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  1.    #1  
    Hi guys!

    With the rumors surrounding the Mac community that Apple is going to release newer more stylish iMacs (some with have LCD displays) in July, my question is; what the hell is going on with PC makers? The iMac launched back in 98, and we still haven't seen credible PC designs since then. As a long time "PC Geek", I've become sick to death of simple boring beige boxes! Currently, I'm running an old Dell Dimension PII 350 for graphics and web authoring work. Needless to say it's getting close to upgrade time for me, but I'm still holding out in hope that something's just around the corner. So far the only thing just around the corner...is another corner!

    What really concerns me is that the only market segment where PCs are getting more design savvy are at the very low end; Compaq IPAQ and Presario EZ2000, Dell WebPC, and HP Pavilions. As a "High-end" user, I require more of a Performance system for professional work, and it's here that we aren't seeing ANY innovative styles being introduced! Yes, I know that PC Expo is just another week away, but what's the point? People are always saying.."Just wait until the next trade show..your really going to see some cool designs!" Well, nothing so far.

    As much as it grabs me in the groin to say this...the Mac platform is actually starting to look very good to me. Not just the hardware design, but the upcoming operating system. MacOS X is incredible. I had the pleasure of very briefly looking at a Developers preview of X and it was INCREDIBLE!, although the current hardware powering the Mac leaves much to be desired. According to the news from Redmond, we aren't going to see a new GUI for Windows for at least 3 more years, possibly longer. Quite frankly, I don't know if I'm willing to wait that long. Microsoft is a VERY conservative company, as are PC makers such as DELL. Plus, if Microsoft is divided, then who knows what impact this will have on OS development.

    What do you guys think? Is the bottom falling out of the PC market? Does anyone have any insider information they would like to share with the class? Anyone else considering the Mac as an alternative to Windows?
  2. #2  
    First of all, I will say that the Mac is certainly a fine alternative to Windows, with some exceptions (mainly high-level development and gaming).

    I have a nicely-designed G4 that can run Windows 98 just fine, so I'm not complaining.

    It should further be pointed out that some of the truly innovative designs of Apple have nothing to do with the outside. My favorite features of the new Macs are the ability to open the case EASILY on the G4s and the fact that the new Imac do not have any Fans in them!

    Now, why aren't PC manufacturers invesitng in industrial design and engineering? Well, it's expensive. Most PC companies are really competing on price. To save money, one uses standard components in standard cases. Radical designs such as the iMac are a hefty investment for any company...not only is the case redesigned and reengineered, but pretty much the entire 'guts' of the machine need to be built uniquely for that case.

    Apple has always been a leader in Industrial Design (except for some scary years in the late 80s/early 90s). This is what makes them unique and is why people buy theire machines.

    A majority of people are happy with their Honda Civics and Ford Escorts. Good cars at a good price. Some people, however, WILL hold out for that new Volkswagen or Audi.

    Same goes for computers.

  3. #3  
    ironicly I was just discussing this same topic with my collegues today.

    The only sollution we came up with is to do it your self... get a can of spraypaint and change the color yourself.

    I know of some people who did this exact thing and the results were pretty cool...
  4. #4  
    All you people who want pretty looking computers make me sick... substance over style always... and while i like the mac hardware a whole lot (x86 is faster, but the RISC on mac processors put them on a par, and) the only problem with mac hardware is that there arent many good video cards (ATI sucks). And with the case opening on a mac, whos ever gonna expand the thing, you can upgrade them at all almost... no decent video cards or sound cards out yet. i hate the macOS almost as much as i hate windows 98. and i hate the fact that apple tries to sucker idiots into getting imacs cuz of how they look... if you want a good computer, set up linux mandrake 7.1 on a 1 GHz Athlon Thunderbird. And then youll have a computer that might not look to pretty, but it can bury anything else at less than the cost of a mac G4 and have better performance AND STYLE BE GODDAMNED!!!!!

    Another note... G4's would be awesome computers if you could just get a decent video card for the things... set up linux on one and id be in heaven... i cant stand windows 98, and once i get a serial cradle and a linux compatible printer im abandoning windoze forever
  5. #5  
    Originally posted by b1lanceman:
    ... if you want a good computer, set up linux mandrake 7.1 on a 1 GHz Athlon Thunderbird. And then youll have a computer that might not look to pretty, but it can bury anything else at less than the cost of a mac G4 and have better performance AND STYLE BE GODDAMNED!!!!!

    ...for those of you analyzing data from the SETI program in 3-dimensional rotating bar charts with error calculations built in....

    most of us 'computer users' need to type a letter, set up a spreadsheet, draw some pretty pictures, look at digital pictures of our dogs, and sync our visor's .....on a machine that matches the furniture!
  6. #6  
    I completely agree that PCs need to look more modern. I must admit that I have taken a few long glances at the iMac and the iBook as well. I found www.a-top.com/color/color.html that has translucent CPU casings.

    I think that the LCD monitor will help "modernize" the clunky beige PC and like the fact that the Visor comes in multiple colors. That's why I have a Blue/Graphite one.

    ------------------
    James Hromadka
    VisorCentral.com
    Personal Website: http://www.Hromadka.com
  7. #7  
    apples suck
    you can even build your own, instead your forced to buy one for thousands of dollars that doesnt even come with speakers or a decent video card
  8. #8  
    b1lanceman:

    What the hell are you talking about? You can't just say "Apple Sucks" or "Windows Sucks" and expect that to be the opinion of the entire population.

    Apple didn't "sucker" anyone into purchasing their computer based on its industrial design. People bought it because it did what they needed it to and it looked nice.

    MacOS and Windows may not meet your needs, but keep in mind that Linux will not meet the needs of 90 percent of the consumers out there.

    Be a "little" objective if you can!

    One thing that had REALLY bugged me, though not Apples fault, is the fact that EVERY company out there (including Handspring) has decided that translucent, colored plastic is all that you need to make your product look better.

    US Society is very much 'pracitcality over style.' Which is sad. I wish more of these companies would wake up and realize that better industrial design DOES help a product (both with useability and aesthetics) and CAN create better sales.

    Retailers like Ikea and Target are finally beginning to see that.

    Once of the PC giants that I am impressed with is Compaq. There newer machines are taking on a radically new look that is not just a take-off of the Mac line. Nice stuff.

  9. #9  
    I've been using Macs on a daily basis for the first time for about a month now. I think they have their strengths and weaknesses. A lot of people dig the design of the iMac, but I'm not one of them. And I hate, hate the design of the iBook. I was given one at work and traded it in for an iMac instead since it was the lesser of the two evils (a tube monitor is easier on my eyes than an LCD monitor when staring at it ten hours a day). I'm looking forward to getting our new platform-independent publishing system. Then I can return to using my Sony Vaio laptop when working from home. I consider the Vaio, both the desktop and laptop versions, examples of good design in the PC world.

    While I'm not a fan of the iMac and iBook design, I congratulate them for thinking out of the box. If nothing else, Apple's brought the issue of hardware aethetics back into the public consciousness. But the iMac's blockbuster success has more to do, I think, with the fact that it's truer to the "computer for the rest of us" vision than any Apple computer to date. It's truly plug-n'-play in a way that PC clones only pretend to be. In our office we use an Airport wireless LAN connected to a T1 line, so the only hardware on the desk is the keyboard, monitor and the mouse. Now that's elegance.
  10. #10  
    Originally posted by Gameboy70:
    In our office we use an Airport wireless LAN connected to a T1 line, so the only hardware on the desk is the keyboard, monitor and the mouse. Now that's elegance.
    now all we need is the 'cordless extension cord' and the work area would be REALLY clean! (sorry, old Steven Wright joke... )
  11.    #11  
    Originally posted by Gameboy70:
    If nothing else, Apple's brought the issue of hardware aethetics back into the public consciousness.
    It's not just about hardware design, it's about GUI design. To put it mildly, Windows is beginning to languish. As I've said, were going to be staring at the same "Explorer" interface for the next three years. Frankly, I'm not happy with that prospect. OS X isn't just eye candy with colored buttons, it's a totally PDF based interface that looks smooth, anti-aliased, and downright beautiful! Windows is...well Windows. Simple, functional, reliable, but as boring as buttered toast! But as boring as Windows may be. It still beats Linux! I've become so sickened by Linux zealots who claim that their OS is ready for my desktop. Sorry, but no. User interface is not *there* yet. Until the day when Linux becomes as elegant and user friendly as the MacOS, I don't see this platform going anywhere. User interfaces are the holy grail of OS design. It the beginning and the ending to every operating system. All else is secondary.

    Take Linux...it's stable, robust, and downright bulletproof. But it looks like sh:t! Windows 2000, on the other hand offers nearly the same reliability as Linux, but with a simple to use attractive interface. It isn't just because Microsoft has a dominant market share that their OS is the most popular. It's because it's simple and easy. If consumers were given a Pepsi vs. Coke style taste test of Linux & Windows, they would spit out Linux as soon as it went into their mouths!

    It's not just about kernals.

    [This message has been edited by foo fighter (edited 06-19-2000).]
  12. #12  
    Oh how i long for the days of MS DOS and windows 3.1... when only the truly gifted could use computers. I remember in 4th grade i was the only child in the class that could use an IBM PC... i felt godlike. Back then, when microsoft was somewhat less evil, it was known that substance over style was the way to go...

    Apple sucks, if you knew that at the cost of a 1200 dollar imac you could get a computer that performs better but might not look as nice, wouldnt you get it? Apple does sucker in the people who prefer style over substance. But homer, i will admit one thing, anything running with a G4 is one helluva computer... even if it does run on macOS or windows 98 and also ill give some credit to apple for making an OS that doesnt crash HALF as much as windows 98 with the exception of the early imacs, but thats more of a hardware problem from what i hear ( the imacs i have at school constantly crash... the computer teacher says its cuz they only have 32Mb RAM and people try to run too much)
  13.    #13  
    Originally posted by b1lanceman:
    the imacs i have at school constantly crash... the computer teacher says its cuz they only have 32Mb RAM and people try to run too much)
    Yah! That's alway my favorite excuse for a system crash. If all else fails, blame it on a lack of RAM. It's not about memory, it's about how the OS manages it!!!
  14. #14  
    This topic seems to be brought up quite a bit lately, so I figure I'll give my two cents worth..

    1. computer hardware style .. I personally don't see what the big deal is.. Most of the computers I have used have the box placed under a desk, out of sight. Sure, the G3/G4 looks really nice, but when actually using the systems, they still lack in ease-of-use.

    For some reason, Apple decided to place a cover on top of the CD/DVD drive which forces you to close the device by pushing on the tray, instead of using a button (not to mention sometimes causing the drive not to fully extend without having to manually pull the cover down). If they were really into the design, why not use an auto cd loading mechanism (such as a car cd player) .. granted, the new iMacs have this, but only after releasing a few generations with some very fragile drives that broke easily..

    Also, why not place some USB/Firewire ports on the front of the unit? Instead, they place a low quality speaker and a reset button right on the front. Well, when the box is under the desk, that reset button is right where my foot is .. u guessed it, I have hit the reset button accidently multiple times while working.

    Why is it that Apple feels that a high end production system (Which is essentially what the G4 line is designed for) needs an extremely small round mouse and equally small keyboard? Given the power users that use this (and the fact that a LOT of Mac users are into desktop publishing), it is a shame to see the function keys (used for macros) and arrow keys are half sized, and the standard formatting keys are gone completely.. Sure, it looks nice, but hardly convientant for people using these machines 8+ hours a day ..

    Side opening, really fancy way to get into the case.. hurrah hurrah? Maybe if I was a tech support guy that had to service hundreds of computers, I would find this to be a time saver, but for the average user, who really cares?!?! For most people, that is just an extra lock (eye sore when placed on the system) they need to buy so others can't get into their systems easily. Besides, everyone who thinks its really cool, how many times have you used it? Once to upgrade the RAM? I dunno.. I would rather have that R&D spent on a better OS or keyboard/mouse layout ....

    2. OS Software Interface .. I personally can't wait for OS X to be released .. not because it has really cool interface, etc but simply because it (hopefully) will get OS9 thrown off my system for good and (hopefully) will be more stable. I can't stand the current Mac OS .. granted, I like the interface and all of that, but the underlying system -- AUGH!!! Now, it seems like Apple is going to do a complete 180 degree turn .. they claim to have an awesome kernal but with a bloated, overly graphical interface.

    Sure .. it looks nice, but the interface effects, overly huge icons, etc..etc..etc.. remind me a LOT of a movie/conceptual interface. I dunno .. seems like it will get in the way.. As it is still unreleased software, I will not comment on it too much as I have not personally used it (only saw some of the Apple related promo material for it)

    3. Maybe I am part of a dying breed of computer users, but I still have a philosophy of keeping it bare-bones. I use my computers as tools. I find that out-of-the-box, Windows (NT/2000)is great. It allows me to place my most frequently used applications on my task bar, easily accessing each of them. It allows me to have multiple logins along with tight security so others using the system can't access my files. I like that. I like how my applications will use system folders (such as the My Documents folder) as defaults when saving files. I like how it will handle misbehaving hardware/software (notifying me instead of crashing the system). I like keeping my system running 24/7 for weeks or even months without rebooting (and usually only for some software install that forces a reboot). I like the responsiveness I get when opening lots of applications and switching between them. I like how the OS keeps humming away in the background, not really interfering with what I am doing on the system.

    While this has nothing to do with the topic, I find it amazing, that Apple with its complete control over the hardware AND operating system of the Macintosh still has issues with crashing, system problems,etc .. etc..etc.. It amazes me that Apple cannot get it right with the limited amount of hardware that they truly need to support when compared to the Wintel side. It also amazes me at how quickly Apple will make their hardware obsolete (ie, MacOS X only running on B&W G3s and better (or probably by the time it is released, only G4 systems..)) .. Also, I find it interesting that when we have hardware issues with the Macintoshes at my work, it has taken WEEKS to get replacement parts. Unlike the Dell systems which are usually back up and running next day (though out of the systems we have had, only one Dell has ever needed onsite support compared to about 25% of the macs..) Just something to think about.

    Joe



    [This message has been edited by Cerulean (edited 06-19-2000).]
  15. #15  
    Foo sed:

    User interfaces are the holy grail of OS design. It the beginning and the ending to every operating system. All else is secondary.
    Well, yes and no. DOS IS a user interface, as is UNIX. These are both command line interfaces.

    MacOS and Windows are also both user interfaces. They are Graphical User Interfaces.

    Just wanted to clear that up. Both are good interfaces. Just because an OS is graphical does not make it a better interface.

    B1Lanceman clearly prefers command line interfaces, so, it is better for him to use one. Foo, you are like me in that we prefer GUI interfaces. Neither is better than the other overall...just different.

    B1lanceman brought up an interesting comment when he mentioned that he preferred the "status" one had mastering a command line interface. It has actually been shown that command line interfaces CAN and often are much faster ways to communicate with the machine.

    The problem, of course, is that a lot of people do not want to be programmers. This, IMO, is actually a very bad thing. GUI interfaces have severly "dumbed-down" the user. Sure more people can use them, but less and less people actually UNDERSTAND the machine. SO many office drones using Windows are COMPLETE idiots when it comes to the tool they use every day. And I DO MEAN COMPLETE idiots. It saddens me to see these people who have not concept of single-click vs. double-click, file structures, file names, how to open applications, what RAM means, how to switch their monitor resolution.

    SO much time is wasted by the total lack of computer skills in today's society. I don't expect everyone to run out and learn how to install apache on Linux and run their own web site, but AT LEAST learn how to turn the damn caps lock key off (there's a story behind that one!) I personally feel that the reason people are computer illeterate IS because of Windows. It simply tries to be so ***** proof that a monkey can get through it.

    Windows had ALWAYS had a poor interface, and probably always will until they take a proactive design approach. MS is a mighty marketing machine. They can sell anything. Unfortunatly, they've done little in the way of actual product innovation (with the one exception of IE5 for the Mac...an EXCELLENT interface!)

    Yea, I like Graphical interfaces, but, in a lot of ways, I agree with B1lanceman. I remember using good-ol-dos and even the Commodore 64 (now THAT was an interface )

    As a designer, I've spent the last 8 years mostly in the Mac's GUI (and Windows on the side). Now that I'm getting into Linux, I'm frustrated by the fact that I am now very uncomfortable with a command line interface. I'm rusty.

    Now, B1lanceman, I need to address your use of "sucks." you keep saying that Apple is "suckering" people into buying products that have good form factors. That is actually called "design." I'm not sure how you see that as "suckering." Additionally, the guts of the new Macs are completely re-engineered as well...it's NOT just about new plastic. Just had to reiterate that! I see what you are saying in that you feel that you can get a better machine for less money. I think most Mac people know that...they just prefer the ease and aesthetics of buying a new G4.

    As for Windows and Macs crashing...it has a LOT more to do with how they are set up and maintained than the OS itself (though I will say that Win2K and MacOS 9 are INFINITELY less crash-prone then their predecessors.) Linux, for all of the advances it yet needs to make it on the GUI front, it IS an excellent and Stable OS from the technical (and command-line UI) standpoint.
  16. #16  
    Cerulean:

    You made some very good points!

    For some reason, Apple decided to place a cover on top of the CD/DVD
    I don't like this either. Part of it, I am assuming, is that most CD-drive look like they belong in a beige box, and that would have stuck out on the front of the G4. I do wish they'd get rid of the door, though.

    Also, why not place some USB/Firewire ports on the front of the unit?
    YES! Compaq has finally seen the logic in this. I do not know why it had taken this long for them to come up with this idea. It seems so obvious to me.

    Why is it that Apple feels that a high end production system needs an extremely small round mouse and equally small keyboard?
    This is more of a business move. They can use the same keyboard/mouse across the entire line of products. A lot of people also say that most professionals eventually purchase their own keyboards and mice anyways, so why not play favor to the peripheral vendors. Actually, I kind of agree with that one. (TIP: Remove the colored side of the mouse...it helps a lot in figuring out the orientation of the mouse).

    Side opening, really fancy way to get into the case.. hurrah hurrah? Maybe if I was a tech support guy that had to service hundreds of computers, I would find this to be a time saver, but for the average user, who really cares?
    I do. I put RAM in, swap cards, etc. I had to take apart a Gateway the other day...WHAT A PAIN. Furthermore, there ARE a lot of users who ARE in charge of a whole bunch of macs (IE, Design and ad firms, shools, colleges, etc...) I think this easy access system and the lack of fans in the new iMacs (and the fanless sleep-mode of the G4s) are trully innovative designs in the computer industry.

    Sure .. it looks nice, [OSX] but the interface effects, overly huge icons, etc..etc..etc.. remind me a LOT of a movie/conceptual interface.
    The stuff the public has seen has been eye-candy. Unless Jobs has gone completely mad, I am assuming that they will allow you to "tone-down" the interface (just as you can with OS 9). Granted UIs such as QT4 and Sherlock 2 ARE steps in the wrong direction when it comes to useability. (Side note, I'm not sure what your complaints of OS9 are, I've found it to be incredibly stable...are you using 9.04?)

    While this has nothing to do with the topic, I find it amazing, that Apple with its complete control over the hardware AND operating system of the Macintosh still has issues with crashing, system problems
    You can't blame an OS for ALL of it's crashes (some, but not all!). MOST software today is much more invasive to the OS. On the Mac, Extensions, control panels, preferences, are all installed and often do conflict with each other. On the PC, you deal with DLLs and system additions. Poorly written software will crash regardless of the OS. Again, OS 9 is the most stable OS I've used in a LONG time. If yours is crashing, it most likely has more to do with some other software on your system than the OS iteself.

    I've been much more aware of these issues now that I also work with a software company. Out Windows application is writted incredibly well, yet, invariably, there are always a few systems with just the right combination of software and settings where the software just will not work, or will crash. There is simply no way to assure 100% compatibility on every system.

    My G4 at work crashes a lot more than the one I have at home. That's because I have a LOT of crap on my work one and am just to lazy to find the conflicts (it's easier to restart...besides, that forces me to take a break )

    Also, I find it interesting that when we have hardware issues with the Macintoshes at my work, it has taken WEEKS to get replacement parts.
    While it has nothing to do with the OS, I agree with this statement.

    By the way, if anyone has a G4 with a real noisy fan on the Graphic's card, you can have it replaced, free of charge, with a fanless card (the new style). I did it and it has quieted my machine down significantly.




    [This message has been edited by homer (edited 06-20-2000).]
  17.    #17  
    Originally posted by homer:
    Well, yes and no. DOS IS a user interface, as is UNIX. These are both command line interfaces.
    I KNOW THAT! That isn't the point. What I don't understand is how pro-command line users somehow feel that all Operating systems should be command prompt based as apposed to GUI based? Exactly how am I going to be more productive entering X and Y coordinates into PhotoShop rather than dragging a mouse? Your absolutely right, both interfaces have their place and utility in computing.

    But I don't understand how some people get off with this..."real men use Linux!" attitute. Since when did the size of a guys schlong enter into computer operating systems?
  18. #18  
    Foo:

    I understand what you are saying. I used to be a bit of a Mac bigot myself, but as I began to deal more and more with interface design as a profession, I realize that they ALL have their weeknesses and advantages.

    Whenever people say "This OS Sucks" it is usualy because it doesn't fit their needs...which only means it doesn't fit their needs, not that it sucks.
  19. #19  
    What I would like to see is both command line AND GUI functions for key applications. I used to do NT account admin and hated the fact that the NET USER command only worked on the current workstation or domain. In a multiple domain model (which we had), I had to use User Mgr, which takes forever to load.

    ------------------
    James Hromadka
    VisorCentral.com
    Personal Website: http://www.Hromadka.com
  20. #20  
    Oh how i long for the days when we had good ol' command lines... once i either get my serial cradle, or get my USB cradle to work in linux... im ditching windoze forever, cept maybe for game playing

    And also Cerulean, i did say that the macs had some new very nice hardware... but the imacs are definitly not the way to go if youre looking into macs

    ANYONE READING THIS: IF YOURE PLANNING ON GETTING A MAC, GET A G4 FOR CHRISSAKE
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