Fun_People Archive
7 Jan
The MacG4 - incompatibilities etc.

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri,  7 Jan 100 13:12:26 -0800
To: Fun_People
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Subject: The MacG4 - incompatibilities etc.

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From: Charles Platt

This isn't just another boring rant from a Windows user.  Indeed I wish
there were a good alternative to Windows; but the old Jobs ripoff
philosophy, which I believe hurt Apple greatly in the past, is still
rendering Apple noncompetitive.  I am talking about deliberate
incompatibilities and inadequate hardware. Anyone who might contemplate
buying a G4 should be aware of these problems. Purchasing this computer was
a learning experience for us which cost about $1,000 additional to the
theoretical retail price.

First, of course, you have to buy a separate SCSI card in order to use any
SCSI hardware (e.g.  my $2,000 Polaroid Sprintscan scanner) that you were
dumb enough to buy previously. When the new SCSI card comes out of the box,
you find it has a new connector, requiring purchase of an additional
conversion cable (available from Adaptec, for $69--yes, $69 for a cable).

The computer has an internal modem, but in the rural area where we live,
this modem will not tolerate poor line conditions and will not complete
handshaking 9 times out of 10. After 90 minutes of waiting on hold and
arguing with Apple tech support, it became apparent that our internal modem
is not a bad sample, and is functioning according to specs. Apple simply
never tested this modem in realworld bad-line situations, or didn't care.
We had to buy a separate external modem. This does work. Of course we
couldn't use our old external modem because it is not a USB device, and the
G4 does not have ANY serial port compatible with previous Macs or current

Apple's previous venture into Ethernet incompatibility--their own rinky-dink
connector design--has now been abandoned. The G4 has a 10baseT connector,
which of course is an industry standard, which is good--except that Mac
users who bought thin Ethernet attachments for the old Apple Ethernet
connector are now out of luck. We have not been able, yet, to get our new
Ethernet cable to work, possibly because our GCC printer driver is not
compatible with System 8.

The G4 has no floppy drive. Already this has caused major inconveniences
here, and a $129 USB external floppy drive will have to be purchased. We
will have to buy an external USB Zip drive as well, because this $1,599
computer not only lacks a floppy, but lacks a Zip. That's right: It is
delivered with NO REMOVABLE STORAGE WHATSOEVER, other than a CD-ROM. How do
you use any of your previous magnetic media?  How do you take your graphics
files to a service bureau? How do you even BACK UP YOUR HARD DRIVE?
Presumably, you don't.

There's more. As a result of absurd product design, the G4 comes with an
iMac-style mouse and keyboard. The UFO-shaped mouse reverses a decade of
ergonomic progress in input devices, and seems designed to cause hand
cramps. Much as I dislike frivolous litigation, I almost hope someone with
RSI sues Apple over this. As for the keyboard: It has half-size cursor keys
of the type you would normally find on a cheap laptop. Of course there is
no numeric keypad. Of course you cannot plug in any previous Apple keyboard
or mouse, or any current PC keyboard or mouse, as an alternative. You're
stuck with USB.

Oh yes, regarding performance--the G4 does run Photoshop faster, although
we seem to have found some incompatibilities between the supplied version
of system 8 and Photoshop 4.  Since Photoshop 4 is not the current version,
the inevitable answer is to upgrade, even though we have no need for the
features in Photoshop 5.

One last little detail. Fortunately we waited a while before purchasing our
G4. Those who rushed in early and bought the initial lower-priced G4 models
were sold a computer which is basically a G3. Those early buyers, in other
words, were screwed. And they were the diehard Mac fans, whose loyalty has
been betrayed yet again by a company that continues to regard itself as
entitled to insult consumers with impunity.  This vanity, I believe, has
been largely to blame for its small market share, and may yet kill it
completely in the long term.

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