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Does having a PowerPc processor cause programs to not respond?
January 22, 2010 1:52 PM   Subscribe

Is it simply possible that, because I have a 4-year-old Powerbook - OS 10.4.11, one month old new hard drive, memory and RAM maxed out, only used 1/4 of memory, system checked regularly with Onyx (with no problem) - I keep getting "program not responding to, especially, my Opera and Firefox browsers, as well as programs like Word, iPhoto, and iTunes? Plus, more than half the time my Powerbook won't close down when I ask it to and have to do a hard turn off, which can't be good for it. I've asked a couple of Mac forums, a Mac Genius, and my so-far trustworthy Mac guy whether having a PowerPC processor, instead of the newer Intel one, should make any difference. I got a resounding no. Still, does anyone have a contrarian and, perhaps, right, explanation? Thanks.
posted by holdenjordahl to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
 
Actually in all that, I would be most worried about "Onyx". It's not the best-written program in the world and I've seen systems act really bizarrely after it.
posted by Mwongozi at 1:57 PM on January 22, 2010


The PowerPC machines were just about as reliable as the Intel ones are. The type of processor is not your problem.

Odds are there's some kind of software problem. When was the last time you installed the OS? If you make a new user account, do you have the same kinds of problems when logged in to that account?
posted by xil at 2:05 PM on January 22, 2010


hello xil.
i made a new account and, after a few tests, everything seems to be fine.
thank you!
now the question is, is there a program that discovers software incompatibilities?
posted by holdenjordahl at 2:48 PM on January 22, 2010


The PowerPC machines were just about as reliable as the Intel ones are. The type of processor is not your problem.

This is not necessarily true. Apple hasn't released a PPC machine since 2006. Its entirely possible that developers do not test as rigorously on PPC because of that, and its a matter of course to get weird bugs when targeting another architecture (say, you are doing something wrong, but compiler for arch A happens to be forgiving about it whereas compiler for arch B is not.)

That said, it is extremely unlikely that anyone is going to be able to give you a right explanation on this for any reasonable value of right. There's just too much going on. Most people who see this kind of thing are going think "bitrot" and reinstall your system software. To actually figure out what is going on would take way more effort than its worth, so they'll wipe everything and reinstall. If everything works then, fine, but you don't know what actually caused the problem. If its not bitrot, the other possibility is weird flakey hardware, but that's very difficult to diagnose as well, and most people will just replace components until it starts working.

So you have two choices: pursue an explanation, or pursue a working computer. Pursuing an explanation is extremely unlikely to be fruitful. To pursue a working computer, back everything up, reformat, reinstall.

On behalf of the computer-shit-making industry, I'd like to apologize. We suck.
posted by jeb at 2:54 PM on January 22, 2010


hey jeb.
i opt for the second choice and appreciate the candor. thanks...
posted by holdenjordahl at 3:06 PM on January 22, 2010


Actually in all that, I would be most worried about "Onyx". It's not the best-written program in the world and I've seen systems act really bizarrely after it.

Uh-oh. I have an old 800mhz Powerbook G4, and typically use Onyx to run cron tasks. But if it's as unstable as you say, what's the best alternative out there?
posted by invisible ink at 9:08 PM on January 22, 2010


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