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Apple's Planned Obsolescence
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BobTheDog



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here is a screen dump of Logic playing a 69 track project containing over 80 plugins. Buffer size is set to 32, the audio is perfect with no dropouts, a video is also being played by Logic at the same time.


Cpu on the MacPro is sitting at around 70% of 400%

Who needs a realtime kernel?

Cheers

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:

I've max'ed out to 3 gigs and I rarely get spinning balls (If I do it's from not-so-good software). Rosie had this problem too on her iMac- but she also threw in as much ram as possible. Everything really flies now. I suppose yes- gone are the days when the the OS only needed 256mb to run. But also remember the price of memory. Memory for Akai samplers used to be a horrendous price for just for a few mb's, and that was only 10 years back. Now 3 gigs cost me just £30!


That's what I call "bloat", I don't see why a OS would need over 256 MB at all (and XP can make do with less if you strip it, 98 fits in 32MB without swapping, provided you strip it). It's utterly beyond me how you can call something you need to feed 3Gig of ram efficient.

I think this is a part of the "planned obsolescence" this topic is about; it's in Apple's interest to make the OS as resource hungry as they can get away with as they'll sell more computers. Of course RAM is cheap but if I buy ram it's for me, not for some company. I just checked on my little meters that you found so ugly, BTW, and right now my OS and programs are together using (slightly) less then 256MB and I didn't even strip this OS.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen, I have 16 gigs of RAM in my Mac Pro.

Why do I need a lot of RAM?

Well, apart from the obvious work stuff, I very often render gigapixel partial panoramas. A typical example is that 300 DPI 2 meter X 15 meter pano of Cadaques Bay. The scratch files combined with final render complete with alpha channels and masks.. we are talking big here.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

BobTheDog wrote:
Here is a screen dump of Logic playing a 69 track project containing over 80 plugins. Buffer size is set to 32, the audio is perfect with no dropouts, a video is also being played by Logic at the same time.


That's quite good! And there is no latency beyond that buffer? As in you can insert notes right before the cursor and it'll play them? Is this on a laptop? What price-range are we talking about here for the computer plus the card?

I wonder if V-un-V notices that there are lots of crypitic images and boxes there with no text on them, BTW.

Quote:

Who needs a realtime kernel?


Well, right now, I do. It made a lot of difference in how much audio processing I could do before hickups occurred.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:

Why do I need a lot of RAM?


I know what RAM is good for, we weren't talking about RAM for applications but about RAM for the OS to run without complaining.

I mentioned a few times that I'd love a 200 GHz CPU with a single core, I'd have a lot of use for that. I don't want the OS that would soon follow that needs at least 100 GHz to display a folder though. See the difference?

You can bring any computer to it's knees, that's no big deal, just increase the sample rate, number of sounds, bit depth and try ray-tracing a reverb in realtime. At some point it will give. A much better question -to me- is what's left of the computer to use in a useful way after the OS has taken it's share. A Tom has pointed out; OSX takes a rather large share.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I dunno about you, but personally I run applications that do need some RAM and that is why I have RAM in my computer. If I didn´t plan to use the applications I obviously use, then I obviously wouldn´t need the RAM and obviously I just might not need a computer at all.
As our most excellent Bob The Dog pointed out, Logic performs quite great on a Mac Pro. I use Logic. I cannot get that kind of performance from a tape rig + your typical mid-80s project studio.

As for the RTOS needs, if you need a small, fast RTOS box then by all means get one. There are a lot of decent products out there. Some are rather cheap as well.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I don't need that much ram, really. I don't need 64 tracks either (I couldn't even afford the mixer those would need to stick to mostly analogue mixing!). Usually 10 or 12 is my max.

I have a Gig of Ram in my XP laptop and that's overkill for me. Right now I use 64samples of buffer on my EMU, with a RME that might go down to 32, I suppose. I think the largest bottleneck in latency is the HID poll-rate which is a mess in XP (one of it's largest flaws, IMHO). We'll see how far I can get this all down once the new ASIO driver arrive and I can run my EMU under Ubuntu.

Basically my needs in performance are quite low for general musical applications as long as it's not interrupted, I don't think I ever used over ten plugins because I can't keep track of that many settings mentally. I don't think I have a talent for orchestral scores anyway :¬). I could use a LOT more cpu but cpu speeds aren't really going up and until ChucK supports multi-threading (not bloody likely any time soon) new CPU's aren't actually any good for me.

On the other hand; my needs in interfaces and latency are quite high. We'll see where it all goes but I don't like the direction any of the three major OS's are taking. Even Linux is slowly getting bloated... but because of this treadmill of obsolescence we need to keep upgrading. I'd be perfectly happy to run Win98 for a DAW right now, I image it would get quite fast on a modern PC but nothing has drivers for it any more. It's all just really really annoying. Apple does have drivers and a solid core and Bob's numbers are quite pleasing so a stripped OSX sounds ideal to me... but sadly it's the one current OS you -reportedly- can't strip, which is painfully annoying. On top of that OSX sounded appealing because it's what Ge runs so updates to ChucK are sometimes faster but the current mess isn't really encouraging in that direction.

I don't understand what drives this cycle at all, I can't imagine customers have a actual need for a OS that's 15 Gigabyte. At least MS is reportedly seeing the errors of it's ways and planning a new and leaner OS, with any luck Apple will follow.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:

As for the RTOS needs, if you need a small, fast RTOS box then by all means get one. There are a lot of decent products out there. Some are rather cheap as well.


I'm typing this on a realtime OS :¬).

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Oh shit... my bad.. in order to write posts a proper RTOS is called for. Shocked Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
I cannot get that kind of performance from a tape rig + your typical mid-80s project studio.


Well, no, but if that's the standard any schoolboy with a warezed copy of Fruity on his dad's office PC is in heaven as well.

Ok, come to think of it, he likely is, we've come a long way since then.

Still, that 80's project studio would've run a Atari and I started setting my GUI's like that after I ran a Atari and a Win98 box side by side and I noticed how much my eyes liked the plain B&W of the Atari. With regard to interfaces I think we have taken several steps back since then. I'm sure V-un-V will disagree but I still don't understand what he sees as a good interface.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
Oh shit... my bad.. in order to write posts a proper RTOS is called for. Shocked Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy


No, it's not and I strongly suspect Flash doesn't work well with it at all. It does make a huge difference for audio performance when quickly trying something out though.

I can select the normal kernel at bootup as well, you can have tens of kernels if you'd like, I think. Why you'd want to is beyond me but you could. :¬)

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
Yes, that's true, but there is very little information available on how to get a Mac in that state, compared to Windows.


Don't change the subject. First you said OSX is inherently unstable. So I said my box is stable. Now you say there's no information on how to get it to do that.

Mine is basically a default install of OSX. I've tweaked almost nothing, and it runs just fine. For weeks at a time. So I have to assume you've gone back to stripping the system... which is changing the subject.

Next question?

Kassen wrote:
Generally I feel a application on a modern OS should never be able to bring the whole thing down.


True.

There are system preferences to say what to do when inserting a CD or DVD. One of those options ("ignore") just mounts the disc. So, if the DVD player app has issues with a particular DVD, you can disable the app to investigate what the problem is, or to launch a different player that might handle the disc better.

James

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
Still, that 80's project studio would've run a Atari and I started setting my GUI's like that after I ran a Atari and a Win98 box side by side and I noticed how much my eyes liked the plain B&W of the Atari. With regard to interfaces I think we have taken several steps back since then. I'm sure V-un-V will disagree but I still don't understand what he sees as a good interface.


So much of this is a matter of taste. What you call clean, looks blocky to me and the maximum-contrast black-vs-white is (to my eyes) unbearable. I mean, I would seriously consider abandoning computers altogether if there were no alternatives to that.

More power to you, to have a gui design that you like! But please don't suggest that somebody who likes something different from what you like is living several steps back from you.

(I've seen packages to customize mac osx themes... unfortunately not free, but you could make osx look much more like your ideal than the out-of-the-box appearance.)

WRT to *interfaces* taking steps backward... that's a much larger argument than a gui theme -- an interesting discussion that I'm not sure this thread is doing justice by confusing HCI progress (or degradation) with personal taste.

James

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The so called stability problem is not a problem. I´ve been running OS X boxes as servers since the 1.x server was issued ( from before the official OS X release). I´ve never had a problem with any of these. I have to check on them of course and keep the disks tidy and all that.. but basically they never crash. The only go offline when I have to update the software, put in new drives or relocate the it or whatever.

Some of the servers aren´t even running the OS X Server version, but use the standard workstation installation. I´ve had to change a few fans, clean out dust and rodents and stuff like that. The software itself is stable and does what it is supposed to.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

dewdrop_world wrote:

More power to you, to have a gui design that you like! But please don't suggest that somebody who likes something different from what you like is living several steps back from you.


Oops, I didn't meant to imply that. Aside from the layout I think the original Xerox parc ideas had some very good stuff going on in how easy stuff was to find. Let's separate interface and it's "skin".

There was a lot of research done at Xerox into how interfaces work and it was steady and dependable for years. I'm getting the impression that these days changes in interface are mainly influenced by fashion, at least more so then by -say- cognitive science.

I also think technical possibilities influenced how they work. For example in video cards the driving factor in the past years was 3d games so modern cards are optimised for those. This means we can now do 3d interfaces for desktops as well, every OS promptly implemented those..... but should we do it? Is it at all a good idea there? It doesn't strike me that this has been given much thought.

Much like Sony has made a rule that (at least in some territories) no 2d games can be released on discs on the PS3 because they want it and it's range of games to look "modern" (and damn you if you like 2d games), I'm getting the impression Apple and MS want their system to look "modern" without much regard for whether that's actually a good idea for everybody in practice.

I myself am descended from tribes of hunter-gatherers and the genes of my species haven't changed that much since then. Because of this; if anything moves in my peripheral vision my brain stops to determine whether I should fight, flee or eat it. Because of this I try to keep moving elements in my GUI to a absolute minimum. Apple and MS seem to have decreed that if something can move then it must, probably (rightly) reasoning that this looks "exciting", well, it does, which may get people to buy it but is this a good idea in every day usage? I don't think so.

So; I feel that for my usage, which could in some areas be indicative for (many) more people, the usability of many aspects of computer interfaces has gone down or at least stayed level at a larger expense to the available resources.

As far as I'm concerned Steve can have his "ooh, impressive" keynote moments when people first see what can be done as long as I can then configure it to how I feel my computer should work. Presentations have different needs then everyday desktop usage, I'm sure you'll agree.

As an aside;
Can these packs make the "file" (etc) menus a part of the program's window instead of the bar at the top and use some sort of visual indication on the window itself that that one is the active one?

[edit]; you are right that this is a much larger topic, but I hope you'll see how this ties to "planed obsolescence". If we look at MS (which is just as guilty) for a moment; If you look at the (IMHO) flat out silly requirements to run Aero, does that interface do anything at all that couldn't be functionally done in Win95 and that's worth so much resources? Quartz takes 80MB, minimum, of video ram... to -erm- enable one to move files and start programs. A lot of emphasis is placed on the search functionality, gigabytes are invested in indexing for it. If it were my OS I'd use a graphical manager that would take about 2MB of video ram, then have people come up with a interface for sorting the files and programs that would work with the human brain to decrease the need for a search function at all. I'd like to propose research to be done on the link between modern windowing interfaces on the one hand -apparently- going hand in hand with the need for a far more elaborate search functionality and on the other hand demanding more resources. Exactly for whom are these being optimised? Definitely a larger topic but IMHO it also fall squarely under the topic name of this discussion.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
The so called stability problem is not a problem.


Well, I think there are problems because I see it crash so often (compared to how much I see it at all).

Some of those are probably the fault of drivers, some may be due to Tom's "badly ported programs", nVidea should probably take the blame for that video-driver disaster (though I do think Apple's quality control was lacking there) and maybe the update that Ge seems to have gotten was a fluke-accident as may the "2minutes to PWN" incident be.... but what's not clear to me is how a average Mac user is expected to avoid those incidences, particularly not as Apple has a policy of flat out deleting topics about issues on their boards and suing other information sources out of existence.

I understand that you and James are experienced power users but I think there is a shortage of solutions and straight info for novice users and non-techies. The situation is getting quite bad when Apple fans that I know start asking *me* for tech support. Of the Apple users that I know off-line I estimate that about 2/3rd has at least once and often more then once asked me to fix or diagnose some issue with their computer, this is a higher percentage then of Windows users, BTW, where I know what I'm doing (most of the time....).

*You* clearly can make it run like that but they can't and I can't figure out how to help them.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Concerning memory usage, Leopard on startup for me uses around 512MB wired memory, this is pretty low for a 64 bit operating system and GUI.

Currently in the UK I can get 2GB memory for £150, so 512MB is £37.50.

The main usage of memory on OSX is applications you run, not the actual OS. In my experience the best way to make computers fast is to install lots of ram, this will stop virtual memory disk access and also allow the OS to cache the filing system.

One of the companies I have worked for recently spent a huge amount of money on a 8 processor HP box to run an Oracle database on, the memory for the machine was so expensive that they could only give the Oracle process 1GB or Ram to use. This ran like a dog, we showed a lowly 2 processor linux box with 8GB of ram outperforming the HP box by up to a factor of 100, mainly due to the fact that indexes were cached in ram and not on slow harddisks.


Concerning "No latency beyond that buffer", there will be a little extra latency in the D/A on the RME device but this will be minimal. RME drivers do not use extra hidden buffers like some audio device drivers.

It is not a Laptop it is a MacPro 4 core, the cost of machine and audio interface was around £4000.

I will give it a go on my laptop as well later and report.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

BobTheDog wrote:
Concerning memory usage, Leopard on startup for me uses around 512MB wired memory, this is pretty low for a 64 bit operating system and GUI.


Ok.

Quote:
Currently in the UK I can get 2GB memory for £150, so 512MB is £37.50.


Yeah, I thought Tom's price sounded a bit low.

Quote:

The main usage of memory on OSX is applications you run, not the actual OS. In my experience the best way to make computers fast is to install lots of ram, this will stop virtual memory disk access and also allow the OS to cache the filing system.


Yeah, it helps. In my own experience tweaking leads to larger gains though (unless of course you have a application like Stein's where nothing but lots of Ram will do). I fondly remember my Quake days where my own computer on OS/2 would completely smoke my friend's DOS box next to it after I figured out how to optimise the DOS emulation. We are talking about at least twice the frame-rate on a computer that was a year or so older. A few days ago I brought down a small program's CPU usage from 25% to 5% by chopping up a very inefficient function call (that would also leak memory) into several in-line statements. I think the largest performance gain I had on my laptop was disabling the IR device and network-card, those did more good then doubling the memory.

Tweaking, of course, does come with risks.

Quote:
One of the companies I have worked for recently spent a huge amount of money on a 8 processor HP box to run an Oracle database on, the memory for the machine was so expensive that they could only give the Oracle process 1GB or Ram to use. This ran like a dog, we showed a lowly 2 processor linux box with 8GB of ram outperforming the HP box by up to a factor of 100, mainly due to the fact that indexes were cached in ram and not on slow harddisks.


Yeah, they should've known better, especially for databases. I think it makes sense to try to find the bottleneck before upgrading, (especially if upgrading is THAT expensive :¬) ), CPU and RAM are options, as is a faster HD and so on but in my experience disabling ill-behaved calls by the OS can lead to huge gains, especially on Windows.


Quote:
Concerning "No latency beyond that buffer", there will be a little extra latency in the D/A on the RME device but this will be minimal. RME drivers do not use extra hidden buffers like some audio device drivers.


That's good! This is another spot where Windows has issues, I suspect.

Quote:
It is not a Laptop it is a MacPro 4 core, the cost of machine and audio interface was around £4000.


Oops. Please excuse me while I assume the budget may have at least as much influence on your performance as the OS does there :¬)

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
If we look at MS (which is just as guilty) for a moment; If you look at the (IMHO) flat out silly requirements to run Aero, does that interface do anything at all that couldn't be functionally done in Win95 and that's worth so much resources?


No nothing more than that. Less even, as some useful visual clues have been removed from the user interface and all system interaction takes more knowledge and more clicks than in previous versions of the GUI - it looks nicer but it's annoying after using the computer a few weeks.

About the "exiting" stuff in the graphical shell: it must be turned off for me as well to be able to do something useful with the computer. Some of Vista's "features" are pretty resistive and can't be taken out easily, it seems to be part of a branding strategy.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

BobTheDog wrote:
Currently in the UK I can get 2GB memory for £150, so 512MB is £37.50.


That sounds about right. The 512 MB memory i bought from Apple was $100.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:
Some of Vista's "features" are pretty resistive and can't be taken out easily, it seems to be part of a branding strategy.


At least there is "Home Basic" which removes Aero which takes it out for you... and which is cheaper to boot. A good deal, me thinks.

I'm pritty sure that's not how they wanted me to think. I'm also pritty sure Jobs in his mockery of those versions didn't intend me to think that such versions of OSX would actually be a good idea.

It's one of those cases where I think it's all very funny.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
At least there is "Home Basic" which removes Aero which takes it out for you... and which is cheaper to boot.


Turning off Aero is not that hard. It's the auto scrolling tree views and the soft scrolling that stays on even when you tell it to go off, the lack of feedback on what is selected in tree views, the search function that insists on me typing a query before it will go into advanced mode .. I could go on for while.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ouch. I sometimes wonder if this "modern OS's" business is meant as a huge comedic sketch.
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v-un-v
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:

Quote:
Currently in the UK I can get 2GB memory for £150, so 512MB is £37.50.


Yeah, I thought Tom's price sounded a bit low.


It seems that you think I talk a lot of nonsense Kassen (well judging from all the 'nice words' in this thread), but like usual, you are mistaken yet again (it's just obvious to me that you are shopping in the wrong places folks Wink )


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:

It seems that you think I talk a lot of nonsense Kassen (well judging from all the 'nice words' in this thread), but like usual, you are mistaken yet again (it's just obvious to me that you are shopping in the wrong places folks Wink )


You seem to ascribe a lot of weird intentions to my posts (well judging from all the 'nice words' in this thread). I merely thought it sounded a bit low.

I think it's a bit of a shame that you don't contribute much to the actual topic of this discussion but at least you are taking your current stress out on random people online instead of on your partner and children. That's probably a good choice.

:¬)

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