Archive Opinion The Orion

Buis’ Bits: Feeling secure

August 1, 2005

Last week’s column seemed to generate a lot of angry e-mails (read: zero), so I felt the need to clear up a point I made about computers.

I wrote about how furious I was to see people buying cheap laptops at Wal-Mart and it needs to be stated that I love (read: hate) Wal-Mart.  I also want to make it clear that I love (see previous) Windows PCs.

But today I have a confession to make that may stun (read: not surprise at all) you, the reader.

I am a Mac user.  I have been my entire life, ever since the Performa 575 that I’m sure is still collecting dust in the back room (read: may have been scrapped for parts).

The magic of the Mac that everyone seems to use right off the bat: No successful attacks on the OSX operating system. Compare that to the amazingly secure Windows OSs (read: over 1 billion hackers served) and this is definitely a great first computer purchase.

I also host a weekly radio show at a low-power community radio station (read: good luck listening to it offline).  The Mac is great for this.  All it takes is one click and iTunes opens and then it’s time to surf through 10,000 songs and find what fits the moment.  Afterward I can convert it down to a podcast and stick it on in the same night.

But I can already see someone sneering as they squint through their Coke-bottle glasses and in their parents’ basement while trying to take care of the latest worm that’s flopping around on their hard drive

“Macs are for babies.  PCs and Linux are hardcore.”

I tend to prefer a working computer to an expensive paperweight, but let’s humor that idea for a moment.

Does it really make sense to make something more complicated just for the sake of bragging rights?

I use Adobe Photoshop to edit my photos.  Anyone who’s even looked at the program can tell you it’s not finger painting (read: serious business).  It’s a very complicated program that’s designed to open up possibilities to the professional designer and photographer.

Now tell me, why would you go and add to your frustrations an uncooperative operating system?

That’s like a brain surgeon walking into his tenth operation and saying, “Nurse, I’m bored.  Get me my blindfold.”  That’s like Roger Clemens standing on the pitching slab and saying, “I feel like going lefty today.”  That’s like Einstein staring down a complex equation and saying, “I’m going to cut my hair.”

Wait, that was Samson I was thinking of.

The important point though is it makes no sense to make things harder for no better reason than, “Hey, Wal-Mart has a $100 computer.  I bet it’s better than that $1,000 one.  Lower price means more power, right?”

Of course, when you’re dealing with viruses, Trojans (read: the non-prophylactic ones), spyware, adware and all the other wares to be aware of, one thing is overlooked in the computer buying process.


When you’re buying something online, your credit card is right there for the taking by a keystroke recorder Paris Hilton put on your hard drive.  Your social security number is ready to be taken by that Wal-Mart gift card you were offered.

Who am I kidding?  This is a college paper.  Those things don’t matter.  How about this?

Your porn collection and every site you visited can be splattered on the internet with that picture of you wasted on myspace next to it.

“But I have Norton Anti-Virus (read: any protection software, really), so I’m safe,” you say.

And hackers don’t have access to these same programs?  If you believe that, then it’s time to count the number of times you were dropped on your head as a child (read: I’m up to 20-ish, thanks in part to my brothers).

There’s no Trojan (read: metaphorical prophylactic) to save your computer from what’s on the Internet on a PC.  And no, putting a Trojan (read: real profal-screw it–condom) over your computer will not help (read: but I’d be impressed).

With people profiting off of suckers, do you want to leave your life hanging out there for someone to snatch and call their own?