So, after unpackaging my brand-spanking new Mac Mini, I grabbed a copy of the X-Plane demo, dropped in an old usb joystick and fired it up. Oddly, X-Plane itself asked me if I wanted to calibrate the joystick, which struck me as odd, that hasn't happened in years, not since my days with plain old DOS. DOS didn't have a controller subsystem so there was no way to calibrate a joystick once, for all apps, but Microsoft fixed that long, long ago. Even Linux has jscal to allow the same thing. It's command-line, but it works.
So of course I assumed that on a Mac, with it's reputation for dead simple plug and play, everything just works, dead simple and easy, it would have the same right? Umm, no. No command-line tool, no graphical tool, no voice activated tool, no swiping on my LCD, nothing. It's left up to the application, kinda like DOS. Way to go Apple.
Now, why do I care, since X-Plane has such a utility? Well, in X-Plane, I don't. But after downloading and installing Flightgear, I do. They leave the joystick calibration up to the OS, and rightly so. So, I can't use the joystick in Flightgear, not that I'd want to use it on this machine anyway, as I've already found out that the OpenGL rendering performance on the Mac Mini is horrid. Wow, another strike over my cheap Linux box sitting next to me that was made out of spare parts from a friend's basement. That is truly, utterly, sad.
Seriously Apple, is that the best you can do? If you think I'm interested in tilting an ipad to fly a plane in any realistic simulation, you guys have been smoking way too much of what you usually smoke. I want realism, and last time I flew, the pilot didn't have to lean to bank the plane. At least, I hope not, the door was closed and locked, post-9/11 and all, but I digress.
Bottom line Apple, for what I paid for this thing, you could have done much, much better in this regard. X-Plane rocks, but Intel graphics in the mini? Pleease, put a smoking Nvidia chipset in there and give me a decent framerate for games!
Are you listening?