A PC is a personal computer that is intended for a single user for the tasks of word processing, progamming, sending digital documents (text, images, audio, or video) to other computers that is on network, video editing, music editing, video game play, and other software. A personal computer is usually owned by the person using it. It is generally of low cost and simple in operation. The normal PC user is not a programmer or is even interested in programming. The first generation of computers were called microcomputers and were only owned by engineers and those who had the skills to operate it.


The Macintosh, called Mac for short, is a personal computer designed, engineered, and advertised by apple. The computer was named after the Macintosh Apple and the original Macintosh was released on January 24, 1984. The Mac used an intuitive GUI based on windows that is still being used today. The Macintosh is, nowadays, not the only family of computers available from Apple. There are a variety of Macs from he "budget" Mac mini desktop to the midrange server Xserve. Macintosh systems are mostly targeted towards the home consumer, education, and professional markets.


Co-developed by Apple, IBM, and Motorola, and currently produced by IBM and Freescale, the current product family of Macintoshes uses special PowerPC processors. This processors uses a different type of technology than the ones for PC. Current Machintosh computers use RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer), a concept developed by John Cocke of IBM in 1974. His theory was a computer only uses 20% of its instructions leaving the other 80% superfluous. And so a processor based on this concept would require less transisters and would execute instructions faster. PCs use CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer) on the basis that it is easier for programmers to code by reducing the amont of instructions needed to program the CPU. Also because of the high cost of memory in the past, less code means cheaper computers. Today, memory is no longer an issue but the market is still using predominantly CISC CPUs. Because Macs and PCs use different types of processors and different operating systems, it is hard to compare the speed just by looking at it's clock speed. A 1GHz Mac can out perfom a 1GHz PC any day of the week.


The original OS was simply called "System." After System 7.6 the official name become Mac OS. Eventually, Apple bought out Steve Job's company NeXT and started to develop a new operating system based on UNIX. While this was in the works, Apple released Mac OS 8 and 9. Mac OS X was released in 2001 and is considered one of the system's selling points. It's stability is revered by all users, including PC enthusiasts.

OS X was based upon NeXT's operating system, NeXTSTEP. Older versions of Mac OS still work under OS X, although with the new Intel processors coming in 2007, this possibility will come to an end. OS X is the most commonly used UNIX based system today and is up to version 10.4, codenamed "Tiger." It's next system release date is winter 2006 with codename "Leopard."


The majority of PC users use an operating system called "Windows" developed by Microsoft. It's user interface is similar to that of Apple's with text boxes overlaying each other and a mouse controlled cursor. Microsoft first released Windows in 1985 with the unsuccessful Windows 1.0. It lacked functionality and was merely and an extension of MS-DOS. It didn't gain popularity until 1990 when Windows 3.0 was released. It offered multtask capabilities and a better GUI. In 2001, Microsoft released Windows XP.

A July poll of Network Computing magazine readers found that 87% of their organisations use Windows. Because of this popularity, Windows has become the target of many hackers. Security has been the major weakness of windows for many years. Windows was originally designed for only one user and without a network connection. It didn't have a built in security feature. Combined with flawed code, Windows became the playground for virus programmers.


Myth: Apple only makes consumer products.

In addition to the famous iPod, Apple provides a wide range of products and services that enable scientists to do highly complex computational research and achieve quick results. With the Power Mac G5 and Xserve G5, Apple puts the power and performance of 64-bit, high-performance computing within reach of the bench scientist.

Myth: The Mac is unstable.

Beneath the surface of Mac OS X lies an industrial-strength UNIX foundation. With preemptive multitasking and protected system memory, it’s hard at work to ensure that your computing experience remains free of system crashes and compromised performance.

Myth: Macs are proprietary.

Mac OS X is based on an open source variant of FreeBSD. Developed entirely with openness and interoperability in mind, it incorporates the major open standards for directory services, programming and scripting languages, interprocess communications and arithmetic libraries. Apple hardware also uses industry standard management protocols and physical connectors.

Myth: Limited applications for the Mac.

The most important and popular scientific research applications, spanning a wide range of disciplines in the life sciences and physical sciences, are available for UNIX-based Mac OS X. These include a variety of open source, commercial and custom code that give you a full range of tools to acquire, analyze and publish your research data. And the number of applications for Mac OS X keeps on growing.

Myth: Macs won’t fit into my network.

Mac OS X includes the major networking protocols for accessing every major server platform, including Windows, Linux and UNIX. You can browse Windows networks right from the Finder, as well as easily communicate with UNIX NFS file servers. Mac OS X is the most compatible operating system available today. On the server end, whether you have Mac, Windows, UNIX or Linux clients — or any combination thereof — UNIX-based Mac OS X Server provides cross-platform support right out of the box for native file sharing, as well as Apache web server and WebDAV server, POP and IMAP mail, ftp, QuickTime Streaming Server, DNS and DHCP.

Myth: Macs are expensive.

Xsan delivers an advanced storage area networking (SAN) solution at a fraction of the price of competing systems. Xcode, Mac OS X’s integrated developer environment, is included with the operating system. The Apple Volume License Program offers great cost savings with unlimited client licensing on Mac OS X — you can serve thousands of users without spending additional thousands in licensing fees.

Myth: Even with a Mac, I still need a PC on my desk.

What’s unique about the Mac is its ability to productivity Mac applications side-by-side with your UNIX scientific applications — X11, Java and command line applications alongside Microsoft Office, your email client and browser. This means you can move your entire workflow to a single Mac system.

Myth: New Mac users and IT staff face a steep learning curve.

Ask them — the millions of people who use and love their Macs — why it’s become such an integral part of their lives, and most will tell you that it’s because it’s remarkably easy to use — and it just works. It lets them do what they want to do — their way.

Myth: You can’t develop cross-platform applications on a Mac.

Mac OS X is a superior development platform that includes a robust set of developer tools allowing you to develop and test cross-platform applications. With the depth and maturity of the UNIX foundation of Mac OS X and the large number of tools that are shared across many other platforms like Linux and Solaris (and even available on Windows), you have a rich toolbox for creating cross-platform applications.

Myth: Macs don’t run Microsoft Office.

Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac OS X gives you Word, Powerpoint and Excel — all with the same familiar interfaces. Thanks to exclusive features, the Mac versions of these applications actually improve on their Windows counterparts in several areas. Nor do you have worry about file incompatibility when you want to share your Office files with colleagues in the Windows world — all Office files are fully compatible between Mac and Windows, so you can share your documents, spreadsheets, presentations, what have you. Other Microsoft applications such as Windows Media Player, MSN Messenger are available for the Mac, as well. Mac OS X also supports many proprietary protocols, file formats and other Microsoft-specific technologies that enable Macintosh computers to be used with Active Directory and Exchange mail servers and Microsoft’s VPN serve


Myth: If you don't 'stop' a USB device before unplugging it from a PC, you'll screw things up.

If you wait until the device stops writing data and then pull the drive out, you're unlikely to experience serious problems. Although Windows takes you to task for such rashness, even Microsoft downplays the peril.

Myth: Magnets zap your data.

Fortunately, most modern storage devices, such as SD and CompactFlash memory cards, are immune to magnetic fields. "There's nothing magnetic in flash memory, so [a magnet] won't do anything," says Bill Frank, executive director of the CompactFlash Association. "A magnet powerful enough to disturb the electrons in flash would be powerful enough to suck the iron out of your blood cells," says Frank.

Myth: Cookies track everything you do on the Internet.

Sure, cookies can perform limited tracking when you're browsing Web pages. And some persistent cookies can trace your movements from site to site. For instance, cookies from DoubleClick, a company that feeds targeted Web ads to users, track your surfing to any DoubleClick-enabled site to make sure that you don't see the same advertisement over and over.
But most cookies are far less intrusive. A cookie used by, for example, to personalize the Web site for you doesn't pay any attention to what you do when you head to another shopping site such as Barnes and Noble.

Myth: Windows' Japanese edition uses haiku error messages

Sadly, such messages are fictional. The list of haiku messages circulating on the Internet is culled from a 1998 contest organized by Salon, an online magazine, which challenged readers to come up with error messages in haiku form.

Myth: Terrible things happen if you turn off your PC without shutting down Windows.

Maybe Microsoft's warning holds some water, but don't worry about straining the system or harming Windows. PC World ran 30 iterations of an informal test, turning off a pair of systems running Windows XP without first shutting down Windows. Each time they left documents open in Word, Outlook, and Quicken. And they left their Internet connection up and running. After they turned each PC back on, they ran Symantec's Norton Disk Doctor and the Windows disk checker to see if the hard drive had suffered any ill effects. They reopened the applications that they had left running and reconnected to the Internet. Problems? Disk Doctor found no disk errors, and their files were intact--at least up to the last time they were saved, but not always to the point of the last edit made.

Myth: Turning off your PC daily to save power shortens its life

There's no definitive answer. Most authorities, however, lean toward the idea that shutting off does more good than harm--plus it saves power. Kevin Krewell, editor in chief of the Microprocessor Report, supports that side of the debate. "Processors typically have a ten-year life span," he says, so a PC will be dead weight before switching it on and off could affect the CPU.

Myth: DOS is dead.

Microsoft's MS-DOS, introduced in 1981, has earned the computer equivalent of a senior citizen's discount. But it's not dead yet. According to research firm IDC, just over a million copies of DOS will be used at the end of this year, but that's down from 2.2 million in 2004.

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