Ruby on Rails
Ta-da List


October 28, 13:29

Another day in the world-conversion business

Marten was the guy behind the short burst of Rails.NET activity. Since then, I've convinced him to convert to Ruby on Rails, get a Mac, and now he has even bought TextMate in anticipation of receiving said Mac (before Christmas).

So it seems that my Jedi mind tricks are quite operational. Muhaha. No, seriously. Welcome to a better world, Marten. You're going to love it here (as if you didn't already).

Challenge by Andrew Donaldson on October 28, 14:03

I've often thought about moving over to a Mac, but the price often puts me off (being Scottish).

Do most Mac users buy their systems on finance or with credit cards / student loans? Or do they all live with their parents?

Challenge by David Heinemeier Hansson on October 28, 14:05

It's my experience that they just prioritize computing comfort over other things. Also, when it comes to laptops, Macs are not more expensive than their PC counterparts. Under the assumption that one does not equate productivity with mhz.

I'd much rather sit on a $999 iBook at 1.2ghz than I'd be stuck with a 2.5ghz PC. All the megahertz in the world are not going to turn that machine into a desirable platform for me.

But I guess it depends on what you do. When I work in front of a computer 10+ hours a day, I want to treat myself to the best experience I can get.

Challenge by Andrew Donaldson on October 28, 14:11

I suppose thats just a side-effect from being a PC owner; the assumption that a computer with less Mhz is less productive.

Just to clear up something, I was genuinely asking and wasn't just trying to start a PC/Mac argument!

Challenge by David Heinemeier Hansson on October 28, 14:14

Then I better understand your puzzlement. I believe that the "mhz myth" is very real, though not necessarily the way Apple bills it.

It's real in the sense that effectiveness is different from efficiency. To me, the effectiveness of the Mac far outweighs any perceived or real inefficiency it might have from a slower processor.

Challenge by jarkko on October 28, 15:52

I can definitely affirm that the "mhz myth" is to a large extent real in this case. I bought a 667MHz PowerBook for more than two years ago and it still actually feels *faster* than my girlfriend's new 1.6GHz centrino PC laptop. Not faster in a benchmark sense, but in how fast you can accomplish things. And believe me, I have put in thousands of hours to be more productive on Windows, actually I hadn't touched a Mac since I left the junior high. And I'm - cough - older than David, so there was a looooong break in between.

Andrew, I don't think about 1000 for an iBook is that much. PC laptops at that price tend to have pretty bad lcd's and celeron processors that are definitely slower than modern G4's.

Challenge by Andrew Donaldson on October 28, 16:09

800 for a laptop is very reasonable, but at the same time 800 is a lot of money. I was just wondering if all developers who use Mac's get their machines supplied (through work), or if they just go without food for a month, OR they get finance...

There is the third option that they're sensible with money and save up... Pah.

Challenge by David Heinemeier Hansson on October 28, 16:11

It probably just comes as a natural switch for most. When it's time to get a new machine, the obvious choice is a Mac these days. Of course, some of us can't wait for natural upgrade cycles (he typed from his fourth Mac in two years ;)).

Challenge by TobiasLuetke on October 28, 17:14

Another thing about the mhz myth is that really only intel is the big offender. Intel's efficiency for mhz is the worst in the industry.

For example: The best gaming pc you can buy right now is an amd64. The amd 3200 for example runs at a mere 2,2ghz and blows everything away intel puts in its path even with 3,5ghz and more.

The g5 especially is one of the best designed cpus out there. A 2.0 ghz g5 will outperform a 3ghz intel any day.

Challenge by Jarkko Laine on October 28, 18:31


I can feel your pain. I was in a lucky position of being a grantee for an exchange year stipendium which pretty much covered the costs.

If you have any projects you do for money you probably have your own freelance company, too, so you can deduct a whole lot of the price from your taxes (both VAT and income). I founded a company on my first year at the university with basically zero income. The deductions and losses follow with you (max. 10 years for the losses in Finland, I think) until you start making money. Then the benefits will be *real*.

If you're not thinking about being a freelancer in the future, forget the text above. It's just that most people in the web programming branch tend to have some gigs every now and then.

Challenge by Marten Veldthuis on October 29, 2:04

I guess I fit into the sensible group, and in the natural upgrade cycle group somewhat (because my current desktop-cpu is 2 years old, and the gpu 1 year). I estimate my desktop to be good enough for a couple of years and after that I will not really be interested in games anymore (hardly play them anymore nowadays). By that time the natural upgrade cycle will tell me it's time to upgrade, and I'm aiming at a Powerbook by then.

Ofcourse, I was extremely pleased to see the iBook dropping 200 euro in price and gaining 200 mhz and wifi.

Challenge by Tony Kemp on October 29, 3:17

Another interesting thing I learnt at an IBM short course -primarily about Linux, but they also talked about their other technologies - re the MHz myth: for calculating clock speed, Intel architecture CPUs count both the rising and falling signal, whereas POWER and PPC CPUs count only the rising signal. Thus a 1.2 GHz PPC CPU is running at exactly the same clock speed as a 2.4 GHz Intel architecture CPU.