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A Diehard Mac Fan's Loyalty Ends

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I know mac bashing has become popular here in the last months for a number of reasons and I do not want to make this board into that alone. I have found a great deal of help here that has allowed me to enjoy Fly 2k a great deal!! In any case, these discussions have started me thinking about our attachment to Apple and I think this is a time we should look seriously at our loyalty (aside from the sim side of things). I have been with Apple since the Apple II plus and have been about as vocal about my devotion as anyone. In the past, I have been able to take on ANY PC discussion and crush it with a far better computer and computer company. I would seek these conversations out and engage with glee! This is no longer the case as I now often find myself losing the discussion more often than not. I believe that Apple has developed some big problems that are critical: 1. OS - Apple's operating systems were miles ahead of Microsoft for many years, this made Apple a FAR better computer to run through the 80s and early 90s. Even if Microsoft has taken almost all of its new ideas from Apple, the truth is that Windows 2000 is a reasonably slick, simple, stable platform that does not crash. OS X is stable but there is no longer a battle here, parity at best. 2. Hardware - Again, Apple has done very well in the past but now lags everywhere except for processor speed. Even this month's Mac Addict magazine features the editor lamenting all of the advances found in the PC world and not in the Mac (his only positive spin was to hope July would bring a huge announcement from Apple). I have never seen anything like this in Mac Addict! Most importantly, PC machines now have double speed RAM (Apple only has this on its L2 Cache), bus speeds FOUR times Apple's wimpy 133 Mhz (with quad pumping technology), a 4 GB RAM ceiling (compared to 1.5 for Mac), and the ability to handle the newest graphics cards (even Apple's TOP machines have NVidia "MX" series cards which are LOW END cards in the PC world). These items more than negate a "pentium crushing" 800Mhz processor. 3. Support and Honestly - Again, Apple clearly top in the market in the past. If I had a computer problem in the mid 90s, there would be a tech available in about 10min on the Apple care line, now we cannot even get responses to group questions from fanatically loyal groups such as ours. To compound this, Apple goes so far as to overstate its ability. We have all seen this with the ads on their site proclaiming how fantasitc Fly II is on the Mac and even with OS X. There is no way anyone has ever seen this happen. 4. Price - Apple is Significantly more expensive than many PC boxes. The baseline iMac for $1300 is far below whan you can get in a PC and is essentially already out of date. Add the fact that it is not expandable in ANY way (with the exception of standard RAM) and you find yourself buying the next level or two up and paying 1800.00 for a machine that is on par with machines 500 dollars less in the PC world. 5. Software - People used to always start out with me saying that Apple didnt have as much software as PC. I would challenge then to name one thing they could do that I could not (graphics, word processing, spreadsheets, games, education). We now see that most of the mental calories spent in this industry are PC dominated. We hear about whole teams updating drivers for PC people and a single soul struggling to get the Mac carry-over patched. There is no more dissapointing example than the flight sim realm. Just look at the "New Downloads" column over the last month. How many items are available to a single Mac user, answer - almost none as they are all MSFS. How many hours have you spent trying to find ways to make your flight sim system run as well as a PC? I am still looking for ways to stay with Apple, my loyalty runs WAY back. They have very creative people and many "insanely great" ideas. Execution lacks.... I simply can find no clear reason to stay and many reasons to go. I think my next computer may not be a PC just for simming but may be one for good. Thank you for letting me put my thoughts into a written form among those who clearly also show great loyalty.Ben Cable

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Hi, Ben.As many people here know, I'm a hardcore Mac user. I've owned and used more models than I care to remember since I bought my Mac 128K in 1984. I've been a Macworld contributing editor since 1986, and I've helped run two user groups.Despite all this, I don't consider myself a Mac loyalist, at least not in the sense of being "faithful" to Apple, come hell or high water. The truth is, for most of what I use a computer for, day in and day out, I simply prefer the Mac. My three-year-old blue G3/400, recently upgraded to a G4/400, is far behind the hottest PCs - on paper. But it gets the job done well, and probably will do so as long as I need it to.However, many of your points are well taken, and Apple should worry whenever a long-time Mac user thinks seriously about switching to Windows.-Franklin------------------------------Franklin TesslerG4/500Fly! for Mac Forum Co-moderator

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Ben,Thanks for a carefully thought out and well-stated position. I have always been a big Mac evangelist, but I really like Fly!, too. Right now, Fly II and the Mac are getting along like two tomcats in a wet gunnysack. I find myself going back to Fly 2K often lately because it runs like a bandit on my aging and much-loved G3.Now that the PC dudes have a 230 patch, I get a little wishful when I read of their accomplishments. I mourn the fact that TRI has no funding or personnel to do the same for the Mac. Rob's good, but he's an employee who gets assigned projects. We can't expect him to spend nights and weekends working on this for nothing. Even if they went open-source, I don't know Mac programming. This has made me consider building a Windoze box. :-eekMy problem is that I have an NT box at work (sitting beside two more Macs). Every time I get ideas about building a Windoze box, I think about that #@%$ NT machine. It's relatively stable, but that's about it. Not one of our 600+ employees can do his own PC troubleshooting -- MIS ends up being called out. I look at how much overhead goes into the Windows OS and cringe. When things go wrong, they go very wrong. It took an experienced PC tech days to add an internal ZIP to my IBM300, mostly in trying to config the darned thing. Then there are my co-workers who have mostly peecees at home, with their horror stories of spending 2-4 hours/night on the phone to Dell, Compaq, Gateway, etc.Being the wide-eyed optimist, I keep falling back to Mac. However, Ben's point about recent developments is right on. I too have serious concerns about Apple's direction. Have they pushed into OSX too fast. Will it get support? Will classics apps die too soon? Will QT5 ever work right?Like Franklin, I find the Mac meets my needs for everything but simming, but I worry about the long-term prospects for the Mac line. I'd also like to brag to my friends that I have Macs because I think with the right side of my brain. However, that darned left side keep complaining lately!

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Dear Ben,I understand that you are worried, but i think different of these points you write. I'll give you mine opninion to your points :(I have to say my english is a little bit sluggish, but i hope you understand what i write, and don't want to offend you)1. Why has there to be a battle between Apple and PC stuff? Apple was from the beginning open to other media. For instance the apple machine was the only machine between the pc and the mac that could read DOS formatted floppies. So I think Apple does not want a battle but wants to work together in a way. And i think the MacOS X is far better than teh Windows XP(X Panic)2. I'm not a hardware freak but I always understood that the processor is the most importand thing of the whole machine. And the G4 is far better than the Pentium III / IV. And the Mhz does something to the machine, but is not the most important thing to speedup the programs. The program writers can make full use of the G4 chip if they program well, and i think there are companies who doe (like Apple, Adobe, and i think Microsoft as well) And about MacAddict... Donno a lot of this magazine. I have seen it in the store but bought it once or twice. Did not liked it very mutch. I heard that FlyII was priced after the review for mutch more than it really was.3. The support is, i have to admit, verry bad. But as Allan Jones wrote, that it's mutch easier to update, repair or do anything with the mac than any PC at all. I know that when you put a PC together by yourself you can nhave a lot of problems mutch worse than some minutes at the phone with Apple.And support to the proffesional apps are good. The support for games is not that good, but patience is a good thing. I can use FlyII and i'm very happy with that. And the update that TRI is not going to support is, to my opinion, not apples fault, but TRI's problem. 4. Indeed Apple is more expencive than most of the PC. But when you buy a PC that is one year old, you can forget to use all the latest software. If you buy a mac (for instace iMac rev A) you can use MacOS X. So the mac machines last longer. And even an imac is expandible in lots of ways. But if you are a pro Audio user you never would buy an iMac to work with ProTools or whatever other product. And be ohnest. Before you buy a computer you have to think first what you like to do with it instead of buying the first computer that you see in the store.5. When you look at the FlyII v.s. MSFS I totally agree that there is not mutch for the FlyII mac. But when something works on the mac i'm realy happy about it. And encourage the people who made the expansions for the FlyII mac version.But you must not forget that MSFS is mutch longer on the market than Fly! or FlyII! I'm suprised that it got this far. When I had Fly!/Fly2k i thought that Fly2k would be the last version. And never expectid a FlyII!. And I heard rumors of an Fly3 so there is still hope.Well i guess i have covered all.So keep your head up. And be glad you have a mac.Cheers!Koen

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Regarding processors: the trick with modern processors is that you can only get full advantage of their power if you keep them fed. The whole reason you see larger L1/L2 caches is the attempt to keep as much data within the CPU so that it can operate at full clip. The moment a processor has to talk to the "outside" world (the system bus, RAM, I/O devices), it effectively stalls and goes to sleep.Most modern compilers will look for spots in code where data needs to be read/written outside of the cache, and in these cases it might attempt to reorder operations so that while the CPU is waiting for data across the bus, it can still be doing calculations. In some cases, however, this is not possible, and the CPU literally stalls and has to wait. When this happens, your entire performance comes down to how fast an I/O operation can be performed across the bus. In general, the slower the bus (or I/O device), the longer the wait. This is an oversimplication of the problem, but in I/O heavy applications you'll find that moving to a faster processor has little to no overall effect to performance. On the other hand, compute-intensive applications that take small amounts of data and perform a large number of calculations on that data absolutely love modern CPU's, because usually all the data can reside in the L1/L2 and the CPU can run at full speed without delay.Games throws a curve ball into the mix, because when you are dealing with matrices, textures, vectors, etc. you are usually dealing with large groups or blocks of data that are spread throughout memory. This means the L1/L2 constantly experiences cache misses, and data has to be retrieved across the bus. Just a few years ago almost all per-pixel operations on textures had to be done in software, so just doing an operation on a single 256x256 texture could flush the entire L2. Thankfully this has all move to the GPU today, but there are still critical areas where the overall CPU performance is completely dependent on the system as a whole.I have a very fond admiration for the PowerPC processor. As a chip, it is pretty well designed and extremely fast (though I wish IBM & Motorola had scaled it MUCH faster than they have over the years).Rich

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I appreciate all the comments both pro and con from everyone. I still think it is fantastic that a program designer supports his work in forums like this. That is what made Apple great in its origins and what will provide Tri, in whatever from it will take, a very loyal following (count me in!!) I will always like Apple as a company, they really do lead with their ideas where MS follows. Rich's comments, if I understood them all, seem to cement my idea that a world class processor cannot overcome slow components. Fly II is a perfect example, great programers, good processor, poor Apple performance. What remains a mystery to all involved (MacAddict editors to end users) is why is Apple so far behind with the components? I would try and pose this to someone at Apple but a response would be unlikely. Comments about maintenance issues for Windows are well taken, this does concern me. I have heard these stories in the past. I hear fewer of them now and having worked on PCs at work over the last year, I can honestly say that I have not had a single crash, lost document, or peripheral problem. I would almost relish a problem but have not found one. I cannot say that on my iMac system 9.2.2, it has been relatively unstable since I upgraded it to this level . Think of all the hours WE have spent on our machines trying to tweak our sims!? OSX may answer the stability question but I think overall stability is at parity right now. Is this a question that Franklin could raise as an editor? Thanks again for the good comments, I still love Fly2k and plan to keep with it. This group has been instrumental in helping with basic quesions and providing great add ons!! I hope to transition this interest to a PPL in the near future! Thanks to all those who offer their help!! Ben

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Ben,I had been a Mac loyalist for nearly 14 years, still use a high end G4 at work, but last Jan, 2001, I bought a Dell Dimension 4100 with PIII 1Ghz, 512MB RAM, NVidia 64MB DDR Geforce2 Ultra, W2K, etc, etc, maxed out PC for home and sold suped-up Mac clone, the now famous PowerComputing PowerTower Pro 200. Before this last Mac, I owned so many I cannot remember all of them. While I am still satisfied by my slightly older Mac at work, I am even more gratified with PC platform at home. I have learned I can do the same things on either with equal facility. What I do enjoy is the wider range of software choices in the Windows environment, but both have the staple applications for doing most everything. I do prefer my G4 a bit more for graphics work. But I am becoming equally as comfortable with apps like Photoshop on my Dell.I am a CIO for an educational institution and find it particularly beneficial be dual platform literate. Since last year, I have become very comfortable on my PC and enjoy much more variety of software development by virtue of the Windows environment, something I was enjoying less and less in the Mac OS realm where uncertainty at best dominated regarding developer support, at worst, developers were pulling out of that OS environment. Its resurged a bit more, but just cannot hold a candle to the volume and variety of software for windows. Viva les choices! So I switched and have really enjoyed the advantages and choices available now in flight simulation. Very limited on the Mac, but with most any program you purchased for the Mac, like the hardware you ran it on, it was quality.I still enjoy both worlds, but residing in both as I do, I do not hestitate in recommending a migration to a PC, even if it is your sole computer. Best wishes,Grant

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Hi Rich,Just to be curiuos. Does FlyII make use of the Velocety engine? Again, I'm no hardware expert, but i heard that could improve lots of calculation speed.Koen

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Ben,You're correct about OS X providing added stability. I can't remember the last time I had to reboot my Mac because of a crash. It does happen to some people, but it's far less commonplace nowadays. OS X is far from perfect - printing can still be a hassle, for example - but it's incredibly good for an OS that will celebrate its first birthday in 2 days.The hardware question is harder to answer. There's no question in my mind that, comments about "the MHz myth" notwithstanding, Apple would have released Macs with much faster processors by now, had they been able to. Unfortunately, Motorola's PPCs didn't scale up very well. The situation is finally beginning to improve, but Apple is still playing catch up. The issue of subsystems (RAM, bus speeds, I/O) is also important, and I don't know why Apple seems to be behind here, too.Even if these things don't make a difference for most users in their day-to-day work, the perception is that Apple makes elegant computers with brilliant packaging but slow "guts." Apple desperately needs to fight that perception. Remember those "pentium-killing" ads that Apple produced when the G4s came out? These days, their ads are focused on industrial design and ease of use. -Franklin ------------------------------Franklin TesslerG4/500Fly! for Mac Forum Co-moderator

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"I cannot say that on my iMac system 9.2.2, it has been relatively unstable since I upgraded it to this level ."I would blame the software you use, not Apple. Maybe some of your system software is bad. My OS 9.2.2 iMac has been running smooth. The only problems I have are with bad software like AOL. It seems the higher I upgrade, the more stable my system gets. There are so many things that can cause system instability.iMacDV400mhz384mb RAMMacOS 9.2.2/10.1.3

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