MacOS X: The not-ready-for-prime-time operating system
March 25, 2001
By JIM BROOKS
news on the computer software front in recent months is the official
release of Apple Computer's new operating system for the Macintosh,
being what it is, the new software's name deserved explanation.
is, of course, shorthand for "Macintosh." "OS"
is computer parlance for "operating system," and the
"X" is not the letter "x", but the Roman numeral "10."
MacOS X has
been in development for what seems like years; it goes back to the
Gil Amelio days of Apple, before Steve Jobs returned to lead the company.
But the new
operating system is actually closer to beta software than a certified
"gold" release. Even Apple admits there are some bugs
unresolved in MacOS X.
isn't hiding the problems. The company want to get the software in
the hands of the Mac-faithful techies out there who will put the
software through its paces, wringing it out and putting it to the
test. Jobs has promised to respond to fix what needs to be fixed in
user probably won't be upgrading to MacOS X soon -- mainly because
there's little software available now that makes use of its capabilities.
MacOS X is
compatible with software that runs on older Mac operating systems,
but reviewers say the compatibility mode is pretty pokey compared to
using the latest Mac OS 9.1.
Mac Office for
MacOS X won't be released until fall at the earliest, according to a
report on CNet News. Other Mac-important applications, like Adobe
Photoshop, and Illustrator have no official release date for MacOS
X-specific versions yet.
probably OK with Apple. In the coming months, the "early
adopters" who put MacOS X through the wringer will help us all
when the killer applications are released and everyone suddenly wants
a stable, blisteringly fast MacOS X operating system to run them on.
meantime, the regular Apple faithful should probably wait until later
in the year to consider upgrading to MacOS X. I'm sure in the coming
months, there'll be a slew of new applications (and new versions of
old applications) that will be released to use the operating system's capabilities.
information on MacOS X, including a tour of its new features, visit
www.apple.com and click on the button for MacOS X.
HOAX AS A VIRUS.
When is a virus that's a hoax as bad as a real virus?
accomplishes the same thing a virus can.
Some of the
latest viruses that have plagued computer users do little more than e-mail
themselves to other people in the user's e-mail address book.
While it is
certainly annoying, and in some cases, can virtually shut down e-mail
servers in large corporations hit with the bug, there's often little
physical damage done to the hardware.
frequently achieve results similar to that of the real virus. This
happens when users who receive and read warnings from friends or
co-workers about hoax viruses forward the warnings to every person
they can think to send the it to.
problem users frequently face when receiving a virus warning from
someone is determining if it is real or a hoax. Passing it on -- even
if it is a hoax -- is seen by most users as harmless for the most
part (other than consuming resources as a bit of useless e-mail).
warnings usually have a couple of telltale characteristics.
often quote some authority or organization that issued the warning or
approved it as OK.
warning frequently has enough high-tech terminology to make it sound legitimate.
alleged virus usually inflicts some extraordinarily severe damage if
a user's computer is infected.
characteristic is usually universal -- nearly all hoaxes will request
the user to forward or send the warning to everyone you can.
forwarding an e-mail virus warning, visit one of the Web sites
created by anti-virus software companies. These frequently can help
identify hoax virus messages.
(www.symantec.com) and F-Secure's Security Information Center
(www.f-secure.com) are both great anti-virus sites that also will
help you smoke out a virus hoax.
the Urban Legends Archive Web site at www.urbanlegends.com is an
up-to-date source for virus hoaxes. The Urban Legend Reference Pages,
www.snopes2.com, are also handy for spotting hoaxes e-mails.
HOAXES. It didn't take long for the Russian Mir space station to
show up after its fiery descent into the Pacific Ocean.
the space station broke apart and re-entered the Earth's atmosphere,
"souvenir" pieces of the space station began to show up on
the ever-popular eBay auction Web site.
removed several auctions in the hours after the Mir's descent,
according to published reports, but a search for "Mir" on
eBay's site turned up a couple of listings for space station debris
-- though the ones I saw were obviously tongue-in-cheek.
The first was
a bolt a fellow said he found in his driveway in Dayton, Ohio.
"It wasn't there when I parked the car yesterday, so it must've
come from Mir," he posted in his auction. "I don't know how
else it got here."
My later check
showed eBay had deleted that auction, though several other legitimate
Mir-related auctions were listed.
Samples of the
insulation used aboard Mir were bringing in some bids, as were
medallions that actually flew aboard Mir for a time.
Mir-related item listed for auction on eBay that has outlived its
useful life is the domain name "mirparts.com."
What parts of
Mir that didn't burn up during re-entry are at the bottom of the
Pacific Ocean. I would guess the value of this Web site address went
down in flames when the space station did.
To check on
other Mir-related auctions, visit www.ebay.com and search for "Mir."