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Mad as Hell XVI – Chill, folks, …just chill

It's not quite the last word, as you'll read, but three months are up for the author's grand experiment. And he's no longer mad as hell.

"It does not take 50 million lines of code to do e-mail, browse the 'net and write a letter."

I spoke those words at the Tampa Bay Mac Users Group meeting on Aug. 10. At that gathering, I came to a nice conclusion that most of them agreed with: "You Mac people need to calm way the hell down! You are too enthusiastic!" It's like the ex-drug addict who somehow got a prescription for an infinite supply of happy pills, or that former sinning friend who suddenly found religion and just won't shut up.

Mac people, chill. It's only a computer, and it's only a tool. If you are anthropomorphizing, you need help. Yes, PCs are good. They have their space, too, so just relax. There is also room for your brother Linux. Get a grip.

Then we talked about "What do you really need a computer for" and other than the octogenarian into group-sex and porn, it came down to three things:

  • Email the grandkids and get pictures back.
  • Surf the net for porn and shopping.
  • Word for writing.

That is 95% (ok, pick your own large number) of the world.

CAVEAT: It does not take 50 million lines of code to do e-mail, browse the net or write a letter. And I chastise myself for espousing simplicity yet allowing my autonomic reaction to look for the hardest possible solution.

The transition from WinTel to Mac is going to be a lot harder for people with years of PC experience than for newbies. My daughter made the transition in about an hour. Me? I still enter Win codes with my left hand. Gonna take awhile and I accept that. Reprogramming the keys to emulate Win hotkeys might be heresy, but it's my box and my life.

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.

CAVEAT: Unless specifically compelled otherwise for legitimate and extenuating reasons, all new computer users should buy a Mac. It makes all of our lives easier. (Read: less customer support from geeks to users.)

I am not going Mac religious on you. I am happy and that is what matters to me. But, I get extra thrills and bonus points at Heaven's Gate if I try to do good and make decent, well conceived recommendations to the Generally Clueless. (No offense, of course.) Then the selfish part is I receive less tech support calls, so it's not all altruistic.

So, I guess I am going to wind down the Mad As Hell series. I had planned to do a lot more, but I am not mad as hell anymore. I am pleased as punch for all of the reasons I have discussed.

I do hereby declare my experiment a success.

Technically, I will now begin tweaking my Mac. I have run native (except Firefox and an FTP client) and will now get more under the hood (WinTel thinking) and see what damage I can do. I will ask for help from the Mac experts out there as I fumble through.

My first goal was to determine if the Mac switch was worth it, and yes, it was unquestionably one of the smartest things I have ever done, albeit late. My tech-stress level is way down. Things just work the way they should. My productivity is way up. I don't have to waste time troubleshooting.

Done. 'Nuf said.

Except for this one thing: I have one more major component to relate, and I hope to do so in a couple of weeks. It's about the total cost of ownership, or TCO. I'm just now finishing up a study of the WinTel vs. Mac TCO. It will be my analysis plus some tools to let you perform your own cost-benefit analysis when considering a WinTel or Mac (future MacTel). One will be for Ma & Pa; another for a SOHO; and a third for the small and midsized enterprise.

Hope to have them up soon. For now, I'm moving my daughter to Paris, where she'll study at the Sorbonne. My wife threatened me with the best thing a wife can threaten if I don't disconnect for at least a week. Will do, honey. Promise.


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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