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I haven't truly loved a Mac OS since Snow Leopard. Sadly, I realized this morning that I have grown to detest Apple at least as much as I ever did Microsoft--back in the days when Windows was a hot, clunky mess and the Mac OS was a joy to use, when pleasing its fiercely loyal customer base was Apple's raison d'etre. Today's Apple bears virtually no resemblance to the company it was 20 or 30 (or even as recently as 10) years ago. The quasi-magical DNA of this company that once-upon-a-time encouraged us to "Think Different" has mutated into something unrecognizable and grotesque. No longer standing up against "the man," Apple has become "the man."
I have become so sick of the cynical forced upgrade cycle (new watch needs new phone needs new Mac needs new watch), that after being Apple exclusive in my personal purchases since the 1980's, I have decided to no longer drink the KoolAid. When Apple products were demonstrably superior in quality and usability I was willing to put up with the exorbitant pricing, but now I find their hardware to be so markedly inferior in features (and probably no better in quality than similarly priced alternatives), their software so buggy and user-hostile, and their focus so entirely on pushing unwanted paid services on me (to the point that my computer is no longer really under my control), that I have decided I have purchased my last Apple product. I guess from here it will be Linux for desktops (not without its trials, but hey, it will make things interesting and at least I will be back in control of what gets installed and when). More problematic is the choice of phone. Android-based phones seem like jumping from frying pan into the fire. They still sell Nokia 3310's here in Australia for kids to use. May have to go full Luddite and get one of them!
 


Just for the record, the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back was being in a sales meeting with some clients and having my watch beep at me, twice, with notification that a new episode of some stupid reality TV show was available on AppleTV.

I have not upgraded, or changed anything on my watch or phone for ages, and I certainly have never watched the stupid show on my AppleTV. The AppleTV did upgrade itself recently, with no interaction from me. Did this somehow enable AppleTV push notifications to my Phone/Watch? If so, not cool. Although, by interrupting an important meeting it did make me think, and opened my eyes to just how much time I spend wrestling with unwanted and seemingly unstoppable notifications.

Every morning my watch, instead of showing the time, you know, like you want a watch to do, has a warning about not having enough free space to install an update that I have never initiated nor want. Every time I want to use my phone, to maybe make a phone call, you know, like you want a phone to do, I have to dismiss some warning about 2FA (which I don't want) not being activated and/or urging me to sign in to iCloud. Every morning when I start up my iMac I have to dismiss notifications (that hide my hard drive icon in the top right corner) about updates being available for programs I never use and an advertisement urging me to upgrade to an OS I don't want. Enough already!
 


I agree that the degree of over-stimulation via watch/phone/CPU via notifications is annoying.

When a friend’s birthday rolls around, my Fitbit reminds me at least 8 times that day, whether I’ve “clear’ed” it or not. Likely, it is my phone sending those notifications!

One can argue when the best time is re notifications on application updates, also - is it when the application launches (Carbon Copy Cloner), as a warning message while it is operating (Makemkv), as a window inside the app (Postbox 7) or as part of the centralized App Store update ritual? Every developer has a choice here.

To counter the barrage of notifications, I am aggressively turning off notifications as I encounter them.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
This seemed interesting, though it probably depends quite a bit on the hardware involved, a MacBook Pro in this case (which should favor Apple):
Phoronix said:
Apple macOS 10.15 vs. Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 19.10 Performance Benchmarks
... Using an Apple MacBook Pro with Core i7-6700HQ Skylake CPU, 2 x 8GB RAM, 250GB Apple SSD, and Radeon Pro 450 graphics, macOS 10.15, Windows 10, and Ubuntu 19.10 were all benchmarked off this same system. All three operating systems were tested with their latest software updates as of testing.

... Of 86 benchmarks carried out across all three operating systems, Ubuntu 19.10 was the fastest 48% of the time followed by Windows 10 with leads 31% of the time and macOS 10.15 at just under 20%.

Of the three operating systems, macOS 10.15 was in last place about half the time.

If taking the geometric mean of all the benchmark results, Windows 10 had an 18% advantage over macOS 10.15 Catalina. Ubuntu 19.10 meanwhile had a 29.5% advantage over Apple macOS and 9% over Windows 10 for this tests from the same MacBook Pro.

Where macOS tended to perform the best was with the Firefox web browser benchmarks, the results on Google Chrome were mixed under Windows and macOS, and macOS also did well in some of the creative workloads like the Appleseed renderer. Windows 10 picked up some wins in gaming tests and other select workloads while Ubuntu 19.10 showed its best under the heavy CPU/system benchmarks.

#benchmarks #linux
 


This seemed interesting, though it probably depends quite a bit on the hardware involved, a MacBook Pro in this case (which should favor Apple):
My own attempts to make sense of Phoronix benchmarks has me in the role of that guy who can't see the forest for the trees. Lots of data points I'm not willing to spend my time understanding.

What I have been following on blogs and Linux podcasts is Canonical's dedication to making Ubuntu faster.
A Smackerel of Opinion: Notes and jottings from an Ubuntu Kernel Team Engineer said:
Boot speed improvements for Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine
In compression size, GZIP produces the smallest compressed kernel size, followed by LZO (~16% larger) and LZ4 (~25% larger). With decompression time, LZ4 is over 7 times faster than GZIP, and LZO being ~1.25 times faster then GZIP on x86. ...
Even with slow spinning media and a slow CPU, the longer load time of the LZ4 kernel is overcome by the far faster decompression time. As media gets faster, the load time difference between GZIP, LZ4 and LZO diminishes and the decompression time becomes the dominant speed factor with LZ4 the clear winner.

For Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine, LZ4 will be the default decompression for x86, ppc64el and s390 kernels and for the initramfs too.
Ubuntu said:
Boosting the Real Time Performance of Gnome Shell 3.34 in Ubuntu 19.10
As you may have read many times, Gnome 3.34 brings much improved desktop performance. In this article we will describe some of the improvements contributed by Canonical, how the problems were surprising, how they were approached and what other performance work is coming in future.
There's a lot of "stuff" going on in macOS all the time, much of which is related to the multiple software components Apple has overlaid on the OS itself. Ubuntu's update system is more streamlined than Apple's, and isn't tasked with verifying DRM status of installed applications. Ubuntu doesn't have a photo application that's busy analyzing content and tagging photos for face and object identification. There's no Spotlight eating CPU cycles and phoning users' local searches to the 'net. (Though Canonical did try that several years ago, to much user push-back.)

The last time I had a "gee whiz, that's fast!" experience with a Mac was when I first booted my 2010 MacBook Air on Snow Leopard 10.6.4.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
The last time I had a "gee whiz, that's fast!" experience with a Mac was when I first booted my 2010 MacBook Air on Snow Leopard 10.6.4.
To be fair, I had a similar experience when I booted a plain vanilla macOS Mojave system on the slam dunk 2017 iMac 5K internal flash drive last night – it was surprisingly fast (in comparison to a 2015 MacBook Pro 15" that is not at all slow running a very full macOS Sierra production system with a 27" QHD display). Of course, an iMac Pro might be even faster.... :-)
 


PC World reports on some interesting computer technology from the Computex 2018 trade show. Highlights include massive CPU core collections, dual-screen designs that fold like a book, thermoelectric coolers, the lack of upcoming GeForce cards, Intel low-power display technology, a very innovative keyboard with Aimpad technology, screenpad technology that makes an interesting comparison with Apple's Touch Bar, and more.
Here's some more interesting technology en route to us:
Mark Gurman said:
Apple’s Smart Glasses Could Make 2020 the Year of AR

... The coming year will be critical for Apple Inc. Consumers should expect its most impressive hardware rollout in some time: The iPhone is due for its first major update since 2017, including 5G support, a much beefier processor, and a rear-facing 3D camera. The latter will give the phone a better sense of where it is in physical space, improving the accuracy of object placement in augmented-reality apps, which overlay virtual images on the real world. That could make it easier for users to model, say, the placement of pictures on their walls.

Such applications are central to Apple’s long-awaited AR glasses, which are expected to have holographic displays in their lenses. Apple has targeted 2020 for the release of its AR headset, an attempt to succeed where Google Glass failed years ago. The glasses are expected to synchronize with a wearer’s iPhone to display things such as texts, emails, maps, and games over the user’s field of vision. The company has considered including an App Store with the headset, as it does on Apple TV streaming devices and the Apple Watch. It’s hiring experts in graphics and game development to establish the glasses as the leader in a new product category and, if all goes perfectly, an eventual successor to the iPhone.
Happy Halloween!
 


I had a "gee whiz, that's fast!" experience the other day when i booted my 2010 Mac Pro 5,1 into Snow Leopard. Fast, fast, fast! And that's on a spinning drive.
Many years ago, I timed the boot-to-usable-desktop time on my Macintosh II: 5 seconds. That was on a spinner, too! Although for full disclosure, I should state I had all extensions disabled. I think the normal boot time was around 15-20 seconds. I was doing packaging graphic design with Freehand at the time.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
It looks like Apple may see more competition for its lucrative "wearables" business and the data that comes with it:
Reuters said:
Google takes on wearables giants with $2.1 billion Fitbit deal
Alphabet Inc-owned Google will buy fitness tracker pioneer Fitbit Inc for $2.1 billion, as the search giant looks to take on Apple and Samsung in the fast-growing market for wearable devices.

... Google, which has been defending its privacy practices after a number of regulatory probes, said it would be transparent about the data it collects for its wearables.
#privacy #security
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
More management changes at Apple:
Mark Gurman said:
Apple Names Five VPs, Including Return of Early iPhone Executive
Apple Inc. recently promoted several executives to vice president, a key title at the company reserved for the most influential players.

In the past month, the company named Paul Meade a vice president of hardware engineering, Jon Andrews a vice president of software engineering, Gary Geaves to a new vice president of acoustics role, and Kaiann Drance as a vice president of marketing.

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant also brought back Bob Borchers, a former iPhone executive who recently worked at Google and Dolby Laboratories Inc. Borchers is now a vice president of marketing.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Even as Apple apparently prioritizes marketing and sales over development of innovative, high-quality products, some of its latest changes hit its longterm advertising partner hard:
Mark Gurman said:
Apple Ad Agency Cuts 50 Jobs as iPhone Maker’s Needs Evolve
Apple Inc.’s outside advertising agency has cut about 50 employees, according to people familiar with the matter. The firm said it was adjusting to the changing needs of its only client.
 


[FYI:]
Ars Technica said:
Google Pixel 4 review—Overpriced, uncompetitive, and out of touch
It's the fourth generation now, yet we've got to ask—what's the point of the Pixel line?

The Pixel 4 arrived on the market as one of the most leaked, most talked about smartphones of 2019. This year, Google seems like it is really trying to find something unique to offer, with new features like the Google-developed "Motion Sense" radar gesture system, face unlock, a 90Hz display, the next-gen Google Assistant, and a new astrophotography mode.

At the prices Google is asking, though, the Pixel 4 is hard to recommend. The company saddled the phone with an ultra-premium price tag, but the Pixel 4 can't compete with ultra-premium phones. The phone falls down on a lot of the basics, like battery life, storage speed, design, and more. The new additions like face unlock and Motion Sense just don't work well. It seems like Google just cut too many corners this year.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
It's pretty obvious that Apple has become a media company as it now develops software for platforms that compete with its own computers:
Neowin said:
Apple may be working on a successor to iTunes on Windows 10
... A job listing on LinkedIn looking for a senior software engineer says, "Join us and build the next generation of media apps for Windows."
Later in the description, it also says, "If you love music and you are passionate about writing code, and want to work with world-class engineering teams that ship to millions of users, the Media Apps team is the place for you." Naturally, this implies that an Apple Music app could be on the way, but it seems likely that if that's the case, then an Apple TV app shouldn't be too far behind.
And, like Google and Facebook, Apple is looking for billions of dollars in the advertising business:
Reuters said:
Apple could raise annual ad income to $11 billion by 2025: JPMorgan
The launch of Apple TV+, coupled with Apple Inc’s foray into digital services, could help the company increase its income from advertising by more than five fold to $11 billion annually within the next six years, analysts from JP Morgan said on Friday.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Intel confirmed some new competition for Apple's Mac Mini though macOS doesn't support these computers and prices haven't been announced yet:
AnandTech said:
Intel Confirms Comet Lake-Based NUC 10 ‘Frost Canyon’ UCFF PCs
... The Intel NUC 10 platform will have a Thunderbolt 3 port controlled by Intel’s Titan Ridge chip, USB 3.2 Gen 2 and USB 2.0 Type-A ports, GbE, HDMI, and the usual audio connectors. As an added bonus, the Frost Canyon NUC PCs are also equipped with far-field microphones supporting Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana assistants.

With rather powerful processors and sophisticated connectivity, Intel’s Frost Canyon UCFF PCs look very potent for various applications except gaming as Intel’s UHD Graphics can barely satisfy those who play demanding titles. Good news is that the systems feature a Thunderbolt 3 port that can be used to connect an external graphics box, but the latter tend to be rather expensive.

Intel’s NUC 10 will be available in the coming weeks. Prices have not yet been published.
 


Intel confirmed some new competition for Apple's Mac Mini though macOS doesn't support these computers and prices haven't been announced yet:
I had to smile when I saw this. I've been thinking about this item:


Apple's excellent software QC (specifically the macOS 10.15.1 update) seems to have killed my eGPU setup. The NUC is less than half the price I paid for my late 2018 Mini. Same SSD and RAM [but] only one Thunderbolt 3 – enough for a direct connection to the Razer Core X.

Apple 'discussion' follows my increasing level of frustration. (All told, I reinstalled Catalina three times.)

If I didn't despise Microsoft since its behavior in the '90's; and/or felt more joy in the past running the hobby OS that is Linux (almost as much trouble as the current macOS), I'd jump tomorrow.

#applequality
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here are Apple's latest financial results...
And for comparison...
CNBC said:
HP rises on earnings beat
... HP's biggest business segment, Personal Systems, which includes sales of notebook PCs and desktops, contributed $10.43 billion in revenue, up 4% year over year. That beat the $10.27 billion consensus among analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Reuters said:
Dell misses revenue estimates on weakness in server business
... Client Solutions Group, which includes desktop PCs, notebooks and tablets, reported a 4.6% rise in revenue to $11.41 billion.
 


if there's one thing Tim Cook has shown over the years, it's that what's best for the customer isn't even on Apple's radar any more.
I appreciate your kvetching, and I'm right there with you emotionally. However....

Cook's fiduciary duty is to the shareholders of the corporation. That is immutable, and really shouldn't be a source of angst.

The question is whether paying no attention to "what's best for the customer" begins to bite the corporation's bottom line on behalf of the shareholders. Right now Apple investors are being rewarded by the current strategies. Clearly, the kind of computers and performance that we appreciated from Apple are trending away from our preferences toward other markets. Are those markets happy with their subscriptions? Love their watches? Earbuds comfortable? Are they pleased with their keyboards? Or not? Will the customers rise up and punish the corporation for failing them? Will revenues fall? That will get the shareholders attention, and it will result in changes. Probably not back to what Apple computer hardware was once known for, though.

But right now we're not seeing any rebellion in the marketplace. I don't think "we here" are considered to be Apple's best customers anymore, so Apple is not trying to do what's best for the customer we represent. As long as the shareholders remain happy, I wouldn't expect that to change.
 




Ric Ford

MacInTouch


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Don't let Apple tell you it isn't in the advertising business and that you're not a product being profiled, packaged and sold for profit as part of its "services" business....
And, like Google and Facebook, Apple is looking for billions of dollars in the advertising business....
A bit more on the topic:
The Street said:
How Far Can Apple Stock Go? Far, Says J.P. Morgan
... "While investors are trying to identify the next big frontier for services, we believe hidden in plain sight and underappreciated by most is the advertising opportunity within Apple's fingertips, given the secular migration of advertising dollars to mobile platforms, the large installed base of close to (1 billion) iPhone users, and importantly, Apple's successful exploration of advertising to date," Chatterjee wrote in his Nov. 15 research note.
#advertising
 


This sounds a lot more like a 2013 Mac Pro gone to plaid than a return to the actual cheese grater paradigm. There has to be room for a product between the iMac Pro equivalent of a BMW and the 2019 Mac Pro equivalent of a cargo jet.
Apple should have updated the the 2013 Mac Pro to become the non-pro 2020 Mac. Drop Xeon processors and go with single Intel HEDT socketed processor, only one PCIe GPU, two M.2 slots on the motherboard and Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, and a lower price.

A single GPU and CPU wouldn't overwhelm the current cooling solution.

Allow choices of silver chrome finish and project RED. Start it at $2999.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple should have updated the the 2013 Mac Pro to become the non-pro 2020 Mac. Drop Xeon processors and go with single Intel HEDT socketed processor, only one PCIe GPU, two M.2 slots on the motherboard and Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, and a lower price.
A single GPU and CPU wouldn't overwhelm the current cooling solution.
Allow choices of silver chrome finish and project RED. Start it at $2999.
I think virtually everyone here would agree that we'd like to buy a product like that at a price like that (or a little lower), while that sort of price would still leave Apple plenty of profit margin (given the components) and would sell many millions of computers.

Here's the problem: If Apple did that, it would kill sales of its other pricy products. So, it won't.

(Actually, considering the alternatives, $2999 is probably way too high.)
 


I think virtually everyone here would agree that we'd like to buy a product like that at a price like that (or a little lower), while that sort of price would still leave Apple plenty of profit margin (given the components) and would sell many millions of computers. Here's the problem: If Apple did that, it would kill sales of its other pricy products. So, it won't.
(Actually, considering the alternatives, $2999 is probably way too high.)
I considered the pricing, as well, and although the market alternatives would be cheaper, a fully configured Mac Mini runs around $3200, so I'm guessing a market does exist at this price.

You are correct in thinking that it would take away sales of the Mac Mini, iMac Pro and Mac Pro, but shouldn't really matter to Apple which product a person buys, as long as it's Apple? High margins for this product make it more attractive for Apple to offer this, and it's easier to later drop pricing (to $2499) than to raise it.
 


Apple should have updated the the 2013 Mac Pro to become the non-pro 2020 Mac. Drop Xeon processors and go with single Intel HEDT socketed processor, only one PCIe GPU, two M.2 slots on the motherboard and Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, and a lower price. A single GPU and CPU wouldn't overwhelm the current cooling solution. Allow choices of silver chrome finish and project RED. Start it at $2999.
I think you just described the current Mac Mini – small, single-processor, limited GPU, limited storage, Thunderbolt 3 for expansion.
 


I think you just described the current Mac Mini – small, single-processor, limited GPU, limited storage, Thunderbolt 3 for expansion.
Indeed, the 2013 Mac Pro is basically a Mac Mini on steroids. The only major difference besides Xeon and ECC RAM is that the Mac Pro has some GPU options, and more (if inadequate) cooling. If Apple were to improve the current Mac Mini's cooling system and added an option for a discrete GPU, that would basically be an iMac without the screen. Make Xeon an option and it's an iMac Pro without the screen. Maybe that's getting too close for their desired market segmentation. I think they'd need to jump a bit higher to make a new product work, but then you're getting more into X-Mac territory, which would be nice, but they're clearly not interested in that.

What was discussed in last night's Accidental Tech Podcast recording was the cheese grater (Mac Pro and Power Mac G5) and even the previous G4 and G3 tower designs, where they put lesser components in the same big case. Yes the 2019 Mac Pro has an expensive case, but it's hundreds of dollars, not thousands. Same with the double-sided motherboard. Those Xeon processors are quite pricey, even if they're not as much as the dual-socket variants. So Apple could make a Mac Pro that looks the same as the current one, but with a simpler single-sided motherboard for i7 or i9 processors, fewer PCI slots (none of which are MPX modules), a smaller power supply, maybe even one less fan, and all they'd have to do is blank out some of the PCI covers, if that. Previous Mac Pro and G5 iterations had single socket and dual socket setups in the same case after all. This could get down closer to the $4,000 or $3,000 range, especially with ARM CPUs.
 


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