in Apple, Games, Hardware, Internet, Microsoft, Software, Virtualisation

Philosophy majors shouldn't write technology editorials

Richard sent me an email yesterday with a link to this article along with the message “You’ll love this one…”  If you’ve followed the Windows on Mac saga recently go and read it now, if you’re anything like me and Richard you’ll have plenty to say on the subject once you’ve finished reading.

I couldn’t believe that any publication would bother to publish something like that, even as an “opinion” piece in a student paper and even only on their website.  The author, who may be a veritable genius when it comes to philosophy, clearly has no idea what he (she?) is talking about when it comes to technology.  They don’t seem to understand the difference between emulation, virtualisation and dual booting, and have apparently very little grasp of hardware specifics…

When a Mac starts to emulate a Windows platform completely, the computer must provide additional voltage to provide the computing power.

Ignoring the author’s misconception that the Mac is emulating Windows (it is running Windows natively on an X86 chip remember…) what’s this about additional voltage?!  What?!  The intel chip in my MacBook – when running XP – is pulling the same power as when it runs OS X, or the same as the identical chip that runs Windows XP in the latest HP notebook.  Windows XP playing games such as UT2004 on the MacBook causes it to generate as much heat as OS X playing the Universal Binary of UT2004.  It’s hot (really hot), granted, but the idea that Windows is magically making the processor run hotter than OS X will ever allow is false.  It just gets as hot only quicker.

getting a Mac to run PC games will result in heartache – this I can guarantee

The author doesn’t specify exactly what heartache it will result in… My MacBook runs Half Life 2, CountStrike: Source, Unreal Tournament 2004 and Rise of Nations in some cases significantly faster/smoother than my Dell.  What heartache?  Heat-ache maybe, but no worse than OS X causes!

For reiteration, Macs cannot run Windows like PCs can.

Urm, yes.  Yes they can.  That’s rather what all the fuss was about when Apple put Intel chips inside.  INTELx86 chips.  The same instruction set that nearly every PC on the planet uses to run, oh, for example, Windows!  Do you think the author understands the difference between a PPC and an Intel chip, and the reason why a Mac can now run exactly like a PC?

I can’t bring myself to refute the fifth paragraph (“My third point references to the industry.”) as it is so full of misunderstandings of the technology, the businesses involved and the computer industry’s recent history that it’s just not worth it.

Boot Camp crashes and burns?  Hardly.  It’s beta software.  It came with a warning.  Anyone who chose to ignore that warning and install it on a production machine deserves any hassle they get.  That said, my installation of Boot Camp was utterly without problems and I’ve heard lots of other positive reports on various forums.  I’m grateful to Apple for providing Boot Camp and the driver suite – I’d just like some of my minor niggles addressed!