Articles in the Apple category

  1. Why I Believe the New Mac Pro Won't Be a Great MacHine for Gaming

    June 23, 2013

    In Accidental Tech Podcast episode 18 (love the show), I learned that John Siracusa was thinking about buying a new Mac Pro for gaming.

    I believe that gaming on the new Mac Pro will be a mediocre experience.

    Driver support: as John mentioned himself, the video cards are 'professional GPUs' used in workstations for computing, CAD etc. These cards and especially their drivers under Windows are not geared towards gaming performance.

    The performance and quality of Mac OS X drivers may be improved dramatically over the past years, but if you like to play games exclusively under Windows, you will probably be disappointed when you switch to bootcamp.

    Crossfire support: you have these two ridiculously fast GPU's and for years on the PC platform, you can stack them together to achieve insane performance (SLI / Crossfire).

    Mac OS X does not seem to support crossfire (or SLI). If you can't benefit from crossfire, you're paying a lot of money for a machine with one idle but very expensive videocard. That sounds like a ridiculous waste of good money.

    Assuming that the hardware supports crossfire, if you would run Windows, then you may hit the driver issues associated with pro cards.

    Upgrading: upgrading can be cost-efficient as most games are GPU not CPU bound, not an option for the Mac Pro. Even the new Thunderbolt interface does not have sufficient bandwidth to hook up one or more external high-performance videocards, aside from the fact that this will be insanely expensive.

    If you really needs the horsepower of a Mac Pro for other purposes than for gaming, sure it's the fastest mac you can get, but otherwise, I believe there's a better deal to be had.

    We don't now what the new Mac Pro will cost in a configuration suitable for gaming, but it will be 'a lot'. I believe that for one new Mac Pro, you will also be able to buy:

    1. a mac Mini with reasonable specs (it's easy to replace memory and storage);
    2. a high-quality 27" display @ 2560x1440
    3. a ridiculously fast PC that will outperform the new Mac Pro when it comes to gaming.

    I know that some Mac users don't like the idea of having a PC at home, but if you are into PC gaming, there's no other choice in my opinion if you want a good gaming experience.

    I had high hopes for my 27" iMac (2011) but gaming performance anno 2013 is just mediocre at best. And I can't use it as an external display with a PC, only with a Mac.

    So I sold my 27" iMac and used the money to buy a separate 27" display and Mac Mini. I also ordered a 'ridiculously fast PC' which I hope will allow me to play all modern games on max quality settings for now and the upcoming year. And if required, I can swap out the dual GPUs and replace them with something better over time, if I need to.

  2. Lion's FileVault Does Not Support Bootcamp and External Boot Disks

    August 05, 2011

    Read the comments as they may provide useful information for your particular situation

    I boot my iMac from an external FW800 SSD. I found out that it is impossible to encrypt this disk using the new FileVault as part of Lion.

    no filevault

    Furthermore, I also found out that if you have a disk with a Bootcamp partition FileVault will also refuse to start the encryption process. I'm not trying to encrypt the Bootcamp volume, just the bootable Mac OS X Lion installation.

    no encryption with bootcamp

    It may be advised to stay away from Lion if you need a setup similar to this one and also need disk encryption.

  3. Lion's Disk Utility Not Compatible With CoreStorage and Filevault

    August 03, 2011

    My 1 TB hard drive of my 2011 27" iMac was partitioned with:

    1. A bootable partition with Mac OS X Lion
    2. Time machine partition (I use an external SSD as my main OS)
    3. Bootcamp partition with windows
    4. A data partition containg... data.

    The problem is that CoreStorage is too new. Disk Utility in Lion cannot cope with CoreStorage volumes. So when I decided to encrypt the bootable partition using the new Full Disk Encryption based on filevault, I could no longer manage my other partitions.

    disk utility

    Furthermore, bootcamp got killed since it needs to be installed on one of the first three partitions on the disk. Due to the whole CoreStorage stuff and filevault, it became the fifth partition and it got killed. I couldn't get it back to life It wouldn't boot.

    What I want now is to create a setup where I have three partitions:

    1. A bootable (Boot) clone of my external FW800 SSD boot disk using SuperDuper
    2. A Bootcamp volume running Windows (for games)
    3. A data partition storing well.. data.

    I want to encrypt the boot disk and the data partition. If this is going to work, I don't know.

    It may be advised to stay away from Lion if you need a setup similar to this one and also need disk encryption.

  4. Additional Proof That Apple Is Ditching the Optical Drive

    July 23, 2011

    I'm a strong advocate of killing the optical drive. As of 2011, there is no need for it anymore. Laptops could get lighter, smaller or have more room for additional battery capacity if the optical drive would no longer be present.

    In my life, I never see people use the optical drive. And why would you use them any more? Isn't it so that if you are still using CDs or DVDs with your computer, that you do it out of (a bad) habit? And if you really can't part with your CDs or DVDs, would an external USB optical drive be a usable solution?

    I think that we are at a point where most people don't even know that their computer has an optical drive.

    With the release of the new 2011 Mac Mini, Apple dropped the optical drive yet again. They first dropped it from the MacBook Air and now the Mini.

    What is next? Well that is clear. New Macs will be able to boot over the Internet from Apple's servers. Again, no need for an optical drive, even for reinstalling your computer. I wouldn't be surprised if the next generation of MacBook Pro laptops would not contain an optical drive. Maybe some people aren't ready for it but people should rejoice since it would make MacBooks thinner and lighter.

    As apple killed the floppy drive, it is now killing the optical drive.

  5. The iPhone, iPad and iOS Are Powering a Revolution

    November 06, 2010

    Most people just don't understand computers. Are these people dumb? Some may be dumb, but the people who make them are maybe even dumber. Because they can't seem to figure out how to create a computer that the majority of people understand.

    When the original macintosh arrived at the stage back in the eighties, computers became a bit more human-friendly, but it was limited to the constraints of the then available hardware. It put away the text-based interface and introduced the graphic interface. It used the desktop metaphor to create this graphic environment. But this metaphor has had its day.

    Many people don't understand the desktop metaphor since they don't have a desktop and have never used one. Also, it is a metaphor, it's to translate the computer environment to something humans understand. But what if they don't understand the metaphor? For example, many people just don't 'get' the Windows Explorer or the Mac OS X finder. The desktop metaphor does not seem to fit in how people think.

    Every time you see a person enter a URL like www.youtube.com in the google search field, you will realize that we still have a long way to go.

    Most people did not seem to realize back then that the release of the iPhone wasn't that important, but the release of iOS. The iPhone was the first smartphone (a word most people are not familiar with) that did away with a stylus or hardware keyboard. It uses what is closest to us: our fingers. A totally new user interface, one that is very natural and close to us, is now available.

    Using touch as input required a total redesign of the entire user interface. All other interfaces were designed around hardware keyboard and mouse devices. Fingers are big, and are obstructing the view. But it allows for a more direct interaction with a device. And now all new smart phones sport a touch interface.

    Rumors of an Apple tabled existed for long, but it was very clear when the iPhone was released that if Apple would release a tablet, it would run this new iOS operating system.

    When the iPad was released, it became an instant hit. As of today, there is no device on the market that can be truly called a competitor. But why is this so? The ground work has been done by the iPhone. Most people with an iPhone will notice that aside from some performance issues in the past, the device just always worked. It was instantly available to sent an email, look something up on wikipedia or find the nearest Starbucks. An iPhone just always works. No boot. Very reliable. And an interface that makes you happy.

    Why does iOS make people happy? Because it provides a user interface that is human. People understand it instinctively. Any person of any age or background will be able to use an iOS device within minutes. The interface doesn't make you look like you are dumb because you just don't understand how it works. It not only works, it is easy to use and you are not afraid to break anything.

    The iPhone and the iPad are learning a lot of people not to fear computers.

    The iOS does away with the old desktop metaphor, but so does Symbian or similar interfaces. It is the combination with touch and the well thought out interface that sets it apart from other mobile operating systems. Even when the iOS platform did not have native applications, people still bought it and not only because Apple released a new shiny toy.

    However, the app store on iOS has created a very special and important environment. People can finally install and remove applications in an extremely simple way. They don't need to be scared that some program will crash your computer either while installing it, using it, or removing it. The whole iOS ecosystem creates an environment wherein people don't need any help any longer from other people. They are finally in control. They don't need to be afraid of their computer.

    This trend will affect the old-school user interfaces such as Mac OS X. How it will turn out is anybodies guess. But there is at least a small trend to 'eradicate' the finder as much as possible. iPhoto stores your photos. iTunes stores your music. If you want to include a photo or song within an application, you pick the photo or song in question from a miniature iPhoto or iTunes interface. There is no finder anymore. The finder is disappearing from the workflow. And why not? If programs are written well, why bother with it? The finder should be abstracted away, as is the case on iOS, where you don't have a finder.

    Another thing is multitasking, you know, that stuf we like to do, but cant. We can only do one thing at a time. What we do want is fast task switching, not multitasking. Sure, some programs must be running in de background, to continue to operate, such as a chat program, but that is not the point. Most people are just going crazy if you show how multitasking works, with different windows. Again, iOS shows how 'multitasking' should be implemented. It is implemented as fast application switching, allowing these applications to register services that must continue to run, while the application itself freezes when the user switches to another application. People tend to use one application at a time and especially on mobile devices, every single bit of screen real estate counts, so they are always running full screen. This full screen notion will also be incorporated in the next Mac OS X release, Lion. People switch, but do one thing at a time.

    Computer nerds tend to feel superior to people who don't have much skill using a computer. This feeling of superiority is totally misplaced. They should be really humble. because up until the advent of iOS, nobody was able to create a human friendly computer interface. It is not the lack of understanding on the side of computer users, it is the lack of understanding on the part of the computer nerds on how normal humans think and act.

    Simple, human friendly computer interfaces will liberate humanity from those pesky computer nerds. And that will cause a bit less suffering in the world I hope.

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