Apple’s Mac mini offers relief from Windows viruses and malware

“If your gig is writing computer columns, then you pretty much have to write about Apple’s new $499 Mac mini–the stripped-down desktop Macintosh meant to compete with the ultra-low prices at the bottom of the Microsoft Windows-compatible food chain,” James Coates writes for The Chicago Tribune. “To paraphrase the late Rodney Dangerfield, you don’t get no keyboard; you don’t get no mouse; you don’t get no monitor. You also don’t get no Windows XP worms, PC viruses, Trojan horses, browser hijackers or key-loggers, either.”

“This half-foot wide wonder makes it clear that Apple isn’t really targeting its traditional customers with the Mac mini. The idea is to win over Windows users tempted to take a bite out of the Apple because they already lust after their iPod digital music players,” Coates writes. “Here’s the genius behind it all: If I hand you a Mac mini while you’re sitting in front of your Windows-powered computer, you can simply unplug your mouse, your keyboard and your monitor and plug them into the Mac instead. Ditto with the PC’s speakers. When I tested a sample equipped with wireless networking AirPort Express, it quickly found my Windows-based D-Link network and logged on. Bye-bye PC World and hello Mac Addict.”

“For $499, you get the G4 chip at 1.25 gigahertz, 256 megabytes of RAM and a 40 gigabyte hard drive. A companion $599 model has a 1.42 gHz microprocessor, an 80 gb hard drive and 256 megabytes of RAM. Serious Mac users will want to fork over an extra $75 to upgrade to 512 mb of RAM. Huge differences in performance are at stake. If one wants to get a Mac mini with a top complement of Apple peripherals, figure on a $100 upgrade for Bluetooth and an AirPort wireless card, plus $100 for a wireless mouse and keyboard. Next you can pay $100 more for a DVD writing SuperDrive instead of the included DVD player/CD recorder drive,” Coates writes. “Adding these features on the Apple Web site makes the $599 Mac mini cost $972 and the $499 model cost $872. And that’s still without a monitor. That’s the kind of serious money that makes it far more tempting to set your sights on the more powerful and faster G5 flat-screen iMacs that were the previous red-hot Apple offering. They start at $1,299. But for we Windows users, Mac mini with Panther is a great way to change our spots.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Despite Coates’ failed attempt to propagate the “Security Via Obscurity Myth” by writing, “with market penetration south of 5 percent, Apple’s operating systems so far have escaped the kinds of attacks that have made spyware, worms and viruses a daily concern for the rest of the world that uses Windows” and ignoring that Mac OS X’s rock-solid Unix underpinning deserves credit for being simply more secure than the porous Windows, this is a decent article that shows why the Mac mini will be a success for Apple.

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  1. Yay (first post)! Anyway, over here in Singapore, someone wrote an article in the papers concerning Apple’s recent product launch. Once again full of ignorant garbage pumped out (probably by someone who’s never touched a Mac in his life). Things about lack of programs on the Mac platform etc etc etc. sigh.

    Hopefully, the Mac Mini will soon change all those false perceptions. 😀

  2. Kensington offers a very good Mac layout wireless desktop called the Kensington Wireless Optical Desktop for Mac that has a multi-button scrollwheel mouse , a keyboard with media and hotkeys and a RF unit with a battery recharger that plugs into a USB slot. CompUSA sells it for $60 US- much less than the Appple Bluetooth wireless option. It comes with rechargable batteries and a 5 year warranty. Friends don’t let friends put PC keyboards on a Mac.

    Got one for my new Mac mini and it works great.

  3. “Do you know how many computers got hit by that virus?”

    …. Got “Hit”????

    Only the ones where someone gained *physical* access to the computer, AND had the admin password, and took the steps necessary to INSTALL it. Just like one would install any other program.

    So to answer your question I’d say, not many.

  4. DanK,


    You must have physical contact with and administrator permissions on the host computer to plant the program. That computer must be on the same LAN with your computer to propagate.

    Protect yourself. Lock your doors and hide your passwords.

    The program is the same one used by network administrators to help idiot users who forget their passwords.

    This is mostly Wintellian FUD.

  5. What people have been brainwashed into thinking is that if they have the most current virus protection software update that they are safe. It’s a TOTAL MYTH!!

    Virus protection software should be property labeled “KNOWN virus protection software.” About 2 to 3 NEW viruses appear every day and your Windows PC is vulnerable to them until your virus protection software company of choice finds a cure and you download and run it.

    Macs use UNIX, a tried and true operating system that was ORIGINALLY DESIGNED for multitudes of external users and has had DECADES to evolve its core security to protect its users, as well as being highly stable. The fact of the matter is that UNIX is a very simple multi-user OS. Granted, its odd coding was developed at Berkley University, the same place and time as the birth of LSD (coincidence?), but its secure, multi-user core is the foundation upon which all other functions are derived. A hacker can’t break into a system’s back door if there isn’t any backdoor to break into.

    There is absolutely no analogy between MS Windows and UNIX. NONE! They share no code. They share no development history. Just because the world may prefer Swiss cheese, doesn’t mean that all cheese has holes. But, the Swiss cheese eaters’ logic is that cheddar DOES have holes, there just hasn’t been enough people eating it to find them yet. (Regardless that 25+ millions people, consuming it daily, haven’t found ONE hole yet!!!)

    Personally, I think Bill Gates took the wrong invention out of Berkley.

  6. Unix came from Berkeley? That’s news to me. I thought Unix came from AT&T Bell Labs, while only the BSD flavor of Unix came from Berkeley. But then what do I know; I’m just an ex-Bell employee, ex-Unix hack, Mac programmer. I’m probably making this all up.

  7. To say that Microsoft has not stolen Unix/Linux code may be a little premature. They will steal from anyone who has anything good. Why did they pay millions to SCO? It wasn’t just to add to the Linux FUD fund.

  8. hehehehe ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue laugh” style=”border:0;” /> Sum Yung liar! I doubt an old foggie would be hanging around here at MDN(no offense to MDN of course).

  9. Coates is famous here in Chicago for being a rabid Microsoft fan. In his mind, Gates and co. can do no wrong. And when he does HAVE to write something positive about the Mac, he will ALWAYS find a way to give a backhanded insult somewhere in his writing.

    The late Don Crabb from the Chicao Sun Times was very much a Mac fan and continually warred with Coates, calling him literally a paid MS shill.

    We miss you, Don.

  10. Wow, for a rabid microsoft fan that was a pretty positive article on the mini then.

    Oh and here is a quote from Macintouch on the opener thingy.

    “because of Mac OS X’s inherent and fundamental design, and the fact that almost all of its networking services (things like apache, OpenSSH, etc.) are based on open source projects that receive great scrutiny for security and thus have theoretical security holes corrected before they become practically exploitable ones, and because Apple didn’t make the same mistakes/assumptions Microsoft did in creating things like Outlook with so much control over the OS and other applications, there will likely never be any exploit, worm, or virus that can spread in an automated fashion. Yes, people can write “viruses” and scripts like this for Mac OS X – but if they have no means of spread other than manual, they’re absolutely worthless, and don’t rise to the level of even the most benign Windows virus.”

  11. Billy Gates’ version of Windows after “Longhorn” – which let’s face it, is just a rehash of XP – will be based on LINUX … hence the SCO connection …

    Thus Billy will be able to leverage the existing support for the penguin while simultaneously killing it off as any serious threat.

  12. Really Tom, does anyone know what is in most of Microsoft’s present day code?

    It’s true, if the next Windows OS after Longhorn isn’t nix based Microsoft will surely sink slowly into the sunset but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been stealing bits of linux/unix code here and there just like they have been caught doing with many other sources. We all know there are one set of rules for Microsoft and another set ….

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