An '86 Mac Plus Goes Up Against An '07 AMD DualCore. You Won't Believe Who Wins, And Then You'll Be Inspired



  • The Most Outlandish Computer Comparison Ever!

    Bloat. If you think that Americans are getting fatter, take one good look at the operating system (OS) your computer is running right now. It gets larger and more weighed down with every update. We are in the third decade of global personal computing, and have we really progressed that far?

    An article from 2007, tests how fast Office related tasks feel on '86 Mac versus a 2007 typical Windows PC. Ignoring the terrible clickbait title and intro, it seems they actually put some thought into testing performance from a typical user's POV.

    Spoiler alert: there's no significant speed difference.

    The conclusion the article draws: MODERN SOFTWARE IS SUPER BLOATED AND CRAPPY.

    Sure, OK, there's some of that.

    But what the real conclusion should be, IMO, is that, at some point, things are just "good enough" for most people. Sure, you could streamline MS Word architecture, dump a whole lot of features, and make it load and feel super fast. But will that really get more people to buy the thing? Or should MS invest their time into improving online sync features and other stuff people will actually consciously care about when making purchasing decisions?

    I just find this an interesting tension when technology moves forward. More bullet points sell better than perfecting a single feature. Other areas where you can see similar trade offs (off the top of my head) are cellphone battery life and video game graphics.

    Just because you can make it better, doesn't mean enough people will care if you do.



  • I had an SE 4/40, and Word 5.1a is the best word processor I've ever used. Sort of. It had its quirks, and putting an image on top of a multi column page wasn't fun, but it worked pretty well. A friend of mine now has it, and it still works. It was an expensive piece of hardware, of course.



  • There is a bloke who uses exclusively Linux on his computers, but as his word processor, he uses Word 6.0. It is feature complete for him. Guess he can convert Word 6 .doc to newer formats if he needs to, or just save as RTF.

    I want to try that too.



  • @cartman82 said:

    But what the real conclusion should be, IMO, is that, at some point, things are just "good enough" for most people.

    Agree. Word, Excel and Outlook open in less than a second on my (admittedly powerful) PC and Visual Studio is up in a couple of seconds.
    That doesn't need to get faster in future machines that land on my desk - it's definitely good enough.

    Even compilation, with today's (well, actually, the last ten year's) advances with incremental compilation means that the main reason we used to replace the Dev PCs every 12-18 months is no longer a real concern. 99% of the time I can hit F5 and be debugging a couple of seconds later.

    There is an argument for central pools of massive compute power for that once-every-three-months when you need to port a customer's database to the latest version and it would be nice if that took less than five hours, but that's what we have virtualization for.



  • @cartman82 said:

    Just because you can make it better, doesn't mean enough people will care if you do.

    There's nothing wrong with making things better. But, adding more features and re-arranging the UI doesn't automatically make things better. In fact, in many cases it makes a product worse by making it overly complicated and/or more difficult to use.

    Just for shits and giggles I downloaded Firefox 1.0. It couldn't properly display some pages (which I expected) but the UI was delightful. Simple and clean and makes you realize just how far off the rails they've gone with their current design.



  • @Hanzo said:

    I had an SE 4/40, and Word 5.1a is the best word processor I've ever used.

    They tested with 3.0.1 it looks like.

    Word was amazing on Mac until Word 6. After that point it kind of went downhill in some ways (but got better in others.)

    Before Word 6, MacWord was a totally different codebase written from scratch for Mac. For Word 6, Microsoft decided to port WinWord to Mac instead, but the problem is Word 6 was written with a lot of assumptions that didn't really apply well to the Mac world-- one of those being that virtual memory was fast and debugged-- and so it was a huge disappointment.

    Most Mac users stuck with MacWord 5 until about Word 98, where Microsoft kind of got their mojo back. Word 98 was excellent.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    ClarisWorks, mofo!



  • I'ma cut you, esse!



  • I can think of very few reasons that make current Microsoft Word better than the one on our 1993 computer that my father still uses for some tasks:

    • Style handling
    • Equations (I never use them, because I'm a LaTeX fan, but I consider it a must anyway)
    • Automatic table of contents
    • Format stability (I can open stuff from 1993 or 2015 transparently now, older versions weren't always up to the task)


  • 2015 and LibreOffice still sucks.



  • I concur. When I think about the things I actually need to do on my computer, most could be performed with the same equipment I was using 20 years ago. The most significant of these are:

    • Word processing. For work, I need to be able to format nice tables and embed Visio drawings, but for the stuff I use at home, my old copy of Word for DOS (text mode) from the late 80's would be sufficient for my needs.
    • Spreadhseet. For this, I've never found a better product than Excel, but version 4 is sufficient for my needs. I use a few features that were introduced in that version, so 3 wouldn't be sufficient, but I don't do anything that requires all the stuff added since then.
    • Database. I've always been a fan of FileMaker. I used version 3 for ages and would still be using it today if not for the fact that it won't run on current versions of Mac OS X. While all the features of the current versions look really nice, I have no need for them for my personal work.
    • E-mail. Until recently, I would've said that the old console "mailx" app that every UNIX system ships with would be sufficient. Today, I get too much mail with attachments in HTML format so I use Thunderbird alongside web-mail products. This shouldn't require a lot of horsepower, but the nature of anything that renders HTML means I need to run a current version or risk security problems.
    • Web. Again, for this I need something modern. Most web sites seem to require it and old browsers are full of security holes. Ironically, most web sites I visit don't need to have such massive requirements. Why do I need the latest in every interactive scripting standard just to read the text of news articles and web-comics? The answer is mostly because of advertising, which I actively don't want and try to block whenever possible.

    Overall, if not for the need for connecting with the internet, where I need to keep up with current web and mail applications, I would be able to do everything I require on any of my old systems. My 2002 PowerMac G4, my Quadra 840av before that, and even some older models if not for my desire to run Excel 4 and FileMaker 3. In the PC world, my old Pentium II and Windows NT 4 would be sufficient - maybe even my 486 and Win3.1, although Win3.1 wasn't always very stable.

    Of course, I use my computers for plenty of things beyond what I actually need, like gaming, downloading/playing/managing audio/video media and other similar things, which would not work well (or at all) on a 90's era system.


  • area_deu

    Do any browsers for, say, the Win9x series even offer supported versions of SSL/TLS?



  • @David_C said:

    Spreadhseet

    No, excel really did change and is still changing. Try to represent large data sets with pivots in older versions. PIVOT ALL THE THINGS.

    @David_C said:

    E-mail.

    Except that something like outlook or even the online 'g-mail' are much more then pure mail. I go hours without looking at my mails but my days would be a mess without notifications.

    Email is only one way to communicate. It's a slow medium compared to chat applications and 'social' stuff. I don't like the later category but I prefer that above the endless stream of internal mails nobody reads.



  • @Luhmann said:

    @David_C said:
    Spreadhseet

    No, excel really did change and is still changing. Try to represent large data sets with pivots in older versions. PIVOT ALL THE THINGS.
    [/QUOTE]

    I didn't say they haven't added anything since then. I said I have no need for any feature added since then. The fact that you seem to have a need for them doesn't change anything I wrote

    @Luhmann said:

    [quote="David_C, post:11, topic:52701"]
    E-mail.

    Except that something like outlook or even the online 'g-mail' are much more then pure mail. I go hours without looking at my mails but my days would be a mess without notifications.

    Again, you completely misunderstood what I wrote. I didn't say nothing invented in the last 20 years is useful. I said I have no need for it in my personal life. I also said that what I need at work (e.g. modern capabilities of Word) is greater than what I need for myself.



  • @marczellm said:

    I can think of very few reasons that make current Microsoft Word better than the one on our 1993 computer that my father still uses for some tasks:

    Word 5 for the mac was quite decent at style handling, although the logic could drive you crazy if you weren't aware of it. Equations were decent enough, although Latex is superior. Never had problems with opening old documents, as far as I recall, but table of contents was indeed a bit iffy. That, however, is one feature I don't care about. Really, those software engineers had their shit together.

    @cartman82 said:

    Or should MS invest their time into improving online sync features and other stuff people will actually consciously care about

    Is it an either-or scenario? I see no reason why online sync wouldn't fit in old Word's architecture. I do agree that it would have made only a small difference in terms of sales. OTOH, there have always been alternative text processors for all platforms, and no matter their feature set, they couldn't beat MS. So it would seem the sales argument doesn't have much bearing on the software engineering.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @aliceif said:

    Do any browsers for, say, the Win9x series even offer supported versions of SSL/TLS?

    Same is true for XP though, you can't get versions of things on XP that run supported versions of TLS.



  • @Hanzo said:

    Word 5 for the mac was quite decent

    CBA to check, but I don't remember encountering these features on Win 3.1.



  • @marczellm said:

    CBA to check, but I don't remember encountering these features on Win 3.1.

    I never used Word on 3.1, but Win 3.1 was a piece of shit, as were 95, 98 and ME. I still don't understand why MS got so big, but it's a powerful argument against the need for good engineering.



  • @Luhmann said:

    No, excel really did change and is still changing.

    Call me when it gets to the level of functionality of 1991's Quantrix or Improv.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    You Won't Believe Who Wins

    Am I correct in thinking nobody wins because
    a) somebody used a mac
    b) somebode else used an AMD
    c) Both of them used Word
    d) I didn't win because nobody paid me for writing this comment
    e) I still didn't win because I need to use Discourse
    f) Actually, nobody wins because I want to know now how '86 Macs and 07 AMDs handle Discourse

    Filed Under: Does anybody here still have an '86 Mac and can test that for me? Thanks!



  • Mostly I think this speaks to the nature of benchmarks. "Any benchmark we need FTW!"



  • @Hanzo said:

    Really, those software engineers had their shit together.

    The thing it didn't have was good compatibility with WinWord files.

    That's what prompted the merging of the code bases in the first place.



  • @David_C said:

    I didn't say they haven't added anything since then. I said I have no need for any feature added since then.

    I was actually thinking independently about this recently. My memory of the older Excel versions is too foggy to be a reliable guide, but I used Excel 2000 extensively and the things added since then that I use are:

    • Larger row limit
    • SUMIFS() and COUNTIFS()
    • Ability to use entire column in formulas, rather than having to specify the final row, so it doesn't start giving incorrect results if you go and add more data later
    • Improved AutoFilter UI (can insert / delete columns from the filtered range with the filter active; drop-down display shows more than just the first 1k unique items; "Contains" / "Does not contain" filtering options)

    That's it, to the best of my recollection. And no, I don't really use pivot tables either.

    @blakeyrat said:

    The thing [MacWord] didn't have was good compatibility with WinWord files.

    Oh God, don't remind me. In my Honours year I was trying to write a dissertation using Word - except that at home I had Windows and at uni we were on Macs. At least once I got "HAHAHA ALL YOUR EQUATIONS ARE GIBBERISH NOW", which isn't a good thing when you're doing mathematics. From memory, I think I found that MacWord did a much better job of reading WinWord format files than WinWord did of reading MacWord ones, but it was still a real pain.

    It did prompt me to make the maximum possible use of Symbol font (at home I put in my own keyboard shortcuts to change into Symbol and back out, for typing speed) and the minimum possible use of the equation editor, which also shrank the file size dramatically. And the next year I learned LaTeX.



  • @Kuro said:

    Filed Under: Does anybody here still have an '86 Mac and can test that for me? Thanks!

    /me raises hand.

    Well, it was actually made ca. 1991, but it’s a Mac Plus much like in the article and it has MS Word on it — IIRC 6.0, but I’m not sure and don’t feel like setting up and starting the machine to find out.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    You don't need word. You need a browser. Thats where Discourse lives!

    If you ever feel like powering the machine on, just necro this topic :smiley:

    Filed Under: And if it has a battery, tell us how fast it drained


  • mod

    @Scarlet_Manuka said:

    I don't really use pivot tables either.

    Slight tangent, but I kind of feel like people who don't understand how and when to use pivot tables aren't really using Excel. It's like people who treat Word like it's Notepad and just toss some notes in a document without using the formatting options at all.


  • sockdevs

    @Yamikuronue said:

    Slight tangent, but I kind of feel like people who don't understand how and when to use pivot tables aren't really using Excel.

    is it odd that i use excel exclusively for formatting tables to paste into emails or for turning a dataset into a pretty graph?

    I mean it's not that surprising that i put the data into a database to do the reporting from, is it?

    As a developer, i've got the thing sitting right here and i know SQL a hell of a lot better than i know that weird excel query language thing...



  • @Yamikuronue said:

    I kind of feel like people who don't understand how and when to use pivot tables aren't really using Excel.

    Who doesn't understand how to use pivot tables? There's a wizard, it basically does it for you.



  • @accalia said:

    weird excel query language thing...

    I didn't know Excel even had one of those.


  • sockdevs

    @loopback0 said:

    I didn't know Excel even had one of those.

    well it has some sort of function language for doing the calculations.... what else do you call it?



  • @accalia said:

    what else do you call it?

    *shrug*
    Just functions. I don't use the word language.

    I was referring to this, anyway, which I learned the existence of about 4 minutes ago.


  • mod

    @loopback0 said:

    Who doesn't understand how to use pivot tables?

    A lot of people. A loooooot of people get this look of bewildered terror when you mention them, assuming them to be some kind of dark arcane horror from the deep.

    @accalia said:

    is it odd

    No, but it makes your opinion on whether Excel has improved over the past 10 years kind of moot, since you don't use most of its functionality.

    @accalia said:

    it's not that surprising that i put the data into a database

    ...Are you not aware that Excel can pull data from your database? SQL won't get you charts.



  • @Yamikuronue said:

    SQL won't get you charts.

    No-one needs charts.

    SQL Developer does charts anyway IIRC.


  • sockdevs

    @Yamikuronue said:

    assuming them to be some kind of dark arcane horror from the deep.
    That describes most of Excel's advanced features.

    I mean i'm sure they're useful to someone, but to me they're mysterious and weird.

    i mean why would you even allow cell references to an entirely different excel file? backwards compatibility with that little feature bites me in the but at least once a year....

    @Yamikuronue said:

    No, but it makes your opinion on whether Excel has improved over the past 10 years kind of moot, since you don't use most of its functionality.

    well i was already reserving judgement as to whether Excel has improved or not... for pretty much that rasin.

    @Yamikuronue said:

    .Are you not aware that Excel can pull data from your database?
    i am painfully aware of the way that feature can be abused. :frowning:

    @Yamikuronue said:

    SQL won't get you charts.
    indeed it won't, but the 5 times a year i actually need charts i can C&P into excel

    ;-P



  • @accalia said:

    i mean why would you even allow cell references to an entirely different excel file?

    Why would you not? Seems a perfectly reasonable thing for a spreadsheet software to have.



  • @cartman82 said:

    If you think that Americans are getting fatter,

    Americans could lose a lot of weight just by adopting the metric system like us otters.
    200 pounds = just 90.7kg


  • mod

    @loopback0 said:

    No-one needs charts.

    Bull. Charts are a great way to communicate your findings with people who don't have time to read the data for themselves.



  • @Yamikuronue said:

    Charts are a great way to communicate your findings with people who don't have time to read the data for themselveslike pretty pictures.

    Post shall not be empty.


  • sockdevs

    @loopback0 said:

    Why would you not?

    because when you do that all of a sudden i can't open C:\datadump.xls and E:\backups\20150101\datadump.xls at the same time.

    now why would you allow it? I've given a concrete example of why allowing it results in end user pain, now it's your turn to provide a concrete example as to why it should be allowed regardless.


  • mod

    Kay. When you have two minutes of his attention, I'm sure the Director of Marketing is going to wait while you type in some queries and explain the data to him.



  • @accalia said:

    now why would you allow it?

    Because when you look at how normal Excel monkeys use it, being able to have one file with all your data in it and reference it in other files is handy. Then you just update one file and the other files with their pivots and charts all magically update rather than updating the same data in lots of other files.

    That's not how I use it, but it's not like Microsoft are building Excel for developers anyway.



  • @Yamikuronue said:

    the Director of Marketing is going

    He's got people to read data for him.

    I wasn't being serious anyway



  • @accalia said:

    I mean i'm sure they're useful to someone, but to me they're mysterious and weird.

    Pivot tables? Seriously?

    @accalia said:

    i am painfully aware of the way that feature can be abused.

    Pivot tables + giving Excel a DB connection string = realtime OLAP, basically. Excel is kind of crap at it, compared to Tableau (which was built solely for that and is a Seattle company so buy all their products), but it works and is handy. It might help your poor laptop's CPU to remember you can feed Excel (or Tableau) a View instead of a set of tables.

    Of course I'm sure to you, OLAP is "mysterious and weird" or whatever.

    I'm always mystified by people who work in software and yet are completely uninterested in learning how extremely popular software programs or processes work. You do software development, but you have no interest in Excel or OLAP? You're like those open source people who live and breathe computers but don't ever bother to learn how Windows' permissions system works. So weird.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    and is a Seattle company so buy all their products

    What is your opinion of Starbucks?


  • sockdevs

    @blakeyrat said:

    You do software development, but you have no interest in Excel or OLAP?

    excel is a means to an end, that end can also be accomplished using my local instance of mssql server that i have installed because i develop software that interfaces with it and need a local dev environment to build my changes before pushing them to the shared test and (after QA has had a shufti at it) staging environments.

    @blakeyrat said:

    You're like those open source people who live and breathe computers but don't ever bother to learn how Windows' permissions system works. So weird.
    oh, so like someone who refuses to use the command line because it is, i believe the exact words were, "bad and wrong"?



  • @accalia said:

    excel is a means to an end, that end can also be accomplished using my local instance of mssql server that i have installed because i develop software that interfaces with it and need a local dev environment to build my changes before pushing them to the shared test and (after QA has had a shufti at it) staging environments.

    Right; but if you dig SQL Server, you love OLAP, right? And if you love OLAP, you've never thought, "hm, I wonder if anything can do OLAP-type queries in real-time?"

    But no, you learned the 3 things you need to be barely competent at one job. LEARNIN'S DUN!

    @accalia said:

    i believe the exact words were, "bad and wrong"?

    I was probably quoting Kung-Pow: Enter the Fist. (That is an interesting method of avoiding a ContentID match...)

    But the fallacy here is: I know exactly what the CLI is and how it works, how you can chain commands together and pipe text all over. I have learned it. I just think it's a bad technology that shouldn't be used by anybody. And definitely shouldn't be the only way of accessing some tool or functionality.

    Because people who do that are throwing away everything we've learned about computer interaction since the mid-80s. Throwing it right in the trash, whoosh, fuck you users.

    So it's almost as if my disdain for the CLI actually supports the same point I just made to you! Huh!


  • sockdevs

    @blakeyrat said:

    you've never thought, "hm, I wonder if anything can do OLAP-type queries in real-time?"

    i have never had a need to do that sort of query in real time.

    when i have such a need i will happily learn how to do it in my coffee break.

    Until then i'm content to leave it alone and focus on doing work that's needed of me today.



  • LEARNIN'S DUN!<poogas>


  • sockdevs

    @blakeyrat said:

    LEARNIN'S DUN!

    :rolleyes:

    it's almost as if i'm talking to a brick wall.

    there's no consideration that i might be focusing my learning in a different direction, nor any acknowledgement of my statement that if such knowledge becomes important to my job that i would acquire it.

    but then acknowledging either one of those points wouldn't lead you to winning the "argument"

    well congratulations sir. you have "won" as I have no interest in participating in another flaming row with you.

    Good day, and i wish you well on your journey. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.



  • Oh no, she's gone into "talking like there's a stick up ass mode" now. Normal human conversation is gone.


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