Two weeks ago AVG announced its LinkScanner software for the Mac platform designed to keep "Mac users safe from increasing intensity and sophistication of Web attacks." Perhaps the Mac faithful didn't take too kindly to the release, as AVG felt compelled to follow-up the announcement with some sobering statistics for Mac users.
"It’s a well known fact that most computer users believe that owning a Mac means that you are somewhat immune to the malicious threats that lurk within cyberspace," AVG starts out. "In fact, this belief has become so strong that many Mac owners do not have, or feel the need to have, antivirus software installed on their machines.
AVG goes on to say that the iServices B Trojan crippled an additional 5,000 machines, and pointed out that other outbreaks, like the Tored-A and Jahlav-C viruses, also cause their share of headaches in the Apple community.
"Flaws were also discovered in the Safari Web browser, iTunes, and PDF program," AVG continues. "Worse still is the fact that last month reports were issued around an unpatched vulnerability in the Safari 4.0 Web browser! So, it would appear that Macs are no longer as shielded as they once were."
Around this time last month, Valve officially opened up its Steam platform to the Mac community, and in doing so helped chip away at the argument that Macs suck for gaming. What they also did was reveal some interesting statistics about the machines their users are running.
As Steampowered forum member and Mac user "90rmbrown" points out, "facts are facts," and according to the latest Steam Hardware Survey, the average Steam gamer running an Apple computer has a beefier system than those running a Windows-based PC, at least in some areas. Mac users, for example, have more RAM (4GB vs 2GB) on average, while half of those running a Mac have an Internet connection of 2Mbps or higher, compared to 28 percent of PC users. Mac users are also more likely to have a dual-core processor running at 2.3GHz to 2.69GHz, or higher.
Before you whip out the pitchforks and light the torches, there are some things to note here. The sample size of Mac users is significantly smaller than that of PC users, so the hardware breakdown is dubious at best. And where it really counts for gaming -- in the graphics department -- PC gamers have more video RAM, and probably beefier videocards as well.
So what can we take from all this? As Sean Portnoy at ZDNet writes, PC gamers are still getting by with older hardware, while the early influx of Mac users with refreshed hardware could benefit from better graphics. Other than that, there isn't a whole lot to say -- we'll still take a PC over a Mac any day, especially when it comes to gaming.
What hardware are you running? Hit the jump and post your specs.
It was widely reported earlier this week that Google had decided to pull Windows from their internal machines over security concerns and instead roll with Apple's Mac OS and Linux. So how did Microsoft take it? Not very well, is the short answer.
"When it comes to security, even hackers admit we're doing a better job making our products more secure than anyone else," Microsoft wrote in a blog post. "And it's not just the hackers; third party influential and industry leaders like Cisco tell us regularly that our focus and investment continues to surpass others."
In the blog post, Microsoft openly acknowledged the reason why Google decided to drop Windows, calling the move ironic since just a few months ago Yale University "halted their to movie to Gmail (and their move to Google's Google Apps for Education pacakge) citing both security and privacy concerns." Microsoft also took a shot at Apple, referencing an article by InfoWorld that discusses how Macs are under attack by high-risk malware.
Apple may boast a greater market cap than its sworn enemy now, but not a lot has actually changed: Microsoft still is the top dog in the world computer market and the Mac seems comfortably entrenched in the perennial-runner-up-to-the-PC role.
Apple's vastly improved market capitalization and the investor confidence it reflects can be attributed to its dominance in the PMP and phone segments. What started out as a MP3 player has blossomed into a device and software ecosystem that currently spans three segments and knows no parallel.
Steve Jobs avowedly learnt a valuable lesson in 1997: “We have to let go of a few notions here. We have to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft needs to lose.” Those words appear to have acquired a prophetic aura.
Google Chrome 5 has finally graduated from beta and is now a stable release, Google announced in a blog post on Tuesday. The latest version of Chrome also happens to be the first stable release for Linux and Mac users.
"Today’s stable release also comes with a host of new features," Google said. "You’ll be able to synchronize not only bookmarks across multiple computers, but also browser preferences -- including themes, homepage and startup settings, web content settings, preferred languages, and even page zoom settings. Meanwhile, for avid extensions users, you can enable each extension to work in incognito mode through the extensions manager."
In addition, the Chrome 5 browser incorporates several HTML5 elements, including Geolcation APIs, App Cache, web sockets, and file drag-and-drop, Google said. To try some of these features out, you can navigate to HTML5 specific websites like scribd.com, or head over to your Gmail account and drag and drop attachments.
Not included in Chrome 5 is Adobe Flash integration, though Google says this will change with the full release of Flash Player 10.1.
Looking through some of the past reader comments, we're well aware that many of you would rather stick bamboo under your fingernails than read about anything related to Apple, but before you put yourself through all that, give this one a chance. You know those 'Get a Mac' commercials that get your blood boiling? Well, you'll never have to watch a new one again.
As Justin Long said was going to happen, Apple has officially canned the long-running ads featuring him and John Hodgman (as the PC guy) squaring off against one another in what seemed like a new skit every week at one point. Not only that, but it appears Apple even pulled the gallery of QuickTime ads from its website.
In its place (and here's where you'll want to stop reading) is a page explaining "Why You'll Love a Mac." If you're curious but just can't get yourself to click the link, Apple's reasons include "Better Hardware," "Better Software," "Better OS," "Better Support," and "It's Compatible."
The war between Macs and PCs (as in, Windows-based) is far from over, but the battle tactics might be shifting, at least on Apple's end. According to an interview with Justin Long, the actor who portrays a Mac in the "Get a Mac" ads, Apple might be ending the famed advertising campaign.
"You know, I think they might be done," Long told the Onion's A.V. Club. "In fact, I heard from John [Hodgman], I think they're going to move on -- I can't say definitively -- which is sad, because not only am I going to miss doing them, but also working with John. I've become very close with him, and he's one of my dearest, greatest friends. It was so much fun to go do that job, because there's not a lot to it for me. A lot of it is just keeping myself entertained between takes, and there's no one I'd rather do it with than John."
It should be noted that Apple hasn't made any official statement regarding an ad campaign that first started back in 2006, so it's entirely possible that more "Get a Mac" ads are in the pipeline. But if they are finished, the question is, will they be missed?
Should your IT department consider switching to Macs? Perhaps, if the only criteria is the cost of management. That's because according to a new survey by the Enterprise Desktop Alliance, IT admins feel that Macs have lower management costs than PCs.
The survey pinged 260 IT admins from large organizations with both Macs and PCs, and in some categories -- such as troubleshooting, user training, and help desk calls -- three times as many respondents said that Macs are easier on the wallet to manage.
"Administrators in organizations that have both Mac and PC platforms have the experience to determine whether managing Macs is less expensive," said T. Reid Lewis, CEO of Group Logic, and president of the Enterprise Desktop Alliance. "The members of the Enterprise Desktop Alliance provide products and services that make deployment and management of Macs easier to do."
Perhaps most surprising is that the respondents rated every category in the Macs' favor, including system configuration. You can read the full survey results here (PDF).
Are you buying the survey results? Hit the jump and sound off!
We don't often post Mac-centric news (being primarily a Windows PC-based site and all), but every once in awhile, we can't help ourselves. This happens to be one of those times.
Valve yesterday announced plans to bring Steam, its gaming service, and Source, Valve's gaming engine, to the Mac platform.
"As we transition from entertainment as a product to entertainment as a service, customers and developers need open, high-quality Internet clients," said Gabe Newell, President of Valve. "The Mac is a great platform for entertainment services."
Valve said its library of games, including Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and the Half-Life series, will all be available next month, though the company didn't specify an exact date. And these won't be run through emulation, but natively.
"We looked at a variety of methods to get our games onto the Mac and in the end decided to go with native versions rather than emulation," said John Cook, Director of Steam Development. "The inclusion of WebKit into Steam, and of OpenGL into Source gives us a lot of flexibility in how we move these technologies forward. We are treating the Mac as a tier-1 platform so all of our future games will release simultaneously on Windows, Mac, and the Xbox 360."
In addition, Cook said that Mac and Windows players will be part of the same multiplayer universe, so it will be entirely possible to settle the debate between PC vs Mac in head-to-head matchups.
A company from the Netherlands called Intactlab has created a multitouch table computer that might actually be usable. Whereas most of these contraptions have been shaped like big boxes, this unit Is actually shaped like a table you could pull a chair up to. While the UI looks eminently usable, the name is suspect. Intactlab is calling the product the Touchy Remix.
The fiberglass shell has a 40 inch projection display with a resolution of 1280x800. Multitouch is accomplished via IR sensors in the table. The underlying hardware is actually a Mac Mini. Intactlab has custom software running on OS X doing the multitouch. It appears that regular Mac apps will not be able to fully utilize this feature.
The Intactlab site doesn’t list a price, but instead asks you to submit contact information to receive a quote. That’s not a good sign.