Mac Musings

A Small Mac Victory

26 June 2000 - Carl Blake

Originally posted to EvangeList. Published here with permission of the author.

I thought I would share a small victory with the lista's. A company I recently went to work for did not have one Mac in the entire company. I gotta admit I had the willies when they asked me to take the job. Took four offers before I would consider it. I mean, jeez, going into a complete Windows environment and not one Mac. Takes desire and a little bullheadedness.

They had a consultant who told them that Macs could not be put on their ethernet network - because they did not work very well in a network environment and were to difficult to support. I was horrified that a consultant would say anything that stupid.

Well, the cool thing is that in my contract I negotiated the right to select my workstation of choice, providing it was not completely out of hand.

The day I started I ordered a G4/450 fully loaded a new 19" monitor, FireWire CD, Etherpeek, Timbuktu, stuck Virtual PC on it, added an extra video card and a 17" monitor. I then added this very cool product called DAVE. It allowed me to bring up every single shared PC device and access them on the network as if I were a Windows client. This freaked the consultant out because it was easier to use than the PC file sharing stuff.

The consultant wanted to know where the Windows box was when I had Virtual PC up on the 17" monitor. Of course, he couldn't find the CPU, so it had to be magic, cuz a Mac can't run Windows. Then I really freaked him out when I covered the other screen with a Timbuktu session to a client machine in the shop. How could the Mac possibly do that? Duh!

The real funny part was the consultant could not copy a file or send it out of the network on one Windows computer. He had full access to the servers and still could not do it. (At that time he denied me access to my own company servers but would willingly give me a user account. Gee, that was nice of him.)

His solution was to use AOL to move a file and send it via AOL email. I fell down laughing. I should have known when he flashed his business card - and it had an AOL email address on it - that he was not much of a consultant. I snatched the file off the network with my Mac, then ftp'd it for him in about 2 minutes. He spent 2.5 hours trying to figure out a way to send that file and billed us $65 an hour for his time.

I proved my point: the Mac could exist on the network and was much friendlier than anything else there. We also got another G4 for the marketing folks.

The best most coolest part: The company president is looking at an iBook for his home and his office. I'll have one in his hands in two weeks.

There are 187 PCs there and were no Macs.

Now there are 187 PCs and 2 Macs. Not much as yet, but it is a start. Once we get a CAD program worth a hoot back on the Mac, I am going to dump every PC running a CAD program and install Macs.

Hey!! I couldn't take the job unless I could get a few Macs in the door. Could you imagine being forced to use a Windows box all day long?

Follow Up

I must have gotten some 120 emails since the above post on EvangeList. In fact, I am still getting them. I appreciate every single reply. Many mentioned it was a good story, and many others mentioned CAD programs that would be useful.

I recieved notes about CAD programs I had never even heard of, but they truly exist and some go way back.

I thought you might be interested in more. I was called into the CFO and CEO office area. They explained that I was now in complete charge of the IS department and everything that goes on. Any decisions that were to be made must go through me. This was a considerable change from the day I started. They also said that the consultant now was to report directly to me. He worked for me, and I could do whatever needed to be done.

Well, the consultant quite four times that same day and finally walked out the door. Macs will reign at some point. You know the drill - one in the back door turns into a flood.

Perhaps with better software and some common sense taking over, and folks finding out how much NT and other Microsoft products really cost to deploy and support, cooler heads will prevail. We may see Macs taking on a stronger role and moving back into business. Then again, maybe I just evangelized too much and got them dazzled. :-)

I want to point out that the main reason the consultant was having a problem was that he said that the Microsoft Exchange Server only worked one way: his. He kept wanting the NT server to do everything, and with our setup it just would not work. There were a number of reasons why, but suffice it to say the consultant had no clue.

Another thing he said was that the Exchange Server could only utilize the first initial and last seven characters of the user name for email and accounts, and of course the first two letters had to be capitalized. I said,"What? Are you nuts?" The people that have names longer than seven characters were not even able to tell him which seven characters, so how can we expect vendors and others to get it right?

The consultant explained to management that the MS Exchange server could not get Internet email and still give them all the things they wanted like calendaring and scheduling. It simply would not work, and I was crazy and did not know anything. My contention was that it would work the way we needed, and I proved it.

Anyway, the consultant is out, and we are moving forward.

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Dan Knight has been using Macs since 1986, sold Macs for several years, supported them for many more years, and has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. If you find Dan's articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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