Tag Archives: Vista

How to Get Flamed by Mac Zealots

Mary Jo Foley couldn’t have done any better at igniting a flame war if she tried with this posting titled “Leopard Looks Like… Vista“. Number 4 is just plain wrong, and is probably worth explaining to any worried Mac owners out there. Unlike the PC’s, Mac’s have had 64-bit processors for a number of years with the G5 and G4 processors – so Leopard isn’t cutting out owners of those Mac’s. It is also worth bearing in mind that Tiger is partially 64-bit already – Apple has taken a phased approach with a single version – none of this 32-bit/64-bit version incompatibility confusion that people encounter on Windows. The current version of the OS, Tiger is 64-bit in parts anyway (check out this Apple explanation for more detail) – Leopard is merely the next phase in the process. The 64-bit business is purely for the techies, as a Mac end user it has no bearing.

The Annual Mac Attack from PC Pro

Last year it was Vista v MacOS X that compared a shipping version of MacOS X with a beta version of Vista, this time around, PC Pro has rolled out “32 Reasons Why PC’s are Better Than Macsâ€? as it’s annual cover article bashing the Mac, and what a pretty pointless waste of paper it is too – however it is a further example of PC Pro’s schizophrenic relationship with the Mac.

Point number one is “Service Packs Don’t Cost £90â€? which is wheeling out their argument from last year that the MacOS X upgrades are service packs, and it then rolls through the familiar selection of PC owner grumbles including the one button mouse, which of course isn’t, but Apple defaults the Mighty Mouse to a single button configuration. Insecurity pops up too, with the standard PC retort that PC’s are perfectly secure if you get hold of a decent anti-virus application. They also pad out the list a bit with grumbles about the Mac startup sound, version numbers of MacOS X, and one whole item of the 32 is devoted to a whinge about Steve Jobs! In terms of the interface grumbles and ‘it’s not intuitive’ arguments that pepper the list, most boil down to the fact that it doesn’t work the same way as Windows – which means that anyone with a lot of Windows experience is still back to feeling like a novice trying to use a Mac. For example, the single mouse button doesn’t bother long term Mac users as everything that is on the right-click menu is able to be carried out elsewhere anyway. The menus being at the top of the screen is seen as consistent to Mac users, and so the list goes on. The article also waves Office 2007 as an advantage because Mac users are having to wait for Office 2008 for compatibility with some features. Of course as a look back over the releases will show, Microsoft always operates like this, and Office 2008 will bring new features that aren’t available on Office 2007 that will be included in the next PC release. Some of the points are just plain wrong. Number 28 compares memory handling, unfortunately taking a pop at the Classic MacOS memory handling and claiming that Mac applications crash from lack of memory. Certainly the old MacOS Memory Management was lousy, but certainly I’ve had no such problems with MacOS X.

To find the reason for this latest effort, you have to take a look at the editors column at the front of the magazine – it seems that Tim Danton is a little upset by the Get a Mac adverts, and is finding that the office Mac’s used to put the magazine together are crashing. I have to say that some of the Mac faithful are getting a bit fed up with them too, with even the occasional Mac magazine suggesting that a change in advertising would be a good idea. With regards to his unreliable office Mac’s he doesn’t say what they are actually running, or what age the machines are, certainly they could still be running MacOS 9 which is still widely used in the publishing industry. As to why they bother with these periodic efforts, I really don’t know. It’s true to say that the numbers of Mac owners are rising, but the numbers are millions behind the numbers of PC’s, and there isn’t any real chance of the numbers overtaking. Maybe it is this PC Pro Schizophrenia, as the magazine finds themselves giving good reviews to Mac’s they have to do these big Mac bashing articles to balance out!

However, whatever the article may say, it doesn’t change my experiences. Sat in front of me is a recent PC, and a similarly aged Mac. Both are running the latest versions of their respective operating systems. This, like most things I do at home is being done on the Mac because it is just plain more reliable, and just works. Compare this to the PC’s. As you know, I’ve got a love hate relationship with Vista on my laptop. Driver wise it is better supported, but the machine is noticeably more sluggish since I installed Vista, and, as I discovered on the Time and Talents day, more unreliable too. What I need in a home computer is something that is reliable and stable, and I’ve got that in the Mac. True I could probably build a PC that is as reliable with a bit of work, and by picking the right combination of hardware and software, but why bother when you can buy a Mac off the shelf that meets my needs?

To round off though, even PC Pro has to concede the one thing that sets the Mac apart. The article finishes off with highlighting the one thing that a Mac can do that a PC can’t, and the reason why a number of Microsoft staff are now running Mac’s. Whilst there are hacks to get MacOS X running on a PC, the Mac is the only official way to get the current big three operating systems, Windows, MacOS X and Linux running on the same machine, and schizophrenic to the last, PC Pro shows you how, even trumpeting the stability of of MacOS X when running four virtual PC’s and three virtual Linux boxes simultaneously…

Update: PC Pro are already starting to get feedback over this on their forum
– expect more when this issue hits news stands! It is worth noting that last time around they ended up defending themselves on their letters page.

Also, for a more detailed analysis, take a look at a point-by-point rebuttal over at themak.org. The first part is here, with the second part here, and the third and final part here.

Time and Talents Day

So today, I spent the day up at the Parish Centre for our Time and Talents Day for the Conservation Appeal. I’d offered to be around to answer any computer questions people might have, so this morning I packed my laptop into the car, and headed off.

In actual fact I ended up having only one question (although another parishioner has also asked me to help them out moving data from their old PC to a new one), and most of the rest of the day I entertained myself catching up on my reading in Google Reader, and demonstrating Microsoft Train Simulator – in particular the stunning (and free) London and Port Stanley route – which it had to be said kept at least one person transfixed for almost an hour. Having said that, that was one more question than someone else who was offering advanced Excel training…

What seemed most popular were the lunches, the ironing, the reflexologist and one couple who actually did the most hard work of the day by washing and valeting cars the entire day. There are also quite a few offers of help for other times on the board still, so hopefully some of those will be taken up over the next few weeks.

The appeal itself has reached the halfway point, so we have £250,000 pledged or in the bank – only another £250,000 to go. We had another round of specialist visits during the week, and in the run up to Easter between services one group will be systematically moving pews and taking up floorboards to investigate what is underneath the floor. We’ve already had one or two interesting discoveries about the floor. Firstly, it isn’t flat – a bit of a problem for the underfloor heating – and secondly, the floor level in one particular corner is lower than the base of the wall, since this happens to be the same corner in which Beth sits most often, she is possibly considering sitting somewhere else!

The day was also the first time I had tried the laptop with Vista installed on battery power, and switching between battery and mains power. Now under XP-64, the machine had no problems, you could unplug the power supply and plug it back in without a problem. Not the case under Vista – as the machine just locked totally whenever the power type changed. Vista in general proved to live up to it’s Windows heritage, and locked the machine totally on at least two occasions during the day, and Google Reader quite impressively managed to knock over Internet Explorer on two occasions. From the experience today, Vista is quite okay for the occasional use I put it to, but the crashability of it, combined with the annoyances of the continual requests for permission to do almost anything, means that there is no danger of me switching back from the Mac.

New Organ Grille

With it being quiet, the day did give me a chance to pop into the Church and take a picture of the finished organ, now that the ornamental grille has been added. Thankfully, the addition of the grille seems to have sorted out the volume problems which have been producing a number of complaints over the last few months. The reason for this is pretty simple – the way the swell box opens directs the sound into the bottom part of the grille, so the congregation is no longer getting sound waves straight from the pipes.

I’ve added the final picture to my previous set of pictures.

Garmin Vista-64 Support

Updating the GPS from Mapsource on Vista-64

Although I’ve been running a 64-bit operating system on my laptop since new, one of the big annoyances is the general lack of support that hardware manufacturers have shown towards the 64-bit platform. As a result, I’ve had to keep a 32-bit install of Windows around for a number of tasks, one of the main ones being to keep my Garmin StreetPilot i2 up to date. To be honest, since it was such a pain keeping two Windows installs around, I haven’t much bothered.

However recently, my i2 announced that the maps were out of date, and directed me to the Garmin website where it offered me an update to the latest version of the maps – more than that, whereas the unit shipped with only UK coverage, the update would contain coverage of the whole of Europe, pretty useful for our summer holiday to France. By this point, I had updated the laptop to Vista-64, and to be honest I was expecting it not to work, but then I came across this post on the Garmin Blog on Vista Compatibility which claimed in the second half of February, Mapsource, and more importantly the USB drivers for the GPS units will be compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit editions of XP and Vista. Checking the download area, this month, there were indeed drivers that said they were Vista compatible.

I dutifully downloaded both the latest Mapsource and Drivers, and installed them. Then when the update for the GPS arrived yesterday, I set that going. Here is where the hassle started, when at the relevant point in the City Navigator 9 install I plugged in the GPS, it refused to recognise the unit. I sent a support e-mail off to Garmin, and experimented some more. After reinstalling the Mapsource and USB drivers from the download, the unit was now recognised – however every time I tried to use the update on the DVD, it failed to recognise the unit again – it seems like despite the downloads being newer versions, the update DVD is overwriting the installed versions with it’s own versions – a bit of pain really. It’s not too much of a problem though, as I installed the map data onto my PC, and then did the map update manually – the process that is pictured above.

Aside from the annoyance with the install on the DVD, it seems to work pretty well flawlessly with Vista-64 – all from a single install too – none of this 64-bit/32-bit downloads. Certainly there are a number of other manufacturers of hardware who are still working on compatibility – Philips for example – who don’t support their SPC900NC camera on Vista at all currently – so it’s good to report that the Vista driver issues are starting to be fixed, particularly for those of using the 64-bit version.