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#131901 - 09/11/04 06:53 PM Apple Computers
Dave55 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 666
Loc: Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA
I've always had a PC, but was curious when someone said they'd never had security problems with their Apple. Please repond if you have used PCs AND recent Apples.

Dave

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#131902 - 09/14/04 07:46 PM Re: Apple Computers
kryck51 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 2
Loc: peoria, IL
It has been my experience that apples are not more secure, software or hardware wise, its just that these people who write viruses, trojans, etc. do not write them in apple code. This may be due to the fact that apple users are a more "elite" group, while most rookies(i.e., most vulnerable to malicious programs) are IBMers. Also, many of the "script kiddie" programs that make it EXTREMELY easy to write viruses are not mac-compatible.
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#131903 - 09/18/04 12:50 AM Re: Apple Computers
Gloria Offline
Member

Registered: 05/01/04
Posts: 395
Loc: Budapest, Hungary
Not even linux, no matter what pc U use.
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#131904 - 09/18/04 08:39 AM Re: Apple Computers
jooles Offline
Member

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 98
Loc: brussels, belgium
>apples are not more secure, software or hardware wise

Hmmm. I'd be interested to know why you say this. In my opinion there are several very good reasons why they ARE more secure -- for one thing, services on an Apple that expose a network port (or for that matter any other application that could be exploited by crafting a malicious data file) are only permitted to run in the context of a single, non-privileged user account. Therefore, even exploits that do manage successfully to take control of the execution path within any arbitrary image are still restricted in the resources they may access and hence limited in the amount of harm they can do.

Compare this with Windows/PCs where in general network services run in the context of the system Administrative account and therefore any expoit may quickly escalate to take full control of the entire operating system.

On Apples, application configurations are normally stored in simple, editable text files and these files may also be owned individually by the application users so that users of one set of application are not allowed to tamper with other applications. This is inherently safer than the Windows design with its monolithic registratry database (which I personally loathe for many other reasons).

The same thing applies to the general design of the OSes and it is a systemic failure in Windows that normally sees a single "bloatware" tool doing three or four jobs, whereas the Mac/Unix way normally provides a suite of simple tools each which does only one single job. The things to consider here are that (a) Needless complexity, introduced by lumping multi functions in one package, is an enemy of good security because it often hides what is going on and (b) If one service becomes compromised within such a "multipurpose" tool then there is a far better chance that the exploit may then affect the others. As a good example, consider the way that the IIS server in Windows includes mail, FTP and HTTP services, which have all been afflicted in the past by similar exploits.


When writing C code on Apples the compiler issues far more detailed and useful warnings about instructions in your program that may lead to security weaknesses (unchecked buffer sizes, dangling pointers and so on) than Microsoft's compilers do, so hopefully there will be fewer broken components that leave loopholes for hackers to exploit in the first place.

Finally because the Apple BSD unix OS code is freely available for all to inspect, rather like Linux, and because BSD unix is now a solid and mature piece of code, there is far less leeway for bugs to remain buried for years like timebombs, as has happened in certain proprietary OSes for the Intel architecture :-)

I am not saying that Apple is unique in having these advantages -- I program Apples, PCs, Solaris boxes and mainframes and they all have different strengths and weaknesses.

For the record, this Mac here has never had any trouble with viruses, despite being plugged into an "always-on" ADSL link this last three and a half years, while my PC laptop managed to get infected within about 20 minutes when I connected once before its firewall was configured.

Anyway, I'm going on a bit now... I just joined as there are a couple of other points on the PC section of the forum that I thought I might be able to help with. It's a great forum -- been reading it a couple of years now!

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#131905 - 09/18/04 01:43 PM Re: Apple Computers
Dave55 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 666
Loc: Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA
Thanks, guys.

You're way over my head,jooles. Since you seem to be saying that the Apple IS more secure, I guess the next question is...Is it worth the price. The middle to high end PCs are about $2,000 and in an Apple about $3,000. Also, how does the software compare?

Dave

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#131906 - 09/18/04 03:38 PM Re: Apple Computers
jooles Offline
Member

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 98
Loc: brussels, belgium
One general observation is that Apple Macs tend to have a longer useful working life than PCs. There are a lot of Macs where I work which are still running very usefully, even though they are six or seven years old, and despite running quite recent software. On the other hand, most of our PCs seem to show their age after about four years, because whenever there is a new release of Windows it seems that the minimum system requirements become greater and greater.

An important reason why not to go Apple would be if you require some special application that is not available on the Mac OSX platform. I do have a couple of my old PC applications that I run on the Mac in Virtual PC, and it works pretty well, but if you have to use VPC to support very many of them then it sort of defeats the whole point of using a Mac :-)

I have had a lot of success using Linux applications on my Macs, as well as the native Macintosh ones. Many linux apps are available at no cost, many "pre-ported" for the OSX environment to save you the effort.

My personal preference is definitely for Apple and Sun machines, despite their higher cost, but there again tastes differ :-) I expect there will be some PC people along in a minute to balance my arguments.

I live in Belgium, and I do not think the difference in the prices are so marked here. Indeed, for a "high-end" laptop, Apples are now actually cheaper than Dells, for a similar specification.

hope this helps.
j

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#131907 - 09/19/04 05:37 PM Re: Apple Computers
Dave55 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 666
Loc: Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA
Thanks a lot, Jooles, I really appreciate it.

Dave

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#131908 - 09/22/04 08:01 AM Re: Apple Computers
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
I'm writing this on an iMac. The first computer I used was an Mac, back in '86 and I have used Macs, PCs and various workstations. In my experience, Macs are just as much trouble as PCs, save for the viruses. (I don't think there are any viruses for OS X) Software support is more limited on the Mac than on the PC, but all you need exist if you are prepared to pay for it.

Both are a magnitude better than fifteen years ago and the differences between them are far smaller. Nevertheless, switching between Mac and PC on a daily basis turns you into a cynical computer hater. Small, but important differences, like different keyboard layouts, makes work a pain.

In my experience, Macs age just as fast, if not faster than PCs, but the price of a used Mac is higher than of a used PC. Macs aren't as expensive as they look at first and the design is nice. Or rather, a PC is always more expensive than it looks.

The most commonly used arguments pro and con, like "are more stable" or "easier to use" are in my experience nonsense. Both are about equally hard to use, with a slight edge for Mac if you aren't used to computers. OS X and Windows (NT and later) hardly ever crash, but the applications on both platforms do.

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#131909 - 09/26/04 10:23 AM Re: Apple Computers
jooles Offline
Member

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 98
Loc: brussels, belgium
Hi, C-H

The *first* computers I used were the Nascom I, a Pet 4032, and an ICL mainframe. (via coding forms and cards) In a working day, I now use AZERTY and QWERTZ and QWERTY keyboards for unix, PC, Mac and 3270 Mainframe apps, but then I *enjoy* computers :-) And yes, it's much nicer now than it was in old days for the user, but for the poor people whose jobs include writing/maintaining/testing/supporting the apps, it's rapidly getting harder to keep up standards of reliability and efficiency.

The apps I use the most seem stable, in any case. Apache, Perl, C and C++, Oracle and MySQL, QuarkXpress, PhotoShop, vi and the bash tools, and the like. The added ease of use on the Mac comes from these:

-- Adding and removing applications. The Mac has not got that disasterous registry waiting to mess you up. Single, standardised app. installation mechanism controlled by the OS, rather than per application.
-- Interoperating with hardware - it's generally 'plug in -- off it goes' on a Mac. No messing with drivers etc. for cameras, scanners, storage devices, DVD writers and so on.
-- Remote control - on the mac, one uses ssh, rcp and if one simply has to have a GUI then X11 and ARD. On PC, the first two don't work, the third is flaky, and the fourth gives ne nightmares.
-- Unattended ops. There is no reliable alternative to crontab and shell scripts on Windows.

These are, however, mainly unix benefits, and a PC running linux benefits just as well from them except the 'plug&play' one. Personally, my favourite platform is the IBM mainframe, but that's a different story :-)

Sorry to hear that you are having problems with your applications. Is it just 'random', or is there a pattern to the application failures?

rgds
j

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#131910 - 09/29/04 12:44 AM Re: Apple Computers
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
 Quote:

The *first* computers I used were the Nascom I, a Pet 4032, and an ICL mainframe. (via coding forms and cards) In a working day, I now use AZERTY and QWERTZ and QWERTY keyboards for unix, PC, Mac and 3270 Mainframe apps, but then I *enjoy* computers :-)


I'd be a nut case in a week... Good thing people are different.

 Quote:

The apps I use the most seem stable, in any case. Apache, Perl, C and C++, Oracle and MySQL, QuarkXpress, PhotoShop, vi and the bash tools, and the like.


E.g. Word is unstable on the Mac. On the PC, I found my CAD software to be unstable beyond belief.

 Quote:

-- Adding and removing applications. The Mac has not got that disasterous registry waiting to mess you up. Single, standardised app. installation mechanism controlled by the OS, rather than per application.


Granted. It couldn't be simpler. Just drop the application in the folder and it runs! PC users will find this hard to believe, but it is true.

 Quote:

-- Interoperating with hardware - it's generally 'plug in -- off it goes' on a Mac. No messing with drivers etc. for cameras, scanners, storage devices, DVD writers and so on.


Yes, but it is still easier to find hardware for a PC. You can't open a Mac. (Yes, you can but you can't do much with it.) The introduction of USB and FireWire has meant that Macs and PC have moved much closer.

 Quote:
Personally, my favourite platform is the IBM mainframe, but that's a different story :-)


I suspect hardware and application support is limited...

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