Do Macs get viruses?

About 25% of our business involves IT–server administration, help desk stuff, malware removal, etc.  I field dozens of computer questions every week. One that I’m getting a lot lately is, “I’m thinking about getting a Mac. What do you think about them?” That is almost always followed by, “I’ve heard that you don’t need to worry about viruses on a Mac. Are they really that much safer?”

In an article called, “Why Malware for Macs is on its way,” Ed Bott makes the same arguments I’ve been making for years: Macs are less likely to become infected not due to superior technology, but because of economic reasons. If you are going to produce a virus or some other form of malware, you want to impact the maximum possible number of machines. Since Windows  has way more market share, Windows is a much larger target.

Quoted in the article:

But most security experts agree that malicious software these days is driven by financial incentives, and it’s far more profitable to target the dominant platform. […] At some point, assuming Apple continues to make appealing products, we Mac users will become bigger targets and face a higher level of risk.

More malware is likely on the way for Apple, but for now at least, your risk of infection with a Mac is pretty low. Then again, the premium you pay for Mac hardware could pay for quite a few copies of Norton Anitvirus.


Dealing with an onslaught of e-mail: ZEB

I’ve been experimenting with various productivity systems over the past 6-12 months. Recently Ashley found a book called The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play, which was a very worthwhile read, maybe even rising to the level of “inspiring.”

Dealing with e-mail: ZEB

Like many people that work in the “information economy,” I deal with a ton of e-mail–hundreds of messages every day, and sometimes it seems like I spend all day staring at an overflowing inbox. About a year ago I encountered a blog talking about “ZEB,” an acronym for “Zero E-Mail Bounce.” (It’s a “bounce” because as soon as you achieve it another 10 or 15 e-mails arrive, so it never stays there for long.) (more…)

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New life for this site

As some of you (the faithful few who keep checking…) may have noticed, we haven’t posted much on for quite a while. We have been investing our energies in other pursuits, but you can expect to see more here in the near future. We’ll keep using this space to communicate news that would be of interest only to our family and friends, but basically it will serve as an aggregator for other blogs. At the moment, Ashley’s blog (Shameless Academic) is the most active, and so you’ll see a lot of posts coming from her in the near future. She’s also working on some creative stuff over at Scattered Fancies, so you might have a look there, too.
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Final Exam Suggestions

In my last post I reported on the outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough) and how it has caused the administration to shorten the semester.

They're trying to be flexible and accommodate the students as much as possible.

I suggested that since the students will be unable to fully prepare for the exams, and since the exam periods have been shortened from 70 minutes to 60 minutes, they should consider shortening the exams to one or two key questions that summarize the semester. I even provided some examples to help them get started (see below).

What do you think — will they take my suggestions and use them?


Describe the history of the papacy from its origins to the present day, concentrating especially, but not exclusively, on its social, political, economic, religious, and philosophical impact on Europe, Asia, America, and Africa. Be brief, concise, and specific.
You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze, and a bottle of rubbing alcohol. Remove your appendix. Do not suture until your work has been inspected. You have 15 minutes.
Twenty-five hundred riot-crazed aborigines are storming the classroom. Calm them. You may use any ancient language except Latin or Greek.
Create life. Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture as compared to life as we now know it, with special attention to its probable effect on the English parliamentary system. Prove your thesis.
Write a piano concerto. Orchestrate and perform it with flute and drum. You will find a piano under your seat.
Based on your degree of knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability, degree of adjustment, and repressed frustrations of each of the following: Alexander of Aphrodisias, Rameses II, Gregory of Nicea, Hammurabi. Support your evaluations with quotations from each man's work, making appropriate references. It is not necessary to translate.
Estimate the sociological problems which might accompany the end of the world. Construct an experiment to test your theory.
Define management. Define technology. How do they relate? Why? Create a generalized algorithm to optimize all managerial decisions. Assuming an 1130 CPU supporting 50 terminals, with each terminal to run your algorithm, design the communications interface and all necessary control programs.
The disassembled parts of a high-powered rifle have been placed in a box on your desk. You will also find an instruction manual, printed in Swahili. In ten minutes a hungry Bengal tiger will be admitted to the room. Take whatever action you feel is appropriate. Be prepared to justify your decision.
Develop a realistic plan for refinancing the national debt. Trace the possible effects of your plan in the following areas: Cubism, the Donatist controversy, the wave theory of light. Outline a method for preventing these effects. Criticize this method from all possible points of view. Point out the deficiencies in your point of view, as demonstrated in your answer to the last question.
There is a red telephone on the desk beside you. Start World War III. Report at length on its socio-political effects, if any.
Take a position for or against truth. Prove the validity of your position.
Explain the nature of matter. Include in your answer an evaluation of the impact of the development of mathematics on science.
Sketch the development of human thought; estimate its significance. Compare with the development of any other kind of thought.
Describe in detail. Be objective and specific.
Define universe; give three examples.
[Disclaimer: These aren't original with me. I received them as a forward from an unknown author, and I only edited them and applied them to the situation at BJU. If someone can attribute them, please let me know!]


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