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Mac Mini vs. Comparable Spec PC

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Steve    2

Guys this is an interesting topic - maybe someone should create a thread about Aqua, and chat about in Mac OS Client discussions - it's taking this thread WAAAYY off topic.

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threetonesun    1,204
Guys this is an interesting topic - maybe someone should create a thread about Aqua, and chat about in Mac OS Client discussions - it's taking this thread WAAAYY off topic.

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Well, I brought it up because the essential difference between a $499 Mac box and a $499 Win box is the GUI. Neither are for high end apps, neither are for gaming. Most people buying them could care less about the underlying operating system.

So it really comes down to easy of use and form factor being the deciding qualities. Every "home user" I've shown OSX to thinks it's easier to use than Windows, but clearly some people here don't agree :happy:

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Steve    2

Ok, well i'll proceed to fuel conversation - it's quite a sane and interesting discussion - which is unusual for these 'type' of threads...

Home user - as in somebody whom is only really ever used Windows? It hard to generalize people, but as an example:

My dad used to try and use his PC. He has no background knowledge of modern day computing, so things were either taught, by having a root around the computer, or via me showing him things. The PC got from one state to another, through Virii, Spyware and all the other crap that is targetted at Windows. I'd been using Mac OS X sometime, by the time he got ultimately frustrated with the PC - so sold it. Recently I bought him an iBook for his birthday, and he loves it. We now have only Mac's in our home, and it works a treat. He really is a novice - the prime example of one, yet he's fairly competent of Mac OS X, and general usage these days.

Essentially, what I am saying is that, sure something new will tax you initially. It's not what you're used to - but that doesn't mean it's inferior because it's different. He quickly grasped the concept of Mac OS X, and I quote 'wouldn't switch back to Windows'. The UI has some different concepts - both have their flaws, yet both equally will have reasoning for why those 'so called' flaws are designed such a way.

Heyo - I can understand your thinking with regard to dragging apps from the dock, and assuming they've been erased. But would it not be a little naive to assume all drag and drop instances such as this, as so 'serious'. The first time i dragged 'Neowin.net' from the safari scrollbar, to the dock, didn't make me assume i've downloaded the whole website to my computer. Like learning the concept behind a typical GUI - windows float on a screen, people have to learn that the dock is a shortcut / toolbar type element, and the data held in it is non-destructible. The same way in the Start Menu is, if you delete elements from the program listing - the only difference is the fancy 'poof'.

Mice - well you may say what you like with regards to mice, but frankly i don't feel the need for a 2nd mouse button in Mac OS X, personally. The fact that Mac OS X is deigned this way, and ships with the mouse that the software is designed for - yet allows for 3rd party support of more 'refined' mice, makes this a null argument in my eyes. If you want more buttons, you buy a new mouse and not worry. You can't complain that Apple should ship a more feature complete mouse, because you're used to it, and so forth. Frankly I have enough keys on my keyboard, I have one hand on the keyboard all the time - why would i need anymore buttons on a mouse?

- Scrolling/Trackpad technology is a different argument altogether, given that this isn't something that is easy to achieve on a keyboard.

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shodan    0

Woah Steve, I wish I was so clear and precise.... great post! :yes:

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g-n-t    0
Well, I brought it up because the essential difference between a $499 Mac box and a $499 Win box is the GUI. Neither are for high end apps, neither are for gaming. Most people buying them could care less about the underlying operating system.

So it really comes down to easy of use and form factor being the deciding qualities. Every "home user" I've shown OSX to thinks it's easier to use than Windows, but clearly some people here don't agree  :happy:

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but the point is that you CAN get a gaming box for 499(although youd want to spend a little more and get a pretty big performance boost, the same applies to the mini).

its very simple and i dont see why we have a 6 page debate over the topic. a 500dollar pc(form factor does not matter, it didnt in the article) can outperform a 500 dollar mac mini. i really dont understand why it is so hard for you people to understand that.

who said anything about GUI or size? the article didnt. this isnt a mac vs pc thread, we have enough of those on neowin. this is a "discuss htis article" thread, and i dont think there is much left to discuss. the whole article is bull****.

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Steve    2
Woah Steve, I wish I was so clear and precise.... great post!  :yes:

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Haha, thanks bud.

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Heyo    0
Mostly because there 2 major interface we can compare, and one of them is the Windows one. Second because you mention it in one of your previous posts.

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Mac guys, I didn't even bring up Windows. That was one of you. The comment on "running and hiding behind Windows's faults" was made because I notice this all the time with you guys. Some Mac guy here specifically asked for negatives on the Dock, so I brought up what I thought was deficient about it without even mentioning Windows. Next thing I know you all start whining about Windows in some sort of bizarre reflex reaction that had nothing to do with my points on the Dock. It would be nice for me to be able to respond to one of your queries without having to be pulled into a Mac vs Windows thing.

Well, i had no problem noticing that when i lunched the program the arrows appeared under the corresponding icon in the dock, so it have to mean is running right?!?

And, if you try to look close, you will notice that the dock is divided in 2, the right part is for the running apps that are not in the dock....

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No, an arrow does not represent in any meaningful way to me that something is ?running?.

Thanks for the info on the layout of the Dock though. I didn?t notice it, or the arrows because of my previous comment on the blinding graphical nature of the animated icons. Really, the Dock to me resembles nothing less than a metaphorical GUI equivalent of a float from a Gay Mardi Gra in its? garishness and beha:whistle:whistle:

And for the last time, I don't understand why people wouldn't have to read few lines of a manual to understand how something works. Once you know the meaning of the things you know what's going around.  Or do you pretend just to know everything at the first sight?!?

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Yes, please make it the last time. You have repeated yourself (what 3 times now?) without comprehending a word I?ve said in response.

A good interface shouldn?t require you to read a few lines of the manual for the basics such as launching and task managment. The interface should assist the user as best it can without using obtuse signals (arrows to indicate running programs) or confusing signals (puffs of smoke).

The Dock could be improved to the point where it doesn?t require the user to find the manual, but I fear that would break Apple?s design methodology of form over function.

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Southern Patriot    962

No, an arrow does not represent in any meaningful way to me that something is ?running?.

....

A good interface shouldn?t require you to read a few lines of the manual for the basics such as launching and task managment. The interface should assist the user as best it can without using obtuse signals (arrows to indicate running programs) or confusing signals (puffs of smoke).

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An arrow that appears under the icon of a program you just launched, and goes away when you close the program. How woNOTOT[/b]i> indicate to a reasonably intelligent person that the arrow meant that the program was running? You are the first person I've ever had a conversation with that didn't seem to understand that very simple indication.

What would be YOUR opinion of a good indication that the selected program was running? What would be YOUR opinion of a user interface that does not need at least SOME training? I've been working around computers for longer than most posters on Neowin have been alive (21 years), and I have yet to see one.

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g-n-t    0

yes, hte dock sucks. i remember when i ran it in both windows and linux, i had to keep a windows/kde taskbar open in order to have a functioning computer.

Edit: for roadwarriors comment,

the first time i used a mac, i had no freakin idea what was running and what wasnt. the apple menu at the top is one of hte stupidest things i have ever seen.

there is no way to have a taskbar work without SOME training. but having a bunch of boxes in a big box with the NAMES of programs written on them, with the current one depressed AND highlighted is way better than having a taskbar consisting of wierd giant icons that you may or may not recognize jumping up and down.

and according to the poll on the front page, most people here are over 21 ;)

Edited by g-n-t

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Heyo    0
Essentially, what I am saying is that, sure something new will tax you initially. It's not what you're used to - but that doesn't mean it's inferior because it's different. He quickly grasped the concept of Mac OS X, and I quote 'wouldn't switch back to Windows'. The UI has some different concepts - both have their flaws, yet both equally will have reasoning for why those 'so called' flaws are designed such a way.

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I never said OS X or the Doc was inferior for doing things differently. That's the line you guys keep wanting to tow by constantly trying to bring it back to a comparison with Windows. I'm responding to the query from one of you Mac guys about what I found ?inconsistent or not sensible? about the Dock. I answered, and ironically that guy seems long gone- I guess he wasn?t really interested in hearing the negatives after all?

Heyo - I can understand your thinking with regard to dragging apps from the dock, and assuming they've been erased. But would it not be a little naive to assume all drag and drop instances such as this, as so 'serious'. The same way in the Start Menu is, if you delete elements from the program listing - the only difference is the fancy 'poof'.

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Steve, I find it laughable that you would find me ?na?ve? for thinking that something might have been erased off the Dock after the interface showed my icon going up in a ?puff of smoke?. Talk about the interface giving me negative reinforcement!

Because you have chosen to contrast with Windows again, I?ll correct your error. Windows would not have done this. When an operation (such as dragging an icon to where it does not belong) is taking place it changes the pointer to a clear and obvious internationally recognised symbol of a circle with a bar going through it to indicate no action is possible in this context. It doesn?t just wait until I?ve finished dragging my icon to blow it up in a just to show off the much hyped hardware accelerated interface. celerated interface.

Mice - well you may say what you like with regards to mice, but frankly i don't feel the need for a 2nd mouse button in Mac OS X, personally. The fact that Mac OS X is deigned this way, and ships with the mouse that the software is designed for - yet allows for 3rd party support of more 'refined' mice, makes this a null argument in my eyes. If you want more buttons, you buy a new mouse and not worry. You can't complain that Apple should ship a more feature complete mouse, because you're used to it, and so forth. Frankly I have enough keys on my keyboard, I have one hand on the keyboard all the time - why would i need anymore buttons on a mouse?

- Scrolling/Trackpad technology is a different argument altogether, given that this isn't something that is easy to achieve on a keyboard.

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I really don?t care that you get along just fine with one mouse button Steve. I couldn?t be more happy for you that OS X is optimised for people like you. Unfortunately though, because OS X it tailored to people that can?t handle more than one mouse button at a time it extends acright down to the laptopsright down to the laptops which are similarly crippled. I do not find any of the workarounds available to be suitable just to cater for the dexterity and functionally challenged.

Nor do I understand Apple?s stubborn obstinance in introducing new hardware features such as scroll wheels or scroll areas on trackpads. It?s like 2005 guys! I can?t believe they still think transparent plastic in hardware is more important than a friggin scroll wheel!

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Southern Patriot    962

and according to the poll on the front page, most people here are over 21  ;)

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There have been several polls that I've seen that had the average age anywhere between 17 and 25. I guess it just depends on who responded to the poll in question and who didn't.

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Heyo    0
An arrow that appears under the icon of a program you just launched, and goes away when you close the program.  How would that NOT indicate to a reasonably intelligent person that the arrow meant that the program was running?  You are the first person I've ever had a conversation with that didn't seem to understand that very simple indication.

What would be YOUR opinion of a good indication that the selected program was running?  What would be YOUR opinion of a user interface that does not need at least SOME training?  I've been working around computers for longer than most posters on Neowin have been alive (21 years), and I have yet to see one.

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Please go back and re-read my original post. I missed the arrows because of the garishness of the icons and the distracting animated behaviour of the interface. I wasn't expecting tasks handling to be incorporated into the Dock initially because it didn't contain all the tasks that I wished to launch. To me it seemed a totally innappropriate mechanism for this and my expectations were it was just a simple launcher. You can see perhaps why I was confused when new icons suddenly started appearing on my Dock while running applications not initially in it- at least I think that is what was happening.

I've already told you my opinion on how what I think it good behaviour- seperate the two differnt functions of launching and task management. If you arn't goinng to bother to read it, please do me the favour of not asking for it again and again.

Nice to see you back in the discussion btw.

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Southern Patriot    962
I answered, and ironically that guy seems long gone- I guess he wasn?t really interested in hearing the negatives after all?

........

I can?t believe they still think transparent plastic in hardware is more important than a friggin scroll wheel!

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I am the one who asked the question, and I have replied in this thread several times since then, what the hell are you talking about?

As for your other comment, when was the last time Apple used transparent plastic in their systems? Oh, yeah, about 4 or 5 years ago.

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g-n-t    0
I am the one who asked the question, and I have replied in this thread several times since then, what the hell are you talking about?

As for your other comment, when was the last time Apple used transparent plastic in their systems?  Oh, yeah, about 4 or 5 years ago.

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the G4 imac has transparent plastic surrounding hte LCD. the apple mouse and keyboard(which he was referring to) still have transparent plastic. the cube was transparent, same as the quicksilver G4. those were not 4-5 years ago.

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Heyo    0
There have been several polls that I've seen that had the average age anywhere between 17 and 25.  I guess it just depends on who responded to the poll in question and who didn't.

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Oh great... Thanks for making *me* feel old now too... LOL

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Southern Patriot    962
the G4 imac has transparent plastic surrounding hte LCD. the apple mouse and keyboard(which he was referring to) still have transparent plastic. the cube was transparent, same as the quicksilver G4. those were not 4-5 years ago.

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Point taken. I thought he was referring to systems such as the G3 iMacs and the early iBooks. The point remains that none of Apple's CURRENT systems use transparent plastic in any appreciable amount (last time I looked, the mice and keyboards were white plastic now).

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Heyo    0
I am the one who asked the question, and I have replied in this thread several times since then, what the hell are you talking about?

As for your other comment, when was the last time Apple used transparent plastic in their systems?  Oh, yeah, about 4 or 5 years ago.

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Sorry, up until your post of "An arrow that appears under the icon of a program you just launched, and goes away when you close the program." I assumed you were gone. Might be differnt timezone?

I am talking about their mice btw. Unless the ones that ship were you are differe to the ones here, they still ship a transparent, non-ergonimic plastic mouse with no scroll wheel.

Oh, and their transparent keyboards suck too. I can't understand why? All of the rest of their hardware is generally above average but they can't seem to make a decent keyboard or mouse which is the primary hardware interface element of the computer. For a company that loves to chirp on about usability all the time it seems to me to be a massive stumble on their part...

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Heyo    0

Can I ask you Mac guys another question as well btw?

A few posts ago somebody mentioned the "clutter" of the Taskbar in Windows and I mentioned that nowdays intances of an application are organised under a single button in the Taskbar.

How does the OS X interface achieve similar organisation?

My understanding of it now (and please correct me if I am wrong) is that an arrow will appear when I launch an icon on the Dock.

If the icon wasn't in the Dock for the application then it will appear to the right of the Dock- I assume it will also have an arrow to indicate it is running.

How does it indicate multiple instances are running?

I know of Expose but that seems to be another feature that is nicely buried from the new user and requires me to look it up in the manual again. I believe to activate it you use a combination of function keys?

Is this how multiple application instances are handled in OS X?

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threetonesun    1,204
I missed the arrows because of the garishness of the icons and the distracting animated behaviour of the interface. I wasn't expecting tasks handling to be incorporated into the Dock initially because it didn't contain all the tasks that I wished to launch.

You missed the arrows for the same reason, as I pointed out before, a Mac user would wonder why his program closed if he clicked the X box in Windows. It's fundamental to the OS, if you have no frame of reference, you shouldn't have known it.

But, if you clicked on the icon again, as in Windows, the program would have reappeared. So I don't see what the issue is. Also, the dock can contain whatever programs you wish to launch at any given time. IMO, the Applications folder+dock is easier to use than the Start Menu+Quick launch+ taskbar, but again, that's my opinion.

Can I ask you Mac guys another question as well btw?

A few posts ago somebody mentioned the "clutter" of the Taskbar in Windows and I mentioned that nowdays intances of an application are organised under a single button in the Taskbar.

How does the OS X interface achieve similar organisation?

My understanding of it now (and please correct me if I am wrong) is that an arrow will appear when I launch an icon on the Dock.

If the icon wasn't in the Dock for the application then it will appear to the right of the Dock- I assume it will also have an arrow to indicate it is running.

How does it indicate multiple instances are running?

I know of Expose but that seems to be another feature that is nicely buried from the new user and requires me to look it up in the manual again. I believe to activate it you use a combination of function keys?

Is this how multiple application instances are handled in OS X?

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No, the only thing that appears on the right are open documents you've minimized, and the trash can. Programs are always on the left, their running/not running status indicated by the arrow. Anything on the desktop can be shuffled about with Expose which IIRC, they explain how to use the first time you boot into OSX.

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Heyo    0
You missed the arrows for the same reason, as I pointed out before, a Mac user would wonder why his program closed if he clicked the X box in Windows. It's fundamental to the OS, if you have no frame of reference, you shouldn't have known it.

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Well I guess that is what we are debating. I'm saying I missed it because the Dock is just one horrid cludge of different elements spliced together that shouldn't be. Again, I am not using Windows as a reference. I am trying to speak in generic terms of how *I* would like an interface to work, not in terms of what I am using.

But, if you clicked on the icon again, as in Windows, the program would have reappeared. So I don't see what the issue is. Also, the dock can contain whatever programs you wish to launch at any given time. IMO, the Applications folder+dock is easier to use than the Start Menu+Quick launch+ taskbar, but again, that's my opinion.

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I get your first part and that is how I progressed with the interface. The confusion came from the distractions of the high-colour animated elements and seeing my launcher suddenly growing in size. I did eventually "get" that the OS X Dock designers had decided to cludge the 2 elements together and that is why I am hear whining about it- I don't like it. :D

BTW. You guys you need to get off Quick Launch. I've already mentioned it's been deprecated in newer versions of Windows to be an optional element. They have done a few other things like clean the desktop up to nothing but the Recycle Bin and put in mechanism to prevent users from wandering in to the "My Programs" folder to try launch things. In Windows your primary and immeidiate mechanism for launching programs is the "Start" menu. That is it. Yes, older programs still want to spray their icons around like a mad women's sh|t (which I find immensley annoying) but it is something MS realise needs to be cleaned up and are working on and have put mechanisms in place to restrict this sort of behaviour.

No, the only thing that appears on the right are open documents you've minimized, and the trash can. Programs are always on the left, their running/not running status indicated by the arrow. Anything on the desktop can be shuffled about with Expose which IIRC, they explain how to use the first time you boot into OSX.

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*groan*

Ok so when I saw my Dock growing that may have actually been because open documents were being added to it. My assumption has been that it may have been caused by me running programs that were not in it initially.

How does the Dock prevent the "clutter" that you guys were complaining about with the Windows Taskbar btw? i.e. What organisation mechanism does it use when too many icons are on it, or was this just handballed off by the Dock designers for Expose to handle?

PS I had a bit of a chuckle about Expose in the tutorial. You know I had to tell my friend that bought a Mini and subsequently tried to get me to buy a Mini that the feature existed. How he could have missed it in the tutorial... LOL

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Southern Patriot    962

How does the Dock prevent the "clutter" that you guys were complaining about with the Windows Taskbar btw? i.e. What organisation mechanism does it use when too many icons are on it, or was this just handballed off by the Dock designers for Expose to handle?

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The Mac is document-centric, not application-centric. You cannot open more than one instance of an application, but you can open multiple documents within an application. If you have multiple documents open, you can click and hold (or right click if you have a two button mouse) on the icon in the dock to get a pop-up window with a list of the documents you have open (along with a few other options, such as quitting the program, hiding it, or showing it in the Finder) . This is a design element that Microsoft sort of "borrowed" to create the new organization scheme for XP. The Dock will dynamically re-scale itself to allow for the number of icons being displayed.

As for why I was gone for a while earlier: I am online at work during the day(when I made some of my earlier posts), and often late in the evening (right now), but have things to do in the afternoon after work.

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g-n-t    0
The Mac is document-centric, not application-centric.  You cannot open more than one instance of an application, but you can open multiple documents within an application.  If you have multiple documents open, you can click and hold (or right click if you have a two button mouse) on the icon in the dock to get a pop-up window with a list of the documents you have open (along with a few other options, such as quitting the program, hiding it, or showing it in the Finder) .  This is a design element that Microsoft sort of "borrowed" to create the new organization scheme for XP.  The Dock will dynamically re-scale itself to allow for the number of icons being displayed.

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what about cross-platform apps like openoffice and the gimp that dont support this?

and MS patented(******s!) task grouping, so how is it that apple invented it first?

and didnt xp come out before OSX? and IIRC, win 2k also supports task grouping, which i KNOW was out before osx.

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Southern Patriot    962
what about cross-platform apps like openoffice and the gimp that dont support this?

and MS patented(******s!) task grouping, so how is it that apple invented it first?

and didnt xp come out before OSX? and IIRC, win 2k also supports task grouping, which i KNOW was out before osx.

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OS X came out before XP (by 7 months), and I don't recall if Win2K supported task grouping in it's original release (I think that was added with one of the service packs that came after XP). It's possible then that both got the idea from a common source (since the Dock was a revision of the NeXT Dock).

OpenOffice and Gimp both currently run under XWindows in OS X, so they don't quite follow Apple's design. I've never run either, so I can't really comment on the exact way that they are handled when multiple documents are open.

Edited by roadwarrior

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Southern Patriot    962

BTW. You guys you need to get off Quick Launch. I've already mentioned it's been deprecated in newer versions of Windows to be an optional element. They have done a few other things like clean the desktop up to nothing but the Recycle Bin and put in mechanism to prevent users from wandering in to the "My Programs" folder to try launch things.

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I almost missed this part. The reason Mac users keep bringing up the Quick Launch bar is that it is the element most like the Dock. The true "application launcher" is the Finder (the Applications folder in particular). While Microsoft wants to keep people out of the Program Files folder, that is the way that applications are supposed to be launched on the Mac. Applications are generally only a single file on the Mac instead of being composed of tons of files as they are on Windows, so allowing access to the Applications folder is not really a problem. The Dock is just a convenient way of launching frequently used programs. Yes, it also serves as a task manager as well, but it seems that "most people" don't find this confusing at all (or else there would be a massive amount of talk about it on message boards).

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BajiRav    2,137
pAnother thing, try running Halo on the mac mini, i guarantee you it will run a lot better than any PC from Dell in the same price range. I played Halo on an 800MHz iBook G4 and it ran flawlessly, a few frames dropped, but this is with 256MB of RAM. That is a lot being done on such minimal hardware. I would expect the Mac mini to perform better with a faster processor and a constant power supply. You would have to compare these systems side-by-side to achieve a valid test. MacWorld didn't have a video clip comparing performance, but I'm fairly positive the Mac mini would outperform the Dell PC, if not in the first hour of operation, the first month would prove trivial for the new Dell PC owner.

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there is something called as screen resolution..most Macs are stuck with aweful 1024x768 atleast the one you mention. can u run Halo-PC at 1400x1050 with no drop in performance I bet not....hell I would be surprised even if Expose runs smooth with 3-4 medium heavy apps running....there is no comparison when it comes to Gaming...PCs win hands down..

(I am an iBook G4/1.2 and xBox owner)

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