Friday, June 26, 2009

PowerPC: The dusk of an era

It is already official: Mac OS X Snow Leopard is going to require intel processors. It is the end of a two-year transition since Apple announced by mid-2005 they were going to migrate to Intel processors and ditch the PowerPC architecture.

As you might already know I own a Powermac G5 computer and a TiBook G4. They are the remains of a series of excellent computers which also meant my first real contact with Apple, and a really user-friendly UNIX-based operating system running on a RISC architecture.

It saddens me to see support for this line of products officially discontinued. When Apple announced their plans to migrate to Intel, everyone had the same question in their minds: when are our machines going to be rendered obsolete? Now the time has come.

However the beginning of the end started some months ago. I have been noticing how, with every software update, everything has been running slower on my Powermac G5. At first I thought I was just used to working with faster computers. But currently I can feel my G5 clumsy when running just and Safari. Do not even try Firefox.

My personal guess is people (including Apple!) have been building universal binaries, but never testing or optimizing them on POWER. My Powermac G5 might be obsolete hardware by now, but dual 2.5GHz PowerPC processors and 2 GB RAM should be more than enough to handle running two applications simultaneously.

Have you noticed a general slowdown in your applications running on your PowerPC machine? What are your plans for your hardware once Snow Leopard is out?

Excellent photo by rudolf_schuba

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The scorpion and the frog

One day a scorpion arrived at the bank of a river he wanted to cross. The river was wide and swift and there was no bridge.

Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting nearby. He asked the frog whether he would take him on his back in order to help the scorpion cross the stream. The frog replied "How do I know you will not sting me?".

"Because," -the scorpion replied- "if I do, I will die too, for I cannot swim".

The frog saw the logic in the scorpion's words, and agreed to carry the scorpion across. But once they were halfway across the river, the scorpion stung the frog. The frog felt the onset of paralysis and started to sink, knowing they both would drown. He had just enough time to gasp "Why did you do it? Now we will both die!".

"I could not help myself." -replied the scorpion- "It is my nature".

(see also: wikipedia's entry for the scorpion and the frog)

Photo by Chalkie_CC