Thursday, April 06, 2006

Small stuff ... for now ...

I'll start with a good article on computer complexity from the net that somehow completes my older post on features that still matter - maybe the title (suggesting that software sucks) is not the best choice but it seems to work great :)

In other news we had Apple BootCamp - here are a few of the less obvious things about that:

- isn't it a little strange that Apple only published that after a few other projects already did similar stuff ?

- wouldn't it be normal for a system that is about 1000 US$ overpriced (over a competitor that is cooler and has far more features) to have that option preinstalled ?

- wouldn't it be the normal way to actually SELL the LEGALLY LICENSED version of XP (together with ALL NEEDED DRIVERS bundled on the CD/DVD) instead of providing a gray-area tool (which in the end might be mostly used for piracy)? I really wonder if Microsoft will sue on that matter ... the publicity of having Apple help installing WindowsXP on their own machines is not bad but getting money from selling legal licenses for that and the pressure from other more honest computer builders that do not promote tools to pirate competing software might be important too!!!

- if BootCamp somehow is not illegal (which is still a big if) - does this also mean that buying some OSX DVD and then applying a MAXXUS patch is also legal ??? I guess so :))

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Monopoly (Apple MacBookPro) vs Competition (Dell Latitude)

After about 30 years of brainwashing the macfans somehow believe that the price for Apple products is equal to or at most marginally higher than the price for products on a free/open market - let's take a closer look at that - now that both Dell and Apple are shipping their similar models (but with the distinction that Dell only announced them when it was possible to ship - and not months in advance only to create some media noise - like Apple did).

So we will compare two very similar top-level configurations - generally speaking the hardware level is a little on the overkill side and while with Apple you have VERY little choice, with Dell you can get a cheaper CPU (also with less heat than the Apple machine, that can not be hold on your lap) and you will pay less. Also with Dell you can go to a HIGHER configuration - for instance you can get 4 GB of RAM - but again that would be an overkill option for 99.9999% of the users, but you can also get a video card with 512 MB RAM, and that will just leave the MacBook-nonpro miles behind ... in the amateur class :) With Dell you WILL get a FULL KEYBOARD (and not the brainwashed Apple version), TWICE more mouse buttons (actually 4 times, and both the touchpad and the "trackpoint") and you can also get for 19$ extra full a/b/g wireless and many, many other options ... but with Apple you are mostly locked :(

The Apple configuration is:

2.16GHz Intel Core Duo
2GB 667 DDR2 - 2x1GB SO-DIMMs
100GB Serial ATA drive @ 5400 rpm
SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW)
AirPort Extreme Card & Bluetooth
Backlit Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
Apple USB Modem
AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Pro/PowerBook (w/or w/o Display) - Auto-enroll
15.4-inch TFT Display

PRICE: 3497 US$
(and the modem is external, so is probably the mouse, probably macfans never move their notebooks :) )

Dell configuration:

Latitude D820:
Intel® Core™ Duo T2600 (2.16GHz) 667Mhz Dual Core
Genuine Windows® XP Professional, SP2, with media
15.4 inch Wide Screen WXGA LCD Panel
Graphics:256MB NVIDIA® Quadro NVS 110M
Memory:2.0GB, DDR2-667 SDRAM, 2 DIMMS
Hard Drives:100GB Hard Drive, 9.5MM, 5400RPM
Optical Drive - Modular:8X DVD+/-RW w/Roxio Digital Media™ and Cyberlink Power DVD™ 8XDVRW
Dell Wireless™ 1390 802.11g Mini Card
Bluetooth:Dell Wireless® 350 Bluetooth Module
Hardware Support Services:3 Year Mail-In Economy Plan

PRICE: 2554 US$

So yes - you CAN think that the Apple configuration is only marginally more expensive ... if in your case about 1000 US$ are peanuts :)

There might be two other "arguments" from the macfans - that Apple build quality is better - that might be true if we compare a 2000 US$ Apple notebook with a 500 US$ consumer-level Dell, but believe me - a Latitude is actually miles AHEAD of Apple in quality!

And the other "pseudo-argument" that you will certainly hear is that with Apple you will get OSX - leaving aside the fact that the MacBookPro does not have WinXP and that currently you can not install a legal (meaning non-patched) version of it (as a result of Apple restrictions and not the other way around) - OSX is just an operating system on which you will have about 100 times less choice and only the ILLUSION of marginally better security - maybe some people might think that at the same price point as XP Pro the Apple OSX might be worth it (if you are a real computer pro you already know that it is not) but when it costs about 1000 US$ MORE than XP Pro only an idiot will continue to claim it is a better option !

Small update: any user with at least some technical knowledge would expect almost identical results from computers with almost identical electronic parts (only the video cards are different but even on that I expect Dell to be better); however if a lot of delusional macfans still would like for somebody to kill a lot of time in a rather useless way and benchmark those two configurations I am OK with that as long as they will pay for the entire test - so if there are any takers I will open a PayPal account and if it goes over 7000 US$ (no, it's not a mistake, there ARE other costs in benchmarking stuff) I will order those two and actually kill some time just to show that one or another is probably on average 0.01% faster :) (and obviously I will keep both - small payment for my time but at least I will be able to later debunk just another myth - like for instance the one for "resale value").