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  Mobile Java game development, without using a full-size laptop  (Read 14737 times)
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Offline pixelprime

Junior Devvie


Medals: 3



« Posted 2014-10-03 15:28:46 »

Hey all,

I've been struggling with this for a while now. I have a pretty old, but powerful enough 13" Macbook from the 2009-ish era which I've been using for mobile Java development for a while now (using Eclipse).

The problem is, the laptop is starting to wear down and exhibit graphics card problems, so I've no doubt it's on the way out. To be honest though, I'm glad. The thing is a beast. It's so heavy and cumbersome compared to newer laptops in its size range.

I've been looking for something compact to move onto for mobile development for the last few weeks, and I was really tempted by the Surface Pro 3 - a device that has the right kind of form factor (small enough to be extremely lightweight and portable, yet with a large enough screen / high enough resolution to make coding feasible). It's also pretty well rated in terms of power and capability, although perhaps not really necessary for my code project requirements.

However, the sheer price of the thing turns me right off. That almost insulting £100 price tag for a snap-on mechanical keyboard (and £169 for a dock... what?) feels like a real slap in the face. The lowest price version of that device with a serviceable hard drive size (128GB, not the tiny 64GB version) is already £849, something that seems wildly exorbitant.

I'd love to hear from fellow Java devs who might use mobile workstations for their projects - especially those that use devices perhaps smaller than the average laptop. I'm really hoping to pick up something capable but modest enough to have a reasonable price tag whilst being a bit more portable than my 4-and-a-half pound ageing Macbook!

Thanks all!
Offline TifantaWorld

Senior Devvie


Medals: 11



« Reply #1 - Posted 2014-10-03 23:27:02 »

The pricetag might not be to your liking, but I just got a stock 13" Macbook Air to replace a beast even older than yours (2007 Macbook) and am 100% delighted with it for coding purposes. It's super-light, has a great keyboard/trackpad, starts up in about 10 seconds, has 128gb of storage, 4gb of RAM, 1.4ghz dual-core i5 (turbo boosts to 2.7ghz if/when needed), and the battery lasts like 12 hours.

I think they're now $899 for the 11" and $999 for the 13".
Offline pixelprime

Junior Devvie


Medals: 3



« Reply #2 - Posted 2014-10-04 12:37:43 »

Thanks for the reply - I hadn't even considered the Macbook Air line, come to think of it. I guess the world of laptops have moved on a bit since 5/6 years ago!

The price range does sting, true, but the more I look into this, the more likely I'm finding that going with just a more modern laptop is the way forward.

That said, the lowest-spec Macbook Air (which suits my needs, hardware-wise) has an 11" (27cm) screen. I didn't even realise the range went that small. That does actually fit my requirements (at a push), since my main reason for being anti-laptop was that I'd expected at least a 13" screen on any laptop. Having one with a smaller display is a huge bonus for me.

Thanks for pointing this out, you've made my search a whole lot easier now!

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Offline Gibbo3771

JGO Kernel


Medals: 128
Projects: 5
Exp: 1 year


Currently inactive on forums :(


« Reply #3 - Posted 2014-10-04 13:07:01 »

Lots of logic in this thread.

Don't want to spend money on a decent mac.
Complaining low end macs have tiny screens.

You see the problem here?

Seriously, you can pickup an Laptop for the £250 less than a Mac Air that has twice the RAM, 5-10x the storage space and a 15-17 inch screen.

If you want a decent screen and I just don't mean size, then you either get a high end mac at £1500 or a high end laptop at £1000.

I don't get why people keep trading performance and price, to shave off a kilo of weight.

"This code works flawlessly first time and exactly how I wanted it"
Said no programmer ever
Offline Cero
« Reply #4 - Posted 2014-10-04 15:50:22 »

How about buying from a brand that doesn't produce overpriced pieces of shit, unless you need the apple logo to impress someone. You can get some stickers :)

Offline TifantaWorld

Senior Devvie


Medals: 11



« Reply #5 - Posted 2014-10-05 01:30:27 »

I don't get why people keep trading performance and price, to shave off a kilo of weight.

Did you even read his post? You're not taking into account his actual needs. He doesn't want a large screen. He doesn't want a big, honking beast that's going to be a pain to drag around. He expressed interest in the Surface Pro 3, but balked at the outrageous price (and really, that price is outrageous for what you get). And furthermore, his previous ownership of a Macbook indicates that the platform itself is a match (it's not like anybody's trying to convince a diehard Windows user to switch over or something).

The Air is absolutely great for its intended purpose as a platform which emphasizes mobility in all of its dimensions, but remains a "real" computer that can do "real" computer stuff. If you're looking for a desktop replacement, the Air is not going to be it, unless doing productivity-level work or less is all you ever use your computer for. You're not going to do hardcore video editing on it. You're not going to play graphics-intensive games. But the thing is basically perfect for coding and other productivity-style tasks. It has a great keyboard, a great trackpad, a nice display, superb battery life, and more than enough power to handle these sorts of tasks in a zippy manner.
Offline NoFixedAbode

Senior Newbie


Exp: 1 year



« Reply #6 - Posted 2014-10-05 16:49:40 »

I have been using a 13" Macbook air 1.8GHz 4GB ram and a 250GB flash drive for java/android development for the last couple of years. In that time it has surpassed all my dreams. The only downfall is, of late I have been doing a lot of gui designing, and I am finding the screen landscape to be very limiting. So a smaller would be very painful!
Offline pixelprime

Junior Devvie


Medals: 3



« Reply #7 - Posted 2014-10-05 19:32:44 »

Thanks everyone for the replies to this question, although I'm surprised at some of the (perhaps perceived) hostility in some responses.

I've had a look at some cheaper laptops (perhaps formerly classed in the 'netbook' bracket), but they all seem to be either too heavy for what they are in size, have awful, low-resolution displays with terrible brightness / contrast ratios, or are simply just lacking in the performance department.

I appreciate that I might be asking a lot for a machine that ticks all the right boxes but remains under the £700-ish price bracket, but I believe one helpful poster above pointed out that the Macbook air, although slightly above my budget, does actually tick the boxes I need whilst still being reasonably affordable.

I'm not looking for a hardcore out-and-about desktop replacement, just something small and light enough to not be a hassle to cart around and yet still be comfortable enough to code on.

That said, I appreciate everyone's' input. I'm still looking at the Macbook Air as the replacement machine. It's never about the badge, I couldn't give two hoots about it. But it's got good performance, great weight, and a nice high-resolution screen, so it seems perfect for me.
Offline BurntPizza

« JGO Bitwise Duke »


Medals: 486
Exp: 7 years



« Reply #8 - Posted 2014-10-05 21:56:34 »

The Lenovo Yoga line might also be of interest as they are laptop/tablet hybrids, main downside is integrated graphics, but then most mobile devices you might be developing for won't have much better.

EDIT: the Flex series also looks good: http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/lenovo/flex-series/
Offline Cero
« Reply #9 - Posted 2014-10-05 23:03:41 »

I'm not looking for a hardcore out-and-about desktop replacement, just something small and light enough to not be a hassle to cart around and yet still be comfortable enough to code on.

You could just buy a freaking netbook at that point.
Owing a mac means not playing games for the most part. It can do java and office and it saves your money. And they are low in weight... not that I understand how that is so freaking important to spend hundreds more...

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Offline TifantaWorld

Senior Devvie


Medals: 11



« Reply #10 - Posted 2014-10-06 09:00:35 »

You could just buy a freaking netbook at that point.
Owing a mac means not playing games for the most part. It can do java and office and it saves your money. And they are low in weight... not that I understand how that is so freaking important to spend hundreds more...

He's not trying to play games on it. Seriously, the knee-jerk anti-Apple position is so tiresome and boring. I'll bet you've never actually used a modern Mac--laptop or desktop--to the extent that you'd be even remotely qualified to judge them "overpriced pieces of shit." Maybe you should look into why you feel the need to respond in this fashion any time somebody expresses genuine satisfaction about Apple products. What does it matter to you?
Offline cylab

JGO Kernel


Medals: 195



« Reply #11 - Posted 2014-10-06 09:04:10 »

@Cero
Resolution

Also finding a the right notebook is a cumbersome and frustrating thing. I am searching for example for a notebook with max 13.3", a non-glossy HD+ or FHD display, good WiFi reception, that comes in a color (e.g.  red) and doesn't burn your lap or sounds like a starting plane.

Doesn't seem to exist...

Mathias - I Know What [you] Did Last Summer!
Offline Oskuro

JGO Ninja


Medals: 77
Exp: 10 years


Coding in Style


« Reply #12 - Posted 2014-10-08 10:34:16 »

I'd personally avoid netbooks and tablets for development.

I once considered it, but just plugging Eclipse and trying to compile/run some demos (Box2d if anyone wonders) made them almost die.

As for size... It is true that consumer laptops do emphasize bigger screen sizes, and finding a good compact laptop is a chore, specially if you want to avoid paying overpriced products like "professional/gamer" laptops or Apple* products.

Best bet is probably to look around retailers in your area (or the net), and keep on the lookout for older models about to be taken off the shelves that might experience a price drop.

I got my rather compact Hp TM2 that way, nabbing it for almost half price when it was about to be retired, and the thing still works fine (it's even substituting my main computer while I get it fixed).


*I'm sorry, I do not intend to attack Apple users. If you like their products, more power to you, but my approach when buying hardware is to look closely at the specs, and you can buy laptops with better hardware configurations for way less than the Apple product of choice.

This is not supposition, I've been to the Apple store several times looking for laptops, talked to their reps, and they themselves admitted this when I pointed it out (when they realized that I didn't much care for the "design").

Again, some people value Apple's design, and good for them. I just say, know what you want and need, and don't let the shiny bits distract you.

Offline TifantaWorld

Senior Devvie


Medals: 11



« Reply #13 - Posted 2014-10-08 14:02:40 »

Do those laptops with "better specs" also have stellar keyboards, trackpads, and displays? What are they made of: metal or plastic? In the case of mobility-oriented devices, do they weigh less? Are they smaller/thinner? Do they have better battery life?

I don't mean to imply that all, or any, of these questions must necessarily be answered in a way that's favorable to Apple. What I'm trying to point out is that raw internal hardware specs don't tell the whole story, and aren't always enough to satisfy every need all on their own.

Speaking personally, OSX is a must-have for me. I run a Windows partition on my desktop for games, but I do everything else in OSX (Ableton, Scrivener for writing projects, Java/Ruby/Obj-C/Swift coding, and so on). I simply prefer it over Windows, hands down. And that goes double for when I'm on my laptop, because OSX is simply superior as a laptop OS. Every time I use a PC notebook, I feel like it's this totally disjointed mishmash of components and software. With Apple notebooks, everything fits together from the outset, because it was designed that way from top to bottom. It's a (slightly) intangible element--and a personal, subjective one, to boot--that one must factor in when deciding on a purchase. Raw specs alone will never be the sole determinant for me.

The automatic assumption that "shiny bits" distract Apple device users is what really grates. I'm not sure why so many PC users seem to care about it. It's as though they take other people's mere use of Apple products as a negative commentary on their own decision to use PC products. I've never gotten this, and I never will.
Offline pixelprime

Junior Devvie


Medals: 3



« Reply #14 - Posted 2014-10-08 19:47:54 »

Hi all, I thought I'd respond now that I've finally made a decision, and a purchase!

I know this will engage the ire of some people who've taken the time to respond to my original post (and I'm sorry if that's the outcome here), but I ended up picking up a Macbook Air (11" base model). All told it was $749 (or $899 to my U.S. friends).

Ultimately there were a few things that tipped the scales in favour of the Macbook. Primarily, weight and portability were satisfied nicely by my choice, but the screen and speed of the thing have been really surprising. The base 11" model doesn't have the stellar screen resolution of the Macbook Pros (which go up to 2560 x 1600 I believe), but it's ideal for the smaller screen dimension.

Furthermore, coding on it is a joy. Eclipse runs amazingly - it starts up almost instantly and project builds are really snappy. Much improved over my old 2009 Macbook Pro. As for all the other productivity stuff, well - it does that stuff just as well as other machines I'd imagine.

I appreciate everybody taking the time to share their thoughts on my issue, and am grateful for the advice received, so thanks!

Lastly, one thing I should add - the laptop looks stunning. Yes, I know that looks are probably the least of concerns here, but I'm yet to pick up another laptop in the same price bracket that has this amazing kind of build quality and polish to it. I'm always happy to be proven wrong, but it feels like a solid, quality piece of hardware - something I'm pretty chuffed to own. Not very pragmatic, I know, but hey - if I'm going to spend £700 on a piece of hardware to take out and about, I might as well get something that looks good too  Grin

Not everybody's cup of tea, but hey. It's a great mobile development platform!
Offline Gibbo3771

JGO Kernel


Medals: 128
Projects: 5
Exp: 1 year


Currently inactive on forums :(


« Reply #15 - Posted 2014-10-08 22:49:32 »

It's a great mobile development platform!

I am not doubting it's capability, I did come off as hostile before :s apologies for that. I do not like Apple products personally but I do like the OS.

I've always believed in "You get what you pay for", this firmly applies to PC's but from my view you never get what you pay for with macs.

It is sad but true, they are nice looking machines and have good screens.

/rant :p

How is it resolution wise? I am running a 1366x768 res on this laptop and I sometimes find it dire to develop on Sad Espeically if you have eclipse, photoshop and all sorts of folders open lol.

"This code works flawlessly first time and exactly how I wanted it"
Said no programmer ever
Offline matanui159

JGO Coder


Medals: 11
Projects: 1
Exp: 10-12 months


Aww... So cute...


« Reply #16 - Posted 2014-10-08 23:30:53 »

I might just note here over the war of Apple vs Microsoft while I have the chance...

I honestly love the Mac... It is very multitasking, very fast, very good looking, very light, never crashes, etc.

The only reason why I use windows is because of DirectX and also it is cheaper...

Also, I just hate iOS... Especially people who just say it is better with no reason at all... The sad thing is most people these days people just listens to everybody else and just gets an iPhone without even trying any Androids...

Is it sad that I still get a fright when the computer beeps at me...
Offline Cero
« Reply #17 - Posted 2014-10-09 00:02:06 »

You could just buy a freaking netbook at that point.
Owing a mac means not playing games for the most part. It can do java and office and it saves your money. And they are low in weight... not that I understand how that is so freaking important to spend hundreds more...

He's not trying to play games on it. Seriously, the knee-jerk anti-Apple position is so tiresome and boring. I'll bet you've never actually used a modern Mac--laptop or desktop--to the extent that you'd be even remotely qualified to judge them "overpriced pieces of shit." Maybe you should look into why you feel the need to respond in this fashion any time somebody expresses genuine satisfaction about Apple products. What does it matter to you?

Because we need to use unix based stuff and bash, we use macs at work. Meaning I worked with macs for over 2 years now, for a living, being a programmer.

Also what dos it matter to me ? Well the whole point is: Devotion to ANY brand or company is beyond stupid; in case of Apple its just even more the case.

Offline TifantaWorld

Senior Devvie


Medals: 11



« Reply #18 - Posted 2014-10-09 02:08:58 »

Devotion to ANY brand or company is beyond stupid; in case of Apple its just even more the case.

Great point. I agree 100%. What I don't understand is why you choose to read a preference as "devotion" when it comes to Apple. It seems like that's an all-too-common assumption. And yet, the odd thing is that it's rarely Apple users who start the ball rolling on such conversations. They're not walking around accusing PC users of being brand devotees. I get it: the fact that Apple designs the whole product from top to bottom turns their users into a ripe target for this particular jump-to-conclusion, but it's nevertheless an obsession that only PC users seem to harbor. In other words, they always seem to prove themselves, through this obsessive behavior, to be bigger platform/brand devotees than their targets could ever hope to be. There is nary a post about an Apple product on the internet that doesn't have at least one "You iSheep have been tricked into buying pieces of shit" comment underneath it. I mean, come on, this stuff is on the same level as yawn-inducing "PC Master Race" comments any time someone talks about the console version of a game. You really need to find something more entertaining to say or nobody's really going to listen.
Offline HeroesGraveDev

JGO Kernel


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Projects: 11
Exp: 4 years


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« Reply #19 - Posted 2014-10-09 02:12:41 »

I have a Lenovo Thinkpad Edge e520, and I have a few points to share.

Do those laptops with "better specs" also have stellar keyboards, trackpads, and displays? What are they made of: metal or plastic? In the case of mobility-oriented devices, do they weigh less? Are they smaller/thinner? Do they have better battery life?
Thinkpad keyboards are far superior to any Mac keyboard I've seen.
My trackpad has buttons and is very nice and clean to use.
I'll admit my display is average (1366x768 matte). However, more recent laptops are moving towards 1080p.
As anyone will tell you, thinkpads are (relatively) indestructible.
I've got a dedicated graphics card, and a pretty decent one for a laptop at that.
It's definitely not small or thin, but as we've seen with the new iPhones, thinner is not better. And size is not much of an issue.
I have a theory that the Apple battery monitor lies. If it were to be believed then a Macbook would have nearly double my battery life. However in actual use, my laptop lasts a little bit longer (up to 30min).

Quote
I don't mean to imply that all, or any, of these questions must necessarily be answered in a way that's favorable to Apple. What I'm trying to point out is that raw internal hardware specs don't tell the whole story, and aren't always enough to satisfy every need all on their own.
Definitely. A lot of my friends have HP Envys (Envies?). All but one of them has been plagued by hardware issues. Not to mention that even a very minor drop will probably break or bend something.

Quote
Speaking personally, OSX is a must-have for me. I run a Windows partition on my desktop for games, but I do everything else in OSX (Ableton, Scrivener for writing projects, Java/Ruby/Obj-C/Swift coding, and so on). I simply prefer it over Windows, hands down. And that goes double for when I'm on my laptop, because OSX is simply superior as a laptop OS.
You ever tried Linux? Both Linux and OSX are Unix-based and POSIX compliant, so it should be mostly familiar for dev use. But Linux is free (as in beer and freedom) and isn't restricted to Apple devices.

So far my analysis has put my PC laptop and a Macbook at roughly the same level.
On the hardware side favouring my laptop.
On the the usability side they're roughly the same.
On the shininess and aesthetics the Mac is (not surprisingly) better.

This is the part where I bring out the price comparison. Pointing

My Thinkpad (from 3 years ago): $660 US.
Current Equivalent Macbook: Somewhere between $1200 US and $1500 US. Both the $1200 and $1500 models do not have a dedicated graphics card.

I don't know what calls for the more than double price.

EDIT: I'd like to clarify that I don't hate Apple devices. I hate the Apple mentality and the majority of its userbase. I also just cannot understand the reason for the pricing.

Offline TifantaWorld

Senior Devvie


Medals: 11



« Reply #20 - Posted 2014-10-09 02:56:29 »

Thinkpad keyboards are far superior to any Mac keyboard I've seen.
My trackpad has buttons and is very nice and clean to use.

A common feature when you move up the size range of PC laptops. But if you're talking about comparable, mobility-oriented laptops, you're typically not going to find keyboards or trackpads that come anywhere near the ones Apple has in, say, the Air line. Your Lenovo is a 15" model, not mobility-oriented, decisively enterprise-facing, and priced for high-quantity movement in that market segment. When you're selling oodles of notebooks to businesses, likely on a yearly basis, you can afford to drop the price down to $600. That's the market at work, not the design of the notebook.

Quote
As anyone will tell you, thinkpads are (relatively) indestructible.

I'm not worried about dropping my notebook or having it run over by a car. I'm worried about normal wear and tear from extensive use. For example, my aforementioned 2007 Macbook was a plastic model. After years of use, the hand-rest area started chipping in places. I'll never have to worry about that with a metal Macbook Air.

Quote
I've got a dedicated graphics card, and a pretty decent one for a laptop at that.

All the better to bake your lap with when you actually try to set the thing down on your legs. I get that some people want laptops that will behave more or less as mobile desktop platforms. Hey, you can play games! That's great! But not everybody is in the market for that when looking for a laptop. I've already got a desktop I can play games on. It's a big priority for me that this thing be lightweight, have long battery life, and not be a furnace. I can barely feel any warmth coming from the Macbook Air, even after I've spend 3 hours coding with the thing sitting on my lap (and I'm talking about in XCode, using the iOS simulator, and so on, not just typing out code in Notepad or something).

Quote
It's definitely not small or thin, but as we've seen with the new iPhones, thinner is not better. And size is not much of an issue.

Who ever said that thinner was necessarily better? This is all about one's specific needs. I suggested a Macbook Air for the OP because his needs seemed to be a small, thin, "netbook"-like device, and he'd mentioned that he was replacing a 2009 Macbook. Having just recently gotten an Air for myself, for basically the exact same purpose, I felt I was able to attest to its usefulness in that regard. That's all that's going on here. Thinner isn't always better. It's just better for this purpose.

Quote
I have a theory that the Apple battery monitor lies. If it were to be believed then a Macbook would have nearly double my battery life. However in actual use, my laptop lasts a little bit longer (up to 30min).

I've never known this to be the case. The battery monitor on my 2007 Macbook was painfully, brutally honest with me all the time. I think I could get about 4-5ish hours of casual use out of it. Knock a sizable chunk off that if anything video-related was going on. I read several reviews of the Air before I bought it. CNet did a video drain review and the battery lasted for 14 hours (this was for offline video). Another outlet got north of 12 hours out of the battery in a similar test with wi-fi enabled the entire time. While I have not actually attempted to work normally on the Macbook Air from full charge to battery depletion, my own experience (and regular monitoring of the battery status) indicates that these reviews are accurate.

Quote
You ever tried Linux? Both Linux and OSX are Unix-based and POSIX compliant, so it should be mostly familiar for dev use. But Linux is free (as in beer and freedom) and isn't restricted to Apple devices.

Yes, I've tried Linux several times. The problem with Linux is that it's not well-supported (or even supported in the first place) by a lot of the applications that I use on a regular basis. And while I understand that mileage can, of course, vary based on the distro that you choose, I find OSX to be an exemplary operating system right out of the box, for both desktop and laptop platforms. I don't see a real need to wrestle with Linux when I already like OSX so much.

Quote
On the shininess and aesthetics the Mac is (not surprisingly) better.

I really don't get this argument. Yes, Apple cares about aesthetics, but they care about it in the same way as a good architect. Form and function are interlocked concerns. I'm not sure why the anti-Apple crowd is always so quick to argue that Apple devices are just "shiny" baubles, or whatever. The reason why the designs work is because they advance the functionality, too.

Additionally, it's not exactly like I agree with every single one of Apple's design decisions. For example, I've got a PC mouse because I just can't stand a one-button mouse on a desktop (though on the laptop, I actually prefer to use CTRL+click). I've also got a PC keyboard on the desktop, not because I feel like the Apple keyboard is mechanically bad, but just that it's needlessly stripped-down for the desktop experience (and also because I do use Windows regularly, so I want a keyboard that's going to play nice with everything). I also really hate wireless input peripherals, so that's another reason.

Quote
My Thinkpad (from 3 years ago): $660 US.
Current Equivalent Macbook: Somewhere between $1200 US and $1500 US. Both the $1200 and $1500 models do not have a dedicated graphics card.

I don't know what calls for the more than double price.

Different target markets. Like I said before, your Lenovo Thinkpad is targeted at enterprise. They'll make their nut on business contracts that allow them to push out basically guaranteed quantity year-in and year-out. Apple is shooting far more for the consumer market, with enterprise deals (in the Mac line, I mean) probably being a fairly niche thing for them, and a rather small part of their revenue. You're making the mistake of thinking that the design/parts/etc. are the sole pricing factor when it comes to these machines.
Offline pixelprime

Junior Devvie


Medals: 3



« Reply #21 - Posted 2014-10-09 11:40:51 »

Thanks again everyone for pitching in your thoughts on this, although I still remain surprised at the expectation that a decent laptop should be able to run games. As I mentioned in my original post - this machine's sole purpose was to be a mobile development platform, and I wasn't looking for stellar graphics performance.

I totally get that other (PC) laptops of a similar price are probably more powerful, or perhaps more diverse when it comes to their application across the productivity / gaming territories, but I must stress that this is a device I'm just going to be typing code into on a regular basic - not something I plan on loading up Windows onto and firing up my Steam library.

I won't wax lyrical about the pros and cons again, there are some pretty balanced arguments put forth above this post from various community members. I'm pretty pleased that a productive discussion was had here, since this seems (glazing over the posts) to be the right kind of kindling for a PC / Mac flame war. Not what I intended, naturally.

One thing I do feel like chipping in on, though, is one thing I think that Apple do very well. And that's making choices easy for the consumer. Sure, they do come in at a (much) higher price for their hardware, but I walked into a local PC World branch recently, and looking through their 'Laptops & Netbooks' aisles I just felt completely lost. So many brands, so many different specifications, screen types, bolt-on-extras, included software and all that fuss. Variable build quality was also a particular point of note, along with many laptops having a kind of materials identity-crisis. Some looked futuristic, some decidedly plastic, others a horrific mish-mash of weird multi-function buttons and control surfaces. I honestly wouldn't have wanted to spend any time trying to make a decision there.

At least with Apple, the product line is fairly simple. Macbook Airs for portability and productivity, Macbook Pros for the more serious usage scenarios, iMacs for desktop workstations and Mac Pros for industry-level applications. There's very little granularity in each line too, making the choices much more simple.

At the end of the day, everyone has their own preference, and no one laptop will be right for everybody!
Offline Cero
« Reply #22 - Posted 2014-10-09 20:53:44 »

And yet, the odd thing is that it's rarely Apple users who start the ball rolling on such conversations. They're not walking around accusing PC users of being brand devotees.
Evidently someone making that choice has no idea about specs and prices or just loves apple that much. They dont start an argument because they have no points to make other than "I prefer Apple"

The logical approach is: I want to do this, this and that: what tool would be best ?


Speaking personally, OSX is a must-have for me. I run a Windows partition on my desktop for games, but I do everything else in OSX (Ableton, Scrivener for writing projects, Java/Ruby/Obj-C/Swift coding, and so on). I simply prefer it over Windows, hands down. And that goes double for when I'm on my laptop, because OSX is simply superior as a laptop OS.
Well fine, however, you didn't make any point "you like it better" why ?
I have Ableton and Adobe on Windows, there is plenty of writing programs, Eclipse works the same and runs better on Windows.


Every time I use a PC notebook, I feel like it's this totally disjointed mishmash of components and software. With Apple notebooks, everything fits together from the outset, because it was designed that way from top to bottom. It's a (slightly) intangible element--and a personal, subjective one, to boot--that one must factor in when deciding on a purchase. Raw specs alone will never be the sole determinant for me.
intangible element - now tell me this isn't like religion ?

Gotta make something clear though: Preferring OSX over Windows is not the same debate: you can install OSX on a windows PC.
Yes Apple has software that actually works bundled in, windows doesnt. Everything Windows comes with should be ignored or removed. True. But thats no saving grace because I don't use bundled Apple software after all because when it comes to real productivity they are not enough.
Not gonna cut a whole movie with iMovie. So bundled stuff sucks anyway, unless you got a very nice Linux distro.



If you dont intend a MAC/no MAC war, then don't come and ask I need a good device for a good price to do X, Y, Z and then say you like Apple.
Not much options with Apple and not really a logical choice if you want to A) save money, B) have good specs for your money or C) ever open you thing

At work I put some water on my mac keyboard to clean it. It completely broke. Plus since you cannot open any mac product, tough luck.
A decent keyboard is like 10-25 bucks, and if water gets it, you open it, dry it, and move on, nothing shorts out and its easy to open and fix.

Apple doesn't allow for things to be opened because:

Apple's target audience are people with a lot of money and no idea about technology.

if a person is exactly that, I can't really argue too much.

Offline cylab

JGO Kernel


Medals: 195



« Reply #23 - Posted 2014-10-09 22:31:45 »

Apple's target audience are people with a lot of money and no idea about technology.
Err... no Stare

I also don't like apple products, but above statement is just BS - period.

Mathias - I Know What [you] Did Last Summer!
Offline TifantaWorld

Senior Devvie


Medals: 11



« Reply #24 - Posted 2014-10-10 00:38:51 »

Evidently someone making that choice has no idea about specs and prices or just loves apple that much. They dont start an argument because they have no points to make other than "I prefer Apple"

Huh? I explained why I liked the Macbook Air for the OP's desired purposes. I offered substantive reasons, and all you were able to attack me with were raw specs and pricepoint. It's clear to anybody who's actually read the posts in this thread that raw specs weren't the OP's priority.

Quote
The logical approach is: I want to do this, this and that: what tool would be best ?

And the Macbook Air does what the OP wanted to do very well. I never said it was the only machine that could do it. I said that, having one myself for pretty much the exact same purposes, I could attest to the fact that it was a good option. The fact that the OP was replacing an old Mac notebook seemed to indicate that an Air would be a solid match, as well.

Quote
Well fine, however, you didn't make any point "you like it better" why ?
I have Ableton and Adobe on Windows, there is plenty of writing programs, Eclipse works the same and runs better on Windows.

I like the basic filesystem better than Windows because apps are packages that contain all of their files. This makes the OS, after extensive use without a fresh install, feel far better organized overall. You don't constantly feel like you've got "loose ends" hanging around from applications you've uninstalled, and so on. I like having access to a true Unix command line, right out of the box. I like the overall functional design of the OS, which feels like an integrated design from top to bottom, whereas Windows feels like the same old shit with a shiny coating on top of it (I'm comparing to Windows 7, by the way, because that's what I run on my Windows partition). I like virtual desktops (a nice inspiration from the Linux realm). I like the dock, which Windows also has its own version of now, but OSX had way before, so I'm just used to theirs now (and find it to be better integrated and more functional, to boot). I like the OS/software update process way, way more than Windows. Microsoft apparently doesn't understand the concept of a "cumulative update," so if you ever need to reinstall Windows 7 from a factory disc, be prepared to spend hours downloading and installing every single crucial update they've ever released, having to reboot your machine a dozen times, and so on. Shall I continue?

Quote
intangible element - now tell me this isn't like religion ?

I said that it's a slightly intangible element, because it has to do with how the form feeds into the function and your overall perception of the device. If you consider the way the whole package functions together, obviously tangibility comes into play (how the trackpad and keyboard physically feel when you interact with the OS and the software running on it), but there's also a psychological component to it that is intangible. Everything "feels" better together, more like a coherent whole. Interacting with OSX on an Apple machine has always been a more pleasant experience, for me, than interacting with Windows on most PC laptops. Of course, there are so many different PC laptops out there that mileage is always going to vary. There isn't a single person out there who can honestly say they've got the definitive take on this. Which is why I consider it a personal preference, and never argued that it was anything but.

Quote
Gotta make something clear though: Preferring OSX over Windows is not the same debate: you can install OSX on a windows PC.
Yes Apple has software that actually works bundled in, windows doesnt. Everything Windows comes with should be ignored or removed. True. But thats no saving grace because I don't use bundled Apple software after all because when it comes to real productivity they are not enough.
Not gonna cut a whole movie with iMovie. So bundled stuff sucks anyway, unless you got a very nice Linux distro.

If you want to install OSX on a PC, you have to use one of the available user-made "distros" in order to do it (unless you go ahead and roll your own, which is probably out of most people's leagues, including my own). Are you honestly telling me that this is supposed to be a viable option? I get why some people would choose to do it. They're enthusiast types who like messing around with stuff like this. But for the average user, I think safety is going to be a pretty big concern. Who knows what the makers of these "distros" have added to them? The community isn't anywhere near as extensive as the distro community for Linux, where you can pretty much trust that a mainstream distro is not designed with to include malicious stuff. You're acting like you can just readily install OSX on any PC. That's not how it works. And I'd be really interested in knowing how well these user-created OSX distros work with the software update system.

Quote
If you dont intend a MAC/no MAC war, then don't come and ask I need a good device for a good price to do X, Y, Z and then say you like Apple.
Not much options with Apple and not really a logical choice if you want to A) save money, B) have good specs for your money or C) ever open you thing

If you go back and read the thread, perhaps you'll note that I'm not the person who started it. I wasn't seeking anybody's advice. I was giving advice to the OP.

Quote
At work I put some water on my mac keyboard to clean it. It completely broke. Plus since you cannot open any mac product, tough luck.
A decent keyboard is like 10-25 bucks, and if water gets it, you open it, dry it, and move on, nothing shorts out and its easy to open and fix.

Ah, now we get to the heart of the matter. You're angry because you poured water on an electronic object and it happened to stop working.

Quote
Apple doesn't allow for things to be opened because:

Apple's target audience are people with a lot of money and no idea about technology.

Or it could be because they design with form factor and size efficiency in mind. I hope you understand that designing products to be easily upgradeable usually comes with drawbacks in terms of the product's overall design. But if upgradeability is a big concern--for many people it is, and that's totally valid!--you have a load of other options at your disposal. I don't know why some people find it so utterly offensive that there's a company which does things a bit differently, which prioritizes certain concerns over others. It's not like the existence of Apple means that the countless other PC options can't exist. You live in a world with a massive amount of choice, and yet you get bent out of shape about something you don't have to buy or use in the first place. My question is: why? Why is this so important to you? It just makes no sense to me.
Offline BoBear2681

JGO Coder


Medals: 19



« Reply #25 - Posted 2014-10-10 01:22:46 »

In some ways a Mac is better than a Windows-based PC, in other ways it isn't.

When buying a new computer, tablet, etc., some people do a cost-benefit analysis and buy the best specs they can per dollar.  Others are OK buying something for a price they deem acceptable, even if it isn't the best absolute value, because they prefer the design, usability differences, or some other quality.  Is this bad?  If so, why?

Do you use cost-benefit analysis to get the absolute best value out of the groceries you buy at the store?

For the car you buy?

For your new apartment or house?

For a pack of gum?

For dinner and drinks with friends?

At some point, everybody gives themselves a little wiggle room to purchase something that costs a little more, for reasons other than its absolute value.  Many factors influence where this point is for a person - disposable income, personality, etc.  But everybody's willing to spend a little more money on something, just because they like it more than other choices, *sometimes*.  And what/how much varies from person to person.

Why is this something to criticize?
Offline Gibbo3771

JGO Kernel


Medals: 128
Projects: 5
Exp: 1 year


Currently inactive on forums :(


« Reply #26 - Posted 2014-10-10 08:21:52 »

Do you use cost-benefit analysis to get the absolute best value out of the groceries you buy at the store?

For the car you buy?

For your new apartment or house?

For a pack of gum?

For dinner and drinks with friends?

At some point, everybody gives themselves a little wiggle room to purchase something that costs a little more, for reasons other than its absolute value

Why is this something to criticize?



Do you use cost-benefit analysis to get the absolute best value out of the groceries you buy at the store?


Yes, if you go to a store and just buy erratically you will end up spending way more than you need to.  Hence why almost every super market has their own brand. It's cheaper to make, import and sell. No matter hour much money you have, buying branded pasta at 1.99 a packet add opposed to store brand at 0.99 is just daft. Even people that eat exotic and fresh food.

 

For the car you buy?


Yes, for most people that is a 10 year investment. You aren't going to go buy a porche at 55,000 at the official dealership when another dealer has it for 54,000.

Same goes for any car , if something is cheaper else where even if it is a different model /make, as long as you like it your not going to opt for the more expensive one.


For your new apartment or house?


It's a house, 20 year investment for most. Your not going too spend more then you need to. Ever.

For a pack of gum?



A pack of gum is quite different from a £200 weekly shop for a family of 4, a car or a house. It cost 0.99 but I can assure you of the packet next to it was the same flavour and cost  0.89, your going to pick that up instead.


For dinner and drinks with friends?


Yes, your going to go somewhere every one can afford, and even if they had the money for it they certainly aren't going to go somewhere that is more expensive for the sake of it.



Why is this something to criticize?


Criticize no, advise yes. The world's wealthiest never got to where they are by spending money unnecessarily.


"This code works flawlessly first time and exactly how I wanted it"
Said no programmer ever
Offline Cero
« Reply #27 - Posted 2014-10-10 18:27:07 »

Quote
I like the basic filesystem better than Windows because apps are packages that contain all of their files. This makes the OS, after extensive use without a fresh install, feel far better organized overall. You don't constantly feel like you've got "loose ends" hanging around from applications you've uninstalled, and so on.
Well I do have to agree, windows is a mess. Got a little better lately.

Quote
I like having access to a true Unix command line, right out of the box.
The ONLY redeeming quality imo. The only reason we use it at work.

Quote
I like the dock, which Windows also has its own version of now, but OSX had way before, so I'm just used to theirs now (and find it to be better integrated and more functional, to boot).
The dock. Great idea. I have the nexus dock for windows, awesome.
However, with no taskbar you can literally LOSE windows, sub-windows. Have a couple of apps open, then like open a new sub window, like thunderbird write new email, then click back to the main window. Even Alt-Tab in many cases does not find it. Only way to find it, is to manually minimize every other window.

Quote
I like the OS/software update process way, way more than Windows. Microsoft apparently doesn't understand the concept of a "cumulative update," so if you ever need to reinstall Windows 7 from a factory disc, be prepared to spend hours downloading and installing every single crucial update they've ever released, having to reboot your machine a dozen times, and so on. Shall I continue?
Just like the uninstalled apps argument, it doesnt really affect most users that much, but yea, I do agree of course.


You talked about the trackpad. I only you mice, hwoever:
All new OSX have like a acceleration on mouse movement. This makes it behave differently than Windows/Linux mouse movement. Starting from like 10.4 not sure exactly when, Apple removed the option to adjust this.
They also have to system settings to do hibernation, which actually does work if you set it up per console.
The command buttons sucks, different muscle memory, I wanna use CTRL. Not because its objectively better, but if you grew up with Windows or Linux, this is what you have been used to. Same with the mouse.

Quote
I think safety is going to be a pretty big concern. Who knows what the makers of these "distros" have added to them?
wow thats a little paranoid, nah haven't heard other people being concerned.
Also a hackintosh uses a stock OSX image, just with specific hardware, as far as I know, not user made.


Quote
Ah, now we get to the heart of the matter. You're angry because you poured water on an electronic object and it happened to stop working.
Well at work I just got a new one, no questions asked. But the fact that it is so expensive and build specifically to break down in this case so that you have to buy a new one, could make me angry, if I cared about Apple stuff. (Which is objectively true because way cheaper keyboards dont have this problem)

@upgradeability
Well the video game consoles are like this too, but they have screws, they CAN be opened. YOu void the warranty, but it is possible. Mac stuff often doesnt even have screws.

Quote
My question is: why? Why is this so important to you? It just makes no sense to me.
Valid question.
This comes from hundreds of clueless people bragging about how they like mac or iphone, who all know jack about tech and whenever asked why answer with braindead stuff like "I just like it. All my friends have it. I like the way it looks"
Sheep behaviour makes me angry - not just in case of Apple. Whenever people just do as others do without thinking for themselves.



I also agree 100% Gibbo3771
When purchasing anything, price is immediately the first criteria. So yes, even when buying cheese I check which one is cheaper.

Offline TifantaWorld

Senior Devvie


Medals: 11



« Reply #28 - Posted 2014-10-11 06:16:25 »

All new OSX have like a acceleration on mouse movement. This makes it behave differently than Windows/Linux mouse movement. Starting from like 10.4 not sure exactly when, Apple removed the option to adjust this.

This is literally the only thing I modify about OSX with third-party software (Steermouse, which lets you change all of those settings to your liking, and honestly with far greater granularity than even a stock Windows installation). You can tweak the stock settings to make it somewhat more bearable. The mouse acceleration is far better suited to laptop use, but it really does suck on the desktop, in my view.

Quote
Also a hackintosh uses a stock OSX image, just with specific hardware, as far as I know, not user made.

It is nevertheless an involved process, not something that your average user is going to be doing. And I also understand that OSX can be touchy on PCs with certain hardware configurations, because it's only really designed to support standard Mac specs, which are fairly limited in number and variety.


Quote
Well at work I just got a new one, no questions asked. But the fact that it is so expensive and build specifically to break down in this case so that you have to buy a new one, could make me angry, if I cared about Apple stuff. (Which is objectively true because way cheaper keyboards dont have this problem)

"Designed to break down" is quite the statement. If I drop my smartphone into the toilet and it stops working, does that mean it was "designed to break down"?

Quote
Mac stuff often doesnt even have screws.

Yes, it does. If you remove the glass on the front of an iMac (it's held in place with magnets), you can access the insides of the machine, though this is a fairly laborious process that involves a lot of unscrewing and dismantling and will void your warranty. Looking at the bottom of my Macbook Air right now, the whole bottom side looks to be a metal panel held on by 10 screws. I imagine that if you remove those screws, you'll have access to the insides of the machine.

Upgradability has, for a long time, been a sticking point with Apple. I think some of their earlier machines actually pioneered the concept of upgradability, with slots on notebooks where you could swap in entirely different peripherals, and so on. But at some point, they learned that, in order to make smaller, more elegant devices, upgradability was going to have to be put on the chopping block. It remains the case that, if you value the ability to upgrade your machine, you can just get a PC. Problem solved. But honestly, with all the PCs I've owned in my life, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I made an upgrade to one that I couldn't also have made on my Mac (basically adding new RAM). So for me, this has never really been an issue. I'm not a huge hardware upgrader, no matter what platform I happen to be using.

Quote
Valid question.
This comes from hundreds of clueless people bragging about how they like mac or iphone, who all know jack about tech and whenever asked why answer with braindead stuff like "I just like it. All my friends have it. I like the way it looks"
Sheep behaviour makes me angry - not just in case of Apple. Whenever people just do as others do without thinking for themselves.

But you're assuming that every single person who speaks positively about Apple products falls into that category. That's the problem.
Offline nerb
« Reply #29 - Posted 2014-10-11 08:20:55 »

Mac stuff often doesnt even have screws.

Speaking of screws, I replaced the battery in my wife's MacBook a couple of weeks ago. The battery is held in by tri-wing screws as opposed to the Phillips-head screws found elsewhere on the machine, presumably just to be a pain in the arse. Not to mention the sneaky screw that they hide under the battery label... Seriously?

I don't think Macs are bad. They are nice, well built, albeit pricey machines. However I have a serious problem with a company that attempts to force me to send the machine back to their team of lanyard-wearing hipsters in blue t-shirts, for something so simple as a battery replacement.
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