Monthly Archives: December, 2001


Thoughts after reading a good article at The Register about the latest Windows security holes…

One of the great things about having switched most of my work to a Mac is that I don’t have to worry about these. I’m not naive enough to think, however, that this is purely due to technical superiority on the part of Mac OS X. How vulnerable, I wonder, would my Mac would turn out to be if Apple were the big monopoly? At the moment I’m fairly safe because (a) virus writers want to hit the largest population, and (b) they want to get at Microsoft.

Apple users are a small minority, and the same market realities which mean that we get fewer software packages ported to our platform also mean that we’re a less interesting target for hackers. People writing Apple viruses would also be attacking artists, writers, designers – the little guys. Microsoft viruses hit the big corporations, the banks – the people who are more amusing when they get egg on their faces.

But the other factor is that Apple has never inspired the same sort of hatred that so many reserve for Microsoft. Why? OK, Microsoft’s software often stinks, their business tactics are unethical, they provide appalling support and so on, but that’s probably true of most big companies. Is it simply because they’re so powerful? There are many people who dislike whichever government happens to be in power, just because it’s in power. Anyone with an anarchical streak will lash out against those with authority.

However, there are many Apple ‘users’ who might be more aptly described as ‘devotees’ or ‘disciples’. They really like Apple. This is a marked contrast to Microsoft. Most people I’ve met who ‘really like’ Microsoft also happen to be those whose livelihood somehow depends on promoting MS products. Perhaps Apple users are displaying the natural response of any minority: we chose somebody different, and our enthusiastic loyalty to our cause helps us feel that we made the right choice in the face of all the statistical evidence.

But perhaps (and here’s a cheery bit of Christmas optimism) they genuinely are a better, nicer company with better, nicer products?


Thought for the day. How many SMS messages have you sent recently? From a BBC article:

“Every month more than one billion text messages are now sent in the UK.

A survey of 1,000 people by mobile phone company Orange found 72% would be replacing traditional Christmas cards with a greeting via their mobile phone. ”

A billion a month!. Wow.


The origins of Hanlon’s Razor

Following on from his email explaining Hanlon’s Razor, Joe Biglen has been in touch again with the precise details.

The book I refer to is “Murphy’s Law book two: More reasons why things go
wrong!” by Arthur Bloch…

The exact quote from the book is “Never attribute to
malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” The razor appears on page 52 of the chapter entitled “Advanced Expertsmanship” The book was
printed in 1980, by Price/Stern/Sloan Publishers, Inc.

That sounds about the time Bob gave me the copy. I was still in the Air Force, but was home on leave from Japan. Hopefully, the copy he gave me will surface some day.

Thanks very much for asking about the quote. I had forgotten how hysterically funny this book is. Twenty-one years later, it is just as funny, if not more so.

Many thanks, Joe.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser