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back to article Apple in the workplace

Apple's success as a manufacturer of consumer electronics is beyond question. The kit has become an accepted part of many people's lives, and the brand is one of the most well respected and desired on the planet. You might think this is good or bad. You might not care. This is secondary to the fact that the Apple phenomenon is …

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Bronze badge

i wil ignore it if possible

whenever i do have to implement it it just causes headaches :(

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Jobs Halo

Openness? Inter-operability?

"...arguably stimulating the reversal of a 20 year old trend towards openness and interoperability."

As defined by whom? One of the problems I have, as a savvy but nonetheless locked down mere user, is that my experience with corporate IT is that if it can be locked down, it is. I can't even turn on font smoothing on my Windows box because it is not "policy." And inter-operability? With what? Other similarly locked-down PC's? I know many of your readers are going to be IT pros who are not running under the restrictions they force on everyone else (in the name of security, but largely because they can), but Apple products to me represent something pleasing to use, well-thought out, and yes, it's a cliche but it does "just work." In fairness to my IT colleagues (who largely implement other people's assinine policies) they do let me run an iPhone instead of a BlackBerry. And why would I want to? Because I am perfectly happy - indeed, I _like_ - the idea that if I lose it I can hone them up and have them wipe it for me. But if they want me to carry the thing around 24/7, I want my music, my personal email - my stuff basically. If I got a firm-issued BlackBerry to access the same email with, on a real-world basis, the same level of mail security (I do not work for MI5), all of this would be locked. Why? Largely, because it can be. Apple products represent a triumph of design and of the user experience (and you may believe marketing), but they also represent freedom from this suffocating nonense.

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FAIL

Re: "...it's a cliche but it does "just work."

'Cliche' is the wrong word. Try 'myth'.

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Megaphone

Locked down

You know why your locked down don't you?

Its not a personal attack on your intelligence as a lot of people I have worked with are reasonably tech savy and would quite easily be able to handle a PC / MAC / Whatever without killing it. In my 12 years experience if the normal users are not locked down they will do something wrong intentionally or not and the majority are not those tech savy types.. This then causes a lot more work for IT the departments, which only seem to get smaller in size.

Does the machine allow you to do your work? I assume yes then what is the problem? You cannot install xyz player you want? Have you even thought about compatibility issues and the increase in support needed to open up a lot of the settings?

I do agree that not allowing to font smoothing is a bit to far. The only thing I can think of there is that it may break an internal app?

The openness the article was talking about is open standards. Not corporate policies.

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"Freedom from this suffocating nonsense"

Have you any ideas the hoops you have to jump through if you want to develop for an Apple product? It's ludicrous that if my company adopts (for example) the iPhone as our standard mobile tool and we then decide that we need a custom built app, developed in house with existing expertise, for that tool, we have to have Apple's approval.

F**k that! If that's not suffocating nonsense I don't know what is.

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@Spawn of Beaker

You're completely wrong. There are numerous ways of deploying custom enterprise apps without going through the Apple app store approval process.

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FAIL

RE: "Freedom from this suffocating nonsense"

"Have you any ideas the hoops you have to jump through if you want to develop for an Apple product?"

Yes. You need to download the developer pack. Then you can make as many OSX programs as you like!

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Grenade

@Ragarth: Yes.

Yes, I do know. Because it makes your lives easy, and because Microsoft has given you tools, so you use them - while of course not inflicting them upon yourselves. So font smoothing, no, they don't care. But they do want me to have the corporate logo on the desktop, which means that the tab in the Displays control panel is locked down. Which is assinine. They could just say, "please use the corporate desktop and screensaver: it's there because we want to create a professional image when you're away from the desk and clients come round. This is part of our mandatory branding, and you should think of the impression we're trying to create along the same lines as the stationery we ask to use for client-facing documents. Thanks for your help." And then you (being management) have a word if someone doesn't comply, in much the same way you would with any other transgression from office policies. It's not that big of a deal, as Steve would say. But they don't, they just lock it.

The thing is, my previous employers who manage literally trillions of dollars of other people's money (and so, I think, understand risk) invested more in front office IT than anyone else in their sector. They know what they're doing, and they can manage PC's with a common platform, core apps, and still to manage security that is a discreet yet comprehensive so that if users want to install Google Desktop, they can. (And why would I want to? Because it is the only way to live with Outlook, which is incapable of searching through its own mail.) They've also found that it tends not to be a good of their tech staffs' time to come up and change minor settings, and yes, it is a growing irritant like an ingrowing toenail which people hate out of all proportion to its importance, so why do it? And no, I'm not a teenager and I don't need player XYZ. But I work in finance and actually yes, it is important to be able to update the crappy WMP if I need to without asking permission, if that's what Bloomberg is expecting.

Now, let's be clear. I'm not hostile to security. I'm not hostile to policies being put in place to save the stupid from themselves. I woudn't be hostile to differential permissions based on experience, tenure, seniority, etc. But the pendulum has swung so far in the typical corporate environment that these policies have become ends in themselves, just because they can be set that way. Maybe my office is unusual (but I don't think it is) but I am nagged by IE (and they want me to use 6!) every time I see a page which has both open and secure content. That happens to include virtually every work-related site I go to. And I am not trusted to manage my own security settings such that I make this pointless verbiage go away once and for all. Add to that purchasing decisions made by people who won't have to use the stuff (and it's amazing to mw how many IT support workers who never see clients seem to have the newest BlackBerries and thinnest laptops), and is it any wonder that users are sick of it, and will just buy their own stuff? No, it isn't. And people like you, Ragarth, perversely incentivise us to do it.

As to the openness the article was referring to, I got that. I just thought it was ironic . But I think your perceptions about Apple are ten years out of date on the desktop which is more "open" in every way than Windows, which let's face it is the corporate alternative. On the phone, it's a canard: I mean, it's on GSM, supports HTML, and all the major mail protocols. What more does it need to do? What Apple allows app developers to do has absolutely no relevance whatever to 99% of users, and support for those users.

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Anonymous Coward

@Alex Johnson 1

Pffft, typical bean counter. There's a little bit more to managing Enterprise wide IT than deciding what desktop policy to have. The tools of IT are provided and set up in a certain way to provide a platform from which to do your work, if you have a problem then talk to the relevent people, they will decide if changes need to be made, not you. It is not your place to tamper with with the platform as much as it is your place to start painting the walls or changing the carpet because you've decided you'd like a bit of a change or have been suckered in my some marketing about a certain type of phone.

How would you like it if every department started coming up with their own procurement policys, purchase order forms and started getting themselves company credit cards and the like. I assume you would hit the roof and demand that it all stops immedeatley and every one reverts back to the systems provided by the Finance department, yes? well, well, well...

OK, I'm guessing you work in Finance rather than in the Finance department but my point still stands.

I'm fairly liberal when it comes to wallpaper and screensavers those things are in the domain of the end user, but other software configuration, security settings, installing google desktop!?!? No, if you let users have control over those things, they break everything. Always have, always do and they always will.

You may be the exception but majority rules, and the vast majority of users don't have a clue.

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Coffee/keyboard

Wow...

I can't wait to see all the thoughtful, considered and objective opinions you'll get on this one..

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Apple's gear in business

It's the same as anything else. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it does not and what you have to watch out for are the foaming fanatics that try and force you to use (or avoid using) something based on their prejudices rather than the needs of the business.

Quite simple really.

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Anonymous Coward

@Rob

I know what you mean. We recently upgraded our website and all the designers use Dreamweaver (well, most - try and find non-Mac, non-Dreamweaver firms). I suggested we get one Macintosh so we wouldn't have to pay an external agency to manage it once complete (we're an IT company after all), the box could sit by me and have one purpose, the web.

The answer was a resounding, "NO!"

The solution was to get them to create it in Dreamweaver and put me through hell importing it into Expression so we could remain on Microsoft.

Is that reasonable and rational?

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Exactally the point

I am not and have never been a fan of Apple since having to fix a lot of pre OSX machines (shudder) but if they fit the job better then they need to be available.

It is the business requirements that need to be fulfilled (I assume why people have jobs) and not your own requirements.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

More droppings than a flock of pigeons

Macs don't play nicely with Windows networks. They leave their droppings all over your file servers (hidden DS_Store files). There isn't even a standard ZIP file viewer - you have to unzip the whole package just to extract one file. Microsoft Office 2008 is a joke - no support for VBA! (OpenOffice doesn't support VBA either).

Macs are great for working in a single application, e.g. Photoshop or Dreamweaver. They fail on using lots of different apps together effectively.

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FAIL

RE: More droppings than a flock of pigeons

"Macs don't play nicely with Windows networks."

That's because AFAIK Windows use their own stupid method of networking. If things were a little more standards compliant on the Windows side, things would be better.

"There isn't even a standard ZIP file viewer - you have to unzip the whole package just to extract one file."

Funny, my Mac came with software pre-installed that lets you open Zip files, choose the contents you want to extract and then extract them to a directory of your choice. What's more, it hand;es LHA, Tar, gzip and numerous other formats...

"Microsoft Office 2008 is a joke - no support for VBA!"

Boo hoo. That's as daft as saying that MS Office on Windows is a joke because it doesn't support Applescript!

"Macs are great for working in a single application, e.g. Photoshop or Dreamweaver. They fail on using lots of different apps together effectively."

Umm. No. Mine can quite happily handle running Word, iTunes, Safari and Photoshop all at once. My PC on the other hand used to really struggle when shifting from graphics intensive packages to other things, I think it was swapping virtual memory in and out that caused the problems. In fact, this is one of the reasons I gave up on Windows. As an OS it's bloody terrible!

After reading what you wrote, I have to ask - when did you last use a Mac? The 1990s?

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Bronze badge
Flame

RE: More droppings than a flock of pigeons

Out of the box, Snow Leopard doesn't let you browse through zip files. You have to extract everything. That's fine if you're only dealing with a few small files, but if you have massive archive zips then it takes forever to go through them. It's really annoying if you only need to get one file out. You can buy a $20 app to browse zip files; in fact you can buy $20 apps to fix most Mac annoyances. Or you can just buy a PC with Windows 7 already installed - and it'll be cheaper.

(The other major annoyance is that all current iMacs and MacBooks have glossy screens. If you work during daylight hours or anywhere near a window this causes eyestrain.)

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FAIL

The clue here is..AFAIK

The rest of the comment shows you don't. When did you last use a Windows network? The 1990s?

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Anonymous Coward

Issues..

We've got a few Macs here in our corporate environment, and although they are elegant in their design, their integration to a Windows Domain leaves much to be desired. We've had numerous problems with computers binding to the domain. This appears to stem from an issue with Apples Bonjour network stack and the way they integrate mDNS services. Help from Apple support is marginal at best and each new update to OS X almost always ensures more issues on an integration standpoint. I would tread very lightly if someone came to me asking for this integration in the future.

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Grenade

Windows is the problem

You're blaming the Mac because you don't have UNIX servers using open protocols?

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Jobs Halo

Love them

All my developers are using Macs. They require less support than the Windows machines.

My Developers love them.

I have more Macs than Windows PCs, I spend more time supporting windows.

Now if I could just get rid of the last 10 Windows machines I would be a happy man.

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FAIL

Hmmm, a clue in the numbers methinks

'The last 10 Windows machines...' says it all. If you were looking after a network of THOUSANDS of machines, and had manage users across the whole enterprise you would think totally differently. Apple does not do 'enterprise' anything - they are OK for stand-alone work (e.g. personal/home use), and look 'real priddy' but PLEASE keep them away for the corporate network.

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Grenade

The Mark of the Extra Gullible.

That's what it should be known as. You know that worm-eaten fruit, and those white earbuds. Marks a person as below average intelligence, and extra gullible, and a ripe target for sales-droids.

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Big Brother

The Mark of the Extra Yoof.

To judge a company's decision on choice of platforms. Marks a person as below average intelligence, and extra gullible, and a ripe target as no longer considered employable.

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FAIL

I need to hook up my iPhone to the corporate Wifi

No. You don't. Nor do you need to copy all the sensitive company documents over to it via USB.

GTFO your non-controlled hardware, regardless of vendor. Replacing you costs less than a lawsuit.

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Jobs Halo

Two years ago...

...before the recession/slump/downturn/international economic screwup struck I was a junior part of a project to launch a new financial business here in the UK. The money was mostly American, the personnel all British, and the decision was taken to provide the company's several hundred staff (circa 340) with Macs. The reasoning behind the decision was pretty simple: although the investment was somewhat greater than buying, or leasing, an equivalent number of PCs, the Macs would last longer, be easier and more pleasant for staff to use and security simpler to manage because of the reduced numbers of likely threats. Another, although less important, factor was cosmetic - Macs look better around the place, impress customers and other visitors and do more to raise morale in the workforce. PCs are viewed as a necessary evil by most personnel and they treat them with suspicion and disdain.

Experience with IT departments in the past had demonstrated pretty conclusively that IT departments prefer PCs because PCs are less reliable and shorter lived and their sole purpose is to keep great numbers of nerds in overpaid employment. Several of us have worked in PC-only and mixed PC/Mac environments in earlier incarnations and wouldn't want to trouble ourselves with the hell of Windows in any environment ever again. The idea that Macs are preferred by non-techy types because they find Windows too complicated is as laughable as it is wrong.

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Flame

Macs in Corporate?

I rub shoulders with a lot of PC techies of varying degrees of experience/expertise due to my sales job. The consensus about allowing Macs into the corporate scene seems to revolve around making sure they are restricted in numbers and/or sidelined and sometimes deliberately compromised, purely to give the impression to upper management that they are a PITA. The reasoning behind this is that they require far less support and techie jobs need to be protected.

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Haha!

Seriously? are you for real?

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Stop

pls ignore previous comment

I was just trying to log in. Stupid Roboform :D

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