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News Posts In Category <em>   Other Musings</em>

News Posts In Category Other Musings

September 1st, 2012

Apple v. Samsung: The True Story

Apple v. Samsung. Everyone who thinks Samsung got shafted and/or that the decision was wrong should read this excellent article. It's not an opinion piece, by the way: It's full of actual facts about various patent cases and about the Samsung decisionmaking that the jury was presented with. Clearly, Samsung made a conscious choice to copy the iPhone, and they succeeded. Wildly. Apple was right to take them to court to protect their intellectual property rights, and the jury was right to decide in their favor. If you're on the fence about the decision, this one will definitely tip you over to Apple's side.
    
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June 8th, 2012

The big-talk, no-action Congress

The big-talk, no-action Congress - The Washington Post. Dana Milbank writes an excellent column for the Post. Lately, there have been a rash of articles pointing out what has been obvious to me for years -- namely, it's the Republicans in Congress who are to blame for that body's lack of progress in doing its very important work for the Nation. Here, Milbank describes the inaction in compelling terms, pointing out the silliness of the few "accomplishments" that have been claimed -- such as passing The Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012. Really, guys. Get rid of the Republicans this fall, and we can finally start to move forward again.
    
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June 8th, 2012

In search for civility online, is the Golden Rule the answer?

ISO civility in online comments - The Washington Post. This is a spot-on article pointing out the horrible state of interpersonal communication on the web. Nothing new, really -- it's been this way for years, but it's just getting worse. One big insight is the relationship between the "blinders on" mentality of those who troll the web and the "don't bother me with facts" mentality of the Tea Party and their ilk, like survivalists and members of the Government Paranoid. One group feeds the other, and they never read anything but what they agree with. These folks aren't looking for a conversation -- they're looking for a fight. And the rest of us must try really hard to turn the other cheek and not let the fight begin.
    
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January 20th, 2012

Bye Bye, Google

That's it... I'm done. Fed up. I've taken Google and shoved it off my system. Don't get me wrong... I like Google, though I like Google far less than I did 6 years ago. Its software has gotten too complicated... it's too ubiquitous... it's too intrusive... and it's too Windows-centric. I really hate Chrome, but don't have time to go into why today. I like Google Earth on my iPad, but hate it on my desktop. On the desktop, it looks just like a Windows app: Butt ugly. But what I really hate is the sneaky and intrusive way Google updates itself on my Mac. Without warning, Finder suddenly jerks me away as it loads the latest Google update and then deletes it when done. I just don't need that. I don't use Google's desktop software, so it's bye bye Keystone agent. Bye bye Google update agent. Bye bye Google Earth plugins and updates. It took me 20 minutes to finish everything, and I hope it doesn't start up again without my knowledge the next time I launch Chrome.
    
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Posted in:Internet, Software Musings, |
December 19th, 2010

Senate Exposes Gaping Hole in Conflict-of-Interest Law

Senate panel ban seen as double standard.

Just days after I opened an exploration of the way humans view conflict of interest, and how their personal self-interest makes understanding the way this topic is approached in different contexts, the Washington Post publishes a front-page article that exposes the kind of conundrum I'm planning to look into.

The Senate, you see, has no laws restricting the investments its members can make into companies whose fortunes their votes may affect. In particular, they may freely invest in companies that are major players in specific industries overseen by Senate committees. In the Post article, the industry is defense, and the committee typically has "inside knowledge" into the defense systems that will be built, and which companies will benefit from their votes.

This seems strange enough, but as the Post article points out, the Congress has passed laws that prohibit such investments by those appointed to run the agencies — such as Defense — that will let the contracts to carry out the Senate's decisions. Not only that, but such laws have long been on the books to regulate investment behavior by rank-and-file Federal employees.

    
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July 1st, 2010

White House Freezes IT Projects To Revisit Wasteful IT Contracting

White House, citing waste, freezes IT projects - Computerworld. Wow... this was certainly good news, especially given my rabid views on the subject, as often expressed on Mars in the past. Federal IT spending is grossly mismanaged and embarrassingly costly, driven as it is by decisions made by IT "Beltway Bandits" rather than by knowledgeable Federal managers. Virtually all of the IT contractors are in bed with Microsoft, so you find a strong monopoly of Microsoft solutions at Federal agencies. And yes, Microsoft products are the most expensive to maintain over time, and Office is ridiculously expensive and overkill as a tool for every desktop. Worst of all, IT contractors typically sell solutions that further lock Feds into the Microsoft ecosystem, thereby shutting out the feasibility of implementing less expensive solutions based on open standards. A good first step... Now let's see what becomes of it.
    
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June 4th, 2010

Google Ditching Windows?

FT.com / Technology - Google ditches Windows on security concerns. I do hope this turns out to be true. If so, it's about time some IT folks wised up about Windows. The myth that Windows security problems are all due to the OS' large market share continues to dominate mindshare, but it's just that… a myth. Microsoft is singlehandedly responsible for the Antivirus/Anti-malware growth industry, and all of the security patches needed to keep Windows secure is keeping a lot of IT guys employed. This doesn't mean that Windows insecurity is a good thing, folks.
    
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April 15th, 2010

The Future for Home Computing

The iPad is the future for home computing - Computerworld. My iPad hasn't arrived yet (I opted for the 3G version, since I don't believe in cellphones and their parasitic subscription fees), but from what I know this Computerworld writer is spot-on. Not only am I a cellphone luddite, but a laptop one as well. I bought a MacBook Pro a couple of years back, but just couldn't make myself need or want it. (Ended up giving it to my wife.) But the iPad sounds like the laptop I've been waiting for! And it also means that, as much as I rely on my iPod Touch for eBook reading now, I'm very much looking forward to getting my mitts on the new iBook store. This is a great summary review of the iPad and captures all the salient reasons why Apple has another (and perhaps its biggest yet) hit on its hands.
    
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February 4th, 2010

Government Going Apple?

Government going Apple? - Security Systems News. I guess I missed this little tidbit from last fall, courtesy of Security Systems News. If true, it sounds like there at least a few Federal IT execs who are beginning to listen to reason, rather than being always feeling like they're on the defensive about Macs.
    
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April 21st, 2007

George Carlin Must Be A Martian

Carlin, Choosing His Words Carefully - washingtonpost.com I felt an immediate kinship with one of our godfathers of comedy yesterday as I read a report of this interview in the Washington Post. Clearly, Carlin is a Martian stranded here on Earth like the rest of us. Looking around, we see humans behaving in ways that seem totally alien, yet appear so natural to them. I wouldn't go as far as Carlin in saying I don't care about humans---I do. But I often consider them hopeless cases, locked in modes of behavior that they're powerless to change, which ultimately are terribly self-destructive to their species. He also seems confused by the way humans behave in the United States, not realizing it's no different with humans in similar circumstances around the globe. There are certainly some advanced cultures on Earth that are more like those on Mars, but they depend almost entirely on ideal socioeconomic and geopolitical circumstances---not on some magical evolution of the humans that compose them. Carlin says,
"At some point [in life] I realized I didn't really care about this species"... "That I didn't really care about this country deep down. That I was in them but not of them. And I found myself in a divorce from my species and my culture."
    
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Posted in:Philosophy, |
January 12th, 2007

Living With A Windows PC: If It’s Not Malware, It’s Crapware!

$60 to keep crapware off of a Windows PC? I just happened to notice this ArsTechnica report on the troubles of Windows users who have to put up with all sorts of attention-grabbing "crapware" that gets installed on their machines by the vendors who put them together. Gee, there's one more reason I'm glad I don't bother with Windows. Imagine if my Mac came with all sorts of not only bad software, but software that popped up periodically to ask me to buy something, or software that insisted that it be the prime image-viewing application, or whatever. Good grief... the only thing we get on Macs is high-quality software and higher-quality software.
    
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January 12th, 2007

EU Study Confirms The Positive Economic Impact of Open Source Software

EU study says OSS has better economics than proprietary software

Wow, I wonder if I can get my hands on this one… According to this ArsTechnica post, the European Union has released a study on the economic impact of open source software (OSS) and found it to be good. Naturally, Microsoft, Adobe, and others with business models tied to high-priced proprietary software will disagree. As ArsTechnica reports,

In a section titled “User benefits: interoperability, productivity, and cost savings,” the study’s authors (researchers from five European universities) make the claim that OSS is a less-expensive alternative to proprietary software…. “Our findings show that, in almost all the cases, a transition toward open source reports savings on the long-term costs of ownership of the software products,” says the study’s authors.

As one of the report’s recommendations, the EU is encouraged to change its policies that tend to favor proprietary software and instead do more to pave the way for OSS adoption. Unless you’re a stockholder in one of the software companies mentioned earlier, this is great news!

ArsTechnica also published this interesting chart:

EU Study Finds Open Source Software Less Expensive

    
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December 25th, 2006

Windows Vista Set To Poison HD Video?

A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection This is a very disturbing analysis of the underlying---and largely hidden from discussion thus far---content protection system for "premium content" from Blu-Ray and HD-DVD sources. The author argues that Microsoft's scheme will end up raising costs for everyone, even those who use Linux and Mac OS X, because it will drive up costs for HD content and players. Not only that, but it will effectively grant Microsoft a monopoly on HD content distribution since the HD content providers will be forced to adhere to Vista's system.

The "executive executive summary" of the study is "The Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history." My only question is, who will be killed in the end? I don't get the impression that the author thinks it will be Microsoft. Nor does he think this future is avoidable if Microsoft's desktop monopoly were reduced, either as a whole, or for just the Vista portion if Windows users refuse to upgrade.

It's also a shame that he thinks there's a parallel between Apple's success with iTunes/iPod and Microsoft's desktop monopoly. I totally reject any such comparison, since Apple's success was achieved against all odds and on the merit of its products and services, whereas Microsoft's monopoly was achieved largely by the fortunate accident of riding on IBM's coattails, as IBM's mainframe and typewriter monopoly was essentially transferred to Microsoft on corporate desktops. The merits of Microsoft's products had virtually nothing to do with it... nor were consumers ever really given a choice, since their employers ended up dictating their choice of a home computer.

    
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December 6th, 2006

ZDNet Blogger Finds Apple Pro Laptop Cheaper Than Dell

Apple vs. Dell price war | Ed Burnette’s Dev Connection | ZDNet.com Here's another recent article confirming what I had reported a year and a half ago: Apple computers are no more expensive---and often less expensive---than comparable Dell computers. That comparison is even easier now that Apple is shipping its computers with the same kind of processor as Dell. All in all, Macs are simply better values all around, plus you get to use the best consumer operating system on the planet.
    
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November 11th, 2006

Can We Resume The Antitrust Trial Against Microsoft Now, Please?

Slashdot | Time For Anti-Trust 2.0? This question is spot-on. Microsoft remains totally out of control, apparently believing it can crush whatever competitor it likes and being intolerant of any competition whatsoever. No standards are good enough for Microsoft, which must always invent its own as a way of controlling the standard. They're still going at this whole-hog, and except for Apple and its iPod/iTunes combo, nothing has beaten Microsoft when it enters a market. Google may yet win the web search/online apps game, but that still leaves Microsoft with huge shares of critical pieces of IT infrastructure, as well as a monopoly on corporate desktops. Yes, please! Let's resume the antitrust trial once the Republicans go away.
    
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October 19th, 2006

With a 30% Annual Gain, Mac Market Share Shoots Up To 6%

Macworld: News: Apple's Mac market share tops 5% with over 30% growth Pretty impressive numbers... Apple was the fastest growing PC maker in the last 12 months. Starting from such a small base, Apple has huge amounts of room for growth---and for rewarding shareholders---in the years ahead. I keep saying it's the best time ever to be a Mac user... and I'm glad to see others finally joining the party.
    
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August 9th, 2006

CNET Blog: Macs are cheaper than PCs? Yes!

Alpha--The CNET Blog: Macs are cheaper than PCs? Yes OK, folks, this isn't me saying this... it's CNET. Take a look at the data for yourself. It's black and white. The new Mac Pro is much cheaper than comparable high-end PC's.
    
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August 4th, 2006

TransGaming’s Cider: Will This Make “Macs Have No Games” A Thing of the Past?

Cider: Mac portability engine gets Apple users to the core of gaming Wow! If the Mac becomes a good gaming machine, that's just one more nail in the lid of Windows' coffin. This is definitely worth keeping an eye on.
    
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July 23rd, 2006

Will iPods Become eBooks, Too?

Engadget: Apple to do eBooks? Here's a very interesting--and, I think, likely--rumor. It would be a logical upgrade from the iPod's current text-only notes capability. And highly welcome, too! There are many things one wants to say that are best said with pictures rather than words, and at the moment, you can't say them on an iPod. This would be great news, but they'd have to once again think about how to fit a larger display onto the iPod's tiny frame.
    
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July 14th, 2006

Customers Complain About Dell’s Pricing Practices

Bloomberg.com: Dell Will Cut Promotions, Adopt More Uniform Pricing Dell's customers finally wizing up to the fact that the company is playing games with its prices. I pointed this out in an article over a year ago, reporting that it was obvious to me they were engaged in a bait-and-switch game. Here, Dell reports customers' reaction is more about the here-today-gone-tomorrow nature of Dell's "specials." I'm sure there will be some relief among those shopping for a Dell. But I tell you, the experience will still be nowhere near as relaxing and enjoyable as shopping for a Mac!
    
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Posted in:Macs vs. PCs, Technology, |
July 10th, 2006

Needham & Co. Analyst Thinks Corporate IT Will Continue To Ignore Macs

From Macworld: Analysts Say Windows on Macs will not open corporate doors I certainly agree that Boot Camp won't cause corporate IT departments to suddenly start buying Macs. Did anyone ever suggest such a thing? In fact, as the Macworld article notes, Apple has been promoting Parallels as the "run Windows on your Mac" choice rather than Boot Camp. No, I think other things will eventually sway IT... for example, if home users start to buy Macs, they'll start to put pressure on their companies to let them use their Mac notebooks. Once that starts to happen, IT will be forced to deal with the issue.
    
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July 6th, 2006

Survey Shows Jump in PC Users Interested in Buying Macs

From Yahoo!: Mac The Apple Of More PC Buyers' Eyes: Financial News This is the kind of headline I enjoy seeing! The odds of people actually making the switch are so low that any headway is cause for celebration. The report has a nice graph showing flat-to-falling interest in Dells and fairly steady increases in interest in Macs. Apple's moves to make the Mac more Windows-friendly this year (Boot Camp, Intel chips) are cited as major incentives.
    
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July 4th, 2006

CrossOver for Mac Coming Soon: Run Windows Apps Without Windows

CrossOver lets Windows apps run on OS X, sans Windows CodeWeavers plans to release a Mac OS X Version of its WINE-based CrossOver application this summer.  CrossOver doesn't require a full version of Windows running in emulation... rather, it uses the open-source WINE project to run individual Windows applications just like any other app on your Mac.  Word is, the apps run about the same as they would on a Windows computer.  Theoretically, PC games would run fine, too, but it's not certain this will be the case in reality.  If CrossOver works as advertised, it would be even a step above Parallels Desktop in making it simple to run Windows apps on the Mac.  Besides convenience, CrossOver would be less susceptible to Windows viruses since there's no actual Windows OS running.  
    
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June 13th, 2006

Apple Posts Three New TV Ads… Work vs. Home Is A Classic!

Apple: Why you'll love a Mac (3 new TV ads) I've already admitted I'm a fan of Apple's latest set of ads, though I have to admit I got kinda tired of seeing them over and over again, especially right on their home page (so declasse!) But now they have 3 new fresh ones, and the last one (Work vs. Home) made me laugh out loud. Really great stuff. (I think they've been reading my articles... don't you?)
    
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June 13th, 2006

ZDNet: Microsoft Presses the Stupid Button (Again… and Again… )

ZDNet, Ed Bott: Microsoft presses the Stupid button I'm really glad to see Windows users noticing and shouting about the latest Microsoft stupidity, which naturally comes at their expense. The question I always have is, Why do you put up with it? Is familiarity with the Windows OS worth all the crap you have to endure from Microsoft, as well as all the attacks that take place constantly against your PC? There really is a better alternative... in fact, two good alternatives, to Windows. Switch to Linux or switch to the Mac, and at least you'll have your digital life back!
    
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June 13th, 2006

Apple Takes the Microsoft Pain Away

Fairfax Digital, Australia: Apple today takes the MS pain away Australian tech writer describes his relief at finally making the switch to Mac OS X. The article details how he came to the decision to take the plunge. This guy is as fed up at Microsoft as anybody I've read lately, and if you're looking for a good Microsoft-bashing, it's a great read.
    
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June 10th, 2006

Wired Magazine Likes iMac Best As Media Center PC

Wired: Kings of All Media Wired reviews some of the current crop of Windows "Media Center" PC's, alongside the latest Apple iMac. Although Apple doesn't specifically bill the iMac as a "media center" PC, it is, of course, right out of the box. With the new FrontRow and Apple Remote, you've got everything you need but EyeTV, which is the best TV-to-PC solution on either platform anyway. Wired rates the iMac tops in this little shootout. Notice how the Media Center PC's lost even though they have a built-in TV tuner... it's good to see Wired understanding that a TV tuner is not an essential feature to have in a living room PC.
    
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Posted in:Macs vs. PCs, Technology, |
June 9th, 2006

Time Says MacBook’s Price Point a Threat to Dell, HP

TIME.com: Our first look at Apple's newest notebook Another day, another great reaction to Apple's latest notebook... this one, the Intel-based replacement for Apple's very popular iBook. What Time is most amazed at is the MacBook's price:
The first thing that startled me about the MacBooks were not their glossy white or matte black finishes, nor the fact that they had Intel dual-core processors rather than lower-powered single-core ones. I had expected all that. What surprised me was the price: they start at $1,099, even lower if you are a student.... The MacBook is a powerful and affordable option, especially for people who are uncertain about their Windows future. The next version, Vista, might be a success, but with a MacBook you can hedge your bet. You get a computer that runs both Mac OS X and Windows XP today, and even appears to meet the minimum requirements for Vista once it gets here. Dell and HP should be very worried indeed.
    
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June 7th, 2006

Analysts Predict Apple Market Share Gains To Resume

Forbes.com: When Will Apple's Harvest Start? Everybody likes to speculate on Apple's market share. No one knows what's going to happen, but if anecdotal evidence is any indicator, Apple's share has got to continue rising. A really meaningful number won't appear until someone figures out how to remove business computer sales from the total shipments, because Apple's sales of both iPods and iMacs are to consumers, not businesses.
    
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June 1st, 2006

Trying To Debunk The “Mac Is More Expensive” Myth

Gene Steinberg: Perpetuation The Myth of Expensive Macs Here's a short but sweet attempt to put down the continued myth that Macs are more expensive than PCs. Some people just won't believe it, and they keep making up irrelevant arguments to prove their point. Why? Are they mad because they didn't buy a Mac originally? Why does the truth hurt so much?
    
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May 17th, 2006

TUAW Posts Essay Analyzing “The love/hate relationship with Apple”

The love/hate relationship with Apple - The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) This is actually pretty interesting, and the subject of how we Mac users feel about Apple is very pertinent to our everyday discussions about the computers we love. It's often difficult to explain to Windows users why we hold Apple in such high regard, since, as the author points out, it's rare for "brand loyalty" to reach so high a pedestal. It's a subject I'd like to ruminate on at length about myself one of these days...
    
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May 17th, 2006

Blogger Reveals “Why I Will Probably Continue To Buy Macs”

Indigo Jo Blogs: Why I will probably continue to buy Macs This is an "answer piece" to another blogger's chronicle of why he probably will not buy another Mac. Haven't read either of them yet, but I look forward to doing so. The current aritlcle apparently sets out to debunk the various resons the first blogger sets forth to justify abandoning the Mac.
    
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Posted in:Apple, Macs vs. PCs, Technology, |
May 17th, 2006

Piper Jaffray says Macs cost only slightly more than PCs

AppleInsider reports on a Piper Jaffray study that finds today's Macs cost only slightly more than PCs Good to see this effort being championed by people with some influence, finally! I'll be curious to learn more about their methodology, but I'm glad they're actually looking into the question of Mac vs. PC pricing. My own studies have found Macs to be slightly less than PC's in price, once software bundles are included in the equation.
    
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May 16th, 2006

Mossberg Sees Apple’s “Device Model” Gaining Respect

Mossberg: In Our Post-PC Era, Apple's Device Model Beats the PC Way This reinforces a theme I and many others have been hammering away at for the last year or two... namely, the "open" PC platform was a mistake that purchasers--mostly business IT departments--swallowed without question, thereby handing Microsoft its current monopoly power. Apple's "tightly coupled" approach was dissed universally among the PC literate as the wrong way. You'd hear these folks talking about PC's being a "commodity" marketplace (whatever that means) that Apple was out of step with. The PC crowd's willingness to buy this argument without question is one of the behaviors that's evidence of what I'm starting to refer to as PC Prejudice. However, in the last few years, the problems with the PC approach have tarnished that model's image a bit, and here Mossberg tries to smear a little more rust to its surface.
    
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May 5th, 2006

Latest Consumer Reports Survey Still Finds Apple Tops in Customer Support

Free tech support from most computer manufacturers is dismal, Consumer Reports survey finds Good to see this. Of course, where are all the people who normally buy products based on Consumer Reports ratings? Why don't they buy Apple products, especially when they don't cost any more than PC's these days? Silliness, is all.
    
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May 5th, 2006

Puzzling Out Why Apple Hasn’t Failed

Sci-Tech Today: Learning Lessons from the Mac It's always nice to read an article by someone who's beginning to understand what's been going on and what the real differences are between Apple's approach and Microsoft's.
    
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May 3rd, 2006

Backpedaling on the “Mac Virus Outbreak” Non-Story

MacDailyNews: Unix expert: Mac OS X much more secure than Windows; recent Mac OS X security stories are media hype One of the bad journalists who started this week's anti-Mac ruckus is back, apparently trying to make amends. At his side is a respected Unix security expert who verifies that the outcry the journalist has been hearing from Mac users is justified. Macs are not susceptible to viruses, and Windows is. Macs are better protected by design, not by market share, and Windows are attacked often because it's easy to do so, not because there are so many of them. Makes sense. Of course, as the MacDailyNews editor asks the journalist in question, Stan Beer, "Why the truth now?... Get it right the first time, before you publish it."
    
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April 30th, 2006

Excellent Explanation of Why Apple’s Product Approach Is Best

Vertical Quality And McNealy: Why Apple, Sun & Google Have It Right Here's a great analysis of the "closed" versus "open" systems approach that so often defines the reason why people won't buy Apple computers. You know, the argument that Apple should do it like Dell and Microsoft... let everyone else in on the goodness. As this author defines it, we're talking about "vertical" versus "horizontal" markets, and it's been a horizontal world for quite some time now. He argues that the approach taken by Apple, Google, and Sun is ultimately better for consumers, as well as being better for innovation.
    
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April 28th, 2006

New $600 Mini Shootouts Prove Mac Offers Much More For Less

Mac vs. PC System Shootouts - $600 Mini Desktops 02/28/06 Someone has done a herculean job of delineating all the dozens of attributes that make up a modern personal computer and compiling data for the new Mac Mini ($600 version) and a PC clone of it for slightly more. It's amazing to me, who has actually done this exercise myself, how much more you get with a Mac these days... and in this case, I'm not just talking software. See for yourself and pick it apart if you can.
    
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April 26th, 2006

MacDailyNews Shreds Columnist Who Perpetuates Myth That Apples Are Pricier Than Dells

MacDailyNews: Confused columnist on Apple's 17" MacBook Pro: 'you can get a couple of decent Dells' for that price As the MacDailyNews writer correctly points out, a comparable Dell would cost over $4,000 instead of the Apple's $2,999, and even then you wouldn't have a machine nearly as good as the MacBook. Great read.
    
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Just Say No To Flash