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Against the Clueless

Against the Clueless

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A while ago I went with a work colleague of mine when he presented at a user group meeting. 

To cut to the chase, there was a Mac bigot there. Of course, as all Mac fanboys, he felt he had to attack us because we work for Microsoft.  Now I'm not sure what it is about the Apple Zombies, but they are more blindly fanatical about their precious little niche than any group I tend to encounter. Even the Linux guys can speak intelligently and are open to conversations and other points of view. But Mindless Mac Masses tend to be completely blinded to the realities of real computing.

Yes, I have concrete examples. Here's one of them.

During the presentation, here are some of the comments the individual in question had: (MFB = Mac FanBoy)

Presenter discussing the Subsystem for Unix Applications in Vista Svr 2008

MFB: "So why is Microsoft doing this, are they trying to stay relevant!?"

Are you kidding me? Windows has from 90% to 95% of the desktop market share according to non-Microsoft sources.

Mac by contrast has from 8% to 3% according to those same sources respectively.  In the server market Windows is growing including surpassing Unix, as it's competition looses market share. Apple servers are nowhere to be seen in major implementations, and Mac desktops will struggle for years to get out of single digit market share if they ever do. Trust me, in the desktop/server/online world it's Apple/Mac that needs to be worried about remaining relevant. Hey if you want a proprietary music player that will hold your music hostage and is more important as a fashion statement then Apple is quite relevant to you.

MFB: "Spam is all Microsoft's fault."

Me: "Excuse me, what was that?"

MFB: "Yeah if they didn't have such an insecure OS there wouldn't be any spam. It's all because of Microsoft bot networks."

First of all, Microsoft does not run Bot networks. Even though this guy seemed to think we did.  He's convinced that we have secret bits in the OS that allow us to control any computer running Windows.  I will admit there is more Windows targeted malware to support bot networks out there than there is for other OSes. But that stands to reason, no one writes software for less than 4% of a market. Just try to buy games for a Mac. Well, that weren't written by Apple. But at least we're doing something about Botnets. Microsoft has a massive investment in researching and shutting down botnets.  MFB's have enjoyed a protective little bubble that they do their computing in. But I suppose that's why other than desktop publishing outfits, and some labs, everyone uses Windows or Linux as a desktop too.  But in no way is SPAM Microsoft's fault. Saying that is like saying DRMed Music is iTunes fault.... Then again, when you are locked into a proprietary system like the Apple ecosphere you wouldn't know that you should be able to play your music on something other than your iPod.

Me: "And with the security improvements in Vista, we're doing even more to prevent bad guys from being able to establish botnets."

MFB: "Oh yeah the popups stuff. Vista is so insecure that everyone just turns off that popup thing."

Me: "You mean the UAC dialogs?  They've been toned down in SP1.  But there's a lot more to UAC than that."

MFB: "Yeah but it sucks. Mac is a lot more secure."

Me: "So have you ever tried it? Have you seen a lot of these dialogs?"

MFB: "No. I run a MAC. I don't have to worry about security."

Me: "What about the popups on your Mac when you aren't running as Admin?"

MFB: "I don't get them because I always run as Admin. With a Mac I can do that because it's more secure."

Me: " Ok, so tell me how it's more secure?"

MFB: "Well, it's just better. There aren't as many viruses for the Mac."

Me: "True, but lack of attackers does not make something more secure. It just makes it less likely to be attacked because there's fewer targets and less of value on them usually. How is the Mac more secure than Vista?" (yes I know I was getting flippant.)

MFB: "Well, it just is."

I think that exchange speaks for itself. Why don't any of these MFBs ever complain about stuff they've actually experienced. They always just spout off hearsay, conjecture, and blindly attack Windows. Get a grip. If you have a legitimate complaint great, tell us, we'll listen. This reminds me of an experience Jeff Jones had at BlackHat. He tells about it here. So it's not just me! 

With my restraint thinning out, I quipped. "Well the best thing you can do for your Mac is run Vista on it." At that point he got truly violent and literally threatened bodily harm.  MFB: "Wow, you want to get your face punched in?" I see when pressed for facts they resort to their baser instincts. Perhaps Mac Addicts just aren't as evolved as the rest of the computing community.

Now me and my friend had been sitting there taking this and other forms of abuse stoically and as professionally as we could.  But we decided that there are just some people you can't reason with.  So I decided to let the Mac community live in it's little bubble. After all, the needs of the many (over 90% of the computing population) outweigh the needs of the few.

  • You're tarring quite a few of us with the same brush there - there are many mac users that are definitely uninformed "drivel spouters", but please don't assume we're all that way!

    I have a healthy respect for a lot of the products that Microsoft produces, and whilst I find Apple's solutions better meet my needs, it would be remiss of me to ignore or dismiss some of the great technologies coming out of Redmond.

  • Thank you for bringing that up. True, that was a wide brush. I realise that not all Mac users are MFBs or Clueless. I would ask though that you talk to your Mac bretheren and perhaps awaken them to the world.

    I admit saying that all Mac fans are clueless, is like when people assume I am rich because of where I work. Our former CEO didn't get to be as rich as he is by giving us his money.

    I will try to be more specific in my tarring next time.

  • It's quite a shame actually that such bigots exist. As someone who works in security, I think being relatively conversant in a broad range of operating systems is a personal strength of mine; to put things in perspective...

    I use a PC at work, I use a Mac at home and GNU/Linux on my servers for pet projects. They all have strengths in various areas and even though I'm a hard core GNU/Linux & OSX fan, there are many strengths in the Windows platform.

    Whilst I don't agree with everything you've said Rocky, its quite clear the MFB has NFI; I wouldn't stress about it though ;-)

    BTW, whilst I can't afford to make Tech-Ed in Sydney, any tips on what's expected?

    - Shaon :D

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