Sep 18 2020

Apple Silicon: We’re done here

Published by under macOS,Thoughts

I still have a Mac Pro 6,1 – the “trash can” Mac – at work. Since Monday last week, it’s running Windows 10 natively and it also has a VM with Ubuntu 20.04.1 on it.

macOS is gone from that machine completely.

Apple is moving to ARM-based CPUs, and that CPU architecture doesn’t work me on a desktop system. Your mileage may vary, but that’s your mileage, not mine. x86/AMD64-compatibility is a requirement for me on such a system, one of the reasons being that I run virtualized versions of 64-Bit-Intel Linux distributions and Windows 10 in parallel on a desktop system for development and testing purposes.

Big Sur will be the last version of macOS that will run on Intel CPUs. With the timeline that the Apple executives have outlined, at the end of 2022 the transition to ARM will be completed and as we know from the PowerPC-to-Intel transition years ago, the version of macOS after Big Sur will be ARM-only.

Big Sur will not only be the transitional first version of macOS to officially support ARM, it will also become even more restrictive than Catalina, and Catalina already was an overly controlling bitch to work with. Apple not only killed the fun in their platforms, they’re turning them more and more into straitjackets. When your main job is to support the IT needs of hundreds of scientific users, every single day brings you a new example to prove that macOS is the worst platform to support. No, in the reality of a huge work environment, Macs do anything but “just work”. In fact, they are the oppsite of systems that “just work” – and they don’t play well with others at all.

And with the “Apple Silicon” announcement, over night, Intel Macs have turned from a support nightmare to a support nightmare that is also dead meat. If you’re thinking about buying a Mac now, save your money — you will be investing in the past and your new Mac will be short-lived. (But what is not short-lived in the Apple ecosystem?) In two years time, you won’t even get a new operating system version for that box anymore. You’ll be lucky if you still get security patches. Despite all their marketing, Apple has always sucked at long term support.

I decided to pull the plug now. Other members of my team must support the Apple platforms, but I have the luxury that I only need to observe this from a distance. I won’t invest my own time in Apple computers anymore, and I also won’t buy another Apple machine for myself at work. The Mac Pro is now a beautiful designer PC, but it’s no longer a Mac. And believe it or not, that machine feels twice as fast under Windows 10 than it felt when it was running Catalina. I will upgrade the RAM one last time on that system (to 64 Gig), and I will keep using it until it dies of old age (but probably not for very much longer as my main work horse).

Throughout the last 15 years or so, I’ve spent A LOT of my own money on Apple equipment – more than the nominal capital of a German GmbH, which is an insane amount of private money. Luckily, I have given up spending my own money on Apple products years ago already. I’m not trolling when I say that I have written off a large personal investment.

Using Apple systems at work is another story, because I work in a multi-platform landscape, so I still needed to buy and use Macs. As a group leader, I’ve decided to hand that baton over to my younger colleagues: Let them deal with a platform that constantly moves from migration layer and restrictions to another migration layer and more restrictions, and let them try to find a fix for something that worked in the previous release and that Apple decided to break or remove in the current version. I’m tired of it, I want to spend my time on more interesting things.

Apple, we’re done here.

 

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Jul 06 2020

The end of an odyssey

Published by under Games,Software

202 hours and 17 minutes of net playing time. I finally finished Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and its two huge DLCs.

To make this short:

Yes, I still think the game is too big for its own good.

But:

In July 2020, this game is among the three best computer games ever created: Half-Life 1, Uncharted 4, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. And not necessarily in that order.

Kassandra is the ultimate heroine, throughout the history of computer games – and movies or novels for that matter – no other female lead character was ever conceived that would match her. You have to play and finish the game if you want to discuss this. And should you finish the game, trust me, you will not question my statement. At all. Full stop.

Ancient Greece is — by far — the most beautiful location ever depicted in a computer game. Barnabas is one of the loveliest side-kick characters ever imagined in a computer game; at worst, he’s second only to Victor Sullivan in the Uncharted series. (And boy, do I get thirsty when Victor Sullivan smokes a cigar and holds a tumbler of Singe Malt in his hands…)

This game alone justifies buying an Xbox One X.  I paid 254 Euros for mine when it was on sale a few months ago. Odyssey was also on sale. So for less than 300 bucks, I was perfectly entertained for around four months. A brand new console title is sold for 70 bucks. Even should I never play another game on the One X, I think the console and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey were worth every damn penny that I paid for them. The Series X is due around Christmas, so you could tell me that I was nuts buying that console only a few weeks before its successor was released. But hell, I don’t regret buying the One X and Odyssey one bit.

This game is fucking awesome.

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