Thursday, September 14, 2006

Apple

I'm a diehard PC user. A quick rundown of my various rigs over the years:

-Vic 20, which I twice fixed on my own by ripping out the guts and puzzling out what what broken (a fuse and a loose wire).
-TRS 80
-Tandy 1000
-IBM PC 8086, no hard drive. There used to be one of these on display at the Smithsonian, but it was a better machine than mine!
-Gateway (can't remember the speed), 10 gig hard drive. Great little machine, served me well
-Dell 1 gHz, 120 gig HD. My current home machine.
-Apple 12" PowerBook G4

As you can see, I've only recently become a Mac user, although I used them throughout college (I also spent a lot of quality time on NeXT machines as an undergrad - great machines!). My motivation for using PC was three-fold: price, familiarity, and sound card. That's right, I preferred a sound card that was only available on PC (the DAL CardDeluxe, far and away the best thing going). But now that my university gave me a Mac, I have to admit that I'm falling for it.

Yes, it's got the cool factor, but I'm continually surprised by how powerfully easy it is to use. Most things just plain work, and I've suffered one freeze, even though the only time I turn it off is when I travel or compose.

So why blog about this? Well, Apple yesterday may have set themselves up postively in the ongoing/upcoming battle over video. iTunes is simply a dream to use (forget for a moment the unfortunate loss of resolution from compression), and they updated it to account for the annoying gap that they placed between tracks, breaking up continuous movements in classical music or art rock. They also added a feature to automatically download album art, which is cool but I've already spent countless hours fixing my entire 5,000 song collection! The iTunes Store is selling movies now, although only Disney tunes so far. They added new iPods, or at least improved iPods, as well.

The really cool thing? Well, the iTv unit sets the bar dang high for the future of multimedia (read video) and the home media center. Who really has a computer hooked up to their TV? I know of some race fans that use computers as cheap TiVo's, but not too many of us have a media center. The iTv starts to bridge that gap. This is a small unit that hooks up to your TV and can play those iTunes videos wirelessly. That's right - you can beam your downloaded videos from iTunes to your TV without any pesky wires. The resolution is just below DVD quality, but I expect this to improve over time (although it should be noted that the AAV bit rate has not increased beyond 320 kbps for your own music or 128 for purchased). I'm excited about this, and at $300, it isn't terribly high priced. It may be a while before I'm able to pick one up, but I can't wait to see what sort of technology competitors dream up.

2 Comments:

Blogger Child of Darkness said...

MACs are alright. I can see how a lot of people enjoy using them because they are so user friendly. However the one thing I dislike about them is that you practically have to buy a new computer to get any sort of upgrade, whereas PC upgrades are fast, efficent, and fairly easy. I like Apples and PCs for different reasons I guess. Because I have been using PCs from the time I was very young, I would say that I would probably choose a PC over MAC due to familiarity. However, I cannot deny that MAC offers a lot of things that are making them become more and more attractive to me, the more I use them. If it isn't obvious I am pretty wishy washy as to how I feel about Apples. I guess that you could say I am still in the process of deciding. This was a very interesting post and has got me to think about Apple computers a little differently than I had before.

9/25/2006 2:46 PM  
Blogger Mike Boyd said...

I am a PC user who is seriously considering switching to a Mac. I agree with the upgrade issue mentioned by the previous poster, but my reservations about the current PCs has to do with the XP registry feature. It seems extremely easy to mess up the registray and negatively impact the PC's speed and functionality. For example, switching virus protection software caused me huge problems (faulty tech support aside) because of residual registry entries that, when removed, made it impossible to use any Microsoft applications until getting a dll fix from the software company (from another machine).

9/28/2006 11:03 AM  

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