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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Frustrated n00b (long)


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ronlp
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Hey guys,
For starters, I have a 1.8 single G5 (1G ram, 2 HDs, blah, blah) that I bought locally used about 6 months ago from a guy who had upgraded to a dual 2g. I then bought a 23" display and an Airport extreme setup to use with it. The computer was/is in excellent condition in the original box with all the original packaging, etc and seemed to work fine and I had no reason to believe there was anything wrong with it.

I did what I thought was alot of research before buying it and I thought I'd made an informed choice, considering I had no real prior Mac experience. Now, I'm starting to doubt my decision, but I'm not sure where the fault lies; me, this computer, or the OS in general?

Now, I'm sure part of it could be me. In some ways, I guess I haven't given the system a chance. Using this OS to efficiently accomplish things I do in xp wasn't as easy to pick up on as I thought (based on the advertised "ease of switching"), and I find alot of stuff kind of 'quirky' compared to xp. I'll admit, I don't have a whole lot of free time, so sitting around trying to figure out how to perform some simple task isn't always an option, therefore it is often all too easy to just use one of the three PCs I have in the house instead. This is part of the reason that this computer hasn't done much but sit unused for the majority of the time I've owned it and I know those are my issues and don't blame the system. But there is more....

I'll start with the little annoyances: First, I knew software would be a hassle with this machine and accepted that, since I still do have several PCs, but contrary to Apple's ad hype about such good hardware compatibility, I haven't gotten so lucky. My 2 y/o Canon camera doesn't seem to work with iphoto. When I try to upload pics, they display all blurry and distorted. I spent a lot more money than I had to for the AE (over a generic wireless) because of the hyped 'shared network printing' feature only to find out it isn't compatible with my 1 y/o Canon printer. And while my PCs share the wireless signal for my cable modem, they don't seem to be able to wirelessly share files with the Mac. So much for the "windows compatibility" they brag about in their ads. Then, I replaced the crappy mouse and keyboard it came with with a wireless Logitech pair (which is supposedly OSX compatible), but only half the functions work and only in some apps.

But by far, my biggest source of frustration and the sole reason why I typically choose to not use it is the horrible web performance compared to my PCs. I have a cable connection with a really high throughput (usually above 1000) and when I open a web page on my PCs (2 P4s and an old AMDK6, the whole page displays instantly regardless of content (using IE).
The mac, however usually seems like it's on a dial-up. Occasionally a page loads quickly but more often than not, they either hang for a while and then load fully or partially load, then hang while the rest slowly loads. And backing up or refreshing a simple forum page takes even longer. I have both IE and Safari installed on it. IE typically is faster, but crashes frequently or this thing happens where the colored spinning wheel appears while it's hanging...then all the fans start running at high speed until you quit IE. Safari seems to be pretty stable, but loads pages agonizingly slow. Now I don't know if there is something wrong with the computer or if the browsers available for OSX just suck, but it's pretty sad when the ancient 350mhz Compaq in my garage running XPpro can load a web page 3x faster than this pricey computer using the same wireless signal from the AE. Most of the time I spend using a computer involves the internet, and though I know this system is serious overkill for most of what I do, it doesn't make any sense to keep it if it can't quickly and efficiently open a simple text based web page. And while looking around for help, I noticed an aweful lot of suggestions involving various maintainance for these computers. I kinda don't get that since I thought the whole advantage of owning a Mac was that they "just work"? I assure you I am NOT at all pro-windows, but I can say that I use my xp machines heavily and while they may have their 'issues', I don't have to do any kind of maintainance on them for web use, unless you count an ad blocking program and virus protection, both of which quietly run in the backround.

So I guess I'm at a crossroads with this thing. Do I dump it at a loss before it gets too old and loses more value? Do I keep it and continue to not use it and just consider it some sort of expensive 'desk art'? Is there anything I can do to make it work at least as good as my oldest PC? Any suggestions are certainly appreciated and I'm sorry for the long rant; I just hope you can appreciate my frustration after spending all this money for something that has yet to 'just work'.
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rberry88

 
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I'll take it, tell me what you want for it.

Looking for a PowerMac G4 for $500 or less USD.
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witeshark

 
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If you really have that bad performance on Safari on a high speed wireless, you did something wrong in connecting the Mac. I have seen reasonable performance on dail up with Safari
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gort

 
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I am able to share files between my PC and my powerbook of wireless without any hitches. You may have the configuration setup wrong. You have to enable windows sharing under preferences to let the win pc see your mac drives.
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ronlp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by witeshark
If you really have that bad performance on Safari on a high speed wireless, you did something wrong in connecting the Mac. I have seen reasonable performance on dail up with Safari
Connecting what? All the computers run off the same modem and through the Airport Extreme. The others are fine except that they all (the PCs) occasionally lose the wireless connection for a few seconds. And although IE doesn't work very well, it's usually faster than Safari. Are there other browsers available that are known to work better? Are there settings that can be changed to make it work better? Could the OS be corrupt?

Another thing I forgot to mention is that I only personally know one other person with a Mac (for comparison purposes) and he has 3 or 4 of them and has never owned anything else. Fwiw, when I told him about these problems, he said that although he doesn't have trouble to these extents, he has noticed that the PCs he's used have had noticeably better web performance over his Macs. :confused:
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rberry88

 
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Member Since: Jun 24, 2004
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So, how much did you want for it?

Looking for a PowerMac G4 for $500 or less USD.
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Icarus
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I'll start the bidding at $10.00.
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rberry88

 
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Member Since: Jun 24, 2004
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I'll see your $10.00 and raise you $100.00.

My total starting bid = $110.00

Looking for a PowerMac G4 for $500 or less USD.
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Murlyn

 
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That is really strange. Safari is extremely fast and so is Firefox, which you might want to try out. I have heard the default install of the OS on any system is just no good, so reinstallation has been recommended right off the bat. I have about a third of your Mhz and mine isnt even as slow as yours... Plus we have the same amount of Ram. There is definitely something wrong, and just like these people that are "bidding" on your machine, I would reinstall everything and start from scratch.
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MoltenLava
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As a recent switcher myself, I can sympathize with many your frustrations. Yeah, the web performance is agonizingly poor on Mac. It would feel even slower if the videocard doesn't have adequate 3D engine. The reason for that is Quartz engine in Panther will make heavy use of texture engine of the videocard. Everything you see on the screen is 3D rendered.

I have found though, that my Dual 1GHz G4 and NVidia GeForce 4 MX on provides decent speed and enough 3D acceleration. GeForce 4 is not a fast videocard in today's standard, but it's good enough for me. The web browsing on that machine feels about the same as my PC desktop, 2.4GHz HT P4. OTOH, my 800MHz iBook with mobile Radeon 9200 feels pretty sluggish. I don't think the difference in CPU clock will make difference this dramatic. It's combination of CPU and videocard hardware. It may not apply in your case as you have a G5, and probably have a pretty decent videocard.

Another thing you might want to check is Activity Monitor. See if there is unsuspecting application using up resource, whether it's CPU or memory. I don't know if Darwin has scheduling problem, but I found that the computer slows down a lot if you have several applications running, even if they are just sitting idle. If you have fast user switch enabled, you may have some application running in someone else's login.

I don't think Mac or any other computer can be truely trouble free. But to me Mac and OS X can be a lot more user friendly and easier to use than MS Windows on PC.
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mig.gentry

 
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I can empathise with some of the above statements. I've just got my first iBook and although web performance is quite good it takes a while for applications to get started. I click on the icon, it bounces, and then i wait for something to happen. A few seconds can feel along time.
My iBook only has the standard 256RAM and i thought another 512 would solve this. Am i right or will these problems persist after i upgrade.
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jamin

 
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I have a G4 933 Quicksilver with 1 GB RAM and a Geforce 4 mx card.
I find surfing with any browser under mac really Fast. I have downloaded firefox and Turned on HTTP pipelinning which I do in Windows as well and pages render very fast.
I did a fresh install right after I Bought the Computer and installed a Raid 0 array for faster Harddrive performance.
My biggest hurdle in Switching was thinking too hard on how to Do things. After Stepping back and rethinking the answers are very simple.

Now 1 thing you might want to check is to see if you are getting any dropped packets on the Network. Dropped packets can surely slow down performance as they will need to be resent. Maybe you have interference on your wireless signal that is dropping the throughput on the Wireless card.
Have you tried directly hooking up using ethernet jack?
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ronlp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamin
I have a G4 933 Quicksilver with 1 GB RAM and a Geforce 4 mx card.
I find surfing with any browser under mac really Fast. I have downloaded firefox and Turned on HTTP pipelinning which I do in Windows as well and pages render very fast.
I did a fresh install right after I Bought the Computer and installed a Raid 0 array for faster Harddrive performance.
My biggest hurdle in Switching was thinking too hard on how to Do things. After Stepping back and rethinking the answers are very simple.

Now 1 thing you might want to check is to see if you are getting any dropped packets on the Network. Dropped packets can surely slow down performance as they will need to be resent. Maybe you have interference on your wireless signal that is dropping the throughput on the Wireless card.
Have you tried directly hooking up using ethernet jack?
Funny you ask that. when I first bought it, I didn't yet have the AE, so I tried connecting it directly to the cable modem via ethernet as well as trying it through my old wired router and no matter what I tried, I couldn't get it to work, even though my PCs still worked when the router was used. I even spent almost an hour on the phone with my provider (rcn) and no matter what we tried, it just would not work using ethernet, with or without the router. Fwiw, the modem is a Toshiba PCX1100U. Another odd thing is that when I got the AE (which is mounted on the wall just three feet from the Mac), my PCs found the signal first and were up and running before the Mac, which contrary to what I was told, would have to be running first before a windows computer could use the network?

Btw, the vid card is an ATI Radeon 9800 pro that the P/O installed. He also gave me the one that it shipped with, but I kept this one in and just use that $99 Apple adaptor thingie to run the display.

Maybe the best place to start would be to just re-install the OS from scratch since, although I have done updates, I'd imagine it's still the factory OS. It seems like something has to be wrong, software-wise, since the longest delays I get are backing up and refreshing.....things that I think should be faster since it should be cached, correct?

Maybe I'll then try this firefox you mentioned. Is that similar to firebird for a PC (Mozilla)? I used that for a while on one of my PCs, but it still didn't seem to perform as well as IE. Is the Mac version of IE really as buggy as my install of it? Like I said, it is alot faster than safari, but has too many issues to even bother using it.

Thx for the replies; maybe there is hope after all. I really do want to be happy with this thing.
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hype.it

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronlp
Hey guys,
For starters, I have a 1.8 single G5 (1G ram, 2 HDs, blah, blah) that I bought locally used about 6 months ago from a guy who had upgraded to a dual 2g. I then bought a 23" display and an Airport extreme setup to use with it. The computer was/is in excellent condition in the original box with all the original packaging, etc and seemed to work fine and I had no reason to believe there was anything wrong with it.

I did what I thought was alot of research before buying it and I thought I'd made an informed choice, considering I had no real prior Mac experience. Now, I'm starting to doubt my decision, but I'm not sure where the fault lies; me, this computer, or the OS in general?

Now, I'm sure part of it could be me. In some ways, I guess I haven't given the system a chance. Using this OS to efficiently accomplish things I do in xp wasn't as easy to pick up on as I thought (based on the advertised "ease of switching"), and I find alot of stuff kind of 'quirky' compared to xp. I'll admit, I don't have a whole lot of free time, so sitting around trying to figure out how to perform some simple task isn't always an option, therefore it is often all too easy to just use one of the three PCs I have in the house instead. This is part of the reason that this computer hasn't done much but sit unused for the majority of the time I've owned it and I know those are my issues and don't blame the system. But there is more....

What your experiencing is normal and sometimes change is frustrating, especially when you know little about the new system and how it works or operate. Yes, doing things on the Mac is completely different and doing the most simple of things can cause headaches, because they made it so simple, you don't think logically how to do it. Take for example, in windows if you wanted a image you would right click and choose "save as", but on the Mac, if you want it, then just drag it to the desktop or a folder.


Quote:
I'll start with the little annoyances: First, I knew software would be a hassle with this machine and accepted that, since I still do have several PCs, but contrary to Apple's ad hype about such good hardware compatibility, I haven't gotten so lucky. My 2 y/o Canon camera doesn't seem to work with iphoto. When I try to upload pics, they display all blurry and distorted. I spent a lot more money than I had to for the AE (over a generic wireless) because of the hyped 'shared network printing' feature only to find out it isn't compatible with my 1 y/o Canon printer. And while my PCs share the wireless signal for my cable modem, they don't seem to be able to wirelessly share files with the Mac. So much for the "windows compatibility" they brag about in their ads. Then, I replaced the crappy mouse and keyboard it came with with a wireless Logitech pair (which is supposedly OSX compatible), but only half the functions work and only in some apps.

May I ask what model is your camera? Just because iPhoto isn't compatible, doesn't mean you can't use it. Do you use Photoshop? How about installing the plug-in into Photoshop's import folder? I'll be very surprised if this doesn't work. And your printer... is it a network printer or a parallel one? Non of the window parallel printers will work on a Mac.


Quote:
But by far, my biggest source of frustration and the sole reason why I typically choose to not use it is the horrible web performance compared to my PCs. I have a cable connection with a really high throughput (usually above 1000) and when I open a web page on my PCs (2 P4s and an old AMDK6, the whole page displays instantly regardless of content (using IE).

The mac, however usually seems like it's on a dial-up. Occasionally a page loads quickly but more often than not, they either hang for a while and then load fully or partially load, then hang while the rest slowly loads. And backing up or refreshing a simple forum page takes even longer. I have both IE and Safari installed on it. IE typically is faster, but crashes frequently or this thing happens where the colored spinning wheel appears while it's hanging...then all the fans start running at high speed until you quit IE. Safari seems to be pretty stable, but loads pages agonizingly slow. Now I don't know if there is something wrong with the computer or if the browsers available for OSX just suck, but it's pretty sad when the ancient 350mhz Compaq in my garage running XPpro can load a web page 3x faster than this pricey computer using the same wireless signal from the AE. Most of the time I spend using a computer involves the internet, and though I know this system is serious overkill for most of what I do, it doesn't make any sense to keep it if it can't quickly and efficiently open a simple text based web page. And while looking around for help, I noticed an aweful lot of suggestions involving various maintainance for these computers. I kinda don't get that since I thought the whole advantage of owning a Mac was that they "just work"? I assure you I am NOT at all pro-windows, but I can say that I use my xp machines heavily and while they may have their 'issues', I don't have to do any kind of maintainance on them for web use, unless you count an ad blocking program and virus protection, both of which quietly run in the backround.

So I guess I'm at a crossroads with this thing. Do I dump it at a loss before it gets too old and loses more value? Do I keep it and continue to not use it and just consider it some sort of expensive 'desk art'? Is there anything I can do to make it work at least as good as my oldest PC? Any suggestions are certainly appreciated and I'm sorry for the long rant; I just hope you can appreciate my frustration after spending all this money for something that has yet to 'just work'.

In regards to slow internet access, to really find out what the problem is, one should try using the system directly connected to the router, via a RJ45 cable. If pages load quicker then it's something you've set incorrectly in the airport base. But since your having issues with your router also, this method isn't gonna help you.

If i was you i'd make backups of important files and bookmarks, should you have any. Then maybe the best thing you can do is re-install the MacOS from the original CD/DVD and start from scratch. Use the Software Updates from the Apple menu to update your system. A few restarts might be required, but it'll tell you.

I think most people here would like you to be happy with your system too, after all you invested hard earned money on this new toy. If you need any more help or assistance, we're here.

Another thing, since you brought your system used, it might be worth your while to contact Apple, maybe they'll be nice and give you 90 days free tech support. Just explain to them you brought the system from another user and wondered can you get any support as you know nothing about Macs.

Good Luck
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jamin

 
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So you are saying you could not get the networking working at all with your Other Router using Ethernet? That seems very odd. I have a Linksys 802.11b router and just plugged it in and started working right away. Although I did have to manually add the DNS Servers into the network config.

Firefox is updated Firebird. Mozilla had several name changes do to trademark issue. You can also get Camino which is more integrated into OSX. Uses system Widgets etc.

You should try some ping tests. See if any pings are dropped.
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