I want a Unix-y Mac more like Windows

No, seriously. While $dayjob is primarily done on Windows – for convenience with legacy apps – I have a year old MBP that I absolutely love – most of the time. When will we ever have the best of them all?

Once you learn enough of the cryptically arcane symbols that serve as the magic handshake to actually get Unix-like boxes to do something useful, there really is a lot of quickly accessible power in there. All sorts of file, web, data, and network processing is possible from a few short and simple (er, cryptically arcane) lines of text. Even better, with Cygwin and the like, it’s possible to take some of this power all over the place.

Macs are magic – most of the time. 80% of the things you touch, click, or CTRL-click on a Mac just ‘Do The Right Thing’. Not only is it intuitive, it’s also beautiful. Hmmm, I’ll have that one – click – done. Oh, cool – it also buttered my toast while measuring milk for my coffee – delicious and convenient all in one!

The other 20% is the arsenic-laced inner seeds of Macdom. The moment you step off the path of the One True Way, you’re lost. Even worse than being lost, even after scouring the forums and tips and clicking on every pretty button there is, you find out that there just plain isn’t any way to accomplish what you want.

Now in Unix, you get lost plenty. But there you should expect it, ever since you passed by that #!/bin sh echo "Abandon All Hope" line a while back. In Macdom, it’s all the more frustrating when you find yourself adrift, with no obvious or unobvious way to get what you want.

On Windows, it’s reversed: 20% of the things work the way you expect. The other 80% are different, and they’re different between each set of applications you use too boot. But once you learn the arcanely cryptic menu accelerator keys, you get by pretty well. And the great thing about Windows is that if you want to do something unusual, then you can find a way to do it. It may require downloading an unsupported program to hack the underlying data file, and it may not be portable anywhere else, but it will work. You do have options.

So I want just enough of the core power of Unix shells and potentially portable, higher level scripting languages. Then I want the beauty and simplicity of Mac to manage it all for me without too much typing most of the time.

Then when I decide to do one of those aberrant things that the Mac Gods have declared not worthy, I want the breadth of semi-pro hack tools available on Windows to get it to do exactly what I want.

That, or an iPhone that fits in my pocket with a screen that magically expanded when needed. I’d settle for that, I guess.

Brutally honest phising spam

I got a refreshingly direct and honest phishing spam email today; in fact the only real complaint I have about it is how confusingly it’s written. It simply asks you to send them your username and password. No tricks, no fancy hidden links or disguised graphics. Just a plain old request for your password via email.

Dear Webmail User,
This message was sent automatically by a program on Webmail …
Your mailbox has exceeded the storage limit set by your administrator. …

To help us re-set your SPACE on our database prior to maintain your INBOX,you must contact your system administrator by replying this e-mail and enter your: Current Username: { } and PW: { } to increase your storage limit.

Thank you for your cooperation.

The best thing is: what username and password? They don’t even know what email system you think you use! I suppose I’d have to guess they’re targeting hotmail users for storing dictionaries of user/password word frequencies, since the only two links are to hotmail and live.com.

The mail came from Rubinoc@arcadia.edu apparently at BISHOP.arcadia.edu for those curious.