I use a Mac. I’ve been using email and browsing the web on my Mac for at least 10 years now. (Well, okay, I sometimes stop to sleep, eat, and go to the bathroom.) I have never used any virus-checking software or spyware removal software, and I have never had any viruses or spyware. That’s because there are no viruses and no spyware that have affected the Mac. The Mac has been completely immune to everything that has ever been out there.
Many people already know that, but I think most people have never heard what I just said, or it has never really sunk in. If this “no viruses on the Mac” stuff is new to you, now that I have your attention, let me continue.
I’ve been a fan of Leo Laporte for some time. For those of you who are non-geeks, Leo is an author, and a TV and radio personality who is surprisingly well-versed in a broad range of technologies. He’s known for taking live calls and giving tech support during his shows, and he makes it interesting to listen to. It’s somewhat like the Car Talk guys from public radio, except Leo doesn’t do cars, he does “anything with a chip in it.” That means PCs, Macs, digital cameras, cellphones, PDAs, whatever. He’s been doing this for at least a decade, probably more. He hosted a show on (the sadly-defunct) Tech TV and now hosts a tech-centric talkshow on KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles every week. I really appreciate how even-handed and honest he is with all of his callers. He’s talented. But why am I blogging about him, especially in the context of this entry?
I just heard an interview with Leo in which he admitted that he’s had to tell his call screeners to only take one spyware-related or virus-related call per show, because they get so many calls on that topic that they could otherwise fill the entire show with them. Let me pull a quote from Leo out of this interview that really encapsulates what I’m trying to say. It begins about 7:44 into the interview (the emphasis is mine).
There really is the beginning of a trend away from Windows, away from spyware and viruses, and towards Mac. I spend almost all the time with Windows users telling them how to get rid of spyware. It’s pathetic. It’s horrible… I told the call screeners, “One spyware a show” because otherwise that’s all we would be doing. I was on the MacMania Cruise a couple of months ago and it was so refreshing to be only with Mac people, and to talk about what you can do with a computer instead of what you can do to stop viruses and spyware… In the Windows environment, you’re no longer looking at what you can do with a computer. You’re buttoning it down. You’re saying, “How can I protect myself?”
That’s the thing that saddens me most about the computer industry today. I’m not trying to make a statement about all Windows users or all Mac users. What I’m saying is that, in general, Windows users have a “protect” mentality, because they have to, whereas Mac users have a “create” mentality, because they have the freedom to. The difference is shocking. It once again makes me wonder why people would use Windows for anything but high-end gaming and highly-specialized markets.