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Posted
11 January 2006

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Nerd Factor X

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Windows For Smarties

Julian comments on the recently released Google Greatest Hits Pack, observing that it is ideal for distributing to friends and family who crave low-maintenance computing. I agree this is a nice package but an even better solution is to get them a Mac.

"Oh great, more Mac nazi fanboi rantings. Where's the eject button of my browser?" you may be thinking. Fair enough, let's not go there. Instead let me tell you of the three different computers I encountered while visiting friends and family in Adelaide over the holiday season. Coincidentally enough these are the same three computers that I performed some impromptu maintenance on, during that trip.

First there was my friend with the zany anti-virus software. I spend about 6 hours cleaning up the mess here, mainly because the virus was a fairly recently-discovered one and hence wasn't adequately detected by the software, and not adequately described by (some of) the online literature. Some of the time was spent fighting Windows XP System Restore. In short, not fun.

Next was my mum's computer. Yes, the one that I tried to get remote connectivity to a while back. Well, that had no virus infections but it did have problems connecting to the internet using anything other than Internet Explorer. Even ping failed. And the remote connections obviously. After a fair bit of poking and prodding I got it working again.

Turns out that the anti-virus software they had installed came with a trial version of a firewall. Which had now expired. I didn't link the two until I came to uninstall the firewall trial, and it helpfully offered to uninstall the (fully licensed) anti-virus program as well. Which I accidentally did.

D'oh.

More time spent finding the license key to reinstall the anti-virus program.

Lastly my friend with the swanky Dell laptop who couldn't get connected to his wireless network. This didn't take hours to resolve, but neither was it trivial. As it turns out, the problem was caused by upgrading to XP service pack 2. The clue was an error message that gave me the number (not even a hyperlink!) of the right KB article to fix the problem. Which turned out to be a single checkbox.

Three Windows boxes, three problems that could not be resolved by novice users. Ok, not exactly a statistically significant sample. But none of these problems would have happened on a Mac, for three really good reasons.

  1. No viruses. None. You don't need a virus checker. There's no spyware.

  2. Standardised hardware. No drivers to install.

  3. W1Nd0Wz Su><Xors! LOL!!!!!!1!!!!

Which is not to say that all is perfect over on the other side of the fence. But lets be honest, it's a shitload better for novices than the nightmare which is Windows. If you have novice users you need to support, take my advice, do yourselves a favour and convince them to get a Mac.

Leave Windows to more experienced users.

5 Comments

Posted by
Julian
2006-01-10 23:20:54 -0600
#

I remember the first time I used a Mac.

I remember the first time I was affected by a virus.

The delta between those two times was about 5 minutes...

Perhaps the statute of limitations has passed on this (June 1991), but it always made me suspicious of the claims that Macs have no viruses!


Posted by
alastair
2006-01-10 23:20:54 -0600
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The statute of limitations expired with the passing of MacOS 9. The 20 or so MacOS Classic (ie <= 9) viruses did not survive the transition to MacOS X which, as you know, is significantly different to the previous version.

Upon closer inspection it turns out that there may be a MacOS X virus propogating out there. If so, it is extremely rare. Like Bigfoot. Maybe we should ask Leonard Nimoy to go In Search of... ?


Posted by
Sunny Kalsi
2006-01-10 23:20:54 -0600
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Me and a friend with the swanky new PowerMac G5. Maybe I should just say wanky...

Connected portable HDD up to it. No dice. It works with everyone else, but not this mac. Hell, it even works with another friend's imini, but for some reason not the powermac. I just assumed it was a flaky HDD or enclosure or something.

Bought my laptop from home. Connected via wireless. About an hour later, we could ping each other. Freaking mac.

Now for file sharing. The distinct lack of options everywhere made it impossible to figure out why he couldn't see my files, or I his. Laptop batteries dying but we finally got samba working (third party software, I don't even know what we did). Went home to pick up ethernet and power.

Came back, downloaded stuff to computer. Total time: 8-9 hours.

Did I mention how user friendly the powermac is? The best I could do was ask him to launch me a terminal window. Thank god it's based on BSD. Freaking macs...


Posted by
alastair
2006-01-10 23:20:54 -0600
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Preliminary diagnosis: PEBKAC


Posted by
Sunny Kalsi
2006-01-10 23:20:54 -0600
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Sure, blame the user...