Truth be told, I’ve always been a Mac user. The first computer I ever used was an Apple Macintosh 128 (it was that boxy all-in-one that was small and strangely portable). My mom had one for work and when she needed to work at home, she’d literally lug it home. The first thing I ever did on a computer? Dragged the hard disk to the trash. What can I say, I’ve always loved a clean desktop! Our first family computer was the Macintosh Quadra 630. That’s where I played my educational games and first got online thanks to AOL. Our second family computer was a whitebox Intel Pentium III running Windows 98. We kept our Mac as a second computer, but what happened? Business happened. Businesses have always been IBM but when Windows 98 came out, it was around the time where computers were affordable enough for them to start putting them on everyone’s desk. My mom needed Windows to work and as such, we became a Windows family. However, in 2006 I got my first Apple product I paid for on my own: a black Apple iPod Nano 2nd generation. I also had my own computer, but it was a tablet PC running Windows XP.
Fast forward many years. It was my first office job. I worked at a web hosting company that was a 100% Windows shop. Our servers were only Windows. Our desktops, Windows. It got to the point where I couldn’t stand Windows anymore. One day, I came home from the office and wiped my laptop and put Fedora Linux on it. However, these were the days where you couldn’t watch Netflix on Linux. It still required Silverlight and even if you did get Silverlight, you were on Linux so it yelled at you. Shortly after, someone bundled up a special Firefox instance that worked under WINE to get Netflix working. It worked but it still had problems. Eventually, I said screw it. I need to spend some real money. I went to apple.com and picked out a MacBook Pro. Since I didn’t have $1200, I applied for the financing program and was surprised when I got approved. When my new MacBook Pro came, it was my main machine. I loved it. Eventually though, I did begin using Windows again but it was a while.
I stayed primarily Windows for years though but as of a few weeks, I undocked my laptop and replaced it with my Mac Mini. Let’s face it. The days of Mac vs. PC are over. Microsoft is embracing open source and giving away so much stuff for free. However, I’ve found myself back to where I was – hating Windows. While I don’t consider myself a tinfoil hat type when it comes to Windows 10 and it’s “spyware”, I’m frustrated that an OS that has recently had it’s third birthday this year is so full of bugs and issues. Microsoft has also appeared to have embraced being “agile” and with that, they decided that an internal QA (“quality assurance”) team was too much. For those who don’t know, it’s QA’s job to find bugs, find compatibility issues, and basically try to “break” the software and report those issues to the software developers so that they can fix them. Back in 2014, Microsoft laid off their QA department and since then, Windows has, to be blunt, sucked. It currently can’t figure out if it wants the legacy UX (user experience) or if it wants a modern UX so the UI (user interface) jumps around… a lot. If you’re on Windows 10, you’ve probably noticed this yourself. Another problem that has bugged me is that Microsoft Office suite has screenshots of Windows XP in it even to this day! Simply hover over the little box in the lower right hand corner of the “Fonts” section in Word and you’ll see what I mean. Glass UI (“Aero” officially) went away in Windows 8 but it’s still in the installer. Then with their new Fluent design, the frosted glass theme is starting to make a comeback – sort of. By “sort of” I mean it’s present in some areas but not others. I’ve seen the latest Insider build for 1809 and it’s there along with a long time needed improvement to the Start menu. However, to me at least, Windows 10 seems to be stuck in a perpetual beta release state.
Apple treats macOS a lot differently. First, it definitely appears to be well QA’d (other than that one time where QA missed the blank root password). Second, when Apple makes a design change, it gets uniformly applied across the OS. Third, I’m a *NIX (“star-NIX” refers to systems based on UNIX – UNIX, Linux, BSD (which macOS is in the family tree of), etc.) guy. The way *NIX systems handle programs, system security, and others just makes sense. The Darwin kernel is extremely stable unlike the Windows NT Kernel which has had everything from Windows NT through 10 on top of it. The registry is the biggest flaw with Windows. After testing out the latest Insider build, I noticed that the installer does not allow you to set the Administrator account password.
So this is a first. Windows 10 Enterprise Insider build 17713 installed but never let me set a password.
— Travis (@ItsTravy) August 10, 2018
Out of the box, there are two accounts: Administrator and Guest. Both are disabled. So how do you get in?
So I had to hack the registry to get in. Oh Windows….
— Travis (@ItsTravy) August 10, 2018
Yeah, that’s right. The short of it is you force Windows to reboot into diagnostics mode (hold shift whilst clicking on the restart option), then select the command prompt option which asks for an Administrator login. You never set the password and the account is disabled. This should stop you right? Wrong. Just hit enter leaving the password blank. Guess what Windows just gave you? An administratively privileged command prompt! From here, you just type “regedit” and then load the registry from the C:\, edit a binary value to enable the Administrator account, exit, and boom! You’re in Windows! I cannot stress this enough: This is why you need to set a strong password for the Administrator user because even if it is disabled, someone can enable it – even remotely – and get full administrative access to your systems.
While *NIX does have a similar capability called “Single User Mode”, it’s a lot more intricate and it can’t be done remotely (to my knowledge, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong).
So why didn’t I just switch to Linux? Well, I’m heavily dependent on the Microsoft Office suite both for work and school. LibreOffice is comparable to Office XP and other email clients are a mix and match of feature sets and no ActiveSync support or get ready to shell out some serious cash to get an ActiveSync plugin for a lacking client. With Microsoft’s ❤️ Linux attitude, I’m shocked they haven’t brought Office to Linux yet. Heck, they still haven’t brought Visio to Mac yet but they managed to make it work in a web browser but I digress. So other than the few times I need to use Windows-exclusive programs like Visio or doing some programming in C#, I’m living my digital life exclusively in macOS and it couldn’t be better.