*this* is how you get Windows users to switch to Mac...



  • ... make their ads not work in Windows:

     

    Quicktime is broken! 



  • I like how the video is titled "Party is Over"



  • I hate those freakin' commercials anyhow. They are filled with more mis-information then if Michael Moore directed GWB's A&E biography.



  • @matthewr81 said:

    I hate those freakin' commercials anyhow. They are filled with more mis-information then if Michael Moore directed GWB's A&E biography.

    I hate them too.  I was trying to watch them so I could write a blog entry ranting about them, using specific examples with quotes.  Guess they foiled that plan.



  • At least I'm not the only one that is ranting about Apple today...

     



  • I like the ads.


    And who uses Windows anyway?



  • @Heron said:

    @matthewr81 said:

    I hate those freakin' commercials anyhow. They are filled with more mis-information then if Michael Moore directed GWB's A&E biography.

    I hate them too.  I was trying to watch them so I could write a blog entry ranting about them, using specific examples with quotes.  Guess they foiled that plan.

    I don't like the commercials either, and I'm certainly not an Apple user or fan, but you have to hand it to them:  Apple has always managed to have ad campaigns that everyone is talking about.

    It's genius, in  that sense. There's no such thing as bad publicity.



  • Well I like them.  Sure they are pretentious.  Sure they are obnoxious.  Sure they insult the intelligence of the viewers.  And that's why I like them.



  • My rant is up at [url]www.whyimbitter.com[/url] if anyone is interested ;)



  • Here are some key questions:
    --> Have you ever installed a graphics card?
    --> Of the time you spend on the computer, do you spend the majority in one program or suite?
    --> Do you regularly need to be logged in with Administrator/root privileges?
    --> Do you expect to troubleshoot driver conflicts?

    If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, then -- although this may seem hard to believe -- [i]Apple is not marketing its computers to you[/i]. They're happy if you want to give them money to get one of their machines, but those advertisements are not made with you in mind at all, except possibly as an object of mirth. Same goes for me, and I use Macs exclusively. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but we are largely irrelevant to Apple.

    I was in college when Steve Jobs came back to Apple in the late 1990s. When the various announcements started coming out, I -- like all the other computer geeks -- assumed that Apple was about to die. No techie would buy anything like what they were describing, except maybe as a toy. When the iMac came out, I was in despair. It was woefully underpowered and practically impossible to upgrade, and it didn't have any of the old-style Mac ports. (No floppy drive either, but since Apple embraced booting from CDs before PCs did that wasn't such a big deal.) Obviously doomed.

    Well, I was wrong, and no mistake. Or rather: I was wrong about who the iMac was for. I would never buy one. But I wasn't [i]supposed[/i] to buy one. Instead, the iMac sold about as many machines in its first quarter, if I recall correctly, as any other product line, without causing the sales of any of the other lines to drop significantly. (A quick search on Google offers some confirmation that my memory isn't far off, although I can't find the specific numbers.)

    Apple isn't putting TV commercials out there for geeks, or even the reasonably computer-savvy. We already know what we want, and we know how to shop for it, and we don't really care very much if there are driver conflicts to resolve or hardware upgrades to be done, because we know how to do those. Apple sells a closed system in which many -- possibly most, depending on your point of view -- of the major bugs that plague beginners are nonexistant or reduced to minor annoyances.

    Apple is selling to people like the woman I work with. She displays a lack of computer skills which surpasses even my father, who was still using an electric typewriter exclusively as late as 1999. She has Vista on her laptop, and she has just about every problem these commercials make fun of. She hates it. She has already noted that my Macbook doesn't have these problems. When she buys a new computer -- which, admittedly, will probably not be for a couple of years, since her laptop is brand new -- she will probably get a Mac.

    That's Steve Jobs' plan, and whether it appeals to you or not, it's working.



  • @Rodyland said:

    Sure they are pretentious.  Sure they are obnoxious.  Sure they insult the intelligence of the viewers.
    It's called "advertising".



  • @Heron said:

    My rant is up at [url]www.whyimbitter.com[/url] if anyone is interested ;)

    http://www.456bereastreet.com/archive/200608/light_text_on_dark_background_vs_readability/

     



  • My eyes start to feel weird after reading white on black. And when I look somewhere else, I feel like having window blinds in front of my eyes because all the lighter text lines are 'burned in' somehow.



  • @The Vicar said:

    Here are some key questions:
    --> Have you ever installed a graphics card?
    --> Of the time you spend on the computer, do you spend the majority in one program or suite?
    --> Do you regularly need to be logged in with Administrator/root privileges?
    --> Do you expect to troubleshoot driver conflicts?

    If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, then -- although this may seem hard to believe -- [i]Apple is not marketing its computers to you[/i]. They're happy if you want to give them money to get one of their machines, but those advertisements are not made with you in mind at all, except possibly as an object of mirth. Same goes for me, and I use Macs exclusively. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but we are largely irrelevant to Apple.
     
    GRAHH H WAAARRGGHHH WUUAUAHAHHAAA AARRGUUUGUHHHHGHG BLOOOAARRRRGGHHHGRAHH H WAAARRGGHHH WUUAUAHAHHAAA AARRGUUUGUHHHHGHG BLOOOAARRRRGGHHHGRAHH H WAAARRGGHHH WUUAUAHAHHAAA AARRGUUUGUHHHHGHG BLOOOAARRRRGGHHHGRAHH H WAAARRGGHHH WUUAUAHAHHAAA AARRGUUUGUHHHHGHG BLOOOAARRRRGGHHHGRAHH H WAAARRGGHHH WUUAUAHAHHAAA AARRGUUUGUHHHHGHG BLOOOAARRRRGGHHHGRAHH H WAAARRGGHHH WUUAUAHAHHAAA AARRGUUUGUHHHHGHG BLOOOAARRRRGGHHHGRAHH H WAAARRGGHHH WUUAUAHAHHAAA AARRGUUUGUHHHHGHG BLOOOAARRRRGGHHHGRAHH H WAAARRGGHHH WUUAUAHAHHAAA AARRGUUUGUHHHHGHG BLOOOAARRRRGGHHHGRAHH H WAAARRGGHHH WUUAUAHAHHAAA AARRGUUUGUHHHHGHG BLOOOAARRRRGGHHHGRAHH H WAAARRGGHHH WUUAUAHAHHAAA AARRGUUUGUHHHHGHG BLOOOAARRRRGGHHHGRAHH H WAAARRGGHHH WUUAUAHAHHAAA AARRGUUUGUHHHHGHG BLOOOAARRRRGGHHHGRAHH H WAAARRGGHHH WUUAUAHAHHAAA AARRGUUUGUHHHHGHG BLOOOAARRRRGGHHHGRAHH H WAAARRGGHHH WUUAUAHAHHAAA AARRGUUUGUHHHHGHG BLOOOAARRRRGGHHHGRAHH H WAAARRGGHHH WUUAUAHAHHAAA AARRGUUUGUHHHHGHG BLOOOAARRRRGGHHH 

    If, in the first two paragraphs of your essay, you are seriously suggesting that the developer market is "irrelevant" to Apple, then I'm not sure I'm going to be able to read through the rest of your mess without repeatedly slamming my head into the keyboard.

    ... and this is from a hardcore Windows guy and .NET programmer.

     

    On another note, I saw that "cancel or allow" Apple commercial before I ever tried Vista, and got pissed off about the stupid exaggerations they were apparently making. Imagine my surprise when I found out they weren't exaggerating at all.



  • @bobday said:

    If, in the first two paragraphs of your essay, you are seriously suggesting that the developer market is "irrelevant" to Apple, then I'm not sure I'm going to be able to read through the rest of your mess without repeatedly slamming my head into the keyboard.

    Yep. You'll just have to either skip my post or restrain your head. Apple doesn't particularly care about third-party developers. As I said: they don't mind if we want to tag along, but we just aren't a market they want to spend a lot of effort on. (Although they have made it a lot easier to become a member of the developer site since Jobs came back; you can get their development environment for free, for one thing, which wasn't the case pre-Jobs. There was a time when the cheapest non-student development environment for the Mac still cost hundreds of dollars.) Consider:

    --> No cheap, expandable machines of the sort geeks desire (Want to upgrade your graphics card later? Be prepared to shell out $2500 minimum for a Mac Pro.)

    --> No new machines capable of running older OS versions for testing (Want to support Mac OS X 10.3? eBay, here you come!)

    --> Cancellation of the Yellow Box (the compatability environment from Next which allowed Openstep programs to run on Windows NT; Apple said it would be out for Mac OS X, even had contracts for providing it, then cancelled it)

    --> Elimination of Cocoa for Java (If you want to create a Mac program with all the bells and whistles provided by the OS, you have to use Cocoa. Since they stopped updating Cocoa for Java, all new features have required Objective C, which is an arcane language with lots of annoying syntactical incompatabilities with every other object-oriented language any modern programmer knows. If you swap between Objective C and C++/Java several times a day, your head will explode.)

    I can't really blame them for not going after developers and geeks. We're the hardest market segment to please, and since we want everything as cheap as possible there's no margin.

    And the return from having lots of developers?

    --> Games. There aren't enough games for the Mac. Well, big-name games -- there are plenty of small games. That's because there aren't enough users to justify doing dual-development on big projects. (See "cancellation of the Yellow Box" above.) If you have a big share of the home market, then companies will crawl over broken glass to develop for your platform. Gee, maybe Apple's "get lots of home users ASAP" strategy isn't so dumb, after all!

    --> Competitors for Microsoft Office! Windows has 'em. An overwhelming majority of Windows users use Office anyway. Apple wrote iWork essentially so that if Microsoft suddenly discontinues Mac Office (which would be a bad business decision since it's made them a heck of a lot of money, but the threat is always there) there will still be something for Mac users to open Office documents with. (Yes, there's OpenOffice.org. A very nice program on Linux, and quite good on Windows because the main developers cozied up with the Windows developers and gave them lots of assitance. So far there have been at least two attempts by Mac developers to talk to the main developers about doing the same thing for the Mac, and the response was basically "go suck an egg." Probably won't change any time soon, and until it does, OpenOffice.org on the Mac will have the same not-quite-right feel that Quicktime for Windows does, only moreso.)

    --> Lots of little crappy shareware programs that 99.999% of users will never care about, as with Windows! I'm sure Apple can hardly wait for that.

    @bobday said:

     ... and this is from a hardcore Windows guy and .NET programmer.

    I never would have guessed. :P

    @bobday said:

    On another note, I saw that "cancel or allow" Apple commercial before I ever tried Vista, and got pissed off about the stupid exaggerations they were apparently making. Imagine my surprise when I found out they weren't exaggerating at all.


    Depends on what you're doing, but the woman I was talking about is [i]still[/i] mystified by those alerts.



  • @The Vicar said:

    ...Apple doesn't particularly care about third-party developers...

    I actually read your whole post this time, but it was still pretty long, so I had to get a new keyboard for this reply.

    I think there's a reason Microsoft has such an overwhelmingly large share of the OS market, and it has something to do with fat men running around on stage screaming "developers, developers" the availability of third-party software. I think you mischaracterize the nature of the software available and downplay the importance of games (a massive market that doesn't rely on dubious "upgrades" to make money).
     
    Apple may not do as much as Microsoft to capture developers, but I'm sure Jobs knows MacOS wouldn't be doing nearly as well without, for example, Photoshop being available.
     

    @The Vicar said:

    @bobday said:

    On another note, I saw that "cancel or allow" Apple commercial before I ever tried Vista, and got pissed off about the stupid exaggerations they were apparently making. Imagine my surprise when I found out they weren't exaggerating at all.

    Depends on what you're doing, but the woman I was talking about is [i]still[/i] mystified by those alerts.


    Aye, my point was that Vista seems like a bit of a trainwreck. All the new, interesting Microsoft technologies are available for XP anyways. 



  • @bobday said:


    I think there's a reason Microsoft has such an overwhelmingly large share of the OS market, and it has something to do with fat men running around on stage screaming "developers, developers" the availability of third-party software. I think you mischaracterize the nature of the software available and downplay the importance of games (a massive market that doesn't rely on dubious "upgrades" to make money).

    It has far more to do with them going around to everybody who sells computers and saying: "Wouldn't it be a shame if you suddenly started having to buy Windows licenses at the retail price instead of the wholesale one? Do not sell anything that competes with Windows, and ship Windows preinstalled on every box".

    This is not an exaggeration, it's a crime for which they've been convicted (and then Bush pretty much let them off, after receiving a large campaign donation). They've loosened their grip a little in recent years, but still give significant financial advantages to people who play along.



  • > If you have a big share of the home market, then companies will crawl over broken glass to develop for your platform.

    >and the response was basically "go suck an egg."

    > it has something to do with fat men running around on stage screaming "developers, developers"

    HAHA

    Great imagery.



  • @bobday said:


    Apple may not do as much as Microsoft to capture developers, but I'm sure Jobs knows MacOS wouldn't be doing nearly as well without, for example, Photoshop being available.

    Carbon is an updated version of the pre-Mac OS X Toolbox APIs. If you have an old Mac program, you can't swap one for the other directly, but you can redo the program for Mac OS X with minimal changes instead of rewriting from scratch. It has analogous data structures and functions, and keeps most of the old names for things. The downside is that you don't get hooks into many of the new OS features, or only get them with a lot of work.

    I can't say whether he was telling the truth or not, but back in college, the rep from Apple who came to give demos and things mentioned that Carbon was basically written for Adobe by Apple, because otherwise Adobe was going to drop the Mac. If there's any truth at all to that, it certainly explains why, when Carbon was first introduced to developers, they had a guy from Adobe showing off a Carbonized Photoshop as a demo app.

    In any event: Apple needs Adobe (for the time being) so they have to give them more support. The rest of us aren't feeling the love at all. Adobe isn't exactly just "a developer."

    That may be why Apple brought out Core Image -- they're probably hoping that someone will write, if not a Photoshop killer, then at least a Photoshop Elements killer, which would shut off a major revenue stream for Adobe. By making Core Image an API instead of a program, they can claim to Adobe that they aren't competing, but the API contains a lot of the stuff that simple people associate with Photoshop, and I bet you that no tears would be shed at Apple if someone managed to take over a bunch of Adobe's turf.



  • @The Vicar said:

    --> Do you regularly need to be logged in with Administrator/root privileges?
    To be fair, this applies to a lot of windows users whether they know what that means or not, thanks to crappy third-party software.



  • @bobday said:

     
    I think you mischaracterize the nature of the software available and downplay the importance of games (a massive market that doesn't rely on dubious "upgrades" to make money).

    Wait... what?  Games are one of the primary reasons for upgrades in the home market.  Systems, memory, graphic cards, all to play the new "DeathMunger2500!!!!" or whatever is hot this month.  Or do you mean upgrades to the games themselves, like different versions of GTA, Sims, Quake  (I'll leave out the mythical Duke Nukem one.) and so on?  Even a moderately successful game is likely to have expansion packs or follow-ons.

     
    [statistical information you see in this was pulled from my nether regions, but call it a "gut reaction" if you will.  Holds true with a lot of friends / family / acquaintances, though.]

     



  • @Heron said:

    @matthewr81 said:

    I hate those freakin' commercials anyhow. They are filled with more mis-information then if Michael Moore directed GWB's A&E biography.

    I hate them too.  I was trying to watch them so I could write a blog entry ranting about them, using specific examples with quotes.  Guess they foiled that plan.

    I've always felt the ads are an epic fail.  PC comes off likable and gets all the good lines.  Mac is too much the sterotypical Mac user, smug in his superiority.  The "Cancel or allow?" one is pretty amusing, though. 



  • @The Vicar said:

    --> Competitors for Microsoft Office! Windows has 'em. An overwhelming majority of Windows users use Office anyway... (Yes, there's OpenOffice.org. A very nice program on Linux, and quite
    good on Windows because the main developers cozied up with the Windows
    developers and gave them lots of assitance. So far there have been at
    least two attempts by Mac developers to talk to the main developers
    about doing the same thing for the Mac, and the response was basically
    "go suck an egg." Probably won't change any time soon, and until it
    does, OpenOffice.org on the Mac will have the same not-quite-right feel
    that Quicktime for Windows does, only moreso.)

    The official mac open office package sucks.  There's a port called NeoOffice.  It's much better.

    @The Vicar said:

    --> Lots of little crappy shareware programs that 99.999% of users will never care about, as with Windows! I'm sure Apple can hardly wait for that.

    @bobday said:
    I think there's a reason Microsoft has such an overwhelmingly large share of the OS market, and it has something to do with fat men running around on stage screaming "developers, developers" the
    availability of third-party software. I think you mischaracterize the
    nature of the software available and downplay the importance of games
    (a massive market that doesn't rely on dubious "upgrades" to make
    money).


    There's plenty of third-party software for the mac.  Look up macports and fink -- hundreds of the most popular linux packages have been ported.

    Long story short, if you're a power user, modern macs are just widely supported, relatively well-built linux boxes running a distant cousin of BSD with all your favorite packages available.



  • @merreborn said:

    @The Vicar said:


    --> Competitors for Microsoft Office! Windows has ’em. An
    overwhelming majority of Windows users use Office anyway... (Yes,
    there's OpenOffice.org. A very nice program on Linux, and quite good
    on Windows because the main developers cozied up with the Windows
    developers and gave them lots of assitance. So far there have been at
    least two attempts by Mac developers to talk to the main developers
    about doing the same thing for the Mac, and the response was basically
    “go suck an egg.” Probably won't change any time soon, and until it
    does, OpenOffice.org on the Mac will have the same not-quite-right feel
    that Quicktime for Windows does, only moreso.)

    The official mac open office package sucks. There's a port called NeoOffice. It's much better sucks slightly less and in different ways.

    Fixed your spelling error. 



  • @Heron said:

    My rant is up at [url]www.whyimbitter.com[/url] if anyone is interested ;)

    Either IHBT, or you are taking their ad campaign [i]way[/i] too personally. Like, [i]2,000-word essay[/i] too personally. 



  • Yeah, I've got into epic flame wars with Mac fanboys/fangirls...

     Some only want the Mac for the "cool factor" (which I hate, along with the hype put on Apple products).

     
    I have absolutely NO use for a Mac. I use Linux, I am not a graphics/video pro, I like to do upgrades on my boxes... but obviously YMMV.
     


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @poochner said:

    [statistical information you see in this was pulled from my nether regions, but <snip>.]

     

    I failed to see any statistical information in your post. Are your nether regions that bare? 



  • @Renan_S2 said:

     

    I have absolutely NO use for a Mac. I use Linux, I am not a graphics/video pro, I like to do upgrades on my boxes... but obviously YMMV.

    I've always used windows because of the games, I was always interested in getting into Linux, but it's always been a <font size="-1">IHALYFABIBTATAI</font> relationship.



  • @Devi said:

    I've always used windows because of the games

     Most of the games I play/used to play either have native versions for Linux or run under Wine.

     

    I was always interested in getting into Linux, but it's always been a <font size="-1">IHALYFABIBTATAI</font> relationship.

     

    Yeah, used to happen to me too.



  • @Heron said:

    My rant is up at [url]www.whyimbitter.com[/url] if anyone is interested ;)

    Regarding Vista and RAM ... I was recently given an iMac DV SE with 128 MB RAM, running Mac OS 10.0 (seriously, not even 10.1). I upgraded it to Tiger, and found that, while a bit slow, I could genuinely use Tiger in 128 MB. The iMac is seven years old! 500 MHz, 128 MB and runs Tiger. I've since stolen a 256 MB stick from a spare PC and boosted it up to 384 MB; the main difference was that the boot time decreased substantially.

    People who mention Vista to me tend to mainly hate it for being fat and slow, which is simply not something that Tiger bothers me with. On the other hand, an acquaintance was telling me that Tiger, after 6 days' uptime and with no user applications running, has amassed a 17.5 GB page file. How that is even conceivable is beyond me. The most RAM I've ever used in Windows (virtually -- I have 512 MB RAM) was 1.6 GB when some jaw-droppingly craptacular blog page ate 1.2 GB of RAM in Firefox. (There I was thinking that blog pages that ate 500 MB of RAM were bad.) It still didn't crash Windows, and I let it finish rendering (at 333 MHz speed ;) and release Firefox's UI, and closed the page. OS X must leak RAM like diarrhoea.

    Someone made an awesome Mac ad parody with South Park-style characters, you can find it on YouTube.



  • @Heron said:

    ... make their ads not work in Windows ...

    Well, now. You can take this back to the fundamental problem with video on computers: a truly pathetic lack of accountability. I have some MPEG-4 clips (.mp4 I think) that play on my desktop PC but not on my laptop. I installed the latest MS codec pack for XP, but nothing. Finally I gave up and installed QuickTime on the laptop. I later realised that the particular codec used (whichever it was) is rather obscure -- QuickTime uses it (the videos were encoded on a Mac) and Nero provides proper Windows codec drivers for it. (QuickTime, of course, has to have its own codec system under Windows.) I have Nero on the PC, and that, and that alone, is why the videos play.

    Windows Media Player will normally manage a "Failed to download codec" and leave you scratching your head. QuickTime, as of when it got component downloading, just gives you the spectacularly useless message you posted -- whatever it is that it needs, it's not on the server and it won't tell you what it is so you can fetch it manually. Media Player Classic brings up a dialog full of doubledutch about the video and that is apparently its best attempt at telling me what codec I need.

    Would it be too much trouble for media frameworks to enforce each clip to contain the name of the codec needed, who makes it, and where the user or even the player can find it to download? If the player just said "This MPEG-4 clips requires Apple Computer Inc's Beelzebub Codec from http://www.apple.com/quicktime/satan/" then at least I would know instantly what to do. Instead, I have no idea why it won't play and where on earth I got the software from on my PC that's playing it.

    In the end, I had a cunning idea. Play the clip in Windows (my PC is too slow!) and then look through the thread list for MPC in Process Explorer to physically identify the DLLs responsible. Only then did I figure out where I'd found the software that was playing them -- they were Nero DLLs. If I look up the properties for the video, all I see is:

    Video: MPEG4 Video 320x240 [Output 1] Audio: AAC 44100Hz stereo 127Kbps [Output 2]

    MPEG is a framework, not a codec, after all.

    This is one of the advantages of Flash Video -- all of a sudden, you don't have to care about codecs or players or anything any more. Just keep Flash up to date, and video works. Of course, that's not of any help if you want to save and watch the videos offline, where Flash Video is even more awful than bog standard video files...



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    Regarding Vista and RAM ... I was recently given an iMac DV SE with 128 MB RAM, running Mac OS 10.0 (seriously, not even 10.1). I upgraded it to Tiger, and found that, while a bit slow, I could genuinely use Tiger in 128 MB. The iMac is seven years old! 500 MHz, 128 MB and runs Tiger. I've since stolen a 256 MB stick from a spare PC and boosted it up to 384 MB; the main difference was that the boot time decreased substantially.

    To be fair, 10.1 and 10.2 were unusable on slower machines. (I used 10.0, 10.1, 10.2, and 10.3 on a clamshell iBook, which is roughly the same as an early iMac.) 10.3 and 10.4 are much better about prioritizing.

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    People who mention Vista to me tend to mainly hate it for being fat and slow, which is simply not something that Tiger bothers me with. On the other hand, an acquaintance was telling me that Tiger, after 6 days' uptime and with no user applications running, has amassed a 17.5 GB page file. How that is even conceivable is beyond me. The most RAM I've ever used in Windows (virtually -- I have 512 MB RAM) was 1.6 GB when some jaw-droppingly craptacular blog page ate 1.2 GB of RAM in Firefox. (There I was thinking that blog pages that ate 500 MB of RAM were bad.) It still didn't crash Windows, and I let it finish rendering (at 333 MHz speed ;) and release Firefox's UI, and closed the page. OS X must leak RAM like diarrhoea.

    Actually, your friend is wrong -- for a very good reason: the OS lies about how much swapfile it's using. Mac OS X never uses a single swapfile that is as large as 17.5 GB anyway; it segments the swapfile into much smaller chunks. (The size of the chunks depends on which version you use -- Tiger starts with a 64 MB one, then another, then starts doubling the sizes as they are created, but never goes above 1 GB.) (And yes, I'm aware that your friend probably didn't mean to imply that there was a single 17.5 file. I'm getting to that.)

    My machine has been running for about 8 hours. (I like to turn the laptop off while carrying it around for any significant distance; I'm using a battery which is getting old and I don't trust it.) I have 2 GB of real RAM. Activity Monitor says Used: 1.47 GB, VM Size: 11.56 GB. Scary! My poor hard drive! But a scan of /private/var/vm/ where the swapfiles are shows a single swapfile, and it's only 64 MB. The sleep memory image (which is also stored there) is a full 2 GB, but it isn't used for swap.

    The top utility gives the same numbers. I wish I knew why these vary so much from what's actually being used. Anyone have stronger Google-fu than me?



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    @Heron said:
    ... make their ads not work in Windows ...

    Would it be too much trouble for media frameworks to enforce each clip to contain the name of the codec needed, who makes it, and where the user or even the player can find it to download? If the player just said "This MPEG-4 clips requires Apple Computer Inc's Beelzebub Codec from http://www.apple.com/quicktime/satan/" then at least I would know instantly what to do. Instead, I have no idea why it won't play and where on earth I got the software from on my PC that's playing it.


    Actually, uh, QuickTime can tell you this whenever the format supports it and the encoder recorded the information. (And MPEG-4 usually answers "yes" to both.) Open the file in QuickTime Player (if it can't play it back, then tell it you want to keep working with the file anyway), choose "Show Movie Info" or "Show Movie Inspector" or whatever the item says in the Windows version, and you'll get a little window with the encoder listed under the heading of "Format".


  • @The Vicar said:

    My machine has been running for about 8 hours. (I like to turn the laptop off while carrying it around for any significant distance; I'm using a battery which is getting old and I don't trust it.) I have 2 GB of real RAM. Activity Monitor says Used: 1.47 GB, VM Size: 11.56 GB. Scary! My poor hard drive! But a scan of /private/var/vm/ where the swapfiles are shows a single swapfile, and it's only 64 MB. The sleep memory image (which is also stored there) is a full 2 GB, but it isn't used for swap.

    The top utility gives the same numbers. I wish I knew why these vary so much from what's actually being used. Anyone have stronger Google-fu than me?

    A depressingly common misconception about what the stats are telling you. "VM Size" does not mean "amount of physical memory that has been swapped out to disk". It just means the sum of all the stuff mapped in the page tables. Most of that probably maps the same things several times over in different processes (program object code, etc) and most of it is probably mapped to actual files on your hard drive, it's not backed by memory or swap. A whole chunk of it will also be unused maps of the zero page - space that has been malloc()ed but never used for anything, so the operating system didn't bother assigning any actual memory to it. Etcetera.

    For example, every *-linux-gnu platform maps libc.so.6 into every process. This library is currently about 1Mb in size. With 100 processes currently running, I have 100Mb of virtual memory occupied by that, but it's only backed by the disk file and there's only one actual copy being shared by all the processes.

    I have no idea why they bothered to present you with this number. It is of no value whatsoever to you. It's not even of any particular value to somebody who understands the mechanics of the VM system. I suspect it's just gratuitous stat-whoring to sound impressive.



  • @asuffield said:

    A depressingly common misconception about what the stats are telling you. "VM Size" does not mean "amount of physical memory that has been swapped out to disk". It just means the sum of all the stuff mapped in the page tables. Most of that probably maps the same things several times over in different processes (program object code, etc) and most of it is probably mapped to actual files on your hard drive, it's not backed by memory or swap ...

    I do take everything this guy tells me with a whole salt cellar. It would not be close to the first time that he's had no idea what he's talking about, although he likes to believe he's a computer know-it-all. What I'm sadly unfamiliar with is the mistakes in Apple's stats, which were always a possibility. I mean, think about it -- all he had running was the Finder and non-app tasks (like extra menu items), and yet Mac OS X managed to find 17 GB of data to map. Even with your explanation, it's still absurd, and to me, sounds more like someone dropped a few extra multiplication signs into the stats equations. You don't know this guy, but it's always nice to know that he's wrong ...

    @asuffield said:

    For example, every *-linux-gnu platform maps libc.so.6 into every process. This library is currently about 1Mb in size. With 100 processes currently running, I have 100Mb of virtual memory occupied by that, but it's only backed by the disk file and there's only one actual copy being shared by all the processes.

    Heh that problem. Actually I've really wondered about how Process Explorer figures this in, or whether it doesn't. I don't have any reason to believe that the commit charge figure in Windows is wrong, but it's possible that it is. Although as I said, it's never gone above 1.6 GB and normally never exceeds 600 MB. If it read 17.5 GB I think my jaw would fall off.

    But I know that problem all too well. I wrote a really super pass-through download script for a site, in PHP, and put it on my DreamHost-hosted site. One day, I started getting complaints of downloads that just went belly up. I checked -- they were all dying randomly. After some days of enquiring with DreamHost, they finally put me through to someone who looked at the logs and told me I was getting my php.cgi processes killed for excess RAM usage.

    To an extent, it was true. PHP 4 leaks RAM in fpassthru() and an equivalent fread/echo loop, to the tune of the entire file size by the end. Switching to PHP 5 solved that (the codebase was written last December in PHP 4 at Globat who refused to upgrade to PHP or MySQL to version 5), but it didn't stop my scripts being killed.

    According to top, they were only using about 8 MB each, so that seemed OK. (Well, not really -- 8 MB for a few lines of PHP and a couple of buffers is nuts.) But DreamHost finally showed me the logs, and my scripts were using 18 MB each. I found some tool that would investigate the RAM used by any process, and it broke it all down for me -- most of that 18 MB was shared library code. Whatever tool DreamHost were using to measure RAM usage (they even got that mixed up and told me the wrong one at first, they said they were using top!) was counting not just my PHP script, heap and stack but Zend, the C++ library and all sorts of other stuff including all the PHP features I wasn't even using. 18 MB scripts soon add up to filling up my memory limit.

    I had to teach them that, no, most of that RAM is just shared across php5.cgi processes and is not contributing to system drain. I never found out from any site whether read-only code blocks are shared across user boundaries or whether that's considered unsafe, as that would reduce the load a lot further.

    Of course, I lost. DreamHost did start writing a better memory checker, and then abandoned it, so I had to rip out all my nice code. I loved having download counts shown on the site, and the knowledge that I'd stopped anyone using download accelerators, but it's all gone now. Score 1 to company with no idea how a modern OS works.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    @asuffield said:

    A depressingly common misconception about what the stats are telling you. "VM Size" does not mean "amount of physical memory that has been swapped out to disk". It just means the sum of all the stuff mapped in the page tables. Most of that probably maps the same things several times over in different processes (program object code, etc) and most of it is probably mapped to actual files on your hard drive, it's not backed by memory or swap ...

    I do take everything this guy tells me with a whole salt cellar. It would not be close to the first time that he's had no idea what he's talking about, although he likes to believe he's a computer know-it-all. What I'm sadly unfamiliar with is the mistakes in Apple's stats, which were always a possibility. I mean, think about it -- all he had running was the Finder and non-app tasks (like extra menu items), and yet Mac OS X managed to find 17 GB of data to map.

    The MacOS core library is rather large (judging from the stats on my computer, it's somewhere around 350MB), and gets mapped into every Carbon and Cocoa process.  Just sitting there, a Mac running 10.4 has about 15 such processes running, and each of them is recorded as using 350+MB for the system library -- even though address space is only allocated for one copy of the library, and most of the library is sitting off on disk rather than being resident in memory.  That's 4.5GB of VM.

    If you've got Dashboard widgets running, each of them is charged not only for the system library, but also another 50MB or so for the Dashboard libraries.  Five widgets will account for 2GB of VM -- and maybe 60MB of actual memory, most of which is not resident.

    There's a process called kernel_task that gets charged at least once for every bit of address space allocated to the OS.  On my system, that's 1.3GB -- but most of this memory is also recorded as being allocated to other tasks.

    And then there's Safari.  It really does use as much memory as it claims, and it leaks memory like a sieve.  It's not unusual for it to use up the entire available address space, then crash with an out-of-memory error.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    Actually I've really wondered about how Process Explorer figures this in, or whether it doesn't. I don't have any reason to believe that the commit charge figure in Windows is wrong, but it's possible that it is.

    Nobody is entirely certain exactly what Windows is measuring here - it's supposed to be a measurement of how much of the data currently around might be written to a swap file in future, but that's hopelessly vague and subject to interpretation. Microsoft have given multiple conflicting statements on the subject of what is counted, and they're usually wrong about stuff like that anyway. Odds are that nobody at Microsoft really knows either, and the kernel is just adding up a long list of numbers that "seemed right at the time" and doesn't make a whole lot of sense any more. Very few of the statistics that Windows reports to the user are either accurate or useful.



  • @asuffield said:

    Odds are that nobody at Microsoft really knows either, and the kernel is just adding up a long list of numbers that "seemed right at the time" and doesn't make a whole lot of sense any more. Very few of the statistics that Windows reports to the user are either accurate or useful.

    My PC has a really bizarre fault. If the commit charge exceeds 350 MB, most attempts to play audio will hang Windows for about five seconds, seemingly paging. (Possibly a kernel busywait? Pass.) If the audio is already in use and locked down (say, Winamp is left running) then everything is OK. I created a program that would play silence in a loop to keep the sound card (a SoundBlaster Live! 5.1) locked in use.

    At 700 MB or more commit charge, this breaks down, and even with the sound locked down in one program, trying to play audio in another will trigger the same hang.

    Commit charge, until recently, represented pretty much the RAM used by the kernel and the private memory used by all running applications. It's been a meaniful guide to how much RAM all my applications are using, although Windows certainly allocates RAM that doesn't get listed. CoLinux's emulated RAM, for example, is not shown, so if I have CoLinux started with 64 MB RAM, I don't see 64 MB extra commit charge.

    Normally this was of little real concern, but I finally installed .NET onto my PC (.NET 2, Win2k SP4). Aside from horrible conflicts with Process Explorer causing long system hangs if I tried to quit it (e.g. during log out), .NET has monstrously screwed up my memory readings. Firstly, one app I run regularly uses a lot of RAM. One day, I quit it, and it released ~ 70 MB RAM, and ~ 120 MB commit charge. That is to say, something unseen on the PC was using up RAM. Later, I quit it with 128 MB RAM in use, and the commit charge dropped about 228 MB. However, earlier, I quit it and I did NOT see the same thing happen -- the commit charge remained really high, 660 MB. My normal commit charge pre-.NET was a lot less. Having left it a while, it's decreased to 570 MB, which is still a lot.

    All I can see is that, since .NET, nothing adds up and there are weird things happening with RAM. It's not impacting performance anywhere near as much as I'd expect, but I would love to wipe .NET off this PC. I've avoided it all this time specifically out of the fear that it would screw up stuff.



  • @ArneArts said:

    I like the ads.

    And who uses Windows anyway?

    Oh, about 90% of all users... 


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