I had ordered one of Apple's 500MHz G4 models (""Fantastic Four"," November 1999) and was waiting for my order to be filled. Then I read that Apple had reconfigured the machines to run 50MHz slower, due to Motorola's chip shortage.
I understand that Apple had to change the configuration to keep up with supply and demand, but I think it's really cheap of the company not to change the computer's price to reflect the fact that the processor is slower.
What a disappointment from a company that seemed to be building its image back up. I canceled my order.
As A Longtime Linux user and advocate, I was somewhat disturbed by Mel Beckman's uninspired review of LinuxPPC 1999 ( Reviews , November 1999). I'm not sure what Beckman expected from Linux. The operating system is derived from Unix, which was developed for programmers, not home users. I question what relevance the GUI, the Internet-browsing-software bundle, and the difficulty of installation have in the Unix environment. I suggest critiquing Linux on its own terms. Linux, unlike the Mac OS, cannot be learned in five minutes or less for the sake of a hurried software review in Macworld .
At the end of the article, Beckman is right in not recommending Linux to most users, but he's right for all the wrong reasons. I don't suggest Linux to the average home user either, but that's not because of its rough installation, its poor documentation, or its inability to operate seamlessly with the Mac OS. I don't recommend Linux because it's the wrong tool for most people. That is, if you aren't sure why you're using Linux, you probably shouldn't be using it in the first place.
Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
I have to applaud Stephan SOMogyi's FireWire article, but not too loudly (""Where's the Fire?"" November 1999). He wanted to get the message across about how useful FireWire truly is, and I'm not so sure I want everyone to know.
Digital-video editing has become an affordable reality for amateurs; for full-time guys like me, FireWire has provided a way to produce video at a fraction of the cost of expensive film or high-end beta gear.
I run a production facility and still use the Avid Media Composer 9000 for bigger-budget projects, but when economy and high-end results are in demand, the hot little combination of the Canon XL1, the Apple G3, Final Cut Pro, and FireWire never misses. So, I guess I have to ask Somogyi not to spread the good news any further?it will get around soon enough. For now, let my clients think I'm a superhero.
Your article on networking was very helpful (""Link It Up"," November 1999), but it was missing the one thing I most wanted to know. Can I set up a home network, from a single static IP address, that would allow users at different computers to play games over the Internet? Or would I need separate IP addresses?
Thanks again for the great article.
Astoria, New York
It can vary from game to game, but in most cases you can't use a single IP address to play Internet games on multiple computers.?Ed.
Many thanks to Christopher Breen for his honest appraisal of the iMac's and the iBook's poor gaming performance (""Does Apple Really "Get" Gaming?"" The Game Room , November 1999). I too own both an iMac and a PC, the latter only for playing games. I certainly prefer the Mac OS and use the Mac for just about everything else. My PC cost about $800 (Celeron 400 with 64MB of RAM), and I upgraded it with a 3Dfx graphics board. It is a fine gaming machine for less than $1,000 (without a monitor). I urge Apple to include a "real" gaming graphics board and 64MB of RAM in the next version of the iMac. Then I can dump my PC altogether.
Astoria, New York
Happily, Apple has improved the iMac's gaming performance with the new iMac. It boasts an ATI Rage 128 graphics accelerator and 64MB of RAM standard. See " The iMac Is Back," January 2000.?Ed.
Macworld's graphics-accelerator review tested 3-D accelerators with Quake II and Unreal ( Reviews , November 1999). But where is the recognition of the importance of 3-D-graphics software for the Mac?
Although everyone is touting the power and performance of the Mac, and although it has remained the platform of choice for artists, Apple has lost sight of desktop 3-D graphics. When you walk into many 3-D-graphics production houses, you see artists working on Windows machines, not on Macs. The simple reason is that for high-end, professional 3-D graphics, you need more than just a fast computer. You need a serious 3-D accelerator, and you need serious software. Recently, 3-D-graphics magazines have praised the power of the G3 and G4 processors, but they can't recommend the systems because they have no real 3-D-graphics support. Since 3-D design is a growing business, Apple?and third-party manufacturers?should pursue this market.
I read your review of the G3 upgrade cards for Performas using the PowerPC 603e processor ( Reviews , November 1999). I noticed that the Performa 6300CD, the model I purchased in November 1995, was absent from the list of Macs into which the upgrade cards can be installed?even though it also has a 603e processor.
Is this because the Performa 6300CD was mistakenly left off the list, or is it because the 6300CD won't take the upgrade cards?
Jefferson City, Missouri
Unfortunately, the Performa 6300CD cannot be upgraded. Although it has a cache slot, its motherboard design is different from those of the Performa models listed in the review. Because of this, these upgrade cards are not compatible with your system.?Ed.
I liked David Blatner's STRAIGHTforward article on converting QuarkXPress files to HTML (""From Printed Page to Web Page"," Create , November 1999). One excellent point he made was that the design of Quark files cannot be duplicated exactly on the Web due to HTML and browser limitations.
With this in mind, I found one thing scary: Quark's planned support for Macromedia's Flash. As a print and Web designer, I've seen over 12 years' worth of clients' Quark print files with basic, glaring errors?missing fonts, wrong art formats, incorrectly specified colors, no bleeds, and so on. I do not look forward to the day when a client hands me a Quark file and says, "Make this look like a Flash file." Shudder.
Staten Island, New York
I remember back when you had to choose from among the Power Mac 7500, 7600, 8500, 8600, 9500, and 9600?as well as the Performa 6116, 6400, and 6500. No words can do justice to the confusion Apple's old naming structure caused. Apple has finally simplified its naming structure, and now all I hear is computer geeks complaining that the names are too simple (""The Vision Thing: What's in a Name?"&,quot; November 1999). In his column, Andrew Gore cites the problem of "trying to explain to a novice user how the iMac he or she bought a year ago is different from the iMac Apple was selling by Thanksgiving."
Well, even novice users realize there's bound to be a difference between two cars with the same name if the cars were manufactured during different years. It's not too surprising that Apple is naming computers in the same way. The names iMac and iBook are important for brand recognition, and changing to some alphabet-soup naming convention would only dilute that. Imagine telling a novice user, "No, you don't want the iMac G3/300; you want the iMac II G4/450 or the iMac Plus 400." That would only undermine the Mac's newfound naming simplicity. Remember, less is more, and serial ports aren't the only useless baggage that Apple jettisoned with the new Macs.
I Have read many articles about how Macs stack up against PCs when benchmark tests are performed. I'm a fairly experienced user, but most of the benchmarks seem too abstract to me. So this week I began running a Macintosh versus PC benchmark test of my own.
I recently acquired a PC at work. It's a pretty nice Pentium II PC running at 450MHz with a ton of VRAM and a 9GB hard drive. I downloaded SETI@home for my PC to run while I wasn't working. I feared that, with my new, faster PC, the days of relying on my 266MHz iMac to help me search for extraterrestrial intelligence were through. I was very happy to see that my little iMac was more than a match for the bulky PC. It took 32 hours for the PC to complete the exact same task the iMac finished in 21 hours. This is a real-world benchmark that I can really get a handle on.
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