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Understanding Mac specs

Ram Bhakt
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I recently bought Acer TravelMate 8104 laptop for 1899$ (it sells currently for 1699$). It is probably the highest performing laptop currently (excluding the bulky desktop replacements). Centrino, Pentium 760 2.0 GHz, 1 GB RAM, 128 MB graphics card, 100GB HDD, DvD dual layer R/W, 5 in one Card reader, Firewire, USB ports, 15.4 SXGA+ screen, 802.11g etc. weighs about 8 pounds. I love it.

I would like to know what would be the configuration and price for a Mac laptop that can perform at the same level?
Bear Bibeault
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Impossible to say since, as was pointed out in another topic, you can't just look at specs and compare. It also depends greatly on what you are trying to do. If you're genuinely interested in this, I suggest dropping into an Apple store and trying out a laptop. If you're not, what is the purpose of this post?
[ January 05, 2006: Message edited by: Bear Bibeault ]

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Ram Bhakt
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Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:
Impossible to say since, as was pointed out in another topic, you can't just look at specs and compare. It also depends greatly on what you are trying to do. If you're genuinely interested in this, I suggest dropping into an Apple store and trying out a laptop. If you're not, what is the purpose of this post?

[ January 05, 2006: Message edited by: Bear Bibeault ]


I primarily do Java development ( Swing as well as back end ) using Netbeans. I also use paintshop and photoshop. Other standard apps like msword, outlook, ie, and visio.

I understand than we can't compare the specs that's why I am asking for comparing the performance for these apps and then finding out what would the specs for a similarly performing mac.
Scott Selikoff
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I convinced my girlfriend to get a iBook when she was searching for a new laptop last year and she absolutely loves. She's been using it for over a year now for both work and home. Its good for people who want to use a computer on a daily basis but aren't big into programming and just need something to have on hand for lab work, presentations, e-mail, and web-surfing.

Although most devote mac experts will tell you since its now supporting Unix, coding on it is fairly straightforward but I wouldn't go that far myself. The stability of it has been amazing, it can sleep for days without use and start back up in seconds.


My Blog: Down Home Country Coding with Scott Selikoff
Bear Bibeault
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Originally posted by Scott Selikoff:
Its good for people who want to use a computer on a daily basis but aren't big into programming


I'd strongly disagree that. Just because you personally wouldn't use it for programming (as you say in a later paragraph) does not lessen its suitability for that.

OS X is a far better environment for programmers than Windows for anything other than Windows-specific applications or environments.
[ January 05, 2006: Message edited by: Bear Bibeault ]
Bear Bibeault
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For me, all the spec-comparing in the world is actually a red herring. What's really important (to me at least) is how productive you are on a system. And for me, OS X beats Windows hands down on that count irrespective of system specifications.
Ram Bhakt
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With due respect, all the replies are beating around the bush and not revealing the real information. Come on, Mac guys, I could potentially switch to Mac if I find the it is a better proposition

Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:
For me, all the spec-comparing in the world is actually a red herring. What's really important (to me at least) is how productive you are on a system. And for me, OS X beats Windows hands down on that count irrespective of system specifications.


Fair enough. Would you care to explain what do you use you Mac for and what is its specification and price? Even better, now that you know what I use my laptop for, can you suggest the specs that I should look for if I were to buy a mac laptop with similar features. Surely, there are multiple models of iBooks around with the same OS. So hardware specs is what makes them different, isn't it? So "irrespective of system specification" doesn't really make any sense in this case.

(BTW, this is not just about Windows and OSX, it is about PCs and Mac.)
Ram Bhakt
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Originally posted by Scott Selikoff:
I convinced my girlfriend to get a iBook when she was searching for a new laptop last year and she absolutely loves. She's been using it for over a year now for both work and home. Its good for people who want to use a computer on a daily basis but aren't big into programming and just need something to have on hand for lab work, presentations, e-mail, and web-surfing.


Great. Please specify the configuration and the price. Also, can you tell where does it lie in the whole range of iBooks. I mean, is it a low end laptop, or a high end, or desktop replacement etc. For example, my laptop is in the high end mobile category ( price range 1600$ - 2000$).
Ram Bhakt
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Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:

OS X is a far better environment for programmers than Windows for anything other than Windows-specific applications or environments.


I think this statement is probably an exaggeration. I don't do windows development. I do java development ...front end to back end and I use netbeans (I also use eclipse sometimes just for the heck of it). While I haven't used these ides on a Mac, I am pretty sure that it would no different than using netbeans on windows. After it is a java application. So only the look and feel will be different but the functionality will be the same. I believe same goes for any other development environments.

If you do not agree with that, can you please provide some examples of features that Mac provides and that are not avaible on windows.

Again, please dont miscontrue my questions as casting aspertions on Mac's superiority. I have never used it and so I am just curious.
Bear Bibeault
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Originally posted by Ram Bhakt:

If you do not agree with that, can you please provide some examples of features that Mac provides and that are not avaible on windows.


A UNIX command line instead of a DOS shell.

For me: slam dunk!
Bear Bibeault
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Originally posted by Ram Bhakt:
(BTW, this is not just about Windows and OSX, it is about PCs and Mac.)


But you see, it is about Windows vs. OS X. As I said, for me it's all about the productivity. The underlying hardware is a secondary consideration.

To me, the only reason to be concerned about absolute hardware specs is if you want to whip them out and compare them to your friends' to prove whose is bigger.

OS X let's me get things done.
[ January 05, 2006: Message edited by: Bear Bibeault ]
Ram Bhakt
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Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:

But you see, it is about Windows vs. OS X. As I said, for me it's all about the productivity. The underlying hardware is a secondary consideration.

To me, the only reason to be concerned about absolute hardware specs is if you want to whip them out and compare them to your friends' to prove whose is bigger.

OS X let's me get things done.


Can you run Netbeans on a Mac that was top of the line 5 yrs ago? I know that I cannot run it on a Pentium I 400Mhz, 64 MB Ram, 4GB HDD. Even though it can load Win 98 just fine.

So hardware is as important as s/w. I am not questioning that you are more productive on Mac than Window. I am sure you are. But would you not be even more productive if your machine were twice as fast as it is? Same OS X, just a faster hardware. Do you see what I am saying? I hope so.

So again, what I am looking for is a specification for a Mac laptop that is comparable in performance to my current laptop and how much will it cost. Can you suggest something?
Ram Bhakt
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Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:


A UNIX command line instead of a DOS shell.

For me: slam dunk!


Dinosour

Seriously, I almost never have to use a command line. In fact, I should not be using it anyway, otherwise what is the point of using an IDE?
[ January 05, 2006: Message edited by: Ram Bhakt ]
Bear Bibeault
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I may be a dinosaur, but I'm a productive one! I do love my IDE (IntelliJ IDEA), but I'd be lost without my command line. Without cygwin, I'd find XP unusable as a dev system.

As far as Netbeans is concerned, I'm not a fan, so I can't answer your question definitiveely. But, in general, I've found that older Macs hold up much better than older PC's with regards to running the latest and greatest software. My "kitchen machine" is an ancient Indigo iMac and while it's not the fastest runner on the field, holds up well running the latest and greatest OS.

But then again, comparing older hardware to newer hardware isn't what we're talking about.

All I can add at this point would be: "Try it, you'll like it". That's what happened to me.
Scott Selikoff
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Originally posted by Ram Bhakt:


Great. Please specify the configuration and the price. Also, can you tell where does it lie in the whole range of iBooks. I mean, is it a low end laptop, or a high end, or desktop replacement etc. For example, my laptop is in the high end mobile category ( price range 1600$ - 2000$).


I believe it was a low-end iBook G4 for like $1,000. They have the same model still with some upgrades. I think the only compliant she later had was she wish she had opted for a bigger harddrive as I later discovered from http://www.pbfixit.com/Guide/83.13.0.html upgrading that harddrive is an a non-trivial process that requires taking the thing into many many small pieces.
Ram Bhakt
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Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:

All I can add at this point would be: "Try it, you'll like it". That's what happened to me.


Ok, this is my last attempt to try to explain what I am asking.
I do want to try. But try what??? There many models of iBooks ranging from 1000$ to 3000$. All run OS X. Which one should I try?

If some one were to ask me the same question for a WinTel box, I would answer some thing like this: Buy something with at least 1 GB RAM, 100 GB HDD, at least 1.8GHz speed processor. etc.

Do you get it now?
Ram Bhakt
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Originally posted by Scott Selikoff:


I believe it was a low-end iBook G4 for like $1,000. They have the same model still with some upgrades. I think the only compliant she later had was she wish she had opted for a bigger harddrive as I later discovered from http://www.pbfixit.com/Guide/83.13.0.html upgrading that harddrive is an a non-trivial process that requires taking the thing into many many small pieces.


Excellent!!! Please do me one more favor and tell me the hardware specs. Or if you know the model number, I can try googling the specs.
Scott Selikoff
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Originally posted by Scott Selikoff:
Its good for people who want to use a computer on a daily basis but aren't big into programming


Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:
I'd strongly disagree that. Just because you personally wouldn't use it for programming (as you say in a later paragraph) does not lessen its suitability for that.


As I did say, many devote mac users would disagree with me on that, mine being a personal preference.

I think you missed the main point of the original statement though. It's not to say that experts can't/shouldn't use Macs, but the other way around, macs true strength is for people who aren't computer savvy and don't want to be. I've known people who've used macs for years and don't have an inkling of how a computer works, and to me, this is a very positive thing. Not everyone should have to be a computer expert in order to use their computer. Many people want to use computers without reading books and instruction manuals on how to use them and I believe this is where the true strength of apple lies... that and the ability to be powerful at the same time.
Scott Selikoff
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Originally posted by Ram Bhakt:


Excellent!!! Please do me one more favor and tell me the hardware specs. Or if you know the model number, I can try googling the specs.


http://www.apple.com/ibook/specs.html

They range from 1000-1300 for the 12 and 14 inch models respectively plus the price of add-ons. The powerbooks start at 1500 and specs are on:
http://www.apple.com/powerbook/specs.html
[ January 05, 2006: Message edited by: Scott Selikoff ]
Bert Bates
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It sounds to me like what you really want is not an iBook but a PowerBook. (If you want to compare developers laptops in the $1500 to $2000 range.) In that range, you can get a PowerBook with a lot of RAM (3/4 of a gig or a gig) and a G4 processor running somewhere around 1.5 Ghz. (I think we're talking laptops here correct?).

In the $1500 range, the 12" PowerBook doesn't have the same onboard pixels as a 15", but it can drive a huge external monitor quite easily.

In the $2000 range the 15" PowerBook has a ton of onboard pixels, and it can also drive huge external monitors.

Then. of course, I have to agree that a OS X (Unix) command line totally blows away a Windoze command line.

hth,

Bert


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Bert Bates
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Woo-Hoo!

Well, as of yesterday these babies just got a whole lot faster. The new iMac is supposed to be twice as fast as the "old" G5 iMac because of the new Intel dual processor, and they managed to squeeze the Intel dual into PowerBooks (which are now called MacBook Pros :roll: ) which makes them 4x as fast the current Powerbooks.

Ya-Haa!
Mark Fletcher
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Plus you can buy one of these new intel macs and install windows on them if you want... so best of both worlds.

So to answer Rams question.... buy a MacBook pro, and just reinstall windows or OSX when you feel like it!


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Mark Fletcher
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As a windows user, the announcement of the Intel Macs is giving me a good reason to switch.

I work with .NET for a living, so the only thing thats kept me tied to the PC is the odd game and being able to run VS.NET.

I had a look at Virtual PC for the G5 Macs in the Apple store, but frankly the performance was sub par.

With the Intel Macs coming out, Im hoping that MS will produce an x86 version of Virtual PC for the Mac, and that will result in a much greater VM speed. If not, well theres no reason for VMWare not to port Workstation to OS X now.

Give it a year and hopefully a new version of VPC or VMWare will be out for Intel OSX. If the performance is good enough, Im ready to switch!
[ January 11, 2006: Message edited by: Mark Fletcher ]
Michael Ernest
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I just thought I'd add that Bear is right. For sheer raw productivity, nothing conserves more time than keeping your fingers on the keyboard. Every Xerox PARC study you will *ever* find on usability makes that concession.

Graphic tools reduce the learning curve. There's no question about that. But it is a fixed curve. Once a user feels 'familiar' with an interface, their overall productivity steadily decreases against a command-line user whose learning curve becomes less steep over time.

That is, command-line users have more to learn, and that's ultimately what's missing from the graphic-user experience. There's only so much you can learn to do, and then you stall out.

Graphical interfaces excel at providing end-users with a quick learning experience for a relatively limited set of tasks. The vast majority of their clock time, over the long run, is wasted on the mouse.

Every time I'm done writing a post to JR, I have to 'get' the mouse, locate the screen cursor, guide it to the widget I need, then click, then wait. If the window doesn't fit in the application frame, I have to scroll as well. It took me seconds to learn these controls, but I pay for the convenience in lost productive time on every single use.

I use pine for email, and edit in vi. Dinosaur me all you want: you can't match me for the number of messages I can read and reply to in 10 minutes -- no way. When I can't get ssh to my system, I use a webmail interface. The difference in productivity, I would guess, is somewhere between 1 and 2 orders of magnitude time required.

Now, you may well like the implied brain-break you get as you mosey your way across the screen to your 'Compile' button, but to me that's the equivalent of going to the fridge for water when I could just keep a cup at my desk. Unless I'm looking for reasons to get up. So if I'm writing code, I'm in vi. If I need a kajillion different tools on hand, naturally I'd use an IDE -- unless I know the command-line equivalents for doing the same work.
[ January 11, 2006: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]

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Bert Bates
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I had a look at Virtual PC for the G5 Macs in the Apple store, but frankly the performance was sub par.




You most definitely can't use Virtual PC as a benchmark for anything - I swear that software was designed to be slow!
Ram Bhakt
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Intel inside a Mac seems good. I'll try it out some day soon. But does it not imply that Apple has accepted the fact Intel chips (or should I say x86 because who know, they might even think about AMD inside?) offer a better performance/cost ratio? So that takes care of at least part of the WinTel juggernaut.

I have no argument regarding the speed of command line users. However, as all of you are quite experienced and learned, I am sure you realize that developing is not same as typing. Yes, you could type 100 pages of a book faster than I can with by IDE editor. Yes, you can even read and reply to more number of messages using PINE. However, think about this: how much time do you spend in actually typing the code and how much time do you spend in "thinking" what to type? WHen you email, you are not doing just roboting typing...you are probably attaching files, you are looking for Email addresses, you are highlighting part of email....there are just numerous things you need to do while surviving in the corporate world. Try using PINE or ELM for that. Try doing step debugging using vi.

I don't think I agree that GUIs offer limited functionality. Neither are GUIs a replacement for keyboards. In fact, I believe that a GUI complements the functionality provided by the keyboard. A good GUI app with appropriate shortcuts and hotkeys can beat the crap out of any command line tool. Command line tools have just one dimension ...keyboard, while GUIs have two, keyboard as well as mouse, so it offers a lot more. Try moving or copying a file nested deep into a folder to another folder using sh; while you will be typing the whole path, I will just drag and drop

Further, it has been proven again and again that humans understand better with pictures than with just words. GUIs provide that much needed visual feedback. It is like having an additional "data bus" to your CPU (brain). Just try to organize a directory structure of an enterprise app that includes a couple of webapps and jar using sh. You will go crazy....but using a file explorer (Win Explorer on win and whatever is the equivalent on Mac), it is a breaze.

I have no emmotional attachment to decades old technologies. They were indeed great for what they were meant for. Requirements have changed, people don't do only those things anymore. There are thousand other things that they need to do other than just typing the code. I just believe in using the best possible tools.

Phew.....

Anyway, it has nothing to do with Mac vs Wind. In fact, as some people have stated here that they use Macs because Macs have even better GUI than windows.
Mark Fletcher
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Originally posted by Ram Bhakt:
Intel inside a Mac seems good. I'll try it out some day soon. But does it not imply that Apple has accepted the fact Intel chips (or should I say x86 because who know, they might even think about AMD inside?) offer a better performance/cost ratio? So that takes care of at least part of the WinTel juggernaut.


Correct me if Im wrong, the reason that Apple switched to Intel was because IBM couldnt churn out enough of the G5 chips to satisfy Apple. Also power consumption on G5 chips was high, which prevented Apple from including them in their laptops.

I think these were the overriding issues rather than performance / cost. Dont be fooled by Intels "More Mhz/Ghz is better" marchitecture.
Ram Bhakt
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Originally posted by Mark Fletcher:


Correct me if Im wrong, the reason that Apple switched to Intel was because IBM couldnt churn out enough of the G5 chips to satisfy Apple. Also power consumption on G5 chips was high, which prevented Apple from including them in their laptops.

I think these were the overriding issues rather than performance / cost. Dont be fooled by Intels "More Mhz/Ghz is better" marchitecture.

The New.com article says, "The iMac will come in the same sizes and sell for the same prices as the current models, but the Intel chips make it two to three times faster, Jobs said."

Two to three times faster??? So, like, how slow was it earlier?

One from Macworld :


Why did Apple do this?

Jobs said the company made this decision because they �want to be making the best computer for our customers, looking forward.� He cited his 2003 announcement to ship a 3GHz G5 by mid-2004, a promise that is still unfulfilled. He mentioned that Apple has also failed to deliver a G5-based PowerBook. Clearly, Apple has not been impressed with the pace of processor development by IBM, which builds the G5 chip. And as Jobs said, Apple believes that when it looks to future processor development for chips destined for Apple systems, Intel would progress much faster than IBM would.


Yes, I understand that clock freq. is not a measure for performance.
[ January 11, 2006: Message edited by: Ram Bhakt ]
marc weber
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Note that the Intel chips being used by Apple are dual-core.

As I've mentioned before, my G4 and G5 Macs already seem much faster than a Windows machine, so if these new Intel Macs are really this much faster...


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Michael Ernest
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RB: How much time do you spend in actually typing the code and how much time do you spend in "thinking" what to type?

ME: Does it matter? Thinking isn't accelerated by an IDE. What I do primarily is teach. I see *massive* amounts of "think time" absorbed by people using the mouse to click on menu panels hoping something will job their memory. In language learning, we often refer to this as "passive recall." What we try to get students to is "active recall," a state sometimes expressed by a person who starts dreaming in the language they're learning.

This to me is one limitation of GUIs; they can encourage passive recall by exposing all the avaiable tools. Some number of people learn these tools by simply looking at what's in front of them. Your power users shakes their heads sadly at the phenomena; it's tantamount to only learning what you're told. In a system of any worth, there's always more than you can possibly present on the screen in passive form.

RB: WHen you email, you are not doing just roboting typing...you are probably attaching files, you are looking for Email addresses, you are highlighting part of email....there are just numerous things you need to do while surviving in the corporate world. Try using PINE or ELM for that. Try doing step debugging using vi.

ME: I do file attachment in pine, address searching, all that. Granted, I don't use HTML tags for email but I generally find color highlighting, italicizing, or font changes in many ways equivalent to finger-quotes while speaking: either you're not well-versed in the language to use it properly or you think I'm too daft to get your meaning. Either way, it's just as likely to disrupt communication as enhance it, so I for one don't find it a big benefit. Then again, I'm a student of the English language, so I may have something of a golden hammer view for language. It's a millenia-old technology, and I understand you're not emotionally attached to such things, but it seems to serve well..

RB: A good GUI app with appropriate shortcuts and hotkeys can beat the crap out of any command line tool.

ME: Not a chance.

RB: Command line tools have just one dimension ...keyboard, while GUIs have two, keyboard as well as mouse, so it offers a lot more.

ME: A lot more what? Convenience? I think an experienced developer will prize real power (economy of effort) over convenience (economy of participation).

RB: Try moving or copying a file nested deep into a folder to another folder using sh; while you will be typing the whole path, I will just drag and drop

ME: You'll still take WAY longer to do it than I will, on average. On a deeply-nested path, you'll be clicking on windows long after I'm done typing it out. Even if we've both already done it once, I'll read my path out of a buffer with a couple keystrokes well before you get your hand on the mouse, clock your object, drag it to the right window (assuming it's maximized and easy to spot), locate the folder and release.

You can't even beat me on the errors. I can fix a fat-fingered command line faster than you can repeat your little mouse routine.

RB: Further, it has been proven again and again that humans understand better with pictures than with just words. GUIs provide that much needed visual feedback. It is like having an additional "data bus" to your CPU (brain).

ME: Pictures reduce complexity, which is great for learning and understanding concepts. So are you using the IDE to learn and understand what you're supposed to be doing? I'm talking about productivity in the long run. In any case, I don't take your point on face value at all. I can name just as many people who glaze over immediately at your trees and panes and whatnot as you can name people who get bored reading a sentence.


RB: Just try to organize a directory structure of an enterprise app that includes a couple of webapps and jar using sh. You will go crazy....but using a file explorer (Win Explorer on win and whatever is the equivalent on Mac), it is a breaze.

ME: Well, this is a different point. Enterprise are driven by detail and complexity. Developing to them amounts to creating the best map you can to all the controls. All I see in that is a failure to design in the guise of "embracing multiple techonologies and tasks" all in one place. So sure, an IDE makes the set of all possible tasks seem less overwhelming, possibly, because you have the appearance of having all the tools accessible from one frame. I see a direct correlation to stress management, sure, but not productivity.

You seem to be describing IDEs here as a coping strategy -- relief from the symptoms of contemporary programming environments -- and, sadly, I'd have to agree. That seems to be the case.

RB: I have no emmotional attachment to decades old technologies. They were indeed great for what they were meant for. Requirements have changed, people don't do only those things anymore.

ME; I don't so much disagree as think you're totally wrong. I will happily wager my best vi/emacs-based developer and $100 against your best IDE programmer and some common tasks we agree upon. My guy will win 4 out of 5 trials minimum for performance & productivity. So there you go, a $100 bet and you only have to win 2 out of 5 tests.
[ January 12, 2006: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
Ram Bhakt
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
I don't so much disagree as think you're totally wrong. I will happily wager my best vi/emacs user and $100 against your best IDE programmer and some common task we agree upon. My guy will win 4 out of 5 trials minimum for performance & productivity. So there you go, a $100 bet with 4:1 odds in your favor.


Sorry to say, but you have totally missed the point. The subject of your bet is a miniscule part of what people do on a day to day basis. I agree that if typing were the only criteria, vi user may beat another editor user (that also is not necessarily true because editors in IDE can also be as powerful as vi. In fact, JBuilder allows you to use vi as your editor). Fortunately (or unfortunately, as you seem to imply), we work in real world and typing code is not the only thing we do.


ME: I do file attachment in pine, address searching, all that. Granted, I don't use HTML tags for email but I generally find color highlighting, italicizing, or font changes rather decadent forms of expression for email. I also find air-quotes particularly obnoxious.


With due respect, this statement shows that you have no idea what communication is like in a big corporate environment. Not everybody is a linguist. I communicate with traders on a daily basis and I find things such as color highlighting, screen shots, extremely beneficial in cummunicating with them...and it is not just me. If I look at mails from other people, majority of them use rich text. It is not just for the sake of using rich text. You cannot have a page long emails reading like paragraphs of a book. Nobody has time for that. You have to use bullets, highlights, charts, screenshot, and whatever else is required to make it easy for the reader get the point quickly.

Doesn't matter how much you dislike Time to Market but the reality is that it is an extremely important parameter and sometimes it holds more weightage than a patiently designed API or any other quality parameter. You may argue that "at the end" quality is more important and I would agree, but short term benefits and cut throat competition are what the managers are looking at these days. I just read yesterday on News.com that some software company had to advance its release just because they think that Apple is doing a similar thing. Try preaching them the virtues of a patiently designed s/w.

In any case, computers and software have evolved and GUIs are just an outcome of that evolution, which proves that they add more "value" than command line based tools otherwise people (including myself) would still be using command line. Again, value != typing speed.


If you think you are very productive on a command like tool, hey, good for you..use them by all means but just realize that there are other options which can make you even more productive.

Tomorrow, there might be a better alternative to GUIs, and I would be all for it.
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter
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Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

RB: With due respect, this statement shows that you have no idea what communication is like in a big corporate environment. Not everybody is a linguist.

ME: I know exactly what 'communicating' in a 'corporate environment' is like. My solution to that is not to participate in communicating corporately as much as possible. For me, that approach is not only livable, ir's profitable. You can also submit to it, if you like, and I am sure that will work too. I doubt it's more productive. I doubt it's as productive. In general, I'm sure it's a YMMV issue.

RB: I communicate with traders on a daily basis and I find things such as color highlighting, screen shots, extremely beneficial in cummunicating with them...and it is not just me. If I look at mails from other people, majority of them use rich text. It is not just for the sake of using rich text. You cannot have a page long emails reading like paragraphs of a book. Nobody has time for that. You have to use bullets, highlights, charts, screenshot, and whatever else is required to make it easy for the reader get the point quickly.

ME: I was only thinking of email on this point. Creating presentations of complex material is really another matter altogether.

RB: You may argue that "at the end" quality is more important and I would agree, but short term benefits and cut throat competition are what the managers are looking at these days.

ME: I'm not sure what that has to do with powerful, productive ways of doing technical work. Reducling learning curves, sure, but the company that focusses on learning curve as the one place to reduce costs is always making a long-term mistake. IMHO, of course.

RB: In any case, computers and software have evolved and GUIs are just an outcome of that evolution, which proves that they add more "value" than command line based tools otherwise people (including myself) would still be using command line. Again, value != typing speed.

ME: I would agree that graphic systems make users more convenient, as I said before, and more accessible to a wider group of users. What you are now calling 'value' is a far more amorphous thing than what it was a few posts ago. I don't know what to make of the shift, so I'll leave it at YMMV.

RB: If you think you are very productive on a command like tool, hey, good for you..use them by all means but just realize that there are other options which can make you even more productive.

ME: The single aggregate most time-consuming operation on any graphic interface is finding and using the mouse. If you can make typing irrelevant, it's a different matter. I play online poker a lot, and have it set up so I never have to type a thing -- that's a great interface. But I only have to know what to click, and what I have to click is *really* tight: Yes, No, Bet, Fold, Raise, etc.

So in this enormously complex, multitasking, cutthroat, value-propositioning, mission-stating corporate world, sure. I imagine the key skill isn't productivity at all, but coping. The sheer weight of all the demands placed on one person's time and attention means you look for the simplest and most convenient ways to communicate: bullet points and whatnot. If you like that and perform well in it, hey, good for you.

Still doesn't mean the corporate way and its needs are productive, or even powerful. They just big.
Ram Bhakt
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Joined: Dec 02, 2005
Posts: 145
Originally posted by Michael Ernest:

Still doesn't mean the corporate way and its needs are productive, or even powerful. They just big.


I guess we will have to agree to disagree. Your definition of productivity involves evaluating performance on a very narrow subset of tasks, which makes command line tools sound better.

While I don't necessarily like doing the things I do, I have still have to do them, to earn a living. I am just glad there are nice looking GUIs around to ease my pain. I would hate to see ugly command prompt and a bland editor whole day
Michael Ernest
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Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

Agreed then; we just see it differently.

Incidentally, I run a business of 20 employees spread across North America and have been doing it for almost seven years now. It's a sufficiently complex a set of tasks and details to deal with, I think. Before that, I worked at Bank of America, British Oxygen, Lockheed Martin, General Electric, and a small number of smaller companies. I've written code, managed networks, set up lines of business, and directed groups of up to 40 chaos- and opportunity-driven people as you might find during a industry boom such as we had a few years ago.

Perhaps my view on GUIs is consistent with Stroustrup's on programming language, that there are two kinds: the ones everyone bitches about, and the ones nobody uses. I prefer to bitch about the tools I no longer use: it just happens to take me back to the command line more often than not. YMMV and more power to you.
Gerardo Tasistro
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Joined: Feb 08, 2005
Posts: 362
Originally posted by Ram Bhakt:


I would like to know what would be the configuration and price for a Mac laptop that can perform at the same level?


The one that would fit best is the MacBook (check www.apple.com)

I own a PowerBook 12". Have had it for about 8 months now and I use it for Java development. It is my primary computer.

To answer some of the questions>
- I love the hardware integration, everything just works
- I really hated the menu layout and all the changes (GUI wise) I had to cope with coming from Linux/Windows, but learning the tricks and shortcuts got me to really like it.
- I find OS X to be incredibly stable and secure
- Batery life is outstanding +4 hrs (with energy saving to the max)
- I run the following set of development tools
+Eclipse IDE
+MyEclipse plugin
+Poseidon UML
+Tomcat
+MySQL
+VirtualPC + Windows XP for testing
+NetBeans for GUI design
+JSF/Hibernate/Struts/JSTL etc all work perfectly on Mac
- I'll be upgrading to 1.2 Gb RAM soon (currently at 512) as things get really slow if I run Poseidion and Eclipse (plus Tomcat and MySQL). That aside I can have Eclipse plus other productivity software (like MS Office) and iTunes, Mozilla, and text editors.
- I never shut down the machine. It just sleeps and comes back to life in an instant. Prior to an update I placed 3 days ago (Quicktime related). I hadn't rebooted for 29 days.

Come to think of that in those 29 days it went through a trip to France. A theft of my backpack in Barcelona. A chase down streets. Got dropped by the thieves. Recovered by me. Back to France. Then down to Miami. Through security 3 times (ok I got lost in the airport and I was late for the plane) and it still had battery life for some relaxing music on my way to Mexico City.

To sum it up. It isn't a fast machine by Intel standards. It is awfully rought. Incredibly stable and it gets the job done.
Angela Poynton
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Joined: Mar 02, 2000
Posts: 3143
I think anyone thinking of buying a Mac should watch this and think again.


Pounding at a thick stone wall won't move it, sometimes, you need to step back to see the way around.
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61662
    
  67

Originally posted by Angela Poynton:
I think anyone thinking of buying a Mac should watch this and think again.


That is a pretty funny video (if a bit dated, I originally saw it years ago) even if the exagerations are completely without merit. Well done for a spoof piece.

I would certainly not use it as a basis for serious buying considerations.
[ January 17, 2006: Message edited by: Bear Bibeault ]
Michael Ernest
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Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

LOL, good video, good times.
Alan Wanwierd
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Joined: Jun 30, 2004
Posts: 624
Nice pissing contest RB & ME.

You are of course both correct! command lines are more efficient once you know how to use them and GUIs are more efficient for the vast majority of devlopers.

The main reasons for GUI are so much prefered despite their being less efficient is most developers LIVE on the learning curve. I've been developing software for 10 years and only for very short period have I ever felt that I was totaly comfortable with the technology I was using. Mostly I have been forced to use new technologies quicker than I can learn them.

If this is the case for most of us, then command line interfaces are of limited use!! Even with GUI tooling to assist me I (and my collegaues) struggle to keep up with technological developments. If we also had to learn how to do all the minutia of our jobs via command line at the same time as keeping abreast of which technologies to use where and when - we would all be in mental hospitals from stress breakdowns by now!
 
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subject: Understanding Mac specs