Weighing a Switch to a Mac

Published: August 10, 2006 in New York Times

Ten years ago, if you were a Windows user, the idea of switching to a Macintosh might not have seemed enticing. An abundance of new Windows software was arriving on store shelves, while the selection available to Mac users seemed to be falling behind, often relegated to a back corner of the same store.

Today the calculation is different. Apple Computer, through a series of transitions, has reinvented itself. With a new operating system, its own chain of retail stores, the iPod and now a new line of computers that run on Intel processors, this new and more mainstream Apple is catching the attention of Windows users, and many are curious about switching.

But is switching a good idea? The answer, as always, depends on the needs and preferences of the user. Apple’s move to Intel processors has made it easier to run Windows on Intel-based Macs, and thus any software a switcher may want to continue using. But even with that ability, there are pluses and minuses to consider.


The center of the Macintosh experience is Apple’s operating system, Mac OS X. With Unix at its foundation, Mac OS X is more stable, secure and open than previous Mac platforms, and the current version, called Tiger, offers features not included in Windows. More than 12,000 software applications have been developed to run on the Mac OS X platform since it was introduced in 2001, according to Apple, including popular programs like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, the Firefox Web browser and many from Apple.

But the world of Mac software is still smaller than what is available in the Windows world. A Windows user curious about switching needs to take an inventory of applications and determine what options are available in the Mac world to accomplish the same. Mac software is likely to be available for most mainstream applications; some may be included on a new Mac and others may require a separate purchase.

Other important applications, especially in categories like business software and games, may run only on Windows. This is where the new Intel-based Macs can make a difference: because they use the same hardware architecture as Windows-based PC’s, called x86, the experience of running Windows on a Mac is much improved.

Two methods for running Windows on the new Macs have moved to the forefront, and both run considerably faster than Virtual PC, the leading option under the old Mac architecture. The first, a new program called Parallels Desktop for Mac ($80;, enables you to run Windows and Mac OS X Tiger simultaneously. For example, you can run Windows software like Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook in a window that can be minimized just like other Mac programs. Data can be copied between the platforms, you can share files and folders between them and you can choose to run Windows in a full-screen mode.

Parallels can run Windows versions as old as Windows 3.1 and through the current editions of XP. You will need to provide your own Windows installation software. A drawback of Parallels is that it does not support 3-D-accelerated graphics, which means some higher-end 3-D games and other programs run slowly or not well. Other factors to consider are a speed reduction of 5 to 15 percent compared with running Windows natively on Intel-based computers, the company says, and the fact that not all peripheral devices are compatible.

The other option for running Windows on the new Macs is made possible by Boot Camp (, a free utility from Apple now available in beta testing. (Apple announced this week that Boot Camp would be part of its next operating-system release, called Leopard, scheduled for next spring.) Unlike Parallels, which runs Windows within Mac OS X, Boot Camp creates a partition on the computer’s hard disk and installs Windows to it. When the computer starts up, you can choose to run either Windows or Mac OS X.

Benefits of Boot Camp include running Windows at full speed; it runs natively on the Mac, as it would on a conventional Windows-based PC, fully using the processor and graphics abilities, and providing compatibility with hardware peripherals and devices designed for PC’s.

A drawback of Boot Camp, though, is that you must shut down one operating system before using the other. This means you cannot run Windows and Mac applications simultaneously. Another drawback is that it can run only two versions of Windows: Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 2, which costs $200, or Windows XP Professional With Service Pack 2, which is $300.

Security is another aspect of Macs that has Windows users curious. In Windows, antivirus and antispyware programs have become essential for defending against a variety of threats. So far, the Mac OS X operating system has not been infiltrated by viruses, and it remains free from the type of spyware threats that spread in the wild and go after Windows users, according to Symantec, maker of Norton Antivirus.

But when Windows is run on Intel-based Macs, for example through Boot Camp or Parallels, it is vulnerable to the same virus and spyware threats that can affect conventional Windows-based PC’s.

The physical designs of Apple’s desktop and notebook computers are often innovative. The iMac, for example, is a space-saving desktop unit with an all-in-one enclosure that conceals the computer’s components behind the monitor. And the MacBook, a new notebook with a glossy screen, includes a new keyboard layout. This week, the company introduced the Mac Pro, a line of desktops replacing the Power Mac, completing its transition to Intel chips.

But while Apple’s selection covers much ground, it is less diverse than what is available from companies like Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Sony and Lenovo. For example, Apple does not offer ultraportable notebooks, a tablet design or as wide a choice in processor types and speeds. And when it comes to pricing, Apple no longer offers notebooks in the sub-$1,000 range, or desktop units in the sub-$500 range, as do other makers.

Consideration should also be given to the compatibility of any devices like printers, external hard drives and cellphones that may be connected to a computer. In some instances, only Windows may be supported.

The Switching Experience

I spoke with a number of Windows users who had recently switched to Macs. Their reasons varied, but their experiences had some notable similarities. In many cases, since they had mastered Windows long ago, learning the Mac interface, essentially from scratch, took more time than expected. Also, many switchers retained strong links to the Windows world, often through computers at their workplace or older units at home.

Danielle Wang, 26, of Austin, Tex., bought her first Mac six weeks ago. She took the advice of a friend and decided to buy a MacBook to replace her Windows-based laptop, a Sony Vaio, which she said had been stolen.

Early in the transition, Ms. Wang said, it took time to get used to the Mac interface; the menus, the location of buttons and other items were different. “It was difficult,” she said. “The first three days, I was constantly thinking about returning it.”

Ms. Wang uses the MacBook mainly for applications like e-mail, Web browsing, digital music, games and instant messaging; so far, she has not encountered problems finding Mac software, and she still maintains access to Windows-based computers for other programs she prefers to use at home.

In comparing the MacBook and the Vaio, she said the graphics were clearer on the Sony.

“The Sony Vaio is more lively,” she said. But she prefers the look and design of the MacBook.

Over all, Ms. Wang is glad she switched. She likes the Mac interface and says she is likely to remain a Mac owner for the foreseeable future. “It was the right decision,” she said. “I really love my Mac right now.”

7 Deadly Sins

Scotchguard your life?

What an event. Finially I’ve found a couch for our pad that both fit in the room, and up the stairs…through the door and hallway. Oh and it fits a room motif for white accessories and accents. For over a year now, I’ve been irritably complaining about the uncomfortable bar bench we’ve been using for our communal “living” room comfort seating. Then with an ugly saag paneer color, and now the room is brightened with a white glow from our single arm rest lounger in the corner. The next fear is my first wine stain or chicken wing drop on the pillows…. So I went to 4 stores yesterday looking for the infamous Scotchguard. The master substance that will repel grim, spills and apparently unwanted dirty ex-girlfriends…

To no avail… Kmart, National Whole Saler, Duane Reade and even CVS do not carry it…

So I took to the internet only to find this:

3M and Scotchgard: “Heroes of Chemistry” or a 20-year coverup?

To summarize the link: “Consider 3M’s Scotchgard coatings, surely one of America’s best-known chemical industry brand names. It is universally recognized by consumers as the magical substance that repels water and stains from clothes, carpets and furniture. Hardly anyone knows Scotchgard has been used for years in the wrappings for an eye-opening list of packaged and fast foods. ”

Now what I found out: “Scotchgard ingredients belong to a large family of chemicals that degrade to form a chemical called PFOS, or perfluorooctane sulfonate…..

In the 50 years between the start of commercial production and the phaseout announcement, many millions of pounds of PFOS chemicals have entered the environment and now contaminate the blood of people and wildlife to an extraordinary extent.

Although research is still evolving, PFOS is known to damage the liver and to produce severe birth defects in lab animals, among other health effects.

And of course: 3M has manufactured PFOS commercially since 1948, and in 2000 was expected to produce more than 10 million pounds of the compound for use in Scotchgard products.

Quitely 3M on May 16, 2000, 3M announced with a vague, one-page press release that it would phase out of the PFOS market by the end of 2002 because of concerns over what the company said was new information–that the chemical had been “detected broadly at extremely low levels in the environment and in people.”

Great! So what other cancer causing substance can I pick up to protect my white couch from my dirty NYC blackend dogs…

UPDATE: Despite all my formal training as an Enviro Engineer and my own personal desire to do my part to concerve our environment, I spotted the Scotchgard at a small hardware store in the West Village – bought a can and used it on my couch – It said “New & Improved” although how something can be improved upon if its a new product is beyond me. I figured there was probably some policy for 3M to sell out of all the stock on the market anyway, and by not buying it, it doesn’t hinder 3M, just the small shops that have taken in all their stock. Can I say I’m doing some part by buying up the product and preventing someone else from getting cancer? Well, look out for my cancer blog in 2020 when I compare my $13 a can investment to the thousands in financial and physical pain I will suffer from use of the product in my home.


Sneaker shoppin’ NYC style

From Complex Magazine’s Buy It Guide for New York City; comes a great list of sneaker shops in NYC, now if only I had more checks to walk in these spots:


158 Rivington Street
New York, NY

Rivington Club’s country club d’cor and consistent supply of rare Nike and Reebok footwear, as well as the Alife line at RTFT, has made it an NYC sneaker staple.

Adidas Nike Quickstrike, Puma, Reebok, RTFT, Feit, Visvim, Married to the Mob, Iraq NY t-shirts.


267 Lafayette Street
New York, NY

Clientele hunts so you don’t have to. Every great sneaker has at some point graced its shelves, but be warned: Turnaround is quick. Impulse buys are strongly recommended.

Hot items: Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Puma, Reebok, New Balance, Converse, DVS, Vans, Spring Court, Feit, MIKE (Clientele’s footwear line)


203 West 125th Street
New York, NY

Fresh off it’s Levi’s and North Face collabs, this Japanese transplant/giant has a whole crew of exclusives flowing in from the motherland, as well as new signature long-sleeve tees and button-downs for winter.

Hot items: Nike Quickstrike, Feit, Timberland, Ubiq, Adidas, assorted Japan exclusives, Nike x Atmos Air Max 90


7 East 3rd Street
New York, NY

Zoo York vets Dave Ortiz and Chris Keefe thought up this butcher-themed skate/sneaker shop and have been killing it with an array of Nike SB and Nike Quickstrike footwear as well as clothing from UXA and Mighty Healthy.

Hot items: Callous, DC Shoes, New Era hats, Nike SB Dunk


254 Greene Street
New York, NY

At New York’s only consignment shop for footwear, you never know what you’ll find. Just don’t forget that shoebox full of bills.

Hot items: Nike SB Pigeon Dunk; Jordan 3,4,5 and 6; Nike SB Supreme Dunk


175 East 105th Street
New York, NY

Since September ’04, this spot has given sneakerheads all over the city one more reason to trek up to Harlem. Here you’ll find the Nike Quickstrike and JB Classics as well as tees by Orchard Street and coup d’etat.

Hot items: Etnies Plus, DC Shoes, Penguin, Scott Langston polos and denim, Weight shirts and polos, Triko warm-ups


47-09 91st Place (Corona Ave.)
Elmhurst, NY

This Queens shop may be a little out of the way, but it’s a definite go-to for the flavor-of-the-month Air Jordan, Nike AF1 or Nike Dunk footwear.

Hot items: Nike AF1 Mita, Easter and Carolina low’s; Nike SB T-19 Dunk and Tweed Dunk low


640 Broadway
New York, NY

Hidden underneath this Swatch store, this high-end streetwear boutique is one of two New York shops to get special release Nike and Nike Quickstrike sneakers. Other highlights include clothing from Nom de Guerre, Rogan, and Absurd.

Hot items: Russel Moccasin x Nom de Guerre boot, Converse, Y-3 Adidas, Feit, Rag & Bone, APC, Reason, C.O.D.

NORT 235

235 Eldridge Street
New York, NY

Nort pulls in some of the best Nike footwear New York has to offer. It’s the only other location in the city to stock special release Nike and Nike Quickstrike. Nort is Nike exclusive, but sometimes that’s all you need.

Hot items: Nike Zoom Spiridon and FC, various silent Nike drops


225 Hudson Street
New York, NY

Located in the TriBeCa neighborhood, Rival boasts a Nike SB and Nike Quickstrike account as well as snowboards from Burton, button-downs from Oliver Spencer, tees from 10Deep and Misericordia gear.

Hot items: Nike SB and Quickstrike, Clarks Wallabee, Burton Idiom and Maharishi gear.


1079 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY

Training Camp attracts everyone from professional, briefcase-toting types to sneaker collectors in search of Nike Quickstrike, Reebok, Penguin, Converse and Adidas footwear

Hot items: Jordan X, Nike Air Force 180, Adidas Zizza, Nike Air Max 90 in OG Colorways


941 Teaneck Road
Teaneck, NJ 07666

Packer generated quite a buzz at its opening when customers saw rarities such as the Nike Air Tech Challenge and the Nike Air Carnivore on the shelves. The staff at the shop is cool, and it’s one of only a handful of stores to carry the New Balance “Made In England” series. Stop in for Nike and Reebok as well as an assortment of vintage and Japanese-release sneakers. Clothing brands include King Stampede, J$ and anything.


HIV’s Ancestry Prooved from Wild Chimp Poo

May 25 2:02 PM US/Eastern – WASHINGTON

Twenty-five years after the first AIDS cases emerged, scientists have confirmed that the HIV virus plaguing humans really did originate in wild chimpanzees, in a corner of Cameroon.

Solving the mystery of HIV’s ancestry was dirty work. Scientists employed trackers to plunge through dense jungle and collect the fresh feces of wild apes _ more than 1,300 samples in all.

Before that, it took seven years of research just to develop the testing methods to genetically trace the primate version of the virus in living wild chimps without hurting the endangered species.

Until now, “no one was able to look. No one had the tools,” said Dr. Beatrice Hahn of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She led the team of international researchers that reported the success in Friday’s edition of the journal Science.

“We’re 25 years into this pandemic,” Hahn said. “We don’t have a cure. We don’t have a vaccine. But we know where it came from. At least we can make a check mark on one of those.”

Scientists long have known that nonhuman primates carry their own version of the AIDS virus, called SIV or simian immunodeficiency virus. But with one exception, it had been found only in captive chimpanzees, particularly a subspecies that in the wild populates mostly West Africa.

It was not known how prevalent the virus was in chimps in the wild, or how genetically or geographically diverse it was, complicating efforts to pin down the jump from animal to man.

Hahn’s team tested chimp feces for SIV antibodies, finding them in a subspecies called Pan troglodytes troglodytes in southern Cameroon.

Chimps tend to form geographically distinct communities. By genetically analyzing the feces, researchers could trace individual infected chimps. The team found some chimp communities with infection rates as high as 35 percent, while others had no infection at all.

Every single infected chimp had a common base genetic pattern that indicated a common ancestor, Hahn said.

There are three types of HIV-1, the strain of the human virus responsible for most of the worldwide epidemic. Genetic analysis let Hahn identify chimp communities near Cameroon’s Sanaga River whose viral strains are most closely related to the most common of those HIV-1 subtypes.

“The genetic similarity was striking,” Hahn said.

The first human known to be infected with HIV was a man from Kinshasa in the nearby country of Congo who had his blood stored in 1959 as part of a medical study, decades before scientists knew the AIDS virus existed.

Presumably, someone in rural Cameroon was bitten by a chimp or was cut while butchering one and became infected with the ape virus. That person passed it to someone else.

The Sanaga River long has been a commercial waterway, for transporting hardwood, ivory and other items to more urban areas. Eventually, someone infected made it to Kinshasa.

“How many different transmission events occurred between that initial hunter and this virus making it to Kinshasa, I don’t know. It could have been one, it could have been 10, it could have been 100,” Hahn said. “Eventually, it ended up in an urban area, and that’s where it really got going.”

Somewhere in all that spread, the virus became more deadly to people than it is to chimps, who seldom are bothered much by SIV.

The research seems to settle any question of HIV’s origin, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institutes of Health’s AIDS chief.

When tracing a virus’ evolution, “it’s important to get as close to the source as you can,” he said. “It’s of historic interest.”

Additional Story:
HIV origin ‘found in wild chimps’” ~ [CNN]


Customise your kicks with adicolor 2006

adicolorCelebrating color, customization and personal expression, Adidas is brining back their self-expression footwear concept this spring of Adicolor. The original adicolor concept was launched at the Ispo Fair in Munich in 1983 where Adidas offered pure white kicks with specially created quick drying and weatherproof pens which can be customize to any style.

To reflect the endless style possibilities of adicolor, the range of 2006 will be enhanced with modern customization tools ranging from felt-tip pens to spray paints and more. In addition, the adicolor collection will be divided in two major parts, the White Series which refers back to the original concept and an innovative Colour Series. The latter will feature a number of collaborations as adidas Originals has teamed up with a diverse group of partners, all icons from the world of fashion and art. Seven directors (Roman Coppola & Andy Bruntel, Neill Blomkamp, PSYOP, TRONIC, Saiman Chow, Charlie White, and HAPPY) were each assigned one of seven colors: Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Pink, Black or White and have released seven videos to promote the new campaine. The first commercial presented by TRONIC features Jenna Jameson and her assets. The collection is regarded as a post-modern mix of genre, style and technique.

The adicolor products are rolling out in retail over the course of three months, started on March 4th, 2006. The different models are available through various distribution channels and cover a range of price levels. Check here for concept/price.

Graffiti campanies have also taken up across Germany to promote Adicolor. Check the Wooster Collective post for example, yet around here in NY the only Adicolor promotion I could find was basic posted bills – I hope someone comes around to bring the graffiti concept here.

“For those colours which you wish to be beautiful, always first prepare a pure white ground.” – Leonardo da Vinci



The Brits every now and then show us why they are ahead of the game. For instance sports bras…. who knew they were not only a shaply gym garment but also protective gear for mamories. If you’re a woman (or a man who likes animated breast) check the effects of your breasts while you work out…

Shock Absorber – Bounce-o-meter
Bounce to this


How Rich are you… and I mean money…

If you think about it, the majority of the people (like 99%) are more well off than most of the world population. We really don’t realize how nice we have it, but then you realize most of us in the US are part of the group called the “Living Poor” which means you don’t make enough to sustain your standard of living in the environment you’re inhabiting now…

This site says I’m in the top 0.48% richest people in the world.
There are 5,971,172,435 people poorer than you.

Wow, that’s pretty good eh? Now does that mean I can afford a house in NYC.. um not even close…

Check it out


SF Flower Conservatory, Japanese Tea Gardens & Thanh Long

With some free time over the holiday break, I took a trip out to Golden Gate park with the fam during a typical overcast SF day. As much as I lived in the Bay, I had never been to Alcatraz nore have I spent much time in the park but to sleep in the sun or dance at various house events…

Here’s a couple shots from the SF Conservatory of Flowers (A botanical display of over two thousand plant species – this particular visit they had an Orcid Exibit), Japanese Tea Gardens (which is the oldest public Japanese garden in California) and dinner at Thanh Long (which if you haven’t had their roasted garlic crab… you’re truly missing out.

Full Gallery of SF Conservatory

Conservatory of Flowers Site

Random FAQ’s:
~ The Conservatory displays over 1,500 species of plants native to dozens of countries including Borneo, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ghana, Philippines, and many more.
~ The Conservatory is whitewashed to reduce the light intensity and heat load as well as to maintain the historical apperance.
~ The building has 16,800 window panes nestled within a grid of 100 arches crafted from redwood and Douglas fir. Niney percent of the colored pieces were salvaged and reused.
~ As part of the Integrated Pest Management system, geckoes are utilized to help control pests.
~ The Conservatory is the oldest wod and glass, Victorian-styled exhibit in North America.

“When the emotions are strong one should paint bamboo;
in a light mood one should pain the orcid” ~ Chueh Yin


“Cartoon Network” Canceled

So this is the story of how the NYPD and DEA ruined Christmas. I had heard word of this show around town, but never new much more than that… The Smoking Gun reports:

DECEMBER 8–In a blow to New Yorkers who enjoyed having their premium marijuana delivered to their doorsteps, Drug Enforcement Administration agents have busted up a six-year-old pot ring calling itself the Cartoon Network that was busy preparing its festive holiday shipments before federal agents kicked in the door.

And it looks like the DEA also confiscated the list of clients for the ring… as if you don’t have enough to be paranoid about. Check out the stash as Hamburgler is the face of the “Network” for the holidays:

Just a highlight from the Investigation report:

  • The organized network ran for about 6 years covering NYC Metro and Long Island
  • This was a door-to-door delivery service where you phoned in your “order” and it was delivered the next day based on availability and quantity
  • They ran a call center for customer support
  • There were approximately 12 Couriers delivering supplies, each with Network backing of security support and legal support should they get arrested (So long as they didn’t nark)
  • They kept detailed computer records of all their customers including names, addresses, phone numbers, and buyer histories
  • Couriers were paid about $200 a day which is over $50,000 tax free if they didn’t work weekends like the rest of us
  • The lead cartoon in this network was Joel Nebel who the DEA estimated was making revenue of $12,500 a day! With the same work week as the Courier estimate above, he was making 3.2 Million in sales a year…tax free
  • It all went south for the network when an accomplice for the network was found dead in Jan 2004 with 20 lbs of weed and a customer list tied to the cartoons.
  • Through surveillance, the DEA estimated the Network was receiving 400 calls a day for services
  • Ultimately it was the girlfriend that was careless and brought down the final nails to the cartoon network coffin

‘Cartoon Network’ Canceled {The Smoking Gun}