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Mad as Hell III -- Month 1 review

Winn Schwartau sums up his first experiences in his conversion from Windows to Mac.

It's May 31 and I've had my Mac for one month. This is my report.

I have:

  • 1. Upgraded OS X from 10.3 to 10.4. I slept thru it.
    • Done no OS X configuration other than screen saver and wallpaper. Moved the 'Dock' or task bar.
    • No security add ons.
    • Upgraded to 10.4.1. Seamless. Painless. But, yes, it does require a reboot.
  • 2. Installed a "legal copy" of MS Office for Mac.
    • Macros in Office apps. From everything I have seen and heard from my new 108,745 close personal friends, OS X viruses in the wild are simply not a concern. But MS Word macro viruses are real, although there is some debate about how much damage they can do in the OS X environment. The MS app default is to advise me on opening docs with macros. I guess I have opened and received more than a thousand docs this month. No alerts. I double checked my settings and gave myself an infected Word doc just to check it was working. All is good.
  • 3. Even though I don't need to, my stomach wouldn't rest until I added antivirus for Mac. www.ClamXAV.Com. Paranoid habit.
  • 4. I prefer Firefox to Mac's Safari, but that's religion. Camino is the Mozilla.Org OS X specific browser. IMHO, it's not ready for Prime Time. My Intranet displays like crap. Cool features I will watch.
  • 5. I use the native mail client.
  • 6. That's it.
  • 7. Application-wise I have:
    • Edited client movies.
    • Made our company switch to free online audio conferencing. [One button. No install. No new software.]
    • Switched our company to free video teleconferencing. [One button. No install. No new software.]
    • Published PDF. It's integrated.
    • Edited and worked on photos. It's integrated.
    • Screen shot clips and cropping, etc. It's integrated.
    • Imported 40GB of real Office XP data files.
    • Moved Favorites and Address Books [yada yada] in minutes.

I have not:
Gotten over my security paranoia.

I openly admit I am still nervous. Being a paranoid security type, I tend to STOP and think through many actions I might take or Clicks to Click. I still am, and I notice it on the Mac. "Should I do this?" Oh, that's OK. "What about the security on this?" No worries.

It's a very strange feeling: growing confidence in the security of your platform [equals less fear, less tension, less Xanax]. For those of you who think that none of this has to do with security, Part IV will educate you.

T'any rate: I have not:

  • 1. Added any security applications like pop-up blocker, spyware blockers, antispam blockers.
    • Saves RAM.
    • Less possibility for conflict with apps and OS.
    • Less processes.
    • Better performance. [None of that slowing down crap, which is a violation of C-I-Availability.]
    • Cleaner desktop.
  • 2. Added any other applications, but my measurable productivity is higher.
    • Same syntax and spell checker across ALL apps, not just Office. [Availability is the security view of productivity.]
      • 1 hour downtime for a broken computer is the same loss to a business as is 1 hour less productivity due to lack of homogeneity in the computing environment.
      • FACT [or, my opinion…The MS Office for Mac is FAR superior to Office XP+++. Things work so much more intuitively once your fingers learn what codes you need.
  • 3. Had any OS X crashes.
    • None.
    • Nada.
    • Rien!
    • The bloody thing works as advertised and I am tough on these things.
  • 4. Had an app drive my Mac crazy. You gotta love protected RAM. My browser snafu'd, I Force Quit [roughly equal to CTRL-ALT-DEL End Process] and it's all good again.
  • 5. Had to install printer drivers or tell it where on the network our printers are. Smart bugger.
  • 6. Had to perform any whiney networking tricks to make things work as they should. For Ma&Pa this is priceless. [Someone… do a priceless ad for us, please?]
  • 7. Had to spend any additional money on software, utilities, security, upgrades, management or anything else.

What I don't like:

  • 1. That cheap power cord into the side of my laptop. Apple added a little service loop strap which sucks. This puppy is gonna break. I've broken 'em all. Gotta get a backup.
  • 2. Where the hell is the native FTP?
  • 3. Still haven't conquered the mind set of why things become drives or not-drives, and how they appear from time to time of their own volition.
  • 4. The screen on my 17" laptop is not NEARLY as good as my Sony Vaio. There is debate on this, as to the reasons for the 'softer' look on the Mac. My eyes are older than yours, and I really like the 1920X1200 incredibly high resolution on my Vaio. I use the Vaio for some apps… but that will all come out in future Mad as Hell pieces.
  • 5. Oh: The keyboard lights up at night. Just too cool and solves a major problem for me and my wife when I 'puter in bed.
  • 6. I do not like having to spend 10 minutes to learn how to do something that is completely intuitive and ingrained in WinTel. But, that is the price. I'll get over it.

GRADE: 'A-': For managing to create a much safer and more secure computing environment that is more productive than any WinTel solution I have seen since DOS 5.0. [DOSTEL].

Think: In the WinTel world, could you do this? Or maybe you should ask, "Do I really want all of that paranoia to go away? Do I really want to spend more time enjoying whatever the hell I do on my 'puter, or maybe I should continue wasting hours every week on security crap that shouldn't be a problem in the first place?" Hey. It's just a question.

MacIntosh vs. Windows: Choosing to take a bite of the Apple
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 this exclusive intro to his "Mad as Hell" series.

Mad as Hell archive

About the author
Winn Schwartau 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.

This was last published in May 2005

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Convince me to ditch Windows 10 and go and buy an MAC. I love programming in BASIC and C# I enjoy making professional 2D desktop games and applications taking no longer than about month to accomplish.