Out of the Ditch

Hell froze over, and my boss decided to switch from Windows to Mac, got himself a shiny new PowerBook. After one week: “It’s like I’ve been stuck in a lousy marriage for 20 years and finally met a decent woman.”

He wishes to make clear that he is not, in fact, stuck in a lousy marriage (in case his wife should ever read this).

And now, after the umpteenth drive into the ditch with Windows-based hacks and system failures, and interminable battles with spyware and virii followed by lengthy and tedious reconstructions, our sysadmin has announced plans to ditch all Windows servers and workstations on the J-School campus and going all OS X — a massive purchase and conversion planned for this summer. Should be an interesting challenge, but enough is enough. We all have limits.

Music: The White Stripes :: Ashtray Head

16 Replies to “Out of the Ditch”

  1. After messing around for far too long last night with a problem on a Windows server at work, I’m envious :)

    Good move on their part. Even staid industry rags like Information Week have had columnists praising Apple almost weekly (both desktop/laptop and Xserve).

  2. Andrew, Ludovic. When complete, this will be about six servers and 30-40 workstations, including both machines in labs and on staff/faculty desks. Don’t get the wrong impression about the budget we work under. Contrary to how it may sound, we’re crunched in every other way, just like any school in the UC system, grappling constantly with budget reductions. If this goes through, the money will come from a single benefactor, earmarked for this singular purpose.

  3. If only. We’ve 110 PCs. We’ve only just entered another leasing agreement. *sigh*

    I do get to take the school’s only iMac home now though – totally unwanted here so it becomes mine.

    Lucky you Scot. Very very lucky.

  4. You’re right Kristan. Despite the PC woes we’ve had, I do consider myself very lucky. We’re about 50% Mac now and should be nearly 100% Mac by the end of next semester. Things should get a whole lot smoother. I don’t understand how so many businesses can afford to run on Windows, or to allow Outlook. I just don’t.

  5. This blog post got picked up at a Mac forum and one member posted this. What are you’re thoughts on what he says?

    “Most Windows machines that get owned are run by poor admins. (Here comes the flamewar) In a network enviroment systems should be locked down (same with Mac OS X, make users not be able to install programs, modify system settings, etc) with group policy and keep a current security template. Windows has its quirks but when I redid a computer lab at school with Windows 2000 I spent about a week exploring any potential security problems/bugs/glitches and properly took care of everything before the lab went live. And guess what, for the time I worked there everything ran great when I kept it updated… no major Windows horror stories. On a university computer the systems should be locked down so users cannont install anything (including spyware) and the fault isn’t Windows but the admins that don’t know to properly secure systems.”

  6. Vic,

    No doubt a good sysadmin makes all the difference. No sysadmin can sit back and relax, on any OS. It takes vigilance, it takes paying attention, etc. BUT: I can say that our admin does all of his Windows updates dutifully, runs AV software, and we still get sideswiped. The question is really this: Do you want to start with an OS with an almost unbelievably bad track record for security and then try to stay on top of it moment to moment, or do you want to give yourself the home court advantage and start with a far more secure foundation? No OS is invulnerable – OS X has its security updates and frequent updates as well. But when was the last time you heard of an OS X system being taken down? Just because it *can* happen doesn’t mean that it *does* happen.

    And that’s all server-side. On the desktop side, run all the firewalls and AV stuff you want, train people all you like – less-technical users are still going click attachments, accept spyware invitations, etc.

    Why choose the most vulnerable platform on purpose? It doesn’t make any sense.

    BTW, which forum was the thread picked up on?

  7. Knowing your boss, I am laughing my ass off.

    BTW, have to point out how thrilled your students are going to be when they spend two years learning macs at school then go out into the world where cheap-ass newspapers are unlikely to shell out the money for a newsroom of macs.

  8. > then go out into the world where cheap-ass newspapers are unlikely to shell out the money for a newsroom of macs.

    Ah, you know, cross-platform training / education issues are, I think, non-existent. It takes about 10 minutes to learn to use Windows after Mac, or vice versa. One can always go deeper and have tons to learn, but just to surf the web and write documents… the difference is close to nil. And if they go out and do media stuff for newspapers, they’ll almost definitely be using Macs :)

  9. From my experience in academia, “It takes about 10 minutes to learn to use Windows after Mac” is pretty generous. I am amazed often at the poor state of computer skills of many college kids. If I was dictator basic computing skills would be a requirement just like basic English (for faculty too!).

    I also can’t believe you can impose Macs on all faculty. I mean, I’d be glad since I prefer them, but in my experience faculty gets what they want. And it seems surprising they all either don’t care or don’t mind. Your IT guy is one lucky dude(ette?).

  10. ToddG – I can’t think of a single faculty member who prefers Windows over Mac, or who would lobby to keep a Windows machine. The other way around, yes, but the Windows users are just using what was given to them once upon a time, while most of the Mac users have Macs due to frustrations with Windows.

    Maybe we’re luckier than we realize!

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