we told you about a hacker attack disguised as a Microsoft security alert. Another
new threat consists of bogus
social networking links
that are simply a direct road to malware, at least
according to a report from the Georgia Tech Information Security Center.
I'm pretty savvy about computers, but there's a tiny part of me that's tempted
to click on these links. I even had a boss that once clicked on an "I Love
You" message...and you probably know the rest. The whole organization was
infected with the "I Love You Virus."
These tricks will continue to work, which means anti-virus/anti-malware defenses
have to be strong.
Ballmer on Cloud Nine and Windows
It's got to be great to be Steve Ballmer. He's obviously got plenty of dough,
thousands of smart employees and I highly doubt he ever flies coach. And because
he's the CEO, he can say whatever he wants. Where others in Microsoft are gun-shy
and afraid to say the wrong thing, Ballmer can be bombastic, insulting, fun
and inspiring -- and he talks about details other execs would never disclose
(not without written permission, or perhaps after the product ships).
Case in point: At a recent Gartner event, Ballmer talked in general terms about
cloud OS, one that will host Microsoft apps running over the Internet. He
was more specific about Windows 7, indicating that it's really an extension
of today's Vista but focusing on performance and what he calls "cleanup."
He added, "Essentially, the way I'd characterize it -- it's Windows Vista,
a lot better. Windows Vista is good. Windows 7 is Windows Vista with cleanup
and user interface, improvements in performance."
Vista will also live on after Windows 7, driving presumably Windows 8 and perhaps
Microsoft Celebrates Anti-Piracy
Not sure if you knew that today was a special day. Yeah, you probably know that
yesterday was National Osteoporosis Day and that tomorrow is International Stuttering
Awareness Day, but that leaves Oct. 21 all to Microsoft -- which has now given
Anti-Piracy Day. Microsoft is trying to educate users in 49 countries about
the evils of pirated software.
I don't agree with committing software piracy, but I find that sometimes the
cure is worse than the illness. How many times have you tried to rebuild a system
only to be stymied reinstalling software you already paid for?
What do you think about piracy and piracy protection? Shrieks, howls and common
sense all welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mailbag: Apple Prices, Vista Problem,
Here are more of your thoughts on the high price of Apple laptops:
You say that you find it an outrage, in this economy, to charge such
a premium. While I respect your personal convictions, that statement is a
little too broad for my liking. The Declaration of Independence cites life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness as inalienable rights, not low-cost Apple
computing. What Apple charges for a laptop is Apple's business. That's the
free market. If we find that we are willing to pay that premium, we can join
the exclusive club. If not, then we don't. We have no right to anything at
any cost other than what the market will bear and what the business will sell
Could Apple have greater market share in personal and enterprise computing?
I firmly believe so. Do they care? I am not sure, but I would suspect that
Apple, marching to the beat of its own drum for decades, has its own version
of success. PC computing is definitely the more economical way to go, but
it's nice to have the option to drive a Cadillac if you really want one and
can afford it.
Your comment about Apple not being interested in matching prices with
PCs got me to thinking that maybe it has something there. All of the Mac users
I know are competent computer users; I can't say that of all of the PC users
I know. The Mac users I talk to are usually asking for help on the PC they
need to use at work, not their personal Mac. After 10 years of PC support
in a public school district, I am of the opinion that most people have no
business using a computer!
It took a lot of convincing to get my wife to go along with getting our
Macbook Pro back in February. And I am glad that we made the investment. Looking
at the new models and stuff now, it would be great to get another one to take
advantage of that extra video memory horsepower and overall performance.
However, the price this time around is not going to work. Apple does
need to reduce the cost of its hardware by a large amount if it is going to
continue to grow and prosper. Our economy now will more than likely hurt Apple
if it does not do something soon. It would be a darn shame to see the current
crowds at the Apple store where to be reduced to one to two window shoppers
that would briefly stop in.
Apple has no place or desire to exist in the enterprise. It uses a tailored
version of Unix at the core of its OS, but that does not make it comparable
to *nix clients or servers. It is a consumer-grade device provider, in that
it gives you a shrink-wrapped phone, media player, laptop, 1U server, etc.
with bells and whistles. It does not give you the utility that is a machine
of your own. I would not start buying T-Mobile routers if they started making
Standard or branded PC hardware running Windows or *nix will give you
far more customizability than Apple will ever offer, which is the first foot
into the door of any serious enterprise. Its computers are "pretty"
versions that try to do the exact same thing, but seriously fall short. Any
hardware running XP, Vista or *nix will beat a Mac hands-down in every enterprise
usability test you can throw at it.
There are a number of companies that do not market to the low end of the
market. Not sure why you are thinking that Apple needs to be all things to
all people. Also, way too often reviewers do not look at all the differences
in the systems (i.e., the mag attached power cord). Mac has a lot more going
for it than a Windows system in a lot of ways. Most people can use a Mac and
not look back to Windows. If you are doing any multimedia, then Mac rules.
For those that must have Windows apps they can get them with Parallels, and
it is seamless.
I think that although the laptops are a bit pricier than Windows laptops,
Apple is right on for being a very profitable company. It is moving up in
market share consistantly. I am seeing more and more Mac laptops in public.
I know of a lot of people that are migrating to Macs also. And I know a very
large number of people (like myself) that are network engineers of one sort
or another that have moved to Mac for their personal systems because we are
just tired of the Windows crap. Macs just work, pure and simple.
What hasn't been working, at least for this reader, is Vista. More specifically,
older apps that worked fine in XP but fail in the new OS:
About two months ago, I bought a new laptop with Vista Home Premium on
it. I am getting used to the new interface, but have been having a little
trouble with two older applications. Other than e-mail and Internet browsing,
these two are my primary uses for the laptop.
Sometimes the applications will just stop. The mouse doesn't seem to
work and I have to use Ctrl-Alt-Del to get to Task Manager and end my "not
responding" task. When I get to Task Manager, the mouse is responding
again, but not the application. Is this typical Vista execution or what? I
have been using the apps under XP for at least four years and they work fine,
but now that they are installed under Vista, they seem unreliable. What's
But John's problem notwithstanding, at least one reader still thinks Vista
is just as good as a Mac:
Put 64-bit Vista (other than Vista Home or Basic) on a computer with
a quad-core processor, 4GB RAM and only Microsoft-approved applications, and
it will cost and operate similarly to a Mac. It will perform well and applications
will be expensive and limited. On the plus side, it will be easier to find
qualified people to support it and networking is much simpler than on a Mac.
Put it on a low-end computer and it will "suck." This is a classic
case of "you get what you pay for."
Example: Sit at a Vista computer and try to share resources. The Help menu
is easy to find and easy to follow. Try the same thing on a Mac. You will
find out how to connect to shares on other computers. Getting help for a Mac
is easier using a Web search than using its documentation. Our local Mac store
offers free training for purchasers of new Macs. If the system is that easy,
why do users need the training?
And finally, Stephen's not so impressed with Chrome. Here's why:
If you're still collecting "Chrome Woes," may I add a few?
One, this site
took five minutes to load in Chrome, whereas I was on the page in two seconds
in IE 7, browsed the entire week in photos, voted and closed out before Chrome
had rendered anything more than the banner and left-nav. Two, we use an open
source Web-based product, Gemini, to track our internal development projects.
It has a RAD Editor component that in IE behaves fine, but in Chrome the Ctrl+
shortcuts are ignored.
Three, signing in to see my iGoogle page took me to a blank page that
was "redirecting" for fully a minute. Maybe those guys at Google
really need to talk to each other before they dink around with the main pages.
For some reason, after 10 minutes, the page was still "loading,"
as evidenced by the spinner on the tab title. "What's it doing?"
one may ask.
Check in tomorrow for more of reader letters! In the meantime, share your own
thoughts by leaving a comment below or sending an e-mail to email@example.com.