Security – Page 2 – Stay N Alive

Five Real Reasons Vista Beats Mac OS X

I’m going to step away from my normal focus on Social Media because the inner-geek in me just couldn’t resist. Recently Chris Pirillo posted a challenge that I just couldn’t help taking on. In it, he criticizes a post by Preston Galla of ComputerWorld stating “5 Reasons Vista Beats OS X”, and he makes some very good points. I admire Chris a lot because he’s one of the most unbiased Geeks I know, except when it comes to the Mac. Chris and I would get along well.

I too am a Mac user, in fact, the post I am typing at the moment is on MarsEdit on a Macbook. I absolutely love my Mac, and thus far have not found a preferred Operating System for development and desktop environment to work on, at least as a software developer (I should note that actually, most of my software development is over Terminal on the Mac, over to a Linux Server, my preferred server OS).

I will be the first to admit however that the Mac does have its flaws, in particular Leopard. I do run a Vista Ultimate machine, and I love it too, but for different reasons. Let me give 5 real reasons, and Chris, if you’re reading I would love to hear your response to this, why Vista, at times can be better than a Mac, in particular Leopard. Here are 5 reasons in response to Chris’s challenge that I think really make sense:

  1. It’s all about the media. Chris, I’m not sure if you’ve used Windows Media Center to its full extent, but sit down, set up a Windows Media Center machine/server, and then set up an Xbox 360. Be sure your server has a good TV card or two in it as well. Now, sync the two, and begin watching TV live over your home network. Add on a Media Center Extender to another TV in your house and begin streaming live TV on another channel to that TV as well. Now, on one of the extenders, open up some music, maybe even from your iTunes library on your PC (assuming it’s not DRM protected, stupid Apple). Go on over and visit the videos you have stored on your PC. Install some MCE plugins, and begin browsing your videos on Youtube, or even Netflix watch now movies. Got HD? MCE supports it. Go to the sports section, see all the sports games playing currently and what their scores are, surf through all the sports channels (all in HD!). Go in and schedule to record your favorite TV Series. AppleTV isn’t even near ready for this (although I so desperately would love to see them do it!). Heck, turn off MCE even and start playing some games, or rent a movie. If you can point out a Mac combination that can do that, I’ll jump for joy!
  2. The corporate environment. As a CTO and entrepreneur, I simply cannot force everyone onto a Mac. I have first, the expense of the learning curve and integration between Mac and PC, and second the cost of the Macs themselves. I can get a PC for under $500 these days. The closest equivalent to that is the Mac Mini, which still, at the equivalent PC level is more expensive. Now, add to that the expense of Parallels so those that need Windows apps like Quickbooks Corporate editions and others. True, integration with Exchange is possible, but is still pretty limited when compared to Windows. In the end I’m looking at a pretty expensive IT budget. Again, I think a Mac is an excellent development machine, and would still encourage a Mac for my developers due to their need to develop in cross-platform environments, but it just doesn’t make sense cost-wise across the entire company.
  3. Hardware compatibility. I agree – there are a lot of options when it comes to supporting hardware for a Mac, but, can I just get a decent wireless print server that works with the Macs in my household? What about print drivers that work across the network with Windows-connected printers? Leopard fixes some of that, but it’s still not anywhere near compatible as the Vista machines are. Is it Mac’s fault? No, but it is a strong point to buying Vista. What about shuffling around every time I need to connect to a projector because Macs use the non-standard VGA/DVI adapters? I’m sure the readers can come up with more unsupported hardware.
  4. Finance Software. I touched on this a little earlier, and Galla very broadly covered it in mentioning supported software, but his claim was not backed by specific examples. Simply saying, “Vista runs more software” is an opinion, and Chris, as you point out not necessarily proof that Vista is better. However, one thing I do have issues with is the vast array of Windows Finance software (aka Small and large business versions of Quicken and Turbotax) but lack of within Leopard. I run a very small business at the moment, and frankly, Quickbooks for Mac is simply too much for me. I’m looking for something more like Quicken Home and Business until my business gets large enough for me to hire an Accountant. There’s also the flip-side to that in that if you run a very large business, there are no enterprise versions of Quickbooks for Mac. This is why both my Father, and Father-in-Law who are CPAs do not use Macs. For now, I’m stuck to slowing down my machine with Parallels any time I need something like that, which, IMO is a hack.
  5. It’s all about the animated wallpaper! Can your Mac run animated pictures of waterfalls, running streams, or flowing lava? My Vista machine can. Come on – you have to admit that’s something my Vista machine can do that my Macbook can’t, don’t you? So long as we’re going to praise the Mac UI this is one really cool feature I’d just love to see on my Mac. There are also other cool UI features on Vista that I like, even though I think Mac trumps them as a whole.

So, those may or may not be big things to some, but that is my list, and you asked Chris. Of course I could always come up with 10 more things that Mac beats Vista in, but my point is, as they told us when I was a Sales person at Computer City as a teenager, there are strengths to each OS – it’s important to evaluate what works best for you and your situation, and choose accordingly. Now, I ask my readers, are there any reasons (supported by true, concrete facts) that you feel Vista beats Leopard or the Mac in general?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_AprFotKZU&hl=en]

The Emergence of "Spam 2.0"

38197-spam.pngMy recent blog post on the possible “Facebook Worm” seems to be making an effect in security circles. Within 24 hours I quickly got this e-mail from Zango making sure their name was not associated with it:

Hello Jesse,

I am writing to you about the above entitled post. I first want to clarify that we (Zango) had no involvement with the “Secret Crush” Facebook widget. Matt Hines of InfoWorld clarified that in a blog post in January. You should take a look at: http://weblog.infoworld.com/zeroda)y/archives/2008/01/zango_strikes_b.html.

Mr. Hines’ blog post was spurred by our thorough investigation, which began with a blog post (http://blog.zango.com/PermaLink,guid,94c0e12c-c69e-484f-81b8-b8b58953d71b.aspx) and ended with another post (http://blog.zango.com/PermaLink,guid,b148693d-dbb7-48b9-a102-af336768a424.aspx) and press release (http://www.easyir.com/easyir/prssrel.do?easyirid=83181A68A6B07C97&version=live&prid=345840&releasejsp=release_21).

So to answer your question: Since Zango was not inovlved, we are not associated in any way with Secret Crush. Now, could Secret Crush be doing dubious things? Very possible. Have you contacted Facebook to let them know? If not, I will do just that, as we’ve had some contact with them.

I hope that you’ll revised your post in some way and, as always, am available to discuss further, etc.

Thanks,

SJS

Steve Stratz

Director of Public Relations

Zango

The following day, I received an e-mail from the security company, Fortinet, asking if they could publish a security advisory on the threat. They mentioned they didn’t think it was necessarily a “worm”, per se, but rather what they call “Spam 2.0”. This brings to question, are we in a new age of Spam? Now, instead of hijacking a person’s e-mail account and sending out spam messages over SMTP e-mail, spammers are now hijacking your Facebook and other social accounts, and posting their links and messages on your walls, and statuses.

The question now becomes, is it still related to the Secret Crush application? I find it hard to believe with the problems they had in the past, and with them posting “totally hooked on the crush calculator” within the user’s status message that they wouldn’t have some involvement, but then again, the spammer could just be using a hijacked application at the same time they are using the hijacked user’s account. As Fortinet mentions, this has been happening on Myspace for quite some time now – it is only recently that we’re starting to see the same on Facebook.

The advantage these social networks have over traditional e-mail to combat spam is that your account requires a password to hijack. If you keep a good alpha-numeric, non-dictionary-based password, spammers can’t exist! You can read more from the Fortinet article here:

http://www.fortiguardcenter.com/advisory/FGA-2008-08.html

Also, PC Magazine’s blog wrote on it recently:

http://blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch/2008/03/facebook_worm.php