A few weeks ago I dissed the expensive new Apple MacBook Pro for trading a downgraded component spec in return for a pretty display and solid-state memory. In passing, I gave an example of this downgrade: the lack of a CD drive. Several readers helpfully commented that they hadn’t used CD media in ages and wouldn’t miss an …
With IR, shooting files around the place was tricky (stuff had to be in the right place for it to work) but doable.
With Bluetooth, pairing, no problem. Files TO the phone, no problem. Files FROM the phone? Gave up trying to get that to work, I run a small ftp server on the phone and get in with wifi.
Why, in the twenty first century, does it seem to be everharder to transfer files around?
Just started reading your articles….Brilliant!
I have an Asus UX31, no DVD drive….what did I buy….a USB DVD drive, they still have their uses!
I for one totally agree with you ;) can't comment on a Mac Book....if i touched one i'd feel dirty!
People seem to forget
... that every time a company has to spend money replacing perfectly functional software or hardware just because an interface is "not used much" we all have to pay a cost.
I work in local government and had a perfect example of this just a few months ago. We have an older PBX system which used an old, but perfectly functioning, voice mail server running Replay Plus. We were planning to replace the whole system, PBX, phones, voice mail, within the next 18-24 months for functionality purposes and to improve the services we could offer. Guess what.... voice mail server mobo fails and theres nothing that will replace it. FX phone card won't fit in anything as it is an ISA card. We hard to buy a replacement voice mail server for the next 18 months (of course, this had to be custom built to talk to the PBX.... which is going to disappear) and waste tax payers money.
In the end it does hit us all - people are just too busy to think about anyone but themselves....
Re: People seem to forget
You're dead wrong: every time a company has to spend money replacing hardware, the company pays a cost. It's not "we all" having do anything, because (and follow closely here) not every buyer of hardware is a government, and even when they are, there's no good reason why taxpayers in (say) Podunk, Indiana should care about the failure of staff halfway across the globe TO MANAGE OBSOLESCENCE.
Stuff does become obsolete. Competent folk manage it. E.g. by buying spares as they go EOL (either as new stock, or by buying other people's used systems at pennies on the pound), OR they decide that the actuarial tables favor crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.
As to your example, finding a replacement motherboard with an ISA slot (or a parallel port, or whatever) is NOT AT ALL DIFFICULT. As another commentator showed, a few seconds with Google will find you plenty solutions (typically in Industrial Computer space). Fancy two ISA, four PCI, two PCIe, serial (five, including RS-422) parallel, bunches of SATA, gigabit Ethernet? Commell (www.commell.com.tw) makes a P4BWA mobo that will keep you happy!
All this whinging about Apple hardware ignores the bigger issue: software! Had you a PPC or (gasp) 68K system, your only hope would have been to eBay something! Yet I don't hear people yelling because a copy-protection scheme on a piece of software that they (and I) had would only work on a true compatible IBM PC running at no more than 4.77MHz on a 8088... (that was why we had "Turbo" buttons on compatibles, remember).
Things change; deal with it... as in, manage, handle, process, accommodate, you know, DEAL with it!
CD From Home?
95% of the lUsers I have dealt with couldn't burn files to CD's if you explained it a billion times.
CD/DVD drive is necessary to play SecuROM/etc-protected games. Not all of my games are on Steam, so lack of the CD drive is major issue. I already own MacBook Air and it's impossible to play e.g.Battlefield 2142 on it because:
- I need proper USB mouse (Bluetooth one introduces huge lag) and USB CD drive (EA's copy protection) at the same time to play but there's only one USB port on my Air. I don't have USB hub
- MacBook Air overheats in first 5-10 minutes and game slows down to a crawl
I always viewed MacBook Pro as The notebook for gaming (CD built in, proper ventilation, more RAM, larger HDD), but Thank You Mister Allistair, you've just ruined my Apple dream once and for all (Jobs is dead and who's left are idiots).
Re: Obviously (you are stingy)
So you have spent a load of $$$ on an MBA yet can't spend $9.99 on a 4 port USB Hub.
What a load of codswallop.
My Laptop has 3*USB2 + 2*USB3 ports yet I still need to use a USB hub. why? Because the ports are so close together that most of my USB Keys are so wide that they block the port next to the one they are inserted in.
Accept that to save space and weight some compromises will have to be made. If you go for the lightest laptop then you have to accept those compromises. If you don't then you have obviously bought the wrong laptop.
Beer o'clock and time for some 6x.
You make out like there is no solution - USB hub = £5 or external USB drive = £20.
The problem is your want a Macbook Air that is the same size (or smaller) has a 20 hour battery, retina display enough CPU / GPU to play the latest games, less than 1kg, super thin, 8 USB ports all capable of 2A output, 6 thunderbolt ports, 4 firewire 800 ports, 2 serial ports, a parallel port, built in CD/DVD/Blu-ray, floppy drive etc.
Last time I bought a 2 seater sports car I only expected it to seat 2 people and not be that great off road...
CD Drives? Parallel Ports?
If you want things like I/O and the ability to read media, don't buy toy computers. Better still, build one yourself and make sure it has everything you want plus plenty of ports/sockets for extra stuff you might decide you want later.
Real computers can't be slid under closed doors. They are sprawling junk yards, leaking dozens of ribbon cables connected to devices no one recognises any more. They don't have cases, or at least not complete cases and they most certainly have at least 2 of every kind of port that has ever been invented.. SCSI and Firewire, Serial and Parallel, all still there, breathing life into scanners, printers, genlocks and modems.
You can keep your shiny baubles with tiny screens that for some reason are capable of resolutions better suited to a 60" TV.. and you can keep your app-driven etcha sketches. Computers that require 2-3 people to lift safely are the only ones required on our watch, thank you very much.
Why a CD drive?
I don't know about what one needs on a Mac, but occasionally a CD or DVD drive is helpful on a PC.
For example, one might want to boot the machine from a rescue disk, if it has a serious problem. What about re-installing the operating system, for that matter?
If one is putting a brand new blank hard drive in the computer (say it's a laptop, so it can't be first put in as a second one, or it's a replacement because the old drive has failed) then one can't go on the Internet, one can't reinstall from a recovery partition, and so on and so forth. I suppose one could set up a bootable USB drive, but that would require a second computer on which to prepare it.
Those are the kind of "real world" things that make me chary of netbooks and other computers without an optical drive - and which previously made me value floppy drives, admittedly.
re: Virtual Valerie ..
Dear Ed: I assume this provocative prose style is yet another example of the Regs attempt to boost the number of comments. If I was fifteen all over again I'm sure I would be vastly amused by such phrases as 'something for the weekend, sir?`, 'girl farts, and non-flatulent. Trouble is such purpureus merely tends to discredit the messenger. If I wanted to read such I could go and hang out on Usenet or IRC. If it's any consolation, your prose style isn't so nearly as bad as Wired Magazine.
I live in the real world too
Yes I use a CD/DVD drive. Optical storage's advantages are still true as ever. It's optical, not going to accidentally get magnetically erased or other issues with standard hard drives. I've witnessed solid state and platter hard drives both prove their limited life spans in very very costly ways to many times now for them to be the only storage of data. I've also witnessed the strategic backup drives literally die an hour before data can be put back on the first dead drive's immediately purchased replacement. I've witnessed grown men cry at the loss of $1000 of dollars of software and purchased by download instead of on CD/DVD media. I sincerely wish and hope that no one here ever has to experience that.
Throwing out the CD/DVD drive may be the "in thing" to do now but practical? In the real world...not so much.
Author is a prat
Keep a dual layer USB DVD rewriter in a cupboard, along with the USB floppy drive. They cost about thirty quid these days, end of difficulty. You will only need it once in a blue moon, and when you do, it will be available and free from cobwebs.
Superannuated QQing just for its own sake is not impressive.
"Solid state memory"
Um, as far as I recall memory has been solid-state for some time now.
Please, it's bad enough already that the muggles don't know the difference between memory and persistent storage. Let's not propagate such misunderstandings, shall we?
Re: "Solid state memory"
Indeed, I meant storage. Thanks for the patronising comment.
Re: "Solid state memory"
Somewhat flattering, actually, judging by the rest of the "article".