I use STATA as my main statistics engine on my 400 MHz G4 running OS X 10.2.4 with 636 MB of RAM. It is fast, ridiculously complete (13 volumes of documentation), programmable, and relatively cheap. Unlike SPSS and SAS, The STATA developers have kept some perspective on their pricing and there is an active user community that constantly adds new routines. This, no doubt, is one reason why the application is growing in popularity.
For open source work in OS X, the choice is R. This is an open source version of S, done by pretty much the same development team. R has just been selected as the recommended statistics software at the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research at Michigan, so expect it to be much more widely used in the future. I haven’t downloaded it yet because it needs to be recompiled and, frankly, I don’t need it. It’s there and free for those who do, however.
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SAS makes JMP for OS X and it is much easier to use for statistical work than SPSS. I beta-tested earlier versions of SPSS and JMP. Once you use JMP, you will never go back. It is a rich, visual environment for data analysis. Previous versions integrated with AppleScript and JMP’s own native scripting language so that you could, for example, automatically export your FileMaker data, have it imported into JMP, run survival curves, and export the raw survival data or the pictures with a single click.
JMP does some things very well, but there are other things it does not do well at all. I have contacted Stata and will try to get a copy for review. I hope ATPM will print the comparison. I am also installing the 10.0.8 revision to try it out and am eagerly awaiting 11.02. —David Zatz
Like many Mac users, converting vinyl recordings to digital format so that I can enjoy them on my Mac (or in my car’s CD player) has been on my “to do” list for longer than I care to admit.
Your three-part series is the most well-researched and carefully documented example of how to do this that I have encountered and I want to express my sincere thanks for taking the time and effort to test and document your findings. You have saved Mac users countless hours of trial and error and the frustrations which accompany finding out things the hard way.
I’ve got an iMic, downloaded a copy of Amadeus, and am preparing to unhook my turntable from my home stereo system to connect it to my Mac in the office with a fresh burst of confidence and enthusiasm thanks to your help.
Once again, thanks for a great series. I look forward to posting it on my user group’s Web site as the primer for getting precious vinyl music back into the limelight!
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Robert Lewis is to be commended for a beautifully written series that not only has the detail necessary to satisfy the most technically oriented, but lays the groundwork of understanding for the rest of us. Kudos.
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I just wanted to send a note of thanks for this series of articles. It couldn’t have come at a better time. My wife and I had been pining to find a way to preserve and listen to our music on vinyl LPs that will likely never be released on CD. These articles have provided some great info to help get us on our way. Thank you!
When I decided to finally learn to touch type in January of 2001, I chose to learn the Dvorak layout. Ten Thumbs was the only Mac typing tutor program I found that taught Dvorak, so that’s what I ended up using. Even Mavis Beacon dropped Dvorak support several versions ago.
While I can’t disagree with any of your specific gripes about the program, they didn’t keep me from successfully learning to touch type. And while the other programs you mention might be superior to Ten Thumbs in various ways, if they don’t support Dvorak then they are useless to anyone who wants to learn it. Ten Thumbs is the only option.
—Karl von Laudermann
I am a Power Mac 9500 user. I initially bought it off eBay to get around better on the Internet than my Performa 630CD. It has been a wonderful machine, extremely fast in comparison. Then I started looking into upgrades, and have become an upgrade “junky.” It now has 960 MB of RAM, a 500 MHz Sonnet G3 processor, USB and FireWire, Mac OS 9.2.2, and it’s flying.
Sometimes I consider putting more upgrades into it, but have reservations. What is the limit to the machine itself? Some things I have tried to do I have been told that I just can’t with this machine, like installing an internal DVD drive as an example. Is there any documentation as to the limits of expansion of this machine?
Through the OWC Web site, I have downloaded XPostFacto that will allow me to run OS X. I also have considered a G4 800 Sonnet upgrade, and an ATA 133 card so that I can run the less expensive big hard drives. Of course, the main consideration for me is, how much do I spend before I am wasting my money and should just buy a G4. Is it possible to create an “almost G4" machine out of this 9500 for 1/2 the cost of a new one? When I look at the upgrade possibilities, it seems like it.
I have asked enough questions. Thank you for your informative Web site, and of course for your time.
I’ve been down this road before myself. I think there comes a point when it is no longer a good use of money to continue upgrading and a new machine must be purchased. The 9500 itself has a lot of upgrade paths and as a result you have been able to keep the machine pretty up-to-date. But there are some things you cannot get around, such as the slower bus speed, the slower PCI slots, lack of an AGP slot for video, etc.
I think you’ve hit the ceiling with that 9500. I know the feeling, because it was hard for me to let go of my 8500. In fact, I upgraded that machine for a long time until eventually I got myself a G4 tower. I put a fast ATA card in it, a new video board, maxed out the RAM, put a very fast G3 processor in it, ripped out the floppy drive and stuffed all the bays with new drives. Eventually I got to the point where I couldn’t go anywhere but to a G4, and the price of such an upgrade from Sonnet was high enough that I decided to make the 8500 into a server and buy myself a new G4 tower. Yes I would have saved money by upgrading instead of buying a new machine, but the G4 tower I got was worth every penny and a major step up in performance and expandability (and it sure was a lot easier to work on with that flip-open side latch) I feel it was definitely the right choice.
The new machines Apple has introduced will blow your mind. They are extremely fast, come with all sorts of goodies (like Gigabit Ethernet, great video boards with ADC/DVI output, AirPort Extreme, etc.) and I think you’d be quite surprised at how much zippier even a modest new G4 will be compared to your maxed out 9500. Some of this has to do with the limitations I mentioned above, such as bus speed, slower PCI slots, etc. But in every respect the machines have a peppier feel to them—the screen draws faster, the computer responds quicker, network activity is quicker, etc. You won’t be able to turn your 9500 into one of these machines no matter how hard you try or how much you spend. So in that sense you’ve hit the point of diminishing returns, where you can only squeeze so much performance out of the machine, yet the price of upgrades is still significant.
And of course, if you wish to run OS X it can be difficult to do so on a highly tweaked machine such as yours. In fact many such machines won’t boot OS X at all. For some folks this isn’t a concern, but for others it’s a major issue.
Yes, you can always upgrade for less money—but I don’t think it makes sense for you to do so based on the state of your current machine. That’s just my opinion, and I realize you’ve invested a lot of time and money in your 9500 so you may not want to let go of a highly customized machine. I would however encourage you to take the plunge and rack up a little more credit card debt by picking up a new G4 tower. —Evan Trent
I can’t figure out how to turn on the video mirroring or external monitor. They do not appear as options in Monitors & Sound or in the Control Strip. I am trying to hook up a Macintosh PowerBook G3 to a TV for a PowerPoint presentation using an S-Video connection. I have hooked up everything in the right order.
When you hook up your PowerBook using S-Video to a TV, you must reboot in order for the machine to recognize the external monitor (if you use a VGA connection, you can put the machine to sleep and wake it up, but for S-Video a reboot is required).
Then when you open the Monitors control panel, you will see two screens. Drag one of the screens onto the other to enable video mirroring. To disable video mirroring, drag the screens apart (by dragging one off the other). —Evan Trent