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Waiting for the White Cat

I'm getting ready to get my wife off that horrible XP machine and on to a Mac. I wish I could say that she finally gave into my arguments, but it was "60 Minutes" show on viruses and hackers that finally convinced her.

The only application we run on that XP is QuickBooks. Thankfully, they have a Mac OS X version and when I visited the web site to see what features it might lack, I found that it lacks nothing I need and that it was being offered at half the usual price. I bought it instantly - when I checked back today, the half price offer was gone.. I guess that "Today Only" was real.

Exporting Windows data and importing it to the Mac version was quick and simple. We're not ready to actually use that yet, but I wanted to make sure it would work - it does, and nicely. Menus seem to be the same, the reports I need are all there and produce the same results.. this is a zero-issue switch.

But we do still need to buy the Mac. I decided on a Mac Mini because we are limited for desk space and I already have a nice monitor that I hardly ever use. I already have a spare Mac keyboard and mouse too - again, things I very seldom use, so that lets us cut the price to the bare machine plus a little extra memory that I can buy cheaply anywhere. I looked around for deals but really couldn't do a lot better than Apple's regular price at a store - the discounters all add shipping that eats up any price savings.

While searching for memory prices, I came across this Mac Mini RAM Upgrade Tutorial. Uggh.. that's not fun. I think I'll just buy it with the extra RAM from Apple.

I'd love to run over to the Apple store today and just do it. I have to see a customer near to it anyway, so I'd be saving a trip. But there's that darn Snow Leopard, rumored to be coming out "soon", but who knows when? I don't want to buy this thing with Leopard and then have to upgrade it two months later. If I knew that Snow Leopard was going to be a low priced upgrade as some think it should be (because it isn't adding a lot of "new"), I would, but if it is the more usual pricing, I don't want to waste the money - we've suffered this XP for many a year, we can stand it for a few more weeks or months.

Come on, Snow Leopard - I'm waiting!

So , here it is in March of 2011. She had some trouble adjusting to the Mac, and neither of us is happy with the Mac version of Quickbooks, but overall she is happy and so am I.

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© Anthony Lawrence

Fri Apr 3 15:39:20 2009: 5969   NickBarron

Waiting game now....

Could be around five months or so Tony so sit down and wait it out. Also why not have some fun and open it up yourself will save you a good chunk of money, possibly enough to warrant purchasing early and upgrading to SL later?

Fri Apr 3 17:44:16 2009: 5971   MarcFarnumRendino

The RAM upgrade is actually easier than it looks - go for it! :)

It does however help immensely to have a putty knife you can sharpen; ex: by grinder.

Fri Apr 3 18:25:13 2009: 5975   TonyLawrence

Seems like a lot of trouble to save a lousy $100.00 or less..

Fri Apr 3 18:30:07 2009: 5976   MarcFarnumRendino

It's the principle of the thing! :)

Aside from price (which, as you note, is not a huge deal here), I like knowing things like:

- Exactly what RAM was installed.
- That, if there's a problem, I can get an advance replacement - on just the RAM.

And I like to see the inside of the machine I'm using. :)

Fri Apr 3 18:34:42 2009: 5977   TonyLawrence

I generally agree, but that sounds very stressful - I like to avoid stress unless I'm getting well paid for it. I'll think about it though :-)

Fri Apr 3 21:33:47 2009: 5980   DopeyJoe

That 60-minutes episode was sensationalist to the extreme. Not one ... that is, zero ... of the 350 XP machines in my company had any trouble with conficker. Why? Because we keep the systems patched and updated with antivirus definitions.

But whatever. I'm sure you and your wife invest in Nigerian investment firms as well. You both sound extremely bright.

Sat Apr 4 00:08:24 2009: 5981   BrettLegree

I watched my wife grumbling at her Vista laptop the other day, and then said, "next time a Mac?"

We will see... maybe I should let her watch that 60 Minutes episode.

Sensational or otherwise :) if it works, why not!

About Conficker and properly patched machines and all that.

If I were a virus writer (and I'm not), you know what I would do?

I'd write a virus called Conficker.A and release it, then a bit later a B model, and then a C model.

Get the whole world talking about it, all paranoid - all over the news.

Make it do absolutely nothing, and so, everyone feels safe because nothing happened on April 1st.


A vulnerability I discovered two years ago remains undiscovered and unpatched. I've already infected every single Windows machine on the planet.

Everyone goes home on Friday night (tonight), feeling smug that they didn't get hit by Conficker. The IT guys who run Windows are smiling and cocky.

Monday morning comes along and... *boom*

I believe that this will happen, at some point - what will it do? Who knows.

Again, if I were a virus writer (and I'm not), I'd write something that would really tick off a lot of people. It wouldn't steal credit card numbers or anything. I'd make it search for and erase all JPEG and MP3 files on a computer.

Good thing I'm not a virus writer.

Sat Apr 4 00:35:59 2009: 5982   TonyLawrence

Not one ... that is, zero ... of the 350 XP machines in my company had any trouble with conficker. Why? Because we keep the systems patched and updated with antivirus definitions.

I have a customer about twice that size who does multi-level scanning - once at the firewall, once at the proxy and mail servers, and once at the desktop. All different scanners of course - the idea is that f one misses, maybe the next one will catch.

He still gets a nasty virus every 3 years or so.. and when he does, it of course costs a big pile of money to eradicate,

The point isn't "Conficker" or any luck you've had. Windows viruses are a constant threat, a constant annoyance, and a constant cost of doing business. That's reality, and nothing can change that.

Sat Apr 4 01:05:21 2009: 5983   TonyLawrence

And before you say something stupid, no, I have no involvement with the scanning or the eradication when necessary. I'm contracted for the Unix boxes - which have no such concerns.

Sat Apr 4 15:27:40 2009: 5986   sk43999

Why wait? By waiting you lose out on 2 months (or more) of benefit that comes from having the new machine. There always has been and always will be something new on the horizon. What is wrong with Leopard today that won't meet your needs?

Sat Apr 4 15:35:56 2009: 5987   TonyLawrence

Well, it's an extra $100.00. I don't mind that if it really is five months away, but I'd be ticked if it's 40 days from my date of purchase (Apple usually gives a 30 day grace).

The Dev conference is this week? Maybe we'll have a better idea after that.

Sat Apr 4 15:38:03 2009: 5988   TonyLawrence

This week next month :-)

Sat Apr 4 18:07:40 2009: 5989   NickBarron

WWDC09 is the 8th-12th June. I know as I'm coming from the UK for the pleasure.

Judging by the current roadmap we will not see Snow Leopard until a month or two after WWDC I would say. So August really, possibly at WWDC but I very much doubt it as developers need time with the New OS, not to mention iPhone 3.0.

So I would say you have at least 3 months likely 4-5.


Sat Apr 4 18:19:28 2009: 5990   TonyLawrence

Yeah, and that's what makes it hard. If it were definitely six months away, no question that buying it now is fine. Two to five pushes it into a different decision state.

Realize it's not just me: if I were replacing my machine, I'd just do it. As it's my wife's, she gets a lot of decision power on spending the money. We pool all our income together, so it's not a "mine and hers" thing, but she has a "vested interest" because it's her hardware. That's not supposed to make financial sense; it's a psychological and political thing.

There's another reason too: we are just about to pay out a bit over $8K in taxes - that puts stress on the cash flow for this month and part of the next. She doesn't want to put out another $700 or so right now and then turn around two months later with another $100 because we didn't wait..

Sun Apr 5 01:16:02 2009: 5993   NickBarron

I did think about your wife and that the machine is for her.

Realistically I cannot see SL hitting your Mac Mini for at least three months. Likely six. Remembering that you won't be installing it the moment it is released as you have enough to be doing without troubleshooting any .1 release problems it may have for your other half ;)

Sun Apr 5 01:58:05 2009: 5994   oldmacminiman

Hi, just stumbled across your site.

Quick question ... I'm running a G4 Mini, 1.5 Ghz CPU, 1 GB RAM, OS X 10.4.11

I'm also using Safari 4 beta (4528.16)

The "comments" page shows some wacky text, running over some of the poster's icons. I don't recall this showing up in Safari earlier. A beta glitch? What do you think?

Otherwise, I've found Safari 4 to be darn good ... even on an old "beater" mac like mine! :-)

Sun Apr 5 02:29:16 2009: 5996   NickBarron

Welcome :)

The Safari 4 issue with the comments/gravatar was investigated in an earlier article, without a final answer I believe. But given the beta tag, it is unlikely to be a concern until a full version is release.

Sun Apr 5 08:41:16 2009: 5997   TonyLawrence

That gravatar issue can happen with the current Safari also if I reload the page. I'm going to futz with it today if I can find the time.

Sun Apr 5 09:37:28 2009: 5998   TonyLawrence

This is a frustrating bug. I would think it's related to the same kind of thing discussed in the comments at (link) but I can't seem to fix it. It's all the more frustrating because it is somewhat erratic: some comments exhibit the bad behavior, some don't.

The only "fix" I can do for now is to not wrap the text around the gravatar.. so I've started doing that.

Thu Apr 9 13:03:55 2009: 6067   TonyLawrence

I went ahead and ordered her mini. The Windows stuff is getting too good: (link)

Thu Apr 9 13:35:11 2009: 6068   MarcFarnumRendino

Wow; that's ugly - thanks for the pointer!

Neither of you will regret getting the mini, sooner rather than later. :)

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