PCs are Trouble Free

Legal copy.

The Borg Goes Offensive

According to Roger Kay there is quite the sum of money involved in owning a piece of Apple gear. The report titled “What Price Cool?” can be downloaded here. Oh. And since Microsoft “sponsored” the study, I can save you some time reading the report. The fair and objective result paid for by Microsoft is that Apple products cost more money!

The report is filled with brilliant insights like this one warning individuals and companies not to consider migrating to Apple:

With Macs, you”™re out top dollar, but can’t get a package with all this cutting edge stuff now, nor can you add it later, which means you’ll always be behind. How cool is that? Mac users may be paying more for image than substance and investing heavily in coolness that”™s cooling off.

Uh huh.

I agree with Macalope:

Microsoft has boxed itself into a corner of expensive, nonsensical and uncompelling upgrade paths and is behaving like a spoiled child because its customers have started realizing they don”™t have to use Windows. They know it and Roger Kay knows it. If they spent half the time they spend filling out fake tax forms and paying actresses to buy their products actually making a good user experience, they might be able to speak about value with an iota of credibility. But probably not.

A reasoned analysis would show that there is a premium to a Mac over a cheap PC from Best Buy although nowhere near the amounts proposed in Kay’s study. As with most things in life, quality products can command a premium.

Just for the record, I am posting this from the most dominant operating system in use today. You know. Windows XP. The really cutting edge stuff that Microsoft delivered almost ten years ago. With a PC, I know that I will never be behind because it takes so long for Windows to catch up.

Mac and PC

I used Migration Assistant to move all of my applications and data from my old Mac to the new Mac. And, as expected, everything just works. The new Mac has everything from the old Mac. It took about ten hours to move all the data — roughly 300 Gigabytes — from the old machine.

Then the big test. Running Vista on the new Mac. I downloaded VMWare Fusion for the Mac. I originally intended to use Parallels except that Fusion was getting a lot of great reviews. I can see why. The easy install brought Vista up and running within 30 minutes. I have never installed a Windows operating system from scratch in such a short period of time.

I put up Vista Ultimate and I can either use it in full screen mode where it looks and acts just like a Wintel machine or I can keep it in a window just like any other Mac app.

I can finally ditch the second box in my office. I can run the few apps I still use from my PC on the Mac. The best of both worlds.

So cool. Below is a screen shot of Vista on my Mac desktop.

The Real Decision

I had a number of readers poke me about yesterday’s post on the real decision that is at play. After all, getting a new Mac is hardly worth a long-winded perspective on decision-making frameworks. And I did get the new 3.06Ghz iMac last night. Beautiful machine. Stunning industrial design.

The real decision was obviously more significant than getting a new Mac. The real decision was whether I would run Windows on the new Mac.

In my office I currently run two PCs: a Vista machine that I use for managing my personal finances and a Mac that I use for everything else. The Mac is a great platform with two gaping holes from a software perspective: gaming and personal finance. Quicken and Money on the PC are simply head and shoulders above any Canadianized personal financial management software available on the Mac.

This new Mac is my first Intel-based machine. I can run Parallels and have Windows co-exist on the Mac with little, if any, performance degradation from my current setup. And with one less box, display, keyboard and mouse in the office.

I’m just not sure how to de-activate my current Vista license so that I can install it on the Mac. I guess I will find out. And the ability to have both platforms simultaneously available is quite appealing.

My decision has been made. I will run Windows on the Mac.

There is also another big decision that I made. More on that one next week.

Apache, MySQL, PHP and WordPress

I’ll be doing some work with WordPress on another musician’s website. WordPress is an open source content management system. The blog you are reading is powered by WordPress.

Typically, a WordPress blog is driven by a LAMP server: Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. Because I run a Mac, I can host a WordPress environment on my local machine. I can use a Mac as if it were a LAMP server.

Apache is enabled by simply turning on Web Sharing under the Sharing option of System Preferences. Or, if you are a diehard Unix geek, you can bring up the Terminal app and enter:

sudo apachectl start

Make sure you have your root password handy.

PHP is installed in Mac OS X by default, but not enabled. To enable it, the Apache 2 configuration file, which is located at /etc/apache2/httpd.conf, has to be edited. There is a line which loads the PHP 5 module, which looks like this:

#LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/

Remove the comment symbol, #, and save the file. And restart Apache.

sudo apachectl restart

I had to download MySQL and install it myself. Not the most user friendly database install. And, even though I had the database up and running, my local install of WordPress would not connect to the database. It turns out that I had to edit a line in the wp-config.php file to replace localhost with a default IP address:


After a few hours of Unix hacking, I had a full WordPress development machine on my Mac. Just like using a LAMP server on my ISP. For whatever reason, it felt good to still be able to hack around Unix, Apache, MySQL, PHP and WordPress.

I am a hopeless geek.