Smug Mac User: 1, Hackers: 0

from the just-kidding dept

A few weeks ago, presenters at the Black Hat security conference demonstrated a new WiFi-related vulnerability. The demonstration got a lot of attention, in part, because the attack was demonstrated on a new MacBook Pro. The presenters said the vulnerability was present on other computers, but that they demonstrated it on the Mac laptop because, “…if you watch those ‘Get a Mac’ commercials enough, it eventually makes you want to stab one of those users in the eye with a lit cigarette or something.” Well, the smug Mac user in the commercial may get the last laugh, as the presenters are now admitting that they modified the laptop because the driver the computer comes with isn’t actually vulnerable to the attack. This pretty much negates the whole point of the experiment, it would seem, and yet another WiFi scare is shown to be overblown.

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Comments on “Smug Mac User: 1, Hackers: 0”

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Seth says:

Contribute to imac corporation

Even if the mac book pro has a venerability, you have to consider what imac’s have done for us in the past.. I have worked with mac computers for some time now, and of course like all people I was a little worried on the outcome of the mac book pro, but you do have a second option.. There are so many security sources online to fallow up on and use for you’re own benefit. Just because a simple script could change your personal computer forever from outsiders doesn’t mean that there arnt any solutions for you to hook yourself up with. I’ve designed a command that will block any script like that to bear away and never come back using a simple process of continence.. It’s not impossible to take on someone that has an interests in the mac book pro, but it is probable to take it to your advantage…

Matt says:

Re: Re: wow

It’s the software, stupid.

Mac OSX is based upon a rock-solid UNIX kernel, versus the infinite number of monkeys bashing code at an infinite number of machines like M$ does.

Plus Apple keeps the system architecture “closed,” to where you may only use Apple-approved hardware. The end result of this is that it allows Apple to only have to worry about drivers for a very small pool of devices, and this allows them to craft the hardware around any potential conflicts that would otherwise have a Windows box’s balls in a vise.

If you don’t know what you’re talking about, stick to reading PC Magazine. It’s safer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: wow

“Plus Apple keeps the system architecture “closed,” to where you may only use Apple-approved hardware. The end result of this is that it allows Apple to only have to worry about drivers for a very small pool of devices, and this allows them to craft the hardware around any potential conflicts that would otherwise have a Windows box’s balls in a vise.”

Which the rest of the intelligent democratic world that loves freedom of choice and upgrades has long ago realized is akin to communism. I’d rather upgrade my box for half the cost with the highest-end components and rock-solid NVidia and ATI drivers, thanks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: wow

“G” said:

> Wow.. one vulnerabiliity, Mac are still 100 times faster, better quality, and more stable

Blah blah blah.

I don’t know anything about the lastest Mac lineup, I think osx on the intel platform will deffinately make a speed difference, but going back to REALITY I never found Macs any more stable than Intel based machines and deffinately faster than the old Motorola-based Macs. In fact, you act like you’ve never seen a bomb icon. I’m quite confident you lie sir.

Carlos says:

Re: 'G'

More expensive? Yeah, maybe in 1997. Whatever helps you rationalize/sleep at night.

MacPro costs less, you get a monitor, PLUS a secure, award winning OS X. And guess what, you can even run just about any other operating system out there if you want.

Check and mate.

Luci says:

Re: Re: 'G'

Wow. Over $3,000 for what I can build on a PC platform for under $1500? Yeah. I’ll get right on switching. And while I’m at it, I’ll stop being a gamer because the games I play aren’t available on the Mac. I think you need to recheck your ‘check and mate,’ pal.

Computing isn’t all about productivity. Even if it were, there is a reason Mac’s market share is so low. They do NOT do what MOST people want them to do. Wow. I can watch videos and play music and work process and do 3D rendering… But I can’t play the games I like, I don’t have the choices in software or hardware, and I pay so much more for it. While not a raving fan of M$, I still won’t go to MacOS of any flavor. Linux? Perhaps.

Guess says:

Re: 'G'

ok, you think that macs are way too expensive? well listen to this. for one thing, macs last a long time, where PCs are very adept to viruses and crashing. I have a dell that i have taken great care of, and it now says “you may be a victim of software counterfiting”. out of the blue. and it wants me to buy something to stop that virus. for another, by the time that you fix all the PC’s problems by buying Norton Antivirus and Mcaffe, the price comes very close.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: wow

Chris wrote:”um – just because they use the same intel chips doesn’t mean they WILL operate at the same processor speed. an apple doesn’t have the huge overhead of trying to run the incredibly poor performing microsoft OS.”

Chris, please leave the technical talk to those of us who actually *know* what that stuff means. Absolutely nothing about either operating system prevents the HARDWARE from operating at it’s optimum speed. Software speed is another issue altogether. Confusing the two only makes mac fanboys look retarded. Get over it. Some like Windows, some like Mac, I prefer Linux, SGI and Sun myself. Get over it.

Besides, heaven forbid someone should use something besides Mac or Windows and put your “technical knowledge” into perspective.

Barry says:

No viiruses

No viruses on the Mac. Windows machines have more than 100,000. Plus there’s spyware and other crap on the Windows side.

Why? Because the Windows operating system is riddled with holes. Every user has root access – does that make sense to you? Then there’s the fact that Outlook automates virus delivery. Plus the Registry sucks big time.

Even Microsoft suggests reinstalling the operating system when things go seriously wrong.

It takes less than 20 minutes for an unprotected PC to become part of a botnet. Macs don’t even get invited.

I own both Mac and Windows boxes, have used various flavors of Linux, and used to be a network administrator.

I’m sticking to the Macintosh. BSD Unix in the background, reliable operation, competitive pricing. And our market share is now growing, especially for laptops.

PS: Intel chips do not an insecure operating system make.

Rikko says:

Re: No viiruses

Uh, Macs don’t get invited to botnets because they have an insignificant presence on the web. That’s also why there are few if any Firefox and Opera-targetting worms out there. The retardedly overwhelming number of people out there use MS Windows and MS IE. That’s what you want to target if you’re a malware author – it’s simple marketing.

You’ll find any complicated piece of code will buckle when a dedicated, intelligent attacker goes to work on it. MacOS prevails because they aren’t interested in it, not because it’s fabulous.

czizzle says:

Re: Re: No viiruses

Uh, Macs don’t get invited to botnets because they have an insignificant presence on the web. That’s also why there are few if any Firefox and Opera-targetting worms out there.

Umm, so by your reckoning there should be a whole lot of exploits of the Apache web server, way outstripping those targeting IIS. Riiiiight…

And by now OS X should see at least some exploits, reflecting its growing market share. And perhaps should even see more than OS 9 did? Riiiiight…

That whole vulnerability-proportional-to-marketshare argument was discredited years ago. It’s always amusing to see it trotted out on occasion though.

Corey says:

Re: No viiruses

Q: “Every user has root access – does that make sense to you?”

A: No, it doesn’t make sense to me. It can be changed so that every user no longer has administrative access to the machine.

S: “Then there’s the fact that Outlook automates virus delivery.”

R: This too can be changed, by default Outlook Express for example does not allow access to any attachments.

S: “Even Microsoft suggests reinstalling the operating system when things go seriously wrong.”

R: Microsoft (Tech support) *suggests* a re-installation of the OS so they can get the pitiful person on the other side of the line off the phone. A re-install of the OS in my experience is extremely rarely required.

S: “It takes less than 20 minutes for an unprotected PC to become part of a botnet. Macs don’t even get invited.”

R: This is why you don’t go surfing for porn with an un-patched XP box.

S: “I own both Mac and Windows boxes, have used various flavors of Linux, and used to be a network administrator.”

R: I can tell.

S: “I’m sticking to the Macintosh. BSD Unix in the background, reliable operation, competitive pricing. And our market share is now growing, especially for laptops”

R: I’m glad you have made the choice to stick with Macs and BSD That is one of the great things about living in a society like ours. — freedom of *choice* isn’t it great! Market share for Macs is only growing because they are scaring people who are in the market for new computers into buying Apple products. Just wait until we start hearing about how people are bellyaching about how different macs are than their old PCs

S: “PS: Intel chips do not an insecure operating system make.”

R: Finally a rational statement —- Good for you!

Djuro says:

Re: No viiruses

Dear Barry,

you really used to be network administrator? I really doubt that, because if you were you would know for the user menagment features in windows?! And you would rly know that windows server used with active directory has one of the best user management?! That is why almost every company that is serious enough and can afford Microsoft product’s will buy them.

And for that virus part, you should know that most users get them because of misknowledge, and most of them doesn’t rly know how to configure they pc correctly, so it ain’t because of the windows, it’s mostly because of the stupidity of the users.

And about the mac, I owed Power Book G4 17″ Aluminium 1.33 Ghz with Mac OS X (10.3) installed. It was a good investition (at least I thought that first) but immediately after the warranty has expired bam don’t work anymore, and many other users share that. In my country it costed me about 5000$, 5000 bucks for the crap that when opened was worth about 400$. So I ask you what have I payed 5000$?! Repair costs 2000$, and again the new board only costs 400$, and everything is integrated on it, CPU, VGA…But the cost is 2000$, I even tried to contact apple, hence no answer for 6 months now.

For 2000$ I bought much better laptop with dual core, much better VGA, more ram…., that serve’s me damn well, and you know what? If something don’t work I have warranty for 3 years, hell in 3 years I’ll definetely buy new one.

And Barry I work at a private telecom company. I work as a chief network engineer, IT security advisor and I’m a chief of network department, but hey that don’t mean nothing it’s just stupid titles, the work I do for living so I don’t know what’s really the point of you telling us that you are a network administrator?!


WeatherWorks says:

Re: Re: No viiruses

“And for that virus part, you should know that most users get them because of misknowledge, and most of them doesn’t rly know how to configure they pc correctly, so it ain’t because of the windows, it’s mostly because of the stupidity of the users. ”

89% of Windows PC are infected by some kind of Malware. And you guys keep recommending PCs to those non-geeks you call stupid? Are you sadistic or something? (cigarette burning people? yeah… you guys must be sadistic)

According to people like you, only Windows geeks are smart enough to get a stable secure XP system and the rest of the world is stupid and should suffer from their ignorance.

Talk about being elistist and smug!

Many windows geeks like you are elitist and feel supperior to the majority because you know how to fix registry corruption. Geeks like you appear as heros to their friends and family when they disinfect and/or fix their PC, and many like you are even paid to do it, profiting from other people’s misery…

What you are saying essentially is: “Stupid grand-mothers! The supperior race is Windows geeks!”

I’m happy that I’m not on the side of those that want to burn other people with cigarettes or something. This goes to show the type of mentality that’s accepted and encouraged on the Windows geeks side. It’s so obvious what kind of computer/OS the testosterone filled goons chose.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: No viiruses

Weather, what I believe you’re misunderstanding is: A. The fact that stabbing with a lit cigarette is an expression of distaste towards Mac “fanboys” who refuse to see both sides of the story, and who inflexibly believe that Mac is the single decent OS in existence.

B. I would definitely like to know where you got the “89% of Windows PC’s are infected with Malware” also…Unless Yahoo/Google toolbar is malware.

C. There’s really no reason for hostility, aside from the natural human instinct to be superior. The simple fact is, what works for one, may not specifically work for another. If this weren’t America and Bill Gates was president, then hey, maybe it might be a law or something. But it’s not, so this is where “Freedom” comes into play.

D. I must say I got a good laugh out of putting others down for profiting out of other’s misery. What sort of job do you possess, might I ask? Lockheed Martin, The Wall Street Journal, Dell, Mac, Microsoft, Nike, any sort of business you think of, profits from another’s misery, because they are paid to lighten that particular misery. Please think about what you are typing before posting, because the thought that you are the sole American that does NOT profit from another’s misery is simply a horribly incorrect observation. The sole and singular reason for a business is to provide a consumer with what he/she wants, and be that a working computer, you must pay the price for the knowledge you yourself do not possess.

E. The statement that only the “geeks” can handle a Windows OS without getting malware is horrendously misunderstood. Its very simple to handle a Windows OS, truly: Don’t click on pop-ups, this is simply asking for a virus. Get a decent AV program, and for those of you running Norton, don’t whine to me. Norton was outdated about 5 years ago. USE YOUR COMMON SENSE. That is the biggest mistake ever made. No one seems to think for themselves anymore, just that someone else should think for me and make my life easier, I shouldn’t have to think about it at all.

F. Insulting the elders of our society is a sickeningly disrespectful action. The “superior” race is humanity, stupid. I personally have never run into a senior with a virus or serious malware, due to the fact that most seniors do not sit around watching porn and clicking on pop-ups all day. Many use the internet only for communication, such as email.

And now, after completely annihilating your response, I would like to let you know that I acknowledge the differences between Macs and Windows, and respect the choices of both users.

DJ Twiztid says:

Re: No viiruses

Linux has no viruses either. I would rather switch to Linux then be a lemming on a bandwagon of inferior technology. What do Mac have that the rest of the world does not. Graphic programs. OOOoooOOOooOOO. Not enough to persuade me to down grade what I have. Trade schools wont even train todays techs in the Mac world and structure. It’s a waste of time from what I’m told by a lot of the bigger and well known IT schools in the country.

Daniel Silva says:

Re: No viiruses

I own both Mac and Windows boxes, have used various flavors of Linux, and used to be a network administrator.

I’m sticking to the Macintosh. BSD Unix in the background, reliable operation, competitive pricing. And our market share is now growing, especially for laptops.

When u said “I’m sticking to the Macintosh. BSD Unix in the background, reliable operation, competitive pricing.” i instantly understood why “… and used to be a network administrator.”

“And our market share is now growing, especially for laptops. ”

Ahhhh, Apple employee wannabe ?

Baal says:

Re: Re: Cost.

As a LAN admin…the only thing Mac I use for gaming is the monitor our school has. I have yet to see a decent game that is Mac compatable. You have the Sims. Great. Nice MMPOG. Most LAN’s I’ve ever seen play COD2, COD1, BF2, CounterStrike: source, Flatout, Far Cry, Starwars Battlefront 2, ect. Not one of those games are compatable with Mac. Why would you pay that much for a computer that you can’t even use?! Yet another lemming.

Andrew N. says:

Re: Re: Re: Cost.

For one, World of Warcraft is installable on a Mac. Whether or not you think that’s a “decent game” is another thing, but I think there are several million out there who do.

Secondly, everyone here who talks about “not being able to play games on a Mac” is forgetting two important things. One, if need be you can dual boot XP on a Mac just for games. Two, with its growing market share, more and more developers are producing Mac versions.

For the record, yes, I own a Mac. I bought one in May, but before that I’ve only owned PC’s. The reason I bought a MacBook is that a simillarly configed Dell was $200 more.

Posterlogo says:

Yes, low market share...

GOOD. All the windows idiots should keep their great market share, poor quality OS and overbloated software, viruses and hackers galore — all to themselves. Stay the fuck out of the mac world morons. When want to run some game or win-only app, I’ll virtualize or boot camp it. You can have fun with the rest of the garbage all to yourselves.

John Pettimore says:

Re: Yes, low market share...

It really isnt about market share, it is about the ability to build *your* machine.

Yes, you can run windows and OSX and whatever other operating system you want on a Mac Book, but for the same price you can have an infinitely better PC that runs windows, linux, or a bevy of other operating systems.

Keep your Macs, your OSX, your iLife, your crappy interface, lack of custimization (even as the administrator), your vunerability (give me physical access to your macintosh and it will be trashed in less than 5 minutes…provided it can boot that quickly)…yes i said vunerability…two words, root access, two buttons, option+s on boot up. It doesnt matter that there is a MSEC single-user patch, because almost no one installs it.

So yes, because no virus or spyware engineer cares about your machine, it may be safer online, but I wouldnt trade my safety offline for that anyday.

I’ll keep my well tuned well protected windows partition, my almost unlimited bevy of programs that I choose, my partitioned hard drive for easy access from multiple OSes, my excessive amount of ram that I installed because I felt like it, that extra dvd drive that I salavaged off another computer and installed for no real reason other than I could, and my Linux partition for when I am feeling a little vunerable online :P.

Oh, and for the record, I have my Apple Certification, and have spent the last two years working on Macintoshes.

I prefer PCs


hold on a sec...

What you’re really comparing here is OS vs OS and Apple is not an OS – It’s a computer manufacturer.

What you should be comparing is Unix vs. Windows and yes, unix seems to run quite fast on any decent hardware setup.

However, as previously stated, when you ditch windows, you also ditch some of the best programs out there.. and as a programmer, I am very picky as to which software I use.

I must admit though that Mac’s are great for audio/video editing!

nova silverpill says:

Jealous? Why the f#%k am I jealous over your choice? I’m perfectly fine with my choice of a mac. I am not smug, just seems to be more in tune with how I would expect to use a computer.

Because I plan on seeing Little Miss Sunshine this weekend doesn’t mean I’m jealous of all the people seeing Talledega Nights or Snakes on a Plane.

Methinks somebody has a few insecurities.

Celes says:

Re: It warms my heart...

If this is about the OS, then wouldn’t Clippy be irrelevant?

Of course, I’m not fond of that stupid Search dog either (she says, sitting at her Windows PC).

Seriously, I’ve used Macs and PCs and haven’t had major problems with any Apple or Windows OS I’ve used. And I probably don’t have any computer knowledge above an average Joe that’s worth mentioning, except this weird trait where I read manuals and help files. ^_^

Anonymous Coward says:


More productive? That’s one of the most ignorant comments I’ve ever heard. I’ve tried both Macs and Windows PCs and there really isn’t any difference from a productivity stand-point at all. Whoever says Macs dominate the video/audio editing aspect of computer use needs to get their heads out of their ass that resides in the early 90s. With THE SAME adobe software on both there is no difference. As far as the performace goes… Mac OS X is equally as prone to DLL hell as windows is… again, get your heads out of your asses. As people before have pointed out, the only reason Macs are exploited is because there are so few Mac users compared to Windows users it wouldn’t make sense for adware/spyware developers to target them. Just wait, if Macs ever come out on top the tables will turn and Macs will be ridden with the same amount of spyware.

Rabid Wolverine says:

Re: Re:

Use a windows machine to do publishing and then use a mac. Mac’s excel at publishing tasks. There is a reason for that.

The Mac, it’s OS and everything about it was designed as a graphics machine right off the cuff.

Windows, if I can still remember correctly, was initially a kludge designed to ‘layer’ graphics onto machines that were initially designed for the character mapped displays.

Now I know you will all say that windows is no longer a kludge and that it is now a graphics machine, etc. so forth an so on however, there is still one point to make.

It’s kinda like raising a kid, if you let them be sloppy, inattentive and late all the time they will continue to be sloppy, late and inattentive to some degree for the rest of their life. OS’s tend to carry over a lot of stuff from their early life including this whole bunch of rot about backwards compatibility. This tends to affect the shape of the OS for years to come. At some point you have to throw it all away and come up with a new model. The current versions of Windows that I have seen, even though they are vastly improved over the original ‘kludge’ still carry over that initial program load that keeps windows from fully exploiting the potential of the machine.

I’m hoping that Vista will eliminate some of this legacy and give us a truely ‘new’ OS. Maybe then it will be as good as the one on the Mac.

By the way, do you know why there are less programs for the Mac? Because Apple in their insane paranoia about the user interface made it very difficult for anyone but a professional developer to write code for the early Mac’s. I think you had to have a $10,000 Lisa with another $6,000 worth of software installed on it just to write and download code into the Mac. That changed of course with time but the damage was done. Little developers, Mom and Pop shops and those who firmly believed in the great computer god IBM would have none of it so the initial programs for great accounting, inventory, you name it were written for the PC and not the Mac. They were later ported to the Mac if they ever made it there. If it were not for Aldus Corp. the Mac might have disappeared. But then a miracle occurred, the LaserWriter and PageMaker and the poor little Mac was on it’s way to niche greatness…

Jake says:

The media and security

I was at the talk in person. During the talk, the two researchers repeated, over and over, “We are not doing this because only Macs are vulnerable — we picked the Mac because mac owners are convinced of their own invincibility, and they have those dumb commercials”.

It’s irresponsible that “this scare is overblown”, when Intel released a giant patch for the Centrino to fix the same problem two days before their talk, and most people have not installed this patch.

I’m also really, really skeptical of any quotes/stories about the media about security professionals. For instance, the disclaimer cited in this story doesn’t say that there *aren’t* flaws in the wi-fi drivers of the Macbook — rather, simply that the one used in the demo used a third party card/drivers. Bear in mind that one of the issues with this attack is that it’s conceivably very easy to find a flaw in wi-fi drivers, but much harder to write the kernel code to exploit said flaw.

I would respectively advise that we don’t trumpet this story as being a vindication (or condemnation) of OS X, like Mac fans (or detractors) seem to be doing. Instead, just realize that this work was an important proof of concept of a class of attacks that may affect many (card,driver) versions, but has little to say as a statement about the security posture of any of the operating systems involved.

nunya_bidness says:

freedom from choice

I use windows at work and linux/windows at home, and each OS has its ups and downs. I (me) prefer linux for 90% of the things I do at home, and the kids just use the windows boxes for games and IM and the likes. I Have no experiance on apple hdwr and probably never will, so I cannot comment on PC’s vs OS. just my 2 cents.

l.b.g (user link) says:

Anonymous Coward

The only mac users I have ever met are women

What is that even supposed to mean?

I am the only one of my girlfriends who is a Mac user, besides the one I convinced to switch. That is because I study CS, do game design, and am an artist in every field… not because I’m a girl. When Spore comes out, I’ll use BootCamp. Besides, ALL my guy friends (all in tech jobs) are Mac users as well.

RandomPsychology (user link) says:

Back on topic....

/me *stabs every single mac user on the planet in the eye with a lit cigarette…or something.*

Honestly people, why are we arguing with the cute little Mac users? We that are enlightened (i.e. run Windows with intelligence) know that we are right and they are wrong. But no matter how much we argue, they aren’t going to admit we’re right…because they’re Mac people…and Mac people are really just misguided. So, do the world a favor and stop arguging. It’s not going to help world hunger… (actually, I don’t even care about world hunger but…yeah. Go Windows).

Anonymous Coward says:

Windows and Macs both have their ups and downs. Anything you can do on a Mac, you can do on Windows and vice versa (aside from platform specific programs and what not).

Mac users say the Mac is easier to use because the workflow the Mac provides is more to their liking. Just because you work on a PC and prefer a Mac does not mean the Mac does it better. It means you *prefer* the way the Mac does it. Same goes for PC users.

Mac’s greatest advantage is its stability. However, it sacrifices flexibility for stability. You all flaunt stability as an awesome feature, but you forget what you forego with that trait.

PC’s are highly flexible. However, the same can be said about the PC… it sacrifices stability for flexibility.

Now, it just depends what you prefer. Flexibility or stability. Do you like the Windows GUI better or the Macs? Both are appealing in their own ways to different people.

Both diehard Windows users and Mac users have to stop this ridiculous debate. There’s no way you can win it unless either Apple or Microsoft get out of the OS business. Unfortunately, it’d be more likely Apple gets out of the OS business before Microsoft… especially when Jobs leaves Apple, they may take quite a hit and cut their loses on having such a small market share and focus on what they actually are kicking ass in.

mdwstmusik says:

OS re-install extremely rare

“R: Microsoft (Tech support) *suggests* a re-installation of the OS so they can get the pitiful person on the other side of the line off the phone. A re-install of the OS in my experience is extremely rarely required.”

That’s surprising considering this:
In a rare discussion about the severity of the Windows malware scourge, a Microsoft security official said businesses should consider investing in an automated process to wipe hard drives and reinstall operating systems as a practical way to recover from malware infestation…..there really is no way to recover without nuking the systems from orbit,” Mike Danseglio, program manager in the Security Solutions group at Microsoft, said in a presentation at the InfoSec World conference.,1895,1945808,00.asp

Then there’s this story:
MICROSOFT platforms vice-president Jim Allchin told a recent Windows Vista viewers conference that Steve Ballmer spent almost two days trying to rid a PC of worms, viruses, spyware, malware and severe fragmentation without success….He lumped the thing back to Microsoft’s headquarters and turned it over to a team of top engineers, who spent several days on the machine, finding it infected with more than 100 pieces of malware, some of which were nearly impossible to eradicate…If the man at the top and a team of Microsoft’s best engineers faced defeat, what chance do ordinary punters have of keeping their Windows PCs virus-free?,7204,19345228%5E15865%5E%5Enbv%5E,00.html

Those ‘poor pitiful’ people must be complete idiots when it comes to dealing with Windows and malware.

Al Kaseltzer says:


I own & use PC but in my experience Macs process audio much faster than PC. I’m a musician and I use a laptop for recording, fx processing, as a drum/synth/sampler, everything. I’ve used both PC & Apple. I own a PC laptop w/ a 2.4ghz p4 & 1 gig of ram and for a time I played with another laptop musician who used a Mac (1ghz, 512 ram, osX). We ran the same program, with similar number of tracks, plugins, VSTs, etc. I had constant problems with latency (time between when you play a key and when it sounds) that made it unplayable at times. My friend’s running a machine thats half the speed & ram as mine and having no problems at all, latency or otherwise, as if it were an actual piano or drum. Then mine would start to overheat and run even worse, chopping up the audio and freezing, crashing and making noise through the PA. All that PC power, yet an old & slow mac is completely outperforming it.

As for people claiming that PC is just as stable as Macs, that may be true, however, the user MUST know how to protect and fix their system in order to do this. Most people don’t know their OS that deeply, and don’t have the luxury that corporations do of hiring a systems administrator or ITs. Macs “supposedly” avoid this by not having many of the possible vulnerabilities available to the user, who is expected to know nothing about computers, and for them it works but they are sacrificing the flexibility that PC can offer. I know very little about computers compared to my uber tech-geek friends, but I know far more than the average computer user I know. There has to be options for everyone in the market because we all need to use computers. That old DEVO song “freedom of choice is what you got, freedom from choice is what you want” should be Mac’s new jingle.

Anyway just look at benchmarks, the only pcs that really compete with a g5 for art & graphics apps is an Opteron64. But you can’t play games on macs, but if you wanna play games do it on a pc, but if you gotta WORK on art or music get a mac.

Diogenes says:

Comparing Windows OS and MacOS is like comparing apples and oranges, it just doesn’t make sense.

The Mac and windows OSes are designed for different demographics and have different factors that go into their design.

Microsoft started out as a software company that sold a OS that operated on computers that IBM manufactured, third party companies reverse engineered the architecture and came out with what were called “IBM Clones” at the time. This was the same archduchess (taking into account technological improvements) as the PCs we use today.

As a consequence of not having direct control of the manufacture of hardware that used the Microsoft OS, the company had to make the OS flexible enough for it to be able to handle running on computers who’s components had been manufactured by a variety of different companies

This “Flexibility over Stability” approach has helped to foster breath taking advances in computer technology, and incredible frustration when it fails and we confronted by things like “blue screen of death”.

Apple, on the other hand started out as computer company with fairly direct control over it’s hardware and software, and benefited from some of ground breaking advances in technology that came out Xerox’s PARC division [see link1].

Because apple had a strong control over their hardware and software creation, they were able to build systems that were very stable and had very few problems in the way of hardware incompatibilities.

As a result of their control of both their hardware and software. Apple has been able to create some the most stable, easy to use, and intuitive computers available on the market for a long time. But as a consequence for choosing a “Stability over Flexibility” approach, Apple fallen a little behind in terms of technical innovation and capabilities.

Either OS is far and away the better one, depending on what your computer needs (or wants) are. and arguing about them is childish and in the end pointless

Link 1: Wikipedia entry for Xerox’s PARC labs

WeatherWorks says:

A) When I have to express a distaste of something, I use other metaphors. There are other “civilized” ways to express distaste. After reading hundreds of Mac vs PC threads, I’d say that Mac bashers have a greater tendencies to use horrible and sometimes violent images to express their hate of Apple. It simply fits into that “PCs are for real men” mentality.

B) I got the 89% number at BusinessWeek:

I’m sure you’ll deny these numbers saying they are skewed, but even if “only” 50% had malware, it would still be too much in my opinion, because I care about those “stupid” users.

C) I’m not sure what you were trying to address in this point… I guess we both agree that there’s no reason for hostility. That doesn’t explain you defending the cigarette comment.

I’m going after the only argument that many Windows geeks bring when the virus/spyware/malware problem is mentioned which is “This is because people are stupid, I’m smart and I don’t get malware”.

D) I’m a programmer, but I don’t see why you need to know, following your broaden logic you can connect everything to other people’s misery

. My problem is that the Windows geeks and tech gurus are the ones that give these non-geeks the misery in the first place, because they recommend and build them Windows PCs, then reap the benefits when fixing things. Last time I checked, The Wall Street Journal generally doesn’t have a hand in creating the disasters it covers in news articles (conspirationists may disagree)

E) This statement is the main argument most Windows apologists bring when we show them evidence that many Windows users have malware or stability problems with their Windows PC.

Your recommendations doesn’t mean much to the majority of computer users… What’s a pop-up, what’s the difference with other dialog boxes the OS spits out? Can’t these threats affect banner ads too?

Your definition of common sense is skewed by the fact that you are used to surf the web and use a computer. If the majority of users gets malware, it’s not common sense.

You have a list of sites you know about since a long time and that you trust. Most surfers don’t have this luxury, and would find their web browsing limited to if they followed this advice of never going on sites they don’t know about. To extend their browsing they have to use a search engine and break this rule anyway.

Add to that the recurrent recommendation of “never browsing porn”, and it looks like some christians saying that AIDS is a punishment for sexual sins, and that abstinence should be the rule.

I guess the Win geeks elite likes to keep for themselves how they safely find their porn…

F) Do you understand what “Sarcasm” means? Did you think I was stating this as my own opinion?

Maybe the grand-mother was not a good example, but saying: “People getting malware are stupid” is insulting the majority of society, including people that you should respect, not only the retards you imagine when you think of “stupid users”.

I don’t think I’ve annihilated your reply, because I don’t assume I’m perfect like you seem to do…

“I would like to let you know that I acknowledge the differences between Macs and Windows, and respect the choices of both users.”

I guess I have to agree with this, even though it’s phrased in a way that sounds like “Every OS are different yet equal as they all have good and bad sides” which is oversimplification to the point of avoiding any discussion and debate around the differences and advantages, to be able to chose between them. And since Windows is the default, it will be chosen in a situation where it’s presented amongst others to be simply a matter of preference.

You say you respect the choices of both users, well unfortunately that’s not the case of most Windows geeks in influent positions ie. building and recommending Windows PC for their non geek friends and/or the IT department they work for. Most of them are very harsh when they talk about the Mac, and will ridicule and bash the alternative every-time it’s mentioned, making sure that their friends and company never switch.

Mac users may look smug by saying that there are no known viruses currently spreading for OS X, but the kind of Mac bashing going on in real life is so smug that it’s beyond smugness, so it’s actually worse.

That many Windows/PC users have aggressive reaction to the Mac/PC ads shows how they have some serious emotional issues with the Mac. Dang I bet some spit on their monitors when they see the ad… Need a phone number for a psychologist? Potential switchers witnessing these reactions which side is worse when it comes to bashing the other platform and its users.

Operand says:

Diogenes: Xerox Parc?

Here we go again…

Both the Xerox machines and the Mac were designed by pioneers that had worked on GUIs years before on their own, at a time where everything had to be invented in this area.

Doug Englebart’s sure was a first step, but it was very preliminary and very confusing. It was some kind of mouse driven hierachical database with vector text (and some rare graphics) and commands to affect items in lists.

There wasn’t any windows in Doug’s interface, it was supposedly mainly driven by the five button chording device and the mouse to click on items and draw lines.

QuickDraw, the drawing APIs for the classic Mac, was imagined in a thesis in the 60’s by Bill Atkinson, and I doubt he had access to any similar concepts to copy from. People like Jeff Raskin also had previous extensive experience with designing GUIs.

The visit Jobs made to Xerox was paid, and there was some unofficial collaboration between the two companies, and some Xerox employees went to work for Apple as Xerox decided to downsize the project and didn’t seem to care much about it.

The late Xerox interfaces you can see with the icons on the desktop dates from after the Mac Finder was imagined. There was some “cross-polenisation” between the two companies, and that’s why the most recent Xerox OS looks more like the first Mac OS and the Lisa.

But there was no drag and drop manipulation of file icons. There was no menu bar or pull down menus in the Xerox GUI, the commands bellow the windows titlebars are not pull down menus. The scrollbars didn’t act like modern scrollbars, which are more simillar to the ones found in the Lisa and first Mac. Tons of little things like this that Apple had to invent by necessity, sometimes without knowing Xerox did something similar.

Apple didn’t have a direct access to Xerox devkits and was working on a completely different scale, so they didn’t copy the internal approach and had had to “invent” their own ways of making this work. They didn’t detailed information about how a windowed GUI should works and had to try to fit it all in 128k of RAM.

For Windows, it’s different. Microsoft, threathened Apple not to release Mac software if they didn’t get early access to the Mac devkits, which give them a detailed look on how a GUI OS would work.

They built Word, Excel on the Mac first, but keeping in mind to create a framework to port these programs on the x86 platform. So while writing Word and Excel on the Mac they reverse engineered the system and created an OS with very simillar APIs to the Mac so that they could port these more easily. In the first versions of Windows, you could even find APIs with very similar names to particular Mac APIs.

The first versions of Windows copied much more details of the APIs and overall internal structure of the Mac than when you compare the Mac/Lisa OS with the Xerox OS experiments.

Al says:

Mac users and PC users

I use both OS X on a Mac and Windows XP Pro SP2 on a PC daily. I have contact with many Mac and PC users.

Most Windows users I know do not know how to properly protect their computers from virus and spyware attacks. Most Windows users are infected by something. Microsoft’s own stats on their monthly Windows virus removal software confirm this fact.

All Mac users do not have to know how to properly protect their computers from virus and spyware attacks. No Mac OS X users are infected with anything. No Mac OS X users have ever been infected with anything.

Oh, and there is no DDL hell for Mac users because there is no registry in Mac OS X. That is Microsoft’s gift to Windows users only. They could have eliminated it in Vista but Bill said, ‘What fun is that?’

Moctod says:


You got everything pretty much correct.

I’d add that it was Scully that allowed MS the keys to the house, as it were — and why Apple was not successful in the later GUI lawsuit. Scully was and is a spineless scumbag, who’s monumental greedy kept Mac prices TOO high for most.

I’d also add that if any of the MacHaters actually sat in front of a Xerox, a Lisa, and a 128k Mac they’d clearly see some similarities between the Xerox and Lisa and how the Mac is a completely different animal.

Finally, I’d like to remind everyone that Apple paid Xerox 1million shares of Apple for TWO visits to PARC — which Xerox sold in 1996-7 for $10M.

Of course it’s easier for the MacHaters to claim that Apple ‘stole’ the Mac GUI from Xerox, than to actually use Google. It might interest them to discover the truth, like how MS was basically given permission to steal from Apple the first time. And how when MS got caught lifting line-for-line code from QuickTime in 1997, Apple got an undisclosed (reports of $800M) settlement and a five year promise for MS Office. [FWIW, that $150M ‘investment’ was to have Apple change the already Gold-mastered MacOS8 discs/packaging to make MS IE the default browser,]

Criticism of Apple for the wrong things — like: hockey puck mice; marginalizing FireWire — is one thing, but atleast know why you don’t like them for REAL reasons. [Oh, FWIW the DRM in iTunes is the RIAA’s idea, not Apple’s]

I don’t like MS, not because they are a twice convicted, and illegal monopolist — but because they are predatory bullies.

OllieOllieOxenfree says:


I like trying new things in most aspects of electronics except for computers. One of the main reasons I haven’t tried Apple is because I am a gamer. This could change now once bootcamp comes out of beta. Besides gaming most of my computer time is spent doing graphics and videos which used to be Apples niche in the market. I don’t think I have seen an apple screen since their first notebook came out so it should be fun. It is time for something new and less buggy(hopefully) than windows.

shableep says:

Hey now...

I wouldn’t say that Apples lack of market share means they aren’t doing something right. I think it’s just that… their target customer base is not much more than 10% of the population.

And by the way, you guys really gotta listen to that guy up there..

Mac’s greatest advantage is its stability. However, it sacrifices flexibility for stability. You all flaunt stability as an awesome feature, but you forget what you forego with that trait.

PC’s are highly flexible. However, the same can be said about the PC… it sacrifices stability for flexibility.

I’ve used both a PC and Mac in my lifetime. Liked using em’ both. But they were both 2 very different machines.

C’mon guys, this smug vs. smug debate isn’t gonna go anywhere.

Anonymous Coward says:

What a waste of time and energy

I select this article off of google news because I thought there might be something interesting to read. I read part way down stopped. Back and forth back and forth, windows vs. mac. Give me a break! Why do you argue about something that matters.

Whether you chose a mac or windows is a totally based on the end-users’ need. Nothing more.

Tennessee Mike says:

Jobs is an idiot...

Why the hell can’t I buy Mac OS X for my inexpensive x86 based system? Stupidity and greed-that’s why. It is better than Windows. Jobs should have ported his OS to X86 based systems years ago..except that would have killed his Mac hardware end of his deal. And everybody knows that the hardware is where the money is at. That’s how Gates made all of his money-selling mouse(s). No, Jobs isn’t just an idiot; he’s a fucking idiot…

P.S. What is the plural for a computer mouse? Mice or mouses?

Anonymous Coward says:

I will admit, some Mac Users are annoying… I try *not* to be that annoying, and fail many times, but oh well.

The issue I have with Linux, is that there is no one single entity to hold accountable for the software that it produces, it is a – albeit tightly – knit group of hackers, who are bored/have no lifes, who constantly update the thing. Unless I am a programmer, and unless I physically know what each line of code DOES, I want a company I can hold accountable if my software gets buggered somehow. Furthremore, with that restriction, if I choose a company, I am not going to choos MS, I am going to choose Apple. From here the choice is pretty much one of likes.

But I will say that incompetence on a machine is never an excuse, if you don’t know how to use something – not necessarily program it, just use it – it is your fault, not the computer’s fault, when something goes wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There’s more than one kind of Linux, and there are companies that stand behind their Linux Oses. There are programmers that don’t even know what their own lines of codes do, unless it’s meticulously documented. Wanting to know what each line of code does doesn’t really make sense unless it’s your own operating system that you wrote. So if you’re going to be paranoid about each line of code, to that end, you shouldn’t trust anybody, reputable company or not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

AC Said:

> The issue I have with Linux, is that there is no one single entity to hold accountable


> it is a – albeit tightly – knit group of hackers, who are bored/have no lifes, who constantly update the thing.

And a Linux hacker’s response would be:

1) Did you ever need to hold Microsoft accountable for anything, and if so, what was your response time from them?

2) Do you really need to be an ass? Especially when you don’t know what you’re talking about?

Meh says:

Whats the point?

Mac’s will all be Intel based shortly, and will be dual booting with Windows. Whether its Mac or Windows, exploits will find the weakest link…

If Apples marketshare went up significantly though, then I’m sure we’d see more effort spent on finding real vulnerabilities. When it comes down to it its about how much bang for your buck. If you find a vulnerability in a Mac you can take the Moral Highground, whereas if you find a vulnerability in Windows, you take out half the world. I know which I would choose.

rahrens (profile) says:

such disappointment!

I’m really sorry all these Windows fanbois are so disappointed that the “MacBook Hack” didn’t turn out to be true.

I guess that’s why they have to turn so vitriolic and make such nasty comments…

to paraphrase, Apple: 1, Hackers: 0

I guess that this episode lays to rest the security by obscurity myth. This was just two obscure hackers trying to use the noteriety of being the first Apple hackers to get attention. It worked, but just until their scam got busted.

Anybody wanna try again?

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