0 thoughts on “Why Macs are great

  1. I couldn’t watch the video on my iPhone (mini-mac?). I lost the pictures from my son’s first year of life when Windows decided to corrupt my FAT32 partition. The lesson for both of us? Never trust ANY software and ALWAYS back up critical data.

  2. I’ve used Windows boxes, Mac OS-X, and even Linux and have never lost a thing. But then I’m super anal about backups, software updates, etc.

    For you Windows users I recommend a few things. Buy a fat external drive, somewhere around 1TB or so. Get AVG for anti-virus, Firefox and the free version of Macrium Reflect.

    That last one is a kick ass backup program for windows, it uses the shadow file copy system and can backup 130GB on my machine in less than 30 minutes. Not only that, it compresses things nicely.

    And in Firefox, two absolutely necessary add-on’s. AdBlock Plus, and Flashblock. That stops 99.9% of the web nastiness that screws up a machine.

    Part of the problem with people losing things is that they don’t understand the system itself.

  3. I want to be listening in when the Apple rep comes to try and interest our college’s technology director and our network administrator in converting more of our labs to Macintosh. This summer, the University upgraded to AD08, and all the Macs on campus dropped off the domain.

    Not the Linux machines, even though nobody on campus supports Linux. Oh no, the Linux machines used plain-vanilla Samba which works fine. But Apple, they have to have their own fracking implementation of Samba and in the last three weeks they couldn’t seem to fix it for a campus with thousands of nodes. This while we’re trying to rebuild our labs for the semester.

    Oh yeah, our college alone has three Mac servers, of which one has several extremely critical functions that affect everyone.

    The Apple regional tech high-level programmer’s question: “Can’t you just roll back to AD03?” We have been laughing about that one for a week now.


  4. maybe under OS9, but ever since OSX, macs are stable, secure and easy to use. the giveaway is the 90’s era mac he’s holding. back in that day, windows was the buggy 3.1 or win 95, and linux didn’t have a gui.

  5. I agree that it sounds like an OS9 rant. My friend, rabid Windows hater and Linux lover, is a OSX convert. He loves his Mac. Every time I mention computer, he tells me to get a Mac. If Macs were still that unstable, there’s be no way in hell he’d ever use one.

  6. George.W …
    Linux very much does NOT the same SMB/CFIS implementation as Windows. Actually, Windows doesn’t use Samba at all… Samba a reverse engineered *nix implementation of the crappy Windows file sharing system.

    That’s right, Samba was created by reverse engineering… they literally sat there with packet sniffers watching Windows SMB traffic to figure out what the hell it was doing. Why you may ask? Because Microsoft didn’t even have a real protocol standard, much less a publicly available one. Several bugs and some gaping security security holes in the Windows filesharing system were uncovered creating Samba, some of which Windows bothered fixed by stealing code from Samba.

    My Macbook (OSX 10.5) has pretty much the same default version of Samba installed as my Linux box (BSD != Linux, so maybe slight different). I don’t know what the hell is up with your particular horror story, but it doesn’t really make any sense. That said… Microsoft is notorious for intentionally including undocumented incompatibilities to make sure their users stay ‘loyal’.

  7. More OS wars? Really? Welcome to the 1990s, folks.

    I know, let’s go back further and pit the Apple II, Atari 800 and Commodore 64 users head to head.

    I’ve heard the ENIAC guys were always squabbling with those bastards manning the IBM´s Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator. Oh, how the vacuum tubes would fly!

    Charles Babbage once kicked Blaise Pascal right in the nuts in a disagreement over gearing ratios.

  8. You’ll note that Xserves are not even supported within Apple. Software and hardware revs are tightly coupled so newer Xserves cannot run versions of OSX older than the hardware.

    ‘Why would anyone want to do that?’ Say you want to add 50 nodes to your 500 node cluster and you need them all running the same OS version. An edge case for sure, but one that illustrates typical Apple parochial arrogance/ignorance.

    It’s almost as gratuitously stupid as the Office 2007 UI changes. Blackboard takes the cake for Worst. Vendor. Ever. but that’s a whole different kettle of evil.

  9. Charles Babbage once kicked Blaise Pascal right in the nuts in a disagreement over gearing ratios.

    And Pascal had been dead for two centuries. That was a seriously bitter dispute.

  10. Ease off on the “winvangelistas”, Windows is left-handed and backwards from Mac OS on purpose, and switchers can be easily tripped up. David Pogue has some books out that should be very helpful for newcomers to Macintosh, http://www.lowendmac.com also has useful information for newbies. Was painful watching the iMac destroyed, ’99 and up models can run a gig of RAM, and they do well, within the limits of the GPU.

  11. Travc, I re-read my comment to try and figure out where I thought that Windows uses Samba, but couldn’t find it. I meant the current stable release of the *nix utility from samba.org. Apple apparently uses their own flavor of it, if I correctly understood our network admin.

    It took Apple three weeks to issue a kludgy patch and we still don’t have all the functions back up yet. Our unauthorized unsupported Linux machines are working fine though. And our Windows machines are working… as well as they always do.

    Please note I am not bashing Apple generally, but they have some ‘splainin’ to do with our campus network people who are pissed. I have noticed students are preferentially buying Apples now. Which will be fine because they don’t have to join the AD domain. And the Apple computers seem to run better after a year’s use than the Windows machines do.

  12. As isolated personal machines, I like Macs a lot. After a week or two of cursing the idiotic (and it was idiotic, even in retrospect) configuration scheme of the Mac, I really enjoyed my year of having a MacBook Pro. I had to supply my own three-button mouse, though…

    Even when the trackpad and keyboard decided to disconnect from the internal USB bus, SuperDuper did a fab job of backing up and restoring (I didn’t need it for this repair but I have a story about my wife’s MacBook drive just dying where it saved our ass.) jwz’s PSA on backing up your Mac due to hardware failures and general Apple hardware unreliability was instrumental – good sense regardless of OS or hardware.

    That said, Apple gratuitously damages critical protocols and software at least as bad as Microsoft does (see Samba issue above.) And Apple is renowned for screwing over their developers, so, say you wanted to rebuild Samba from pristine sources so it worked at least as well as the linux clients – good luck!

    So no, putting Macs into a heterogeneous managed environment or using them as servers is just a bad idea. There’s a limit to how well they play with others and Apple is singularly uninterested in getting along with everyone else.

    PS: Then there’s the whole iTunes store issue – apps, books and dictionaries being randomly censored, the Google Voice/AT&T issue, etc. It says nothing about Apple’s software or hardware, but volumes about their parochial attitude toward users and abusive relationship with third-party developers.

  13. And Pascal had been dead for two centuries. That was a seriously bitter dispute.

    Pfft! Pedants! You just aren’t aware of Babbage’s experiments with time. Conducted with Newton’s help.

  14. george.w@15,
    Don’t take my being strident too personally. The fact that you were curious enough to look up the info online is very cool.

    Samba is a pet peeve of mine… I’ve got lots of those 😉
    The story of Samba is a pretty great one actually, since it illustrates both the coolness possible with open-source and the brokenness of Microsoft.

    I’m surprised that Apple support fell down so hard. Supporting interoperability with Windows is a big deal for them.
    Of course, it also sounds like your campus is being a bit too bleeding-edge. It isn’t really all that surprising that Apple wouldn’t immediately support interoperability with a new product they don’t make… especially when that product is a poorly documented black box.

    PS: I had my own nightmares with VPN interoperability between OSX servers and my Linux machines. To add insult to injury, there was no good reason for me to use VPN, since everything I was doing was tunneled over ssl or ssh in the first place.
    In fairness, some of the problem was the admins not realizing “VPN” is not a sufficiently detailed specification… Since they all used Macs, they didn’t seem to realize there are many different protocols and options.

  15. roflmao – my wife has an OS X and I despise it to the nth degree – I can so for my help because I do not find Macs to be the slightest bit intuitive – Windows yes, Macs no.

  16. That’s really interesting travc! Of course I’m seeing the whole thing from the periphery, and having no better than ‘intro to networking’ I can’t get much more specific than “I wouldn’t want to be the campus Apple rep right now”. I also get the impression there isn’t universal agreement on campus about how to do things. The people at the top seem to prefer an ‘all Windows’ environment, which I think would be a shame. There are a lot of Mac users and some underground Linux activity.

  17. Personally I find the whole “my OS is better” is silly, no matter what OS you have. You could find anecdotal claims that each OS in turn has faults that cause loss of data, so that’s a waste of time 😉

    To me it’s simple: if you’re already familiar with one OS and it serves your needs well, stick with it. Don’t go bashing other’s choices because just as your choice works for you, their choice most likely works well for them as yours does for you (assuming they fit the target audience).

    From my experience, Linux is a fine web/database server platform (I invariably use Linux for web and database servers), excellent for the most code development (esp. the more “traditional” approaches). I don’t think it’s really suitable for most business or home user environments and I doubt it ever really will be as it’s development approach naturally leans to experienced users creating things that match their own needs. (That’s not a bad thing, just the nature of how it is.)

    OS X provides excellent GUI applications sitting on a BSD platform. A lot of the core is intentionally targeted at being simple enough for newer users, with Apple implementing a tidy approach to the “basics”, in part trying to kick-start developers to meet the more advanced users needs, e.g. Finder (taken at face value, at least) is a little simple, but there’s PathFinder for more advanced users. The “Unix level” is less well-exposed than in Linux, but reflects advanced users being a secondary target of the company and that new users don’t really want to be faced with it from the onset (as opposed to picking it up later if the choose to).

    You can run the standard versions of other OSes on OS X via virtualisation (Fusion, Parallels), so you can make it a OS X GUI + Unix + Windows platform if you care to. For some users this is a cost-effective way to, say, test websites or other cross-platform issues without having to support a lot of hardware.

    Windows I don’t have as much experience with, but at the end of the day, people seem to be able to get done what they want to get done, which is ultimately what matters. They seem to have a lot of worry about security issues. (Why don’t I use Windows much? – basically because I already have (more than) one way of doing what I need/want to. I do use it for cross-platform testing, but develop on OS X / or Linux, and for games; I’m not much of a gamer, though.)

    One more thing I’d like to toss in because I think it’s important. Company system administrators need to “get over” favouring one OS to the exclusion of the others, especially based on their person bias, and make their job “making it happen” for the company staff whatever platform they are using. After all, surely their job is to serve the staff, not for the staff to serve their bias as it were. It’s a waste of resources having staff learn how to use a new OS if they already know how to get what they need done on an existing OS. I had the experience of (informally) advising a local company to leave Linux for the server room and let the staff use what they were comfortable with on the desktop and support their use of their preferred platform. The sysadmin insisted “Linux was best” and made everyone use it. What a disaster. For the next two years the company lost valuable time of expensive staff…

    @travc, I suspect the rep will point at Snow Leopard, as I believe they’ve been working on that.

  18. To provide a counterpoint to what was noted earlier on never losing anything on any platform: I’ve used at various points Windows, Linux (mostly Red Hat or SuSE), OpenBSD, and Mac (OS 9 and 10) as my regular everyday OS at various points in time. I’ve managed to stupidly delete critical personal files (photos, videos, docs, et al) on EVERY SINGLE PLATFORM. Which is why I back up obsessively. You can do stupid things on any computer, I’m proof of that.

  19. People who claim they have never lost anything don’t know what they’re missing.
    OS the Breakdown:
    Work: XP
    Netbook: Linux
    For my mother who doesn’t know how to operate a PC: OSX
    Crazy Gaming System: Windows 7 64-bit(or soon enough)

    Done and done

    And always backup, no matter the OS. Better yet, RAID 1 for OS drive and RAID 0+1 for data. Yes, keep your data and your OS on different drives, not just partitions.

  20. It’s almost as gratuitously stupid as the Office 2007 UI changes.

    RE:Office 2007 UI changes. I would have agreed with you about a year ago, as we rolled out 2007 to my office and it was SUCH A PAIN. I spend months re-training everyone on where everything is. Oddly though, a year later, I think my employees would be lost in the 95 interface now… Point I guess, pissed me off at the tikme, but I’ve warmed up to it (except that Excel is a CRAZY resource hog)

  21. @Heraclides

    Company system administrators need to “get over” favouring one OS to the exclusion of the others

    To cheery pick/quote mine (as I left off the rest of that sentence), I do in fact, as a system admin, need to “favoure” one OS to another. Strictly from an admin point, I have to use windows when possible. This is due to the fact that we are in a domain ran by Windows 2k3/2k8 servers, within exchange. We need to require AD login for all users. We can set group wide preferences on users via log ins, that cannot be achieved easily in other systems.

    Now we have a Mac network, which I am glad to support, but MANY of our apps don’t work on Mac. We use Citrix for all app (we are server based) so what the end user has on their desk doesn’t really matter – but they will all be seeing a windows desktop regardless. They only use their Mac desktop for CS4 and Quark (which tend to run better on Mac) PC = cheaper = that’s what you get. Also, for road users, I require windows as I cannot use dameware/remote admin to remote into their systems via VPN.

    The point being, it may not be that the admin is actually favoring because they are a fanboy, but because it’s what fits into the system.

  22. @jj: Too many people use it as an excuse. My apologies if it comes across as being “about” “fanboyism” planted on users; that wasn’t the main point I wanted to make, it is one of the main reasons it happens this happens, however. My key point was intended to be that sysadmins / managers need to take care that they aren’t placing staff in the position serving the sysadmin’s needs, rather than the sysadmin serving theirs if this would result in retaining/downtime that isn’t balanced warranted. Care should be taken over “justifying” a choice of favouring one system over another as it can (often) carry with it a focus on serving the sysadmin rather than serving the staff.

    I could elaborate further, but I do think this is decision process that is often very poorly done. In many ways the “fault” lies at a management level.

  23. @Heraclides
    I do agree, to an extent. One thing that matters is scale – what amount of users are there, and what apps are needed. Certain ERP software requires certain OS’s. But I agree, if there is the ability for choice within a certain system, then why not let the user choose the platform they are comfortable with.

    And I am in no way saying that my own experiences as a systems admin are the norm – I for one enjoy working in all systems, as it gives me greater experience (I was actually a Mac novice when I started some years ago, now have more Mac experience / troubleshooting than most people at a Mac store).

    But to be honest, windows (NT based) systems are the easiest to manage in a large node network. Or it could be that I am ignorant to some things that can be achieved through a non-Windows based network. If I had my way, every user would be on a thin client, running a light weight linux client, and connecting via Citrix to a win 2k8 box (and many are). That’s the easiest from an admin point of view.

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