New laptop thoughts

Apple hardware/software and related topics.
Forum rules
Any posts concerning pirated software or offering to buy/sell/trade commercial software are subject to removal.
User avatar
WolvesOfTheNight
Posts: 763
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:02 am
Location: Washington State, USA

New laptop thoughts

Unread postby WolvesOfTheNight » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:22 pm

Sooner or later I will need to get a new laptop. At the moment my primary home computer is a 1.5GHz Powerbook G4. I like lots of things about it, but it is really getting under powered for newer stuff, and software security updates are a serious problem. I mostly use it for web, email, watching DVDs, and basic photo work. I want to start stitching together panoramas of 16 megapixle photos, which it is too slow for. And I want to see about installing some GIS software for printing out topographic maps, which I fear to do on this old of a computer. However, I suspect any newish system will work.

For my primary home computer, I want something that Just Works - and that should include software updates. And, since this is a personal purchase, windows is out of the question. From what I can tell, Linux is still nowhere near apple when it comes to just working.

But I keep getting less happy with apple as time goes on. Setting aside philosophical issues with apple and how they are doing stuff, here are my piratical problems with their new stuff:

Macbook with retna display:
* Cost
* Non standard hard drive that may never be upgradable
* No ethernet. Yes, I can get a dongle. And I remember the days when you would loose the dongle for the Global Village, thus causing you to have to buy a new one. Which is one reason I hate dongles.
* I hate glossy displays (though I like high DPI displays)
* The battery can not be replaced (Ack! Nooooo!!!)
* Generally impossible to repair.
* Can not upgrade RAM
* I would have to have an external optical drive living on the desk at home.

Older 13in unibody Macbook:
* Have to custom order non-glossy display
* Lower DPI display
* If I buy new I would rather get the faster processor & graphics, etc
* Replacing the battery takes some work
* No HDMI port. How well does that normally work if I get a thunderbolt/displayport/HDMI adapter?
* Battery is not easily swapped. But at least I can do it!

Oh, and OS9 support will be a tad of an issue on either one. Or I might have to use an older machine when that is needed.

And, in general, I am concerned that apple will push Macs toward their walled garden of apple store software.

Any ideas? I am debating buying a 13in unibody now because they will probably go away soon - marking the end of wondrous built in Ethernet and the death of user serviceability. Though if they fix my problems in the next rev laptop I would be happy to wait.
-WolvesOfTheNight

User avatar
PymbleSoftware
Posts: 1891
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:48 pm
Location: P.O. Box 529, Gordon, Sydney, NSW 2072, Australia.
Contact:

Re: New laptop thoughts

Unread postby PymbleSoftware » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:30 pm

WolvesOfTheNight wrote:And, in general, I am concerned that apple will push Macs toward their walled garden of apple store software.

They sort of already have. As a "security feature" if you install software from an "unknown publisher" it will not let you run it first time... warning as such, then you right click Open and then choose Open again. It probably cuts down on the number of novice users installing malware by oh say 0.1%. Most of the software I use either comes from Apple (xcode) or MacPorts (I tried Homebrew, Darwin ports, etc)... Occasionally I'll download something from source forge and forget about the right click for first run.

wolves wrote:Though if they fix my problems in the next rev laptop I would be happy to wait.

Unlikely, if anything they will make them more disposable.

R.
死の神はりんごだけ食べる

開いた括弧は必ず閉じる -- あるプログラマー

:Tezro: :Tezro: :Onyx2R: :Onyx2RE: :Onyx2: :O3x04R: :O3x0: :O200: :Octane: :Octane2: :O2: :O2: :Indigo2IMP: :PI: :PI: :1600SW: :1600SW: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy:
:hpserv: J5600, 2 x Mac, 3 x SUN, Alpha DS20E, Alpha 800 5/550, 3 x RS/6000, Amiga 4000 VideoToaster, Amiga4000 -030, 733MHz Sam440 AmigaOS 4.1 update 1.

HP C7000 BladeSever with 16 Blades 96Gb to 144Gb RAM per blade
HP C3000 Blade Server with 8 Blades 48Gb to 144Gb RAM per blade

Sold: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :Indigo: Tandem Himalaya S-Series Nonstop S72000 ServerNet.

Twitter @PymbleSoftware
Current Apps (iOS) -> https://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/pymb ... d553990081
(Android) https://play.google.com/store/apps/deve ... +Ltd&hl=en
(Onyx2) Cortex ---> http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cortex-th ... 11?sk=info
(0300s) Minnie ---> http://www.facebook.com/pages/Minnie-th ... 02?sk=info
Github ---> https://github.com/pymblesoftware

robespierre
Posts: 1555
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:28 pm
Location: Boston

Re: New laptop thoughts

Unread postby robespierre » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:20 pm

OS9 software is not supported on any Intel Mac, or even on PPC under 10.5. You would need to use Basilisk or SheepShaver and accept reduced device support.
:PI: :O2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2IMP:

User avatar
ClassicHasClass
Donor
Donor
Posts: 2077
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: Sunny So Cal
Contact:

Re: New laptop thoughts

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:04 pm

SheepShaver isn't much of a substitute for real work in OS 9, speaking as a heavy Classic user (for QuarkXPress, which I like the older version of, and a smattering of 68K applications and games). It'll freeze randomly sometimes just trying to install an operating system, and a lot of applications won't run in it. For certain specific programs it's fine, but it's a poor general solution. So I still use a quad G5 with 10.4.11 so I can run Classic, and I have an MDD G4 for booting into 9.2.2.

I bought an ARM Chromebook recently to play with and I was pleasantly impressed. It's plasticky and a bit flimsy-feeling, the LCD isn't so hot, and I/O options are by definition limited. And it's useless without a network connection, so I eventually sprang for the 3G. But it was inexpensive, I could run Ubuntu chrooted on it, it has insanely long battery life, it's fast enough (it appears to get similar benchmark numbers, interestingly, to my quad G5), and it's not x86. And ChromeOS isn't bad despite its limitations.

Other than that, I still use an iBook G4 and that suffices.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

User avatar
WolvesOfTheNight
Posts: 763
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:02 am
Location: Washington State, USA

Re: New laptop thoughts

Unread postby WolvesOfTheNight » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:19 am

PymbleSoftware wrote:Unlikely, if anything they will make them more disposable.


That is my #1 reason for looking at buying soon, instead of squeaking by on what I have for another year or two.


ClassicHasClass - Thanks for the note. On the off chance I feel like playing an older game I will just use an older computer. My other concern is a giant pile of older documents in appleworks 5.0 format that I don't want to loose the ability to easily read. How is read support for those on newer macs?

Yea, an ARM crombook could be an option. But I would have to really research it. Whatever I get I want to be as non-cloud as possible. And I really don't want google, or anyone else, having access to all my personal documents.
-WolvesOfTheNight

User avatar
guardian452
Donor
Donor
Posts: 3429
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:12 pm
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: New laptop thoughts

Unread postby guardian452 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:36 am

I would recommend a used macbook such as 2008-2010 era that can run snow leopard.

I have a 2010 macbook air (1.4g c2d, 2gb ram)
* Cost
* Non standard hard drive that may never be upgradable
* No ethernet. Yes, I can get a dongle. And I remember the days when you would loose the dongle for the Global Village, thus causing you to have to buy a new one. Which is one reason I hate dongles.
* I hate glossy displays (though I like high DPI displays)
* The battery can not be replaced (Ack! Nooooo!!!)
* Generally impossible to repair.
* Can not upgrade RAM
* I would have to have an external optical drive living on the desk at home.

*standard pci-e ssd that is easily upgraded
*N-spec wifi that is really fast for most needs
*one of the best AR coatings I've ever seen on a laptop, even if the screen itself isn't all that good WRT contrast and gamut
*the battery can be replaced but a new battery is close to $90 :eek: mine is almost at full capacity after over 2 years of daily use but I also plug in and have only ~300 cycles. It appears to be easy to change.
*have not had to repair anything even after many dings and dents, never even bothered to take the lid off and see what's inside. YMMV.
*only 2gb of ram but what I do it is fine and it seems the swap is better than most other systems, probably something to do with the fast SSD. If you get a regular white MB or a MBP you can upgrade the ram but they are big and heavy.
*who uses those things anymore?

Seems like you used one where somebody had peeled off the AR coating if the gloss is such a problem to you.

10.7 is where apple ingrained icloud deep into the roots of the system, so if you don't want everything all cloudy I would stick with older stuff.

Displayport to HDMI is a cheap and cheesy gender-bender that should just work. Like going from dvia to hd15, or 13w3 to hd15.

User avatar
ClassicHasClass
Donor
Donor
Posts: 2077
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: Sunny So Cal
Contact:

Re: New laptop thoughts

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:17 pm

WolvesOfTheNight wrote:ClassicHasClass - Thanks for the note. On the off chance I feel like playing an older game I will just use an older computer. My other concern is a giant pile of older documents in appleworks 5.0 format that I don't want to loose the ability to easily read. How is read support for those on newer macs?


I actually haven't the foggiest. I imagine iWork can read them, but I don't know about the later versions you'd need to run on a more recent Intel Mac. If you need to run AppleWorks, it has to be on 10.6, because there's no Universal version even for AW6.

Yea, an ARM crombook could be an option. But I would have to really research it. Whatever I get I want to be as non-cloud as possible. And I really don't want google, or anyone else, having access to all my personal documents.


That's why I run Ubuntu chrooted. ChromeOS doesn't even touch that mount; it runs within it like a chestburster that, upon command, springs fully formed from John Hurt's chest. :twisted:

Seriously, it greatly expands the usefulness of the machine. I have a throwaway account for ChromeOS, but within Ubuntu, I'm running Firefox and ssh. Still, it's definitely not optimal as a general purpose solution and it just so happens that just having network access will cover 90% of my mobile tasks (otherwise I use the iBook).
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

User avatar
WolvesOfTheNight
Posts: 763
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:02 am
Location: Washington State, USA

Re: New laptop thoughts

Unread postby WolvesOfTheNight » Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:28 pm

guardian452 -

A used 2010ish mac laptop is an option. Though I would do the pro instead of the air; I don't care much about the size difference between the two. The big question would be what a used one gains me over ordering one of the last unabody, which have similar hardware repairability. It helps that the older Mac OS has less cloudishness. But my impression is that the new mac OS versions do not force the cloud upon you; Is this correct?

"N-spec wifi that is really fast for most needs"
Network speed is actually a non-issue. And the bottleneck is normally something slower than 801.11b anyway. However, I work at a radio telescope. Wi-fi is banned on site because it is an RF interference source. It is rare that I want to connect a personal laptop to the work network but there are times that I do. And when traveling there are places where their ethernet is far more reliable than their wi-fi. Also, my home setup is currently ethernet. Yes, I could buy a cheap-O wireless point. But the ethernet meets 100% of my needs, so I would rather not goof with it.

" AR coatings I've ever seen on a laptop..."
The newish AR coatings are far better. However, my personal preference is for non-glossy; as long as I can get them without too much trouble I will. But it is not that big of a deal; were this my only problem with the new retina macbook I would have already bought one.

"only 2gb of ram..."
This is less of an issue than it used to be. 4 or 8BG will probably be good enough for whatever I will be doing in a few years. However, I prefer being able to add some if I need it.

"who uses those things anymore"
I do; that should be obvious. I do not use them very often, which is why I don't mind leaving it on the desk at home (unlike ethernet which I want to take with me).

"Displayport to HDMI is a cheap and cheesy gender-bender that should just work"
That is good to hear. Being able to use a non-apple external monitor at home is important.


ClassicHasClass -

Yea, others I talked to said AW6 won't run on the newer machines. I do not actually need to run appleworks - but I would rather not have to mess with converting old appleworks documents into some other format.

ARM crombooks: It is no surprise to hear that tweaking them away from google substantially improves the performance. However, this is where I want one fully working computer that Just Works.
-WolvesOfTheNight

User avatar
hamei
Posts: 10433
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 4:10 pm
Location: over the rainbow

Re: New laptop thoughts

Unread postby hamei » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:52 pm

WolvesOfTheNight wrote:... I want one fully working computer that Just Works.

Then you will have to make it yourself.

Sorry, but the fact is that every single consumer computer now uses 80% of its awesome power Just Spying On You.

If that is not what you want, then you have to make your own. Every single one of them looks at you as nothing but a cash cow.

User avatar
guardian452
Donor
Donor
Posts: 3429
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:12 pm
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: New laptop thoughts

Unread postby guardian452 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:27 am

my impression is that the new mac OS versions do not force the cloud upon you; Is this correct?
in much the same way that windows 8 does not "force" MS live upon you, or android does not "force" a google account upon you.
Nobody says you have to use it!

Maybe I'm biased but it seems the 2009-early 2011 era of apples are new enough to run everything for the foreseeable future without being foisted into a brave new world of computing.

I have a USB cd-drive too, I just don't know where it is ;) It's trivial to put it in a desktop and mount it on the laptop; my wife could do it ;)


Network speed is actually a non-issue. And the bottleneck is normally something slower than 801.11b anyway. However, I work at a radio telescope. Wi-fi is banned on site because it is an RF interference source.
Special case, then. The MBA is out.

User avatar
WolvesOfTheNight
Posts: 763
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:02 am
Location: Washington State, USA

Re: New laptop thoughts

Unread postby WolvesOfTheNight » Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:57 am

OK, I will have to take a much closer look at the latest mac OS to decide. I don't mind simple warnings for programs from unknown publishers and the like, if you can acknowledge them and then do what you want. That is a (very small) help in keeping out unwanted crud. And I can manage saying "No, I don't want a #@!$#@! apple cloud thing" if it then turns it off and leaves me alone. But if it is too pushy, forget it.

Anyway, I know exactly how you feel about the 2009-2011 macs. I feel the same way about the powerbook G4, except it is getting too old.
-WolvesOfTheNight

User avatar
PymbleSoftware
Posts: 1891
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:48 pm
Location: P.O. Box 529, Gordon, Sydney, NSW 2072, Australia.
Contact:

Re: New laptop thoughts

Unread postby PymbleSoftware » Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:56 pm

WolvesOfTheNight wrote:OK, I will have to take a much closer look at the latest mac OS to decide. I don't mind simple warnings for programs from unknown publishers and the like, if you can acknowledge them and then do what you want. That is a (very small) help in keeping out unwanted crud. And I can manage saying "No, I don't want a #@!$#@! apple cloud thing" if it then turns it off and leaves me alone. But if it is too pushy, forget it.

Anyway, I know exactly how you feel about the 2009-2011 macs. I feel the same way about the powerbook G4, except it is getting too old.


I don't trust Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google or anyone else with my intellectual property or confidential documents but cloud services are kind of handy for say sticking an ebook on say sky drive, reading it on a tablet and then picking up where you left off on a PC and then taking it up again on your phone while waiting for public transport.

I don't know how in your face you regard it but many OS-X applications default to Documents and many (more so lately) default to iCloud. Its a matter of changing the drop down or clicking the expand button next to the file name and choosing the path you want.
Save.png
Save.png (40.91 KiB) Viewed 1141 times


The cloud thing and apple id and such are getting more deeply interwoven with just about all facits of the system and sometimes you see surprising unexpected benefits. WIndows 8 demanded that I use a live ID... OS-X requests a apple ID at install time. I don't recall if it was mandatory but stuff is not as effective without an ID.

I resisted the cloud & ids everywhere thing for the longest time, then you just put up with it... Sometimes it even helps. I just give them the bare minimum and try to keep private stuff off line, out of clouds, etc...

Oh and if you work with people sooner or later you'll come across someone who has to have everything you're working on together in the cloud. Or you can use it as a document transfer service...

We have had a plethora of recent Apple products some of them good, some have had real issues (I still don't if she finished replacing the hard drive in that MacBook Pro or upgraded it past Snow Leopard, and my 2008 MacBook, although "compatible" on the list with (Mountain)Lion isn't).

I had a top of the range MacBook Pro at one job I did recently, lotsa RAM, SSD, etc... I tried building the code on a older lower spec machine with a hard drive in it and the speed difference was amazing. SSDs are super fast in compiling huge code bases. Or at least that was my experience. I kinda don't trust SSDs (although I never had an issue), but then backups should be done everywhere all time, stuff that is critical will fail.

my $0.02...

R.
死の神はりんごだけ食べる

開いた括弧は必ず閉じる -- あるプログラマー

:Tezro: :Tezro: :Onyx2R: :Onyx2RE: :Onyx2: :O3x04R: :O3x0: :O200: :Octane: :Octane2: :O2: :O2: :Indigo2IMP: :PI: :PI: :1600SW: :1600SW: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy:
:hpserv: J5600, 2 x Mac, 3 x SUN, Alpha DS20E, Alpha 800 5/550, 3 x RS/6000, Amiga 4000 VideoToaster, Amiga4000 -030, 733MHz Sam440 AmigaOS 4.1 update 1.

HP C7000 BladeSever with 16 Blades 96Gb to 144Gb RAM per blade
HP C3000 Blade Server with 8 Blades 48Gb to 144Gb RAM per blade

Sold: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :Indigo: Tandem Himalaya S-Series Nonstop S72000 ServerNet.

Twitter @PymbleSoftware
Current Apps (iOS) -> https://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/pymb ... d553990081
(Android) https://play.google.com/store/apps/deve ... +Ltd&hl=en
(Onyx2) Cortex ---> http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cortex-th ... 11?sk=info
(0300s) Minnie ---> http://www.facebook.com/pages/Minnie-th ... 02?sk=info
Github ---> https://github.com/pymblesoftware

User avatar
ClassicHasClass
Donor
Donor
Posts: 2077
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: Sunny So Cal
Contact:

Re: New laptop thoughts

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:51 am

Yeah, I don't trust SSDs either. They're getting better, but they still don't have the expected longevity I like yet. For throwaway computers I don't care, but all my long-life machines use spinning disks.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

User avatar
duck
Donor
Donor
Posts: 737
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:22 pm
Location: Jakobstad, Finland
Contact:

Re: New laptop thoughts

Unread postby duck » Sat Jun 29, 2013 4:08 pm

Hmm, wouldn't SSDs have inherently much better failure modes though? Their only drawback as I see it is the write cycle limitation, and when you bump into that you can still read your data back (barring unsafe filesystem use like async mounts, I'm sure that could cause problems if you need to write metadata and suddenly you can't).
I'm keen to know if you have experience of other types of failures (well, theoretical pitfalls are fine too, TBH)
:Octane: halo, octane Image knightrider, d i g i t a l AlphaPC164, pond, soekris net6501, misc cool stuff in a rack
N.B.: I tend to talk out of my ass. Do not take it too seriously.

User avatar
ClassicHasClass
Donor
Donor
Posts: 2077
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: Sunny So Cal
Contact:

Re: New laptop thoughts

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:37 pm

I don't have a lot of personal experience with them, so I couldn't say. But I like the devils I know (spinning disk failure in, say, a RAID 5) than the devils I don't.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...


Return to “Apple”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests