Cybernaut 

Apple OSX gets high marks

I’m so proud.

Last month I purchased a new Apple eMac with a few extra modifications – some extra RAM here, a SuperDrive there so I can burn DVDs, a larger hard drive. It was my biggest single purchase since I bought I bike last year, and I sweated every penny of the cost.

I did a lot of research before I made my decision, shopping online at Dell, HP, Futureshop, IBM, AMD, Sony, eMachines, and more to find the best possible system for the best possible price.

At last I decided on Apple, and I’ll tell you why.

The first is that it’s compact and self-contained into a single box, and that’s a plus when you’ve just moved into a smaller place and want to keep it roomy enough to swing a cat.

The second is compatibility – we use Macs at the Pique, and I like having the ability to move files back and forth without worrying about what might happen in the conversion.

The third reason is price. Although Apple systems used to be a lot more expensive than PCs with comparable components, the difference really isn’t all that huge anymore. Apples also come with a lot more software than in the past, which sweetened the deal considerably. All in all it wasn’t the cheapest computer I could have bought, but it made the most sense.

The fourth reason is the operating system, Mac OSX. I like the interface, the simple design, the awesome Safari Web browser and Mail service that come with it, and the fact that it’s Unix-based. As a result, it’s hard to crash, more secure, and more difficult to sabotage with worms and viruses.

I’m not saying that hackers couldn’t hack, hijack or destroy my system if they really wanted to, it’s just that Apple still represents less than five per cent of the home PC market and has been ignored by the people looking to do some real damage.

There have been two security alerts in the last three months for OSX, neither of which resulted in any problems. In the same timeframe PC users have weathered literally hundreds of viruses and several security flaws. According to Sophos, there were 959 new viruses on the Internet in May alone, the most in a single month since December of 2001.

So it would appear that I made the right decision. Sort of.

The Salk Institute of San Diego gave Apple and OSX overall high marks when it comes to security, but – and this is a big but – they said the company needs to move faster on security issues when they are discovered. Furthermore, the institute found that Apple’s communication is lacking when it comes to informing the public about security issues and holding discussions with the people who discovered the flaws in the first place. In some cases Apple has downplayed serious security concerns.

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