You know, there are days when I come down to my Macintosh and I'm incredibly pleased to be a Mac user. I have very reliable a system -- Mac OS X -- that almost never crashes, and never really needs to be rebooted. I think the last time it crashed was... lets see... June I think. As for needing to reboot, I think that was... hmmm... early August.
Sure, apps in OS X crash now and then, but they generally don't take the entire system down with them the way Mac OS 7, 8 and 9 did. I think an app crash has taken the whole system down for me twice since January. So, I can just keep running the Powerbook G4 constantly, only sleeping on occasion if I want to work upstairs or at the cafe for a while.
I'm now growing fond of the OS X way of working, with the pop-up Dock at the base of my screen. All of my daily-use apps have been ported to OS X, like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Macromedia Fireworks. Further, I'm seeing a daily parade of new applications being developed, like NetNewsWire, an excellent RSS reader and weblog management tool. I've gotta say, it's a great time to be a Mac user running OS X.
Well, some days I'm even more appreciative of my Mac user status. Take for instance yesterday, when I read the New York Times story, The secret life of an infected PC in the International Herald Tribune.
I about spit coffee onto my screen, reading how Windows PC users have found all sorts of weird viri and unsolicited or unwanted software packages installed on their home machines! This quote was especially troubling:
Richard Smith, a computer security expert in Brookline, Massachusetts, estimated that one of every two computers using versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system has unsolicited software lurking within. "I'm the official computer maintainer in my extended family, and I have seven computers to keep up and running," Smith said. "With the exception of my computer, they've all been whacked." His machine was spared, he said, only because of his extreme vigilance.
Just imagine that: 1 in 2 Windows PCs are harboring unsolicited software within their hard drives. The realization that every other reader of this weblog post who's running a Windows PC is likely to have a nasty bit of software running without their knowledge. Yow. Don't know about you, but that just gives me the willies!
The article goes on to talk about sypware and the ad-app Gator and a security tool app called Ad-Aware that can remove unwanted software from a Windows PC. Good to hear someone is out there offering at least 3rd party protection, even if Microsoft seems a tad unconcerned about security.
After mentioning this story to Craig at GearBits, he added a helpful post about one Steve Gibson and Gibson Research Corporation. GRC produces tools and patches (many of the freeware) to help protect Windows users from all of the holes Microsoft has intentionally or inadvertently left open (sometimes by default) on their OSes. Thank goodness for GRC!
As for me, I'll just say "No thanks Microsoft." I'll stick with my OS X box that just keeps rolling day after day and week after week. In fact, see no real need to change, as I have access to MS Office for OS X (or OpenOSX Office if I so chose) along with many other important tools to stay compatible with my Windows-using pals. If I really need a Windows app, I can run MS Virtual PC or alternately, OpenOSX WinTel.
Sure, Macs have a miniscule part of the market share (about 5%) which makes them less interesting to viri writers, but OS X also has BSD (a form of Unix) underlying the pretty windows, which also contributes to it's high level of security. That, combined with a great looking and well-designed user interface, makes me a pretty happy OS X guy.
Have a great weekend!