strumzilla

​A blog/journal about my life and the stuff I like. Popular subjects include music, guitars, gear, books, movies, video games, technology, humor.

Filtering by Tag: Rant

Not a review as such…

…but a reflection. I made a recommendation to a potential Mac buyer on the Native Instruments forum (software synth makers, among other things) based on my positive experience with the Mac so far. It resulted in a flame from a fervent winsciple about how NI products (and software in general) run so much better on Windows compared to OSX (Mac). He quoted several "tests" that supported this notion by demonstrating CPU efficiency improvements with the same products under both operating systems.

He even admitted to owning a Mac Pro, but stated that he bought it to run Windows because the Mac Pro is "just a windows pc with mac labeling" or words to that effect. He had told the potential buyer he should get a Win pc because of the so called improvements for NI products. Oddly, he didn't state that buying a Mac would actually be the best solution if you truly believed the numbers since you could have the option of running either OS, unlike Win PCs which can't run OSX.

To make a long story short, although I doubted his claims I attempted to load the programs in question into my Windows drive on my Mac (yes, I do run Windows under my mac, but mostly just for a couple of games I can't run on OSX). Scratch a perfectly good Saturday out of my life for that. I spent most of the day loading the programs, and then found I couldn't get my audio interface to work for more than a few minutes before it quit responding and resulting in three BSODs before I called it quits.  I think there may have been an eventual solution and I should add that I have Vista which isn't fully supported yet.  

It just demonstrates the amount of additional hassle that any Windows related operation involves. I had truly forgotten what it's like to need a regular tweak of various components in your computer just to keep it running. I have been using the Mac for a couple of months now, and with the exception of a program update every couple of weeks, I don't have to do anything except turn it on and use it. It's really as simple as turning on a television or other appliance.

The bottom line is that my personal experience with the Mac has mostly lived up to the hype. The thing works, and it works well. It's not perfect, and I have had a few hiccups along the way, but they all were sorted out in very short order.  I can't see ever going back to a Win PC except to run work related stuff if I can't avoid it at home or the odd game that isn't released on Mac.

Molehills

I'm sure everyone of us has many opportunities in their professional and personal lives to interact with people who tend to focus on the irrelevant. The old saying "making a mountain out of a molehill" is unfortunately still valid.  In my work especially, I deal with mostly adminstrative medical evaluations for employment and it seems to be a near daily occurrence that someone in the process will decide to focus on a point that is trivial to everyone else in the world (except them) to the exclusion of the truly important issues at hand. In my line of work, it's often more trouble to put someone in their place as opposed to just patting their hand until they go away and dump their molehill on someone else.

On a related subject, it's painful yet sometimes fascinating that you will get patients who are much more concerned about some administrative aspect to their exam as opposed to the fact that you are telling them they need to change their lifestyle or they're going to die before their 60.  The typical response you get is something along the lines of "Ok, I realize that I'm overweight, hypertensive, diabetic and at imminent risk for a fatal heart attack in the next five years if I don't stop smoking, overeating, drinking, not exercising, etc. But is this going to keep me from working overtime this weekend? Because I really need to pay for that new bass boat."  Not to mention people who get upset because it's such an inconvenience for them to come into the clinic once a year for 2-3 hours to have an exam that is a condition of their continued employment.  Most of them don't consider that their health should be more important to them than it is to us, but that's usually not the case. The unspoken but very common philosophy is work until you die, even if you could extend your life by twenty or thirty years with a few lifestyle choices. 

Mac Community?

Now that I have a mac on the way, I'm inclined to start behaving appropriately so that I can fit in once I get my system.  I'm going to have to grow my hair longer, slouch more and start acting superior (the latter won't be such a transition). :)  Don't sniff, you've seen the commercials as well unless you've lived in a cave for the last few years. I find the idea of a mac community somewhat laughable as it is just a computer, but considering the overwhelming popularity of even more trivial activities like some of the social networking sites, I guess it's not as irrelevant as it seems.

I see the value in most web based activities, but I don't understand the relative importance anything like this plays in someone's life. If you use a certain piece of equipment or have a hobby you want to share with others the web is really the best place to network with others. But, too often people need to separate themselves from others as a means to establish their individuality and a common result is a mac user flaming a pc user or vice versa. I think both sides can argue for their advantages, but it's really irrelevant in the grand scheme.

I think demographically the Mac community is usually a little more wealthy, educated and artistic. I'm not making that up, I've read it in several places and here is an example of one study. That sounds like I just called the pc users poor, ignorant, and boring to boot. I don't relate education directly to mac use, but I think it's established that with wealth goes education and the likelihood of artistic pursuits (not counting the starving artists out there, I think those with more money usually have more opportunities).  So, because Macs cost more on average, I think the other statistics follow, and that's making no value judgment on the mac vrs a winpc. 

If pc users are less educated, etc., then so am I because I have been a winpc user for the last 15 years with an Amiga 500 as my last non-mainstream computer system.  It's difficult to say if a large portion of the loyal mac users are just sticking with what they know as opposed to actually analyzing the pros and cons of a mac vrs pc.  I think that most mac users are more familiar with pcs vrs the other way around.  In the case of musicians, it's very true that they are usually less willing to change once they have a working system hence the overwhelming predominance of macs and the related hardware/software within the professional recording world. It's probably the same reason that Fender and Gibson guitars still have such large market shares, when there are dozens if not hundreds of great guitar companies.

God Has Forsaken the Cowboys (continuing the daily whine series)

The MNF game against the Giants was supposed to be a real indicator of where the team was currently and where it was headed. Well, if that’s true then I’ll be rooting for whatever underdog I identify as least intolerable during the post season for about the 9th out of the last 11 years (not really rooting, just trying to give myself some excuse to continue watching football once Dallas is done for the season). God knows it doesn’t look like the Cowboys will be a viable interest after the last regular season game. Actually, we’ll probably have a good idea if the season is even salvageable in the next month or so.

Right now we don’t have an offensive line that can block (against teams with winning records anyway), we don’t have a quarterback that understands that discretion is the better part of valor (in football terms, it’s better to throw it away than to throw an interception, anytime) or a secondary that can prevent the big play downfield. We have what is arguably one of the top 5 sets of offensive weapons in the NFL with TO, Terry Glenn, Julius Jones, Jason Witten, and Marion Barber. These guys are all very talented and any individual in that group could effectively carry half of the responsibility for moving the ball if needed.

The problem is that if the OL can’t block then we have no running or passing game to speak of. In the last two losses against NY and Philly, or OL looked like a college team playing against the pros. I also wonder why they don’t just accept that the OL needs help and start leaving an extra blocker or two to cover the QB. There were a couple of completely unblocked sacks last night, and that’s just unacceptable, especially after we knew it was such a problem against philly.

Romo taking Bledsoe’s place was a case of feast or famine. He started off with a play that sadly foreshadowed the game’s outcome by throwing his first pass for an interception. A feat he would repeat two more times, including a complete turkey ball that was returned 96 yards for a touchdown with less than 4 minutes left in the game. And yes, it was 96 yards which means we had been poised to score. He had a few positive moments including a couple of TD passes (I didn’t see the second one because it was WAY past my bedtime and the game was already effectively over) (give me a break, I get up at 4am) and he is much more mobile than that jerseyed statue we had start the game at QB. Romo shows some promise and you can’t fault the guy for trying his best considering he was put on the spot in the middle of MNF game with an OL that wasn’t giving him much help.

Maybe if Romo is a very quick study we might be able to turn things around, at least at this point we are only one game out of the division lead (we would lose a tiebreaker against NY or Philly though) and we still have a chance to put together a solid season. At this point Parcells hasn’t made any commitment to who will start the next game against Carolina, so if you were waiting to hear the “quarterback controversy” theme get tossed about, your wait is officially over.

After 11 very frustrating years in a row, I realize I just need to quit taking these games so seriously, because it becomes a real downer to get emotionally invested in this team anymore. I’ll still watch and root for them, but if I have learned anything about football it’s that it doesn’t matter how talented your team looks on paper. It makes you wonder if we wouldn’t have been much better off trying to recruit or pay for a talented QB instead of throwing all the money at TO, knowing what he brings to the table both on and off the field. Not that even Peyton or Tom Brady would be succesful without a good OL.



God Bless the French (today’s whine)

Without going into detail, my job is medical and one large aspect is filling a slot on an emergency response team for the facility where I work. Our typical emergency response role is for a long term process going on here that essentially runs 24 hours a day and will continue to do so until complete (several years from now). The specific medical coverage we provide is actually for a support operation that usually runs during business hours (close to that, anyways) and has been running on Saturdays for several months (and will also continue to do so for several years). As luck would have it, the large 24 hour operation was going to be shutdown this weekend, so we would have had our first truly free weekend in several months.

Cue the French. Part of the large process is that it involves international treaties with several countries who will send inspectors periodically. Usually they come during the week and their presence is barely noticed by the facility at large. However, they require medical coverage just like the big operation and wouldn’t you know it, they schedule their visit for not only a weekend, but the one weekend in several months in which we were actually going to be off. Nothing of note happened, but we we’re still required to be present and available in case something did happen. I’m sure it was of no consequence to them that they were screwing dozens of people out of time off with their families. I don’t know, perhaps their international inspections take them away from home as often as we have to work weekends. Doesn’t make it any more tolerable, though.