Bad Software (Rant)

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by christo930, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. christo930 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2013
    #1
    Kind of a rant.

    I recently had a PC crash and I had to use an old eMac 700mhz for several weeks as my main machine. I hadn't been using this machine in quite a while so the software was out of date and not working very well. But even the old versions wouldn't play youtube videos. I found this really strange. Despite the higher compression of YT videos vs SVCD and DVD, it played those fine. VLC was also able to play high resolution, highly compressed video, yet YT (flash) wouldn't play even at 240p. Many of the websites I viewed were so slow that they just locked the machine up.

    So I decided to see what was available to help. I immediately found Tenfoxfour. I was amazed at how much better this browser really was. My PC is a 1.8GHZ Athlon 64 3000+ while my lowly eMac was only 700mhz, yet on many webpages (particularly those with a lot of JS), the sites actually were much faster on the Tenfoxfour than they were on Firefox for Windows. The optimization tactics worked, at least for me, very well. This machine is also ram starved at only 512MB.

    Next, I looked into YT and found Youview. Trying to play YT videos through flash or HTML5 through was so bad that it almost looked like when you watch a video of a CRT, the frames weren't even skipping, they weren't drawing fast enough, even at 240p. Once I downloaded Youview, 480P videos played flawlessly.

    Assuming the software industry was more worried about performance than adding features nobody (or hardly anyone) ever uses, there would be no reason that a faster G4 or a G5 machine couldn't be your daily machine (not to mention being cut off by apple, but that's another story). This has been a problem with desktops as soon as they moved into the 16 bit platform (the old 8 bits were not expandable or upgradable so the software was written to perform well).

    I wish more developers would spend far more time optimizing than bloating. The upgrade from mac 7.6 to 8 was really good. I felt like I got a new machine. Though I haven't had a chance to use snow leopard, I understand that one of it's major goals was trimming down the OS and optimization. I know my 'wish' will not come true any time soon, but it just pisses me off that I have perfectly good hardware that is quite capable of doing what I want (tenfoxfour and youview being great examples that it CAN do what I want), but I can't really use it because of sloppy programming.

    For all the supposedly new features of both the OS and the software I use, I pretty much use my computer the same exact way I did 7 years ago with the only major change being watching streaming video. When I write documents or do photo organizing and cleaning up or manage e-books or mp3s, I do it the same exact way I've been doing for years. It's not like I don't like progress, that's not the point. If Youview can play YT videos in 480P and flash won't work at all, the problem isn't my hardware, it's the damn flash. HTML5 isn't really any better (either on my PC or the eMac). In fact, I just don't see how a move to bigger, slower software is anything like 'progress'.

    Just ranting. But I was also wondering if you guys got ticked off at this type of thing.

    Chris
     
  2. Mnowell69 macrumors regular

    Mnowell69

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    Location:
    Bedford, UK
    #2
    You're right about programmers in the past, the things that they could do with 8 bit machines was amazing. You have to think that maybe commercial programmers today are being influenced by hardware manufacturers so that you are obviously forced to keep buying new hardware. I just bought a 'new' mac cube and I am loving it.
    P.s. my Amiga 1200 is still kicking ass too.
     
  3. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #3
    I'm a graphic designer, so for me this is nothing new. There's always a new version release, an update or upgrade. At some point it won't run on older hardware.

    That's just the way it is.

    However, I do believe that the constant pace of newer more powerful hardware tends to make up for the sloppy programming as you mentioned. There are many websites that run buckets of Javascript that isn't strictly necessary. On a PowerPC Mac, your browser chokes, but your Quad Core 2.8 intel Xeon just chews right through it. The fact that one Mac is more powerful than the other is really not a valid point when the topic under consideration is unnecessary.

    But the one thing that does burn me up is a certain group of people out there who believe that older Macs are useless because they aren't new and can't run the latest versions of all the popular apps.

    As if previous versions that run on older hardware are suddenly rendered ineffective simply because they are no longer current.
     
  4. Imixmuan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    #4
    Yes to all above, but...

    ...time moves on, computers move on, the internet moves on. This is the story of life. To fight it is deny the inevitable. But an eMac is not trash, even a 700mhz model.

    I am glad you found Youview. Mactubes will work very well for you too, provided you set your player to Quicktime, and have Perian installed. You can actually launch Mactubes from within Tenfourfox, and Gotfrey, a frequent poster to this forum has just posted a very informative and instructive video on using the Mactubes Enabler in Tenfourfox. Here it is:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_Ndq8DySA8

    You don't specify if you are running Leopard or Tiger, but if you are on Leopard, consider running Leopard Webkit, and or iCab. Both are still currently supported.
     
  5. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #5
    No computer should be considered trash because it cannot run a bloated piece of garbage plugin called Flash. There is a reason it does fine in QuickTime but not in Flash... it is bloated.
     
  6. wobegong, Jun 5, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014

    wobegong Guest

    Joined:
    May 29, 2012
    #6
    As some of you may be aware I finally 'relegated' my PM G5 to media duties, it's attached to my TV and is used (with a wireless KB/Mouse) for movie playing, youtube and streaming programs from the BBC iPlayer service (Flash based).
    I don't now what resolution iPlayer programs are using (though there is a separate HD copy of most programs which I don't use as my bandwidth here would be an issue) but the 'SD' streams are very high quality indeed.

    I do notice that CPU load is over 50% on these flash based streams and the fans kick in every so often though not full blast (I am using the Roccat browser sitting on top of the latest Leapoard Webkit currently - it's easily the fastest browser on that machine by a mile) but as i say the quality is excellent, no blocking/pixelating at all.

    However I can play HD FILES just fine at lower CPU utilisation and little/no fan kick-ins so indeed Flash is a sloppy hog of an app, having said that I do not see much improvement with HTML5 either for Youtube, CPU load seems about the same the only difference is at least when playing flash its smooth from the start, HTML5 seems to have a jerky start and then be fine.
     
  7. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 25, 2014
    #7
    I'm right there with you. Having used these systems when they were current to get real work done I'm sad that modern software doesn't run or struggles. I understand there are sometimes very valid reasons and I'm not against progress. But, like you, when you look at what many do with their systems it's the same as it was when these systems were current.

    The Internet is one thing I see no reason for the bloat. I visit website to obtain information. But today's websites have become so bloat making once perfectly acceptable computers and Internet connections slow or unusable. All without a corresponding increase in information (in fact just the opposite...look at how many people use blocking software to block ads, scripts, code, etc).
     
  8. christo930 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2013
    #8
    I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who still has an Amiga (an A1200 with an 030@50mhz with FPU and SCSI). The awesome thing is that it will work with pretty much any mac compatible printer (because of postscript, which my laser printer has). It's amazing to see that in some respects, Amiga OS was way ahead of it's time, it's just such a shame that Commodore ran it into the ground. Also, NONE and I mean NONE of my old PC diskettes work, but nearly ALL of my Amiga formatted disks worked fine even though they were much older. Given the Amiga OS 2 was able to read/write 720k PC disks, I assume they are using the same (or compatible) encoding method. They probably just had higher quality drives.

    I am surprised that floppies have disappeared. I remember in the late 90s a new floppy standard came out that could use a standard 3.5" floppy disk (2meg, double density double sided, the typical 1.44mb disk) called fd-32 or fd32 that could put 32MB on a standard disk. I don't see any reason why we don't have a new floppy standard that could be 1gb or more (and still be backward compatible) and be as common and cheap as floppies were. It's been my experience that cds are extremely unreliable, whereas floppies are encased (especially the 3.5" disks). Using a new materials and heads, I really don't see any reason why the 3.5 disks couldn't be updated to be in the GB range. Thumbdrives are OK, but they really aren't cheap enough to be disposable the way floppies were. If you look at the density of a hard disk over time, it's gone up by a factor of 100,000 (ten meg HD were common, now 1TB drives are common). I wouldn't expect that from a floppy that is exposed to the elements and not made in clean rooms, but a <700x increase seems plausible to me especially given that FD32 was able to put 32MB on a standard 2MB diskette (that was the official capacity of DSHD 3.5" disks) though only Amiga came close to that 2MB limit with a 1.6MB standard.

    I tried mactubes on the eMac but it didn't work well, but I might not have had it configured to use QuickTime. Flash is just way too bloated and slow. Like I mentioned, I can play VBR SVCD in full screen which is pretty taxing because of the ratio (SVCD is 480x480) and has to be re-sized on the fly, as well as DVDs on this mac with no problem with an external dvd drive. I realize that SVCD even with VBR doesn't need as much compression as flash, but if that were the issue, Youview wouldn't have fixed it and played 480p flawlessly. Clearly, Flash is to blame. I also just recently played a very high resolution (larger than 1024x768) mp4 file using VLC and it also played with no problem in full screen at 1024x768 and windowed at a lower resolution (I keep the sceen at 1024x768).

    The overuse of Javascript is just crazy. There are sites I just can't visit on my Windows machine because the scripts kill it. A lot of sites have JS for the purpose of making it display properly on your device, but there are just far too many sites that overuse it for no apparent reason. I use no-script and one of the side effects of using it is seeing just how many scripts are being launched. Many of them launch additional scripts. Like I can say "Temporarily enable all scripts on this page" and then it reloads and it's still blocking dozens of scripts.

    My eMac is such a nice looking and compact machine. I generally don't like "all in one" machines, but my eMac is my favorite in terms of looks and the fact that it's so compact. Even with such little memory (512M), it's a pretty quick machine. Once I got Tenfoxfour on it, it really shined. I also like the terminal and doing stuff from the terminal when possible. I forget what the heck I needed it for, but I had to use Lynx for something and it was right there and working. I wish it had a socketed G4 and jumpers so I could install a faster G4.

    One problem I did have that I never did get worked out (because the workaround was too easy) was using the Airport card. I use a Verizon branded DSL modem as a bridge (I don't have Verizon and it will not work without having Verizon) to allow my wireless devices to get on my wired network and internet. For some reason it couldn't connect or see the bridge (though my iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4 and 3 can all see it and connect to it). I didn't put too much effort into it because I simply plugged in a network cable, but I would be interested if anyone has any ideas as to why it wouldn't see the bridge (all router and modem functionality are disabled and is strictly in bridge mode). The funny thing is that the reason I am using the verizon branded router is my Airport lost it's settings and I couldn't connect to the thing and the so-called genius at the Apple store wouldn't help because the current version of the airport setup software wasn't installed on his mac.

    One other problem I had which I never figured out was disappearing HD space. I ran monthly weekly daily periodically, kept the tenfoxfour cache clear and kept checking the Youview folder. I kept deleting every folder and file that had tmp or temp in it. It was gigabytes that I lost. I would free hundreds of megabytes and then a day or 2 later I'm out of disk space. Rebooting helped a little (I guess it cleared out VM files), but it was a constant loss of disk space. Nothing was on auto-update and I was killing the update process anyway through top and kill. I never did figure out where all this disk space was going and it's off at the moment. Any ideas where this disk space is going?

    Chris
     
  9. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #9
    You are totally right about Flash being a pig. I personally despise it but it is the world we live in today...

    Which eMac is this? The earlier ones only had a B grade AirPort Card, and if the Verizon router only broadcasts N (which the iPhones and iPads can see and use), it would be invisible to the eMac. Try setting it to mixed mode and seeing if that helps...

    The problem with floppies is that they are slow! They are also damaged easily by dust and debris which seemingly is always in the floppy drives of old PCs. Plus there is a lot of plastic used to make one and they probably should be recycled. Ever install Windows 95 off of floppies? You would know just how long an install would take. Another downfault is that they can't be used as frisbees like CDs and DVDs when you are done with them.
     
  10. Mnowell69 macrumors regular

    Mnowell69

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    Location:
    Bedford, UK
    #10
    Old hardware is just so much more reliable than today's. I still find it hard to believe that I can dig my old computers out of the loft, plug them in and get going. Luckily I saved an old monitor or two because the rf output is a problem on a big screen these days. Old floppies do seem to be blessed with a long life. I remember how excited I was when the superfloppy arrived, LS100 (or something) fast backwards compatible. Programming on these original home computers was a pleasure and rewarding when you found a way to save code. My Model B has been retired for too long I think. Would look so good next to my mac cube.
     
  11. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #11
    Just a comment here about "floppies" and high capacity. OP, you mention that this should have been something undertaken because high capacity was possible.

    I'd argue it's already been done and it ran it's course.

    Iomega.

    ZIP drives. 100mb and 250mb capacity. Plenty of internal and external drives floating around today, they are a scourge of any charity shop. I have stacks of these disks at home and work. I carried five of these to design school. Iomega's crowning achievement was the Jazz drive. 1GB on a disk. I have one of these drives in the garage somewhere.

    For awhile there was even competition. Baracuda made floppy drives as well, but their idea was not as well received.

    The USB stick killed the ZIP disk and drive. Who wants to carry around a disk when you can slip a USB stick in your pocket? Guess what company nuked the entire concept and put the last nail in the coffin? Dropbox.

    Now you don't really hear about Iomega anymore. If anyone carries a USB stick it's just a matter of a really big file or a series of files. All of my Macs are connected to Dropbox. If I want to send a file to the Mac at work, I put it in Dropbox. Done. No disk, no USB stick. No hassle of trying to remember to bring either one.

    I'm not saying the concept is bad. I'm just saying that the time for it is over.
     
  12. Imixmuan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    #12
    Captian Obvious....

    .....reporting for duty. Since you have said you only have 512 MB of RAM I suspect its your swap file. Tenfourfox is a goddamn memory leak/hog (Mozilla's, not Kaisers fault) and left unchecked it will run wild. Running it and Mac OS X makes for bad news with only 512 MB of RAM. Up your RAM and I suspect your problem will go away.
     
  13. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
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    Elkton, Maryland
    #13
    Remember this? I still remember my computer teacher in 1st grade plugging in the only SuperDisk drive in the school into her PC and XP telling her it was a regular floppy. The discontent when she couldn't get more than 5 students work on there was hilarious...

    The idea of a floppy went away in favor of CDs and DVDs for speed and reliability. The optical standards are all created equal but you can get faster drives in the computers for existing disks. If the engineers wanted to make floppies faster they would have had to redesign the drive and the disks, where as with CDs you stick it in what ever speed reader and it goes whatever speed it is capable of.

    USB isn't going anywhere for a long time. But within 20 years I believe we will see the decline of USB drives and external storage and go fully cloud for many. Unfortunately, that means we will have a big problem using our PowerPC Macs then... :mad:
     
  14. eyoungren, Jun 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014

    eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #14
    I vaguely remember that. I think my mom had one at one point. When I went to design school in the late 90s-2000 the ZIP disk was ubiquitous.

    I went off to design school late, after working for 10 years after highschool.

    To give you a frame of reference, to date myself and make me feel old, my dad brought this home when I was 10 in early to mid 1981 (to save you on the math was born in Sept. 1970). :D

    That was my first computer. ;)
     
  15. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #15
    Oh the flashbacks. My first computer was a Packard Bell running the original Windows 98. Then it was an HP Pavillion running Windows Me.

    Both were hand-me-downs through the family but even as a little kid I loved messing with them.
     
  16. wobegong Guest

    Joined:
    May 29, 2012
    #16
    My first was an old office IBM AT, giant ten ton thing that sounded like a power station when you switched it on. Had a 286 CPU running at 16Mhz and a full 640k ram which was then upgraded to something over 1mb running Windows 3.1

    Went through the full gambit then, 386 33Mhz, 486 DX2, Pentium 1 etc. Longest serving desktop was actually a Pentium III Dual 1.4Ghz - the rare 'Tualatin' model - then a brief period with a P4 2.8 before my first Mac - a MDD Dual 1.42.

    Guess I'm just showing my age now....
     
  17. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #17
    My local computer shop gave my a Commodore 64 SX Executive Computer. It is essentially their version of a laptop. It weighs a ton, has a small CRT display, and a fold out keyboard. Did I mention the handle?
     
  18. jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    #18
    I think I've got you beat, at least age wise.
    I started playing with computers back with Radio-Shacks early TRS models, then progressed to the IBM machines and various clones running mostly Digital Research systems CP/M, MS Dos, and Gem operating systems, all long before MS Windows came along.
    Except for GEM all the systems were text based, no graphics just green text on a black screen, but we still thought it was all magical.
    I guess that makes me just a year or 2 shy of 80 and never a day goes by that I don't spend time with my computers.
     
  19. wobegong Guest

    Joined:
    May 29, 2012
    #19

    I remember something similar, an old Compaq 'portable', was like a beige plastic briefcase and the keyboard came out on a telephone cable type wire. Screen was monochrome (orange)..... Those were the days, next we can talk token ring networks, Novell Netware, the unbelievable excitement of your first 14.4kbs modem and Compuserve :)
     
  20. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Elkton, Maryland
    #20
    [​IMG]

    I mean seriously. Who wouldn't want one of these over a PowerBook? Who needs a health app in iOS 8 when this computer gives you a work out carrying its 23 lbs self up the stair case to your board meeting?
     
  21. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    Phoenix • 85037
    #21
    This would have been in the category called "Portables." Pioneered by Osborne and Kaypro.

    The Kaypro II outweighs this computer by four pounds. :D
    [​IMG]
     
  22. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #22
    That Kaypro looks like a metal box of shoulder pain! Makes me glad I am being raised starting in the Windows XP era.
     
  23. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #23
    Well, I never owned one. But my mom had someone she knew in the mid-80s who was a saleslady. I was over once and got to see her set up her Kaypro.

    The picture does not do it justice because the damn things are huge in reality. I do remember thinking "Wow! Two floppy drives!" though. At the time I didn't know that was possible.

    My second "real" computer was a Commodore 64 and I got a 128 in '89. Those were far smaller, LOL!

    I got my first PC in 1990. $200 paid over time for a 286 with a 40mb (yes, MB, not GB) hard drive. Damn thing was a metal tank. After that I had an HP 486. I refused to have anything to do with Windows until about the year 2000. I knew DOS, so Windows wasn't a big thing for me. But eventually all the games I wanted to play were Windows only so I had to suck it up and move on.

    Macs (that I owned, not borrowed) didn't come into the house until around Christmas of 2001.
     
  24. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Elkton, Maryland
    #24
    For me I started on Windows 98 around 2002. Then my parents upgraded so they upgraded my Packard Bell to an HP in 2003 running Me. In late 2004, they ended up getting a good deal on a Dell Dimension 4600 that I used up until 2010. It ran Windows XP and my father and I upgraded the RAM and video card so I could play all of the 18 Wheels of Steel games. In 2011 I started using a laptop and the Dell died in a horrific fire. The CPU actually burned a hole through itself. Was home sick from school and left my machine on and went downstairs for a half an hour. Came up and my room was filled with smoke.

    Then I used an Acer Aspire 5534 for a while but it had a bad motherboard and would routinely lock up. At which point I started at a new school which used all Macs and I instantly wanted one.

    I saved all of $300 doing basic work writing databases and networking scripts for my school. Then I bought my first PowerMac G5, which died of an PSU failure.

    What a long post, but I really only have been working on Macs since 2011. At least I started on a PowerPC!
     
  25. jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

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    Vancouver Island
    #25
    I owned one of these beasts, if memory serves me it had a 4.77mghz processor and I believe I maxed out the ram to 640k.
    BTW that is an 8" floppy drive.
    Lugged it around in a large sports type bag with an over the shoulder strap.
    This system had 2 full size PC expansion slots, I actually installed a 20 MB "Plus HardCard" in one slot and got it to work, but it would not boot from it.
    When I think back at what we paid for our hobby in those days it makes me shudder, 3-4k for computers, $500 for the 640k memory upgrade and on it goes.
    And to top it off, wages were probably half of what they are today.
     

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