Thoughts about my MacBook Pro rant?

KevySaysBeNice

[H]ard|Gawd
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Well, here is a repost.

I guess linking to this text is not allowed (for whatever reason), so I'll repost it here.

I'm not "looking for help", I'm mainly just wondering if other MBP/Apple/OSX users out there find themselves having the same experiences.

I'm a totally dedicated Mac/OSX user and don't see myself switching at any point, so I'm not just bashing Apple or MacBook Pros for no reason, I'm really just looking to see if I'm totally off with my experiences.

(this all from my "switcher blog" @ http://switch.shoelessone.com)

Well, I haven't updated this in a while, but I feel motivated to do so now.

I switched to Apple/Mac (and more importantly OSX) in large part because of the sex appeal of the OSX OS, because I knew the hardware was top notch, and because I felt like it might be fun to try something new. I was not (and am not) disatisfied, annoyed, or otherwise unhappy with Windows XP OR Windows Vista, in fact my experience with Vista was that video drivers seemed to suck for "normal" things however it was still very stable for me.

Now, after quite a few (6ish) months of owning my MacBook Pro SR 2.2 I have to say I'm both happy and sad and annoyed. I still enjoy using my Mac and the hardware still feels very solid. But I'll just come out and say it, in my experience I've found OSX to be unstable, and in general unreliable. I'm going to spare my normal blabbering and cut right to a list :).

[10.4/10.5]
Expose with multiple monitors is sluggish. I remember when I was using windows at home I tried a few "Expose" applications that simulated the same expose features. Most of them worked fairly well with few windows, but never quite as smooth (performance/frame rate) wise as a real Mac running OSX. I used OSX at work (photo editor at a campus newspaper) on a single monitor and really liked what I experienced. Believe it or not, the way expose helped my "work flow" while editing multiple image files at once was one of the reasons I chose to buy a Mac. Well, turns out that when I have my 22" LCD hooked up to my MBP and I have multiple windows on each display expose lags and chokes when I show all windows. Is it still usable? Yes, it is. Is it AS usable? No, not for me. The delay is annoying. I've always been a power user, and never before have I had to deal with dropped frames or sluggish UIs before, and I don't like doing it now. Perhaps if OSX didn't render all of my windows real time performance would improve a bit, however there are no options (that I'm aware of) to change settings for this type of thing. Of course I could just avoid the annoyance and not use expose, but as there is no taskbar (which is more than fine if I have expose) this would basically destroy my computing experience. Of course i could just minimize everything to the dock, but I don't find that practical.

[10.5]
Spaces is sort of the same. With lots of windows open, swapping between "spaces" is slow. I wish there were options that would let you optimize it for best performance, even if that meant I could only have two spaces at a time, or the second space could only have five windows open on it, etc, whatever it took to get rid of the slow.

[10.4/10.5]
Crashing. I've had a few kernal panics in the past 6 months, but nothing really worth worrying about and nothing really that I'd consider a real "problem". I can handle a kernal panic every 3 months. What IS worth worrying about is the fairly regular crashing of finder/firefox. At least once every few days I have to force quite Finder. Sometimes I'll be doing normal everyday stuff (transferring files, unzipping files, etc) and I'll get the ol' Pinwheel of death. Last time I did this for some reason once Finder started back up again Expose seemed to not work (hot keys or my "hot corners" did nothing) so I had to restart my computer. Does anybody know how incredibly annoying this is? Here is a simple fact: I never remember HAVING to restart my windows machine more than once a month, TOPS. Sure, every once in a while firefox or some other application would spring a leak and I'd have memory usage issues and so I would restart on my own, but I didn't NEED to restart. [note: I'm not even mentioning the fact that when I installed Leopard on top of 10.4 Finder would crash and then NOT restart several times a day. These problems are all with a perfectly fresh vanilla install of Tiger OR Leopard]


[10.4/10.5]
USB seems to be shit. Not only do I seem to have hardware issues with one of my ports, but I have issues mounting drives in both of my ports. I literally have four different hard drives, and not once have I gotten all of the hard drives to mount at once. At best I'll get two, normally I can only get one drive to show up (via a USB 2.0 hub of course). In either port, the drives won't mount, so I open disk utility to see what's up. They both show up as they should, but when I click "mount" I get an error about how they could be damaged and to run disk helper or doctor or whatever it's called. Of course that option is grayed out (Thanks a lot OSX!) and I know the disks are just fine anyway. Three of them are FAT32, the other is HSF+ or what-have-you. And it's not the HSF+ drive that always mounts, it seems to be random, or basically whichever drive I turn on first. One of my drives (FAT32) recently stopped showing up in OSX at all, including in disk utility. I plugged it into my headless XP Pro server and it works 100% perfectly. WTF?


[10.5]
I've really only noticed most of these issues with Leopard so perhaps they are just early bugs in which case they are forgivable as XP wasn't perfect when it came out, nor was(is) Vista. Anyway, there are lots of minor little bugs that drive me crazy. For instance, if I am playing a video in Quicktime (normally I use VLC of course, but sometimes I use quicktime just because it's what opens) and I want it to go fullscreen on my second display you'd think that if I moved the video over to the second display did Apple+F that the video would play full screen in the LCD with the video player in it. Of course it doesn't, instead it has a fancy animation that makes it full screen in the primary display. Maybe there is a setting that I need to click somewhere, but I shouldn't have to.


[OSX in general]
Here is something that is not a bug (at least I don't htink it is?), but that I'm really having a difficult time with. My photo workflow is as follows: I have Adobe Lightroom open on my 22" LCD for viewing images and sorting through them, and I use my MBP display for editing in photoshop. Sometimes I switch this around, but generally I prefer the larger image and higher resolution on the 22" for initially viewing photos so I can quickly tell which are keeps and which are not. Anyway, here is the issue: The menu bar for Lightroom/Photoshop is always on the primary display. So if I want to use a filter in the filter menu in photoshop and I'm working on a photo on my second display, I need to mouse all the way over to my MBP display to go to the Filter menu. This might sound rediculous, but for anybody that's done a LOT of computing, having your menus handy is important. Perhaps there is an option to move the menu bar to the active window or something?

[10.5]
Sometimes when I start a spotlight search I get a spinning wheel of death. This happens fairly often. It's happened enough now that I really hesitate and make sure I don't remember where I put my stuff before I risk using spotlight. Again this is on a clean install of Leopard with all updates and patches installed.

[10.5]
In general, there seems to be more random bugs with 3rd party applications. For instance, quick silver always shows up in my Dock now. I don't want it to show up in my dock. It's always running, 24/7. There is no reason for it to be in my dock. But it is, and it wasn't in Tiger. In CS3 I have a few minor issues, for instance when I'm putting in cropping dimensions sometimes CS3 will free and bug out and give me an error that I have not put in a valid number. You might say, "You can't blame OSX for these things, it's a third party issue!" and you'd be totally right. The issue is that compared to my switch to Vista (which was also a totally, totally new OS) I have more third party issues. It might just be the fact that OSX has a much smaller install base and so bugs are fixed in Windows first, and that's fine, but it's still annoying.



With all of these complaints there are still a lot of things about OSX that I like. Expose is still nice (especially on one LCD) and my MBP still looks very sexy. The LCD is still very bright and I'm still very happy with the battery life I get from it. In fact the battery life is very very good in my opinion. I managed to watch 4 hours of TV on my MBP (with low brightness and no wifi) while driving on a trip. Obviously it's not bad enough that I've stopped using it, but I have to admit that every time something crashes or is slow or lags I feel a bit embarrassed to have been so totally sucked into the idea that Apple computers are somehow these perfect machines.

Finally,
[Apple marketing]
Although I do find some of the Apple vs PC commercials funny, I also find them somewhat insulting. Every time I see the pretentious Mac dude talking about viruses and stability and making photos from his last vacation and then I hear how terrible the virus infected and sluggish the windows PC is I think, "wow, maybe Apple should make Finder not crash and fix their USB controller drivers and then make some commercials".
 

wpd7

Gawd
Joined
Sep 30, 2003
Messages
891
Not a fanboy by any means, just have macs as they allow both OSX and Windows and that helps me with my work in a cross platform world as a sys admin.

You sound like a heavy power user, especially from the get go- do you have your memory maxed out?

There is always a treshold that the machine will run low on memory and will resort to HD swap causing a lot of the issues you mentioned. Couple with some high memory using apps such as the CS3 family, that's probably your issue. Firefox is also an issue that it spawns memory leaks like there's no tomorrow.

What video card is on the machine? You said SR 2.2, and unfortunately I don't understand what revision MBP you're using. Running 2 high res monitors (built in and 22") may be too much for it. I have the X1600 in my MBP and video does become sluggish when attaching another high res monitor.

USB issues- sounds like a mobo issue to me- take it in... :D

I think the Mac/PC ads are just flamebait in general for the mindless masses. Like I say to everyone that asks me for a purchase advice- buy what's in your budget and what you're used to. That's it, unless you're an uber gamer then I would have to steer them towards a Windows computer for selection and "official" video card support. ;)
 

USMC2Hard4U

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Apr 4, 2003
Messages
6,154
I will be completly honest. I have not had 1 issue with my 2.4GHz MBP. Not One.

I Upgraded to 4GB of Ram myself due to cost of Apple Ram.... This baby flies.

I upgraded (Format and Clean Install) of 10.5 Leopard, and Its been solid since. Expose and Dashboard are a little sluggish, but im sure this is due to immature Video Drivers. Not a big deal, its a New OS. Everything else has been pretty much spectacular.

I would say you have a bad machine. I dunno, I would take it back and request them to fix it or get a new one. If you dont want to go through all that trouble... write zeros to the HDD and start frest with a clean install of the OS and take it from there. See what happens. I have owned many custom built PC's and Mac's alike. Never had any issues with my Mac's at all.
 

KevySaysBeNice

[H]ard|Gawd
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Thanks for your thoughts guys :)

I love [H], and it will always be my "home" when it comes to posting thoughts on tech related stuff. I could never post this on MacRumors or some such site without things turning ugly fairly fast. I am a huge moderate (most of the time) and really appreciate both of your responses :) as they are in line with what I'd probably respond with :).

Anyway, "SR 2.2" = "Santa Rosa 2.2 ghz" which is the latest (for now, I think) Intel MBP chipset. It's the standard (and only) vid card that comes with the 2.2ghz cpu, the 8600M GT.

I guess i could throw another 2 gigs of ram into the laptop, in the long run I deffinetly will but I have yet to purchase Apple Care so that's on the top of my "to do" list.

Also, my housemate who just bought a MBP 2.4ghz (15") also has problems getting his USB drives to mount, so I sort of feel like maybe I'm not alone (and it's not a hardware issue).

Nobody else has USB issues with their MBPs?

:heart:
 

wpd7

Gawd
Joined
Sep 30, 2003
Messages
891
Chipset does play a huge role in OSX compatibility, but as an easy test, if you have bootcamp loaded, try it under windows and see if the issues persist.

If so, its an incompatibility issue of the enclosure chipset with Santa Rosa in general... :mad:

If not, then its an OSX thing- I usually spend the extra $$ when buying enclosures or external HDDs and make sure that I'm getting something using an Oxford chipset to ensure 100% compatibility across Windows and OSX. :D
 

KevySaysBeNice

[H]ard|Gawd
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Messages
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Chipset does play a huge role in OSX compatibility, but as an easy test, if you have bootcamp loaded, try it under windows and see if the issues persist.

If so, its an incompatibility issue of the enclosure chipset with Santa Rosa in general... :mad:

If not, then its an OSX thing- I usually spend the extra $$ when buying enclosures or external HDDs and make sure that I'm getting something using an Oxford chipset to ensure 100% compatibility across Windows and OSX. :D

Thanks for the Tip, I generally just buy whatever is on sale at BestBuy/CircuitCity/OfficeMax/OfficeDepot/Staples at the time I require more space :)
 

MattyC

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I haven't had any USB issues with my machine.I use a Western Digital external 500gig to store my Final Cut and Illustrator work with no problems so far.

I haven't had any system crashes either. I have managed to crash Illustrator, but that is it so far.

I don't run dual monitors or make much use of Spaces so I can't comment on those, but at the native 1920x1200 and at the same res on my monitor, Expose is is very snappy. That said I run everything fine with 2gigs and you are talking about going with more, so I would say you have a lot more open at once than I do :p

On the ads, yeah most of them annoy me too.
 
Joined
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Messages
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I love my MBP... except for the fact that it's a Mac. I love Leopard, I love iLife, I love the lit keyboard, the sharp screen, the amazing trackpad... but for some reason I always get the feeling that everyone in the room thinks I'm an asshole for using it, and I think it's because the "Mac Guy" in the ads is such a dick...

The only time I've ever had problems mounting USB drives in OSX was with drives of somewhat questionable quality. Booting into XP they would come right up. Leopard made it worse too, so I'm thinking the USB stack needs some work. Add the memory now. You won't regret it.
 

Jozone

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The only issue I really experienced with 10.5 that absolutely pisses me off: The display (Intel iMac core duo) refuses to sleep. I can literally put the display to sleep, walk across the room, and then have the display turn on without any input from me! (keep in mind the length of time it takes for the display to wake up varies :confused:)

Initially I thought it might have been an issue with bluetooth power management, but Im honestly pretty stumped!
 

Heresy

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Aug 18, 2005
Messages
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I haven't had any problems at all with my MBP 2.4 ghz either. I really love mine. Sorry to hear you've been having troubles with yours. Have you taken it in at all to have it looked at? If not, I agree with previous posters that it would be the best course of action.

And the Mac Vs PC ads annoy me too. It's not wonder mac users often have the reputations among others we do for being stuck up elitists. I wish they'd stop doing them, to be honest.
 

kmeson

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Jan 4, 2004
Messages
317
My guess, with regard to slowness and many windows/apps open, is you need more ram. That said I'm running 2.33ghz MBP 15" w/ 2gig + X1600 ATI video and experience no slow downs with 40+ xcode editors open. (Expose is king when it comes to managing this many windows, I wish MS would 'innovate' this). On 10.5 I do get some sluggishness with Spaces which is due to swapping; I find with Spaces I have even more windows/apps open. Dual displays on my PowerBook (G4 1.5ghz w/ 2gig + 9800 ATI) Expose works great with the same work load.

I've not run into many kernel panics, maybe 3-4 in the past 4 years. Here I'd check the extensions you're loading. I run mostly a vanilla configuration. I have had inexplicable beach ball death limited to applications - here I presume threading deadlock, but I could be wrong.

You can make your 22" your primary display, this should solve your Adobe menu bar issue - sort of. Menu bar location is a philosophy - Apple believes the menu should be anchored in the same location for all applications. There are logical reasons why you'd want to do this but same goes for attaching the menu to a window.

As far as marketing goes I think Apple is genius. Regardless of what you think about the marketing it's memorable and talked about. IMO I like that Apple pokes fun at MS, it stirs the pot, and promotes competition. People root for the underdog for a reason - it makes good show. "The King is dead, long live the King" - ad infinitum == progress (or endless circles). :D
 

autumnmist

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Nov 30, 2004
Messages
32
I have a Core Duo (yes old) 2.0 GHz 15" MBP.

No problems whatsoever with USB drives. I use flash drives, an external via USB, USB mouse, keyboard, and printer.

No problems using Expose showing All Windows when I'm connected to my 22" (1680x1050) external monitor as my secondary display (built-in 1440x900 being the primary). I just upgraded to Leopard 5 days ago using Erase and Install. So far so good.

I added RAM (total 2 GB) a couple months ago (made a huge huge difference in the general snappiness of things). How much RAM do you have?
 

KevySaysBeNice

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Thank you all for your replies :)

I should probably take a video of the Expose "slowness" i'm talking about, because you will probably all laugh at me and say I'm an idiot for being bothered by something so minor.

The thing is, with one display there is no slowdown, with two displays there is a fragment of a second where Expose lags. It's not a HUGE deal, but it's annoying.
 

USMC2Hard4U

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Thank you all for your replies :)

I should probably take a video of the Expose "slowness" i'm talking about, because you will probably all laugh at me and say I'm an idiot for being bothered by something so minor.

The thing is, with one display there is no slowdown, with two displays there is a fragment of a second where Expose lags. It's not a HUGE deal, but it's annoying.

Oh I know what you are talking about. I get that too. We probably need more mature Video Card Drivers. Its not somethign Im worried about. Back when we first went to intel CPU's the lack of drivers bad lol.... They have made vast improvements thus far.
 

Firemane

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Mar 14, 2003
Messages
291
On the topic of USB disk mounting, I too have encountered weirdness in regards to my Santa Rosa 2.4 MBP. The USB port on the left will mount anything, any time, any where. The right-side USB port however... :eek::mad: The only thing it likes is mice or keyboards. Drives won't mount at all in that port - flash drives or disks. Super weird. I'd take it in for a look, but since I know how to work around the issue, it's not worth having someone dink with the machine and possibly cause other problems while making a repair effort.

Can't say I've seen any slowness with Expose or Spaces - both are snappy and responsive, even using a spanned external monitor (Dell 2405FPW). I do have the 256MB 8600 card though; I think the SR 2.2's have the 128MB, and that could be making up the difference perhaps (bludgeoning it's way through crap drivers via big memory).

I'm running Leopard, but frankly I'm not feeling like it was a "necessary" upgrade. That aside, the USB thing I have going on did the same with both Tiger and now Leopard, so it's either a bona fide hardware issue or yet another immature driver...

-Brian
 

Fuzzy Logik

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Greetings,

I work for VersionTracker as technical support. A lot of you Mac users are probably familiar with VersionTracker.

Here is my take on Apple's philosophy:

Steve Jobs is trying to have a pissing competition with Bill Gates. Jobs is pissed Bill won and was the most successful. Thus the huge focus on youthful technology. iPhones, iPods celebrity commercialism (do we really need this crap? No... but it sure is cool!)

Jobs is trying to focus on the youth, get the people who will run the country next generation on the Apple bandwagon.

Unfortunately, like most youth, Jobs is an asinine jackass.

His marketing ploy is juvenile and the music on commercials sounds like a baby pull-string toy.

Apple store employees are "hip" and "clueless".

I watched a guy trying to figure out how to turn the volume down have an Apple employee fidget awhile with the speakers and settings and even myself, an avid Windows/PC user/builder was screaming in my head "THERE ARE TWO VOLUME BUTTONS ON ALL STANDARD APPLE KEYBOARDS!"

I Digress...

Apple is not without it's flaws in the actual department that it matters in, functionality.

Leopard was an unnecessary marketing ploy to deal with Vista. Vista sucks and frankly I don't understand pushing for something over Tiger.... Time Machine is cool but not that cool.

We have even had to deal with issues with Leopard with our new Mac client.

Password not saving, corruption during Data Migration from legacy Mac OS.

A slew of things our Mac client engineer bitches about that I don't understand.

Personally, I find Apple superior currently because of the fact I can run Windows with parallel or BootCamp or VMFusion.

Though in reality, I can build a better PC running Windows and don't miss the Apple software at all.

It's only in the world of Laptops I believe Apple to truly be superior.

Nothing beats MacBook Pro imo in the laptop world.

Just my two cents.
 

DaLurker

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1,681
Steve Jobs is trying to have a pissing competition with Bill Gates. Jobs is pissed Bill won and was the most successful. Thus the huge focus on youthful technology. iPhones, iPods celebrity commercialism (do we really need this crap? No... but it sure is cool!)

Don't think its a pissing contest. Its about keeping Apple a profitable and viable company. The fact is Apple has made an amazing comeback with Steve Jobs.

With regards to the OP's rant fair and describes your situation although i can't relate. I haven't had any problems with the USB hard drive mounting although sometimes my external Time Machine drive does crap out. I think its got to do with the enclosure and not Leopard itself. My WD MyBook has been fine.

For the 10.5 problems you're experiencing, I would recommend a fresh install.I was having problems with QuickSilver and spotlight but after a fresh install instead of an upgrade from Tiger, all has been well.

Expose issues: I don't have that and I run a 24" Dell (1920x1200) with my 15" 2.2 SR MBP and I don't get any lag. Same with spaces. I do have 4gb of Ram though.

So far only have had one kernel panic with my MBP since I got it in August.
 

Demenion

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 16, 2005
Messages
339
10.5 problems i've been experiencing

1. networked computers disappearing from finder side bar
2. macbook pro display auto dimming when it's disabled

macbook pro annoyances

1. buzzing/beeping noises when using headphones (sennheiser 595's)
2. trackpad is not perfectly level.. left, middle top are beveled down.. where the ride side is flush with the palm rests.
3. uneven lid/latch
 

KevySaysBeNice

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 7, 2001
Messages
1,452
Oh, that's a good one I forgot!

I also have the problem, sometimes networked computers just disappear and won't show up again.

One "work around" (that's not really practical for most people probably) I've found is to VNC to the computer that isn't showing up. Then it'll show up again.
 

munkle

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Messages
11,800
As far as marketing goes I think Apple is genius. Regardless of what you think about the marketing it's memorable and talked about. IMO I like that Apple pokes fun at MS, it stirs the pot, and promotes competition. People root for the underdog for a reason - it makes good show. "The King is dead, long live the King" - ad infinitum == progress (or endless circles). :D
The only thing memorable to me about the ads is how annoying they are. People root for the underdog not the elitist.

Demenion you're not alone on the uneven lid/latch seen quite a few with that problem.
 
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