Mac vs. Windows

Role Reversal: The Band vs. Apple Watch

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In a lot of ways, I’m starting to draw the conclusion from their actions that Microsoft is acting more like Apple did in it’s heyday and Apple like Microsoft…as this article about Microsoft’s The Band points out.

I’m rooting for Microsoft…who used to be my arch-enemy and less for Apple, who appears to be lacking in the vision that used to emanate from it.

Keep an eye on Yahoo as well. Necessity to stay alive rears it’s entrepreneurial head. Down but not out.

Innovation comes from taking risks with capital, effort by a team of talented believers and evangelists and is sparked by the vision created by entrepreneurs. Does that describe today’s Apple? B$

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 vs. Apples new MacBook, March 2015

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I thought it was important to put a date in the title because technical comparisons have a very short half-life.

Since our shop appears to moving away from Dell laptops in favor of Microsoft Surface Pros, I thought it would be cool to say a couple of things and then point you to the article that compares it to it’s Apple equivalent.

I believe a lot of IT groups that are close to their customers (and recommend/purchase these items for their customers) really need these kinds of comparisons along with doing their own homework to form a clear understanding of the good, bad & ugly aspects of these consumer-level platforms. Then you can give your customers usable advice and perhaps avoid your own IT headaches when you have to support this stuff. <smile>

Although, in our shop, the tendency for our Mac users is to go to the ‘Air’ versions of Apple’s product line, the comparison I link to at the end of this rant is a still good comparison to make. Just keep in mind that this article doesn’t take into account OS differences; always a factor in enterprise-level computing.

So, some comments about the Surface Pro:

  • Surface Pro’s 1 & 2 kinda sucked on features, usability and performance.
  • Surface Pro 3’s features, usability and performance are outstanding.
  • Imaging a Surface Pro 3 is a BITCH because it doesn’t like to boot to our MDT deployment share from USB Stick. That may be solved that using the Microsoft’s new Surface Pro drivers package. I’ll plug those puppies into MDT and see if it helps; then report my success/failure.
    • I’m also sure that I haven’t researched this issue enough. I’ll bet there is a method to boot these puppies to MDT that we haven’t tried yet because of the task-time-compression that our IT shop is dealing with currently.
  • In summary, the two biggest complaints on the Surface Pro:
    • It’s a bitch to image (for now!)
    • The thin keyboard (an extra purchase) has a “PC Jr” kind of feel to it. For those of you that aren’t 117 years old, another way of saying that is that it doesn’t provide enough bio-feedback on your fingers when you type. If you’ve ever tried to use the Win8.1 keyboard on a touch screen for speed touch typing, that’s the equivalent experience. I venture to guess that this complaint only comes from those who were trained on traditional keyboards, which give you a specific tactile feedback that you’ve hit the right key and that the “keystroke” was actually registered by the computer. I think the younger crowd have & will take to new input devices it quite easily, IMHO.

All that said, here’s the article on Tech Republic. Be careful: they’re data miners at Tech Republic. Just read it, close the page then clear any cookies they left you, lest they sign you up for tons of spam.



You Can’t Delete a File Because The Damn Path is Too Bloody Long!

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About 2 years ago I ran into a faculty member that was a Mac user who was using our file share system (Windows Servers 2008+) to save copies of research.

Research is the difference between tenure and oblivion for faculty at a ‘research’ university.

As is typical with Mac users, the professor was unaware of any limitations in the tiny bubble of “unlimited potential” that makes up the general Apple illusion.  I say ‘Apple illusion’ because I was shocked to find out that MacOS X has very similar limitations.  I should note here that those involved with media (marketing, advertising, graphics artists, etc.) are also guilty of nesting stuff dozens of folders deep.  I honestly think those right-brained people are desperately trying to emulate the left-brained propensity for analytic organization.

In this case, the professor nested folders upon folders until they had gone way beyond the NTFS limitation of 260 characters and because of that, it was saved but could not read or deleted by Windows.

Here’s an EASY way to retrieve the file(s) as per Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 320081:  Start at the beginning of the path and start renaming a few of the long-winded directory names until the path is under 255 characters.  Once you’ve done that, the file(s) are easily moved into a sane folder (directory) structure.


  • Original path: d:\ProjectAlpha\SillyLongNameForAFolder\Hambone\FruitlessComputerEndeavors\GoingToNeedToFindAnotherJob\NoOneWillHireAnIdiotThatAllowsThisToHappen\MonsterDotCom\file.txt ...for 255+ characters.
  • New, renamed path: d:\pa\slnfaf\h\fce\gtntfaj\nowhaitatth\mdc\file.txt  …etc., until the path is less than 225 characters…then go retrieve the file.

If you have a ton of files, then you can write a PowerShell script that renames each successive folder by the first 1 or 2 letters of the directory.  There are also a few utilities out there that will do this for you.  So if you wanna download some malware or foistware with the utility, go for it.

Remember: the directory structure itself may be the only identification of what the file actually contains!


  • d:\ServerLogs\FileServers\Dogbert\SecurityLogs\Previous\log.txt
  • d:\ServerLogs\FileServers\Dogbert\SecurityLogs\Current\log.txt

…but by renaming them without keeping track of what the file was exactly, you just screwed yourself big-time:

  • d:\s\f\d\s\c\log.txt
  • d:\s\f\d\s\p\log.txt

Although you get it that it’s a log file, what kind of log is it and to what system or application does it apply to?

Now apply this idea to someone’s research:

  • d:\AustrianEconomicsSeminar\2012\Research\vonMises\1920-1946\biography.docx
  • d:\AES\2012\R\vM\1920-1940\biography.docx

See?  …You’re screwed and that faculty member/customer will NEVER trust you again. <smile>

For me, I prefer the LSD method: Long, Slow & Deliberate. So take your time, work with one file at a time and work closely with the customer.  …you’re talking about a faculty member’s phony-baloney job here!


Outlook for Mac: A Quick Rant

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Anyone who has the choice to use Entourage and Outlook 2011 and chooses Entourage, chooses poorly.  That program’s monolithic database is a time bomb waiting to corrupt.  Just ‘Google’ “Entourage database” to see what I mean.  A mountain of missing functions and incompatibilites with standard enterprise-level services is the KEYSTONE to Entourage’s reputation as a piece of shit in and out of IT circles.

I understand people’s reasons for not wanting to change.  Entourage’s interface requires complete faith and immersion.  When you put that much into a product…when you get to that point where you’ve minimized the time in front of your email and you can put your energies into your REAL job, you don’t want to change. I get that.  As an IT person, I’m confronted with software changes 100 times more than the typical user.  I’m not complaining…this is why I make the big bucks. <grin>

Bottom line: I have no issue with a person’s choice of OS/Interface.  What I have issue with is someone intentionally using flawed software when there is a vastly superior alternative.

You may be happy with Entourage.  Good.  Good for you. <patronizing>.  However, don’t complain when things break or don’t work like the rest of your co-workers’ systems do, ok?  And don’t act as if it is IT’s fault that you can’t move forward in time without a Tardis.  If you’re in an enterprise environment, switch to Outlook 2011.



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Issue:  Some Outlook emails to Mac users result in an empty email with an attachment named winmail.dat that is a bunch of unreadable junk. Winmail.dat is a result of the email client being used (usually Outlook) sending the email as an RTF (Rich Text File).  Mac systems cannot interpret messages sent in an RTF format. Since the Mac won’t read the file, it converts it to a winmail.dat file.

There are two ways to fix this issue. One is a Windows fix and the other is a Mac fix. I suggest both the Windows & the Mac users fix their side of the issue or they will continue to run into this problem again and again with other users.

Windows Users:  Know your audience and adjust your email format.

Mac Users:  Bombard Apple with requests that they fix this issue!

Fix (Mac): There are dozens of free programs available for the Mac which allows them to read the file. Here’s an example:

Fix (Windows):  Please verify that you are sending in plain text or HTML. If you want to send “clickable” email links then HTML is the option you want.

If you’re using Outlook 2007 or 2010, go to File >Options >Compose Messages and then select the format to “HTML” or “Plain Text”

A colleague adds this bit of anti-Mac venom:  “Mac users are convinced the root problem is a Microsoft problem, not a Mac problem, so they don’t bother ….to fix the issue. The Mac user simply points the problem back to the Microsoft user … The only way you can remedy the problem on [the Windows] end is not to use rich text format and only use plain text format. This is the only rudimentary format that Macs can handle.”