Locked but Loaded


Last week, Cisco let it be known that he was ready to give up his Mac Mini in exchange for a Windows PC. It’s what his friends have, it’s what his school runs, and, well, he’s seven.

Still, going from OS X to Windows? Giving up the slick ‘stack-of-six-CDs’ form factor for a mini-tower’s worth of eyesore? Apple to MS? The boy needed some serious talking-to. Two days I geared up for it, simplifying my reasoning to elementary school level. But in so doing, I completely defeated my own arguments. And, well, he’s seven.

So I spent the weekend putting together a decent XP-class P4 out of my previous two rigs. An upper-end core solo from right before the duos took over, a couple of gigs of RAM, an 80 gig drive for the OS and a 320 for his growing collection of, uh, ripped media, etc.

Now, I’m pretty handy with XP. I managed and was the technical lead in two projects that migrated whole critical networks of hundreds of workstations over to the platform from NT. I designed the Active Directory configuration for the severs and developed tightly locked down, closely managed workstation configurations for a variety of user types and requirements. I took full advantage and squeezed every bit of functionality I could from global/local policies, user profiles, and everything the Zero Admin initiatives could give me to come up with a solid, reliable, and relatively secure XP-based workstation build.

So no bot-net-bait on this home network. This little guy’s machine will be locked up tight as a drum. But after a relatively blissful year on the OS X security bubble (which is fast approaching critical mass as the Mac market share does the same — inevitably attracting the ne’er do wells and popping this lickable aqua-themed bubble) and all that vaunted XP experience, I still can’t help but feel like I’m handing the kid a loaded gun. Or a thermolyte explosive charge with remote detonators scattered all over the Internet.

I’m not an Apple elitist by any means — I run Vista on my primary desktop mostly by choice, and I’m learning to love my media-serving, torrent-leeching ‘buntu box — but this has got me asking, how responsible is this?

And, more importantly, is there a special circle in hell for those who give XP boxes to their kids?


Why I’ve been having a hard time stepping away from my home studio these days:

(flickr-noted version)

Coming home to a couple of 17-inch panels after working with a pair of 24-inchers at the office all day just got far too depressing. So after the requisite geek due diligence the web has made far simpler but no less tedious, I found myself an S panel equipped Samsung 226BW and augmented the lair with another 1,746,000 pixels of display awesome.

I did wind up having to reposition the keyboard drawer though. And there’s still a good deal of re-cabling to do to once more achieve cordless zen (the recent addition of the KPC45 didn’t help there).

Pretty happy with the result overall. In fact, I’m finding myself preferring the three panel set up over the dual 24s at work. Yeah, the total pixel count’s pretty close, but the three panel division fits my work habits perfectly, the balance speaks to me, and the altarpiece-like surround experience just feels right.

Not that I’d kick a couple of Dell 2407WFPs outta bed, mind you.