[ct-user] CT & Problems with IBM & Clones

Howard Brainen Howard Brainen" <hb@cpimaging.com
Thu, 4 Dec 1997 16:09:40 -0800

On the subject of Macs for ham radio computing:

I usually stay out of these Mac vs PC discussions, but as
my perspective has changed over the past year I've decided
to weigh in on this one.

I too come from a long, happy Mac background.  I have
about a dozen of these elegant machines at work (we're
a photographic and digital imaging company), and I used
at least one or two desktop Macs, and a Powerbook notebook,
personally for about ten years.

That all changed about a year ago when, from a technical
standpoint, Apple let me down.  The big problem was the
inability to effectively multitask with the Mac.  You can't
even print a big document in the background without brutally
slowing down the foreground process.  Mac users get used
to the jumpy cursor and jerky screen action when they're
sending and receiving data in the background.  This is even
true on our Power Macs with more than 128mb of RAM.

I often find myself needing to do this type of multitasking.
I'm working on a Word document, got an Excel spreadsheet
going, and at the same time I want to be connected to
the internet, the office LAN, a central UNIX box through
a terminal emulation program...and, oh yes, maybe I'll check
the packet cluster.

Once I tried the above on a Pentium running Windows 95 
(with only 32mb of RAM), I was sold.  And I was hurting
because I had been a Mac head for so long.  I didn't even
want to tell my friends!

I just can't see how one could use a Mac to do the things
we want with ham radio.  Its simply not the appropriate
machine technically.  And that's not just because the software
has been written for the mainstream PC's.  PC's are made
for the type of heavy duty, text based, lots of I/O demand
applications that we need.  I really can't see running high
rates in a dx contest and using a mouse to get around.  You
don't need a GUI to enter callsigns quickly and move on to
the next QSO.

So...we still use Macs for 90% of our graphics work.  But
the Windows boxes are starting to show up everywhere
in the company, and there's one in my office and two at 
home.  I hate all the IRQ conflicts, I don't like Microsoft's
tactics or their stranglehold (with Intel) on the PC world,
but damn it, the machines work, they work fast, and the
price is right.

Happy Contesting...

73, Howard WZ6Z

> From: Roderick M. Fitz-Randolph <w5hvv@aeneas.net>
> To: ct-user@contesting.com
> Subject: [ct-user] CT & Problems with IBM & Clones
> Date: Thursday, December 04, 1997 7:41 AM
> No flames, please (I've got an FT-1000MP and have ordered 9.32)
> but I cannot help but compare the problems seemingly inherent
> in the modularized software and in the microprocessor architecture
> of the IBM PCs and its clones (and DOS) as compared to the Macintosh
> and its operating system.
> It's wishful and wistful thinking, but I sure wish someone like
> Kevin Krueger would come up with some software for the Macintosh
> that would be comparable to CT.  It would be so simple to use, so
> reliable, that contesters and DXers would desert their IBM (and clone)
> computers en-masse.  If this torques anyone's jaws, I have compassion
> for you.  This message is not designed to do that.  It is a reflection.
> It is entirely understandable that, after spending lots of money,
> time, blood, sweat, and tears on 40X86 based computers and its
> software, you would be upset if someone suggested that this approach
> was basically wrong..... even though it is due almost entirely to the
> snow job that has been wrought by the incredible media blitz of a
> well-known software company (MicroSoft) and hardware chip developer
> (Intel) and IBM's sterling name that caused so many hams to choose
> PCs rather than Macintoshes.  Thoughtful hams naturally chose to go
> with the big name IBM computers.  That caused a veritable plethora of
> ham-oriented software for PCs and a terrible dearth of it for Macs.
> It is not my intention to torque anyone's jaws.  It is just that after
> owning 2 PCs (and using one of them 24 hours a day in my PacketCluster
> Node) and 7 Macs, the differences are more apparent to me than it is
> to those of you that have never owned a Mac.  How sad it is that, in
> order to use computers with our ham stations, we MUST use PCs whose
> software is so inherently complex to get operating correctly because
> of the unbelievably archaic Disk Operating System (DOS) software (see
> all the comments about the problems with the best known contesting
> software on this reflector).
> This message is not a "finger-pointing" or "nose in the air" exercise.
> It is only a philosophical and sad reflection on "what might have been".
> I'll be right in there with the rest of you, trying to figure out how
> in Hell one gets this working correctly, given my few remaining logic-
> working brain cells and their limited ability to figure out problems
> with DOS based software after using Macs for so many years, so happily
> and successfully.  I guess using Macs has had the same stagnation
> effect on my brain as sitting on a couch and watching television!!!!
> It sure was nice while it lasted!!
> Sympathetically,
> Rod, N5HV
> w5hvv@aeneas.net
> Flame suit on.
> --
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