Saving the Mac: how to tell if it is on or off


So, at the office we have this 300k, all powerful state of the art Macintosh we use for “art”, like page design, editing, etc. It does a lot of stuff but we use about 1% of its capacity since, well, we do not know how to use the other stuff and anyways we barely have time to do what we have to with it and that’s it.

Problem is that it is so beautiful, elegant, minimal… you never know if it is on or off. While the PC sounds like the last chopper pulling out of Nam, this baby is silent, too silent. Deadly silent like a Gogoro doing 90 in a small one way alley.

There is this tiny pinprick of a light to know it is on. That’s it. If it is asleep, moving the mouse will not wake her up immediately, you gotta wait.

Anyways, my question is if I can rig a lamp or a bulb or some kind of alarm, to alert me the thing has been on since last week, over the weekend, and if I forget today, it will be on until next Thursday… next leap year.

Moreover, as it is a weekly occurence that a computer explodes here, if that thing goes, I’ll have a heart attack. First of all, because we are close. I feel for her. But most importantly because she is vital to our job and so expensive it cannot be replaced immediately.

Any ideas?


Before or after you mix in the cheese powder??


WTF are you talking about? a 300k NT Mac… for what? what can it do that a 25k NT PC doesn’t?


I guess what she means is that the budget for it was 300k :wink: 100k was spent on the Mac and the software, and 200k on … um, other stuff.

Short answer to the question is “no”, but I wouldn’t worry about it. Those things are really miserly with power in standby mode. In fact it’s probably sucking out your lifeforce and pushing energy back into the grid.


Just one: I hope someday you write a novel set largely in Taiwanese offices. :slight_smile:


It’ll last longer if you keep it running 24/7.
I have a laptop here running for almost 10 years now 24/7 and it won’t give up.
The laptop is a 450 mghz asus and I bought it second hand.


To answer that question, we’d have to set up a course on magazine and book pusblishing in Taiwan…

Short answer: things look prettier. As far as the ol country, people in the know of design, editing, photography, etc. used a Mac and here, they keep using it. There might be a technical advantage but most importantly, our people work with that software.


The direct answer to your question is technically yes. There is at least one way via iCal in which you could set the computer to turn off at, say, 7:00 p.m. every Friday. You’d be assuming some risk by messing with that, FWIW. Additionally, there are a range of other toggles and whatnot in Settings and Preferences in which you could achieve some sort of auto-pilot that shuts her down or puts her to sleep, etc. And I’m pretty sure you can set the screen saver to never fade out. [Personally, I wouldn’t do any of that. More below.]

Moreover, the anti-geek way of creating a “lamp” or signal device would be to plug a external hard drive (or flash drive) into one of the USB slots - and just leave it there whether you’re using it or not. Every XHD and flash I own has an indicator light. Now, the ports are of course on the back, so this creates a bit of extra effort you could avoid by going with the XHD, which requires a cable, and thus, you can set it out front. Light is on, computer is on. And vicey-versy. By the way, flash and XHDs don’t suck much from the processor when idling.

As previously mentioned, most computers, but especially Macs are designed to run interminably. Powering up and down is considerably rougher on the components.

[quote=“Hamletintaiwan”]It’ll last longer if you keep it running 24/7.
I have a laptop here running for almost 10 years now 24/7 and it won’t give up.
The laptop is a 450 mghz asus and I bought it second hand.[/quote]

I, too, have had non-tube driven electronic devices last far beyond the standard usage threshold, which was mainly achieved by never turning them off except in extreme circumstance.

If you’re worried about the ole girl blowing up from dodgy electricity, just make sure she’s plugged into a surge protector and a power conditioner (I know, that’s a bit much). From my experience, Apple is pretty good about self-preservation in that regard. Shit gets a little wild and she shuts herself down.

Another FWIW: A 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display, 4.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz, 32GB 1867MHz DDR3 SDRAM, 1TB Flash Storage, AMD Radeon R9 M395X with 4GB video memory, Magic Mouse 2 + Magic Trackpad 2,Magic Keyboard, etc., is almost US$5,000 out the door, tax and non-proprietary software not included. I would imagine Ms. Icon’s company is balls-deep into some fancy publishing software you don’t get from Microsoft Office - although that’s not a knock on dem. Anyway, the point is, I could easily see dropping US$10k on the whole she-bang. :2cents:

So…lemme ask you. Does that NT$25k TW PC have the chutzpah to run Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Effect, InDesign and Lightroom? At the same time? Maybe, but good fuckin’ luck with that. Meanwhile, let’s say you’re doing audio production. No way in hell I could manage Logic Pro (or equivalent) on a $800 PC. I would need at least $800 in monitors and speakers.

Anyway, I use the XHD method and I also never turn it off unless I’m going to be out of town for a week or longer - and sometimes I forget to do that.


Thanks for all the feedback, guys. This is our crown jewel, our loveliest pet. I’d like to take better care of her.

Now, the second issue: they forced me to turn off and unplug/disconnect the surge protectror and power stabilizer backup thinghie. “It is not necessary”, they said. If is noisy, it heats up. Our power setup set off its alarms, that is why it was noisy.


Super lucky, for running all that stuff at once, you just need RAM. A 50K NT PC is already more than enough for them, and the sw they use… I don’t think that is NASA sw…


Right on, heyzeus-eighty. But…Icon is talking about a serious system, doing serious work, running serious programs, which require a serious amount of RAM (you’re fronting on that claim - prove it), and that’s all they’ve got, and Icon clearly cares about the operation. You’re being glib, j-town. They have one machine. One. And they like it a bunch!

So now, ahem, you’re upping the ante to a 50k TW machine, and I’ll be straight with you, if that shit can handle all your gaming requirements with the headphones and the Bluetooth and the Taiwan Number One bullshit - you make a fantastic point. A machine is what you do with it, and at the same time, what you don’t.

Even if Icon’s company buys Apple shit because it looks good, the vast majority of users will tell you, if not swear to Jobs, that Macs crush PCs in the publishing, graphic design, audio production, and general artistic venues. Why? Wanna run the database for Chomp Corp. with 3,489 employees? Windows, chief. WIndows. Don’t put a Mac near that shit.

The software is negligible in terms of RAM, is it? And I’m not compu-clowning over terabytes and whatnot. The problem isn’t the software, it’s that I’m often dealing with files that are GIGABYTES in size. Anyway, here’s another way of looking at it: Apple has the most insanely simple interfaces and applications, and for some reason, that rankles coders and whatnot. In the end, we all want a super easy, simple, cheap computer. Then it dissolves into arguments about style and whatnot - and that’s fuckin’ noise, man. Noise. The 2016 Select Jaysus 8-0 might be spitting hot fire, but I can’t cook with it.

I just bought a brand-new 65k Acer Laptop for my wife, because that’s what she wanted. Windows works for her. Spreadsheet here, box of text here. They like it because?

My 4-year-old son has been downloading apps and making his own videos on his iPad since the day he received it. I was in my late 20s the first time I bought a computer from Dell, but I know for certain that setting up the Dell was on par with assembling the average IKEA snow globe, i.e. super_fucking_hard. Ultimately successful, but shrug-worthy.

Anyway, NASA has been lying to us this whole time. The earth is flat, the universe is not expanding, and Prince, as a Jehovah’'s Witness, wouldn’t take drugs under penalty of death.

Aliens always seem to take the most backwoods, fucked-up methheads of northeastern Arkansas. How is that possible? It’s not.




Most NASA software would probably run in a i486-DX2. I mean, recently, they were looking for COBOL programmers because some of their machines still need to be programmed in COBOL.


Quick reply: COBOL is not intended for analyzing data, not at all, and the NASA has SW for analyzing data at several levels. That’s the SW that I meant, and I guess that my point was clear…

I will come back by here for replying the nonsense about MAC and PC.


Okay, a few things:

  1. As it happens, Icon’s “company” buy fancy, expensive stuff because the guys at purchases are not using their own money. It’s easy to overkill it when you’re not picking from your own pocket.

  2. “the immense majority of users” meaning the designers, who buy Apple stuff because it looks good. In the past, Adobe used to make their apps for Mac, then port them to PC. Some time ago, they switched focus, and now they make their software for Windows PC, then they port their software to Mac. I’m talking freaking Adobe here, not some random indy developer. Plus, PCs and Macs share most of their guts nowadays, they’re not that different, except when it comes to O.S.

  3. If you want to run huge databases, you should keep away from Macs, yes, but also from Windows. There’s a reason why companies like Google and Amazon use Linux (specifically, Ubuntu) for their databases: because Linux is better at managing huge amounts of data in parallel computing (also the reason why the guys at the studios in Hollywood might use Macs or PCs to preview their cutting process, but do the actual render in Linux/Unix machines).


In the good ol days, we had several Macs, one per language, even though the Mac has a very comprehensive multilanguage platform.

Note: that is something we lack in the PCs. As a matter of fact, we have lost many of the special Spanish symbols over the years. Some we have resorted to draw by hand because mei panfa!

Our Mac is one of the two surviving ones in the department, dating from 2009. In the good ol days, we’d change PCs every 2 to 4 years, and Mac I think I saw one change only in the time I have been here. Nowadays, we don’t even have budget to buy spare parts to repair the PCs and I fear that if the Mac goes, they may not have the means to buy a new one. :sob:

They used to have a guy service the Mac quite often. I haven’t seen him in years. And that is a service offered directly by Apple Inc., no inhouse repairman. As a matter of fact, the computer guy does not touch the Macs, he says it is not his duty -and anyways, he’s available 3 days a week, if you are lucky, he might get to see you this week or the next.

  1. I have worked in publishing for the last 16 years, and both in Taiwan and HK we used Macs for drawings, charts, photo editing and other “artistic” tasks. Page setting, all the process up to printing. As said, the programs are for Mac. Heck, on a non related matter, the kiddies that now do our stuff carry around their MacBooks -on an assistants salary, so I guess that is Mom and Pop’s money.

  2. We do not have databases, as that is not part of our jobs.


Icon, you can’t “lose” the “special symbols”. I’m writing this in a Chinese computer, with Chinese Windows OS, in a Chinese keyboard:

Ñ, á, é, í, ó, ú, gü…

I write EVERYDAY in Spanish and Catalan with Chinese keyboards in Chinese OS. The only thing you need to do is to add Spanish as a language input in your PC’s control panel, and tell it that for Spanish language, it has to use the Spanish keyboard layout. You’ll get all the characters, in the same place you usually have them (even if the drawing in the keys for special symbols don’t match, the letters and numbers do).


OK, gimme back the ones for primero and segundo and etc. I’ll be happy.

Oh, we had to fight for those Ñ, á, é, í, ó, ú, gü… As a matter of fact, that is the test we give the printers every time. Some just don’t have it, can’t print it.

Not to mention couple of times they did managed to wipe our Spanish dictionaries. I hate it when they “upgrade” or software.


Wait, what? :astonished:
Tell us more about this. Stuff goes boom in your office?

Edit: Also, what happens if you plug in a USB light in and turn the Mac off? Does it stay on or switch off? Could be a cheap easy solution.


Oh, yeah. Once one of my computers exploded and it actually formed a little mushroom-like cloud… and I am not kidding!

I was thinking a small USB fan -we have a very noisy one here- but a light would do.