Apple in the Sea and Clustered

by Hadley Stern Sep 04, 2003

Suddenly it is a great time to be a Mac user again. A renaissance is occurring for the Mac in the marketplace. Or maybe its a revolution? No longer is the largest purchase from a design studio or ad agency. Apple hardware is being sold to the US Navy and to educational institutions creating supercomputers. This is great for all Mac users because more diverse investments only enrich the platform we use every day. More users equals more innovation.

Apple has come a long way and is to be congratulated. Part of the kudos is due to the hardware. The slim form factor of the Xserve makes it perfect for Navy submarines. And the power of the G5 processor makes it a contender for a super-computer. G5s (over a thousand of them) are now being clustered together to form a supercomputer at Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech stated that the G5 was picked because it was 64-bit and was upgradeable to 8 gbs of ram. However, lest we forget, one little thing apart from hardware has made this all possible—OS X.

Now we know that the Navy Xserves are going to be running a variant of Linux thanks to the deal patched together by Tera Soft Solutions. However, the cluster supercomputers at Virginia Tech are going to be controlled by software written by Virginia Tech running in conjunction with OS X. To the diminishing few who miss OS 9 perhaps the saliency of moving to OS X is becoming more apparent. OS 9 (which was just a version of the original Mac operating system) was a great system but it was time to bury it. OS X allows the Mac to compete in new ways it could not before. So while the star in the media is the hardware lets not forget the true champion that defines Apples competitive advantage; the combination of kick-ass hardware with innovative software.


  • I, for one, would not consider Apple a producer of kick-ass hardware.

    My 6 month-old iMac crashed, giving me the grey screen of death. No apple “genius” - either at the retail store or through applecare support - was able to tell me why. Three months later, it still has “overlapped extent allocation files”.

    My last apple “genius” told me the problem was that i lived on a faulty power grid.

    Uhm, right.

    Then, this week, my one week old 15G iPod died. Displayed a spinning disk with a magnifying glass and a task bar. When the bar filled, all my music was gone. Deleted. Not there. And the iPod automatically sent itself into self-scan mode again. Heating rapidly to dangerous temperatures. Despite hard resets.

    Apple “genius” response? “Whoa. I haven’t seen that before.”

    Yet, my PowerBook 3400, purchased in 97 and used everyday for 3 years at work and still in use as a journal at home has yet to give me a single problem. Not one.

    Has Apple gotten better? Jury is definitely out. Are there truly apple “geniuses” out there? Absolutely not.

    -Disappointed, and out huge bling-bling

    bcsmitty had this to say on Sep 04, 2003 Posts: 2
  • Whoa.  bcsmitty…have you ever used a PC?  The $2500 Dell we bought 18 months ago now won’t even start up.  Of course things happen in technology.that aren’t expected, and of course there’s problems.

    va1entino had this to say on Sep 04, 2003 Posts: 12
  • Its strange… there are people I know with great Mac hardware luck, and those with terrible. Nothing inbetween. Its truly one of those things that defies normal understanding.

    There are stories out there of people owning like 10 Macs that have all gone south for various reasons… and then there are those without a flaw - amazing stories of using a Powerbook Duo for 10 years without service.

    My personal experience is that when Apple hardware since 1998 or whenever Apple switched over to commodity parts, then systems only last for 2 years without major service needed (either LCD burnouts, motherboard frying, harddrive or optical drive failure, etc.) Stuff before that, like Quadras, 8100’s, Performas, etc. all lasted double that time.

    Nathan had this to say on Sep 04, 2003 Posts: 219
  • oh… Hadley - that advert to the left is killin’ my eyes!!

    I understand your need to fund this venture, but damn… that ad…

    Nathan had this to say on Sep 04, 2003 Posts: 219
  • sorry, its the ad to the right, and its the blinking DVD one.

    Nathan had this to say on Sep 04, 2003 Posts: 219
  • -on topic again-
    I think what we see is evidence of Apples piece-by-piece/step-by step-strategy. Removing old objections, introducing needed functionality and introducing similar to but better software and features. I hope (and rest assured this time because of their cash assets) they are in this for the long run.
    As the bulk of computer users will become more sophisticated Apples strengths will become more apparent to many users.

    Summer is almost over but the future is bright! (and exciting product-wise!)

    MJ had this to say on Sep 05, 2003 Posts: 9
  • Page 1 of 1 pages
You need log in, or register, in order to comment