Essays: 1993 Archives
"Protecting yourself from Mac virus infection is easy; it's a wonder there are people who don't do it," said Ben Liberman, independent Macintosh consultant in Chicago. There are several good anti-viral software packages, both commercial and free, designed to protect your Mac from attack.
There are two types of anti-viral software: protective and detective. The commercial virus-prevention software packages -Central Point Software Inc.'s Central Point Anti-Virus for Macintosh 2.0, Symantec Corp.'s Symantec Anti-Virus for Macintosh 3.5 and Datawatch Corp.'s Virex 4.1 - support both protective and detective protection.
Abundance of software, ease of use make Macs the tool of choice for researchers
Macs are used extensively in the sciences. Not just for writing research papers and creating presentation graphics but also for instrument control, data acquisition and analysis, and scientific simulation. There are many scientific applications available on the Macintosh - commercial, free and custom-built - and scientists all over the world are taking advantage of them.
The Mac is also commonly used in the sciences as a front end to high-end workstations.
A computer platform is only as good as the software developed to run on it. To create good software, programmers need flexible development tools that take advantage of evolving hardware and operating systems.
Apple's interests lie in keeping development tools current so programmers will continue to develop for its Mac, Newton and PowerPC platforms. It has often received criticism from developers for delays and outdated tools.
Automatic disk compression programs promise to effectively transparently double the storage space on your hard drive. Although most can live up to this claim, several factors, including performance and reliability problems, have sullied the images of these products.
Given the prevalence of cheap disk drives, some doubt the wisdom of using these products at all. Many users report no problems, however, and have come to rely on automatic disk compression to squeeze every last byte out of their storage devices.
Any user who has suffered a disk failure can attest to the importance of regular backups. No matter how vigilant a backup program you implement, however, a disk crash between backups can still destroy valuable data.
"You stress backups, but in most cases people don't do them," said Mark Goldenberg, senior development engineer at Hughes Aircraft Co. of Fullerton, Calif. "Or the file they destroyed or deleted is one they created that day." In situations such as this, emergency disk recovery tools can prove invaluable.
In April, the Clinton administration, cleaning up business left over from the Bush administration, introduced a cryptography initiative that gives government the ability to conduct electronic surveillance. The first fruit of this initiative is Clipper, a National Security Agency (NSA)-designed, tamper-resistant VLSI chip. The stated purpose of this chip is to secure telecommunications.
Clipper uses a classified encryption algorithm.
Public Switched Systems Are Becoming the Leading Edge in Wide-Area Networks
For many years, the only way for distant computers to communicate over the public telephone system was via a voice-quality link, either a dialup line or a point-to-point leased line. Big companies needed better connections, and several data communications standards, such as X.25, were developed to provide them on these lines. As networks expanded and applications required speedier transmission rates, time-division multiplexing (TDM) technologies stepped in to provide cheaper and faster data transfers on large-bandwidth circuits, often making it cheaper to lease a dedicated T1 line than to run several low-speed lines.
In recent years, increased transmission rates, moreintelligent network equipment and cleaner transmission lines have spurred the growth of packet-switching technologies.
Security problems have become almost as commonplace as desktop computers. A disgruntled city employee, trying to get back at the boss, digs into the mayor's personal files and sends damaging information to the press. A woman asks her computer-expert husband to recover an accidentally deleted budget file; he recovers not only that file, but purposely deleted letters to an illicit lover. Or a major corporation loses critical financial data to an industrial spy who dialed in to a company file server.
Originally a nonvolatile storage standard, PCMCIA has grown to be a much more versatile interface. With its small size and low power draw, it has gotten a lot of attention from computer developers looking to reduce both bulk and power on their portable products.
Apple is evaluating PCMCIA for its PowerBook line, and Newton will ship with a PCMCIA slot; the slot also will support an Apple-proprietary 32-bit bus called TrimBus. Using PCMCIA, users can plug in cards containing everything from interactive maps to network connectors.
A PCMCIA card is a removable device about the size of a credit card (2.126 by 3.37 inches).
Photo of Bruce Schneier by Per Ervland.
Schneier on Security is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Resilient Systems, Inc.