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Appreciated

Posted on Thursday, August 24th, 2006

Dave!Today is Blog Appreciation Day and, trust me, if I had the time to load up the hundreds of blogs I read so I could take their photo, I would absolutely do that. But, on top of all the crazy stuff that happened today, my new Mac Pro showed up, and so a huge chunk of my day was spent setting it up, transferring files, and screaming (if you're really interested, I've put the whole ordeal in an extended entry).

But, despite the fact that I couldn't participate, Kevin and Karl were nice enough to photograph my blog anyway...

Blog Appreciated

Unfortunately, it's also "Planet Depreciation Day," and some dumbass astronomy guys decided that Pluto was no longer a planet. This is totally lame, and I have news for you... I don't really give a crap what they say, to ME Pluto is STILL A MUTHERF#@%ING PLANET!! Hey, it sure looks like a planet, and even has a freakin' moon...

Pluto

Okay then. If the joys and frustration of Macintosh computer ownership fascinate you, then feel free to continue reading about my day in an extended entry, filled with bitching and geeky goodness...

Mac Pro

ORDERING...
On August 7th, I placed an order for a 2.66Ghz Quad Xeon Mac Pro packed with memory and hard disk storage. The Apple Store was giving an assemble & ship date of 2-4 days. Unfortunately, I placed my order through the Apple Business Sales Group, so the order wasn't even processed until FOUR DAYS LATER. During this time, I found out that the Business Sales Group pretty much sucks ass. The "sales associates" have absolutely NO abilities whatsoever EXCEPT to take your order. They can't follow-up and tell you why it hasn't been processed. They can't answer questions. They don't know anything. Half the time, they never even respond to your emails. By the time my ship date had been changed for the second time, I was outraged. Any attempt to get answers were met with a complete runaround, or outright lies (I was told at one point that the reason my order was late was because of the Airport Wireless Card... but I never ordered one!). In order to shut me up, my sales rep finally told me that she had the order expedited to ship overnight at no additional charge. This turned out to be yet another lie, and it was shipped regular ground service. All I can say is that if this is the treatment Apple is giving business customers, it's no wonder that their business sales suck ass. Since this is F#@% Off And Die Thursday, I'd like to say "F#@% Off And Die" to Apple Business Sales. Though that's a little harsh, because their completely powerless and useless status probably isn't their fault.

DELIVERY...
After a 2-4 day shipping window slipped to FOURTEEN F#@%ING DAYS, my new Mac Pro finally arrived seventeen days later. Interesting to note that Apple no longer uses an outer shipping carton, so my beautiful black laminated box was totally beat to shit. Still, ignoring the carton destruction, the computer was well-packed and arrived in good shape. Or so I thought.

CONSTRUCTION....
As usual with Apple products, the design is functional, beautiful, and brilliant. There is simply nothing that compares to the new Mac Pro... Dell POS PCs look like crap by comparison. This new machine is a work of art, yet the metal exterior is surprisingly rugged. Access to the interior is sweet... no stupid screws, just one elegant release lever and you're there. The massive size of the machine allows for all kinds of card slots, hard drive bays, and optical bays for expansion. I could not be happier. Even better, the Mac Pro is whisper quiet, with the only noticeable sound being the hard drive.

CONNECTORS...
If there's one area where Apple completely sucks and can kiss my ass... it's their constant need to develop proprietary connectors on their peripherals and then drop support for them. Turns out the ADC (Apple Display Connector) on my Apple Cinema Display has been dropped. It also turns out that the proprietary connector on my Apple Speaker Orbs has ALSO been dropped. My new computer has no sight and no sound. Even worse, Apple championed FireWire as their connector of choice, causing me to buy all FireWire peripherals... then decides to put only ONE FireWire connector on the back of their high-end computer. USB-2 is the connector of choice now. This pretty much makes Apple a piece of shit who expects you to toss your perfectly useable peripherals every time you buy a new machine. So now I've had to buy a FireWire hub, new speakers, and a $100 ADC to DVI adapter before I can even use the thing. Hey, I know that connectors need to advance along with technology, but this kind of rapid abandonment is just stupid.

SET-UP...
Despite the fact that there wasn't a scratch on the machine, it was dead on arrival. The power button ignites and I hear stuff, but the machine doesn't boot. Horrified at the thought of trying to get another machine out of the hopelessly useless Apple Business Unit, I Googled "DOA New Mac Pro" and was immediately greeted with hundreds of hits. Turns out most people solved the problem my reseating the RAM and video cards, which (thankfully) also worked for me. After solving that idiotic problem, I faced another... this new Mac is frickin' HUGE! I had to spend the next 45 minutes completely taking apart my desk so I could reposition the shelves and get it to fit underneath.

INSTALLATION...
After all the crap I've just been through, it was time that something go right... and it does. Apple has a migration assistant that copies all the settings and stuff off your old machine automatically. Between that and syncing with .Mac, my new Mac Pro was good to go in record time. I compare this with the pathetic equivalent on Windows which has NEVER worked for me, and realize once again why I am a Mac whore. Apple simply knows how to do things right.

EXPERIENCE...
I put off buying new computers for as long as possible. I just don't feel the need to constantly have the newest, bestest, most bad-ass machine. So long as the computer can do what I need for my work, I'll hang on to it (which explains why my desktop Mac at home is STILL the beautiful G4 Cube). But my aging G4 Power PC Tower was to the point where it was painfully slow and not capable of running the latest software, so it was time to upgrade. The difference in speed with the new Mac Pro is staggering. The Finder interface is snappy and wonderfully responsive. Universal Binary apps (compiled to run native on the Mac Pro's Intel chipset) are an absolute joy to use. This is the way the MacOS was meant to be run, and it's really impressive just how big a difference fresh hardware makes.

ROSETTA...
For those applications which are not yet compiled as Universal Binary, Apple has a seamless emulation engine to run the PowerPC code on Intel which is called Rosetta. Since all my Adobe apps (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) have to go through Rosetta, performance takes a hit. Even so, they are still quite a bit faster than on my old G4. Surprisingly, I've not run into any compatibility issues. Granted, I've only been using it for a day, but things do look promising.

CONCLUSION...
Anything that makes my work go easier and faster is aces in my book, and the new Mac Pro is super-sweet. Despite the problems with getting my "old" peripherals hooked up (and having to re-seat my RAM and video card) I am pretty impressed. About the only thing that is truly puzzling here is that Bluetooth and AirPort wireless aren't standard. This seems crazy given that "lesser" Macs (like iMacs and Mac Minis) have these built-in. All that being said, the price vs. performance when compared to equivalent Windows PCs is pretty close, which is a pleasant change. No longer do Mac professionals have to pay a premium just because they want a better computer with a superior OS. If you're limping along with a G4 like I was, now is probably a good time to upgrade. If you've got a G5 and use Adobe apps, then you're probably better off waiting until Adobe gets off their ass and makes their Creative Suite a Universal Binary. :-)

Argh. Time for bed.


Categories: Apple Stuff 2006, Blogging 2006Click To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. James says:

    Hmmm…well it is perplexing that they would abondon firewire so readily, the DVI connection is pretty much the standard now so I wouldn’t fault them there.

    As for transfering files and settings, yeah I’ve never tried using any sort of Windows tool to do that. I have no faith. I just back up all my files to my iPod and redo all my settings manually.

    *I am now accepting donations to help get me out of my “Dell POS PC”*

  2. Göran says:

    Great to hear that it´s quiet. A friend has a G5 and he can´t have it in his bedroom because it heats up and sounds like a hurricane!

    I´m gonna go shopping!

  3. Mooselet says:

    Dude, Pluto is so not a planet in the same way Goofy is so not a dog. It’s a wannabe planet. Then all the other wannabes will have to made planets, too and think of all the memorization we’d have to do.

    Sorry, am a bit of an astronomy geek.

  4. jodi says:

    but we like sitting on our asses!

  5. Interesting on your take with Mac dropping the support for their stuff. That was the reason that I signed off Mac a while ago. They swore up and down that the Mac I bought was the best and that they were going to go forward with it and blah blah blah and the next year, they drop everything on it. Royally pissed me off, but what can you do?

    I love my Dell PC that I have now. It took some getting used to, but performance wise, I have no gripes at all. Well, I have a gripe about our Dell laptop’s wireless card, but the desktop is fine and dandy. I love the clamshell case but am considering getting a Alienware PC on my next upgrade. I’m like you, I’ll limp along until I can’t stand it anymore.

    I dunno, I’m still wary of Mac products after they burned me the last time. I love my ipod though. :D

  6. LarryB says:

    Heh. You should have seen the correspondence I engaged Apple with over the three month period in which I sent in my iBook for a minor repair and they proceeded to destroy it and lose all my data.

    Eventually, they gave me some free memory and a *new* faster computer as a replacement (because the old one was out of production) as a minor form of compensation.

    BTW – the only way I got satisfaction was to present myself at the Genius Bar of the only decent Apple Store in Northern California (the one in Burlingame). Here in Seattle, the stores both suck – and that doesn’t do you any good anyway since you can’t just drop by the store and gripe.

  7. I am so mad about this Pluto thing! It is actually my favorite planet, all small and lonely out there.

    Plus the fact that something I was taught in school is now obsolete makes me feel really OLD.

  8. Kevin says:

    Happy Blog Appreciation Day, Dave! I thought you would like it.

    Hey, did you hear something about a Mac Book recall? I saw something about it yesterday in the teasers for the news, but fell asleep before it aired.

  9. Anthony says:

    I can’t get a scale for the size of that box. Is it as big as the Dave Monument?

  10. Kyra says:

    I like Pluto too. :( Maybe even MORE because it’s a “wanna-be” planet.

  11. Dave2 says:

    James… The DVI connector is indeed “standard” now, and you’re right… it’s good that Apple has supported that. But this doesn’t excuse dropping support for ADC which they were still selling just two years ago! It’s not like I’m upset that there’s not a VGA port (though Apple does include an adapter for that). This is a proprietary Apple component on an item that has a lifespan of much longer than two years. I shouldn’t have to pay $100 because Apple changed their mind.

    Göran… It’s very quiet. Even more quiet than my old G4, which I found surprising after how loud the G5 ended up being.

    Mooselet… I just think it’s unfair to strip Pluto’s status. Okay, they made a mistake, but don’t retroactively cancel a planet because of it! Think of all those school textbooks and planetary models that have to be re-made now! Tragedy!

    Jodi… I should have put a smiley there. I understand that Creative Suite is a massive program and making it “Universal Binary” is a massive effort, so that was a joke. I’m just thrilled that Adobe continues to sync releases for the Windows and Mac versions instead of releasing Windows and then making Mac users wait a year (like so many software companies do).

    Kentucky Girl… It is very frustrating. Fortunately, the ports on my new Mac Pro all look pretty standardized, so perhaps Apple has learned their lesson? I guess I wouldn’t be so upset if they were just OLD connectors, but they’re not… they’re PROPRIETARY connectors used only by Apple.

    LarryB… That’s odd, because every time I’ve had a repair with Apple their support has been exemplary. They’ve always gone out of their way to provide fast, efficient service. My Genius Bar experiences have been less satisfying… my PowerBook has a dented corner because a “Genius” DROPPED IT while trying to show me something on it!

    Frances… I tend to look at it another way. Scientists were stupid back then! My knowledge can’t be dated and inaccurate if I blame what I learned on somebody else! :-)

    Kevin… I don’t think it’s a MacBook recall, I think it’s a battery recall?

    Anthony… Heh, no. Not even close. But I think it’s HEAVIER than the Dave Monument! :-)

    Kyra… Poor Pluto! It’s just out there minding its own business, and now it’s not a planet anymore. :-(

  12. Jeff says:

    Many Very Early Men Ate Juicy Steaks Using No…

    Now what the hell are they not going to use?!

  13. yellojkt says:

    I just replaced my ancient dead 3G iPod with a new 60GB video iPod and put it in my cradle (since new iPods don’t come with cradles) only to find out that iPods no longer support FireWire. My 4 year old Sony has a firewire port, but can’t run USB2 to save its life. It took 8 hours to download my 22GB of music to the new iPod.

    I thought progress was supposed to make things faster.

  14. ChillyWilly says:

    I’m major jealous. A Mac Pro…. Glad to hear it’s all worked out, even if you went through some hell to get it all working.

    So far, my experiences with Apple have all been great, but as with all companies, I’m sure they have their share of dumbasses to deal with.

  15. delmer says:

    It almost sounds as if Apple is outsourcing their Business Sales to HP. HP totally sucks these days.

  16. Karl says:

    Blogography looks so good on my LCD! And yeah, it was a battery recall, I thought.

  17. *lynne* says:

    Pluto: so what’s gonna happen to that mnemonic of My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pancakes? Is if going to be changed to us just getting served Nectarines? Noses? Numbats? [of course, the section in wikipedia is already updated to reflect this, eh?]

    Mac vs PC: The only reason I still want to get a PC of some sort is to be able to play The Sims. If you know for sure that I could play The Sims 2 on a Mac product, then maybe I’ll stop holding Kosh hostage to that promise of getting me a PC! [p/s : I named my fave Sim "Ken Coniff" - know which rapper he's a relative of? teeheehehe!]

  18. Dave2 says:

    Jeff… I don’t know, but I am hoping it will have monkeys in it!

    Yellojkt… Oh yes. I discovered the same thing when I bought my iPod nano, and ranted about it.

    ChillyWilly… Well, don’t be too jealous… the Mac Pro died again, and I’m having to get it replaced because no amount of fiddling with the cards will fix it. :-(

    Delmer… It’s very sad. But, again, I don’t blame the poor people in the Business Unit who are put in a situation where they have so little power to make things happen. Apple needs to give them better resources and better authority to service their customers. Otherwise, they’re nothing more than glorified order-takers, and that can be done on the web.

    Karl… Blogography looks awesome on any monitor! That’s just the way I roll! :-)

    Lynne… Sims2 is absolutely available for the Mac.

  19. Neil says:

    Next year we need to have a day for poor Pluto.

    Pluto, we still love you!

  20. Belinda says:

    I totally was unclued-in on the whole photo-taking aspect of blog appreciation day, but you can’t even believe how much I appreciate you. Really, you can’t. You might even try sometime, but your head would just explode from the effort.

  21. Eve says:

    Pluto was always the little planet that could and it always will be to me! Let’s see what happens in like 15 years when that New Horizons mission returns from Pluto.

  22. Chanakin says:

    My fax machine was down so I didn’t get the memo about Appreciation Day. I really need to start getting in the loop.

    The local news was running their annual “back to school consumer glutton” story. They said the sales of MacBook Pros have skyrocketed because some colleges are actually requiring them along with textbooks. One girl they interviews said she (ahem… her parents) dropped $3K getting her all set up.

  23. Kapha says:

    As you might tell from my avatar, I’m a bit of an astronomy buff – basically this Pluto thing has me really miffed!

    While I agree having 100 planets may not be a wonderful thing in 50 years, the way they did this was sloppy and idiotic. I won’t go into all the details here, but roughly 4% of the world’s astronomers voted on this – and it was somewhat hijacked by a particulr group who seemed to not be included in previous debates. AND everyone had to vote in person! Have they not heard of computers?!? They could have put this up to the entire world of astronomy and had a true vote. Sigh.

    Then they come up with a very un-scientific definition (the third part in their criteria for a planet) that a major NASA official has said is nothing less than embarassing!

    My solution is simple:

    * Put Pluto and other similar bodies such as Ceres (the largest asteroid in the asteroid belt), Charon (Pluto’s main moon), and all the other new bodies in a new classification: Plutons.

    This has been suggested previously and does two things: (1) It gives Pluto the respect it deserves by carrying its name forward into all the newly discovered Pluto-like bodies; (2) It aptly describes the way they are likely to be: rocky, cold, distant worlds – Pluto-like.

    Plus the word Pluton is frickin’ cool. :)

    The name they came up with instead: “Dwarf Planet” is so lame it makes me sigh/cringe even typing it here. What happens if they find a really big thing out there beyond Pluto? Yeah, it’s a Dwarf Planet ten times the size of Earth… They put a term of measurement – Dwarf – in the name! Duh.

    Here’s an artist’s rendering of some of those cool worlds out there found so far (This doesn’t include the 10th “planet” 2003UB313 though).

    Also I thought this was really cool on Sedna.

    Along with the “postcard from Sedna” – dang, I’d like to beam over there just to get away from these idiotic astronomers for a couple days.

  24. Dave2 says:

    I still think Pluto was doing just fine as a planet. They should have grandfathered it in as a planet rather than strip it of a status it has had for decades. :-(

  25. Jens K. Kiel says:

    Happy ‘Blog Appreciaton Day’, Dave! As a M.I.T. (Mac-Whore in Training) I enjoyed – or rather shared your suffering – reading “Appreciated, ctd.”. I suffered thru 20 years of DOS/Windows geekdom before discovering how easy and effortless working on a Mac (G5) is. Thanks for the tip, too – I’ll stick to my CS2 suite on my iMac til further notice.

    And yes – its an Apple recall for the Sony/LG battery – check the model number of your accu (A1045) and the serial number (starting with HQ404, HQ405, HQ406, HQ407, or HQ408) – used in PowerBooks and MacBooks.

  26. I’m jealous! I’m going to get one, I can hold out for a speed bump or two. I’ve really been wanting it but I figure waiting a generation can’t hurt me (a little more speed and maybe cheaper RAM?).

    I’ve got getting a new desktop on my 101 in 1001 list so it’ll happen sometime.

    Congrats!!!

  27. Neil T. says:

    I’ve ordered directly from Apple 3 times now and every time the order has taken far longer than their estimates. I can’t remember what held up my iPod, but I ordered my Mac Mini shortly before a change in the product line and my MacBook just after this year’s WWDC, so I probably just chose busy times. I also had them as custom-builds – the Mac Mini had an extra V.92 modem and the MacBook had extra RAM.

    Apple have also got my address wrong twice out of the two orders. The first time the delivery got held up because they had missed the first line of my address off the label – in other words, the delivery company knew what street I lived on but not what house, and somehow I couldn’t see them knocking on the doors of 100 or so houses asking who ordered the iPod. And with my MacBook, which I had delivered to work, they missed off my department and room number, so it was delivered to “Neil Turner, University of Bradford”. About 5000 people are employed by the university so that wasn’t exactly helpful, but thankfully I’m on first name terms with the post room staff so I was able to pick it up myself.

    Never had to use Apple tech support so I can’t say what they’re like – despite much abuse my iPod Mini still works as well as it did when I got it 2 years ago and my Mac Mini is still working fine. The MacBook’s less than a week old so time will tell.

  28. dave says:

    the mac pro lacks wifi, and bluetooth because their less secure…. thats what I hear anyway.. cause you know.. those macs are sooo unsecure.

  29. Dave2 says:

    That was a hoax (or so I read). I think Apple leaves it out because most “Pro” users use ethernet and a more precise corded mouse and wouldn’t use AirPort or BlueTooth. I think they’re just being cheap!

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