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Mad as Hell, Switching to Mac 1262

Posted by Zonk
from the i-want-you-to-go-to-the-window dept.
justAMan writes "Security dude, Winn Schwartau, has posted an article on Network World about switching his company to Macs because he's fed up with the security issues plaguing Windows-based systems. He also offers his view on why Windows is inherently flawed and why it will eventually fail because of those reasons. From the article, 'This is my first column written on a Mac - ever. Maybe I should have done it a long time ago, but I never said I was smart, just obstinate. I was a PC bigot. But now, I've had it. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.'"
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Mad as Hell, Switching to Mac

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  • Flame on... (Score:3, Funny)

    by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:36AM (#12643948) Journal
    Wowzers, every post on this topic is going to be modded flamebait...

    Asbestos suits, anyone?
    • Re:Flame on... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Golias (176380) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:43AM (#12644037)
      You know, I'm a Mac user. I freakin' love Macs. I think Steve Jobs, for all his flaws, is a hero.

      That said, I think it's a sad state of affairs that people consider it a news story that some nobody columnist has decided he likes Macs better than Windows. All this cheerleading for "switchers" is really pathetic.

      Hey, Windows users: Use whatever you like. I don't give a fuck. If one of you decides that switching to the Mac is a good idea, it really donesn't make my preference of computers any better.
      • by Golias (176380) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:46AM (#12644064)
        Hey, Windows users: Use whatever you like. I don't give a fuck. If one of you decides that switching to the Mac is a good idea, it really donesn't make my preference of computers any better. ... and you can tell I'm posting from work using Firefox on a PC, because the built-in spellcheck on my iBook at home would have caught that "donesn't" crap.
        • Re:Flame on... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by swilde23 (874551) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @11:13AM (#12645127) Journal

          Isn't that exactly one of the points that the author of the article is complaining about Window's based computers???
          From the article:

          Windows is complex, trying to be everything to everyone.

          Couldn't the same be said about internet browsers? I want a browser to do just that.... browse. I don't need it to fix my spelling, that's what my dictionary is for.

          Having numerous computers, from all walks of life (Windows, Mac, several flavors of Linux). Each used for their specific purposes. When I want to sit down and play some Half Life or other games, it really doesn't make sense to have all macs or all linux boxes. However, when I want to play around with some audio or video editing, then the Macintosh is where it's at. Finally, who in their right mind would host any type of server on a Windows or Macintosh machine? Hence the Linux boxes.

          Point being, there are all sorts of uses for each of the computer types out there. (well.... this turned into more of a rant then I had originally planned.. what are the three things you aren't supposed to talk about in polite company? religion, politics, and.... oh yes, os selection)

          • Re:Flame on... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jadavis (473492) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:29PM (#12646149)
            I want a browser to do just that.... browse.

            Everyone says that, but a browser is not that simple.

            Most people expect a browser to display html, download files, handle multimedia content (flash at a minimum), make use of cookies and have the associated management tools for the cookies, have javascript support and associated management tools and options (e.g. disallow sites from opening popups, but have a little icon so you can enable for a certain site), have java support with associated options, have tabbed browsing with associated options for all links (e.g. open in new window vs open in new tab), etc, etc.

            A browser is a platform upon which many types of applications can be built, that handles a variety of very different content and executable code. And it's all supposed to be so user-configurable that even if someone has cookies and javascript disabled, the application is supposed to be functional. And it's supposed to look good no matter what the font settings or resolution on the local system.

            This is why web applications and web browsers are complicated. If you really want a browser to just "browse," get netscape 3 or lynx or something.
          • Re:Flame on... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Phroggy (441) * <[moc.yggorhp] [ta] [3todhsals]> on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:38PM (#12646975) Homepage
            Couldn't the same be said about internet browsers? I want a browser to do just that.... browse. I don't need it to fix my spelling, that's what my dictionary is for.

            Ah, you're obviously not a Mac user. The browser IS simple; the browser doesn't fix your spelling. The browser uses standard system APIs for text input, and the OS checks your spelling using the same standard dictionaries. The same spell checker is used whether I'm posting to Slashdot in Safari, writing an e-mail, chatting in iChat or X-Chat, or typing in TextEdit. This means that if I right-click a word and select "Learn Spelling", I'll never be bothered about that word again, no matter which application I happen to be using. It also means that if I change my preferred language in System Preferences (or just change to a different dialect, like British English instead of U. S. English) and relaunch my applications, spell check works with the new language automatically.

            Finally, who in their right mind would host any type of server on a Windows or Macintosh machine? Hence the Linux boxes.

            I use Linux for my dedicated servers too, but the fact that things like Apache, Samba and sshd are installed by default on my laptop comes in awfully handy from time to time. Not to mention a local copy of the complete Apache documentation, which is nice when I'm trying to remember the syntax for some obscure mod_rewrite thing while I'm on the road.
          • Re:Flame on... (Score:5, Informative)

            by Golias (176380) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:42PM (#12647017)
            Couldn't the same be said about internet browsers? I want a browser to do just that.... browse. I don't need it to fix my spelling, that's what my dictionary is for.

            FYI: Spellcheck is not a Safari Browser feature, it's an OS feature.

            All OS X apps which are programmed correctly automatically take advantage of the OS X spellchecker for anywhere that standard text is going to be entered by the user. If I type something as truly stupid as "donesn't" in mail.app, a textbox in safari, or anywhere else, OS X will underline it with the squiggly red "you are a dumbass" line, and I will see it before sending it off.

            For shitty typists like me, it's a terrific feature.
      • Re:Flame on... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by telbij (465356) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:56AM (#12644185)
        Hey, Windows users: Use whatever you like. I don't give a fuck. If one of you decides that switching to the Mac is a good idea, it really donesn't make my preference of computers any better.

        Since Mac OS X came out I've been a happy Mac user, but I'd just assume the world stay on Windows (or Linux)... Why? Because the fewer Macs there are the less target they are for virus and exploit writers.

        Sure I believe Mac OS X is more secure than Windows (how could it not be), but let's not fool ourselves. Securing something as complex as an operating system is no trivial task. Given the average user's distaste for software update, a critical mass of the all-too-uniform Mac OS X could create an unpleasant security situation. Compare to Linux which (at present) has the diversity to survive any attack.
      • vested interest (Score:3, Insightful)

        Hey, Windows users: Use whatever you like. I don't give a fuck. If one of you decides that switching to the Mac is a good idea, it really donesn't make my preference of computers any better.

        As long as they unplug that broadband connection, then I completely agree with you! Otherwise, they are zombies that provide a platform for attacking or spamming my non-MS machine.

      • Re:Flame on... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LifesABeach (234436) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @10:39AM (#12644719)
        I tell my daughters that as children, when they get sad, and cry, its normal; it helps one to release their stress so that they can heal faster. And, as they get older, they will find themselves not crying anymore, but getting angry. It's at this point that they will then begin to think an acceptable solution to what appears to be a repeating problem; I tell them that this is what is called "Growing Up".

        Maybe a follow up article on how Apple's browser "Safari" is complient with XHTML, CSS 2.0, XSLT 2.0, XML 1.1, SVG 1.0, and XPath 2.0. Another follow up article might be a function by function comparison of Apple's and Microsoft's Word Processor, Spread Sheet, Data Base, and Presentation Manager.
    • Flame on... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Axe (11122) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:50AM (#12644120)
      It is not funny. It is true. Every time I have mentioned that Windows OS is actually quite functional and stable nowdays that post was moderated down.

      I do use a 2003 Server at home and at work and I have yet to have a single virus or malware infection. I do apply patches, run a firewall etc.

      Yes, it is possible to set it up such that you can execute remote content automatically and get infected. But it is also trivial, and now it is a default setting to configure it NOT to execute remote content. Since Mac can not run that content anyway - that will not be a loss of functionality compared to a Mac.

      P.S. I do like Macs, especially their laptops. If I was back at university doing physics data analysis that would be my platform of choice nowdays instead of Linux. But I definitely do not feel a pressing need to switch from 2003.

      • Re:Flame on... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by johnnyb (4816) <jonathan@bartlettpublishing.com> on Thursday May 26, 2005 @11:26AM (#12645283) Homepage
        "I do use a 2003 Server at home and at work and I have yet to have a single virus or malware infection. I do apply patches, run a firewall etc."

        I think this is part of the point -- why on earth do we have to keep applying patches, running firewalls, and running anti-virus software just to keep our computers running?

        If you have to install a patch every six months to a year because of something truly awful, that's not so bad. But to have the current patch-mill is just insane. Why do you have to have a firewall and an anti-virus to be safe? Why not just run safe software?

        Likewise, the article wasn't just about security, it's also about quality. Are there decent PC's out there that don't start breaking within 9 months? If there are, they certainly aren't being sold to consumers. In our office, we have laptops from several vendors. Some of them have lost use of their ethernet ports, some have lost use of their PCMCIA slots, and some have lost use of their USB ports. But the Mac ones, even the older iBooks and Powerbooks, are still running fine. We have the same situation with our desktops, though not to the same degree.

        The basic point is that, to use WinTel, you have to spend a LOT of time and effort just keeping the stupid thing alive. With Mac, you spend your time actually working.
    • by mzieg (317686) <mark@zieg.com> on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:51AM (#12644131) Homepage
      Seems to me, complexity itself isn't the problem. All modern operating systems are complex, and have to be in order to handle all the different network protocols, user interfaces, I/O devices, background processes, etc. The issue is how that complexity is managed.

      One thing that I've always admired about Apple is that (like Google) they seem to have a corporate culture which heavily encourages new features to be integrated ELEGANTLY into existing frameworks. They really seem to spend time, thought, money, and even passion on finding a "clean" way to do things.

      My impression of Microsoft has been rather the opposite: when they've decided to add a new feature, just add a new "required" desktop item; toss it in the Start menu; add a fifteenth tab to the Options dialog; create a bazillionth DOS8CHAR.DLL in the Windows directory; and you're done! The corporate culture seems to encourage slap-dash engineering of a form that would be frankly chucked out at Apple, Google, and other "cultured" companies.

      • by Intron (870560)
        When you control both the hardware and 99% of the software, you can integrate ELEGANTLY. When you have to run on any piece of crap that can be slapped together and runs its self-test, then you tend to get a lot less elegant.

        MS works well for what it runs on. Linux tends to have a few more problems, because of the decisions not to use the BIOS code after boot, and the lack of support from hardware manufacturers. All in all, for stability and security, Apple is probably the best choice of the three.
      • by TwistedSpring (594284) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @11:21AM (#12645228) Homepage
        This is the Mac disease. It's like a virus. You buy a Mac, then you turn into this guy. The guy who thinks Macs can do no wrong, the guy who thinks that everyone at Apple is a cosmopolitan and groovy human being with a friendly attitude and a clean, elegant way of working. The guy who cannot help but tell everyone how awesome their Apple computer is and how awesome Apple is without knowing much about either other than the things come in cool white boxes.

        Apple is a company that wants to make money. It capitalises on ripping off people who don't know any better. They're good machines, they're well designed from the ground up, but I believe you're kissing their ass a great deal too much in your post. Think about that nasty widget security flaw and the KHTML stuff mentioned in other replies to your post.
    • by sgant (178166) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @10:36AM (#12644694) Homepage Journal
      I use windows XP all day long...I'm hooked up on the internet and surf and download and blah blah blah all day long. Not once have I been hit with a virus or a trojan or an email attack. I've used computers since 1979 and have seen only a handfull of actual viruses. Meh...maybe I'm just lucky. And everyone I personally know is lucky also as they've had the same experience. The one time I came upon a major virus was...suprise suprise...on a Mac! Granted, it was running System 8 at the time. But it was the one that spread itself on Syquest disks and we had customers that would send us data on Syquest and it would infect the computer as soon as it was inserted. That as a pain to take care of.

      Security problems? has this guy actually HAD security problems, or has he just read of the threat of problems and anecdotes of others that have had problems? I read them all the time too, but it's not enough for me to change OS AND hardware just because the press overplays this threat.

      I run virus checkers, adware checking...am behind a hardware router/firewall. Basically the same thing I would be running on OSX also. I don't even think about it and just get on with my day.

      He's created a strawman argument. It has no weight.

      Windows is complex, trying to be everything to everyone. This complexity comes at a terrible price: downtime, help desks, upgrades, patches and the inevitable failures.

      And OSX doesn't have any of this? Linux doesn't either? Sorry, you use a modern OS you'll have upgrades/patches/downtime from time to time.

      When a new operating system or service pack is released, there are tons of changes to the functionality.

      Read up on some problems people are having with Tiger and get back to us.

      WinTel machines use different versions of BIOS. They are not all equal, nor do they all have the same level of compatibility.

      Um...ok. What's your point?

      Some Windows software applications are well written; others take shortcuts. Shortcuts may work in some environments, but not all, and ultimately the consumer pays in lost time, availability and productivity.

      Again, this is a windows only problem?? It happens everywhere. But it would be nice if he were to cite examples...but he didn't have time to bring facts into the picture.

      Hardware. There are hundreds of "WinTel-compatible" motherboards, each claiming to be better than the next. Whatever.

      Some would call this choice. Also others would call it cheaper. Still others would call it the power to make what you want. Whatever.

      Memory. Not all RAM is equal. Some works well. Cheap stuff doesn't.

      Again...hello? RAM isn't equal on ANY platform! There is cheap stuff being sold and bought everyday on the Macs too you know. People don't want to overpay Apple for RAM, so they try to get something cheap and WHAM, they end up with problems.

      Hard disks. Same problem: cheap or reliable. Your call.

      Last I checked, Apple used the same type of Hard disks as everyone else out there. I could take a HD out of an Apple and put it in my PC and vice-versa. So how is this a "windows" problem?

      Now, I'm NOT a Windows lover by any stretch of the imagination...but come on. If you're going to attack it, at least do it in an intellegent manner. This guy was just full of himself, gave no real facts or data and just spouted crap. I love Macs too, love them to death. Just wish I could actually afford a good one. One that would equal my desktop machine now. Yeah, I could afford a Mac Mini, but it's too underpowered for me. Maybe one day I'll save my pennies and get a Mac...but not because I'm "mad as hell". I don't choose something because something else sucks. I go with something because that something is right for me. It's like this last Presidential election. Many people voted for one candidate only because they didn't like the other one. They didn't vote for the person because they liked him or believed in him...only because they didn't like the other guy. WTF is that?
      • by johnnyb (4816) <jonathan@bartlettpublishing.com> on Thursday May 26, 2005 @11:46AM (#12645514) Homepage
        "RAM isn't equal on ANY platform! There is cheap stuff being sold and bought everyday on the Macs too you know. People don't want to overpay Apple for RAM, so they try to get something cheap and WHAM, they end up with problems."

        The difference is that cheap RAM is the default for consumers on Windows. Apple tends to use better-quality RAM.

        "Last I checked, Apple used the same type of Hard disks as everyone else out there. I could take a HD out of an Apple and put it in my PC and vice-versa. So how is this a "windows" problem?"

        First of all, he wasn't bashing Windows, but the WinTel mindset, culture, and marketplace.

        He wasn't ragging on the interfaces -- of course you can put an Apple hard drive into a PC.

        I think the point is manufacturing quality. Apple's products are a step above what you get in the PC world. They are probably even from the same vendors as the PC products, but manufactured to a higher specification. I don't know this for sure, but it certainly seems to be the case from my experience.

        Likewise, you are more likely to get something that is well thought out for use from Apple. Apple desktops were the first ones to have a case which made sense from a maintenance perspective. Macs were the first to include, by default, ethernet cards which autosensed whether it was connected to a hub or another PC. Macs were the first mainstream computer to include a superdrive.

        When you buy a Mac, you don't have to ask yourself, "is this going to work reliably?" or "is this going to work like I expect it to?" They have high engineering standards which really shine through on the final product. It's all the little things added up which turns your computer from a hassle to a productivity tool.
  • Uh oh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by tgd (2822) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:39AM (#12643982)
    Queue the "why not use Linux on the hardware you already have" brigade! Fire up the klaxons! Bwooop, bwooop, bwooop!
    • Re:Uh oh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Epistax (544591) <epistax@noSPam.gmail.com> on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:43AM (#12644033) Journal
      Well, that's an extremely good question no matter how you try to belittle it. The only valid reason I can think of is the perception that it's safer (not security) and easier to use a Mac, which is likely true to a varing degree depending on implementation.
      • Re:Uh oh... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:51AM (#12644138) Homepage Journal
        The primary reason is that Macs Just Work(TM), which is exactly what this guy is after. He doesn't want to bother with packaging, experimental drivers, non-ability to sleep, and other issues that come with Linux (especially on laptops). Plus, Macs can run a lot of Officially Supported Microsoft software that the industry feels it needs in order to be compatible.

        Which brings up an interesting point. Does anyone remember back when Microsoft's bread and butter was BASIC? IMHO, it will be impossible to kill Microsoft even if Windows is supplanted. Microsoft will instead move to being a premier software provider for another platform, and continue to hang around as IBM did after they lost the market.
        • Re:Uh oh... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by telbij (465356) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:59AM (#12644225)
          IMHO, it will be impossible to kill Microsoft even if Windows is supplanted. Microsoft will instead move to being a premier software provider for another platform, and continue to hang around as IBM did after they lost the market.

          That would be awesome. Microsoft is capable of writing good software, the problem is that protecting their monopoly is always getting in the way. If they lose Windows and have to reinvent themselves as a real software company... well, let's just say I might buy a Microsoft product again.
          • Re:Uh oh... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by cowscows (103644) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @10:08AM (#12644345) Journal
            Exactly. IBM used to be the big scary bad guy, but now they're a decent company providing some good products/services. Apple fans hated IBM way before they started hating MS, but now IBM provides processors for PowerMacs, they are big supporters of linux, and they still do a lot of cool R&D.

            I don't care if MS dies or not. I just don't want them to be able to use a huge marketshare to slow down progress for everyone else.
            • Re:Uh oh... (Score:3, Insightful)

              by fLameDogg (866748)
              I don't care if MS dies or not. I just don't want them to be able to use a huge marketshare to slow down progress for everyone else.

              I couldn't agree more. Death to the monopoly, not necessarily to the company.

        • Proprietary (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Flamesplash (469287) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @10:24AM (#12644518) Homepage Journal
          I love how people love Macs because it's a very closed proprietary system that can then be controlled by a single entity. Isn't this what the /. crowd is supposed to be railing against?

          That being said I get my new mac on .....
          • Very closed? Uh... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by MattHaffner (101554) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:41PM (#12646310)
            it's a very closed proprietary system that can then be controlled by a single entity

            The hardware? You mean because Apple takes a ton of commonly sold components and puts them together in their fancy boxes? Just like Dell and HP do? You mean because they've spearheaded most of the now commonly-used device interface standards?

            The software? You mean because Apple puts a slick top on their completely open source, community-contributed Darwin OS? You mean because a fair number of their component technologies have been developed starting with existing open source projects? You mean because a fair number of their own in-house technology ideas have been opened either in source or in standard? You mean how there's only a few proprietary standards that they're using to store files, communicate on networks, or connect to devices?

            There is a hell of a lot of difference between Apple and M$. You can argue about whether it's because of "who's on top" right now, but the stunning difference between even Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X and how the hardware has evolved in the same time wrt/ all the things I mentioned above suggests to me that someone (hopefully more than one) at Apple has a freakin' clue that's more than just trying to get on top.

            And that being said, the /. crowd is not a mono-culture. Some of us actually believe that a company that consistently shows for the most part that they are interested in making products that excel in usability, interoperability, and security are OK to spend a penny on now and then. Because if we don't support those companies that do support open standards and practices and who decide occasionally to share their innovations in that medium, there's going to be nothing left but a incredible mess of crap.
            • by javaxman (705658) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @03:47PM (#12648246) Journal
              You mean because Apple puts a slick top on their completely open source, community-contributed Darwin OS?

              Dude, that's a hell of a lot of slick top [apple.com] there. Your description belittles something that those of us who love Linux only wish we could duplicate. Heck, Microsoft would love to duplicate it, too. Plenty of the tools to do what Apple has done are available to us, but actually pulling it off in a unified manner, putting a truly user-friendly face on that core, that's a tall task.

              If it wasn't hard, there'd be several similar implementations. Just duplicating the nice printer setup UI they have for CUPS would be a good start, but I don't think I've seen that yet... much less point-and-click software update with push and server administration UIs.

              I'm not saying our desktop UIs are terrible, but... an OS X experience is not what they deliver. Apple also has a pretty deep stack of stuff you won't find elsewhere, even well beyond the UI and ease-of-use space, and since OS X has developed a *nix-like ability to absorb anything else. It's a useful combination, and a very useful platform as a result.

            • Lock-in (Score:5, Insightful)

              by antientropic (447787) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @04:56PM (#12648923)

              The hardware? You mean because Apple takes a ton of commonly sold components and puts them together in their fancy boxes? Just like Dell and HP do? You mean because they've spearheaded most of the now commonly-used device interface standards?

              Ugh. What a complete red herring. Yes, a Mac is built from off-the-shelf components. What does that mean for me as a user? Suppose I like Mac OS X, but the hardware is too expensive for me, or doesn't meet my specific requirements, etc. Where can I go to get a competing piece of hardware to run my Mac applications on?

              Likewise for the software. Sure, if your applications are all just pure console programs, you can typically run them on your favorite Unix clone. But the real value of Macs for many users lies in the graphical Mac-specific applications, and for those you are tied to the proprietary bits of Mac OS.

              Truth is, with Windows you get software lock-in, but at least the hardware is an open market. With Macs, you get both software and hardware lock-in.

              (And yes, I am a Mac user. But let's not pretend that the Apple world is so wonderfully open.)

      • Re:Uh oh... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by slide-rule (153968) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @10:05AM (#12644308)
        As an 8+ year Linux user, I will readily admit I have several similar complaints. Note the columnist presents a large chunk of reasons for switching as being related to H/W working (or not). Rather than bashing on about "windows is teh suck" or anything, he's citing the dizzying array of mobo's, memory, BIOS's, peripherals, and [re]releases of OS's as being a leading reason why a windows box Just Can't Work. Too many variations; nearly impossible to build two identical boxes unless you specifically do so at the outset. That Apple controls the H/W in their boxes to a greater degree may mean less choice and higher price, but with that comes greater overall reliability. I'm officially saving some cash to buy that reliability for myself/family.

        As for "why not Linux", then consider that, from a H/W point of view, a Linux-based system doesn't fare much better. The core O/S kernel may indeed be more secure (I agree that it is), but when a particular flavor of USB widget card, sound card, camera, or whatever isn't supported, it's largely -- I think -- for the same reaons: too many combinations of H/W, chipset, BIOS, and whatnot, and not enough people who have scratched a given itch to get it working in a particular combination. I've abandoned my particular install of MDK 10 due less to the OS and more to the ability for it to have H/W work without hassle.

        which is likely true to a varing degree depending on implementation

        Exactly...
        • Re:Uh oh... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by klubar (591384)
          If he would buy from a few number of high-quality vendors (they're out there) he would have less problems with the hardware. Many quality PC vendors (but not all) test the entire configuration--mobo, memory, disk, cooling, etc. Then don't touch it. Yes, you might spend a few bucks more for the system but you'll have far fewer problems.
          • Re:Uh oh... (Score:3, Insightful)

            The hardware problems reported in TFA are with fly-by-night vendors that noone has ever heard of, like Sony and Dell.

            Which "Quality PC Vendors" did you have in mind?
      • Re:Uh oh... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Durandal64 (658649) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @10:17AM (#12644443)
        Because if Linux doesn't work right off the bat, your average newbie is completely fucked. Linux distros attempt to make up for the complex process of installing device drivers by prepackaging the drivers for every device they can imagine in the main install. But if you don't have one of these predefined devices, you have to wade through about 3000 Linux forums where all the users tell you to go to RTFM.

        Linux is a great server operating system. Its flexibility and open nature make it very resilient, and being able to compile the kernel with just the features you want is a major plus when it comes to security. But until the Linux community can rally around a single, unified vision for a Linux desktop OS, it will never be anything more than a hobbyist's desktop OS. Having 40 billion distros simply is not helping Linux's push to the desktop.
    • Re:Uh oh... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) *
      Macs are an easier sell.
      First Off you can get MS Office for the Mac. So you don't have to push OpenOffice

      Secondly a well named company. Apple has been in the news alot lately and a lot more then Linux.

      Third Cool hardware. If you are going to upgrade you might as well get some cool hardware out of it.

      Forth wow factor. It is easy with Apple products to make a demostration with it and wow the execs.

      Fifth. User friendly you can debate that linux is user friendly and perfectly good as a desktop until you a
  • SOS (Score:3, Informative)

    by AshPattern (152048) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:41AM (#12644000) Homepage
    Actually, there was a operating system called Apple SOS. The initial S stood for Sophisticated, though. It ran on the Apple ///.

    Apple "SOS". Cute, eh?
  • WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xchino (591175) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:41AM (#12644001)
    He is upset over the flaws in an Operating System so he switches architectures? He wasn't a PC bigot, he was a Windows bigot.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by scotch (102596)
      If you had read the article, you would have noticed that many of his complaints were about range of quality and problems that come with intel hardware.
    • by dstewart (853530) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @10:27AM (#12644568)
      He's upset at the lack of support that comes with having entirely different vendors supporting the hardware as opposed to the operating system.

      From his blog: [blogspot.com]

      "But, really, in the last few months, my frustration went over the top because I openly admit I am tough on laptops. I schlepp two of 'em everywhere 'round the world and I see no reason a $2000 box should not be able to take $2000 worth of airport abuse.

      So, my beautiful new Sony 17" VAIO with 1920X1200 res (Freaking gorgeous) began to have mechanical problems. I can recognize a HW versus SW prob and this was hardware but the Sony folks, in an effort to save having to send a guy to me, tried to convince me "Reinstall Windows." NO! That is wrong! This is a HW problem."

      While some might prefer to build, write, administer, and hold absolute control over their computer systems, most people just want to use them. They also want support on their computers to be as painless as possible.

      That's one of the bigger advantages to a Mac over Windows or Linux: It's easy to find who to call when it breaks.
  • by Inigo Soto (776501) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:41AM (#12644009) Homepage
    But now, I've had it. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.

    Ahhhh... Who doesn't like a cool, balanced opinion?

  • Why oh why... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kayak334 (798077) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:42AM (#12644017)
    ...must we post a story about every person who thinks that platform X is better than platform Y and is just plain "fed up"? Of course, as long as we include the statement "I used to be a platform X user ONLY, now I'm switching to Y," then it matters a whole lot more.
    • Re:Why oh why... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Princeofcups (150855)
      > ...must we post a story about every person who thinks that platform X is better than platform Y and
      > is just plain "fed up"? Of course, as long as we include the statement "I used to be a platform X
      > user ONLY, now I'm switching to Y," then it matters a whole lot more.

      When 98% of the business world would never dream of switching from windows to mac because of the cost and difficulties, when a company does it successfully and easily, and is happy with the results, it IS news. It's a wake up cal
  • Crazy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:42AM (#12644021) Homepage Journal
    I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore
    Just the state of mind in which someone will produce an article that is as reasonable, balanced, fair and articulate as this one.

    Some Windows software applications are well written; others take shortcuts. : How is this different from Mac software?

    Memory Not all RAM is equal. Some works well. Cheap stuff doesn't. : Makes save you from this trouble by only allowing you to buy the expensive stuff

    Hard disks. Same problem: cheap or reliable. Your call. : Again, solved by Apple by not allowing "cheap".

    Windows is complex, trying to be everything to everyone. : Have you seen an Apple commercial recently? Or the "switch" ones?
    • Re:Crazy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by finkployd (12902) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @10:05AM (#12644302) Homepage
      Memory Not all RAM is equal. Some works well. Cheap stuff doesn't. : Makes save you from this trouble by only allowing you to buy the expensive stuff

      Hard disks. Same problem: cheap or reliable. Your call. : Again, solved by Apple by not allowing "cheap".


      Are you one of those people under the weird assumption that you cannot put non-Apple purchased memory and hard drives into a Mac?

      Although I do not really see what this has to do with Windows vs Mac, Apple has their hardware quality control issues just like anyone else (avoid the i* stuff and only go with the power* stuff).

      Finkployd

      Finkployd
  • by klubar (591384) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:43AM (#12644028) Homepage
    I don't get it. Administering Windows XP in a corporate environment isn't that hard. There is no reason why a company that hires a competent sys admin (or multiple sys admins) cant configure and administer Windows XP so they are nearly virus-free, spyware-free and spam-free. Lock those machines down! Put in a good corporate firewall! Don't allow users to run as admin (never)! Don't allow users to install software, active-x or other junk. Use centrally maintained anti-virus and anti-spam. In a corporate environment there should be a limited list of authorized programs, nothing else should be permitted.

    It isn't that hard. The permissions and controls on Windows are extremely fine grained. Learn about them and use them.

    I think there are a lot of clueless or bad sys admin who use "everyone knows Windows" is insecure to cover their asses for doing a bad job. The same lousy sys admins could screw up Macs too.
    • Ever try running Windows as something other than admin?

      There are a lot of applications that just won't run.
    • Don't allow users to run as admin (never)!

      Easier said then done. A lot of software is designed to only work as admin. One such example I have to deal with is a printer that sends data it captures to a remote server ( electronic claim processing ). Won't run as normal user, security audits to find the exact permissions don't find what's needed to make it work as a normal user. Power user and above. I have three examples where I work, and I know I'm not alone.

      The problem isn't windows per se, it's the developers. There's all this bad inertia with the developers, and until MS addresses this, we will continue to see windows wonkiness.
    • I think there are a lot of clueless or bad sys admin who use "everyone knows Windows" is insecure to cover their asses for doing a bad job.

      I used that excuse (and that our server was too overloaded) to switch our mail and VPN to Linux. I also used that excuse to get antivirus software and Mozilla Firefox installed on every machine. Guess what? It works and we have way less problems than we had before. No matter how much you lock Windows down (which is not always an option BTW, you're the employee not
    • by finkployd (12902) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:57AM (#12644199) Homepage
      Put in a good corporate firewall!

      I love how the standard response from anyone on windows network security is to put the windows machine behind another machine running an OS that does not have the history of massive security problems.

      When was the last time you heard of a firewall running (IOS/Linux/BSD/whatever) having an unpatched vulnerability on a network service that (1) you cannot turn off and (2) you cannot tell not to listen on every port?
      I of course refer to the RPC endpoint mapper on 135 vulnerability that plagued windows a while ago. Stuff like that is why windows is known as a joke in the security world.

      I agree however, that the vast majority of windows problems are caused by clueless admins. However, it is MS's own fault in a sense. A major selling point is that you do not need to understand networking or really much of anything to administer a windows network. This has led to legions of drooling point and click admins who lack even the most basic understand of security and networking principles. Interestingly Mac's are just as easy (if not easier) to admin, BUT they are much more secure by default. Plop a windows box and a Mac in front of a newbie and see which one is "0wned" first.

      Finkployd
      • Plop a windows box and a Mac in front of a newbie and see which one is "0wned" first.

        Your experiment reminds me of my friend who is a Christian Scientist. She doesn't believe in germs so refuses to get her children innoculated against the various diseases that afflict kids. Not so surprisingly, her kids are fine. She views the fact that they're healthy as proof that she's right. She doesn't understand that her kids survive because the overwhelming majority of kids surrounding hers are disease free. If ther

        • Macs are relatively virus free because the majority of virii out there aren't aimed at Macs. If the Mac ever regained a significant market share, virus writers would start aiming at the platform and your experiment would show different results.

          Possibly, then again possibly not. You analogy is closer to the truth than you probably intended because, (Christian Science wackyness aside) some people are naturally more resistent to viruses than others. It just may be that her children have above average immune
        • by Paradox (13555) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:31PM (#12646170) Homepage Journal
          If the Mac ever regained a significant market share, virus writers would start aiming at the platform and your experiment would show different results.
          As I've mentioned before [slashdot.org], I don't think that the theory of marketshare fully explains the near-total lack of virus and spyware activity on OS-X based machines.

          Part of the reason Macs are so secure is that Apple has designed the system such that it is extremely secure from the lowest level to the top. For example, OSX does not have a root account enabled by default. Everything lives in their own permission space and if you want to break out, you use sudo (and thusly have to enter your password).

          Less commonly mentioned, however, is the way Apple encourages secure programming with Keychain and their authorization framework. The Keychain encrypts passwords and makes it very hard for an application to get passwords from other applications, meaning that in order to steal valuable information you'd first have to comprimise another application (which is actually quite tricky to do). Even if you do succeed in altering the application, the Keychain notices this and warns you, saying, "Hey, this application changed since it last used me, are you sure you want to allow it access?"

          Add to that that Applications cannot alter themselves, and you have a pretty secure foundation for developers (which also, by the way, provides special UI for password entry that is highly resistant to keylogging).

          At the lowest level, the PPC architecture is inherently harder to exploit with classic buffer overflows and printf exploits. The PPC system does not keep the current return address on the stack the way that x86 does. PPC chips have an explicit link register for this purpose.

          What that means, in practice, is that in order for you to exploit a single function with a buffer overflow, you must inject your code, overwrite the previous function's (the caller of the current function) saved link register (on the stack, along with other saved registers), and then have both the current and previous function return without segfaulting or overwriting your exploit code.

          While doable, this is a huge pain to get just right, and it means that the conditions where a buffer overflow can succeed are less prevalent. Add in the fact that instructions have fixed alignment (but data does not) and are of fixed width, and you have a significantly harder egg to write and deploy.

          Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that virus writers can do this stuff. It's just that it's much harder and raises the entry bar.

  • by blakespot (213991) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:46AM (#12644070) Homepage
    I've run OS X ony my home Macs for nearly 5 years now. (It was my great experience with NeXTSTEP back in '94 that let me know OS X is the only place I needed to be.) My XP box at work crashes hard or needs to be reset by me several times a month. Leaving it on at a stretch, I sometimes see unexplainable lags in responsiveness. It's a painful contrast.

    Something that amuses me is the fact that OS X crashes out so infrequently (about once every 18 months) that when it does happen, I immediately assume I must have a hardware problem. That really is a testament to the solidity of an operating systemthat you might expect the hardware to go before the software crashes. And that's not to say I've had any hardware issues to speak of (outside of dropping an iBook onto a tile floor...)

    Windows (and Linux) folks are really missing out, in my somewhat humble opinion. I'm most content with my G5 [blakespot.com], iBook [blakespot.com], and new Mac mini [mac.com].

    blakespot
    • by Natchswing (588534) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @10:41AM (#12644747)
      I think Windows gets a bad rep. I don't know what you're doing with your machine but why do you instantly blame Windows?

      We'll start with the basics. Buy quality hardware. Buying a cheaper processor because you can overclock it and double the voltage while pumping koolaid into it is probably not within the design specs.

      I'm sitting at my work computer here so let me just take a look around at what we've got. Dual Xeon 2.4 ghz on a SuperMicro motherboard. Ultra 3 SCSI drives and a SuperMicro server case.

      What's running on it you ask? Windows 2000 Professional. I use it 5 days a week - and heavily too. Right now I see 45 windows open. Matlab with numerous graphs (with lots of data loaded on them and in the stack), Outlook, Excel, lots of note pads, lots of file directories, 3 SSH programs running, 5 Mozilla windows (most with multiple tabs), an HP48G emulator, Microsoft Streets and Trips, Mozilla Sunbird, Mozilla Thunderbird, Pro/ENGINEER 2001, RealVNC, Winamp, etc.

      This list is pretty typical. These programs regularly get closed and reopened depending on what I'm doing. Looking at my task manager I have 66 processes and 915MB of ram in use. The machine was last rebooted On February 8th due to an Internet Explorer upgrade (according to my event log). That's three months of regular use without a reboot.

      This OS was installed on July 25th, 2003. It has bluescreened once. ONCE!

      If any windows machine I build and use has a blue screen I typically assume it's a hardware failure. Windows 2000, while having numerous bugs, is incredibly stable. I've had only limited experience with XP so I can't comment too much.

      I don't know where you're buying your hardware or what you're doing with it, but try buying some quality hardware before you go blaming the software. I have more than my share of complaints about windows, but if it crashes regularly then maybe you should look someplace else for the cause. There are probably half a dozen machines in this lab, plus my home computer, girlfriend's computer, and laptop - all of which are quite stable.

  • Mad As Hell (Score:5, Funny)

    by jetkust (596906) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:46AM (#12644074)
    I'm mad as hell and i'm not going to RTFA anymore.
  • by nharmon (97591) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:47AM (#12644081) Homepage
    That cheap memory in a Mac will cause the same problems it does in a "Wintel" PC. Same goes for hard drives.

    I suppose the type of work his company does not rely on software thats only available for Windows. Because a lot of us run Windows not because we want to, but because we have to.

    Am I the only one who thinks knee-jerk, lets convert 100% right now, shoot first ask questions later, is a bad way to convert from Microsoft to Macs (or Linux, Sun, etc.)?
    • Because a lot of us run Windows not because we want to, but because we have to

      No kidding. In our case, we simply cannot have ANY cross-platform problems going back and forth with our two main mega-corporate clients. They're 100% Windows, therefore, whether I hate it or really hate it, most of our users are on Windows as well.

      For the guy who approves my paychecks (a very important man!), the decision to not piss off these two large clients was worth risking my gloom and doom security scenarios. In the lon
  • Being All Things (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spencerian (465343) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:48AM (#12644098) Homepage Journal
    We've heard many of the other comments from disgruntled Windows users before, but one that bears repeating is that Windows does tend to try to be all things to all people. Sure, there's a Home version of Windows XP (it's missing, among other things, domain networking ability), but it still contains far too many propellerhead parts that gunk up the works.

    I can't really say that alternatives such as Mac OS X and Linux aren't as full of similar unnecessary parts as Windows. By, IMHO, when using OS X, the extras seem less likely to be in your way. A lot of this involves the interface; a good desktop manager in Linux should keep things similarly simple.

    Someone said it when they were using Word for Windows, flummoxed by the myriad of controls: "Good lord, I don't need to launch a Space Shuttle--I just want to write a letter!" No wonder some new computer users have the movie "WarGames" running through their head each time they touch their PC--it's complexity seems to guarantee that something new will happen each time you use it...and not a "good" kind of "new."
    • Re:Being All Things (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cowscows (103644)
      Actually, I think one of the most painful things that Windows tries so hard to be is backwards compatible. They're still supporting a whole lot of legacy junk, that I'm sure they'd love to get away from.

      With the jump from 68k to PPC a number of years back, then the more recent jump from classic mac to OSX, Apple has been able to cut away a lot of their past baggage, and do things right the second or third time around.

      If MS does a major, intentional compatibility break, there's just some huge problems they
  • Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:49AM (#12644105)
    I love the mac about as much as the next guy, but do we really need these "x switches to Mac" threads posted on a daily basis? This practically begs to reduce slashdot to just another forum for mac vs pc flame wars.

    I'd like to think we're past that stage.
    • Good Point (Score:3, Funny)

      by doublem (118724)
      MAC vs. PC is Sooooo 1990's.

      Today's war is PC vs. Linux, and Slashdot if the focal point for this cutting edge flame war.

      VI vs. Emacs on the other hand... Let's just say some debates never go out of style.
  • Ok... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crazzeto (887234) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:49AM (#12644107)
    You know, not that I'm saying windows is the best platform in the world... But considering the issues he outlined in this artical, I'd say he is dealing with the wrong vendor for his computing solutions... With a good vendor (Dell, HPaq...) you will get the same level of hardware/software compatibility you will find on a Mac platform. The author also isn't doing a good job of choosing software. Basically, it seems to me his basic problem is going research finding good hardware/software solutions. I bet he'll have many of the same problems on the Mac platform.
  • by PPGMD (679725) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:51AM (#12644128) Journal
    With 22 years in the industry as a so called expert you would think he would know the simple steps needed to secure a Windows machine. It's not that hard, even with staying with IE.

    Step 1: Avoid Fishy Sites.
    This is 90% of the problem people assume that the internet is safe, and routinely surf the web, allow ActiveX controls to run unfettered, install Gator because it allows them to remember all their passwords. The internet is not a safe place, whether you are on a Windows, Mac, or Linux. It is a safe place for BSD users, because BSD is dead, so no one writes anything for it. :)

    Step 2: Get updates every couple of months
    Windows update, and apt-get make this process easier. Even Linux when it's not updated can get compromised (though not as easily nor as quickly as Windows).

    Step 3: Use a Firewall of some sort.
    99% of exploits require direct access to the machine, even the most basic firewall will prevent that access.

    These are very basic tips that I think even Joe Blow on the street can learn if he is willing to listen. Sometimes that listening takes 2-3 times of his machine getting compromised and reloaded at $105 a pop.

    • by Tom (822) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @10:48AM (#12644824) Homepage Journal
      Allow me to be the first one to welcome you to the 21st century. Security issues have changed a little since the late 1990s. Here's a short summary to cover your timejump:

      * Fishy sites never turned out to be the major problem they were painted at. While they occasionally pop up as a problem, it's not any widespread trouble because exposure to the mainstream and speed of being shut down are linked very closely.

      * Updates have improved considerably, but with them occasionally breaking critical functionality and an increasing trend to faster exploits, they are not as important as we thought they would. One day soon we hope everyone will be more or less up-to-date, but we fear that by that time most attacks will use either 0-days or social engineering attacks.

      * Firewills are a big seller, but what they actually do for security is pretty tiny. Ever since they became widespread, attacks simply shifted to other channels. E-Mail is by far the major distribution channel at the moment, for example.

      Windos is still busy countering attacks that were news 10 years ago. They are about 15 AUs away from facing the challenges of tomorrow.
  • by Kainaw (676073) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:53AM (#12644159) Homepage Journal
    Who is this Winn Schwartau guy and what company is he talking about. He says he is in "security", so we better take his word for it when he says Windows is insecure and Mac isn't. His reasons (for those who don't want to RTFA). (my comments are inline)
    • Windows is complex (and Mac is as simple as my old TI-99 4/A?)
    • New package releases have tons of changes to functionality (yes, with SP2 you suddenly had to use the mouse on the left side of the keyboard or it wouldn't point correctly!)
    • WinTel machines use different versions of BIOS (Hmmm... I never realized that Windows absorbed and used my BIOS. That must be why I suck at Doom 3 - I need a better BIOS)
    • Some Windows programs take shortcuts (and there are no poorly written Mac programs - none at all. IE5 on Mac displays the web it was meant to be. All other web browsers are broken.)
    • Hardware - there is competition in the motherboard market (and we Mac fans despise competition. All motherboards must be assimilated. Resistance is futile!)
    • RAM - cheap RAM is, well, cheap (especially when you buy it from that guy under the Interstate overpass. I used to be up to 4 sticks a day - that is until the intervention...)
    • Hard drisks - cheap drives are, well, cheap (I'm glad I had the intervention before I got into the hard stuff. Don't let anyone fool you. RAM is just a gateway device. Mess with cheap RAM and you'll be spinning up the cheap Hard Drives before you know it.)

    Damn... I forgot to turn on sarcasm mode so the overly serious /. idiots would know this is all just a joke...
    • Re:Who and Where? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <relyo.nhoj>> on Thursday May 26, 2005 @10:32AM (#12644626) Journal
      Windows is complex (and Mac is as simple as my old TI-99 4/A?)

      Let's use XP as the example here. I do phone support for DSL, and I have to help new users set up a static IP address. On OSX, it's "click on the apple at the top left, go to system preferences, a window will open. click on the network icon in that".

      On XP, do I bother to ask them if they see a "My Network Places" icon on the desktop? It's often (but not always) hidden. If it's not there, do I ask them to go to the control panel, which may or may not be listed under Settings? Which may or may not be in classic view? Which if it isn't is one more nested icon, if they don't get confused and think I'm talking about the same thing? Do I say fuck it, tell them to click start, go to run (can this be hidden, some have a hard time finding it?) and type in "ncpa.cpl" ? You have no idea how difficult it is to spell for them over the phone. "What do you mean november, do i spell that out, or abbreviate it n-o-v?".

      Once there though, I have to have them right click on "local area connection" (what, there's more than one?) select properties, that is if they're not too clumsy and they don't accidentally drag it a bit, bringing up the "create shortcut/copy/move" menu. Then a second window pops up. The item they need has a checkmark by it, ever try to talk one out of thinking they don't need to check/uncheck something? Sometimes if the resolution is wrong, they'd have to scroll to see it. Sometimes, only IPv6 is installed, on factory new machines. So, now they have to open it up, either by highlighting "internet protocol" and clicking on the properties button (do i have to right click?). But try to explain to them to click on the words, not the checkbox. Or maybe they can just double-click on the words "internet protocol" maybe not, depending on settings.

      Then, A third window pops up. And they have to select static or dynamic. But hey! Even though they've selected static, they still have to choose whether to use static DNS, or dhcp (wtf?!?!!?). And do they have to type in the dots, (cause they are already there!). And it always auto-fills the subnet for them with 255.0.0.0 even when it's not a class A address (even if it were, how often do they think that that subnet is actually used?!?!).

      And then, they have to click OK, and then on the previous window, either OK or close. It could be either one, I'm thinking a SP changes this button label.

      And if the magic dll faeries are in a good mood, it just might work.

      So tell me, which is more complex than the other again?
  • by zaren (204877) <holdthis@mail.com> on Thursday May 26, 2005 @09:59AM (#12644227) Homepage Journal
    Their hardware / gadget guy also goes to the Mac side, but he doesn't have as pleasant an experience:

    http://www.networkworld.com/columnists/2005/052305 backspin.html [networkworld.com]
  • Perfect timing! I'm mad as hell with Microsoft security issues too, and yesterday was a perfect example (though not unique) of why. Yesterday I got bitten not only personally but professionally by Windows XP security activity. Bear with me.... it's almost hilarious, but it's a down right comi-tragedy at the same time.

    Yesterday, our wireless network was pathologically gummed up. I discovered that when I got on the treadmill, queued up my music for my run (Loggins and Messina On Stage for any who care) and began. The music sputtered and skipped... no biggy, it's happened before, someone upstairs must be using the microwave briefly. But it didn't recover and less than five minutes into my run it aborted and I was left to finish my run in the Hell of boredom and silence.

    Still no biggy... but checking wireless music device upstairs and finding the same stuttering behavior with it I started to be a little uneasy. What was jamming my network?

    I was scheduled for a very important demo of my software (am selling to large corporations) and now felt more urgency to ensure I'd debugged and fixed my network problem before the big demo. Still no biggy.... I've been troubleshooting networks and computers for years... I'd have it cleaned up in no time. So, I began my standard (among other things) check list...

    • linksys wireless router LED on solid, yep.... something was filling my network pipes
    • checked "System Task Manager" on all of the XP machines... nothing seemed to be amiss... no CPU spiking, and virtually no network traffic.
    • checked my linux box.... nothing there.
    • checked syslog.... hmmmmmmmmm.... got some bogon ARP messages from the kernel.

    I ran out of time to narrow anything down, so in desperation I did the standard reboot of the XP boxes.... interestingly, there was a momentary blip of network nirvana... but once the XP boxes were back up, the network was molasses again.

    But I had to do my demo.... and now I was worried, and it turned out with good reason. The party for whom I did the demo was unable to connect to my application... and I had to fall back on my backup plan, which was to walk through a printout and describe my application.... how fscked is that? All in all the demo ended up going well enough, but I was perturbed as hell about losing the network like that right at the most inopportune time.

    I continued my debugging, now focusing on the bogon messages... and now zeroing in on the tivo boxen... and while doing so, suddenly the WAN again achieved nirvana! WTF? Happy the network was back, but dazed and confused about why. I went back upstairs for one more check of the upstairs machines... and there.... on the task bar...., in the system tray...., in a bubble..., above the Microsoft icon...., was the bubble..., "Updates have been downloaded and are ready to be installed....". $()*&($#(*&$#(*%&!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So, bottom line, because of a middle of the day Microsoft update download, I had a miserable workout (yawn, big deal, who cares...), and was unable to give a live demo of my product to a potential customer (which I think is really a big deal!)! WTF? I know I'll get flamed about having auto-update, blah, blah, blah.... but it seems so "can't win".... without auto-update, you run the risk of exposure inadvertently, with auto-update you're apparently at the mercy and whim of Microsoft as to if and when that crap comes down the pipe. Sigh....

  • by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @10:11AM (#12644389)
    It seems the editor of NetworkWorld must have been asleep that day...Winn Schwartau isn't very well informed, nor do his points make much real sense:

    Operating systems are complex... Patches sometimes install new functionality... some commercial software is badly written... expensive hardware is usually more reliable than cheap hardware.. Are any of these actually news to anyone?

    My favourite of his issues is that not all Wintel machines have the same version of Bios. Wow. What a revelation. SO what? not all cars on the road are Ford Escorts either. The bottom line is most non-tech users never have a need to mess with the bios anyway.

    The real indicator that he doesn't have a clue is that he could have saved $2000+ dollars by just installing Linux on his existing machine, rather than buying a new Mac.

  • Winn Schwartau Bio (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gallenod (84385) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @10:54AM (#12644907)
    I've seen a few comments along the lines of, "who is this guy and why do we care that he switched from PCs to Macs?" While he may be to security what Alvin Toffler is to science, Schwartau has been in the info security business for long time and has a fair amount of credibility, at least at the boardroom and executive level. So, if /.ers are going to take potshots, let's at least know something about the guy before we shoot.

    (Of course, why should we change now?) :)

    Here's some background on Winn Schwartau:

    Founder and CEO GetInsightU, Inc., www.GetInsightU.Com
    President and founder of Interpact, Inc., The Security Awareness Company. Interpact develops information security awareness programs for private, public and government organizations.
    He is the author of "Internet and Computer Ethics for Kids (and Parents and Teachers Without a Clue)" (2001/2002).
    In 2002, he was honored as a "Power Thinker" and one of the 50 most powerful people in networking by Network World.
    Founder of the InfowarCon conference, www.infowarcon.com.
    Has been referred to as "the civilian architect of information warfare," he coined the term "Electronic Pearl Harbor" and was the Project Lead of the Manhattan Cyber Project Information Warfare and Electronic Civil Defense Team.
    Books include:
    Pearl Harbor Dot Com (2002)
    Terminal Compromise (1991)
    Cybershock (2000, 2001)
    Time Based Security (1999, 2001)
    General Abdication (2003)
    Information Warfare: Chaos on the Electronic Superhighway (1994, 1996, 1997)
    Information Warfare: Cyberterrorism, Second Edition," (1997/1998)

    He has called for the creation of a National Information Policy, a Constitution in Cyberspace and an Electronic Bill of Rights. He was a contributor to all three of AFCEA's Cyberwar Books (Ethical Conundra of Information Warfare, Something Other Than War and The Carbon Unit as Target) and several international works on CyberWar and Espionage. "The Complete Internet Business Toolkit" (1996) is one of the first books to ever be banned from export out of the United States. His other writings include "CyberChrist Meets Lady Luck" and "CyberChrist Bites the Big Apple," "The Toaster Rebellion of '08", "Firewalls 101" (DPI Press), Information Warfare, (Schaffer/Poeschel, Germany), "Introduction to Internet Security" (DGI/ MecklerMedia), and chapters for Internet and Internetworking Security Handbook (Auerbach). His writing, interviews and profiles have appeared in Orbis, Wired, NY Times, Information Week, Network World, ComputerWorld, Network Security, St. Petersburg Times, Internet World, Virus Bulletin, Security Management, Infoworld, PC Week, plus dozens of magazines around the world.
    Although not a hacker, he has been the popular host of DefCon's Hacker Jeopardy for nine years.
    - Adjunct Professor: Norwich University
    - Board of Advisors: ISAW, Information Security Awareness Week
    - Board of Advisors: St. Petersburg College
    - Contributing Editor: Infosecurity Magazine
    - Contributing Editor: Journal of Information Warfare
    - Advisory Board Member: CipherTrust www.ciphertrust.com
    - Advisory Board Member: SSI, www.SecureSoftSystems.com
    - Editorial Board Advisor: Network Security Magazine, (Elsevier), U.K.
    - Contributor and Columnist: Network World (1994 - present)
    - Consulting Security Expert: Giga Information Group
    - Advisory Board Member: Milcom Technologies
    - Advisory Board Member: 1GlobalCity.Com, Inc
    - Member, Editorial Board of Advisors: InfoSecurity News. 1990 - present
    - Advisory Board Member: Click2Send
    - Contributing Editor: CartaCapital, Brazil
    - Contributing Editor: Availability.Com
    - Publisher and Founder: Security Insider Report (1992 - sold 1997)
    - Contributing Editor: Secure Computing Online http://www.secure-computing.com/ [secure-computing.com]
    - Contributing Columnist: PlanetIT, CMP Publications
    - Former Member, Board of Directors: Tritheum Technologies, (company sol
  • by mranchovy (595176) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:40PM (#12646291)
    It sounds like this guy had an especially bad day at work--I don't see where he made his case for tossing out his PCs and switching to Mac. Let's take a closer look....

    Windows is complex, trying to be everything to everyone.

    True. Many mac apps, especially those from Apple, will sacrifice features to keep things simple. Other apps keep the complex stuff hidden behind the simple stuff.

    When a new operating system or service pack is released, there are tons of changes to the functionality.

    Yes, the updates I get from Apple seem to focus on bug fixes, while Microsoft seems to create these huge updates that add new features and often break old ones.

    WinTel machines use different versions of BIOS. They are not all equal, nor do they all have the same level of compatibility.

    Well, that's the price you pay for being able to buy PCs from a number of different manufacturers. Apple is the only source of macs, they control the BIOS and the quality. Sounds like a trade off.

    Some Windows software applications are well written; others take shortcuts. Shortcuts may work in some environments, but not all, and ultimately the consumer pays in lost time, availability and productivity.

    You could also say the same thing about Mac applications.

    Hardware. There are hundreds of "WinTel-compatible" motherboards, each claiming to be better than the next. Whatever.

    This is a reason to switch to macs?! He's complaining about security, then instead of going into more detail about that, he complains about hardware.

    Memory. Not all RAM is equal. Some works well. Cheap stuff doesn't.

    So buy better RAM! Jeez!

    Hard disks. Same problem: cheap or reliable. Your call.

    So buy a better hard disk! Why is this a reason to switch to Macs?

    I'm very happy with my mac, and it's well designed and built (and I've added good quality RAM and a couple of Seagate hard drives), but this guy could have gotten accomplished his goals without taking the drastic step of switching to a Macintosh.
  • by TimWeigel (542949) <timweigel@gmail.com> on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:03PM (#12646575) Homepage

    In my personal experience, I agree with the substance of the article more than the style. We've had both Windows and Mac OS machines in our house for some time now - home-built Windows desktop for games, a Gateway laptop that I lug around, and an iBook that my wife uses heavily are the current lineup (PowerBook coming soon). I'm no slouch when it comes to administering and maintaining Windows machines, as I've been in the trenches of IT for about 8 years now at DEC/Compaq/HP, with a few side jobs here and there.

    Aaaanyway - my Windows machines are patched regularly (just about every Tuesday), I run anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall software on both (the desktop runs consumer-level stuff, the notebook is used to connect to work, so it runs the corporate versions of same). I routinely run all the beloved "maintenance" tasks on both the Windows machines to keep 'em running normally. And you know what? I still have to reimage the Windows desktop machine every 6 months or so, 'cause things just stop working. The notebook needs a reimage about every 4 months or so.

    I don't use Suspend or Hibernate on either machine - when I did, I had to fix things even more often. As a lark, I took a more hands-off approach to maintenance on the Windows machines for about 6 months just to see if my maintenance tasks were making things worse, and there was no change. Desktop Windows install failed within 6 months, laptop within 4.

    By contrast, my wife's iBook, which also gets rather heavy usage, only had 1 problem - my wife left it in reach of our 2-year-old son when she got up to answer a phone call, and he pulled it off the desk and used it as something to stand on to reach the other fun stuff on the desk (didn't quite give him the height needed, but points for the effort). He got excited when our cat got up on the desk, and started jumping up and down... on the iBook. There were no native failures at all - especially in the OS or applications. Antivirus and firewall were installed more as a precaution than anything else, and there were 0 problems with spyware, etc. The iBook went to sleep when the lid was closed, and woke right up when it was opened. Effectively the only times we had to reboot the machine were after installing updates, and not always then. I recall maybe twice in 2 years did the some piece of software (or the OS) wedge itself so badly that a restart was required.

    I'm not a zealot for either platform, and I have played reasonably extensively with Linux as well (it's got a long way to go before it will be a viable desktop OS for the casual user, in my opinion). When I was a bit younger (and didn't have kids), I would tear down and rebuild my computers regularly. My friends and I would get together and rebuild our computers. While I still appreciate the skill required to do it well, I don't have time or inclination anymore (I'm also looking to change careers to get out of IT, which may be related...) to tinker extensively. System maintenance is moving further and further away from being interesting or fun.

    My wife's iBook and my Gateway laptop are used for substantially the same thing - word processing, spreadsheets, email, web browsing, etc. The usual productivity grind. The iBook does it with less fuss and bother, and doesn't require as much maintenace. As my priorities change, the Mac platform becomes more and more attractive. I do enough work at work - I don't want to do more of the same at home, and Windows on the home machines is becoming a bother.

    In my own, purely anecdotal experience, the Mac is looking better and better. If they had a spreadsheet component of iWork, it would do literally everything I need, but Office for the Mac is no slouch. We'll probably always have at least one Windows box for games (and one of these days, I'll get smart and make a proper image so reinstalls don't take so long in case of failure), but we'll be moving more completely to Mac in our house.

Those who do things in a noble spirit of self-sacrifice are to be avoided at all costs. -- N. Alexander.

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