August 2nd 2002
By Mike Flaminio
This little gem hit my inbox from our IT unit today and I thought I'd share it with you:
Please be advised that Apple's OS X is not at this stage supported by the IT Unit. It is being explored with a view to its inclusion in the Standard Operating Environment that we work with. However, at the moment we are not rolling it out with new machines and advise against its installation by members of staff on to their computers. "
No further explanation was given. Was this decision taken because OS X works seamlessly with all existing Windows and Mac OS machines? Because you simply plug into the Ethernet network and go? Or possibly because it doesn't crash?
Let me set it up for you. Divisions can choose whether they use Mac or Windows, or even a mixture of both, according to their needs. My division, like most, is cheap and wants as many workstations as it can get on its limited IT budget. Obviously, it plunks for Windows boxes (of a rather white box variety, let it be said). One other guy has an iMac and I refuse point blank to work on anything but my PowerBook G3.
Interestingly enough in our so-called 'secure environment', which has password acess to mail, internet and intranet, these things are simply unnecessary on a Mac. It just logs on and has never asked me for a password in 4 years.
Once TCP/IP setting and proxy info were entered, My OS X PowerBook just screamed on the 100bT network, connected to a T1. Actually, even my ancient PowerBook 5300 with 10bT didn't fare badly at all.
All networked printers just worked out of the box (an HP LJ 4M and a Color LJ 4500 on the LAN). If I want to gain precedence on print jobs and I happen to have the Wallstreet there rather than the Lombard, a straight LocalTalk connection to the 4M is all that's needed to annoy people.
We ran into a major problem the other day when a CD of uncompressed Photoshop TIFF images (each about 20MB) was given to us for approval before being sent to the printers. No Windows machine had either Photoshop or any graphics apps to view the pics. Nor did too many have the memory to cope with them. And, as I was pulled in to help, I had no idea what any Windows graphics apps were called. As it happened, I didn't have my CD ROM with me, only an expansion bay hard drive.
A quick trip to the iMac with a rapid download of BigPicture (or Graphic Converter, take your pick) solved the problem. Pictures viewed. Accepted or rejected. At the printers before 5.00pm.
Plus, since the CD (a hybrid) came from a graphics house, I wonder what would have happened if it had been a Mac-only CD? Headless chicken syndrome was highly evident enough as it was.
As ever, a Mac saved the day. My boss is even getting interested in this "I Can't Believe There're No Viruses" business, as his entire hard drive and BIOS were wiped out totally by a particularly violent strain earlier this year, necessitating a completely new computer (and the loss of large chunks of work).
Sgh. No, hell, you wouldn't want to install OS X, would you? Can't have users taking back control of their machines. Can't have users being independent of IT services. Can't have IT staff [gulp] reduced.