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Tom Gives Steve Early Holiday Gift

He's giving you a gift too.

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The holiday season (the silly season) is approaching and in this forgettable season it's customary to give - and receive - gifts. And in addition to the usual selection of books, CDs, DVDs, iPods and iTouches one regularly gives - and receives - computers.

And veteran IT journalist Tom Yager has a suggestion for you: buy a Mac.


If you're a Windows user you should take the (considerable) time to read through this article. It rivals the screeds of Walt Mossberg.

Yager talks mostly of the interface itself and he's no IT guru by any stretch of the imagination. And some of his utterances are a 'mouthful' to say the least. Such as the opening 'no one's unhappy with 10.4'. But taken as a whole and temporarily ignoring the recurring protests from sites such as this and from respected security researchers such as David Maynor, Charlie Miller, Kevin Finisterre, and the 'Groucho Marx' of them all - the mysterious 'LMH' - you've got nothing to compare with.

Not if you're on Windows you don't.

What Tom Yager is suggesting is what the proprietors of this site discovered over five years ago: that abandoning Windows is a Good Idea™. You might personally value usability over security - or more accurately not understand you're paying for usability with reduced security on Windows. But the effect is the same - and with OS X Leopard you get the best of both worlds in more ways than one.

The Best of Both Worlds™

Leopard's Boot Camp is one way you get the best of both worlds: only on this machine can you run both OS X and Windows. You can (you should) use OS X for all your Internet access exclusively - and never let Windows near a modem or router. You switch into Windows only if you really really have to. And you keep Windows away from your more important OS X system and boot back out of there as soon as you can (or when your frustration again threatens to drive you over the edge).

You also get the best of both worlds in that the combination of usability and security is high - incomparably high when compared to Windows. Windows today is a total loss where usability had to be sacrificed for a feeble (and unsuccessful) attempt to beef up security.

Researchers are going to continue to poke at OS X - and continue to point the finger at Apple - but Apple like Microsoft is a commercial enterprise and things are going to be lacking from time to time (as this site can attest). And the researchers are needed to keep the OS vendors on their toes.

But that cannot equate to being able to compare the nonexistent security model of Windows to what Apple gained with Unix and NeXTSTEP. It's not so much apples and oranges as it's Apple and Lemon. Or Apple and Hand Grenade.

The truly ambitious computer user could theoretically build a DIY 'from the ground up' 'roll your own' operating system with bits and pieces of the more reliable Linux distros and get a fraction of the usability of the OS X Cocoa interface (preferably with none of the annoyances). But this takes a lot of ambition and above all a lot of time. And truth be told the Linux 'GUIs' will never hold a candle to the NeXTSTEP Apple use today in OS X.

So if you're in the market for a new machine this holiday season you should really consider getting your first Mac. This is a good idea not only because of the move to OS X but also for the move away from Windows.

One less stupid Windows computer (of hundreds of millions) to join a criminal botnet.

Safer Than Before?

Dell have begun their own holiday season advertisement campaign. Their ads try to point out that their systems are now 'safer' than before. Seriously: if you have to mention 'safety' in an ad like that you're really in trouble. Safety should never be a consumer interest: it should be taken for granted - it should be a basic requirement.

But on Windows - with Dell, HP, Gateway, anyone's hardware - it never will be. Buy your kevlar, your AK-47, your Stinger missiles, KEEP YOUR AV SIGNATURES UP TO DATE - and you're still going to get owned. Over 80% of Windows computers already are.

So Sorry for Causing You Pain!

Back in early 2002 Bill Gates made a bold move: he went public with an apology to the world for the pain and suffering his software had caused. Seriously: he did this.

We know today it was just more spin to usher in DRM controls in his latest version of Windows but he did go on the record and he did officially admit what he'd been up to all those years.

But now it's five years later and what have you as a consumer got for all of that?


And in the meantime Apple yank their NeXTSTEP/OS X up to a fully 64-bit operating system. The only such system currently in use. They've taken code they acquired from another company and they've raised the bar on personal computing. And not only in terms of intangibles such as 'usability' but in Real Scientific Terms™.

As Sun cofounder Bill Joy put it when he acquired his first Mac: 'it's not about databases anymore - it's about data structures'. The amount of scientific work that wasn't previously possible on personal computers that today, thanks to Apple, is there for the asking...

Open source guru Eric Raymond says it's a 'clean slate' this time around. Redmond victories in previous markets have no relevance anymore. The new battlefield is 64-bit computing and guess what? Apple are first. And as Raymond himself said, if the referee blew the whistle today and the game was already over - guess who comes out on top?

Science and academia are flocking to 64-bit OS X Leopard the way they flocked to Windows NT ten years ago; they way they ran for their lives away from Windows NT five years ago - and when science and academia start flocking anywhere the rest of the world is sure to follow.

There's a month remaining before the silly season is once again in the rear view mirror; you haven't made up your mind yet what you want to do if you're in the market for a new computer; you've been eyeing those slick Apple boxes; give the matter some serious thought.

And then go out and do yourself - and the world - a favour. Give a gift that keeps on giving to everyone.

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