Focus on Apple
Re: Bill Gates on Mac OS X security Feb 03 2007 02:29AM
Pat Plummer, MD (blacksun ix gotdns org) (1 replies)
Re: Bill Gates on Mac OS X security Feb 03 2007 05:02AM
David Maynor (dmaynor gmail com) (2 replies)
Re: Bill Gates on Mac OS X security Feb 03 2007 03:21PM
Dave Schroeder (das doit wisc edu) (2 replies)
Re: Bill Gates on Mac OS X security Feb 04 2007 11:42AM
Howard Oakley (h oakley btconnect com)
Could I make some observations as a freelance journalist who has covered
this sorry saga? Although the title that I write for is not in the US
mainstream, and as a freelance I have little contact with the PR machines, I
have been writing freelance about techie aspects of Macs for over 15 years.
You can also read what I hope are more responsible commentaries on these
issues at the MacUser site below.

The fundamental problem with what happened last summer was that what should
have been a widely-supported discussion became polarised into PR war. There
were some unfortunate coincidences that made this more likely - for example,
the time of year when many people were on vacation or not really paying
proper attention, and Secureworks' corporate changes - but many key elements
that made this inevitable.

The demonstrations reported were bound to polarise. First, the released
video was nicely agnostic but was then reportedly backed up by private demos
that were also Mac-based. If the aim was to show a cross-platform issue,
then at least one non-Mac demo was essential. Those chosen to see a private
demo included journalists and security researchers, but this ignored the
incredibly competitive nature of journalism - if any journalists were to be
shown private demos, then a fair cross-section should have seen them. If
that could not have been managed, then *only* researchers should have had
private demos.

Words given to journalists have to be extremely guarded, or they will be
quoted out of context by at least some, and the whole message will then be
driven according to their orientation.

This was made easier by the fact that many of us seem to live in the
'blogosphere' rather than the real world of users. Most users get quite
upset (or turned off) when they read about zealots and fanboys, because most
Mac users are trying to make their living from their Macs and frankly don't
care less about extremist bloggers. I am getting increasingly disenchanted
with the large number of bloggers who feel that they should be the shock
jocks of the Internet - they serve no-one any good, even though some have
some pretty good technical knowledge and content. If you really want to get
community concern about issues, appeal to the community of users, not the
zoo that is the 'blogosphere'.

A lot of this comes back to the role of security (or any other) researchers,
and their involvement with PR. Just as in 'real' science, the researcher's
primary duty is to portray the results and implications of their work
impartially and accurately, without fear or favour. That conflicts with the
desires of PR, so the researcher has a constant battle to correct the PR and
animal sounds from the zoo. Even in established sciences with very
experienced researchers, this can be difficult to achieve, and we can all
recall absurd and deviant press stories about carefully presented scientific
research (global warming is a topical example). But the struggle must go on.

I am very sorry that Jon and David had such a rough time, that so many PR
people, journalists and bloggers behaved so execrably towards them, and that
the research and the users were largely ignored. But you just have to pick
yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on, a bit wiser and more


Dr Howard Oakley
The Works columnist for MacUser magazine (UK)

[ reply ]
Re: Bill Gates on Mac OS X security Feb 03 2007 04:56PM
David Maynor (dmaynor gmail com) (1 replies)
Re: Bill Gates on Mac OS X security Feb 03 2007 05:17PM
Dave Schroeder (das doit wisc edu)
Re: Bill Gates on Mac OS X security Feb 03 2007 07:24AM
Pat Plummer, MD (blacksun ix gotdns org)


Privacy Statement
Copyright 2010, SecurityFocus