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eHam Forums => Computers And Software => Topic started by: W4ZLG on May 13, 2004, 02:28:12 PM



Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: W4ZLG on May 13, 2004, 02:28:12 PM
I've had 5 friends (2 are hams) who recently switched from using a PC and have gone to Macs running OS X.  All of them are now swearing that after using Macs for the past few months, they now shudder the thought of using Windows PC's.   The two hams are using their Macs and have found software for logging, echolink software for the mac, satellite tracking software as well as rotor and rig control software.   None of them has spent a fortune in software for the Mac.  However none of them are contesters, which is something I would like to try.

I am going to swtch and give the Mac's a try.  I researched the prices and they seem very competitive with Dell's current offerings.  The reviews on epinion.com for the iMac is rated very high.  But before I do,   I want to know a few things first.  How much external noise pollution will be introduced into the HF bands from these computers?   Has anyone had this problem with Mac's?  Has anyone found contest software for Mac OS X?  Any ham who owns a Mac, do you feel the same way as my friends do?  

Seems like in windows xp, when you get an update, you get a bug fix or a security fix.  My friends tell me when they get an update from Apple, it's mostly software ehancements.  Is this true?  And Mac's haven't been threatened by virus (yet)?

Ok fellow hams.   Should I pluck down my hard earned money on a iMac, or should a stay with my current crash and burn PC that's less than 6 months old?   I'll be especially interested in opinions from users who are familiar with both platforms.  73's!


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: KF6JZC on May 13, 2004, 06:53:26 PM
Which computer you use is a matter of personal choice. I am sure you will find lovers and haters of all types of computers.

The only comment that I can make is with regards to viruses, intrusions, and other havoc that can be had on a computer as told to me by am 'expert' in the field.  The only reason why Windows PCs seem to be hit by viruses and other problems from the outside is because the Windows PC is the most prevalent out on the market.  The MAC and the Linux PCs are just as vulnerable, it is just that most virus hackers write for the most used computer.... the Windows PC.


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: W0YKZ on May 14, 2004, 03:19:43 PM
My personal preference is the Macintosh for general purpose and amateur radio use.The subject has been hotly debated elsewhere.

Many good amateur software programs are available for the Mac, and excellent packages exist for the PC. My recommendation is that you look closely at the results that hams on both sides are having and compare with you personal experience.

Here are some good sources of information on Mac amateur software.


Mac amateur radio software sites:

http://www.machamradio.com

http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/ham-mac

http://www.dogparksoftware.com

http://www.blackcatsystems.com

I hope this will be of some help. The experience of your friends with the Macintosh is typical.

73s Bob


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: KQ6EA on May 15, 2004, 08:42:55 AM
While he's right about virus writers targeting the more popular Operating Systems, your "expert" obviously knows very little about Linux. Linux is *much* more immune to virus and trojan compromises than a PC running Windoze because of the structure of the file system, and the concept of permissions. A Windoze PC will allow a program or web browser ActiveX applet to do things to other parts of the system that a *nix operating system will not. For a virus or trojan to do any damage, it would have to get "root" permission, and if a remote attacker can gain "root", you have a lot more to worry about than somebody hijacking your Outlook address book, and emailing everybody in it.


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: N3ZKP on May 16, 2004, 05:17:24 PM
<< The MAC and the Linux PCs are just as vulnerable,  >>

Not true.  The number of successful virus attacks on Mac Operating Systems can be counted on the fingers of one hand and the last one was several years ago.



Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: W4ZLG on May 17, 2004, 12:05:43 PM
Thanks for all of your replys.   I actually went out and bought an  iMac this weekend.   So far, I'm glad I did.  I also purchased MacLogger DX and I just love this program.  I can't wait to build the cables and converter so I can run the IC-746pro interface with this software.  So far, no complaints.  I'll update this as time goes by.

As far as virus is concerned, we would all be ignorant if we don't take virus seriously, regardless of the platform we decide to use.   I found that Apple indeed has a virus program called Virex as part of it's .Mac service, and it's updated regularly.  Even if Mac OS X doesn't execute a windows virus on the mac, you CAN still pass it on in email, or word attachments or whatever it arives on to other less suspecting users.  

73's de Ken


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: W6RLL on May 17, 2004, 02:16:07 PM
What did you end up using for contest software?
Thanks from Joe, W6RLL.



Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: AA4LR on May 17, 2004, 09:48:05 PM

You asked specifically about the interference generating potential of Macs.

Apple has always produced computers that meet FCC Class B standards. This required a lot of work on the original Apple II design. Burrell Smith, the original designer of the Macintosh, went to great lengths to keep RFI emissions down. Every port on the original Macintosh was filtered.

Macs are built to the same standards today. Typically, you'll find great RFI resistance -- much better than in any PC clone.


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: N3ZKP on May 18, 2004, 10:02:16 AM
I have had four different Macs in my shack, the latest being a G4, and the only RFI problem I have had is from my current NEC monitor. My previous monitors were all Apple-branded and no problems from them.

Lon


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: N2ERN on May 18, 2004, 05:59:55 PM
I prefer Norton Antivirus for Macintosh. I also run Norton Personal Firewall behind my router. Norton Antivirus checks for PC viruses, too, so you don't have to worry about passing them along to other by accident.

You should definitely sign up to the ham-mac reflector right now, if you haven't already done so. Those there know an awful lot, and will help talk you through any questions that you might have.

Even Macs need a lube job and oil change now and then, so here goes:
Don't shut your Mac down at night. OS X runs daily, weekly and monthly maintenance routines in the dead of night. You CAN run these manually in the TERMINAL window, or you can download the free MacJanitor and run them by clicking on a button.

You should own at least one of these: Norton Utilities for Macintosh (easier to use) or TechTools4 (slower and not as intuitive, but said to be "better") You'll need to repair things now and then, and defrag your HD now and then.

Once a month or so, go to Applications>Utilities>Disk First Aid and "repair file permissions"

I also recommend a subscription to MacAddict. It's non-technical, a good read, and includes a CD each month with trial stuff, free stuff and whatever. I get more good stuff out of this mag than MacUser, which is also good.

All that said, the toughest thing you'll come up against will be learning to do EVERYTHING with half the effort, keystrokes, and tears.

Welcome to Nirvana.


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: W4ZLG on May 19, 2004, 02:03:09 AM
Thanks for all your replys!  I am actually happy to see that there are hams who use macs.   And I've definately taken some of your suggestions.

So far, I haven't shut down the iMac since I got it.  I merely have been putting it to sleep.   What a joy it is to just click the mouse and I'm up and running!   Can't say that i've heard of many windows machines that can do that.  Especially notebooks!   The learning curve has been easier than I thought.   What still throws me off is the window shade buttons.  I still find myself going to the upper right when it's on the upper left of the active window on the screen.   I bought a new printer, didn't even have to load a driver for it.   Today, I bought a two button mouse.  Didn't have to load a driver for that either.  They gave me a software driver disk for both devices.  didn't even need them.  Everything I've tried so far on the Mac has been a breeze to install and run.

Today, the web site for Virex (McAufee) said that there was a virus listed for Mac OS X.  It think is was call MS2004 trojan.   Threat level was low.  They weren't too concerned about the threat assesment.  deletes all files in the home users folder, including the virus itself.  Oh well, nice while it lasted!  More is sure to come I'm sure.

I've found that this mac has been extremely quiet as far as rfi is concerned.   I haven't been able to really find any so far, but the cable modem is sure making up for what the mac is not producing.   It's an RCA cable modem, and I'm sure it's radiating from the power cord.   when I disconnected the CAT5 jack, it did not go away.  I also disconnected the cable line.  Still didn't go away!  Pulled the plug on the thing, and all went quiet.   I know what to do now.

So far MacLogger DX has been great and stable.  It even voice announces the spots on the DX cluster.  It get annoying when your on a node that is very active!   I've located a contest program for the mac, but haven't had the time to poke around.   Echomac for Echolink isn't a flashy as its windows counterpart, but it very simple, and works great!

The more I play with this iMac, the more I hate using windows.  The PC is still in the shack and still near the desk where the radio equipment is.  I'll still use it to keep up with the constant updates and patches for XP Professional, and to try out new software for ham radio.   But if you ask me, anyone that tries out a mac for a few days will certainly enjoy it!  How about this?  The computer now works for me!

73's de Ken


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: N3ZKP on May 19, 2004, 08:51:11 AM
<< The more I play with this iMac, the more I hate using windows.  >>

Welcome to the club!


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: N2ERN on May 19, 2004, 09:14:39 AM
Don't put it to sleep at night. If you do, the maintenance scripts won't run.

See: http://www.user-groups.net/articles/vm_osx.html

Personally, I have the free MacJanitor in the dock, and just run it once in a while. If I go away for a couple of days, I shut the Mac down. Upon reboot, I run MacJanitor.

And that Trojan Horse you mentioned - If you don't try to steal a "free" copy of MS Word 2004 from a p2p site, you won't get it.

See: http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/num.nsf/6164320143cb6f0c88256d01004ee56c/0015a14d5745ae3e88256e940062dec7?OpenDocument&src=bar_sch_nam

Applescripts, which is what this trojan is, can be thought of as similar to ".exe" files -- that is, they will run automatically. Always know where the file you're downloading is coming from, as usual. If you click ONCE on an icon to highlight it (don't open it), type control-I (that's an upper case eye, not an ell) to GET INFO, and you will see just what kind of file it is, even if the icon has been changed.


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: W8GX on May 19, 2004, 02:48:34 PM
I have been a Mac addict since '98.
My old clone (one of the last ones) is what I use at home, and had no luck finding contesting software.
Just as I was about to throw in the towel and get an old PC to run contest logs, I got some online advice to use Virtual PC and N3FJP (or is it JFP?) contest software.
I bought a VPC with Windows 95 on eBay for about $10, and got the full CD of the N3FJP program....
and it works unbelievably well on my old Mac!

I can only imagine how well VPC/2000 or more would work on an OSX Mac.

Oh well. Someday.

But the moral of the story is....
Mac is better.
The world would be a better place without Mr. Bill (devilboy) Gates and his evil empire.


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: W6RLL on May 19, 2004, 07:02:22 PM
As reported on here VPC and the software provided by Scott, N3FJP, sounds like a very good
application. Has anyone tried any of the other PC software packages running under VPC?
(WriteLog for example)
I understand that running PC software under VPC will be slower than running the same PC
software on a PC, but it might not make any difference in the actual operation of a contest (?)


Thanks from Joe, W6RLL


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: W6RLL on May 19, 2004, 07:32:25 PM
As reported on here VPC and the software provided by Scott, N3FJP, sounds like a very good
application. Has anyone tried any of the other PC software packages running under VPC?
(WriteLog for example)
I understand that running PC software under VPC will be slower than running the same PC
software on a PC, but it might not make any difference in the actual operation of a contest (?)

Oh Yes...how about RTTY contesting with the MAC?


Thanks from Joe, W6RLL


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: W4ZLG on May 19, 2004, 11:59:25 PM
Speaking of VPC:

MacBidouille Web site claims to have seen a demo of Virtual PC 7.0.
The software was apparently demoed for French resellers by Apple and Microsoft representatives.

New features include: Better support of Peripherals (especially USB), notably faster than previous version, should support dual processor as well as G5 based systems. The most notable new feature however is native support for graphic cards. This will reportedly allow video operations to be handled natively rather than through emulation.

So it might look like we can use any ham windows programs since performance will be vastly improved.  I guess they are saying it will be available in the fall with Office 2004 professional or by itself.

73's de Ken


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: ON4AXV on May 24, 2004, 10:06:35 AM
Good.

Now stop buying and paying for your software.
You can run a lot of Linux Ham Radio apps. on your Mac OS X.(I know : not everything is available yet)
Go to http://fink.sourceforge.net/ or go to
http://www.opendarwin.org/
(fink is easier)  and start with Open Source.
Get X-chat and ask for help on the channels.


The Freedom is right there.
You only have to reach out for it.

Have fun.

73 de on4axv.


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: N0RKX on May 26, 2004, 08:42:36 AM
I hate to interupt this Steve Jobs love fest but a few things need to be corrected.

"So far, I haven't shut down the iMac since I got it. I merely have been putting it to sleep. What a joy it is to just click the mouse and I'm up and running! Can't say that i've heard of many windows machines that can do that. Especially notebooks!"

Then nobody ever showed you how to set the PC up correctly. PC's running Windows have doing "Hibernate" for years, especially notebooks.

The simple fact is that x86 hardware is less expensive with better performance clock for clock. In the "bad old days" Mac did have an advantage with its video and graphics subsystems. Not any more.

"Now stop buying and paying for your software.
You can run a lot of Linux Ham Radio apps. on your Mac OS X.(I know : not everything is available yet)"

I run Linux on my PC. I run Gentoo Linux on my PC. I am not a Linux noob by any stretch. The only reason I've still got anything from M$ in this house is because the Ham Radio software for Linux quite frankly sucks. Great OS, lousy apps for Hams. The Linux Ham radio apps are about where their windows counterparts were 5-10 years ago.


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: W4ZLG on June 02, 2004, 05:39:58 AM
Regarding the hibernation, I had two notebooks.   A Toshiba Tecra, and a Dell Lattitude.   None of them would wake up correctly, especially the Tecra which was running Windows 98SE.  The Dell actually did work for a while, but after installing some of the security updates and service packs, it stopped, and never worked again.   Calling Dell was a waste of time, and said it was a Microsoft issue.  Getting help at the M$oft support site?   How many months do I have to look up this problem on their site?   After trying for two weeks at night trying to fix a simple function, I just gave up.  I'll start it up normally.   The battery life in these machines, even with the right settings, were not it's strong points anyway.

I don't have any problems with PC hardware, as it allows you "customize your situation " very well.   I really like some of the offerings out there. After all, I did keep my crash and burn PC.  I've even managed to network my iMac with the PC and they are working well.   As far as the speed thing goes, clock to clock, I couldn't care less how fast a page comes up or launches an application, as long as the platform is stable.  True..it's not blazing!  A half a second to second slower isn't going to kill me.

And the love fest continues because the iMac so far has been a very stable machine.  It does everything I ask it without giving me grief.  I just purchased a Cannon Digital Camera.   It came with a cd driver disk for windows.   Yep, I put it on the PC, and it took me about 30 minutes to finally import, and save to disk using their not so friendly software.   I plugged in the USB cable to the Mac, turned the camera on, it automatically opened iPhoto, and my same pictures that were still stored on the camera were on my hard drive within two minutes.  No drivers to install.  Can we say that about Windows machines?

I dissagree with your opinion of the video card performance, as the iMac seems to outperform anything I've seen on a PC.   Windows Media Player for Mac, Realplayer, and Quicktime all run better and smoother on this platform.   And there is a direct digital output to the monitor from the video card.  Not analog.  

I've had this iMac now for almost a month.  The bottom line so far is this.   If you want to get something done at home, and you don't want to deal with spyware, malware, daily updates or any other vicious stuff your workplace battles every day with an IT department,  then the iMac is for you.   It's just nice to come home, work on something different, get on the internet, check your email, finish that spreadsheet for work,  and have more time to get on the air and use maclogger dx for controlling the rigs, and logging qso's!


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: W3JJH on June 15, 2004, 12:04:34 AM
The laptop I'm using right now has Windows 98SE, Windows 2000 Pro, Sun Java Desktop (Linux), and Mac OS X installed.  I prefer OS X.

A few points need to be corrected.  X86 hardware is not comparable in performance to PPCs.  The advertized clock speed on Intel processors is the external clock frequency.  This clock is divided by two to generate the internal 4-phase clock.  The rated clock speed on a PPC is the for the internal clock.  Thus, the 2.5-GHz G5 processor would equivalent to the a 5-GHz 64-bit Pentium--if such a thing existed.  The 866-MHz G4 in the laptop I'm using is equivalent to a 1.73-MHz Intel widget.

However, the CPU speed is rarely the limiting factor in system performance.  Bus speed and I/O are the real bottlenecks.

I routinely do builds of Linux software to run under OS X, usually in X11, and more native OS X software becomes available every week.

While there is a lab demo Trojan Horse for OS X, there are NO OS X-specific viruses, worms, or Trojan Horses in the wild.  The 1.3 Mb of virus definitions I just downloaded from Symantec are all for Microsoft applications not the Mac OS.

Finally, it is simply not true that PC are less expensive than Macs.  By the time you add all the accessories and extra software to make it equivalent to a Mac, a Wintel box will wind up costing more than the Mac.  And support costs (not critical to most home users, but a big deal to those of use who use computer in business) are massively lower on a Mac.  In my business we have found that difference in support costs between a Mac and a PC pays for the Mac in under six months.


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: WA3D on June 16, 2004, 09:17:56 PM
Glad to hear you went with the Mac.  I have used Mac's for years and have a G-4 at Univ. Just about every task that takes 2-3 steps with a Window machine can be done in one with a Mac. and I have never had a virus.  I have been able to open files that would not open on my colleagues machines.

Unfortunatley I have gone the other way and recently purchased an HP windows machine because my University gives very little if any support for the Mac.  I also became frustrated in finding various software programs written for the Mac in my discipline and hobbies.  
I will miss the Mac!


Title: PC vs Mac
Post by: KC9DFJ on July 18, 2004, 01:35:11 AM
I just upgraded to a G5 after running a 7500 for 9 years. I guess it was time.

Panther is way different than Sys 9.xx, but I am learning.

I downloaded "Echomac" software for Echolink to try it out. My firewall is giving me trouble.

When I open ports 5198-5200 in the firewall, normal internet activities do not work.

I am not using the OSX firewall, but the firewall that is within an Asante Freindlynet Cable/DSL Router...FR3000 Series.

I am probably doing something wrong. Any Ideas?

Well, since this is a PC vs MAC thread, I have to say that at work I use XP Pro and it seems to work pretty well. There are many improvements over the last version I used. (I think it was NT) I can get around in Windows somewhat, but many things are confusing.

So far, I still like my MAC Sys 9.xx, but that may be because I understand it better.  When I get up to speed on Panther, I may like it better. So far, there are many cool things about it, but we shall see.