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Home Computing

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I know that Gene also has the Tech Night Owl site, but I figured an all-round home computing thread here might be more convenient for those who like to hang here. For my first post, I'd like to report that after trying the free Windows 10 upgrade on my desktop PC, I decided to go back to Windows 7.

I'm sure WinX is probably a good choice for touch screen systems ( mostly tablets and portables ), but for everyday desktop computing with a keyboard and mouse, I just didn't like it as much as Win7, mainly because some of my old programs stopped working, the Start Menu isn't as user friendly as it used to be, and I don't find most of the GUI icons as aesthetically pleasing.

To restore Windows 7 I had created a backup image prior to upgrading, so going back was really easy. I didn't notice any appreciable difference in boot time between the two systems, and Win7's hybrid sleep function is pretty much the same idea as the WinX hibernate option. I also didn't find the Edge browser to be particularly attractive. It seems that the newer the Windows version, the fewer options and choices users have to customize their applications.
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member

MYSTERIOUS MALWARE ‘SILVER SPARROW’ INFECTS TENS-OF-THOUSANDS OF MACS​

"Once infected, a Mac will check every hour with a command server for any additional content to download and execute. After watching the malware for over a week, cybersecurity analysts say they have yet to observe any payload delivery, leaving them stumped as to Silver Sparrow’s ultimate goal."​

 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
30,000 compared to over 100 million Mac users. These things happen every few years. Now compare that to Windows. Nuff said.
Ya, but once again, so much for the myth that Mac's can't get infected. The only reason that went on for so long is because nobody used them for anything important enough for virus makers to be bothered :p .
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
30,000 compared to over 100 million Mac users. These things happen every few years. Now compare that to Windows. Nuff said.
Did a scan of all my macs and thankfully came up clean. Apparently it doesn't have a payload and appears to be a bit of a proof-of-concept, but you never know.

The biggest thing I do at home that seems to help is that I'm the only admin on every machine. Everyone else uses non-admin accounts.
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
The new M1 Macs are mind-blowing. For something like $850 CDN you can get into an M1 Mac Mini that blows the doors off of almost anything else. If you're in the market for a non-laptop, it's what I would recommend. If you want a laptop, the M1 MacBook Air is exceptional, unless you want to wait for the next-gen Pro.

 
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Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
Ya, but once again, so much for the myth that Mac's can't get infected.
There is no such myth except on the part of Windows people spreading those myths. There have been Mac viruses all along, but a far lower percentage of Mac users encounter the problem than Windows users.
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
There is no such myth except on the part of Windows people spreading those myths. There have been Mac viruses all along, but a far lower percentage of Mac users encounter the problem than Windows users.
Two of the biggest reasons for this is that there are less macs in use than windows machines, and the Unix-style multi-user architecture MacOS is built on. Windows architecture up to 10 broadly is a single-user architecture where the user is assumed to be admin. They added a bunch of stuff up through 7 to make it seem like it wasn't the case, but it really kinda still was.

Essentially you can identify right down through the filesystem and user processes which user is running what, including the kernel as it's own special kind of user, which allows for things like sandboxing and constrained access to objects.

Windows 10 is pretty good there though.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
There is no such myth except on the part of Windows people spreading those myths. There have been Mac viruses all along, but a far lower percentage of Mac users encounter the problem than Windows users.
My experience was completely different. I used to work in a retail outlet here in Calgary where I sold hundreds of both over the years, and in every single case, when a Windows user was considering switching systems, it was always some friend of theirs who owned a Mac who told them to get a Mac because they don't get viruses. Then I would show them the antivirus software for the Mac :p .

 
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Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
No argument that some Mac users are under the false belief that there are no viruses for the platform.

I first encountered a Mac virus on a system I bought in 1989. I installed an app that I bought from a software store — big mistake! Had to reload everything to get rid of it. That was in the pre-Mac OS X days.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
No argument that some Mac users are under the false belief that there are no viruses for the platform.

I first encountered a Mac virus on a system I bought in 1989. I installed an app that I bought from a software store — big mistake! Had to reload everything to get rid of it. That was in the pre-Mac OS X days.
So you were bit by the old crapware "virus" masquerading as "protection for your machine". Certainly been there with Windows too! Nowadays their built-in security has been adequate enough for me. It's free, self-updates, and doesn't drag my system down or annoy me with unwanted pop-ups.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Isn't crapware just another word for antivirus apps?
Not all of them. The one that comes with Windows works fine and is no annoyance at all. I don't know about the rest because I don't use them anymore. But when I did, there were a couple that did a very good job for free without excessive drag or annoyances.
 

henris42

Skilled Investigator
Home computing.. sounds like all this 8-bit stuff I had - Spectravideo, MSX etc. Those could also run CP/M!

But yes M$'s own antivirus is nowadays all you need. I think this mess is just getting worse. Consider that with this new fancy Apple ARM-based M1 CPU, all Intel-based Macs are now nearing their best-before date in say 3 years. That means you will have to upgrade eventually, if you are an Apple user. Otoh, M$ is messing around with Qualcomm and its own stuff, and I'm not impressed on that either.

All this just makes me to hate computing. =)
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
Apple's "fancy" M1 is incredibly fast in its first iteration. All of the ARM-based models are entry-level, yet have performance levels that match the high-end gear. Apple's iPhones and iPads already match high-end notebooks in their performance levels. Now imagine how the successors to the M1, say M1X or M2, fare with 12-16 cores and more.

Intel is in trouble.

I am trying out a low-cost server for these sites with an AMD Ryzen installed rather than a Xeon, and it halved the measured rendering time for our WordPress blogs.

You may notice that message posting in these forums is noticeably snappier too. And this without any special server setups. Just the normal stuff with some higher memory settings for PHP 8.
 

henris42

Skilled Investigator
Gene, I 100% agree that the M1, as well as what AMD is doing is really really good in the end for the industry. M1 is really nice piece of engineering, hopefully if raises up the bar in the chipscape! Hopefully Intel (and AMD) will up its ante and make better chips! ARM architecture is really good, as we use it in our phones etc.

..there is always the but, which means that there are suffereres here... there will be a Apple price bomb in used gear...

But maybe AMD will come up with something that is compatible and power saving.. ;)
 

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