Intel Macs

At first, I thought that my brand new Mac Mini was really slow. The web browser took a while to come up, and it was pretty sluggish. i installed Firefox, and that was about the same. It felt like a Windows PC running on maybe a Pentium II.

Then I realized that I’ve been running most applications as PowerPC binaries. My mac is an Intel core duo. it turns out, that most applications aren’t really available compiled as Intel-native yet. Apple provides an emulation layer, so you can run PowerPC apps on your Intel Mac, and its pretty transparent. The apps do run slower though.

It turns out, that if you look around carefully, you can find Intel-compiled version of many applications. For example, Firefox, and MPlayer — two important ones.

For the most part, these are beta or pre-release versions of the applications which will be officially out for Intel Mac soon. When I upgraded Firefox, for example, to the Mac Intel version, it was like a night-and-day difference. It even ran circles around Safari, the apple-bundled browser.

Mac Mini (core duo) @ the Mac Store

After spending a great deal of time doing my research, I decided to ditch my current PC (don’t worry — I have another one acting as a server in my closet), get a Mac Mini duo, and stick it behind my LCD TV on the wall. This is to be the ultimate MythTV front-end. I will be able to record shows on my Linux x86 server, and watch them on any TV in my apartment (I have 1, and am setting up my old monitor as another), and share content between them (there is support for the front-end to run on OS X).

I’d like to say that I went into the mac store, and had a great experience like everyone else seems to. Unfortunately, it was far from it. There were somewhere around 100 people in the Mac store in the Walt Whitman mall on Long Island. There were maybe 10 Mac sales working. However, their jobs broke down like this:

  • 3 people walking around, talking about how cool OS X is, and Mac’s/Ipod’s are in general. These people “aren’t technical,” though, according to them, and can’t actually help with anything
  • 6 people walking around, trying to convince people to up-sell (“You should get more memory with that”), and to buy Applecare.
  • 1 Person working the register (including returns). About 15-20 out of the 100 people in the store were waiting on line while I was there

This was fairly ridiculous. I knew exactly what I wanted to buy. I grabbed a passing employee in the store, and asked if he could cash me out, since the line had not yet moved 1 person in the 20 minutes I was there (some sort of exchange was confusing the single register person). Instead of helping me, he asked what I was using the computer for.

Besides the fact that I am a Chief Technologist at work, I gave him the specific product and model that I wanted to purchase. I was clearly not there to browse, and I had clearly knew what I wanted. I told him something like “stuff,” starting to get annoyed. Then he has the gall not only to ask me “you are getting Applecare with that, right,” but to look at me like I was crazy because I said “no.” Luckily, my wife stepped in before it could come to blows, and told him “We are in a hurry, can you please help cash us out?”

At this point, he says “Sorry, I am helping someone else, I don’t have time for that” and ran off! So, here we are, and the line still hasn’t moved one person. I asked him how helping someone else can be more important when they would just have to wait on line behind me anyway. He didn’t say anything.

When the cashier asked who had helped us, I said “no one.” No commission for you Apple Store.

Best line of the day? “Now I understand why people buy things online!”

[later] I’m not the only one with bad experiences.

Trustworthy Credit

Holy crap — this guy submitted a torn-up-then-taped-together credit card application, with a different address and phone number, and it was approved without even confirming any details with him! I mean, how greedy are the banks at this point? They are not only inviting fraud, but how smart can the people be who process these things?