Category: OS X

Apple Will Murder Microsoft and Bury It With BlackBerrys Corpse – Rocco Riffs – TheStreet

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Apple Will Murder Microsoft and Bury It With BlackBerrys Corpse – Rocco Riffs – TheStreet.

This is a significant article.

I’ve written at length for my distrust of Microsoft, representing in my view, a road that personal and business computing should have never gone down.

Microsoft got lucky with DOS – everything else, Windows, Office, Sharepoint, .Net, Exchange – it’s all momentum from that huge mistake that IBM made all those years ago, letting Bill Gates provide a disk operating system he didn’t even own at that point.

It allowed ‘computing for the rest of us’ to be a ridiculed statement made by a company that didn’t understand what ‘business’ needed.

Over the years, Apple has struggled on, sometimes lacking any direction, sometimes having the odd big success, but even that was dismissed as transitory – the mantra being that Apple needs a hit every year or two, otherwise it would just fade away.

Meanwhile Microsoft soldiered on, knowing that their army of IT people whose jobs depended on Microsoft staying in pole position, would keep them healthy.

An almost parasitic dependancy on each other developed, Microsoft need those IT managers to keep fooling company’s into believing there is no alternative, and those IT managers need Microsoft to keep the technology just opaque enough so that their jobs are safe, the rest of us suffered, or worse, carried on, not even knowing there was an alternative.

One thing they didn’t bank on was BYOD – bring your own device. Even in my little corner of the world, away from the US and even London, I’ve seen the effect. More people are choosing ‘anything but Microsoft’ for their personal computer and phone needs.

It’s still early days, and I don’t see a Mac on every desk anytime soon, but the article puts it perfectly:

“These days consumer preference dictates enterprise decisions. If you’re not powerfully out in front with the consumer, you’re going to end up getting hurt in the enterprise. That’s why it was smart for IBM to partner with Apple. Led by Apple, they’ll bury Microsoft in the same grave BlackBerry cluelessly fell into.”

Apple’s joint enterprise with IBM is very significant, as is this article. I’ve never seen any commentator dare even mention this as an option. I’ve also never seen anything like this from Apple either.

The enterprise doesn’t mention Macs, but I can understand that. In the eyes of business, the Mac brand is tainted (even though it’s a world away from the Mac of 1984).

However it doesn’t matter – the juggernaut that is iOS is the Mac OS underneath. Everyone knows that, Microsoft knows that, IBM knows that. What they don’t know is what iOS devices Apple will release in the coming years, which will be automatically part of the agreement.

If you consider that iOS and Mac OS will merge at some point and what the device Apple will merge them on will look like, you can start to see a future where we will all be using devices that run iOS.

Any IT manager still clinging on to Windows will use it in the server room where it belongs – just don’t let any normal person near it.

And I haven’t even mentioned the software services that Apple offers as part of this agreement – why would you choose Office when (an admittedly enhanced) iWork is free?

 

 

And so it begins…

Windows Slevin

There’s a critcal update for Windows 7, this, even before it was released.

From Rixstep:

Do not install this critical update until you have (successfully) installed Windows 7. The code in the update may corrupt earlier Windows systems, destroying your own data and making it impossible to upgrade to the fabulous Windows 7.”

You know, leaving aside the seriousness of this bug, and the fact that it shows, yet again, that Windows is the swiss cheese of operating systems, doesn’t it strike you odd that Microsoft is asking it’s users not to install this update unless they’ve first installed Windows 7. This could corrupt their system.

WHY DOESN’T WINDOWS AUTOMATICALLY SENSE WHICH OS YOU’RE RUNNING AND ONLY PRESENT THE OPTIONS FOR THAT OS?

You know, like Mac OS always has done?

It’s no wonder some Windows installs go bad – the OS doesn’t even help the user make the right choices.

iTunes Extra (& LP) answered, but keep it to yourself…

itunesextra

The ever-excellent Roughly Drafted goes into great detail here, about how iTunes Extra & LP work.

From what I can tell, the whole iTunes Extra experience is done inside iTunes 9, using Javascript, CSS & HTML. The media file, is actually a bundle, a mini website if you will, all under a framework called “TuneKit”.

So that’s my question answered, however Roughly Drafted also goes on to postulate that the real benefactor for this approach is Apple TV, or whatever it’s successor is to be called.

The real kicker though is the fact that all this is done using open standards – no proprietary Flash or Silverlight required.

It would be really nice if certain people, who have lambasted Apple in the past for their horrible, closed proprietary systems, to maybe just admit, just for once, that Apple just might have the user’s interests at heart.

And of course, as RD points out, their own hardware sales. Once Apple’s users have enough iTunes LP & Extra content on their Mac/PC, Apple will release Apple TV 3.0 and all that content now plays on that device, effectively replacing DVD players in one fell swoop.

As always, there’s far more info in Roughly Drafted’s article, it’s highly recommended, but sometimes I wish RD would keep these plans to himself – we don’t want the enemy knowing all our plans do we?

Safari 4 beta

button-download-icon-20090217

Apple surprised everyone recently by announcing Safari 4.0. It’s released as a beta, put don’t let that put you off, it’s every bit as stable as the previous version.

Opinion is divided on some of the new features, with some people hating the fact that the tabs have moved to the top (as Chrome), the ‘Top Sites’ feature not being particularly useful, and the intrusion of ‘Cover Flow’ into bookmark & history browsing.

Other people love these features, but I think it’s a mixed bag. The feature that wowed me first was the ‘Top Sites’ feature, however this enthusiasm has faded as I realised I cannot seem to find it useful. Time will tell.

The feature that I hated at first was the ‘Cover Flow’ intrusion. I don’t like Cover Flow, I don’t use it in the OS, or iTunes, however it seemed to make more sense in Safari, because it’s better than what it replaces, and I’m warming to it.

The traditional way, by earching your history by looking at hundreds of similar named bits of text, is not user-friendly at all, however quickly skimming through thumbnails of those pages is much more intuitive.

Thurrott is having a bad time in finding anything to like in Safari 4 beta. This isn’t surprising, but he seems to blow lukewarm to cold on Apple, depending on whether he needs to up his site visits. I’m purposefully not linking to his article.

Everyone seems not to mention the speed. The stats seem incredible, and although they seem to be true and not exaggerated, (they have been independently tested and confirmed), the average surfer won’t see much difference.

The question for me remains, is why are Apple introducing more (albeit useful) eye-candy into Safari? It’s a browser, and shouldn’t it be lean, fast & mean?

It comes down to pushing the hardware. I do most of my personal surfing on a little iBook G4 and it’s beginning to show the strain. Apple need to keep selling their hardware, so they keep pushing the specs, to make you upgrade.

I’ve held off, because, like most I can’t afford to upgrade my hardware every time Apple releases new Mac’s.

I put it off for as long as possible, and I’m planning to purchase a MacBook when Snow Leopard is released.

It seems that Apple are heading towards Snow Leopard as the pinnacle of what they can achieve, after they threw away OS9 all those years ago.

Snow Leopard seems to be everything that Steve Jobs has been aiming for – a lean, mean OS, with no legacy code. A good foundation to build upon.

I predict that after Snow Leopard has been released, together with the hardware that’s designed to take full advantage of it, Steve Jobs will announce his retirement, with the knowledge that his job is done.

However it will be sad when SJ retires. To most new Mac users he has significant, but not irreplaceable influence.

When he does go, I’m sure that Apple will carry on, and be better off in the long run, but the Apple that I have grown up with (since System 6) – my Apple – will never be the same again.

Safari is all part of this, and it’s apparent that Apple are slowly putting the pieces together to make the Mac best tech-experience, bar none.

PPC is left out in the cold…

Sorry for the ‘cold’ pun, but I couldn’t help it.

So, ‘Snow Leopard’, (the next iteration of the Mac OS), is going to be Intel-only. The Power-PC, which has had a love-hate relationship with Apple over the years, is finally going to be discarded, sometime in 2009.

A lot of the PC-press is trying to stir up a sh*t-storm over this, citing Apple as abandoning their users, and forcing them to upgrade.

Well, I’m here to say that I think Apple is doing the right thing.

The department that I run has over half-a-dozen Mac’s and a couple of PC’s, and everyone of these Mac’s runs Tiger.

Not Leopard, but Tiger.

“Aha!” I here all the Windows-apologists scream, “Leopard is full of bugs! Here’s a Mac-loving ‘power-user’ and even he doesn’t even recommend it!”

Well, calm down, there are reasons why my department runs Tiger, and not Leopard (apart from a little iBook for testing).

Firstly, this is software – a lot of software. On top of the OS, I have about a dozen applications that I rely on being compatible, all the time.

Secondly, software has bugs. Mac software doesn’t have as many bugs as Windows software, but there are bugs. InDesign CS2 has 2 reproducible bugs that I can do right now – that cause a crash.

Thirdly, and talking of InDesign – it’s Adobe. CS3 (including 2) and Leopard don’t play well together – at all. Now I don’t care whose fault this is, it’s probably both Apple’s & Adobe’s, but I’m not installing Leopard on any production Mac until it ‘just works’.

However those half-a-dozen Mac’s are also all PPC. There’s not one Intel Mac in my department, so Leopard is a no-no until Adobe pulls its finger out, and therefore Snow Leopard is a bit of a non-starter for me as well.

Is that likely to change? Maybe, maybe not. The oldest Mac in my department is a 700mhz G4 – nearly 7 years old, and (touch wood), it’s still a production machine.

I do have the chance to bring Intel in however, I’m about to purchase another large format printer, and I need a Mac to run it on, but I’m stuck between buying a 2nd-hand G5, or a new MacPro.

Now most people would go with the MacPro, but as well as the hardware, there’s the software issue as well – all my software is PPC, not Universal.

So, it looks like I’m stuck for now, until one of the Mac’s die (7 years and counting), and I have to by Intel, and go cap-in-hand to finance to upgrade the software as well.

But my finance department is as tight as a ‘gnat’s chuff’ (English colloquialism, look it up), so I’ll be sticking with a PPC-based department for now.

 

A thought about Psystar…

Frankenmac

Hold on a minute… what about security updates? 

Supposedly, in order to stop Apple from ‘bricking’ these Frankenmac’s, the Mac’s software update has been disabled by Psystar.

Now Psystar say that any updates from Apple will (presumably after alterations by Psystar) be posted on their support site.

Updates from Apple that correct bugs and add features are one thing, a user can live without these if needs be, but what about security updates?

Security updates usually come from Apple as separate entities, can we be certain that Psystar will a) be actually be able to offer them and b) after altering them to suit the specific hardware that Psystar is offering will they work effectively?

Apple has teams of engineer’s who know the hardware intimately, Psystar has, by all accounts, a unnamed brother.

Do you feel secure? I wouldn’t.

It’s gonna be a headache for Psystar, but I feel that they just won’t bother, all they want is your money.

But what does this mean in the long term?

Let’s say that Apple does nothing (they’ve done nothing so far).

Let’s say that Psystar’s Mac’s are a great success and sell by the boatload.

Let’s say that a really bad security vulnerability appears and Apple, as it’s duty permits, releases a security update.

This security update may also have code in it that brick’s Psystar’s Mac’s. Psystar then takes this update, examines it and somehow strips out the ‘bricking’ part. I don’t even know if this is possible, I’m not a programmer.

Even if they could, it’s going to take them a while to do this. All the time, the FrankenMac’s are vulnerable, and this happens, time, and time again. Apple releases dozens of security updates a year.

It’ll be too painful to update, and it’s not automatic so users just won’t bother.

This means that there will be a sizable proportion of Mac’s that are wide open to attack to malware & virus writers and Apple will be able to do nothing about it – it’s Psystar’s problem.

However, running the Mac OSX, Psystar’s problem IS Apple’s problem.

Psystar’s Mac’s will be the insecure bastard brother of the true Macintosh.

I think it’s very irresponsible of Psystar to potentially make the Mac-platform a target for virus-writers, simply just to chase a cheap buck.

Thinking this through – Apple, you really need to do something NOW, before this gets out of hand.

Safari malware..?

 

Malware

Unless you’ve been living under a penguin-shaped rock, it can’t have escaped you attention that Apple have released Safari for Windows.

Not only have they released it, but they’ve actively developed for it, and actively (and some say aggressively) marketed it.

Towit: software update for Windows tries to ‘encourage’ Windows users to install it by pushing it along with updates to iTunes.

This wasn’t well received by most PC-whiners. They feigned anger, saying that it was almost ‘malware’ like, but this was just a cover because they felt that it was an invasion of the Windows-space by Apple.

Most of the great unwashed would just install it without realising it and start using it instead of Internet Explorer – how dare they!

It’s strange that these same PC-pundits weren’t saying the same thing when Microsoft created Internet Explorer as a replacement for Netscape Navigator, and installed it by default, for free, even tying it into the OS, and making it impossible to uninstall.

Those same poor, great-unwashed users just started using Microsoft’s browser instead and Netscape died on the vine. Why wasn’t that described as ‘malware’?

No, I feel that all’s fair in love and war and if Microsoft can use these dirty tactics to grow their browsers market share, then it’s perfectly OK for Apple to do the same.

Oh yeah, by the way – it’s working:

 

So the evil twin of the Mac has been created…

Engadet has reviewed it here, and here’s a summary of their findings:

• The graphics card appears to be an NVIDIA GeForce 8600GT, but it doesn’t show up in ASP, so we have to confirm. Psystar’s store says it’s supposed to be a 256MB card, but we have 512MB — strange.

• It’s LOUD. Crazy loud. OS X doesn’t seem to interface with the fan controller, so it runs at full tilt all the time. It doesn’t really come across on the video, but it’s loud enough so that it’s hard to talk on the phone when the machine is running. There’s no way we could deal with this thing on a daily basis.

• The DHCP lease drops every fifteen minutes or so and you have to manually renew it in prefs.

• Apple System Profiler doesn’t know how to read the configurations of several systems, notably memory and audio. The Audio screen just says there’s no built-in audio, while the Memory page returns an error.

•The included copy of Leopard was out of the shrinkwrap, but there’s no way to install it — it shows up in Startup Disk but it won’t restart, and it’s not recognized at boot.

That’s just first impressions – expect things to get worse.

Ooooh, can’t you just feel the quality?

So, in summary, it switches on and runs, but there are some annoying glitches, errors and parts that just flat out don’t work which I’m (not) sure that Psystar will get around to fixing very soon.

Who would buy this? Hold on, doesn’t that summary sound just like Windows?

I’m sure Windows users who have spent their entire life thinking they get ‘value’ from their ‘cheap as chips’ PC’s, will feel right at home.

The beginning of the end..?

Bad news for Microsoft

Bad news for Microsoft.

Yes, I know I’m an Apple fanboy, and yes I know it’s hard not to gloat, and yes I also know that Microsoft will always be around in some form or another, but are we really beginning to see the behemoth stumble?

Vista AND XP below expectations, sales slumping by 24%, a 4.6% drop in the share price, and sales of ONLY $4 billion (I guess there’s still a few fools out there still buying Microsoft).

 

However, this also happended today:

Apple releases Common Criteria Tools for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

A set of tools that map out the security features of Leopard, so that enterprise customers can buy in confidence.

Is this it, is Apple really serious in going for the Microsoft juggler(jugular)? Seems so.

While Microsoft is juggling, having several dozen balls in the air at the same time, Apple is trying to pull the rug out from under them.

And let me just remind all the Apple-faithful, it’s 2 YEARS, at the earliest, until Microsoft releases Windows 7, the OS that’s going to solve all your problems (apparently).

(again)

(even though Vista was supposed to do that)

(and XP)

(and Me)

(and 2000)

(and 98)

(and 95) – you get the picture.

If Apple can keep up selling 2.6 million Mac’s a quarter, with 50% going to new users, that’s an extra 10.4 million Windows converted, minimum.

Are there going to be any Windows users left to buy Windows 7?

You have got to be kidding me…

Vista sux

Courtesy of Macfixit, via Psystar support:

“We absolutely do not support customers attempting to install the Leopard operating system on our Open Computer themselves. This is due to a difficult process that we go through to get Leopard to function on our computers. We encourage you to purchase an open computer, and select the option to have Leopard Pre-installed.”

Of course, the reader asked what options were available in the event of a major system failure requiring Leopard reinstallation, to which Psystar suggested a return shipment to the company.

“Currently, (shipping the computer back to us) is the only option available. If the HDD dies, you can ship it to us for $50 plus shipping, so we can replace it for you.”

Yeah, these Psystar systems seem like very good value.

And people complain that you have to send your iPod/iPhone back to Apple to change the battery?

For chrissakes, buy a second-hand Mac for $400, or put your friggin’ hand in your pocket and buy a Mac, everyone else is doing so:

The Apple-hater’s wet dream continues…

Eeeeew...

 

Think before you click.

Think before you click (again).

Let me start by putting something into perspective that a lot of Mac supporters, and people who are neutral tech observers don’t realise.

There are people (bloggers, journalists & users) out there who have Apple hatred in their DNA.

I won’t go into the reasons why, but briefly, they hate everything Apple stands for. They hate the logo, they hate Steve Jobs, they hate the hardware, they hate OSX, they hate the iPhone, iPod and especially the users. 

Apple has a long history of bucking trends, and proving people wrong and they have upset a lot of people along the way, some get over it, some definitely do not.

With this in mind, my attention has been brought upon the recent controversy of Psystar, and this has opened the ‘debate’ on whether Apple really ought to release Mac OSX to work on open hardware.

There’s also the side-issue put forward by some pundit that they could legally be forced to.

Now, I don’t care about Psystar. I think that Apple will shut them down, and if they can’t they’ll release an update that trashes the hardware.

This in turn will either force those users back to Windows, (no problem, because they weren’t going to buy Apple hardware anyway, so no lost sale there), or it will pique their interest and encourage them to buy Apple hardware.

So whatever happens, it won’t hurt Apple, in fact, in might help them.

But, coming back to those pundits who have that DNA-fault, they are constantly on the lookout for news that will, under their encouragement, allow them to fulfill their wet-dream.

That dream being that Apple will disappear, be absorbed or destroyed. They will no longer have to consider them, report on them or have to even say the word ‘Apple’ ever again.

They will of course write page upon page of drivel, baiting the old-Apple users and force them to realise that they were right all along. Apple is dead, Microsoft have triumphed. Yes, they are that petty and childish.

This latest development with Psystar, is just another facet of that dream. The PC-pundits see this as an opportunity to kill Apple, or at least push us all to that conclusion.

They feel that if Psystar is successful it will start a snowball that will encourage Dell, HP etc to join in and simply release hardware that can run OSX.

And they know full well that Apple cannot exist on that model. Without hardware sales, Apple is gone, it does not exist anymore.

Certainly Apple as a software company would not have the disruptive effect it has at the moment. Indeed, Apple would fade to a shadow of it’s former self, effectively a niche software provider, if not dead completely.

I suppose in their twisted minds, they want everyone to be the same. They are jealous that Apple users time and time again prove them wrong again on all fronts.

We are the scratch they can’t reach, we are the irritating song they can’t get out of their heads, we are always there, in the background, constantly reminding them that they have made the wrong computing choice.

I suppose that what they’re saying is, is that if we won’t join them on the Windows side, then they want our OS to be as buggy as their’s (by being on open hardware), because there’s a very good reason why Mac’s ‘just work’ it’s because Apple control the hardware & software.

That’s another aspect that they can’t swallow, that proprietary software (Windows) on open hardware is buggy and unmanageable. Open(ish) software (Mac OSX) on closed hardware is much more reliable and easy to manage.

So, over the next few months, until this all dies down, if you’re reading articles about whether Apple should become a software company, or the fact the Apple is days away from being sued and being forced to sell the software on open hardware, just remember what this is all about.

They want us to not exist. Let’s keep proving them wrong.

Package, repackage, repackage…

 

Package that bug!

So here we go…

The likes of ‘Pwn to own’ is a vital tool in the arsenal of the computer bug-fighting community, boldly going into the fray, fighting those bugs so you don’t have to. Bringing to light otherwise unknown security issues into the viewpoint of the public, and using their carefully honed skills to keep your computing life safe.

For the good of the community.

Not for any other reason.

Honestly.

Not so they can stub (another) lit cigarette out in our eyes, maybe.

No, definitely for the good of the community.

OK, back to reality. As you can see I’m not at all enamoured by this stunt. But before you (quite rightly) state that I am a Mac fanboy, let me just put across what I’m on about.

Yes Safari has a bug, quite a serious one and one that needs addressing. A carefully crafted website can give, once visited, root access. This is a biggie, a serious one and I’m in no doubt that Apple is currently fixing this ASAP.

However the bug isn’t the issue here. What is the issue is the way in which this bug has been demonstrated and ‘launched’ into the public arena.

This whole exercise is not about safeguarding the computing public, this is about sad Windows users getting maximum exposure for a bug they have discovered in Safari.

The whole ‘pwn to own’ is a packaging exercise, a PR stunt, to get the largest exposure possible for the discovery of a flaw in Safari’s webkit, I work in marketing and PR, and I know a PR stunt packaged as ‘reality’ when I see one.

Think about it.

1) The MacBook Air. Why the MacBook Air? Why not a Mac Mini?, or an iMac? Because it’s Apple’s flagship product, they’ve pumped millions into its advertising, so any flaw discovered would taint Apple’s top product – and give maximum exposure to the ‘event’.

2) Hacked in 2 minutes? Right. I think you mean 2 weeks and 2 minutes. The website they visited to take advantage of the flaw had been previously created by them. It took them 2 weeks to figure it out.

So a competition was set up just at the same time as they just happened to have finished constructing a website that demonstrated the flaw?

No, what happened was that they discovered the flaw, and were about to announce it when it occurred to them that simply just announcing the flaw wouldn’t be enough.

It’s been done before and it’s old news. Everyone would simply say, “A flaw? Oh, right a bad one. Hmm that’s not very good. But I expect Apple will fix it soon. Next news item please…”

So they held onto their discovery until a suitable PR event occurred, or maybe (and more controversially), a phony competition was packaged around the bug, for maximum media exposure.

Either way, they got that exposure, well done everyone.

When you look at this whole incident from this viewpoint, you have to ask yourself, Windows users are seriously in need of some therapy.

Oh, and the excuse that they won the MacBook Air and are Apple users? Of course they are, how else do you expect they know so much about hacking a Mac?