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Aug 06, 2010


Earl Jones

I have to hand it to you Ralph. This is a gutsy post. The legions of blind Apple acolytes are going to descend upon you like the black plague for desecrating at the altar. The mindless Apple mobs are going to riot in the streets to make you pay for saying that the emperor has no clothes.

I have heard the same Apple/Jobs zombies repeat \'once you use the Mac you never go back\' as they heap derision on anyone using the \"lowly, backward\" PC, with Microsoft software to boot (pun intended). You have let the sunshine in on the truth.

Is it any wonder then that Apple has so far sold 3 million of the faulty iPhones, a design flaw so basic that any other company would be run out of business if they had committed it?

Cant wait to read the software horror story. Are CAD companies reading the stuff you are writing?

Wes M.

Well, the iPhones are not anywhere near as bad as Earl makes out (Canadian users apparently aren't having antenna problems), but the trackpad on the MBP's is a head-scratcher. Why does it need to be so large? And ditto on the resolution. And to get a click you have to really press down on the trackpad. They look great, but they are not without their issues. A lot of Revit users have them and love them for their design, if not for their ergomonics.

Deelip Menezes

I bought a Macbook in order to build plug-ins for Mac versions of CAD systems. Or rather to explore the possibility of doing so. I could continue your litany. But let me just say that the lack of Home and End keys just pisses the hell out of me. I would give anything to know the name of the moron who decided that the Home and End keys are not necessary on a keyboard.

The Mac is a good computing device with some pretty good hardware and software. But nowhere close to what these nut job iFanboys make it out to be.

Kevin Matthews, ArchitectureWeek

Earl, nice to hear that you're not stereotyping people who have a different perspective from you, considering, you know how that contributes to constructive professional consideration of complex issues.

Chris Wade

Ok, first off, you obviously haven't explored the settings on the Mac, for right clicking there is an option that can be turned on in System Preferences that to do a right click, all you have to do use two fingers to click instead of one.

For scrolling, you use simply need to use two fingers to slide along the trackpad in either direction.

The mini-display connector is quite convenient in my opinion, it's small and doesn't get damaged as easily as VGA/DVI connectors that I have seen on other laptops. Yes, it requires and adapter, but if the adapter gets damaged, that's only $30 vs. repairing a laptop.

For the delete key, I know there is a way to change it's behavior, I just forget how, because I prefer it the way it works. It works well for my work flow.

The resolution has always worked well for me, including photo and video editing.

The mag-lock doesn't prevent low end providers from making adapters, there are several on the market (I don't use them, because I haven't had a need to, as the adapter that comes with the computer is small enough to easily fit in even the smallest laptop bags).

I do not know which model of Macbook you got, but most of the modern designs include a card reader built-in.

As for the sharp front edge, it sounds like you need to take it back, that is not normal.

I actually do a fair amount of writing on it and have not found missing the home, end, etc. buttons to be a problem. But if you do, you can plug in ANY usb keyboard and it will work.

For screenshots (on Mac or Windows), I strongly suggest using Jing, it works better than the built-in utilities on either platform.

Olaf Myklebust

Ralph and Deelip, you are both engineers at heart and therefore linear thinkers (so am I by the way). You will likely never be happy with the Mac and OS X.

The Mac and the MAC OS is not optimized for our way of thinking. The Mac has a hard-to-define intuitive quality about it, which makes it great for creative work, but that also makes it less than ideal for engineering applications.

You are both frustrated because it doesn’t behave like a Windows machine. Well, if it behaved just like windows, then what would be the point? I have found that my square and linear brain can coexist well with the free-form Mac.

I am glad to see you are both exploring the Mac’s suitability as a CAD platform, and I think I know what your conclusions will be. Never the less, try to approach it with an open mind, relax and enjoy the experience.

Kevin Quigley

I use Macs and PCs Ralph. I've used Macs since 1986 so I do know them well. I have a MacBookPro, amongst others, with an aluminium body and I do agree about the sharp leading edge - I think this is a bad design. My previous Mac laptops had plastic bodies and rounded edges - much more ergonomic.

But as for the rest of the post, well Macs are macs, Windows is Windows. Apples and fruits but they don't taste like oranges do they?

At the end of the day I am more productive doing 3D design work on a Windows workstation than on a Mac. But for writing, graphics and video work and general admin the Mac wins every time.

I'm not going to defend Apple over another brand as that is pointless - personal preference and experience counts for as much as anything. Apple is not perfect when it comes to hardware design - the sharp leading edge being a good example, but generally the desktops, the newer iMacs and Mac Pros are excellent machines in terms of value and build quality. The old G5 tower in the office is still going strong after 7 years of hard use. In that time I have been through 2 Dell precisions and am now on an HP workstation (which is excellent).

and of course there is no going back now ralph. If your work demands the use of Mac and Windows, there is only one machine to do this on - a mac. All ours run Windows and OSX, and for laptops this is great as it saves lugging two laptops around (like I used to have to do when I did training!).

Kevin E.

OSX has some good options for screen captures. I think you are using the wrong keys. Try these methods instead.


As others have noted, righ clicking is as easy as having 2 finger tips on the trackpad when you push. I can't imagine having to use only the edges of the track pad for scrolling. Give 2 finger scrolling a chance and you will like it much better.

Do people really wear watches anymore? It is on the computer screen and on your cell phone. I never see people wearing a watch. The trackpad is big so you can do multitouch gestures, like going forward and back when using safari. Dragging 4 fingers down to show all open windows. There are other gestures, you should look them up.

I believe that a higher screen resolution is supported when driving an external monitor. I think you would have been much happier buying the aluminum MacBook Pro instead of the plastic Macbook.

You do have a point about the display port. Apple doesn't worry a lot about using other peoples stuff. All of their monitors support this with no adapter. And display port will be the standard going forward.

Do you really need to worry about a hard drive light? Next thing you are going to be mad because they didn't put "Intel Inside" stickers on the hand rest.

You may have a point about page up and page down buttons. I suspect that the majority of people (including me) don't use them. But I understand that this could be a negative if you use them a lot.

The delete key can work as both delete and backspace. Holding down the function button alters the behavior.

The magsafe isn't to see more power adapters for Apple. Tell you what, you set your favorite computer up on the table and I will do it with my MacBook Pro. Plug them both and and then let me kick the powercords and see which one isn't destroyed when the power cord stays plugged in and smashes on the floor.

How many USB devices do you need to be connected to a laptop at a time? When it is at home, I have an external USB dock. I also have 4 USB ports on my monitor. Connect that to your MacBook and you should have plenty. On the road how many do you need? An external HDD? A camera?

What about the good things. The way the screen dims with the ambient light. The keys are backlit. The slot loading DVD drive that you don't have to worry about breaking off. The very long battery life. The built in camera is pretty good. Test your built in mic on the other computers vs. the MacBook.

It is pretty easy to see that Apple puts a lot more thought into building a functional laptop than any other manufacturer.

And customer service. Nobody beats them. And I am not an Apple guy. I happily use Windows 7 90% of the time and I like to go over and "learn something new and differernt" every now and then. Don't try to make OSX work like Windows or Linux. Make it work......like OSX.

Earl Jones

You cant say I didnt predict this. Wes, Chris and Olaf are card-carrying members of AA - no, not that AA, but Apple Apologists.

For these AA members, if something in the Apple doesnt work the way normal people expect it to, then (a) buy a small add-on for this or that and quit complaining (b) hey, it was designed to work that way so stop complaining (c) you are unworthy to be an Apple Mac user, so who cares if you are complaining.

What is this common theme about \'bad design\' in all Apple products?

Apple sure makes some decent hardware that may be good for some applications (after all, everyone or everything is good at something) but nowhere near deserving of the mad worship we see commonly displayed by its users. For CAD vendors to support this less-than-ideal hardware and to end up shipping handicapped software products on this platform is a huge disservice to CAD users worldwide.

I would like to know which clown thought porting CAD to Apple Macs was a good idea.


Wow Ralph, you have upset the fanbois. The hoops one has to go through to do stuff that is STANDARD on Windows is amazing. I'm sticking with Windows and still have money in my bank account.

But hey, they look great. Don't forget that.

I'm with Earl about who thought it was a good idea to port CAD to the Mac. The WORLDWIDE percentage of people using Mac's is a joke. I'd rather see CAD companies spend their money on bug fixing and improving there current Windows versions.

Olaf Myklebust

Earl and Mike, why are you guys so intimidated and irritated by the few of us that like our Macs?

Don’t worry, we’ll never force you to use a Mac, nor do we have any immediate plans for world domination. No reason to get your shorts in a knot over such a trivial thing as which computer and OS to use. Since you are happy with Windows, continue using it and all is well. Peace man….


Somewhere in here is an analogy to "The Emperor's New Clothes."


Ralph, the Screen Grab command is not as complicated as you stated. If you try Command-Shift-4, you will get the same result -- the cursor will make the area you want to screen grab.

Also, you may want to look in your Utilities applications for Grab, which has more options for grabbing the screen.

Also, Help on the menubar is a great way to get started on a new system or application. It is way better than Microsoft's Help system.

Deelip Menezes

With regard to the sharp leading edge that Ralph mentioned, I vented out about it on my blog along with a couple of other pieces of Apple hardware (Magic Mouse and iPhone 3GS). http://www.deelip.com/?p=2798

Kevin Quigley

Ralph, just read your post again about the screenshots. The shortcut you need is apple key+Shift+4 this lets you select the screenshot area and save the file as a PNG. What bug are you talking about in drop shadows? I'm not seeing this from drop down menus or dialogues.

For ither screenshot stuff I use Jing (as has been mentioned already) - free!


I would like to know which clown thought porting CAD to Apple Macs was a good idea.

The clowns who thought that there might be something in this new 'windows' GUI thing, obviously (yes, I realise that I'm arguing on the Internet with an idiot).

Norm C.

Earl Jones wrote :
"I would like to know which clown thought porting CAD to Apple Macs was a good idea."

There's always been CAD on Mac, although usually not the same software you find on Windows. But for the sake of the argument: what about market share, Earl, ever heard of that? MacOS X has about 7% of the market I think? Since the Windows CAD market is not evolving much, they've decided to branch out. They must have figured out it could be worthwhile.

How about those car makers that develop silly 2-seaters or sports cars or any other niche market, which by definition is a ridicule portion of consumers, are they clowns too?

And I guess that makes Bricsys and Graebert, companies that are developing CAD products running on *GASP* Linux, a bunch of complete morons too?

I'm an ex-Mac user (from more that 10 years ago) and I wouldn't go back (in a way Apple's ways are way more monopolistic than MS'), but I sure welcome any initiative to break from the Windows monopoly and offer the consumers some choice.


The Macbook Air is smaller and lighter than your Macbook. Your comment was a fallacy.

The easiest screen capture is cmd+shift+3. This will grab all open menus etc. Two fallacies exposed.

The third, that there's no easy way to right click was already mentioned.

To go to home or the end of the document, use cmd+shift+arrow keys.

You'll be happy to know that the option key makes accents much easier to type.

Next time you get a new product (maybe one you're reviewing) please get to know it a little before you bash it. Your rant reads like someone who resists change in general.

Deelip Menezes

I don't think porting software to work natively on other platforms (Mac, Linux) is a bad idea. I mean, if the CAD vendor has the resources to spend and is not stifling its current development, then frankly I don't see much of a problem. Eventually the market will decide whether it was a bad idea or not.

I travel a lot and use a netbook when I'm on the road. I have Windows XP loaded on it along with all my CAD software. They work but very very slowly, making them virtually unusable. I have now installed a flavor of Linux called Jolicloud on my netbook and made it a dual boot. I also installed the Linux version of Bricscad. It's beautiful.

Sander Scheiris

"big and heavy"
Don't be greedy, buy a MacBook Air.

"sharp front edge"
True, if you have a woman's skin

"A single button for left-clicking. There is no right-clicking."
Yes it can right click, and it can do more than a standard mouse. Check out your trackpad preferences and have a look at this: http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/overlays/trackpad-video.html#overlay-trackpad

More than enough for a 13" display so you don't need your magnification glass.

"No VGA port"
True, but let's be honest. Why do we still use this big, outdated port?

"The power adapter's mag-lock attachment is designed to prevent us from buying spare adapters from low cost providers."
Are you serious? Do you really want to connect a black heavy brick to your MacBook? In car terms that's like buying a cheap aftermarket bodykit.

"Home, end, …"
Command or Option + Arrow or Delete key. Try out some combinations; it's part one of the twister game :)

I love this, you can switch between manual mode, or pick an window that's open with the spacebar. After that a beautiful transparent png is saved on your desktop without having to open Paint or so like on Windows or to install third party grabbers.

"further reducing efficiency."
Command+Shift+3: Full desktop grab
Command+Shift+4: Manual mode, you can decide wath to grab
Command+Shift+4+Spacebar: Window grab mode
I don't have to use the Ctrl key?

"captured as black blobs"
Never experienced this before, it just adds a beautiful shadow.

"Next week, part II: Dreadful Software"
Looking forward to part two of the in car terms "I had a 15 minutes test drive and I still like my old car" blog post.


Sorry it took so long to reply to this. It was I after all that urged Ralph to explain his "dreadful" OS and hardware comments. SO here are my replies.

Firstly, I'm no fanboy. I was strictly anti-Mac for many years. I used to make fun of my single mouse button friends and tell them I pitted them for using a Mac. Then they challenged me to try it. For 6 months.

So I did. I bought a 21" iMac. I will be honest it took some time to get used to some of the unique aspects of a Mac. And I will admit that I did have to do some tweaking. (Not because it was required but because I refused to change some of my Windows habits). I began to like ti so much I alos bought a 13" unibody MacBook.

Now I'm a dual use person. I use Windows at work and OSX at home. The best of both worlds I also have Windows 7 installed on the iMac and I do believe it runs better there than on my Dell M6400 at work.

So now let me address your "dreadful" comment. Mac's are different. They are unique. This does not make them "dreadful". Do you really think they would have sold as many units as they do if the software and hardware was that bad?

A few comments to your observations:

>>>Opened up, the MacBook's front features a sharp front edge that cuts into my forearms.

>>The trackpad area is so large that I have to take off my watch for typing. Large trackpad areas went out of fashion nearly a decade ago.

If you are hitting your forearms you are typing incorrectly. Your wrists should be up, not resting on the body of the laptop. This is a human issue. Not a hardware issue. It's like complaining that the body of the laptop is too hard when used as a pillow. You are simply using it incorrectly.

As for large trackpad once you begin to use multi touch gestures you will see why. It took me a few months on my MacBook but once you get used to the two finger scroll features and the pinch zoom you will find yourself trying it on non-Mac laptops and getting angry that it is not there.

Simply I do not think you have used it long enough to make such determinations.

As for the one button I can see what you mean. However when I'm working for any length of time I've got a mouse plugged in. I cannot imagine trying to use a CAD application with a trackpad.

Resolution: It's a 13" screen. Had it been higher you'd complain about the icons being too small.

2 USB connectors? How many do you need on the road? When at home plug in a USB hub. Problem solved. Again, not "dreadful". IN fact I have a small netbook that only has 1 USB port.

As Kevin pointed out you can buy aftermarket magsafe power adapters. Also after you (or you kid/dog) trips on the power cord and your laptop is not in pieces on the floor you will see the beauty in the design.

I have not looked at a hard drive light in over 10 years . Really Ralph, this is the type of sticking point you are complaining about? Come on.

The Grab app in the Utilities folder will help with Screen Caps. I will agree that PCs are nicer with the one button. But again, really a big deal? (Oh and it is Command+Shift+4, only 3 keys). Also I’m not seeing the drop shadows as gray blobs. Something is amiss on your system. Perhaps it’s pissed at you. :)

But let’s take a step back. While the Honda had some quirks I’m sure the Chrysler had its own. Furthermore when you upgraded to the Honda you got some things that you did not have in the Chrysler. More than likely you got better handling, better gas mileage, and surely better crash ratings and finally I guarantee you got a more quality built engine. But none of those things are important are they. The windshield wipers issue was enough to trump them all. Better to die in a side impact than have to worry about windshield wipers not parking themselves. You should be glad your son was in the Honda vs the Chrysler.
So it’s easy to pick out little things that are different in OSX.

But let’s look at Windows.

How many times have you had to hack the registry to fix some issue? How many times has a driver loaded incorrectly or failed to fix the issue the manufacturers had with their hardware. Blue screen of death? Bet you’ve seen that numerous times. I doubt you will see a kernel panic on your Mac anytime soon. Sleep mode? It’s 50/50 if any PC I have ever owned comes back from hibernate. My Mac sleeps (and saves power) and can be back up and running in seconds. Reliably: 100% of the time. Ever try to trouble shoot a network problem or wireless connection on a PC (without the use of 3rd party software). On OSX all those tools are right there, easy to access and use.

I also find it very interesting that Windows 7 blatantly stole several features from OSX. The taskbars are now similar, Windows now has their version of spotlight search (have you tried spotlight?). Even the Aero themes are similar to some graphical elements on the Mac. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery right?

In closing let me leave you with this story. When I first switched to a Mac I got worried about not having the ability to go into a registry or hack around with batch files and do all of those other “power user” things that I have done on Windows machines since 3.1. What I found was this: You don’t need to. Sure you can get into the terminal command and hack around with the OS via Unix commands but you know what? You don’t need to. The hardware and software just work well together.

Will I give up Windows? Not anytime soon. But I’m not so stuck in my ways as to admit that OSX has its place and can do everything that Windows can (sometimes just easier).

Norm C.

Your arguments are mostly good Sean, but blue screen of death, really? I haven't had one of those on XP on my work PCs or my home PCs for freaking YEARS, if EVER. BSOD is almost like a myth that won't die. BSODs live in the same land as Santa Claus and unicorns.

As for Win7 "blatantly stealing features" from OS X, that may be true. But the funny thing, Apple does it too. You know, this "Spaces" feature (or whatever it's called) that creates virtual desktops? They "stole" it from Unix/Linux, it existed years before Apple adopted it. :-P (and that's one nifty feature I miss from Linux when I'm on Windows)

But then, OS X *is* Unix underneath. If not for the BSD/Nextstep code base, Apple would've had no choice but to abandon the OS market to Microsoft right after MacOS 9.


I run a 30" Samsung display off my MacBook Pro and agree in part with the relative lack of USB ports.
A non-Apple 30" display needs a special connector that occupies one of the USB ports.
Dunno if software updates have corrected the problem, but all seems to be OK with the display now.


That was a very entertaining read & I'm tweeting this to all my iFriends
Cant wait for iPart 2.....


Thanks for not being afraid to say how it is!

I'm sure there's nothing dreadful about Macs - these days, the hardware is pretty much an Apple PC, anyway. But it's absurd the way they are upheld as something that's supposed to be better than "PCs" (by which they usually mean Windows), and the myth that PC users secretly think Macs are better but just can't afford one (though, things are even worse with the iPhone).

And I wear a watch too (yes, I have a phone too, as Kevin suggests, but I have to take that out my pocket/bag/wherever, as opposed to glancing at my wrist). It's a typical Apple-defence to claim that the user should change their ways!


"If you are hitting your forearms you are typing incorrectly. Your wrists should be up, not resting on the body of the laptop. This is a human issue. Not a hardware issue."

Again, the classic "The problem is with you, not the Mac" response.

"2 USB connectors? How many do you need on the road? When at home plug in a USB hub."

The "buy a small add-on for this or that and quit complaining" response, as Earl predicted above.

I'm at home, and currently using 3 USB slots on my laptop. I'm in bed, so if I had a Mac, I'd have to go downstairs, and fetch the USB hub (or carry it around with the laptop, or buy one for each room).

"How many times have you had to hack the registry to fix some issue?"


"How many times has a driver loaded incorrectly or failed to fix the issue the manufacturers had with their hardware."

Never. And driver problems and faulty hardware can happen with any OS.

"Blue screen of death? Bet you’ve seen that numerous times."

Oh yes, about 10 years ago running NT 4(!). I've yet to see evidence that OS X is more stable than any version of Windows since 2000. Both are pretty much stable, and most problems come from defective hardware, which will screw up any OS.

"Sleep mode? It’s 50/50 if any PC I have ever owned comes back from hibernate."

No problems here. I did have problems with Windows 98 though. But classic Mac OS couldn't even multitask, if we're going that far back!

"I also find it very interesting that Windows 7 blatantly stole several features from OSX. The taskbars are now similar, Windows now has their version of spotlight search (have you tried spotlight?). Even the Aero themes are similar to some graphical elements on the Mac. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery right?"

Oh, so that's who we can blame for the annoying changes in Windows 7. I can't stand the Fisher Price interface that Apple has. In Windows, I can turn that off.

(The irony is, I remember 15 years ago when Mac fans were saying how the Mac's "simple" black and white 2D-like interface was better, and criticising platforms like the Amiga for being too colourful, pretty, etc.)

Anyhow, Apple does plenty of things that are in other operating systems first. As Norm C says - workspaces for example have been in platforms like Linux and the Amiga for years. Same with basic functionality like multitasking.

"When I first switched to a Mac I got worried about not having the ability to go into a registry or hack around with batch files and do all of those other “power user” things that I have done on Windows machines since 3.1. What I found was this: You don’t need to."

You don't need to with Windows, either.

Perhaps this is the difference - I only switched to Windows with Windows 98 (shortly moving to 2000). So I didn't know all those tricks, and found, I never had to. Perhaps you only use those because you know them - give it a try not using them.


Sorry Mark I find it really hard to believe that you have NEVER had a driver fail to load (ever tried to install a Nvidia driver) or have never had to edit the registry. If this is the case then maybe all you use your PC for is Word and email.

>>And driver problems and faulty hardware can happen with any OS

Not with OSX. That's the beauty (some call it a flaw) with the hardware and software manufactures being the same.

I owned a Toshiba laptop that had buttons on the front that if you did not use the proper typing position you'd power it off.

Maybe I'm just pushing the edge more than you are. I have gotten a BSOD on XP numerous times. Usually due to a drive that failed to load properly. I will admit I have not seen one on Win7.

>>You don't need to with Windows, either.

Tell that to my Sony Bluetooth headphones. The Sony websites instructs me to edit the registry in Windows 7 to get them to work correctly.

BTW they paired instantly with my Mac.

And I'm curious, what 3 USB devices do you have plugged into your laptop in bed?

Steve Johnson

Fanboys are cute.

Lorenzo Bossi

Well, to anyone his own opinion, but this comment is just useless and showing an anti-mac behaviour:
The power adapter's mag-lock attachment is designed to prevent us from buying spare adapters from low cost providers.

What would prevent Chinese companies to do it too? The magnetic power cord is a simple and nice feature, I still don't understand why other computer manufacturers haven't done it yet.

The trackpad area is so large that I have to take off my watch for typing. Large trackpad areas went out of fashion nearly a decade ago.

I am on a completely opposite side here, the trackpad of my Dell Latitude E6400 is too small and not practical to use while travelling. Plus I had to download a program to deactivate it automatically once a mouse it's connected as I was always moving the cursor while typing. Well, again, that's just my personal experience..

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