Sunday, October 30, 2005

To Apple or NOT to Apple? (Part1)

To Apple or NOT to Apple! (Part1)
(or Apple iMac G5 from a PC Guys perspective)

Written by Will Wagner

   One of the greatest questions asked in technical and multimedia circles is “which is better, Apple or Microsoft?” In varying degrees, depending on whom you talk to, one is plainly better than the other. But for normal folks who simply want straight unpolished answers, non-technical, plain English communication, and a clear look at the facts surrounding the question; demands a straight forward probing review.
   My attempt will not be to answer the 3-decade-old question. But I plan to offer a look at today’s top and foremost Apple computer offering with my Windows XP experience in mind. Advice will be given after factual experiences are recorded for you, the reader, with which you can base a real decision on.
   I have no connections to either party, have not been financially supported by, or endorsed by either side. I must be forward in presenting my background and experience though, before we begin.


   I have been working with PCs for almost 15 years. I began my computing career with an Apple IIe in High School around 21 years ago. In computer math class, we learned the Basic language to execute routine math calculations and create a snowman with falling snow, and during study time, we would play Pac Man on the back of a 5 1/4 inch floppy a friend brought in from home. How ironic it is that my first computing environment was Apple, only to move to the PC world directly after that, and now years later purchase an iMac G5.
   I have owned a large array of PCs since that time. Beginning with an Intel 8088, 286, 386, 486SX, an AMD 486, a Pentium 1, 2 and 3, as well as a Cyrix 6x86 (Pentium 1 clone). Many of them I purchased with a small budget in mind. Not until more recently did I actually become more concerned with quality parts and software versus cheap parts and flunky clunky applications. I have also purchased a few complete vendor produced systems from Dell and HP, and have been very happy with the quality and added featured software and peripherals they provide.
   Today I own a 3 Gigahertz HP Pentium 4 Computer. Store bought 1 year ago and bundled with software, printer, and a very nice flat screen (LCD). It has been very reliable, allowed me to get work done, run a side eBay business, and support my multimedia hobby while ripping MP3 music and playing it while online or offline.
   With the advent of the newly released and redefined iMac, along with a Unix kernel driven Operating System, my curiosity was peaked. The struggle always came when spending hard earned money for something I just had no idea whether I would like, enjoy, or even use.
   I dabbled with Power Macs in a multimedia setting at work, and noted that for larger file sizes, such as large format print jobs and DVD video output, the Mac seemed to work quite well where our PC counterparts slowed, crashed and muddled through. The PCs that would choke on similar files, we always attributed to poor local configuration, or incomparable feature sets of the hardware (low end PCs). Not for a moment did we consider that perhaps the PC was designed improperly or poorly. Or did we take into account the possibility that the Mac simply was programmed with design stability.
   The question of which is better simply cannot be answered. I could read and search the Internet for such fodder, and fodder I have found. But I always felt bias was a large part of the reviewers content. I wanted a clear comparison of features, abilities, and user friendliness. There was only one way to accomplish this, and that was to do it myself.


   I made the decision quite by chance. The latest iMac G5 was recently released. It was the iMac that had an all in one hardware appeal, white appliance look and feel, and yes, price played a part in the decision.
   I was at a local mall and happened into the Apple Store. The generic modern white palace of which Apple enthusiasts gathered, invited me in. If not for curiosity, the salespeople would have scared me away. More on that in a minute.
   I began by looking at what was on display, the iMac, iBook (laptop) some iPods, and peripherals and software. The iMac had always drawn my eye. The iMac G4, often called an R2-D2, based on the half circle base and the long silver pole with a monitor on the end, always intrigued me. It was truly gorgeous, perhaps a piece of modern furniture. But this iMac seemed even more compact, modern and appliance like. I started seeing it in TV commercials, movies, and spoke of it in conversations with friends (PC friends as well as Mac enthusiasts).
   The iMac G5 was a work of art, coming from a PC guy, that really says something I think. The iMac was so interesting I decided I would have to get one, one day. While in the Apple Store, I noticed a pile of unopened boxes with a large picture of an iMac on the front. It was a stack of iMacs on sale; all had $250 off each box. They were closeouts. The new model was in town, and they wanted to push out the old.
   The price, my curiosity, and my wife got the best of me. She said “go ahead, you want one; get one”. That’s all it took. After several years, I would finally buy an Apple iMac based on perhaps the best condition ever, the wife approves. Bliss!
   I picked up the box with the iMac inside, and walked to the cashier, then placed it on the counter. At this point, the assistant manager started talking tech geek. I would need the Apple Care plan, .Mac, and a host of other peripherals that would take my deal of a lifetime, $250 off, well over the budget I wanted to spend. I shrugged off the extras, only to have the used car salesman insist I needed these things and I could have them cheaper now than later.
   Listening to the terms, I decided on Apple Care, which he shook his head in regards to (since he knew best what I needed). Only he didn’t want to pay for them to help a lowly PC guy out. The authority here was the wife, and I could see she didn’t want to hear I had to buy a lot of junk, not even knowing for sure if the iMac was something I could really put to use. Honestly, I agreed, why purchase a lot of extra stuff for an iMac I might end up selling later on eBay if my trial went sour. I proceeded to carry my iMac with Apple Care out of the Mall and home to my office.

Lets Begin
(Next Issue Part 2 available at

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Happy Halloween

Been a while since I have posted anything. Been kind of busy, and working on an iMac G5 review from a PC guys perspective. I plan to publish Part 1 very soon. In the meantime, enjoy some Halloween Links.

Scary Link1
Scary Link2
Scary Link3
Scary Link4

Sunday, October 16, 2005

MI6 Website - BOND, James BOND

The famous MI6, aka SIS, from James Bond lore, has put up their own webpage.

"As Britain's secret service, SIS provides the British Government with a global covert capability to promote and defend the national security and economic well-being of the United Kingdom.

SIS operates world-wide to collect secret foreign intelligence in support of the British Government's policies and objectives."

Friday, October 14, 2005

Fake Premise for Flooding Story

I wonder why the liberal media are losing their following in record numbers? Could it be that they are not very reliable in telling an accurate account of what is happening out there? Oh just couldn't be. What happens when your stories impact is lost when the viewership realizes that your premise for a major story was false?

Thats just what happened, as viewed on the Drudge Report earlier today. Michele Kosinski staged a dramatic report from a flooded area in a rowboat, only the water was one foot deep. How terrible save us from the massive biblical flood!

Friday, October 07, 2005

What Time Is It?

It is about time. Yes it is! If you want to know just what time it is, no better place to check out than the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This is a Java applet that runs on a webpage, so ya need Java installed. Give it a try!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Music: Harvey Danger

Now this is a totally new idea! How about musicians actually releasing their music for free? The band Harvey Danger has done just that. Why? They explain themselves on the website. I urge you to check out the album, then donate if you like it. The music industry is making unprecedented profits, time to give back to the musicians themselves. This is a start!