‘Twas Ever Thus

Via Ace:

  • A non-Apple hardware site reviews Apple’s Mac Studio. (Hot Hardware)They do like it, but if you go to page two you can see a PC configured at the same $2000 price point simply wipes the floor with the Mac. Yes, the Mac Studio is small and elegant and quiet and sips power, but it’s fast only in two specific cases: When compared with out-of-date Apple hardware, and when tested on Apple proprietary video codecs.

Yeah, Apple has always tilted the playing field when it comes to processing speed and overall performance.

I’ll never forget being the only PC user in a Mac-obsessed company (I should have known about that before I joined, because it was an IT company).  Time after time I’d send a data report to someone, only to be told that their little Mac toy had choked on all the data — and this was when I was using a PC 386 with a 450MB hard drive, FFS.

Right now, of course, I could probably get away with using a Mac, seeing as most of what I do is this blog and searching for guns, smut and cars on Teh Intarwebz, but I’m too old and impatient to change.  (And for those who think I hate Apple unreasonably, allow me to point out that my very first personal computer was an Apple IIe — then the top of the line — and it couldn’t handle even one of my small spreadsheets — in VisiCalc — without choking.  As soon as I could, I swapped it for an IBM PC — yes, pre-AT even — and it handled the same spreadsheet without blinking.  I never went back.)

That disparity in performance has never changed.


  1. Never had a real desire to taste the apple.
    Started with an in-house rig that connected my office at Wick’s Component Manuf. with Alpine Engineering 150 miles away with a cup modem in 1982. Then in 83 I bought a Commodore and learned BASIC programming and in 86 I got a 8088 and then a year later a 286 PC with 2mb RAM and a giant 10mb hard drive. Throughout the 90’s I progressed through the 286’s, 486’s, pentium 1, 2 and 3, and I was building them myself. Bored with technology about 2002 I started buying my machines from Dell. Now, I’m not interested in fiddling and tweaking, I just want it to work. While I have a Win11 machine for online stuff my daily workhorse for AutoCAD is an old WinXP Dell machine.

  2. Agreeing with ‘ghost’ here. When my company obsoleted my old Dell laptop I offered to buy it; they simply wiped off the company-purchased software and gave it to me. It ran great for a while as our primary desktop until I got a weird virus that started to spread to various areas of the hard drive every time I booted it up, putting the malicious files into different areas under different file names. It spread to the boot sector, and I ended up nuking the entire hard drive.

    I re-installed Windows XP from a disc that Dell finally sent me, and then loaded ONLY the software that I actually wanted. Getting rid of the bloatware that it had originally be loaded with made the thing boot so much faster I thought it was amazing. From then on I never connected it to the ‘net, but used (and continue to use today) it as a stand-alone machine.

    For surfing the ‘net we’ve been using (hawk, spit) an iMac. Our old one just failed to upgrade to the next OS due to hardware limitations and wouldn’t run a lot of sites on the web, so we ran the back-up (Time Machine), bought a new one with the “Monterey” OS and have been using that.

    For anything serious I run it on the Dell (I use a lot of Excel spreadsheets) and then sneaker-net it across the room on a stick drive to e-mail it, since the “upgraded” OS no longer runs the MS Office for Apple that I had bought a long time ago.

    It may be weird, but it works, and the Apples have so far been impervious to the malware floating around on the ‘net, as opposed to the complete vulnerability of the WinTel machines, even with anti-virus software running.

    1. “…the Apples have so far been impervious to the malware floating around on the ‘net, as opposed to the complete vulnerability of the WinTel machines, even with anti-virus software running.”

      Now you know who’s responsible for all the malware. 😉

    2. “Our old one just failed to upgrade to the next OS due to hardware limitations”

      Yeah…I’ve been boned by that one a few times. I have the issue now with my iPad, which is my casual surfing device.

      I have a fondness for Apple, having had a mini for nearly a decade before they screwed me with the hardware thing. Here’s the rub, once they do that the machine is useless. You can’t even use it to simply browse the web. I can’t tell you how many older laptop I’ve had that purr along on Linux.

      That said, it’s all ROI. I’ve had thinkpads forever. I have a crazy nice X1 carbon for work. But have a t431s that I bought on ebay for $180. Snapped in an SSD and installed it as dual boot Win10/Mint Linux. One of the nicer units I’ve owned.

      The machine I’m typing on now is a refurb ThinkCentre I got at MicroCenter for $325. Reasonably fast i7, plenty of Ram, and an SSD.

      Can’t even imagine why I’d spent the dough on a MAC. Even the used ones on ebay (which are approaching that hardware/OS wall) are double.

  3. I only had to use a Mac when I worked at a pro photo lab. (At the time most graphics people and photographers used Illustator and Photoshop on Macs.) I would check customer’s discs to make sure they had the right format/size/etc. image on their disc, and at least once a day one of the bloody Macs would just decide to go and lock up on me. Then it was time to find the bent paperclip and stab it in the tiny hole to get the disc out of the drive, and then reboot the thing, all while the customer was waiting (patiently or not).

    Add to that the nearly obscene pricing of any Apple device, I’ve never even glanced at any, or thought about standing in line to get the latest gizmo, just to say I had the latest gizmo. No thanks, Apple.

  4. I used to be a young UNIX guy, until I turned into an old UNIX guy. (Time and tide wait for no man…) I have had Linux laptops, I’ve had NT laptops, and I’ve owned every version of Mac that they’ve ever had. (My first computer was a Mac IIsi, and yes, I ran NetBSD on it before it even supported the console.)

    If you had a Mac during the System 8 and 9 era, yeah, the OS was crap (but Win 9x was as bad). Early OS X was beta quality at best. Windows 7 and the Intel Macs are about when parity started getting reached. I used OS X because my workflow (multiple virtual windows, UNIX command line tools, browsing, etc.) was better on OS X than on XP, Vista, 7, etc. While I prefer OS X still, I could get 90% of what I want for my workflow off Windows 10 now (Windows Subsystem for Linux, etc.) if pushed. (At home, I’m doing a video podcast, so you’ll only get iMovie away by prying it from my cold dead hands.)

    The biggest advance in the user experience in the last 5 years hasn’t been the OS, it’s been the SSD boot drive. Give someone an SSD boot drive, and they’ll love the computer. Boot off a spinning disk, especially 7k or 5k class, and it’s hateful. Macs have had a speedy rep longer because they switched to all SSD earlier.

    Intel has committed to “more electricity, more size”, while Apple (and ARM, RISC-V, etc.) are going to lower power with dedicated co-processors. If servers still can be guaranteed all the power they want, Intel wins. What happens though if power rationing starts becoming a thing, or electricity goes to a sliding scale? Half as fast, but a fifth the power usage starts becoming attractive.

    1. In other words, the Devil is in the Details. The only Apple product I have ever used is my iPhone, and that is because when I went to the store to get a new phone for my email and messaging, they saw me coming.

  5. Computers are tools. Apple, PC, Windows, MacOs, Linux, they all have their use cases.

  6. In a previous life, I had a publishing background. When we were about to go to in-house pre-production, only Apple would do what we wanted, using PageMaker on Mac SEs with 9″ b/w screens. Ah, but the catch was the IT geniuses would only let the graphic designers use the Macs; we poor wordsmiths had to use PCs.

    This worked, albeit ponderously, until a graphic designer came to me one day complaining she couldn’t pull the text off my word processing disk onto her Mac.

    I asked her to demonstrate, whereupon she carefully folded the IBM floppy in two and poked it into the Mac’s disk drive. True story.

    I later ran my own editing/DTP business using a Mac SE with a 20Mb hard drive. I thought I was king. That Mac has some 11 000 hours work-time on it and still runs.

    I bleed Apple juice.

  7. Darn it, I was traveling yesterday and missed this thread.

    Lifelong computer user and 26 years working in an IT career, so generally I’m computer agnostic. I like computers, and after a small period of adjustment can pretty much make them do what I want. That said, I don’t spend money on Apple computers. I like systems that I can tinker with and upgrade on my own. Windows, Mac, Linux… I’ve used them all and like to stay current with all of them.

    Funny Apple story – In 2008 I was working for a small dot-com company and we got a new CEO. This CEO was a hard core Apple guy, had previously worked at Apple for a number of years, and didn’t want the brand new Windows laptop I had set up for him. He told me to order him a specific Macbook, and when I told him that I didn’t have much experience with Macs, he told me to order two of them so I had a chance to “learn on the good stuff”. He knew how to set up his own Macbook and didn’t need much in the way of support.

    A week later the order arrived, and he intercepted the boxes at the front desk. I was in my office working and he comes in and presents the unboxed Macbook to me in an overboard sales presentation type of way, puts it on my desk, and says in a theatric voice “Welcome… to a better world!”. I grinned and said thanks and that I would figure it out.

    A few days later he comes in my office, sees the Macbook set up and running, and asks how I like the Mac? I smile real bright and tell him “Oh, I’ve got it running Windows now and it’s a real sweet laptop”, and turned the Macbook around so he could see the Windows 7 OS running on the screen.

    His jaw hit the floor. Seriously, he was shocked and spluttered for a bit, and finally asked how I did it. I smiled again, turned the Macbook screen so it was facing me, and said “I’ve got serious IT skills” and waggled my fingers at the Mac like I was casting a spell. He shook his head and walked out of my office.

    Later I explained to him how I did it: I simply downloaded the Parallels virtual environment program and ran Windows as a virtual machine in full-screen mode. But he didn’t know about Parallels so was completely shocked at how I pulled it off. He laughed and laughed and said he hadn’t been pranked like that in a long time.

    He ended up being a great CEO and an awesome boss. We had a lot of fun together for a few years. He actually called me up out of the blue last year to tell me that he had recently told that story at meeting of some sort and that made him wonder how I was doing. It was good to catch up with him. I would work for him again in a heartbeat.

    And yes, I ended up learning quite a bit about the Mac OS and how to make it work in my Windows-centric network, so it was well worth my time. Nice piece of hardware, but one that I wasn’t going to buy for myself.

    I really love working on computers. But printers… man, the only good printer is one that’s been smashed flat after being run over with heavy machinery, the remains put on fire, putting out the fire with holy water, and then gathering what is left to deposit in the nearest active lava flow. I hate printers.

  8. I have a Mac studio 32Gig and a Mac Studio Display. Magnifique simply Magnifique. Visit an Apple store and see for yourself.

    Dan Kurt

    P.S. Upgraded from an old iMac 27 inch using built in Apple software on both machines. The transfer worked as far as I can tell perfectly–data and applications, and settings as well.

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