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Ten Years Perfect Mac Performance: 2000-2010
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Quad G5 and 30"

Apple 2006 Quad G5 and 30" Cinema Display.

21 September 2010     Nikon Reviews   Canon   LEICA   Pentax   Nikon Lenses

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I've eagerly been waiting ten years to say this.

It was exactly ten years ago today, 21 September, 2000, that my FedEx guy, Lee, brought my very first Mac to my door in La Jolla.

I'd never had my own computer before, since my real job always made sure I had the hottest $4,000 laptop that engineering dollars could buy.

I worked for the multi-billion-dollar giant Tektronix, but my state-of-the-art Windows laptop just didn't have the oomph I needed for processing my 100MB 4x5" film scans back in 2000.

I went shopping for my own computer, and since I was starting from scratch, Mac or Windows was just as easy.

All the people who used Mac always went on about how great they were, but for all I knew, those people may have been idiots.

No one I met used both systems, so no one could give me a real opinion as to which way to go.

It was Jeff Pratt at Chrome, San Diego's professional photo lab and digital service bureau, who was the only guy who did use both every day, and when I asked what system was best for Photoshop, Jeff replied: "Rockwell, for running Photoshop, you'd be an idiot not to get a Mac."

Thus I ordered my very first computer, Apple's new dual-processor 450MHz G4 PowerMac, the world's first personal supercomputer.

I used it every day, alongside my $4,000, professionally maintained windows laptop, from 21 September 2000 until I quit my real job in 2004. For these four years, every single day I saw how painful is the windows system to operate compared to the brilliant simplicity that is Macintosh.

Here's the TEN YEARS OF DOMINANCE part.

For these ten years, I've been wondering if I could make it all ten years without ever losing any data or productivity.

Windows crashed daily back then, and once a month I'd be on the phone with Tektronix' excellent and professional support staff trying to get my windows laptop to run as well as it did the day before. Every month, at least a half hour of productivity lost babysitting a crappy computer system, while all along I kept getting work done on my Mac. Heaven help people using Dells, whose tech support is in a country that doesn't even speak English. My tech support knew what they were doing.

My boss was amazed when I had the documents he needed, even when he knew my company computer was dead and in the shop. I replied, duh, I did this on my Mac. It's all compatible.

Well, today, ten years later, I have never lost any data or productivity on any of my Macs. I've banged-through non-stop these past ten years!

They all have simply just run for the past ten years, while my wife loses hours of productivity every week because her multi-billion dollar employer is lazy enough to use windows computers instead of something befitting a professional organization. Maybe more businesses still use windows than Mac, but hey, there are more people living in China than in The Bahamas, Switzerland or the USA, but it certainly doesn't mean that China is a better place to live!

Do you know what ten years of uninterrupted productivity means? It means that every email anyone has sent me these past ten years are all in the same place, searchable in in instant.

Every document, photo and Photoshop project I've created is right where I put it — even if it was ten years ago.

Since Macs are forever, every time I get a new one, everything is magically taken via FireWire from the old to the new, and everything is right where I left it on the new computer.

I can't believe that windows people get only a good year or two out of a box, then trash it and start over again with a new one. Why do people put themselves through that sort of torture?

Macs cost so much less. Over the past ten years, I've only replaced my desktop computer once. I used my 2000 dual G4 from 2000 through 2006, when I bought the quad G5 I still use today. Not only that, my 2003 13" iBook, the cheapest thing Apple made back then, still works perfectly today as well. If I hadn't sold my 2000 dual G4, I'm sure it's still working perfectly, too.

In fact, as Macs get older, they run better as Apple introduces more refined operating systems! My 13" iBook runs much better today than it did when new, just as my Quad G5 runs so much better today than when brand new.

I did just order a new desktop Mac, but not because I need one. My 2006 Quad G5 still slams out the work today like no one else's business.

The only reason I just ordered a six-processor Mac Pro is so I can have a machine with the latest OS so I can run Photoshop CS5 and all the other foolish software-of-the-week that you people want me to review. For my own professional work, my almost 5-year old Mac is still perfect, but since it was the last of the Motorola processors, can't run the newest software today like DxO.

Do pros use new computers? Hardly. Nikon's own PR photos of their cameras are usually shot on pro equipment like Phase One, but the latest were actually shot on a D3X. Want to know what software was used? Photoshop seven.

My ten-year-old Mac cheerfully crunched 100MB files because I loaded it with 6GB of RAM. It was expensive, but still less than the rest of the computer. Today, RAW files from a 25MB DSLR are still only 75MB at worst; digital has lower resolution than film, so it needs less computing power than the big film scans I've been crunching for ten years.

Even if my Mac caught fire and burnt down my condo right now, I'm still ten years in the clear!

So to all my sorry friends who every time we got together whined about how they had to spend 15 minutes (I'm being kind; its usually hours) getting a CD burner to work or to reload their operating systems to get their computers working again, I stand resolved: buy yourself a Mac and get to work. I can't believe you people, after ten years of this, have probably each bought four new windows computers, and keep doing it every time one dies. When is this going to stop?

Do Macs cost more? No, they cost a lot less. You probably only will want to replace them after five years, not 18 months, and you never lose any productivity with them. What is your time worth? Unless you make a living as a computer repairman and know how to work around the windows operational minefield, I can't see why any rational person would want to try to wrestle with windows — unless, of course, they don't know any better, like people who've lived in a crummy country all their lives.

So you like windows? How many windows computer have you had to buy, and how many hours have you spent fixing them these past ten years, and if you need to look up an image or project from 2001, how fast can you get it — and will it open? For instance, MS Word files are designed to be incompatible with different versions of software to encourage people to buy new software, so older files may not be legible properly with today's Word software. I've never had those problems, since I use no Microsoft products.

 

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Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

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