Random Thoughts

I’m a Windows user. I have been for a long time. Lately, I’m a frustrated Windows user.

You see, I had to do a reload of Windows XP recently. When I did the reload, I made a slipstream disc with all the patches, etc. included so I could load it quickly and easily and not have to spend days downloading security patches and service packs. The slipstream disc included Windows XP Service Pack 2, which just seemed wise considering the security holes in earlier versions of Windows.

XPSP2 managed to break my connectivity to my FireWire camcorder. Windows just wouldn’t see it. I did some Google searches, and I wasn’t alone. The only way to fix it was to force Service Pack 2 to use older FireWire drivers from Service Pack 1…except that I skipped Service Pack 1 in my reload, and didn’t have the drivers necessary.

I tried to force the “downgrade” on my drivers, but XP was “smart” enough to see the older drivers and replace them each time. I finally got fed up and decided I may as well bite the bullet and “upgrade” to Windows Vista.

Guess what? Windows Vista has EXACTLY the same problem. My FireWire camcorder is invisible to Windows.

“Hmmm…”, I thought to myself, “this is curious. Maybe there’s a problem with the FireWire controller on my motherboard.”

I shut down my PC and install a third party PCI FireWire card I had pulled out when I upgraded to this latest motherboard. I try it again, and it still doesn’t work.

“Maybe,” I think, “my camcorder managed to magically break since the last time I plugged it in.” I try the camcorder in a laptop PC (which wasn’t loaded straight from Windows XP SP2) and lo and behold, there it is … except laptops suck for capturing video.

Now, it seems, my choice is to reinstall Windows XP again, only this time go through the agony of patching through SP1 and then into SP2 manually (and force SP2 to keep the older SP1 drivers), or, maybe it’s just time to get a Mac.

I like the idea of a Mac. I haven’t owned one, but I have used them before. Final Cut looks sweet, and with the Macs being based on Intel now, I can run Windows when I need to. Maybe it’s time to take Steve Jobs’ advice and “switch”.

But which Mac?

I start at the top. The Mac Pro. Wow…dual Xeons, up to eight cores, lots of room for additional RAM and a beautiful box with lots of room for drives. Nice. And expensive. Nope. Out of my price range.

What about a laptop? Well, I don’t like editing video on laptops, and the MacBook Pros are pretty expensive as a desktop replacement. The MacBooks used the Intel GMA950 graphics chipset…ugh…bad news if I decided I wanted to have a quick game of Battlefield 2 in Windows.

Maybe I can upgrade the Mac Mini to where I need it to be? What? It only comes with a Core Duo. Oh…the case isn’t really designed to be opened by a user? It only uses laptop hard drives? Oh…it also has the Intel GMA950 chipset…I see…it’s a crippled first-generation MacBook with no display.

OK…time to look at the iMacs. The lowest end iMac is basically aimed at the educational market. It’s a Mac Mini with an LCD bolted on. OK…look further up. The 17″ “consumer” iMac looks OK. ATI x1600 graphics chipset…not great, but it’ll do the job. Some of the other iMacs looks OK, as well. It sure seems like I’m paying a lot for a monitor I don’t want or need, though. I have a 22″ Widescreen monitor on my desk, and don’t have room for another monitor beside it.

“Where’s the mid-priced tower Mac?” I think to myself. “Surely Apple has thought of this market?”This Mac Does Not Exist

Well, it turns out not. Since switching to Intel processors, Apple has yet to introduce a Mac that would really be attractive to a Windows “switcher” like myself, so I’m blogging about it because I’m frustrated.

An open letter to Steve Jobs:

Dear Mr. Jobs,

I am a frustrated Windows user. I am tired of being asked by Windows Vista to “allow” day-to-day tasks. I’m tired of Windows “updates” that break the very applications I try to use to work and play from day-to-day. I’m tired of spending more time fixing my computer than using it. In short, I’m ready to switch.

Now, I’ve heard that you can be stubborn. That you sometimes get your heart set on something very specific, and tune out any dissenting voices. This has obviously worked well for you, since you’re worth at least a few billion dollars more than me.

Still, you’ve been wrong before. The original Mac came without arrow keys on the keyboard, because “who needs them when you’ve got a mouse?” I notice that Macs now have arrow keys on the keyboard. The “lamp” iMac came in its unique form factor because nobody wanted a computer built into its monitor (”too clumsy”, you said at the time). I notice all the new iMacs look suspiciously like monitors with a computer built into them.

The market needs a Mac that sits between the iMacs and the Mac Pro. It needs a Mac that uses reasonably priced desktop components and is in a case that allows upgradeability.

Hell, I’ll even spec it out for you. How about a Mac with:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo Processor – 2GHz to start, with options to go faster should people want it
  • 1GB of RAM, with room for a total of 4GB.
  • NVidia 8300 graphics chipset – with the ability to go to the 8600 or 8800 should people want it
  • 3.5″ SATA hard drive, with room for one or two more
  • and, of course, the other standard Mac options (optical drive, WiFi, BlueTooth, etc.)

I’d even purchase a “headless iMac”. The spec on the iMac is good enough to convince me to switch, but you won’t convince me to replace my monitor for it.

There’s a whole market of frustrated Windows users who are waiting for the opportunity to jump ship.

Please make a Mac for me. I’ll switch. I promise.

Yours Truly,

Enough with Windows Already…

If you feel the same way, please fill out the poll.

Would you buy an iMac with the above-mentioned "wireless display"?

  • I would - I don't care about the price! (27%)
  • I would if it cost $1,500 or less (23%)
  • You couldn't get me to buy this at gunpoint. (20%)
  • I would if it cost $1,000 or less (17%)
  • I would if it cost $2,000 or less (13%)

Total Votes: 30

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3 Responses to “The Missing Mac: Apple? Are you listening?”

  1. Ken

    Apparently this version of WordPress doesn’t work great in Safari on the Mac. Sorry, guys…I had no way to test it…

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