On Apple

A few loosely-formed notes related to Apple’s latest announcements:
  • The Retina Macbook Pro is lovely. I’m not planning on purchasing it, though. If I were going to get it, I’d spring for expensive upgrades (16 GB of RAM, largest hard drive), as I’ve read that there is apparently no way to upgrade this machine. I also have a more existential concern: if were to buy a Retina laptop, would I still be able to tolerate my crappy external monitor? 
  • The $20 upgrade fee to install Mountain Lion on all your Macs is a good deal. 
  • I’m lamenting the unmistakable signs that the desktop hierarchical file system is going the way of the floppy drive. App libraries are in, in which each app houses its own files and data, iOS style.  I suspect that, within the next iteration or two of OS X, the file system will join Console, Terminal, and Activity Monitor in the utility bin. And as with most Mac utilities, it probably won’t be used by many. Still, as long as access to the file system remains, I’ll be OK. 
  • Here’s one thing that worries me about app libraries. A lot of people organize files on the Mac by topic, not by app. For example, I have documents (created with many different apps) that are related to my house that I’ve tagged and filed away in one place. How will a walled-in app library solution allow me to organize documents across apps? Maybe a tagging solution will be offered. And what of plain text files, which may be opened and manipulated by scores of iOS and desktop apps? That’s the beauty of the flexibility of Dropbox text file storage. It’s so very flexible.
  • Speaking of files, I love my PathFinder. And EagleFiler. And Launchbar. With every OS X release, my insecurity grows about the future of these and many other desktop apps. Imagine how the developers feel.
  • Every time I see more iOS features come to the desktop, I can’t help but think, ‘Winter is coming!’
  • Apple demos of new OS features are consistently drool-worthy and slick, but they need to help us users more in terms of follow-through. My point is that Apple could do a much better job in documenting how to use their apps and operating systems. Updates come fast and furious, but new features and usage scenarios are poorly documented.
  • I’m surprised that Apple has yet to offer a better password solution for logging in to web-based accounts across devices. Stated another way, I’m surprised that Apple hasn’t yet Sherlocked 1Password. Couldn’t you see Apple offering a password solution that syncs across your Mac(s) and devices via iCloud, but only works with Safari to encourage browser lock-in. Speaking of, does anyone know of a site that lists all third party apps that have been Sherlocked over the years?
  • Passbook looks promising. I hope it expands to include supermarkets, chain stores, and gas station membership bar codes. It’s the 21st century. Why do I still need a Petco plastic dongle on my car keychain?
  • What of Dragon Dictate? Curious that I received a newsletter from Nuance for the first time in a long while on the day of the WWDC keynote offering a special discount to buy Dictate for Father’s Day. And I received another similar email today. So I’m wondering if the new OS X dictation feature will obviate the need for Dragon Dictate … or if this product will differentiate itself by offering a more robust voice-recognition package for Mac. I should note that I’m a happy Dragon Dictate user.
  • Facebook integration thoughts: blah. I’m not a fan.
  • Siri’s new ability to open an app by name isn’t enough. What if I don’t remember the name of the app? This is a good step forward, but we need more and better ways to navigate our hundreds of iOS apps. By keyword, for example. Wouldn’t it be nice to ask Siri to serve up all weather-related or board game apps?
  • The Mac Pro update was weak. Did you see that the Mac Pro had a little ‘new’ tag on it in the Apple Store on the day of the keynote? The next day, that notation disappeared … no doubt because of the deluge of feedback from outraged power users who were expecting a real update. That won’t come, apparently, until next year.
  • iTunes remains a bloated mess. 
  • When on Earth is the iWorks desktop suite going to be refreshed?
  • iOS, iTunes, iLife, iEverything. Am I the only one who is sick of the ‘i’ thing?  

The Leopard Upgrade

leopard.jpg

I upgraded to Leopard. While I had planned to wait a while longer, I barely made it the first update (10.5.1). The buzz in the mac user community about the upgrade was positive enough to give me the confidence that it would be safe. And it was. The upgrade was very smooth, and I have to say that I am more pleased with Leopard than I expected to be. I used the ‘Archive and Install’ method, which has never failed for me. This method ensures that any problems I might have in my previous OS installation are not carried forth into the new installation. Archive and Install simply means that the new operating system is installed after the previous OS system files are erased. The old OS system files are archived in folder labeled ‘Previous System’ on your mac (so they’re not really erased). If you choose Archive and Install you will want to choose “Preserve Users and Network Settings” so that your existing user accounts and network settings are also copied over. I plan to keep my ‘Previous System’ folder for another few weeks before deleting it, just a precaution. Then I’ll delete it. Oh, and before you upgrade, don’t forget to BACKUP YOUR DATA!

A few tips to help you with the upgrade:

 

  • Use Archive and Install – I guess ‘archive and install’ is the preferred method for Apple, too … check out this Apple Support thread
  • Uninstall or upgrade APE before you upgrade (if you have it installed). I do. My Logitech MX Revolution mouse uses APE (Application Enhancer), as does my installation of Audio Hijack Pro. You can find it at Your Computer Name/Library/Preference Panes/Application Enhancer.prefPane. I deleted APE, installed Leopard, then reinstalled the latest version.
  • Tidbits offers a good overview of all known issues. If you don’t subscribe to Tidbits, I highly recommend this weekly mac newsletter.
  • If you haven’t upgraded to Leopard yet, MacFixIt has a great article to help you avoid problems that you should read first.

If you’re like me and enjoy reading about operating systems in painstaking detail, I recommend the review posted over on ArsTechnica. A lighter review is available at MacWorld. Most of the complaints in the mac community about Leopard seem to be focused on the 3D dock (e.g. it’s eye candy, it’s hard to see, it’s horrible), the new Firewall (there are no user settings anymore as there were on Tiger, it’s dumbed down too much, it is turned off by default after the Leopard installation), Stacks (many people just don’t think the fan and grid views are very user-friendly), and the menu bar (like the 3D dock, it is partly transparent so you can see the desktop picture through it – again, not very good from a accessibility standpoint – if you have poor eyesight, it can be hard to see what you’re looking for). These issues are well documented, so I won’t rehash them here. I expect that many of these annoyances will be fixed in future Apple updates. Fortunately, the mac user community are a talented bunch and many tricks and fixes are already out there to patch up many of things that may annoy you in Leopard. I’ll leave you with a few links for some of the more fun ones I’ve seen so far:

 

Modify your Leopard

 

 

Software Updates

The last topic I want to talk about concerns Apple software updates. If you use ‘Software Update’ (from the Apple menu, choose ‘Software Update’) to upgrade from 10.5 to 10.5.1, you should know that the update you are receiving is a patch. If you are experiencing quirky problems after this maintenance update, try downloading the full update installer and run it again. The full update is a much larger file. Instead of patching files, it completely replaces them with updated versions. I’ve found that this is generally the best way to install Apple OS updates. It’s not as convenient as the built-in Software Update, but it may help prevent problems down the road. Full versions of updates are available on the Apple downloads site.

iPad Effect on Small Mac Developers?

Interesting commentary from the developer of Scrivener, one of my all-time favorite apps. What does the iPad mean for small indie developers?

The resulting implication is this: either you build an iPhone/iPad
version of your application, or you miss out on all the users that
wanted a netbook and so bought the iPad—because the iPad is Apple’s
answer to the netbook.

I’m not saying it’s a bad direction, but I do wonder where that will
leave those of us still tied to traditional platforms such as OS X in
five years time.

Killer Dropbox Services Add-on

Dropbox to ferry files around using the public folder, don’t miss this time-saving Services add-on.

Once installed, right-click on any file on your Mac, select the ‘Services’ menu, then choose either ‘Move’ or ‘Copy to Dropbox.’ That’s it. Your file is moved (or copied), and the public link to the file is copied to your clipboard, ready to send.

Many more useful services are available at Mac OSX Automation.

10.5.8 Airport Airport Bug Fixed

If you attempted the temporary fix to get your wireless working correctly on your MacBook after the recent Mac OS 10.5.8 update, check out this MacFixIt post before you try to install the patch issued by Apple earlier today.

I reinstalled the 10.5.8 Combo Update, then applied the Airport patch, and all is now working well.

Temp Fix for 10.5.8 AirPort Bug

If you are one of the many people experiencing AirPort connectivity problems after upgrading to 10.5.8, here’s a solution that worked for me, found on the Apple Discussions forums from user SpacePirate.

This solution allows you to revert to the 10.5.7 AirPort kernel extension (kext file) without reverting the entire OS back to 10.5.7. It appears that Apple is aware of the problem, so hopefully we’ll see an update soon that fixes this bug.

It’s worth emphasizing that you should not do this unless you are comfortable modifying system files. Ensure you have a good backup. Proceed at your own risk.

– Download the 10.5.7 Combo Update.

– Download and install Pacifist, a handy tool that allows you to extract specific files from an Apple package (i.e. the Combo Update is a .pkg file).

[Pacifist is $20 shareware. You can use it in trial mode to accomplish this task, but if you think it’s something you might use from time to time, consider buying it. It’s helpful for repairing damaged files without reinstalling the entire OS, verifying installations, and finding missing or altered files.]

– Turn off your AirPort.

– Delete /System/Library/Extensions/AppleAirport.kext.

– Delete /System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext.

– Extract /System/Library/Extensions/AppleAirport.kext from the 10.5.7 package using Pacifist and copy this file to the /System/Library/Extensions/ folder on your Mac.

[Open the 10.5.7 package with Pacifist, find the AppleAirport.kext file in the /System/Library/Extensions/ directory of the package, and extract this file to your /System/Library/Extensions/ folder on your Mac, or copy the file to the desktop, then drag it to the /System/Library/Extensions/ folder on your Mac. Don’t try taking these files from a Time Machine backup unless you know how to properly set permissions for the copied files. If you use Pacifist, the app will set the correct permissions for you.]

– Extract /System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext from the 10.5.7 package with Pacifist using the method described in the previous step.

– Delete the /System/Library/Caches/com.apple.kernelcaches/ folder.

– Delete /System/Library/Extensions.mkext.

– Empty your trash. Reboot.

– Turn the AirPort back on.

Mac Security

Just came across an interesting article on MacWorld. Here’s an excerpt:

Two well-known Mac hackers are updating a widely used hacking toolkit, making it easier to take control of a Macintosh computer…Although there are still many more exploits available for Windows software than for Macs, the new payload code means there is now “more or less the same functionality if you want to target a Mac box or a Windows box.”

No need to get too worried here, but it’s a good reminder that we are not immune from the problems that plague Windows users. And, as this article suggests, it may be only a matter of time before we face similar problems.

There’s a lot of brouhaha over the necessity of installing Mac antivirus software. I didn’t run AV software on the Mac for a long, long time, but now I do. Why? It doesn’t cost me anything. It only slows down system performance a tiny bit. And it makes me feel better. Here’s a full rundown of the steps I take to ensure a basic level of security:

I’ve used ClamXav (free) in the past and just started using iAntiVirus (free for noncommercial use) in the hopes that it’s a bit speedier. It’s not a bad idea to run an AV package, if only to prevent transmission of viruses to colleagues on Windows.

I think a good password vault is essential. The excellent 1Password is my choice. It generates complex passwords, ‘remembers’ them, and protects against phishing and keylogging.

I also use LittleSnitch to control and monitor outbound network traffic. I use this in the interest of privacy, but it will alert me if any unknown malware on my machine tries to phone home.

Next, I’ve set up my Linksys router with a kick-ass password and have set it to only accept connections from known MAC addresses that I’ve manually added (household Macs, my iPhone, my wife’s iPod Touch).

Finally, I use Apple’s built-in Firewall protection. It’s a good idea to make sure it’s turned on (go to System Preferences > Security > Firewall. Choose ‘Set access for specific services and applications.’ Also, I have both boxes checked in the ‘Advanced…’ preferences to enable logging and stealth mode). I also use NoobProof. Taken together, this establishes application and network firewall protection. See this article for more background on that.

If anyone has an alternative or better set-up, please share.

As an aside, if you use FinalCut Studio and keep getting an annoying prompt to allow incoming net traffic from ‘qmasterd‘ every time you boot (even though you’ve already added it to the ‘allowed’ list), try adding /Applications/Utilities/Batch Monitor.app/Contents/MacOS/Batch Monitor to your list of applications that allow incoming connections. To do this, command+shift+g to paste in the file location.

On Dvorak and the future of the keyboard

1. Dvorak-Qwerty redux

I decided to test out Tweetdeck, a new Twitter application in Beta developed on the Adobe Air platform. I like it. But when I attempted to hide the app with the shortcut ?-H … it didn’t work. Then it hit me. It’s an Adobe app. Of course it doesn’t work. That’s because I type using a keyboard layout called Dvorak.

It’s a common enough layout that it’s included as an international keyboard option for both the Mac and PC. The Mac also has a unique keyboard layout called ‘Dvorak-Qwerty,’ which I use. This allows one to type using the Dvorak layout, but use Qwerty key combos. It’s a thoughtful tip of the hat to Dvorak users who know and rely on standard Qwerty keyboard shortcuts.

Most of the applications on my Mac respect this convention and work very well with the D-Q layout. The glaring exceptions are Microsoft Office and Adobe products. I’ve given up on Microsoft ever fixing this problem, seeing as the OS still doesn’t include a D-Q option (and likely never will). But Adobe? Come on. I can’t imagine that fixing this little glitch would take much time. Correct me if I’m wrong, Adobe.

I’ve written about this on Adobe forums, I’ve sent in suggestions, I’ve posted on this topic here and on other blogs. Nothing has changed. While I’m sure that there are not many Dvorak typists using Adobe creative suites who rely on Qwerty key combos, I’m surely not the only one! And, hey, we’re paying customers. And those suites are expensive.

Someday, I hope that Adobe will fix this relatively simple thing. Adobe: take heed that Smile on my Mac fixed this same problem with TextExpander with one simple update. I wrote to them about the problem. And it was fixed with their next update a few weeks later. Now that’s service.

2. This Dvorak post rocks

So, I got an email a while back from Francis Siefken from the Netherlands, a fellow Dvorak user. He put forward a convincing case that switching the U and the I on the Dvorak keyboard would lead to even greater efficiencies. I love this kind of analysis.

Check out his post even if you don’t use Dvorak, if only to appreciate the time and thought he clearly put into this. It seems that his blog may have went into hiatus after this one post (something that I can certainly appreciate!), but it’s worth the read nonetheless. As is how he named his son, which also appears on this page. I hope we’ll see more posts on his blog someday soon.

My view: why not switch the U and I keys? The point is that the keyboard—our primary interface to the digital realm—must continue to evolve. Dvorak, while imperfect, is arguably an evolutionary leap forward from Qwerty. But why stop there? I say let’s continue to perfect the layout of keys to meet our needs.

Note that Siefken emphasizes that the primary benefit of Dvorak isn’t necessarily speed. It’s comfort. If you’re someone who types a lot (as in all day, every day) it may be worth your time to learn Dvorak if you’re not already heavily invested in Qwerty. Let the keyboard evolve, and let repetitive stress be damned!

The careful reader might now ask why I don’t use Dvorak keyboard shortcuts, preferring instead to keep using Qwerty shortcuts. The answer? The most-used shortcut keys are largely grouped down by the ? key, so it’s easier and faster. D-Q is a great combo.

3. On the evolution of the keyboard

And speaking of the evolution of keyboards, check out the Optimus Maximus. It’s expensive as hell, but wow. It’s the future of keyboards.

And what’s Apple doing on this front? Perhaps making an Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) keyboard of their own. Will it be cheaper than the Optimus Maximus? Probably. Will Art.Lebedev Studios, creator of the Optimus and other wonderful and expensive design goodies, sue Apple? This might be a story we hear more about next year.

Quantity vs. Quality? The old Mac/PC debate

Mac or PC?I’ve convinced many people to buy a Mac over the years, but there’s one person I cannot convert. My mother refuses to go Mac. To put this in proper context, you should know that she is not a computer novice. She has no problem fixing driver problems or troubleshooting a PC. She runs several web sites. You should also know that she is not hostile to the idea of using a Mac.

So, she’s computer-saavy and open minded about trying the Mac OS. So why doesn’t she buy one?

I have to admit that I was disappointed when she recently purchased an HP Pavilion DV740US laptop for $1149. This model came with a 1.67GHz Centrino Core Duo processor, 3GB DDR2 RAM, Windows Vista Premium, a DVD±RW/CD-RW drive with Blu-Ray read support, a 5-in-1 digital media reader, a 320GB hard drive, a TV tuner and a 17-inch screen. It has a built-in camera and wireless capability. In short, it’s designed to be an full-featured entertainment center. It weights in at 7.7 pounds.

She did take a look at the Mac options, but only considered the MacBook Pro — the 17-inch screen was a minimum requirement. But at a starting price of $1,999, the MacBook Pro was just too expensive. It also didn’t have as many features. For her, the HP model was the obvious choice. The primary user of this machine, my father, is happy with it. What’s he doing with it? Primarily surfing the web and checking emails. While he might not use a lot of the power and features of the HP, he gets a zippy machine with a big keyboard and large screen. And when he’s not using it, my mother has access to a powerful second computer in the house (her primary is a Gateway desktop).

I’ve tried to convince her to buy a Mac for years. My main points on why I feel the Mac is the best choice will be familiar to most readers of this site:

You may pay more upfront for a Mac but it’ll generally last longer. I think that most low-cost PCs are designed to be disposable, and they are generally made with cheap components. My second generation iBook G3, though, is seven years old and still going strong. Macs are generally well-crafted machines. Also note that Windows may be much more expensive than the Mac OS in the long run.

I also believe that the Mac user experience is superior thanks to the OS and the aesthetics of the hardware design (and apparently just thinking about Apple makes one more creative, which is kind of scary).

Next, I say that the extra bells and whistles of entertainment machines like the HP DV740US don’t add up to much. I think the Mac excels at honing in on the essentials that people need while steadfastly avoiding feature bloat. This is just my personal choice, but I’m wary of everything-and-the-kitchen sink PCs. In my experience, the base capabilities may appear to be great, but in reality they just don’t work that well. And they generally don’t work well together. We Mac users like to say that our machines ‘just work.’ Well, that’s because Macs just work.

Security is generally considered to be much stronger on the Mac. The main counter-argument I hear on this point is ‘Sure, but just wait until the Mac gets more popular.’ Actually, I think that’s a valid point. We shouldn’t take our relative security for granted. The Mac OS is fairly secure, but it’s far from perfect. It is, however, vastly more secure than a machine on Windows. I don’t see this changing anytime soon.

I also think that Mac software (both Apple and third-party software) is vastly superior in terms of quality, user experience, and OS integration to what you can get on a PC. This is subjective, I know. But it’s true!

Finally, the Mac is the only platform today that can (legally) run the Mac OS along with Windows and most other operating systems. And Macs Run Windows Vista Better Than PCs according to just-released Popular Mechanics test.

In the end, my arguments lost out. Here were the main points behind her HP decision:

1. She would love to try out the Mac OS, but she is quite content with Vista
2. The 17-inch screen is a must — and the Mac only offers costly options in this category
3. The HP offers many more features for much less money

I have to say that I understand the decision to go with HP, but I think the cost benefit of the cheaper HP will decline over time. I think you get what you pay for. However, I have nothing but anecdotal evidence to back this up. Perhaps the HP will stand the test of time just as well as a Mac, or perhaps it doesn’t matter because it’s cheap enough to be replaced without much concern in two or three years.

Despite the fact that I still haven’t persuaded her to switch, she remains very interested in the Mac OS. She noted that she would like the option to install the Mac OS on a Windows machine so she could test it out. She’s not the only one. This happens to be a current hot topic in the Mac community. For more on this, see the April 17 Macworld article, Frankenmac! What’s in a Mac clone?.

Personally, I would love to have the option to legally install Mac OS X on a PC. In fact, I would be tempted to build my own PC tower if I could run Mac OS X on it. Will Apple ever license the Mac OS to run on non-Apple computers? I doubt it, but then again I never thought I’d see Apple switch to Intel. While I’m interested in installing Mac OS X on non-Apple machines, I fear what this might do to the the OS over time. Apple’s decision to lock the Mac OS to Apple computers no doubt helps to maintain control, security and compatibility.

Of course, Apple could also add more products to their line to compete with low and mid-range PC desktops and laptops. While this would surely increase market share, would this be the beginning of the end of Apple’s distinctive quality? I think it might: these cheaper machines would logically need to integrate cheaper components to get the price down, right?

At any rate, Macs today cost a bit more. And they are not as fully-loaded as many PC offerings out on the market. For your money, you get higher-quality, well-integrated components. You get the only machine that (legally) runs the Mac OS. You get more security. You get better software. And, most importantly, you get the Mac user experience — it’s hard to explain this to PC users, but it’s an experience that is worth the price of admission.

Quantity vs Quality. The old Mac/PC debate

I’ve convinced many people to buy a Mac over the years, but there’s one person I cannot convert. My mother refuses to go Mac. To put this in proper context, you should know that she is not a computer novice. She has no problem fixing driver problems or troubleshooting a PC. She runs several web sites. You should also know that she is not hostile to the idea of using a Mac.

So, she’s computer-saavy and open minded about trying the Mac OS. So why doesn’t she buy one?

I have to admit that I was disappointed when she recently purchased an HP Pavilion DV740US laptop for $1149. This model came with a 1.67GHz Centrino Core Duo processor, 3GB DDR2 RAM, Windows Vista Premium, a DVD±RW/CD-RW drive with Blu-Ray read support, a 5-in-1 digital media reader, a 320GB hard drive, a TV tuner and a 17-inch screen. It has a built-in camera and wireless capability. In short, it’s designed to be an full-featured entertainment center. It weights in at 7.7 pounds.

She did take a look at the Mac options, but only considered the MacBook Pro — the 17-inch screen was a minimum requirement. But at a starting price of $1,999, the MacBook Pro was just too expensive. It also didn’t have as many features. For her, the HP model was the obvious choice. The primary user of this machine, my father, is happy with it. What’s he doing with it? Primarily surfing the web and checking emails. While he might not use a lot of the power and features of the HP, he gets a zippy machine with a big keyboard and large screen. And when he’s not using it, my mother has access to a powerful second computer in the house (her primary is a Gateway desktop).

I’ve tried to convince her to buy a Mac for years. My main points on why I feel the Mac is the best choice will be familiar to most readers of this site:

You may pay more upfront for a Mac but it’ll generally last longer. I think that most low-cost PCs are designed to be disposable, and they are generally made with cheap components. My second generation iBook G3, though, is seven years old and still going strong. Macs are generally well-crafted machines. Also note that Windows may be much more expensive than the Mac OS in the long run.

I also believe that the Mac user experience is superior thanks to the OS and the aesthetics of the hardware design (and apparently just thinking about Apple makes one more creative, which is kind of scary).

Next, I say that the extra bells and whistles of entertainment machines like the HP DV740US don’t add up to much. I think the Mac excels at honing in on the essentials that people need while steadfastly avoiding feature bloat. This is just my personal choice, but I’m wary of everything-and-the-kitchen sink PCs. In my experience, the base capabilities may appear to be great, but in reality they just don’t work that well. And they generally don’t work well together. We Mac users like to say that our machines ‘just work.’ Well, that’s because Macs just work.

Security is generally considered to be much stronger on the Mac. The main counter-argument I hear on this point is ‘Sure, but just wait until the Mac gets more popular.’ Actually, I think that’s a valid point. We shouldn’t take our relative security for granted. The Mac OS is fairly secure, but it’s far from perfect. It is, however, vastly more secure than a machine on Windows. I don’t see this changing anytime soon.

I also think that Mac software (both Apple and third-party software) is vastly superior in terms of quality, user experience, and OS integration to what you can get on a PC. This is subjective, I know. But it’s true!

Finally, the Mac is the only platform today that can (legally) run the Mac OS along with Windows and most other operating systems. And Macs Run Windows Vista Better Than PCs according to just-released Popular Mechanics test.

In the end, my arguments lost out. Here were the main points behind her HP decision:

1. She would love to try out the Mac OS, but she is quite content with Vista
2. The 17-inch screen is a must — and the Mac only offers costly options in this category
3. The HP offers many more features for much less money

I have to say that I understand the decision to go with HP, but I think the cost benefit of the cheaper HP will decline over time. I think you get what you pay for. However, I have nothing but anecdotal evidence to back this up. Perhaps the HP will stand the test of time just as well as a Mac, or perhaps it doesn’t matter because it’s cheap enough to be replaced without much concern in two or three years.

Despite the fact that I still haven’t persuaded her to switch, she remains very interested in the Mac OS. She noted that she would like the option to install the Mac OS on a Windows machine so she could test it out. She’s not the only one. This happens to be a current hot topic in the Mac community. For more on this, see the April 17 Macworld article, Frankenmac! What’s in a Mac clone?.

Personally, I would love to have the option to legally install Mac OS X on a PC. In fact, I would be tempted to build my own PC tower if I could run Mac OS X on it. Will Apple ever license the Mac OS to run on non-Apple computers? I doubt it, but then again I never thought I’d see Apple switch to Intel. While I’m interested in installing Mac OS X on non-Apple machines, I fear what this might do to the the OS over time. Apple’s decision to lock the Mac OS to Apple computers no doubt helps to maintain control, security and compatibility.

Of course, Apple could also add more products to their line to compete with low and mid-range PC desktops and laptops. While this would surely increase market share, would this be the beginning of the end of Apple’s distinctive quality? I think it might: these cheaper machines would logically need to integrate cheaper components to get the price down, right?

At any rate, Macs today cost a bit more. And they are not as fully-loaded as many PC offerings out on the market. For your money, you get higher-quality, well-integrated components. You get the only machine that (legally) runs the Mac OS. You get more security. You get better software. And, most importantly, you get the Mac user experience — it’s hard to explain this to PC users, but it’s an experience that is worth the price of admission.