Sunday, May 22, 2005

Box the device

Lots of people who use Apple hardware and OS think the company can do nothing wrong. After spending the day developing in Panther and the evening restoring my backups on a fresh, zeroed-out all clusters install of Tiger (and about the same amount of time typing in serial numbers) I do not feel the same. This is because:

1) When a disk, or driver cache or other system software component fails, the machine should halt with a clear message of what is wrong, it should avoid the error by assigning spare clusters or boxing devices that deliver spurious interrupts on the bus. It should not crash and throw a nine fans in overdrive, scaring my wife and cats. It should have a service processor to take care of this, this should cost a minute fraction of the effort that is invested in the video card (that I did not choose myself because I have some graphics companies CTO machine).

2) This is the second machine of this type that gives me grief. The first went back after a week. Due to (1) I still do not know the problem, I suspect it is heat. Because the machines are designed to just about keep working, and not to fail cleanly when critical parameters are crossed, it is hard for me to trust it. This one worked a few months without a glitch, but boy am I glad that I do make backups.

3) They should license their OS for other machines, perhaps IBM. I would be tempted to buy an IBM machine that does have all diagnostics for a bit more money, but knowing there is parity on the memory and checking of other critical values. With AIX like it is now, that is no option, and neither is Linux. Or they should start building dependable machines, like that G4 I had for almost two years.

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