The rantings of a beautiful mind

On life, society, and computer technology.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I live in the Fortress of Solitude. I drive the Silver Beast. My obsession is justice. I used to be a Windows software developer. I retired in 2000 when my stock options helped me achieve financial security.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mac is safer than PC

This is an excellent editorial on the security of Macs versus PCs:,1895,2140674,00.asp

Some while back, a friend of mine bragged that he does all the right things to make his Windows machine 100 percent safe from viruses. He is quite is certainly possible to make your Windows machine bulletproof.

However, he missed an obvious point:

Most Windows users do not know how to secure their machines, aside from following a few simple recommendations, such as install antivirus and antispyware. No amount of education is going to change this.

Note that this is simply a statement of practical reality. Of the hundreds of millions of PCs out there, a large proportion are under-secured.

Put simply, for most of these users, they'd be far, far safer if they were using Mac. This is not idle speculation. Hell, it's not even an educated guess. It is an absolute statement of fact! It would take someone whose head was shoved way up his ass to even try to refute this.

As of this very moment, a Mac user enjoys greater security than a PC user, for all the reasons that we've discussed. Some have suggested this may change in the future, and as I don't have a crystal ball I can't argue against the suggestion.

But even if Apple faces greater challenges in the future with regards to security, it is not a foregone conclusion that they will fail to correct the situation. They may struggle or they may not, but one way or the other the Mac will continue to be safer than a PC. Only Mac-haters will look at the worst case scenario and write off the Mac platform. For that, shame on you.,1895,2140308,00.asp

At any rate, in spite of what Apple still hasn't done with regard to security, there are Mac exploits, but there are no mass Mac exploits.

Is this merely a function of Apple's small market share? Mogull grants that yes, the security shortcomings he sees in Mac OS X would mean that Apple might be having some problems if it had Microsoft's market share. Still, it's a pretty secure platform, he said. "It's not like it's wide open." Even after the CanSecWest security conference, when hackers broke into a Mac in a Pwn-2-Own contest, Apple had the vulnerability patched within eight days, he noted.

"Macs are not the bastions of security a lot of people would have you believe, but it's not like Apple's doing everything wrong, like some of the hacker types would have you believe," Mogull said.

Feel a Mac.

Monday, June 04, 2007

DRM bites us in the ass!

I've been saying all along that the DRM in Windows Vista was bad for consumers. I said that it may take some time for consumers to realize how Vista will limit them in their flexibility and fair use rights. Well, here's the first concrete example of how Vista's DRM is biting us in the ass...!

Hi Richard,

Thank you for your email. Digital Rights Management was activated on all set-top boxes earlier this year. This is a contractual requirement that Rogers has from all programmers in order to manage the transfer of programming to a Personal Computer or distribution over the Internet.

Nancy Cottenden
Corporate Communications.

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Eng
Sent: Saturday, June 02, 2007 9:49 AM
To: Cable Media Relations
Subject: Rogers Cable Media Relations

*** Rogers Cable Media Relations ***

Account Number -->

Name --> Richard Eng

Subject --> Rogers Cable Media Relations

Comments --> I have recently learned that Rogers has enabled the copy protection flag for certain television broadcasts so that users like myself cannot record and view such programs on their Windows Vista computers, which implement Digital Rights Management, or DRM. I am very distressed at Rogers'' decision to do this. It limits the user''s flexibility in his choice of equipment and home configuration for digital entertainment. While Rogers does recommend using their DVR for recording, this is not a sufficient option for many users. I have to say, I''ve been a loyal Rogers customer for many, many years (just check my account), but your recent decision to do this is very upsetting. I am putting you on notice that if this situation is not rectified to my satisfaction within the next year or two, I shall be looking for an alternative provider who does NOT impose this very inconvenient restriction on Rogers'' customers. Please reply to my e-mail address.
Thank you.

This is a powerful incentive for consumers to drop Windows Vista in favour of the alternative platforms that do NOT support Digital Rights Management, namely Mac OS X and Linux.