An open community 
of Macintosh users,
for Macintosh users.

FineTunedMac Dashboard widget now available! Download Here

Topic Options
#50045 - 09/26/18 07:41 AM What Do You Really Need?
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I remember a time when my computer had trouble keeping up with my keyboarding speed and I would sometimes have to slowdown to give the computer time to catch up. Those days are long gone as are the computers I was using and truthfully they're not missed. The amazing things that I can do with my Apple devices today benefit greatly from the improved engineering and hardware that is an order of magnitude or two faster in fact without that speed they wouldn't be practical. But two things have cropped up lately that has caused me to question the ever greater demand for speed.

First I have had multiple request from friends and relatives for advice on purchasing a new Mac, or iPhone, or iPad, or watch. When I asked those Friends and relatives how they use their computer/ iPhone/ iPad/ watch the answers are amazingly alike, "I checked my email and messages, Cruise the Internet, write an occasional letter, and (rarely) balance my checkbook." My next question is, "… and what are you looking for in your new Computer/ phone/ pad?" Hear the answer is almost universally the same, "well of course speed…".

Second, are the recent reviews on the new iPhone XS criticizing Apple because they claim a 15% speed improvement and various benchmark tests are showing 13% speed improvement. (I am going to ignore the fact those benchmarks are accurate measurements under laboratory conditions, and do not accurately reflect "Real world" usage and perceptions.)

Admittedly so many of those "gee whiz" features in our operating systems and software that we love (such as dictation which I am using to create this post) work as well as they do because the hardware has gotten fast enough to support the necessary processing in a realistic time, but how fast do our devices have to be for checking our email, browsing the Internet, and writing the occasional letter? In point fact one of the major limiting factors is how fast we type, and that has been true for at least a couple of generations.

One of my friends who was asking Computer purchasing advice was trying to decide between the MacBook and a MacBook Pro. He likes the size, transportability, and price of the MacBook (so do I). His concern about the Macbook is," is it fast enough to do the job?" "Fast enough to do the job"? — the most demanding tasks that my friend put his computer to would be watching the latest Star Wars movie. A larger screen might be nice in that case, but the other evening my wife and her girl friends over for Bridge so I was relegated to the back room and a 4 inch rainstorm had put a satellite television out of commission and "Solo" including the dramatic audio was quite enjoyable on my 11" iPad Pro. (I think the sound is better on the iPad Pro than it is on my MacBook Pro.)

My point in this rant is we all (and I am including myself) get to enamored of the "ever faster" CPU/GPU/SSD syndrome. Most of us, could easily get by with a lot less computer "horsepower" than we think we have to have. If we step back and take a serious look at what we do with our computers how many of us are making purchasing decisions based on "bragging rights" rather than actual task requirements?


CONFESSION:

My son just bought a MacBook (I encouraged him to wait for the new ones but patience is not one of his virtues). This presented me with the opportunity to try it out the MacBook alongside my MacBook Pro.

CONCLUSION: if I had the Mac book first I would've been perfectly content with it's speed, performance, and features. However, having had the MacBook Pro first I found not so much my requirements but my "I really want that" list had evolved and some of the features on the MacBook Pro I had initially pretty much ignored had become essential really nice to have. Specifically the touch bar. Now I wouldn't want to do without it. The next feature I would like to see on my MacBook Pro his facial recognition.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#50088 - 09/29/18 01:43 PM Re: What Do You Really Need? [Re: joemikeb]
Ira L Offline


Registered: 08/13/09
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
My point in this rant is we all (and I am including myself) get to enamored of the "ever faster" CPU/GPU/SSD syndrome. Most of us, could easily get by with a lot less computer "horsepower" than we think we have to have. If we step back and take a serious look at what we do with our computers how many of us are making purchasing decisions based on "bragging rights" rather than actual task requirements?


Come and Get It smirk
_________________________
On a Mac since 1984.
Currently: 27" iMacs, Macbook Air, macOS 10.14.x,; iPhones, iPods and iPads galore!

Top
#50099 - 09/30/18 01:50 PM Re: What Do You Really Need? [Re: joemikeb]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
If we step back and take a serious look at what we do with our computers how many of us are making purchasing decisions based on "bragging rights" rather than actual task requirements?

Or, how many of us are just getting dragged along as new operating systems and applications require more zip?

I'm one of those whose requirements are fairly basic and who is not particularly interested in gaining more speed. I would be quite happy if I never had to buy another computer. However, that'll never happen. At some point I'll be compelled to upgrade, and that change will extremely disruptive as it will also mean the end of 32 bit applications I've used for years.

Grrrr.

And it seems the "you gotta change, or else" phenomenon is generally restricted to computing. The watch on my wrist has been there for 43 years. I have no idea when I bought most of the tools in my tool box. My neighbour may have a modern saw that is computerized to adjust for various types of wood but, in the end, that's his choice. Nothing forces me to be the same and, with my saw of unknown vintage, I am still able to cut a board reasonably well. Et cetera, et cetera.

Getting back to computing, it's safety and security that force me to change. Let's face it, the web is no place to be without protection. Maybe someone will figure out how to make a buck out of continually upgradable security software for folks who want their systems and applications to remain static.


Edited by ryck (09/30/18 01:57 PM)
_________________________
ryck

iMac (Retina 5K, 27", 2017), 3.4 GHz Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 2400 MHz DDR4
OS High Sierra 10.13.6
Canon MX712 Printer
Epson Perfection V500 Photo Scanner
Time Machine on 320GB OWC Mercury OTG Pro
Super Duper on 500GB OWC Mercury OTG Pro

Top
#50102 - 10/01/18 07:37 AM Re: What Do You Really Need? [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: ryck
And it seems the "you gotta change, or else" phenomenon is generally restricted to computing.
<snip>
Getting back to computing, it's safety and security that force me to change. Let's face it, the web is no place to be without protection. Maybe someone will figure out how to make a buck out of continually upgradable security software for folks who want their systems and applications to remain static.

It was safety and security (and advancing age) that lead me to the auto dealership's showroom to get a new car with all the latest blind spot detection, rear view camera, lane keeping assistance, etc. so you might add automobiles to your list of items that force you to change. In my case we just ordered Apple Watch 4s to replace our Apple watch 3s because of the builtin fall detection and associated emergency services notification. (Again urged by the realities of advancing age). But that might be considered a Computer as much as a watch. I have a relatively new table saw in my shop because the spinning blade will stop almost instantly if it touches flesh and my old saw most certainly would not stop under similar circumstances. As to computers I confess to being seduced by cool new features such as fingerprint recognition and ever improving screen resolution.

CONFESSION: I spent my professional life making software well beyond the "bleeding edge" of technology using tools and processes that were the computer equivalent of stone axes. I guess I spent so much time on or beyond the bleeding edge that it has became my normal environment and I get uncomfortable elsewhere.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#50103 - 10/01/18 10:28 AM Re: What Do You Really Need? [Re: joemikeb]
Ira L Offline


Registered: 08/13/09
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
I have a relatively new table saw in my shop because the spinning blade will stop almost instantly if it touches flesh and my old saw most certainly would not stop under similar circumstances.


Wow! What's the sensing mechanism on that? Texture? Pretty cool. cool
_________________________
On a Mac since 1984.
Currently: 27" iMacs, Macbook Air, macOS 10.14.x,; iPhones, iPods and iPads galore!

Top
#50104 - 10/01/18 11:12 AM Re: What Do You Really Need? [Re: Ira L]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: Ira L
Wow! What's the sensing mechanism on that? Texture? Pretty cool. cool

Microvolts of electricity. The skin is conductive and when the spinning blade touches, say your finger, there is a micro flow of electricity that triggers a relay which releases a spring loaded "stop block" of relatively soft aluminum that snaps up into the teeth of the spinning blade stopping it before it can rotate far enough to even break the skin. I have seen it tested with a hot dog and it works. The downside is once it "fires" you have to replace both the stop block mechanism (~$80) and the saw blade (another $60 to $80). But that is cheaper than a visit to the E.R. and a LOT less painfull. The brand name is Sawstop.

At one time Sawstop offered to license the technology to other table saw manufacturers at no cost, but none of them were interested because it would require engineering changes and add additional manufacturing costs to their products.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#50105 - 10/01/18 01:10 PM Re: What Do You Really Need? [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
The downside is once it "fires" you have to replace both the stop block mechanism (~$80) and the saw blade (another $60 to $80). But that is cheaper than a visit to the E.R. and a LOT less painfull.

The Young Adults - A Power Tool Is Not A Toy
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

Top

Moderator:  alternaut, cyn