Nov 3, 2007

Attention: Cult of Mac

As some of you may know, I have been considering purchasing a lap top computer. Since asking for suggestions, I have come to realise that there is a new religion among us - the Cult of Mac. The purchase of a Mac seems to bring about a fervour in the buyer, so much so that they want everyone else to drink the Kool-Aid too and join them.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have a huge problem with MacBooks - I've never used one, hence asking for opinions - but I've been surprised by the crazy-eyed enthusiasm of its users. A complete random strange woman in Myer the other day interrupted me as I was messing with some MacBook buttons to give me a complete rundown on exactly how much money I would save in the long run by purchasing a Mac. While she did obviously have "geek cred" - I could tell by the giant Cyberman voice changing helmet in her shopping bag - I was still somewhat freaked out by the in-your-face love of the Mac interface.

Now one of the main bonuses of Mac appears to be its immunity to the viruses that so often infect PCs, causing Windows to crash faster than Britney Spears after a court appearance. So it is with a degree of smugness that I present the following story, that's just come through on AAP wires:

The first widespread virus targeting Apple's computers has been confirmed. The virus is hidden in software embedded on pornography websites.

It's the first time hackers have bothered to target Apple computers, reflecting their growing popularity.

Apple says a small number of websites attempt to trick Mac OS X users to install malicious software on their Macs, but they urge people to install software only from trusted sources.

Now sure, it's a virus that will only affect the sexually rampant, porno-addicted nympho Mac users who regularly surf in between Garage Band and iMovie editing sessions. But still, it's something. A small flaw in the almighty Death Star that is the MacBook. Although that's probably a mixed analogy, as I'm sure Mac users would see themselves more as the Rebel Alliance, fighting the evil Emperor Bill Gates and his Microsoft Dark Side.


  1. So, this "virus" is actually just a malicious program which you have to download and install deliberately?

    Rather akin to the flaw in the Death Star being that you have to get a job as the Grand Moff Tarkin and go and blow it up yourself, I would have thought...

    I have a Mac iBook. I don't use it, because the power cord's broken, but it's been broken for many months. When I get a chance, I'll try and replace the cord.

    It's a good machine -- it's much better designed than PCs, the interface is much better, and it's much more stable. I'd prefer to be working on a Mac, but I'm not. There you go.

    If I was looking to buy a new laptop, I'd buy a Mac.

    If I was looking to buy a Car, I'd prefer to buy a good car, not a shitty car, as well.

    PCs are shitty compared to Macs, but they all work.

    I suspect the fervour some folks feel about Macs is simply a result of the shock they feel when they realize just how shitty PCs really are.

    Anyway, here's an interesting article from Stephen Fry's blog which is worth reading.

  2. Why are there no viruses for Macs?

    Because not even hackers can be bothered writing software for it.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I don't mean to be rude Dr Jon, and it's very hard (almost impossible) to detect tonal shifts in writing, but what you've said only confirms my suspicions of the "Cult of Mac"! ;)

    I'm not trying to insult you, I just find it curious that people are so absolutely defensive of this product. Maybe, perhaps, I too would completely fall in love with one if I bought it. But only having fiddled with them in stores, they seem very alien. Of course, I may find Windows Vista the same if I buy that.

    I enjoyed Stephen Fry's post - but was he exulting the Mac in particular? I felt he was exulting technology that bewitched the user in both its function and its style; and saying he wouldn't be limited to just one type of piece of equipment. Perhaps I read it too quickly in my haste to reply to you.

    I've been looking at a Hewlett packard notebook that's definitely stylish. I don't know whether I'd manage Windows Vista, but then the Mac OS is also alien to me so either way it's a learning curve.

    Price is an issue for me, and the HP I'm looking at has better specs than the black and white MacBooks, and I am hopefully going to get a cheaper price thanks to work contacts (god bless sales people). I know it doesn't have the software of a MacBook, but with a potential saving of up to $1000, I feel it may be worth it.

    In regards to the virus - I did imply that it wasn't one that would widely affect people. It was more a tongue-in-cheek poke at all the people who've been basically saying that I would do myself a major disservice by NOT choosing a MacBook.

    I'm intrigued by the desire for consciousness-raising that seems be implicit with Mac ownership. Perhaps I need to rent a MacBook from someone for a weekend, and have a play.

    If I was as rich and as talented as Stephen Fry... I would also buy both. ;)

  5. *shrug*

    I find it hard to understand why you're using a story about a virus-which-isn't-a-virus-at-all to denigrate a well-engineered product.

    Buy what you can afford. As I think I said, they all work.

    If you could afford a high-range, well-engineered car over a shitty one, you'd buy the good car.

    If you can't, and you need a car, you buy the shitty car.

  6. Well, because I don't want to get into a huge fight, we will have to agree to disagree.

    I'm not trying to DENIGRATE MacBooks, despite the fact that you are doing just that to PCs (justifably perhaps, that's your right).

    I thought the notification of the first "virus" for a Mac was timely and amusing for me, because it comes as I consider buying a laptop, and as many MacBook proponents cite the lack of viruses as a major bonus.

    What I've been trying to get across is a certain amusement/annoyance with MacBook USERS, not a dislike of the products themselves.

  7. In response to DrJon

    But why would you pay more the for a car just because it comes from a certain brand when you can buy exactly the same car with a different badge for a whole load cheaper?

    Especially when that brand doesn't come with all the extras i need in my day to day life? (This is a clunky analogy to software).

    I don't have a preference to Mac or Pc when it comes to laptops but I am constantly surprised by the vehemence of Mac supporters.

    The only people who come close to it, imo, are the militant vegetarians and vegans.

    ymmv and huzzah for the free market system that lets you choose :)

  8. *sigh*

    As I tried to point out in my first comment (perhaps too subtly), calling the piece of malicious software in the story a "virus" is a misnomer at best, a falsehood at worst. Myself, I'd call it a "trojan". There is an enormous difference in these two types of malicious program.

    Perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps it is a virus. That makes one for the Mac. One virus.

    Wikipedia list well over one thousand individual PC viruses. Some virus scanners list exponentially more: mine has over forty thousand major definitions in its databank.

    We're talking ridiculous numbers here. Especially when, as I think you'll find, the "Mac virus" isn't actually a virus at all.

    But, as I continue to iterate: all computers do the job. Get the laptop you want to buy, which will do the job you want it to.

    Talking about the "Cult of Mac" is all very well, but I'm not really commenting on that. I can appreciate that you are, and that's cool too.

    (Oh Wah, Macs aren't just rebadged PCs. I'd expect much better from you.)

  9. Well I apologise for getting the terms wrong. I guess Dr Jon, you'll just have to chalk that one up to yet another example of the misleading media (of which I am a willing co-conspirator). ;)

    I am quite sure that both a MacBook and a PC would BOTH fulfil what I need them to do. Photos, a bit of music, documents, net surfing, relentless blogging and possibly a bit of video editing.

    My problem is exactly that I AM confused between the two types, but the decision to plump for a PC because it does have better specs at a cheaper cost is undermined by a fear that if I don't get a MacBook I will be inferior to everyone else and people will cluck sadly over my choice. That may be an extremely emotional argument, but that's how Mac users make me feel!

  10. "(Oh Wah, Macs aren't just rebadged PCs. I'd expect much better from you.)"

    I'm leaving that comment alone as I am sure you wouldn't be so condescending to someone you call a friend. Also to insinuate that the people reading your comments are intellectually inferior to you, unable to understand your 'subtle' mastery of english is downright insulting. I also expect much better from you.

    It is interesting you are allowed to call PC's 'shitty' but will not even hear an opposing view. You end your last comment by saying "get what you want" but you still defended the Mac not by boasting the Mac's features but by denigrating the competition (ie PC = shitty).

    You responses come from your 'emotional' attachment to Macs and not to any actual technological superiority you can name. This is shown quite clearly as you resorted to name calling (Shitty PCs)in your first comment. This came about, imo, as GirlClumsy raised your ire by writing a viewpoint concerning a Mac differing to yours. This ,i believe, highlights most excellently GirlClumsy's view on the "Cult of Mac".

    Both Macs and PCs are superior to each other in different ways. This has been said a few times.

    The emotional attachment to Apple products seems to be much greater than the attachment to non-apple based products even though the non-Apple based products out-strip the sales of the Apple products many times over in business and the home.

    Often, It seems, the chip on the shoulder of a Mac user is much more powerful than the one found in the computer itself.

  11. Get what you can afford.

    People who cluck over your choices can get stuffed, unless they'd like to fund your purchase...? ;-P

  12. Wah, you leave me in the invidious position of either taking the time to go over just about every statement you've just made and demonstrate why it's wrong, or just going away and leaving you alone.

    I think I'd rather go away and let you calm down.

  13. Hiya GC,

    Now that you have decided, this link is prolly redundant...

    Mac vs. PC cost analysis: How does it all add up?
    Everybody knows PCs are cheaper than Macs, right? Wrong! (At least sometimes.)

    The article is about 4+ months old, but has some interesting points to make. (I suspect from a stormtrooper of the Mac Army).

    Given the sort of thing I do (no video editing, word processing and the spreadsheet stuff, a bit of image manipulation, a PC is enough for me... I do confess, however, that I covert a Mac, but cannot find the extra dollars right now for one.


  14. Ohhhh and if you want a bit of a giggle at the expence of the uber-mac-users, take a squiz at this..

    Please place youre tongue firmly in side of cheek when watching!!!

  15. Hi GC. I just stumbled across your blog and thought I'd give you my two cents worth.
    I bought a Macbook a few months ago and absolutely HATE it. I understand nothing about it and am continuously frustrated with it to the point that I'm considering counting my losses, tossing it and buying a beautiful, shiny, red Dell.
    I come from using Ubuntu but also understand Windows. I'm heading straight back to Ubuntu. It leaves both Mac and Windows for dead.
    Hope you enjoy Vista. I've heard some scary stories about it.
    Everything you could ever want you can get with Ubuntu and it is all FREE! I never realised how much I liked it until I gave it up.

  16. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for dropping by! As you've probably read by now, I ended up plumping for a HP Pavillion. I adore it. I'm even finding Vista fairly simple and easy to use. Obviously I don't get really into the nitty-gritty of operating systems (which is why many people were recommending a Mac), but for now it's serving me very well.

    I have heard a few things about this Ubuntu but never tried it. Maybe one day when I get more tech-savvy...

    In the meantime, I hope you stick around for more Clumsy fun!

  17. Hi Girl clumsy,

    being in the IT industry i feel for what you are going to use the laptop for you have made the right choice although I dont really agree with buying an HP but your choice...All this talk about why people should buy a mac over a PC is silly its a personal opinion. I personally think Macs are not worth the money.

    I have a windows based laptop and I run Linux Fedora on it + Windows XP but when im on the net and not doing web design stuff or stuff for clients I am using Fedora why? because of Virus's so you can go down that track as well by having a version of linux put on your laptop instead of horrid vista if you do want to change.