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Mad As Hell XV -- Penitence and Confession

After three months, the author admits there's still much to learn about his newly adopted operating system, and that he's "too stupid to use Macs."

Wow. I know nothing about Macs and I got invited to speak at the Tampa Bay Mac Users meeting; and had a great time.

I kept my hair long, didn't shave and wore an offensive hacker T-shirt that discussed jpgs and a girlfriend. My wife didn't approve but she didn't go, so she lost.

This was really an honor and I started out like this.

"I am too stupid to use Macs."

Here's what went down to warrant that opening salvo.

The other day I was trying to do some music-moving with my kids. Click. Nothing. Poked here and there. Still Nothing. Thought about rebooting (a PC owner's knee-jerk reaction to anything going wrong, or even if you merely suspect a problem, or if you think you might have a problem sometime in the coming week. Reboot.) But I resisted the urge, under the eternally optimistic experimenter's belief that I would not need to. (This is an experiment after all.)

Instead I closed the app and reopened it. Nothing. Next, check the network. Open, reset, close, open, reset, re-enter, do it over again. Arrghh. Automatically I cursed. "Stupid Mac," I cried, and then regretted my choice of words.

I got into terminal to look for IP packet problems, stack problems, traffic monitoring… and found nothing wrong. So, as a good ex-PC user, I did it all again. I guess I'd been at it almost two hours when I started getting really getting annoyed despite the tense smile on my face.

My son walked by. He doesn't even own a Mac. He thinks I am an idiot. He is 14. You decide. I asked him if he had any clue what was wrong? The router tables? Firewall restrictions? Port forwarding?

He comes over to my Mac, and a couple of clicks later checked the "Share iTunes" box.

So who's the idiot? Yeah.

About the series
Disgusted by security issues and poor performance, Winn Schwartau makes the switch from Windows to the Mac and details the bumps in the road along the way in his Mad as Hell installments

And the point I made to this great audience of senior citizens (including an 82-year-old porn widow), geeks, corporate types, school board members and Apple reps who wanted to see how crazy I was: After battling the WinTel world for 15 years (DOS used to work before that!) I am still overthinking my computer usage, and that is a sin.

So in front of the world, I confess my newly recognized sins.

  • I assume the computer is going to fail. There are so many problems, my first reaction is the technology has failed yet again. I confess to this sin.
  • The network is to blame. Other than a lightning strike the other day which did in fact fry the main router, our network is highly reliable. (Yes, I do have UPS and surge protection. But crap happens, OK?) So why do I blame the network? Some WinTel wireless and LAN and dial-up networking configurations are a nightmare (read: less than automatic). For some unknown reason I could never decipher DHCP, and other advanced networking configurations get changed by the office Poltergeist. He seems to have gone away since we switched to Mac. (Saves a bunch of time, I'll tell you!)
  • I have not run antivirus software in more than three months.
  • I have not run any spyware software in three months.
  • I have not defragged.
  • I have only checked the integrity of my firewall three or four times.
  • I forget that there is a simpler way than I am used to. Somewhere, there is an easy button to do 99% of what I need.
  • I still use a PC and will defend it all day long. It doesn't connect to the Internet though, and sharing is controlled carefully. Sorry folks! I also still use Linux as I watch it prepare for its prime-time appearance in 2007.
  • I curse the one-button mouse, use a Microsoft Mouse and begged the Apple reps at the meeting for free Mighty Mice. They look cool. I also despise the standard Mac desktop keyboard. Boy, did I hear about that.
  • We're good now. Mac is my office.

About the author

Winn Schawartau is one of the country's leading experts on information security, infrastructure protection and electronic privacy. Schwartau is president and founder of Interpact Inc., The Security Awareness Company, which develops information security awareness programs for private, public and government organizations.

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