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Craig Seeman
If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 9:01:00 pm

HP to spin off PC business

HP’s Personal Systems Group, which sells PCs, tablets and smartphones, has the company’s lowest profit margin although it accounted for nearly a third of HP’s overall revenues in 2010.

Given the number of people who consider the HP Z400/Z600/Z800 to be their workstations of choice this has to be significant. So when you lament Apple's supposed "Pro" abandonment and how no other company would ever do such a thing, consider this. They're all businesses and will do what's best for their bottom line.

Just like FCP7, your Zxxx isn't suddenly dead and, in this case, someone will likely pick it up, you'll have no idea what the eventually buyer's intentions will be.



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Herb Sevush
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 9:17:56 pm

Craig -

Your post is so off the mark it's a chore to know where to begin. But let's try -

1. - They're "spinning off" the line, not killing it. I would be jumping for joy if Apple would spin Off FCP7, instead of putting it to the torch.

2. - Hardware is not software, there is no upgrade path or learning curve that is being thrown away.

3. - HP, unlike Apple, does not have a monopoly on their product line. Anyone who wants a PC workstation has literally hundreds of places to go. And unlike Apple and FCP7 HP has not halted support for products under warranty, if your Z400 goes down and is under warranty, HP will be there to fix it.

It's been so quiet here lately, it's really a pleasure to have something to rail against. Thank you.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 9:30:38 pm

[Herb Sevush] " They're "spinning off" the line, not killing it."

Like marketing spin?
Somebody will pick it up as Lenovo did IBM but new decision makers may make new decisions. They lack of profitability is sweeping the PC industry.

[Herb Sevush] "HP, unlike Apple, does not have a monopoly on their product line."

Actually very much the same (numbers different of course). HP is (was) the LEADING PC manufacturer and the HP Z series popular powerful desktops amongst "professionals." Sure you can move on to another PC...Just like you can move on to another NLE.

The point is these kinds of machinations happen even amongst industry leaders whether HP or Apple.

Given the shrinking market for desktops and the niche market for "professional" NLEs one might end up right back at Avid with turnkey systems. Keep in mind that market is, relative to the broader market, getting smaller and less profitable.

...and IMHO, like it or not, the very nature of what a "professional" editor is, is changing/expanding/morphing. Apple may be further ahead of the curve for most people's "comfort zones" but given how things continue to shake out in the industry, I think they're heading in the right direction...even if some may not see it for a couple of years.



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Gary Huff
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 9:59:47 pm

[Craig Seeman]...and IMHO, like it or not, the very nature of what a "professional" editor is, is changing/expanding/morphing.

No it isn't. A professional editor is someone whose primary job is to edit. That's not changing.


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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 10:10:16 pm

[Gary Huff] "That's not changing."

But a lot of what they need to do may be and the people coming in to the profession may have a very different history and this can have a fundamental impact on GUI.



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Herb Sevush
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 10:03:09 pm

"Like marketing spin? Somebody will pick it up as Lenovo did IBM but new decision makers may make new decisions. They lack of profitability is sweeping the PC industry."

Yes, just like Lenovo. The lack of profitability is a result of the cheap availability of off the shelf parts. Tell me why this is bad for an independent editor?

"HP is (was) the LEADING PC manufacturer and the HP Z series popular powerful desktops amongst "professionals." Sure you can move on to another PC...Just like you can move on to another NLE."

No, it's emphatically NOT just like moving to another NLE. There is no learning curve, there is no cost, there is no downside whatsoever. Yes HP was a large maker of high end workstations, along with Dell and a few dozen smaller companies like Boxx. Now HP sells it's computer division to someone happy for the smaller margins -- in what way is this similar to the Apple/FCP massacre?

"Given the shrinking market for desktops and the niche market for "professional" NLEs one might end up right back at Avid with turnkey systems. Keep in mind that market is, relative to the broader market, getting smaller and less profitable."

Yes, I'll worry about this ten years from now. Until then, I figure the PC workstation market is a good deal more secure than the Mac Pro market. I like my chances in an open market, not at the whims of a single manufacturer, especially one with bigger fish to fry.

"Apple may be further ahead of the curve for most people's "comfort zones" but given how things continue to shake out in the industry, I think they're heading in the right direction...even if some may not see it for a couple of years."

Apple is not further ahead, IMHO, they are now further behind, dragging their product line up a blind alley, like the marching band in Animal House, blindly following the shiny baton no matter where it goes. Meanwhile the editing industry has moved elsewhere.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 10:17:44 pm

[Herb Sevush] "Yes, just like Lenovo. The lack of profitability is a result of the cheap availability of off the shelf parts. Tell me why this is bad for an independent editor?"

It's bad for computer makers when their margins are low and they may make decisions regarding design or the practicality of staying in the market.

[Herb Sevush] "No, it's emphatically NOT just like moving to another NLE. There is no learning curve"

Try installing a Blackmagic card in a Dell computer. I guess you've never spend time troubleshooting a new system. The OS may not change but the shifts in drivers and hardware compatibility can be radical.

[Herb Sevush] "Yes, I'll worry about this ten years from now. Until then, I figure the PC workstation market is a good deal more secure than the Mac Pro market."

So secure HP, one of the biggest is leaving it as IBM has. The ENTIRE industry is depressed. It's not secure at all. Margins are falling or, even at best stagnant especially for desktops.

I think you should read some of the computer tech financial reports.



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Gary Huff
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 10:25:26 pm

Craig, if you're champing at the bit to do all of your editing by finger on the iPad, then I'm sure it will be coming soon and I'm sure the speed and ease of use of uploading all your footage to the cloud and waving your finger on the screen will leave us all behind in the editing world.


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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 10:43:06 pm

I see a more "modular" market in which one might be using a bunch of iMac (or Windows equivalent) workstations hooked into a server/san. The reason why this is financially viable is that the iMac has a broader market.

One might consider MacBookAirs have Thunderbolt ports as well. It will be interesting if that happens on the Windows side whether Thunderbolt or USB.

Sony will be implementing Thunderbolt
http://www.extremetech.com/computing/88370-sony-vaio-z-thunderbolt-price-ma...

I really believe the computer industry is heading in that direction.

I can't help but believe Apple has something like that in mind with FCPX metadata and media management in the longer run (obviously not yet implemented but one has to believe the complexity is there for a reason).

The computers will be consumer friendly but can be integrated into a higher power "hub" (server/san) which will be high cost/high margin in the "professional" market.

I think both Avid and Apple are heading in this direction but with different backgrounds and business models. For Avid Unity it might be one thing, for Apple it'll mean developing some pricey equivalent. The difference is Avid is reliant on other computer manufacturers . . . and how many people are running Media Composer or Adobe suites on HP Zxxx boxes).

Basically lower cost work station which has broader appeal outside the "pro" market into a "pro" specific brain.

The financial reality is that the high end desktop market has been on decline for some time and one might say it even goes back to the move away from SGI workstations to lower cost desktops. It's just a continuation.



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Herb Sevush
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 10:34:55 pm

"Try installing a Blackmagic card in a Dell computer. I guess you've never spend time troubleshooting a new system. The OS may not change but the shifts in drivers and hardware compatibility can be radical."

Is that really your argument, that the time spent installing drivers on a new pc is equivalent to the time spent re-training on a new NLE. I'm not even going into the cost in time trying to use a NLE not fit for broadcast work. Your argument is absurd.

"it's bad for computer makers when their margins are low and they may make decisions regarding design or the practicality of staying in the market."

Fortunately I'm not a computer maker, I'm an editor. Their problems are my profits.

"So secure HP, one of the biggest is leaving it as IBM has. The ENTIRE industry is depressed. It's not secure at all. Margins are falling or, even at best stagnant especially for desktops."

IBM left, Compaq left (or got sold to HP) - and guess what - it had no effect on my ability to find a PC. HP will sell off it's division, Dell could go under, and I'll still be able to assemble a PC workstation I need from parts suppliers. The lack of margins don't indicate a lack, they indicate a surplus. By the time it's gone, I'll be retired.

"I think you should read some of the computer tech financial reports."

I don't have time, I'm studying up on my Avid and PPro manuals. I have shows to edit.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 10:46:29 pm

[Herb Sevush] "Is that really your argument, that the time spent installing drivers on a new pc is equivalent to the time spent re-training on a new NLE. I'm not even going into the cost in time trying to use a NLE not fit for broadcast work. "

Having been a facility engineer, the cost of trouble shooting is MAJOR. Not only in the hours to trouble shoot but the downtime in the room or the time it takes to get systems up and working. That's why VARs make money. You're paying for it one way or another. Given how similar NLEs are (FCPX withstanding obviously) the learning curve is not that severe.



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Herb Sevush
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 11:01:56 pm

"Given how similar NLEs are (FCPX withstanding obviously) the learning curve is not that severe."

Of course I'm talking about the learning curve of FCPx - or am I in the wrong forum?

As a matter of fact I can't really figure out where you're going with this - you started this thread as a warning to FCP deserters about the dangers of straying into the disappearing world of PCs. Of course an easy option would be to stay with Mac Pros when migrating to Avid or PPro, but I still think your argument is baseless when considering the next step.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 11:17:13 pm

[Herb Sevush] "Of course I'm talking about the learning curve of FCPx - or am I in the wrong forum?"

Again as former facility engineer I don't find learning FCPX that daunting compared to trouble shooting issues I've had with Windows boxes. I'm not saying one is better but I don't see "learning curve" as a more daunting form of maintenance than Windows hardware/driver/software trouble shooting. A new system means break in time either way.

[Herb Sevush] "As a matter of fact I can't really figure out where you're going with this - you started this thread as a warning to FCP deserters about the dangers of straying into the disappearing world of PCs."

Not at all. It's basically that no hardware or software is immune to sudden shifts which can impact major facility or individual purchasing decisions. Basically there is no "grass is greener" It's just another lawn with a different set of weeds. One day FCP is EOL. The next day your preferred computer hardware is gone.

[Herb Sevush] "Of course an easy option would be to stay with Mac Pros when migrating to Avid or PPro, but I still think your argument is baseless when considering the next step."

There are those who think MacPros (as we know it) are an endangered specious as well. The point is nothing is safe. Any decision you make may be temporary and you may not know the longevity of that decision.



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Robert Brown
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 6:04:06 pm

I've had my share of troubleshooting Windows but I've had to do some of that in Mac as well. In any case a lot of that stuff is much better now as the number of variables has reduced.

Any manufacturer of a "touchy" program would probably just tell you what it works with. And since a lot more components are now mounted on a mother board than used to be it's that much easier. I.E. Use Intel MB xxxxxx. Even Apple went that route and use Intel MBs.

Then also there are only a handful of major players in the I/O device market. It's very easy right now to build or buy a reliable windows system for editing.

The biggest issue I see to troubleshoot is in cross platform networking, and SANs etc. and that has more to do with configuration which is probably not as bad as it used to be but can still be a nightmare.



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Lance Bachelder
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 20, 2011 at 8:23:32 am

Since you're looking at PC's I hope you're also looking at Sony Vegas - the FIRST 64bit NLE that shipped and far more powerful, faster, more customizable and easier to use than Avid or PPro.

Just sayin...

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Irvine, California



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Everest Mokaeff
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 11:05:01 pm

There is no winner in running towards the bottom. I'd never have faith in all that BS I was to read in textbooks on companies that serve THE customers and expand because they, the people, reciprocate with buck and thus validate their marketing strategy. I'm laughing on reminiscing all those case studies about staunch entrepreneurs working hard from their garages to earn loyalty of their customers and produce the best product for them. The last bastion of capitalism is crushing down unveiling its ugly face. BTW, I'm not into HP, never was. I never was an Apple freak, either, but I know lots of people who were there onset and they kinda were starting showing signs of deep disillusionment during the last couple of years and felt betrayed. They kept Apple finically afloat all those years and now what they got in return? They were discarded because now, all of a sudden, Apple got deep pockets and can handle on its own. Bravo. I don't give a @#$% what is written in their TOS. I pissed off because their abrupt change in attitude will eventually cost me a buck and I'd rather spend it on something else.

Sony PMW-EX3, Canon Mark II 5D, FCS3 in Moscow
http://www.mokaeff.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 11:24:11 pm

[Everest Mokaeff] " I pissed off because their abrupt change in attitude will eventually cost me a buck and I'd rather spend it on something else."

As it the case with decisions made by many software and hardware manufacturers. I can post the long list of companies and products they EOLd which forced financial decisions on the purchasers.

I can't help but wonder how many VARs built turnkey Avid systems on HP Z800s.
I even wonder how Thunderbolt (let's not forget it's Intel's toy, not Apple's) will impact video i/o.
Not only does software change but hardware technology gets EOLd as well. Each change will cost you something. Alas, that's how "they" make money . . . by costing you something.



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Dominic Deacon
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 18, 2011 at 11:36:19 pm

I just jumped to PC and I couldn't be happier. Got a PC that has more punch than the most expensive iMac for less than the cost of the cheapest. Loaded it up with Edius and I'm having fun editing for the first time in ages. It is so much faster and friendlier than Final Cut there are no words.


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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 12:06:55 am

[Dominic Deacon] " Loaded it up with Edius and I'm having fun editing for the first time in ages."

There's a good reason why some chose Edius. There are lots of options out there. We don't all have to drive the same car. It's what feels comfortable to us as individuals. We learn the nuances of what we use.

[Dominic Deacon] "Got a PC that has more punch than the most expensive iMac for less than the cost of the cheapest."

Although it always depends on what features you value. I don't think Apple is overpriced but they put in things that may not be critical to many. I think Thunderbolt will be very important by the end of the year but for many USB3 will be fine.

The issue I see with PCs (and I do own and work with them) is that there's a lot of issues around parts compatibility. I mention Blackmagic as one because they have a range of recommended motherboards and recommend against Dell. I've talked to Osprey (Viewcast) and it's really not too dissimilar of a situation. You have to think of your roadmap over the next two to three years (whatever the life of you PC is) and whether you'll need USB3 or Thunderbolt or Blackmagic, Osprey and whether your system will grow with that. Not that you don't need to think about the same things with a Mac but with PCs there's a tendency to think about the CPU, GPU, PCIe expansion slots and lanes, and that's it. Motherboards, even with the same CPU may have specific compatibility with i/o devices. This is why some people who depend on their machines for their livelihoods go through VARs who have experience building turnkey systems.



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Gary Huff
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 12:09:53 am

FCPX cannot even use Blackmagic, so I'm not sure what your point is.


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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 12:43:21 am

[Gary Huff] "FCPX cannot even use Blackmagic, so I'm not sure what your point is."

Blackmagic, AJA, Matrox are all working on solutions given current limitations.

It's not about feature specific comparisons but the belief that that moving away from Mac will obviate the need for these decisions or that major shifts don't happen with other projects which might incur significant expenses.



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Shawn Miller
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 12:06:50 am

"HP will consider a broad range of options that may include, among others, a full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin-off or other transaction."

This doesn't mean that HP is discontinuing z class workstations. I wouldn't be very surprised if they folded their workstation product line into their entrprise business and spun off it's consumer (PC) hardware division altogether. Something tells me that HP isn't walking way from large post houses like WETA and Lucasfilm.

Shawn



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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 12:50:46 am

[Shawn Miller] "Something tells me that HP isn't walking way from large post houses like WETA and Lucasfilm."

I don't see any basis for that. Given HP's comments it sounds like it's all up in the air depending on what gets them the most money/value.

As noted, in the article, PCs don't have a big margin for them. The article states:

moves that will allow it to focus on the higher-margin enterprise business revolving around software, services and servers.


Maybe you're thinking the HP Zxx line will become a server based system. That's not a "workstation" in my mind.



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Jeff Bernstein
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 10:24:41 am

All I got to say is... "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? NO!"


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Shawn Miller
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 7:34:31 pm

"I don't see any basis for that. Given HP's comments it sounds like it's all up in the air depending on what gets them the most money/value."

Well, that is the point isn't it. Since everything is up in the air, my point is just as valid as yours. Again, if HP spins off PSG, there's no way to know which parts of that group will go. My bet is that enterpise level/strength hardware will stay at HP.

"As noted, in the article, PCs don't have a big margin for them. The article states: moves that will allow it to focus on the higher-margin enterprise business revolving around software, services and servers. That's not a workstation in my mind."


This only supports your statements if all HP PCs sell at equally low margins. If HP is doing well by selling servers and high end workstations into large customers, then my bet is that they will fold their workstation products into the server group/division.

"Maybe you're thinking the HP Zxx line will become a server based system."

No, I'm saying that HP has enterprise solutions for media and entertainment, which is a combination of services, hardware and software... so it's not unreasonable to suspect that they will want to continue upgrading customers who have 1000+ server licenses and 300+ workstation seats. I just think it's premature to imply that HP is abandoning their z series workstations. For all anyone knows, HP will continue to support their current PC customers and even sell refurbished machines into the distant future... like IBM does with some of it's EOL PC lines.

Thanks,

Shawn



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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 8:06:36 pm

[Shawn Miller] "If HP is doing well by selling servers and high end workstations into large customers, then my bet is that they will fold their workstation products into the server group/division. "

The article says

HP’s Personal Systems Group, which sells PCs, tablets and smartphones, has the company’s lowest profit margin although it accounted for nearly a third of HP’s overall revenues in 2010.

That "HP is doing well" doesn't hit the point. They sell lots of PCs and have low margin. It's simply not the margin they're looking for.

“By spinning off PCs, HP could effectively isolate potentially volatile financial numbers and their effect on its more stable, higher-margin businesses,” King said

HP’s PC business has been marginally profitable, but the margins have shrunk over the years, said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates.

The software would also give HP a foothold in the emerging big data space, where it could build systems to compete with EMC’s Greenplum and IBM’s Netezza. “Both [of those] companies consider Big Data a market with a potentially huge future,” King said.

The PC business is the first obvious domino to fall as Apotheker tries to bring profitability to the company, said Ezra Gottheil, senior analyst at Technology Business Research.

And there are other articles you can search that state that HP is getting out of the PC business. There's nothing that leads me to think that they will retain HP Z series as part of a software service driven solution any more so than IBM.

One can hope for HP's "Lenovo" but I see many Lenovo laptops and not desktops. The entire desktop industry is changing as is the economy which drives that.

This is why, as I've said elsewhere, I speculate Apple is looking at FCPX as part of a server based solution in which lower cost workstations (iMacs, etc) will feed. Apple is just taking a different approach. Think Avid Unity but very very different.

I can't speak in detail about the technology but, watching the economics and business models can indicate possible directions. Desktops are becoming a smaller and less profitable market so the power of editing and facilities designed around them will change.



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Shawn Miller
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 11:41:45 pm

"And there are other articles you can search that state that HP is getting out of the PC business."

I'm not disputing that HP may be getting out of the consumer PC business... I'm saying that their enterprise business is a different animal, and that it is not inconcieveable that they'll retain the products that support their industry solutions (hardware wise), that's all. This happens all the time, a company may spin off a business unit or a product group, but that doesn't mean that they'll spin off all aspects of of that business.

"There's nothing that leads me to think that they will retain HP Z series as part of a software service driven solution any more so than IBM"

HP's industry solutions are a combination software, services and hardware (just like IBM). I don't see any evidence that they're looking to become a purely software/business consulting company like Accenture or Cap Gemini.

"Desktops are becoming a smaller and less profitable market so the power of editing and facilities designed around them will change."

Possibly, but I don't believe we'll see the end of the powerful workstation anytime soon. It's possible that editing stations will need less powerful computers in the future, but I don't think that's true of all post production jobs. I don't imagine VFX/3D work will be done on iMacs or the like for a very long time to come.

Shawn



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Walter Soyka
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 1:30:54 pm

Craig, you've raised an interesting point, but I'd agree with most of the other posters that it's not at all the same as the Apple/FCPX situation. Herb and others have already argued that you can simply replace an HP workstation with another one from another vendor without serious interruption. One of the biggest benefits of the PC platform is its openness -- you have many choices, and are not tied to one single vendor.

I'd add that HP is being very open about their future plans, and customers today can use that information to make business decisions. If HP had done what Apple did, you wouldn't be able to buy a Z800 today, and they would have recalled old stock from distributors. Instead, HP is continuing to operate the PSG business exactly as they were yesterday.

The IBM/Lenovo example has come up a few times, too. Here, I'd mention that Lenovo knew what they were buying when they bought that business -- the ThinkPad and ThinkStation lines, and with them, access to professional market segment with high expectations for quality and durability. I know from personal experience that Lenovo's ThinkPads really do continue IBM's tradition of top-notch engineering and build quality, and the ThinkStation D20 looks like a nice competitor to the HP Z800.

I think it's a mistake to look at the computer industry financials as a whole and assume that workstation financials follow. In my quick look, I couldn't find anything on workstation margins specifically, but I'd guess HP's workstation margins are healthy. I just configured a very nice Mac Pro on Apple's web site for around $8000. An equivalent Z800 (same processors, memory, hard drive, connectivity, warranty) priced at $9500. The HP Z800 cost nearly 20% more than the Mac Pro for roughly the same hardware! Given HP's size, I can't imagine that's all higher component cost. Additionally, according to HP's 2010 annual report, workstations revenue increased 42% over 2009. I'd be very surprised if HP's workstation business weren't robust.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 3:27:05 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Herb and others have already argued that you can simply replace an HP workstation with another one from another vendor without serious interruption."

Absolutely not true when it comes to hardware compatibility. On a day to day basis I'm dealing with people who find video cards that work in one CPU have problems in another, which is why I mention Blackmagic but it's not limited to that. I'm dealing with people who find driver issues with different combinations of hardware.



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Walter Soyka
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 3:37:04 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Absolutely not true when it comes to hardware compatibility. On a day to day basis I'm dealing with people who find video cards that work in one CPU have problems in another, which is why I mention Blackmagic but it's not limited to that. I'm dealing with people who find driver issues with different combinations of hardware."

This is an issue if you buy and configure your own gear. This is not an issue if you work with a VAR. It's a very simple trade-off: time or money.

Once you have a machine working, don't go updating drivers and software willy-nilly. Stick with supported configurations that work until you have an actual need for an upgrade. Maintain a known-working disk image you can recover to in case of emergency.

As an aside, driver nirvana doesn't exist on the Mac platform, either. I have a couple kernel panics a week in my Mac Pros with NVIDIA Quadro 4000 or GTX 285s.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 4:19:12 pm

[Walter Soyka] "This is an issue if you buy and configure your own gear. This is not an issue if you work with a VAR. It's a very simple trade-off: time or money.
"


I agree. I thought I had mentioned that VAR was an option. Right now many VARs are using the HP Zxxx series. No one can say with a certitude were that will go from HP. Sure it'll have value to some company or spin off but the desktop side of the computer industry is not in great shape.

I make no claims the Mac is better beyond it being a system with limited choices so much more limited problems. Developers are clear what they are/aren't doing for it though. Kernel panics only happen to me only when there's a real hardware failure or rarely when a hardware device hasn't been tested for compatibility. I just follow the hardware device's provided info and I know the compatibility otherwise I call the manufacturer. With Macs they'll know the answer almost immediately. I'm dealing with Mac and Windows environment daily and given the consulting I do it's many more systems then my own on both platforms. With Apple, there's so few systems that you pretty much know what you're getting and what it's compatible with assuming the third party companies are honest in their tech notes.



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Walter Soyka
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 5:15:41 pm

[Craig Seeman] "I agree. I thought I had mentioned that VAR was an option. Right now many VARs are using the HP Zxxx series. No one can say with a certitude were that will go from HP."

I know, but my point was that a VAR will not sell you a system that has the sort of conflicts that you're discussing. If the Z800 were discontinued, VARs would find another workstation configuration and sell that.

You certainly can't predict what any one vendor will do overnight with their products, but open markets move a little slower. Even if the biggest workstation vendor drops out, as long as people still need workstations, someone will build and support them.


[Craig Seeman] "I make no claims the Mac is better beyond it being a system with limited choices so much more limited problems. Developers are clear what they are/aren't doing for it though. Kernel panics only happen to me only when there's a real hardware failure or rarely when a hardware device hasn't been tested for compatibility. I just follow the hardware device's provided info and I know the compatibility otherwise I call the manufacturer. With Macs they'll know the answer almost immediately. I'm dealing with Mac and Windows environment daily and given the consulting I do it's many more systems then my own on both platforms. With Apple, there's so few systems that you pretty much know what you're getting and what it's compatible with assuming the third party companies are honest in their tech notes."

I mentioned some Mac stability issues (my NVIDIA issues are not uncommon) only to point out that configuration and driver trouble crosses platforms. I really do apologize if I was mischaracterizing your point of view, and I certainly don't want to start a platform war. I own, use, and specify both Macs and PCs (the right tool for the job at hand!), so I think I'm Switzerland in that regard.

I suppose my main point is that Apple's discontinuation of FCS3 is not analogous to HP's interest in selling their PSG division for two reasons. First, the specialized software we use fundamentally affects our workflow more directly than the commodity hardware does. Second, HP is actually being upfront with the public and with their customers about their intentions for the platform.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Herb Sevush
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 5:27:04 pm

"Second, HP is actually being upfront with the public and with their customers about their intentions for the platform."

And third, they are spinning off the product, not EOL'ing it. Imagine the difference in this forum if Apple had announced that they were selling the FCP code to Blackmagic - but why bother when they could reap the buzz of sacrificing their user base on the alter of Cool.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 6:05:59 pm

[Herb Sevush] "they are spinning off the product, not EOL'ing it."

One doesn't know until the decision is made. Products are bought for many reasons and spin off companies can change directions very quickly. Right now desktop computers are not a lucrative market.

Of course maybe a company like Avid, who makes proprietary hardware although trying to be more open, might find the HP Zxxx series perfect for building and selling turnkey systems . . . but what would that do to Premiere Pro users.

FCPX is not EOLd and if one can have hope for HP PCs one can have hope for FCPX. It's speculative.



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Herb Sevush
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 6:21:26 pm

Craig -

I love following the labyrinthine trails of your logic. First you start a post quoting a headline reading "HP to spin off PC business", now you are ready to argue with your own headline and speculate that HP is going to dump it, whereas the actual article merely says that HP is "investigating" spinning off the PC business. So the lynch pin of your whole argument is indeed wildly speculative - only it's you speculating and then arguing against yourself.

FCPX is not EOLd and if one can have hope for HP PCs one can have hope for FCPX. It's speculative.

I don't have to "hope" for HP PCs, they already exist. FCPX is not dead, it's merely stillborn. It would have to live before it could die. You are on record as hoping it will become useful. I am on record as saying that I have no fear about the demise of the entire PC world. Time will tell, but I'm willing to wager.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 6:53:03 pm

There's now a lot of articles about HP's announcement and it's clear HP is leaving the PC business. Whether it spins off or is sold, the resultant thing that appears will be unknown. What they will do with it is unknown. Companies buy technologies for different reasons. Negotiations often leave parts in the dust. It's clear that HP's primary goal is "out" and they are going to look for their own business interests first.

The PC industry specific to desktops is changing. The economy is a big factor, not just the technology.

You may well see HP laptops live on under another name for example but desktops "trimmed down" in the many meanings that word might imply.

Apple, on the other hand, is likely to continue R&D on FCPX even if the resultant NLE is not to the liking of some. They are motivated to use it to sell their boxes.



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Herb Sevush
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 7:24:16 pm

"Apple, on the other hand, is likely to continue R&D on FCPX even if the resultant NLE is not to the liking of some. They are motivated to use it to sell their boxes."

You mean laptops and Ipads don't you? The single screen FCPX is the official announcement of the end of the Apple workstation.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 7:50:40 pm

[Herb Sevush] "You mean laptops and Ipads don't you? The single screen FCPX is the official announcement of the end of the Apple workstation."

I mentioned elsewhere that my own speculation was iMacs feeding into a Server/SAN setup. Looking at the metedata in FCPX and looking at where Apple seems to be going it would be a network of workstations feeding a single powerful hub. Such box might be niched to "Pro" but might be a high margin product. I think the MacPro is going to "morph" into something else but that really depends where Thunderbolt goes and it may take more than a year for that to shake out.

If I had to use a "bite" to describe it, think maybe Avid MC and Unity but very very different. Avid's big money maker is not Media Composer. Obviously Avid is not going to give MC that kind of radical change...but this is why I'm saying "very very different." I think Thunderbolt will play a big role and I think Apple is more dependent on that than on FCPX to see how they will re-enter the pro market (deep wallet market).

It's interesting that Sony AFAIK is the only PC maker to announce Thunderbolt implement (with a different connector than MiniDisplay) and they're putting in a laptop first of course. Also interesting is that HP said no to Thunderbolt publicly and now they're dropping out of the PC market.

I think the PC market is going through a significant change and companies in that market are exploring how to get better margins and Apple, Sony, HP are all making moves.

As far as FCPX is concerned, I think Apple's looking for it to be scalable from Air to Server Seat and that's part of why the media management is in such a strange state at the moment. Even the Motion to FCPX effects workflow points towards an FX designer deploying FX templates with controls on what the editor can tweak.

This doesn't mean Apple will succeed in heading into this direction but for them it's not as risky as it would be for other companies. In once sense one might say it's not so much that FCPX is not worth much to Apple so much as it's Apple's "Penny Stock" that might by huge dividends down the road.



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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 19, 2011 at 5:56:17 pm

My point is when talking about facility costs to move, the cost of having to buy a new hardware system and the costs of using a VAR are significant. For the editor it might be "easier" to change hardware but it may be no less costly.

If you have systems built around Blackmagic or Osprey cards you (or the VAR) have only certain hardware choices just as if one used FCP7 you have limited places to go relative to budget.

If you needed to replace your HP Zxxx workstation and it was packed with Blackmagic cards you'd have to examine system compatibility with those cards or dump the cards too. If you were to go to Blackmagic's site you'd see HP Z and their motherboard choices supported but not Dell for example.

The point is ANY movement required by the end user due to a change of development is going to cost.

No one will know what is going to happen with HP's PC business until it happens. People who configure hardware that works on HP systems may (or may not) have some tough decisions to make. But this is commonplace in the industry.



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Richard Cardonna
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 20, 2011 at 1:57:51 am

You can always dual boot on a mac so whats the problem? And you have the same stability and continuity just like the mac world.

Richard


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Lance Bachelder
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 20, 2011 at 8:49:53 am

Who cares if HP stops making PCs? It will have no effect whatsoever on the PC editing world. Dell will be happy and Avid and Adobe will have to qualify some new machines that's all.

I have 2 high-end custom boxes that I built and both run Avid, Adobe and Sony apps perfectly along with AJA hardware. Don't care about Blackmagic because they've always had driver and reliability issues when trying to deliver a broadcast show every week.

My PCs aren't as pretty as my 2 Intel Macs but they're getting used a lot more since Apple abandoned the NLE market.

PS - Is Craig Seeman the biggest pest in the history of the Cow or what? FCPX will NEVER be widely adapted in the pro world - it's complete crap.

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Irvine, California



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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 20, 2011 at 9:40:59 am

[Lance Bachelder] "FCPX will NEVER be widely adapted in the pro world - it's complete crap."

In two years I'm going to respond to this post again. I remember in 1990 the facility I worked for said the same thing about Avid. A year later all their broadcast online moved to it even though it was still seriously lacking (and it was) at that time.



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Walter Soyka
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 20, 2011 at 1:05:04 pm

I have probably had more than my fair share of disagreements with Craig, but I have immense respect for his experience and intelligence. Craig is honest and realistic about the current strengths and weaknesses of FCPX, and though he may be more optimistic for Apple than most here, I think that his forward thinking (through the lens of his long and diverse industry experience) should be a welcome counterpoint to the bulk of the discussion here.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Chris Harlan
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 20, 2011 at 6:50:37 pm

[Lance Bachelder] "PS - Is Craig Seeman the biggest pest in the history of the Cow or what? FCPX will NEVER be widely adapted in the pro world - it's complete crap."


I fear, Lance, that you are speaking out of your hat. Craig, while far more an evangelist for FCP X than I could currently possibly be, has been fair and even-handed in his acknowledgments of FCP X's weaknesses. We both have strong areas of disagreement about FCP X's value, yet he has earned my respect, and further, I have learned things of value from him. Sadly, I find myself having to post statements like this more often than I would like.


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Tim Wilson
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 21, 2011 at 10:34:07 am

I recall what my parents told my sister and me: "I don't care who started it. CUT IT OUT!" Please. A moratorium on posts ABOUT posters. Please stick to the topic.

Apologies for repeating a few parts of this on other threads, but its important enough to warrant that. Let me add some clarity directly from HP. This is a spinning off of the Personal Systems Group. This is largely the stuff acquired from Compaq, as well as some products that came out of the Palm acquisition.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with Workstation Business Unit, which continues to expand. They have been in the process of doubling down with workstations, in this market and other workstation-targeted markets (research, medicine, architecture, animation, etc.), long before Apple created its own mess.

Yeah, yeah, HP advertises with Creative COW. That doesn't make any of this any less true.

This is most certainly something to ponder for those considering jumping to Windows, and ESPECIALLY for those NOT pondering it. Maybe you should, at least on HP. Imagine that - a company that drops its gadgets and consumer product lines to focus on pros!

We can revisit this topic again when any other company decides to go this route.


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Craig Seeman
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Sep 15, 2011 at 7:10:50 pm

[Tim Wilson] "Let me add some clarity directly from HP. This is a spinning off of the Personal Systems Group. This is largely the stuff acquired from Compaq, as well as some products that came out of the Palm acquisition."

Old thread but everyone one it should still get the update. I received an email from HP Small Business direct. It's "The Spirit of a Start-Up. The Security of HP." And, HP's Personal Systems Group is the #1 Personal Computer Company. Today & Tomorrow."
It points to this webpage.
http://www.hp.com/united-states/pc-matters/
and there on the bottom are three computers including the HP Z800

So the HP Z series seems to be part of the Personal Systems Group HP is spinning off/selling. Of course the email makes clear support will continue . . . but I wanted to point out that, as I suspected, Personal Computers means ALL HP Personal Computers including "Workstations."

I am curious if PSG will eventually counter HP's comment saying they won't implement Thunderbolt. Acer and Asus have announced that they will be supporting Thunderbolt next year.



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Walter Soyka
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 22, 2011 at 1:44:07 pm

A quick follow-up for anyone interested in the HP news.

The market pounded HP (the largest manufacturer of PCs) for pre-announcing they were looking to spin off or sell PSG. Their stock dropped 20% in a single day. HP claimed they felt they had to pre-announce the move because of SEC requirements, but analysts criticized HP for talking about the move instead of just making it.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Walter Soyka
Re: If you're jumping to Windows - Something to ponder
on Aug 23, 2011 at 1:16:44 pm

Another HP workstation news tidbit I just ran across (for anyone still following this thread):

"At 42.9 percent of units, HP is now the undisputed king of the workstation market, clearly distancing itself from Dell at 34.8 percent."

http://www.jonpeddie.com/publications/work_station_report/

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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