November 21, 2006
links for 2006-11-21
Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon.
InfoWorld quotes Gartner consultant on mounting data center/power usage/heat dissipation issues.
David Caruso and The Sunglasses of Justice.
Only in the comments at Scott "Dilbert" Adams' weblog could I learn there might be "fundamentalist atheists"
Speaking of atheism, Americans are apparently 1 percent more likely to vote for an unnamed atheist than an unnamed Muslim. Next target: Mormons!
More on Mac malware
Here's a more detailed (and therefore, more convincing) version of the “security through irrelevancy” argument than the Larry Seltzer story, from an OS X security shop.
(Via reader "hi".)
November 20, 2006
Why no Mac viruses?
John Gruber goes off on the latest Windows-centric pundit to declare that the only reason Macs are essentially virus-free is that nobody's interested in them.
Seltzer's summary graph:
Opinion: The verdict is in: OS X is as insecure as anything out there, but somehow nobody—including attackers—cares.
Gruber focuses on the inconsistency that the Mac supports a healthy software market, likely one proportionate in size to the Mac market compared to the Windows market, but the Mac malware market is “nearly zero.”
Gruber misplays his case, however, when he says “Mac OS X’s malware market share hovers near zero (as did the classic Mac OS’s a decade ago).” Both Gruber and Seltzer seem to believe that the Mac has just never supported a virus-producing community. This is dead wrong.
The Mac environment wasn't always virus-free.
Once upon a time, I ran a few public-access labs at my university. These labs suffered several virus outbreaks, most notably catching WDEF before it was discovered in 1989. We also would occasionally see MDEF, nVIR, and Scores. The Mac's market share then was a little higher -- a little under 10 percent, versus 5 or 6 percent today -- but it was still a minority platform, with the great majority of computers running DOS or Windows.
And yet, there were 10 or 20 viruses running loose in the classic Mac OS ecosystem (compared to hundreds for DOS/Windows), and there are none running loose in the OS X ecosystem (compared to hundreds for Windows). Since the hardware was at one point exactly the same for either ecosystem, the difference must be in either the software or the user base.
But the OS X user base is decidedly more capable of creating a virus than the classic Mac OS ecosystem. Plenty of “alphageek” nerd users have made the switch, attracted by Apple's elegant hardware, (figuratively and occasionally literally) transparent interface, and Unix-y base. The only thing about the user base that discourages malware production is that most people who know enough to build a Mac virus can make a nice living as a programmer or administrator, so why foul the nest? Still, the number of users capable of generating theoretical Mac malware must be at least 5 times as large as it was before the release of OS X.
So if it's not the user base, it must be the software. The Unix security model is more secure than the pre-Vista Windows model, and must take the lion's share of the credit for the lack of OS X viruses. There may eventually be Mac OS X viruses, but to claim the reason there are none is that the platform is irrelevant is more than a little bizarre.
November 13, 2006
Mtn View Goodwill
I love the cutout moon hanging over the sunset, and the glow from the Goodwill store's shop window. I also love that Flickr calls the location "the Sahara Village Mobile Home Park neighborhood of Mountain View."
November 07, 2006
links for 2006-11-07
Story on Rob Curley, who has built a company focused on doing local news websites right. Lots of interaction and a "hyperlocal" focus.
November 04, 2006
Finally, a candidate we all can get behind
Tired of all the political ads this season? Here's one candidate who tells it like it is:
November 01, 2006
links for 2006-11-01
MyDreamApp is done, and I'm excited by one of the candidates more than the others: Portal. It aims to be a seamless app for sharing data between Macs. I've tried a number of solutions to keep data (especially iTunes playlists) synch'ed between the machines, but none of them has really delivered.
Djay is an application that gives you twin turntables in software, so you can play DJ and send the results over Bonjour.
Excellent barbecue in south Miami. Happened upon it on a work visit on Monday, and liked it a lot.