Confessions of a Mac owner
“Psssst, hey buddy, want to buy a Mac?”
Sometimes I feel different from other people. I ride a motorcycle, a Honda Goldwing, 900 pounds of pure love. I am a former Special Forces medic and communicator, sometimes nicknamed a Green Beret (although no professional will call himself that, in my humble opinion). I am a retired military intelligence officer who ‘always chased the sound of gunfire’, meaning I was always scheming to get to wars rather than away from them. I own a Mac.
There, I said it. Loud and proud, for the whole world to read and give me a label that just says “different”. My signature block on one website contains a saying: “If I wanted to become cattle and go with the herd, I’d take a boat cruise, join a bus tour group or ride a Harley”. What this really means is that I don’t do things just because everyone else is doing something, I do something or buy something or use something because I want to.
I owned numerous PCs, every two or three years since the late 1980s I’d cough up the big bucks, plop it down on the table and walk away with something newer, better, faster, more capable. That is an expensive hobby and at that rate I was only renting the computers. I started out with a humungous 20 MB hard drive, I don’t think I could survive without at least 2 terabytes of storage now.
In the 1990s one of my best friends, Dr. Richard Forno, told me that he owned a Mac. Rick is one of the smartest guys I know and his opinion carried a lot of weight with me. Rick is also an expert in computer security, he combines genius with a sparkling personality (he begged me to change what I had written originally, this is probably even worse *grin*). According to his own website: “Dr. Richard Forno is the Program Director for the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Graduate Cybersecurity Program and also a Visiting Scientist at the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.” I mean, how seriously cool is that? We became friends in the mid-1990s and I just recall him going ‘tsk, tsk, tsk’ every time I plopped down the big bucks on a PC, all this while wearing a smile.
Sometime around 2005 a computer that I had built had a traumatic meltdown. I hobbled together a workaround which got me at least up and running but I needed a serious computer for serious work. I was sick and tired of built-in obsolescence complete with a three year expiration date. I didn’t have to pick up the phone and tell Rick, only to have him grin and say ‘you could’ve bought a Mac!’ Instead I went to an Apple store in Pentagon City and bought a MacBook Pro and I told Rick. Rick was happy for me and gave me a lot of helpful hints. I was up and running.
Now I’ve been a Mac owner for six years and I can quite honestly say I’m never going back. I’ve only had one minor problem in the six years I’ve had this Mac and that was solved quickly. Oh sure, I’m always stretching the limits of this computer by running about six programs in the background, and occasionally my system locks up for a few seconds while I shut a few programs off. But I never get the blue screen of death anymore. I don’t have to hit <Ctrl-Alt-Delete> just to do simple things. Because it works. It just works and works and works and works. My Mac is on from the moment I’m awake, usually around 4 am and then works perfectly until I hit the sack about 10 PM. Occasionally I work through the night and it still works.
Today it occurred to me that many, if not most, of the computer security professionals I know own Macs. Is it because Macs just work? Perhaps. Is it because they’re more secure than PCs. No (hat tip to Bob Gourley, another Mac User and another incredible genius). Is it because they’re more susceptible to Mac advertisements? Seriously, no. Duh.
According to Wikipedia, Macs “are mainly targeted at the home, education, and creative professional markets.” I would like to edit the Wikipedia page and add something about computer security professionals. What do you think?