation, but it’s also used in fanboyism that borders on FUD.
Some Linux advocates insist that nothing compares to the pure genius of Linux, so everything should just adopt Linux. Some Mac OS X users worry that there’s something evil lurking in their system that makes that dreaded beach ball spin; perhaps it’s a microkernel, and perhaps replacing it with Linux (which doesn’t even have a beach ball!) is the answer?
What is a Kernel?
The Unix Kernel is the master control program which governs all other programs, schedules access to hardware, and manages the file system and security model. The name kernel differentiates the core system (which runs as the root process with special privileges) from everything else on the system (which runs under restricted user accounts). Everything outside of the kernel space is called the userland.
In the natural development of Unix, the kernel began to grow rapidly. For example, Berkeley’s famous contribution to Unix was a fully functional TCP/IP networking stack. A rapid influx of other new functionality in the core kernel space has resulted in modern versions of Unix (and Linux, which is essentially a clean room rewrite of Unix) having 2-3 million lines of code in their kernel alone.
Read more at RoughlyDrafted.
Contributed by: Daniel Eran


The iMachine

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Date: Monday, May 15th, 2006, 09:00
Category: Opinion

With Apple moving to Intel processors and with Michael Dell talking about running OSX on Dell PC’s, I have been contemplating the concept of Apple reaching out to the mainstream PC users.
Of course, the first argument forming in any technophiles mind is the fiasco surrounding ‘clones’ in the mid 90’s, before the triumphant return of Steve Jobs rescued the beleaguered company from mediocrity. So let me nip that in the bud. I know that I speak for many by saying that licensing OS X will not work.
Between driver issues, etc., Apple would quickly lose the reputation that ‘it just works.’ Plus, Steve Jobs called the licensing ‘ill-conceived’ and a result of ‘institutional guilt.’ So, if Apple were to make a play for market share, it would be through a partnership, or through acquisition. Of course, the ‘partnership’ concept is tantamount to ‘licensing,’ so we are left with acquisition ‘ which would allow Apple to maintain a robust OS and still have a low-cost product line.
Read More…
Contributed by: Kevin


As the Apple Turns 2 (Updated)

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Date: Thursday, May 11th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Opinion

As the Apple Turns 2 is billed as “a parody of As the Apple Turns, a humorous news site created by Jack Miller.” AtAT went dark with its last post on 12 October 2005 without as much as a cheeky explanation as to when, if ever, it would be back. Tomorrow will be seven months since Jack’s last post at AtAT and people are starting to wonder.
My guess is that Jack got either: a) a girlfriend, b) married, c) a job, or d) burned out. As someone who has been publishing a Web daily for over 10 years I can relate to any of the above. It would just be nice to hear it from the horse’s mouth in some sort of funny last post.
UPDATE: 2006-0515:
Jack is married and has a 3-year-old, Anya, who has her own homepage at mac.com. So yeah, he probably has really good excuses to not be writing witty commentary for (practically) free.
Paulo Rodrigues’ AtAT2 is a fine parody (today’s episodes are “With G6, Apple’s Timbers Shivered” and “Apple Cuts iPod Tax”) but even Rodrigues admits that “our lameness is not at all intended to reflect poorly on the original site.”


Has Apple Reached Their Design Zenith?

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Date: Monday, May 8th, 2006, 07:00
Category: Opinion

powermac-g5.jpgFollowing the Apple’s Intel transition it has occurred to me recently that most of their form factor design have stayed solid and they have simply have had to slip in the new intel chip. While this make much sense financially it has been a while since something new came out of the design studio. Remember the phrase “reworked from the ground up?” When did you last here that at a keynote?
Granted, there have been a few add-on products to come out of Cupertino, but hey, does anyone really love the design of the iPod Hi-Fi?
Thinking ahead it’s really the MacBook and MacPro’s turn next. With Jobs’ recent comment that the new products are the best yet (I know he always says that) could we be in from some fireworks from Mr. Ive? It’s been awhile since we heard from him – don’t you think?
How about some innovation in the upcoming MacBook:
– A full magnetic closure with no hook
– Refined night glow white encasing with possible shades of color
– 13.3-inch “true black” screen
– 20% slimmer
– Possible ship date of May 19, 2006 with the new 24/7 New York City store opening by SJ himself?
The Mac Pro (Intel tower) looks to ship 2007 but could also be seen at the WWDC developers conference in August. There has been little if no thought as to what this would look like or have inside. Do customers like the current “Power Mac” enclosure are we up for another redesign or another simple Intel chip switch.
iBook and Power Mac users of the world, it’s time you made yourself heard!


What Killing Politicians has to do with Computing

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Date: Tuesday, April 11th, 2006, 07:00
Category: Opinion

OSNews’ Thom Holwerda has taken a stance against Apple in the Apple vs. Does case. He draws a comparison between the political assasinations in The Netherlands in the past few years, which were attempts at opressing free speech. According to him, Apple’s attempts at silencing the press are the same; different in means, but the same in goals. “Apple is trying to silence people, trying to work its butt around free speech, just because the company itself is failing in keeping information from leaking to the outside world.”


The Real Reason Apple Does Windows

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Date: Monday, April 10th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Opinion

He did it to finally castrate Redmond’s last stranglehold on Apple; to wit, “Office:mac.” (sic) No longer would Apple be subject to the MBU’s whims, threats, foot-draggings and feigned indifference to gain leverage and force Apple to do its bidding. The impetuous, jealous and child-like Bill Gates made truck-loads of cash peddling the horrendous (but vital to millions because, as Chef Joanna says “it’s what everyone else uses”) Office to Mac users, but it’s not like he needed the money. No, it did something much more entertaining for Bill- it gave him power over Steve. Now, if Microsoft folds up the MBU tents (takes its ball and goes home), who cares? Windows can be run on a Mac, along with Office or any other crappy-but-necessary Windows “proggie.”

Read the rest on my blog.
Contributed by: Cyberdog


WSJ: Secrets of the Tech-Savvy Traveler

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Date: Tuesday, April 4th, 2006, 08:02
Category: Opinion

wsj.jpgThe Wall Street Journal’s Jim Carlton published an interesting article “Secrets of the Tech-Savvy Traveler” that contains some good tips on finding free WiFi while on the road:

Once you’re ready to hit the road, you should figure out where you can get online along the route. Some travelers recommend the Web site WiFiFreeSpot.com, part of the JiWire network, which lists free hot spots in airports and hotels around the world.
Of the 471 Wi-Fi-enabled airports in the U.S., for example, the site says roughly one-fourth of them feature free Wi-Fi in all or part of the terminals. Many are at smaller fields like Lubbock International Airport in Texas; these airports often cater to private jets, whose wealthy owners increasingly rely on Wi-Fi on the road.

It also mentions Another Web site, HotelChatter.com a site that maintains a list of the hotel chains that provide the best free Wi-Fi service.
Read the rest of the article “Secrets of the Tech-Savvy Traveler” at WSJ.com (subscription req’d).