The Mac Set

Archive 1

Wick That Heat

The primary reason that processors ship at the speeds they do, and rarely tolerate being run at much higher MHz rates, is heat - a chip can handle only so much and operate properly. One of the solutions is to increase cooling of the chip. Well, one reader has taken that a step further by using a liquid-cooling device, normally applied to x86 processors, on a PowerMac G3 Minitower 233... resulting in speeds of approximately 498MHz on an 83MHz main bus. System performance was stable, but the user preferred to return to his original configuration of 250/83 uncooled rather than risk cold damage to his motherboard, due to the fact that the cooling unit was not specifically designed for the Gossamer motherboard. The source reports that, theoretically, the upcoming 333Mhz and higher low-power G3s would be capable of 600MHz+ operation.

Just an iMac?

Click for a larger version (90kB):

AltiVec vs MMX

Considering buying a new computer for multimedia, graphics, or just plain old digital video? Don't waste your money buying a computer that depends on MMX or MMX2 for its speed. An originally unlinked page on Apple's website gives some indication of the sort of speed that we can expect from AltiVec - IBM and Motorola's latest answer to multimedia. The page is reproduced here for your perusal. Note that the middle column of figures is the number of times better than current PowerPCs that AltiVec is. And current PowerPCs are more than a match for MMX.

Another "Y2K-compliant" monitor from Apple.
(Well, I wanted to put it somewhere.)


Y2K Strikes Early

[From Comments from the Friends - an anti-JW organisation.]

The dreaded Y2K disaster struck early for a handful of Comments from the Friends subscribers who ordered 2-year or 3-year subscription renewals ending in the year 2000.

Our Macintosh computers were supposedly exempt from the predicted disaster, since Macs were designed with calendars extending well into the new millennium. But software is a different story, we discovered.

Our computer appeared to accept each subscription's year-2000 expiration date, but later scrambled it unbeknownst to us.

The problem surfaced later, when one of the affected subscribers purchased a book, and her record came on screen showing an expiration date of 47/9R/32--obviously an error!

We have been using Main Street Filer software to maintain the Comments mailing list since 1984, and the manufacturer has long since gone out of business. But we have developed a work-around for the software program that fixes the problem.

Still, there were a handful of subscribers who sent in long-term renewals before the bug was fixed, and who missed some issues of Comments due to a scrambled Y2K expiration date. Our apologies to those affected!

[Moral: Use 15 year old unsupported software at your own risk. But it's cool that it's still useful - how many 15 year old PC programs do enough to be any good? Brings up memories of the ZX Spectrum, that does...]

The iMac Customer Base

When asked 'Are you connected to the Internet?' 82% of iMac owners answered yes, Jobs said, noting parenthetically that this meant ease of getting online was the number one reason why these customers bought an iMac in the first place. Moreover, 66% got connected the very first day they got an iMac. And how long did it take them to set up their iMacs and access the Internet? 44% took less than 15 minutes, 62% took less than 30 minutes, and 74% took less than an hour. And that's not all: 42% have already used their iMacs to purchase goods or services online. The bottom line? "iMac customers have turned into Internet mavens," Jobs said.

So Who Uses These iMac Things Anyway?

Yes indeed, direct from Northern Scandinavia (a few months ago, now) we have Saint Nicholas himself on a first generation Bondi Blue iMac.

Sorry it took so long to put it up - busy, you see.

(Follow-up article with correction.)


Hedge Raves

An interesting and amusing pro-Mac page (link now broken).

Where Do They Get Off?

6 March 1999.

If you doubted that journalists actually don't review the state of Mac fairly, here's a little snippet from an IDG article from July 1998:

MacOS X will be a little late to slow the Mac's decline, however. From 1996 to 1997, the Mac's share of the OS market fell from 5.6 percent to 4.6 percent, according to IDC -- an 18 percent drop. The research company predicts that the MacOS's hold will fall to 1.9 percent by 2001.

The article then went on to make dire predictions about the resulting "dearth" of software that would inevitably result from such a low market share, and tried to prove this with anecdotal evidence in the form of one testimony of a user who had to buy a PC because the particular program he wanted was not available on a Mac. Pity that the article fails to mention exactly why he wanted that particular program, rather than something similar which was available for the Mac. Pity that the Mac user wasn't bright enough to buy VirtualPC or SoftPC. Indeed, pity that the journalist wrote such a low-quality, biased article, wasting so much space extrapolating on a completely ridiculous prediction.

In response, we note the following:

  • The Macintosh market share is currently rising.
  • Apple's share price is (on average) rising. (Not to be taken as investment advice.)
  • Over 1550 software titles for the Mac have been released since last August.
  • The iMac is the most popular PC. According to PC Data:

"The popularity of iMac continues to increase Apple's market share since its mid-August rollout onto retail store shelves. This performance has resulted in a gain of almost 300 basis points in Apple's overall market share in the retail and mail order channel, from 6.7 percent in the second quarter to 9.6 percent in the fourth quarter." (21 Jan 1999.)

So much for PC-biased market research. I think I'll boycott IDG.

Just To Show Off How Clever QuickTime Is

Check out this groovy game, which uses the latest amazing QuickTime technologies. (BTW, you'll need to have QuickTime 3 or better installed on your computer to play it.)

Go find QuickTime

Apple First Open Source Mainstream OS

CUPERTINO, California - March 16, 1999 - Apple Computer, Inc. today announced the launch of Darwin - the Open Source release of the Mac OS X Server operating system foundation. Mac OS X Server is the Company's new server operating system which combines the proven strength of UNIX with the simplicity of Macintosh. Darwin will be available free to developers in the next few weeks at ( With this announcement, Apple becomes the first mainstream operating system provider to release its source code to the public and base its system software strategy on Open Source technologies.

"The Open Source movement is revolutionizing the way operating systems evolve and Apple is leading the industry by becoming the first major OS provider to make it's core operating system available to Open Source developers," said Avie Tevanian, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering. "We look forward to working with the Open Source community to enhance the feature set, performance and quality of our Mac OS X products."

etc. You can just imagine the scorn and ridicule that would be directed at certain other OS makers if they were to release the source code of their OSs.