Being the administrator of your computer gives you limitless access and control, but is it a good thing?
Let me make this completely clear:
It is not good.
The reason is the overwhelming majority (somewhere around 90%) of malware, viruses, and other exploits can only take hold of your computer if you are logged in as the administrator.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t have admin rights on your own computer. What I am suggesting is that you password protect your admin account, and only access it when you need to install software or make a change to your system.
For the everyday stuff, make yourself a regular user account. It could save you a ton of hassles.
Practice safe computing.
During Apple’s iPad 2 event Steve Jobs declared that we are living in a “post-PC” world, and as with every word that the man utters, tech geeks pretty much ate it up.
It’s a cute sound-byte. It makes you feel like you’re part of some grand and imminent future. The PC completely changed the course of human history, and now it is obsolete. Rejoice!
The trouble is, the statement is flat-out false. We’re living in a world of integrated computing. Your PC, mobile, and tablet (if you have one) all work together to give you access to your data. Each one makes computing better in certain circumstances.
That’s the world we live in. “Post-PC” is marketing bullshit.
What’s a PC?
a microcomputer designed for individual use, as by a person in an office or at home or school, for such applications as word processing, data management, financial analysis, or computer games. Abbreviation: PC (dictionary.com)
By this definition:
- A Mac is a PC
- An iPhone is a PC
- An iPad is a PC
They’re all PCs, you just interact with them in a slightly different manner.
Apple devoted many years and truck loads of money to differentiate their Apple PC hardware from Windows PC hardware.
Apple hardware = Mac
Windows hardware = PC
Mac = Cool, attractive, creative dude
PC = Pasty, nerdy, stodgy man
The combination of excellent hardware, beautiful design, the iPhone, the failure of Windows Vista, and an overabundance of Windows viruses mixed with aggressive marketing to crown Apple the king of PC technology.
We aren’t living in a post-PC world. PC’s have taken over everything.
Calling it a post-PC world is just Apple’s marketing department’s way of trying to declare that there are no other relevant tech companies out there, and that is bullshit as well.
(Image via Engadget)
As you prepare to spend your hard-earned cash on Santafest 2010, here are some great, easy-to-use applications that won’t cost you a dime:
Seashore – Think of it as PhotoShop lite. It’s got all of the core functionality that most of us will need, it loads instantly, and has an icon that looks great on your dock.
Bean – A stripped down rich text editor. It’s great for writing without distractions.
AppCleaner – A simple two click solution for clearing-out unwanted apps. It doesn’t leave a trace.
NeoOffice - It’s a Microsoft Office-like substitute that is completely free, and legal.
The Unarchiver - Unarchiver can unpackage just about anything from Zip to RAR and many of the obscure formats in-between.
Microsoft Security Essentials – This name may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s a fairly useful virus defense tool. *Update – It doesn’t always get along well with other big name virus scans. I don’t recommend you run it concurrently with Norton, McAfee, or Sophos.
OpenOffice – Like NeoOffice, it’s a free alternative to Microsoft Office.
Mac & Windows
Dropbox – Free online backup and rapid file syncing between multiple computers or mobile devices. This is perfect if you regularly switch between a two or more computers.
VLC Player - This media player can play pretty much any file format. It’s the Millenium Falcon of media players; it doesn’t look like much, but its got it where it counts [kid].
Firefox – Everyone’s favorite web browser. It’s a little outdated at the moment, but the next version is going to rock.
Google Chrome – Google’s lightning fast, stripped-down web browser.
Google Docs – Another Microsoft Office substitute. Google Docs keeps getting better. You can import Microsoft Office files into it, or export your Google Docs into Office formats.
WordPress – One mighty fine blogging platform.
In the midst of my relaxing evening, I started looking through a few months worth of photos on my camera. I found one from my trip to Boise, Idaho for my friend Sasha’s wedding.
On my way to and from her nuptials, I had the flights from hell, in large part because American Airlines absolutely blows. They have old uncomfortable planes, mean or indifferent flight attendants, nasty gate attendants, and their customer service people aren’t empowered to do much of anything but waste your time. I’ve flown American Airlines few times over the years, and have always been uncomfortable, and disappointed. I will go to great lengths to avoid flying their shitty airline again.
While I was in Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in the middle of my journey, I was mad as hell at America Airlines, but immediately cracked up when I saw this on an arrival monitor:
This error message brought a smile to my face.
Let’s lay allegiances out on the table upfront.
I’m a three year Mac user, before that I was a lifelong Windows guy… With a little Linux experimentation in college (I know, wild right?). I have no great love of any of these operating systems, they all have virtues and shortcomings.
Here’s my metaphorical take on the three:
Macistan is the dictatorship I choose to live in because the trains run on time.
It’s beautiful, vibrant, growing, simple, and there is virtually no crime. You don’t need to worry too much about security; daily maintenance is basically nonexistent; and when you need something fixed, there is a government sanctioned organization to deal with the problem.
The trouble with Macistan is that it has a crazy, egotistical, and self-important dictator. He rules Macistan with an iron fist, and if you don’t play by his rules, he will excommunicate you.
The government repair station is far from perfect, in spite of outside appearances. These sanctioned experts are frequently bureaucrats without useful skills, knowledge, or the ability to actually help.
It’s also expensive to live in paradise. The costs are high in both money, and the loss of freedom. You can only install the software that is OK with the authorities, and the authorities are becoming prone to censorship of “obscenity” as they define it this week.
It’s a nice and easy life, but freedom is dwindling in Macistan; it will probably become too oppressive to abide.
Windowsland is the land of the established superpower.
There is an overabundance of just about everything in Windowsland: software, population, productivity, and crime.
There are some costs associated with living in Windowsland, but they aren’t astronomical, you can live comfortably without spending much money. You also have a fair amount of freedom to do as you wish, there are restrictions, but they aren’t too heinous.
The main problems with living in Windowsland is the insane crime-rate. As a result of the freedom and immense population, Windowsland is hive of scum and villainy. There is a sizable population of jerks looking to profit off of the ignorance and misfortune of others.
The other issue with Windowsland is that the government is slow to improve the infrastructure of the country. The government is constantly struggling to be all things to everyone. As a result, all suffer.
In Windowsland a lot can go wrong, but the taxes are low, and there is quite a bit of freedom.
The Linux Nation
The Linux Nation is more a confederation of tribes than a unified country.
The Linux Nation is located in a rural region where individuals with the skills, and will to succeed can create a nice life for themselves.
There are a number of different Linux tribes. The various tribes have evolved, grown, combined, and dissolved over the years. Generally, the ever-changing tribes improve with each iteration.
There are thriving communities within the Linux Nation where individuals can go for support and comradery. Those who can make it in this Randian confederation of self-reliance frequently have a sense of self-importance that might be a little too overdeveloped.
It takes a lot of knowledge and work to survive the isolation from the outside world, but that is the price of abundant freedom and very low-cost.
I’m not a big fan of Apple’s Gestapo approach to silence and security; they’re psychotic.
However, Microsoft is horribly loose-lipped. They can’t launch a single product without at least a year of hype and buildup (usually more).
Take this quote from a Microsoft VP John Mangelaars:
“[Apple is] doing well on the PC side but Windows 7 is a blockbuster. We got it really right. For me, Windows 8 will be mind-blowing.”
Windows 7 is a good operating system, but its sales and reputation have greatly benefited from diminished expectations. Tons of users avoided Vista because it sucked, and those that did upgrade were typically disappointed. Windows 7 was a glass of water in the middle of a desert.
Expectations are going to be much higher for the next operating system.
Windows 8 might be amazing, but why start the hype so early? If it really is superb, the word will spread quickly without Microsoft execs running their mouths.