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A Six-Step Plan for Apple

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the a-man-a-plan-a-canal dept.

Apple 773

An anonymous reader writes "Open letter from Alex Salkever to Jobs. One thing in particular strikes me: 'The latest round of attacks on Microsoft software is terrifying. If using a Mac means servers in Russia are less likely to harvest my passwords and offer my identity to the highest bidder, I think that's an offer I'd like to hear more about.' I think he's got something there."

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Finally! Step 2 (4, Funny)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654653)

There it is! The elusive Step #2:

servers in Russia are less likely to harvest my passwords and offer my identity to the highest bidder

Step 1: Create Server (in Soviet Russia no less!) that harvests passwords
Step 2: Offer harvested information to highest bidder
Step 3: Profit!

Now, to create these password harvesting servers... off I go! Oh wait, he said something about a six step plan! Damn't!

Re:Finally! Step 2 (4, Funny)

vxvxvxvx (745287) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654741)

Now, to create these password harvesting servers... off I go! Oh wait, he said something about a six step plan! Damn't!

No worries mate!

Step 1: Create password harvesting server.
Step 2: Offer harvested information to highest bidder
Steps 3-5: ???
Step 6: Profit!

Let's not forget... (4, Insightful)

terraformer (617565) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654668)

Macs are not immune either...
As I type from within one I must say!

Re:Let's not forget... (3, Insightful)

arieswind (789699) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654696)

They have the same advantage over pc's that firefox has over IE, mostly that they dont have much of a market share, so hackers dont spend that much time making viruses for them. As long as they stay relatively unused by the mass public, it will stay that way. If everyone gets the same idea to move to a mac, virus wirters will shift their attention to macs.

Re:Let's not forget... (5, Insightful)

afish40 (774995) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654769)

It's not just security through obscurity. To install any new application in Mac OS X (as I imagine it is in Unix), the admin password must be input. Windows does not have this extra safeguard.

Re:Let's not forget... (4, Insightful)

arieswind (789699) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654866)

It might be a bit more secure, but remember that there is no 100% secure program. If 95% of the world was using macs, I guarantee they will find bugs, and they will exploit them. Its only a matter of time.

Re:Let's not forget... (2, Informative)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654878)

Actually OSX does not require the admin's password. It requires the user's password, and that the user be approved to install software.

This is consistent with how SUID is designed to work.

-Rusty

Re:Let's not forget... (4, Informative)

HFXPro (581079) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654924)

You can most certainly install an application in Unix without needing an admin password. You just install it locally. Windows will ask you for a username and password if you attempt to run an install without having administrative rights. Of course many people just use accounts because it is easier. I have no confidence they wouldn't run as root if they had OS X or one of the Unices.

Re:Let's not forget... (5, Insightful)

scoser (780371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654926)

But still, social engineering will allow viruses to get installed even with the password safety, because Joe User loves "free celebrity screensavers!!!" and will happily enter the password to install them.

Re:Let's not forget... (1)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654836)

Does Apple implement in Safari anything even vaguely similar to Microsoft's Browser Helper Objects?

It seems like that is where the most obnoxious things are coming from nowadays, and if that feature simply did not exist the world would be much better off.

D

Re:Let's not forget... (5, Informative)

(54)T-Dub (642521) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654844)

According to these statistics [w3schools.com] Firefox's "obscurity" is disappearing quickly. We (Firefox users) currently hold 12.2% of the market, which is a 4% increase this year. Great news for us developers who are sick of IE work arounds.

Re:Let's not forget... (5, Insightful)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654864)

And this is well bourn out by the evidence with regards to attacks on web servers. As has been well documented, IIS servers have been vulnerable at various times to several well known viruses, which have been able to spread themselves to other IIS web servers.

It is a well known factoid that IIS web servers provide the vast majority of the content available on the Internet. As a result they have been targeted by virus writers and script kiddies the world over for attacks.

On the other hand there is an open source web server that has a very low volume of sales, known as Apache, that because it provides such a low volume of the content of the Internet, has remained of little interest to virus writers and script kiddies.

Should Apache ever take off and become popular, it is likely that it will become a significant target of attack.

What's that you say? Apache actually serves more than half the content of the Internet? Damn! There goes this bit of evidence.

-Rusty

Re:Let's not forget... (3, Informative)

Zoop (59907) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654880)

Even if that weren't a crap argument, which it is, that's no reason not to switch.

John Gruber effectively demolished that claim in this post [daringfireball.net] .

Re:Let's not forget... (4, Funny)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654754)

Ok, I realize the G5 cases are big, but how small are you that you can fit inside a mac?

Re:Let's not forget... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654764)

Macs are not immune either...

Keep you filthy gay sex stories for yourself, fag!

Are you a designer or what!

Asshole.

Re:Let's not forget... (0, Redundant)

shigelojoe (590080) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654781)

As I type from within one I must say!

Oh no, terraformer is trapped in his computer!

Re:Let's not forget... (1)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654815)

The question is what's worse:

A false sense of security
or
No sense of security

?

Re:Let's not forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654897)

Yes.

In Soviet Russia... (0, Troll)

errxn (108621) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654671)

...ehh, nevermind.

Have to do it... (-1, Offtopic)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654727)

Password harvests you!

apple? (2, Insightful)

inf0c0m (83209) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654674)

apple really isnt the only alternative....

Re:apple? (5, Insightful)

arieswind (789699) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654753)

It may not be the only alternative in existence, but it is the only real alternative for all the grandmothers, and computer incompetents in the world. As much as you linux zealots hate to admit it, Linux is not the most user friendly OS to install and use. If all they want to do (or know how to do) is email, IM and download pictures off their cameras, they really don't need the flexibility Linux(or variants) gives them. Apple is similar to MS in the fact that pretty much anyone can install a mac and pick it up and use it without many problems

Re:apple? (1, Interesting)

wideBlueSkies (618979) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654907)

I'm so sick of the security holes and acive-x installed spyware that I've been finding on my XP box, that I've taken to using Mozilla on Linux from within an Exceed window.

One day, I found about a dozen spyware programs in my system32 and program files folders. I have no idea how they got there... I keep IE's security settings at the highest marks, but still these buggers got through...took hours to get rid of them..even with Spybot s&d.

I've even stopped using IE in favor of Moz on XP, and still got new spyware installed. So there's an exploit in this browser as well. Has to be, as I don't Kazaa, or any shareware utilities .I'm pretty picky about what I install, 99% commercial s/w.

My solution is to keep a physical layer between my main machine (which is where I keep all my personal and business info) and my 'web environment'. So by using Mozilla on second box (where I only keep programming stuff) There's no way (yet) for spyware to install itself and give away any real info about me. Accessing it through Exceed keeps it convenient so in practice it feels like i'm using a local browser.

wbs.

Yes, but... (-1, Troll)

colman77 (689696) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654676)

The attacks will rage upon OSX (just like they do now to Windows) as soon as it becomes popular. Exploits are found in Windows and not in OSX not becuase there are more in Windows, but because people know that the Microsoft exploits will reach more people. As soon as this becomes untrue, Mac will have the same problem Windows does. Or Linux, for that matter.

Re:Yes, but... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654698)

All units move into Phase III battle positions! Commence Apache vs. IIS flamewar!

Re:Yes, but... (0, Offtopic)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654704)

Uh...okay but I'd still like to see it! Less M$ is good....inherently.

Phew! (0, Flamebait)

daeley (126313) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654679)

Thank the good Lord God we have technology columnist-pundits! What would our poor captains of industry do without their wisdom? Come on, everybody, let's sing a hymn praising BusinessWeek and the scary-smart Alex Salkever! ;)

Re:Phew! (1)

dasheel (218574) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654876)

Yeah, look at those big brains on Alex.
Those that can't do, teach.

Better but not foolproof (0, Troll)

jillako (790560) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654688)

I think the Mac OS has been escaped the brunt of virus attacks thanks largely to its miniscule user base. I am a Mac user myself and I don't run any anti virus software but I do not think it is impossible to write a virus or exploit some security hole in the OS.. I just feel secure because I know most virus writers are happy to target the world of Windows! :) Back to the article, I do not think Apple will introduce a headless iMac; rumors seem to suggest another all-in-one solution! I would line up for either :)

Re:Better but not foolproof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654846)

I also do not use a virus protection program (I'm on Gentoo), but not because I'm not worried about viruses. What I'm not worried about is viruses affecting my entire system. As long as I don't run things as root (which I never do), the most that will ever happen is that one user will be trashed and everything else will be fine.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I can handle one user being trashed. I don't necessarily like it, but it's not the end of the world. (Where, instead, on a Windows machine...well...just start pulling out the ol' install disk if you get a virus!)

Re:Better but not foolproof (2, Insightful)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654891)

Failing of course to realize that for most users (you know, the ones that actualy don't give a shit if they can look at the kernel source) that 1 user that would be wiped out is them. And All of their files. Having the core of the OS means jack shit if all your files are gone. The core can be reinstalled, the files are gone forever.

Twelve step program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654700)

What we need is a twelve step program to save the world's enslaved masses from the evil that is Microsoft, Apple, Sun and other proprietary software and into the blessed bliss of free software.

I think he's got something there (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654705)

Not!

If Mac ever goes above 2.4% market share, it merely becomes a bigger target to exploit vulnerabilities. And there WILL be vulnerablilities to exploit on the Mac.

Perpetual Marketshare? (4, Funny)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654859)

I've come to the conclusion that Apple must have some sort of market share that defies the natural laws of the universe. For years now, Apple's market share has always been reported at ~4% with numbers as low as 2% in some places and as high as 10% in others. But the one thing that has remained constant throughout these reports is that it's a dwindling market share and it's falling rapidly. Now, how is it that 6 years ago, they could have 4%, 5 years ago they had 4%, 4 years ago they had 4%, 3 years ago they have 4%, 2 years ago they have 4%, one year ago they have 4% and this year, they still have 4%, yet every year it was declining?

This leads to the conclusion that Apple must have invented purpetual self sustaining marketshare, a graph of which could make MC Escher proud, and that they must patent this immediately so that they can increase their marketshare to -pi

Can we stop with the editorials please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654706)

"I think he's got something there."

Thanks for that, but it doesn't actually show anything other than bias and isn't really relevant.

confusing design and technology (5, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654707)

"You say the iPod, priced from $250 to nearly $500, proves that Apple can charge a premium for superior design. I disagree. What makes the iPod so hot in the consumer market is superior technology -- the first workable user interface on a digital music player. That's the reason why the premium has stuck, not the nifty form factor or funky colors.

Do you think that when Apple talks about 'superior design', they aren't talking about color, but the OS and user interface? When Alex says 'technology', and Apple says 'design', I think they are talking about the same thing.

People don't pay premium prices because of a Mac's color, or shape, but for the OS and interface. They expect the nice 'design' (in the "looks-nice" sense) because of the premium price, but are not paying premium solely for its looks.

Re:confusing design and technology (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654800)

They are paying premium because its a status symbol. Do you know how hard it is to get your hands on the iPod mini right now. Any high school girl that has one is the queen of their hive.

Re:confusing design and technology (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654813)

>They expect the nice 'design' (in the "looks-nice" sense) because of the premium price, but are not paying premium solely for its looks.

GUESS AGAIN, CHEESY-BRITCHES!!!!

I have known a handful of people who are all about mac just based on the way the device looks when it's turned off. That is to say 'solely for its looks.'

Re:confusing design and technology (1)

IWishIWasSmart (705659) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654843)

I brought the ipod mini because it is so small and looks cool. I really luv the interface after i used it. but i have to say, it has to look cool first. We are all so superficial.

Re:confusing design and technology (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654895)

People don't pay premium prices because of a Mac's color, or shape, but for the OS and interface.

Well, they do pay for the color and shape, at least in the design fields. Showing off a fleet of up-to-date Macs is a neccessity, a sign of taste and prosperity for a large ad agency or mid-level design house.

Re:confusing design and technology (4, Interesting)

jfisherwa (323744) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654909)

People don't pay premium prices because of a Mac's color, or shape, but for the OS and interface. They expect the nice 'design' (in the "looks-nice" sense) because of the premium price, but are not paying premium solely for its looks.
Tell that to my teenage sister and the purple (original) iMac she asked--no, begged--my parents for as a Christmas present a few years back. Why? It was a popular/cool thing to get due to the "cuteness" factor.

Her #1 use for the thing was .. AIM.

Apple knows what they're doing. To most people, a computer is a computer--and without their smooth design Apple is just as much a part of that commodity market as anyone else.

Yes, well if everyone started using Macs... (0, Redundant)

emorphien (770500) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654711)

...The same problems would exist. The Mac OS isn't immune, it may be true that it's harder to crack but if it were to have 95% of the market I can guaratee it will be cracked open just like windows and other MS software (IE) has been. Regardless of any good or bad software MS has made, they're the highest profile software firm out there.

But frankly, the most recent attacks on MS software aren't as bad as they are made out to be. I've hardly seen any problems and on the Windows systems I run, it's been smooth sailing. Now if I started seeing repeated attacks and they were successful in compromising the systems, I'd change my mind, but that's not happening. As it is I haven't even seen that many attempts.

Re:Yes, well if everyone started using Macs... (1)

jabella (91754) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654747)

regardless of market-share, if you're not logged into the mac as root, there's only so much a virus could do.

Re:Yes, well if everyone started using Macs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654799)

Maybe, there's ways around that and if apple had the big shitty position where MS is now, there'd probably be someone who'd find ways to work around that limitation. MS doesn't protect you as much as apple though, so it might take em longer. but it'll happen

Re:Yes, well if everyone started using Macs... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654786)

But, you have to run your windowns box with a connection to the internet for it to be attacked!

IF you just run it off line all the time, no wonder you have no worries. I use one that way too, by the way, for my PC games. (stupid games require Admin login to play them, so I yanked the internet plug on it)

No Contest (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654712)

Mac OS X is as secure as a box of Cheerios. If you want an actual secure, usable operating system, wait for Windows XP Service Pack Two or buy Windows 2003.

Re:No Contest (2, Funny)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654767)

If you want an actual secure, usable operating system, wait for Windows XP Service Pack Two...

Vaporware isn't usable. Perhaps I should look for a leaked copy of SP2 on my favorite p2p system?

Re:No Contest (1)

Gilesx (525831) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654814)

You could, but you'd probably get a faster download speed if you downloaded Release Candidate 2 from www.microsoft.com

Re:No Contest (1)

litghost (704377) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654879)

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxp pro/sp2preview.mspx you where saying?

Yeah right (4, Interesting)

mgs1000 (583340) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654715)

As if the people who buy the servers really care about whether or not their customer's information is stolen.

Re:Yeah right (1)

dacarr (562277) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654927)

If you think this, then the servers you are on shouldn't be in business.

I just can't see it.... (-1, Troll)

Gilesx (525831) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654728)

A lovely idea in principle, but in practice, it's not ever going to happen.

Taking my parents as an immediate example. They walk into a computer store and see a $399 PC all in with Windows installed. They walk around the corner and see an equivalent Mac around the 700ish price mark. You think they'd really care *that* much to spend an extra $300 on a machine they use to hassle me via email, check their family histories online and type the occasional letter to the bank?

However, just pretend that they have ridiculous amounts of cash to burn and purchase a Mac. The next day my father happens to walk to a newsagent, and sees on the shelf a computer magazine with a Cover CD of some new geneology software - full version... retails at $49! He buys the magazine, comes home, attempts to install his software, and at that point realises that it's Windows only. Macs may be easy to use from a UI perspective, but in a real world perspective, Macs are HARD to use. It's HARD to part with almost double the cost of a budget PC. It's HARD to find the varied range of software you find on a PC. It's HARD to upgrade when you want to add a little more zip to the machine. If something goes wrong (and yes, even Macs go wrong from time to time), my folks won't have a bunch of friends around the corner who know exactly how to fix that problem, or a friend with a CD crammed full of useful little fixer applications. At the end of the day, I just don't see how a Mac can be any less prone to attacks than a PC with Zonealarm, AVG Anti Virus, Firefox and Thunderbird installed.

And what about all of us geeks? Well unfortunately, I fear that Apple lose out here again. Yes, I am a geek. Yes, I am a cheap geek. I value the principles of "free" in both the beer and speech sense. I love the fact that I can regularly install little upgrades and bleeding edge software onto my Linux box. I love the fact that I can check out the code and see exactly what makes it tick. I love the fact that if I pay for any of this, it is usually through choice, and a project's little Paypal tip jar. I love the fact that the money I pay is going directly to the developers that write the applications that improve my life, rather than to a company that holds one hand with the RIAA behind it's back, and in all likelihood, would spend the majority of the cash on developing some nice new injection moulding techniques for the cases, rather than REALLY innovative software (yes yes I know about iTunes - but innovative SOFTWARE rather than just a shiny new UI would be nice. I've been able to play MP3s since before 1995 on my PC). And I smile when I see that Linux desktop share is projected to overtake Apple's within a couple of years.

To be honest, I feel that for Apple to succeed, they need to learn how to cut the elitist attitude. Stop producing overpriced machines in funky colored perspex! Stop loading your desktop PC equivalents with a million and one interfaces that the average Joe will never use. How about directing the legendary Apple ease of use at the PC? How many people do you think would choose to purchase an Apple DE that you could install on a PC? Apple vs Microsoft is a battle that I feel sure that Apple could still win. However, Apple vs IBM/PC clones et all is just stupidity. If I was Steve Jobs, I'd take a long hard look at the figures, and I'd bet the farm that there is a lot more money to be made from selling operating system software and related applications for a system that already exists in droves in the real world, than building overprice proprietory systems that not many people care about/can afford.

I would also make a gag about the Mac being the computer of choice for the gay, the metrosexual and boutiques, but I feel that the points I'm making are far too worthwhile to be modded down.

Re:I just can't see it.... (5, Interesting)

ckd (72611) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654817)

And what about all of us geeks? Well unfortunately, I fear that Apple lose out here again.

Is that why about 50% of the laptops at the USENIX Advanced Technical Conference [usenix.org] last week were Macs?

Seems like lots of geeks, at least the ones that go to USENIX (people like, er, Rob Pike, who might know something about innovative software) use Macs.

Re:I just can't see it.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654885)

People try to look at the computer world as some easily quantifiable and simplistic situation and its not. At the end of the day, the dollars you spend on a computer are going to dictate the features and reliability you want.

I am a musician and an engineer. I use the tool I find that works the best on the job I am doing. For music, I am sorry, but the PC world is light years behind the mac world. And it's not just in software, it's reliability. I used to use a PC for about ten years on music, then one day, bought an old used mac and found I could do more reliably on my old G3 350Mhz machine than my fairly new 1.2Ghz athlon machine.

Why?

Because, unlike the PC world, I was buying a system from a small set of configurations. This means that the chances of the software running reliably on the hardware I had is greater. Now I didn't have to worry about the fact that on my Athlon MB, the VIA chipset had a problem that caused bottlenecks on the south-bridge and caused me to get pops and cracks, and lockups, in EVERY piece of software I tried to use.

That's the difference. It gets the job done, and does it better. My G5 has never locked up since I purchased it. I cannot say that about any other machine. My experience has been better this way and I am productive. However, it doesn't make me oblivious to the fact that macs have problems too, including hardware and software. The difference to me is that macs are more reliable in my experience.

As an engineer, I use Sun machines and Linux machines. The sun machines are more reliable but the linux machines are faster, so we use both.

As a good friend of mine said, "The best machine is one I don't have to support"

I agree with that :)

Re:I just can't see it.... (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654894)

"I would also make a gag about the Mac being the computer of choice for the gay, the metrosexual and boutiques, but I feel that the points I'm making are far too worthwhile to be modded down."

How about making a point out of it?

Let's look at the people who can buy a Mac.
1. They have to have the money. So, that means few 'family computers' are Macs. More likely to be in the upper brackets of disposable income, have few/no children, etc.
2. Must not need a PC for work OR must need a Mac for work. Looking at number 1, we see that you need more disposable income to buy a Mac. So you might think businessmen would have it. However, their networks are MS, so they have PCs. Business incompatability keeps Macs from being the digital Beamers of upper management. Conversely, graphic artists and musicians often are trained in school on macs and work in environments with macs. Tend to be your non-traditional 9-5'er.

Very few who can only afford PCs would come to be able to afford Macs. I'd venture to guess that those who don't already have a computer aren't going to be able to afford a Mac. And once you're on either the PC or Mac track, you tend to stay on it, for familiarity, backwards compatability, etc. Therefore, the market for Macs would seem to be those who already have a Mac and are upgrading, or those whose specialized professions require it.

Bottom line: the Mac market can't grow, unless prices drop.

Except that.... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654911)

...OS X (or similar) running on x86 wouldn't really be all that different from Windows. The Windows kernel? Stable enough. The Windows UI? Nothing to write home about, but quite fine.

Windows is as it is because it supports every crappy piece of hardware with crappy drivers which ends up making the user experience suck. You don't hear that much about it here on slashdot because most here are fairly quality-conscious and well informed. Whoever picks together the "cheapest all-around-noname" computer at a webshop is bound to run into problems.

What I have found difficult to accept with the Apple's is that I never shell out that much *at once* for a PC. I upgrade a bit here, a bit there, buy a new "core" (mobo + CPU) sometimes, but never a whole new machine. If a fire cleaned me out, I'd consider a Mac. But I'd say the upgrade route from PC to Mac is rather though.

Kjella

Re:I just can't see it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654915)

>It's HARD to find the varied range of software >you find on a PC.

Geez. Here we go again. Any software that's anygood is usually available for both platforms. Sure there are more PC titles if you count all the crap! Personally, I don't buy software at Kmart.

Re:I just can't see it.... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654919)

...in all likelihood, would spend the majority of the cash on developing some nice new injection moulding techniques for the cases, rather than REALLY innovative software (yes yes I know about iTunes - but innovative SOFTWARE rather than just a shiny new UI would be nice. I've been able to play MP3s since before 1995 on my PC).

Let's put aside for the moment whether an entirely new PDF-based windowing system and a desktop that makes finally truly makes Unix for the desktop counts as "innovative software". What on earth do you want in music playing software besides a) a better interface and b) the playing of music? It's not as if anyone else is making an MP3 player that mows your lawn or cooks you dinner.

Re:I just can't see it.... (1)

nattt (568106) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654923)

Come on.... The mac is the ultimate geek machine - BSD unix that's easy to configure, but you can go behind the scenes if you want - a free, high quality IDE, and excellent and easy to use API (Cocoa) and a bucket load of open source apps available for it too. Plus, when you need it, you can run PhotoShop, FCP etc. for when you're not playing around.

Oh nice! I was getting worried! (4, Insightful)

ScottGant (642590) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654731)

It's been a few months since we've had a self-styled "expert" come along and tell Apple what their doing wrong and how they can fix it, else they will shrivel up and die.

Story contains the same thing over and over and over and over we've heard now for what...20 years now? Lower their prices, focus on what they do best, lower their prices and lower their prices.

The only thing new here is focus on security, which seems like a good thing to focus on, but only if Apple can TRUELY deliver a resonably secure system. Hopefully they can.

But it's good to see some things never die, like these articles that try to show Apple the error of their ways.

Re:Oh nice! I was getting worried! (4, Insightful)

wizbit (122290) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654802)

Mod parent up. Why is it everyone thinks they know better when it comes to Apple? I'm sure the guy didn't intend for this to be a Dvorak article, but aren't we talking about a multi-billion dollar company that just completely sold out its initial stock of iPod Minis? Think there aren't a hundred Fortune 500 companies that would love to trade places with Apple? You'd be wrong.

Apple's security has been pretty good... until now (0)

argent (18001) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654735)

But they've been following Bill Gates "simple is better than secure" mantra, and made their protocol handler (LaunchServices) the same for desktop and web protocols... with the result that they've had their first big security hole, and it's the same one Microsoft has been fighting since Windows 95/98, and like Microsoft they didn't actually fix it... they just fixed the symptom.

*sigh*

But he did the BIG missing component in Apple's marketing... a headless eMac. From my lips to Steves ear, I pray they'll wise up and build one...

Nosebleed for hours and hours (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654743)

Goddammit!

My nose has been bleeding for several hours now.

MOD PARENT -1, OFFTOPIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654825)


Parent comment has nothing to do with the 6-step plan for Apple.

Fuck you slashbot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654851)

Here's lemonparty [bushspeaks.com] for you.

Time and effort flows toward money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654745)

If more people are using macs, then it will be a more tempting target. If you raise the cost of breaking in by increasing security, then time and effort will be spent trying to crack easier targets.

Sure, it's a good selling point being a less tempting target, but the whole point of advertising is to make your product more popular, so there is a point (in the distant future, if at all of course) where Macs would become as popular of a target as PCs.

Hrrm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654746)

So 1-5 on this list are basically just saying "take the series of strategies that since Jobs took over have taken Apple from the brink of disaster to the brink of an acceptable financial situation, and take the exact opposite tack on all of them, and you'll make MORE money!"

It's possible the strategies Jobs has been pushing were right for the time when Jobs took over, and the strategies this guy is suggesting are right for now. But all I see in this article are "X is a good idea!" and absolutely none of "X is a good idea for Apple, right now!". If he understands why Apple's been doing what they've been doing and has good reasons why that needs to change, he doesn't state them. He seems totally incognizant of the quirks of apple's particular situation, and seems totally to assume that if Apple isn't already doing the things he's suggesting they do, it's only because it hasn't occured to them.

Personally I have lots of trouble taking this article any more seriously than, well, a random anonymous coward post on slashdot.

#6 is a good strategy, however, assuming Apple is willing to take some steps to beef up security and spyware-proof-ness so that such a strategy doesn't blow up in their faces once someone sees Apple's new security-oriented ad campaign and decides to write a worm targetting unpatched 10.1 installations out of spite.

K-Mart? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654750)

The guy has some sensible points (although it's clear at this point that Jobs simply will not sell to the low-end). But K-Mart seems like a peculiar success story to point to.

Ugh. Just wrong everywehre (2, Insightful)

jeffgreenberg (443923) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654751)

Price trumps style? How else do you get identified in a crowded marketplace. It's not just external style, but for the last five years the internal design style is something I hear nobody talk about. Make 'em cool and cheap. If there's no style, how can you make them cool? Cheap? How do you stay in business and be cheap? I'm not saying I want them expensive, but if they're viewed as expensive, it's because of poor marketing. USB, Firewire, etc. are all included. Ditch the all-in-one. Simplicity is what new users need...people who need space saved. What is a laptop, except an all in one computer? Sell the soap? Give away a discount on the most popular MP3 player? If you're on top, why would you do such a thing? Soap II. This is the best idea I've heard of. Except of course the people who do return it...leaves you with stock that is difficult to resell. But I do like the idea. People will get upset though, at a restocking fee. Security. This is something apple's marketing misses Really. So, that makes him 1 of 6 in my book.

Self defeating (1)

chaffed (672859) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654757)

If using a Mac means servers in Russia are less likely to harvest my passwords and offer my identity to the highest bidder, I think that's an offer I'd like to hear more about.' I think he's got something there."


Is that self defeating? What I mean is the commonly held reason for Macs not being targets is because they are so few compared to the number of MS installs.
It's like back in the day with linux. Linux did not have a known virus until it gained popularity. Though security does help that fact.
Give Macs even a quarter of the MS market and you will see every script kiddy going for macs.

Blah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654762)

This is off-topic.

That's It? (2, Insightful)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654775)

Price trumps style?

There's nothing new or interesting in the article.

It's just the same old mantra of cheaper, more modular, etc.

Jobs would read this, rightly conclude that it's just another tired summary of the market forces and contray opinions he's been aware of and dealing with for his entire career.

I understand why it's news on Slashdot; I just can't figure out why it would be news anywhere else.

Obligitory Henry Rollins Quote... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654785)

"its cause macs arnt as popular blah blah blah..."

"I'm a broken record, broken record, broken record, broken record, broken record, broken record, broken record, broken man."

Test Drive a Macintosh (4, Insightful)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654793)

5) Sell that soap II
Why not offer all Mac buyers a try-and-buy program much like what some Apple resellers are offering to purchasers of high-end Xserve units. The geeks who fork over $3,000 or so for the Xserve can have a couple of weeks to test-drive these babies, depending on the vendor. If they aren't satisfied, they can return them and get a full refund. That's unheard of in the computer business.

I believe such a tactic with iMacs and iBooks would play well, too. Show Joe Schmo's ma, who wants to use the PC only to see pictures of her grandson, how much you care about her. Show her how much confidence you have in your products. And aren't they way better looking than a Dell? Everyone already knows what a Mac is, as evidenced by Apple's consistently sky-high brand-recognition ratings. Take it to the next level.

Way back in the mid-80's Apple sponsored "Test Drive a Macintosh" -- a way to get people to play around with the revolutionary computer. Potential customers took home the computer in a tote bag and got to see everything they would get if they bought it (manuals, OS on floppies, MacPaint, MacWrite). They got to keep the computer for 24 or 48 hours (I forget which). In the little Apple dealership I worked in at the time, it was a huge success. We saw something like an 80% sell-through rate, just from that program.

So, my gut reflex was that this program would be a good idea. But then again, 2004 isn't the mid-80's. Back then, the program was a great idea because virtually no one knew about Macintosh. Now, you would be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn't know a Macintosh owner. These potential converts already have a "test drive" program: They just go over to their friend's house. And Macintosh owners have no shortage of enthusiasm for showing off their computer....

"Apple Computer": A Ridiculous Liberal Myth (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654795)

For years, liberals and pinkos have rattled on and on about supposedly "superior" computers produced by the California lefties at Apple Computer. I will explain why this company is nothing more than a front for the International Communist Conspiracy, aided and abetted by their liberal fellow-travelers in the American computer community.

This so-called "company" was founded by a pair of dope-smoking phone service thieves from Berkeley, a hotbed of Communist activity even today. "Apple Computer" supposedly went on to pioneer a graphical interface - actually developed by the good American patriots at Xerox - and develop its own hardware monopoly, just as its Communist creators would impose a state monopoly on all computer-using Americans.

For a short time, this Red front tried to infiltrate the American business community by facetiously engaging in free trade practices, but this only served to disillusion its enthralled socialist followers who complained about a supposed drop in quality. What they really couldn't stand, like all liberals, was choice and capitalism. They only returned to "Apple" when it returned to its old crypto-Stalinist practices.

"Apple Computer" is nothing more than a liberal-backed fifth column intended to subvert the American computer industry, and ultimately bankrupt good capitalist companies such as Microsoft and Intel. "Apple" isn't the only front group run by the International Communist Conspiracy. "Sun Microsystems" engages in similar monopolistic practices, trying to enforce a single hardware and software standard on all users, instead of the choices offered by Microsoft. Worst of all are the smaller Red fronts using the communist Linux operating system, with names like "Mandrake" (a French front, of course), and even really obvious ones like Red Hat! Linux is distributed under a Commie license that forces developers to give away the fruits of their labour, just as Marx ordered all good Communists to work as much as they could for a pittance in return in an illusory equal society.

All of these so-called companies are just fronts for Communists and liberal fellow-travellers. Remember, when you buy Apple or download Linux, you're supporting Communism. Good Americans support real freedom-loving businesses like Microsoft and Intel.

Laugh at me now, remember me later when you're all forced to used slow computers with horrid interfaces foisted upon an enslaved public by the commissars who used to fester in American business under the liberal myth that they were an independent company that loved capitalism called Apple Computer.

As a self-appointed representative of ... (5, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654801)

password harvesters from Russia, I'd like to dispute the negative impressions of our actions promulgated on sites like this.

Are we phishing for passwords? Yes. Are we preying on the gullibility of millions of computer users? Yes. Are we using the information that we're receiving to access as much cash/credit from the end-users as is possible, probably ruinging their credit and their lives? Yes.

But we're doing it all to fight terrorism. Didn't anybody watch our recruitment movie, Swordfish [imdb.com] ? We're the good guys. Now give us your passwords and leave us to fight the good fight.

Passwords? (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654803)

Wouldn't it be easier to simply not use Internet Explorer on whatever you have currently?

Err... (4, Insightful)

avalys (221114) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654805)

Offer a $200 bounty on a PC exchanged for a new iMac or iBook. Buyers get the $200 discount only if they bring a PC that's two years old or less. And they must have a valid receipt.

What an stupid idea. All but the crappiest two-year-old computers are still worth more than $200, especially laptops. Only a complete idiot would take advantage of that offer.

If you listen very carefully.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654806)


You can hear the sound of Steve Jobs laughing.

Apple could change the world today (1, Interesting)

saarbruck (314638) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654808)

...by releasing OS X for PC hardware.

This would have an immediate tidal wave effect, probably of near-biblical proportions. Sure it would flush Apple's hardware business in the toilet, who but the trendiest of CEOs and graphic designers would pay 3x the price for fancy form factors? But the number of people clamoring for something other than Windows is pretty large, given the MS-bashing that goes on even in mainstream media. Apple would clean up in software sales--and their license sure has MS beat. I salivate over the idea of a $199 family pack that allows one copy of OS X to be installed on 5 PCs.

Talk about introducing some fresh competition into the OS market! I can't think of a reason other than Steve Jobs' stubbornness that keeps this from happening. I would jump ship in a split second. And it might even prod game developers to get those Mac ports out the door.

Re:Apple could change the world today (1)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654869)


Great idea, too bad Apple is in the hardware business.

In Soviet Russia (-1, Redundant)

btbytes (625362) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654809)

In soviet Russia, passwords harvest you!!!

As if.... (0, Troll)

Alomex (148003) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654823)

Apple won't listen. If Apple listened it would have never gotten itself in such a conundrum in the first place.

Apple's long history of being deaf to the market and rude to users is what got them to where they are in the first place, starting from when they moved from the Apple ][ to the Mac without providing a downward compatible option. The story continues from there: tiny screens nobody liked, b/w monitors only, no floppy support, overpriced Macs, single button mice nobody but Jobs likes and on and on.

Step #1 (0)

jetkust (596906) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654824)

Lower Prices.

You've argued with a Mac-o-phile right? (2, Insightful)

Sean80 (567340) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654826)

I'm not entirely sure if the author of this article has ever actually sat down and tried to argue to a Mac-o-phile that they should switch over to something else. Take my wife for example. I could tell her that her Mac is the source of every evil in her life, where Osama bin Laden is actually hiding out, and a terrific source of radioactivity which will summarily fry her ovaries, and she still wouldn't listen to anything I say.

Hence, my critique of these points:

  • 1. See above.
  • 2. Anything which is both cool and cheap at Target is bound to fall apart in less than 2 weeks. It's a basic law of the universe. Plus cool and cheap and Target in the same sentence??
  • 3. I actually have to agree with this one.
  • 4. Umm, see 1. Money just doesn't seem to be a factor for people here.
  • 5. Agnostic.
  • 6. I kind of agree with this, but still can't see even myself switching from a PC to a Mac just for this one thing. Besides, in the total market, how many people are savvy enough to be able to value the risk from Russian hackers at $2000? Certainly not my family.

My 2c.

Six Step plan (0, Offtopic)

Ilan Volow (539597) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654830)

Is that anything like a 12-step program?

What's wrong with Apple (0, Troll)

twizzlybear (795481) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654832)

I guess i'll chime in here with my biggest issue with Apple. I am a typical finance/home user. Some photos, some audio, but I live in outlook (heck I need to, my company uses exchange and there's no other way I know of to be sharing calendars and what not given that restriction) and furthermore I live and die with Microsoft Money and Quicken to manage personal finances. About 3 months ago, I rushed out and spent nearly twice on a powerbook what I normally spend during my annual dell upgrade fest. I brought the beautiful computer home and I found several main issues that would turn off any "try-hard die-hard" mac fan: 1) there is no outlook. there is nothing close to outlook. i couldn't share calendars, i was a corporate outcast. safari does not properly display outlook web access from my exchange host and the 3 other browsers i downloaded failed to do this properly as well 2) the version of office is one step behind. frankly speaking, when all my colleagues are buzzing it up on office xp with colored tabs and all the Excel yahoo features, I'm stuck 3 years ago 3) there is no Microsoft Money, the MAC version of Quicken does NOT download from everywhere the PC version does, and i'm left typing in all my stock quotes by hand. look, i tried as much as the next guy to get this to work, but these are huge dealbreaker issues that will face any semi-sophisticated wanna-be mac advocate. i wish that i had been able to figure out a solution, but it just plain didn't work out. i can't see any real conversion of business users until this works itself out and i see business use as a huge route into the home. Good luck apple

Re:What's wrong with Apple (1)

rowdent (203919) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654892)

For your Outlook needs, Entourage 2004.

It's a good article, but... (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654855)

I disagree with one of his points.

1) Price trumps style in the computer market

Wrong. Price does not trump style, or you'd have [old_argument]Linux On The Desktop[/old_argument]. IMHO, it's all about utility. How much you get, for how much you spend. If a Mac actually gave me $3000 or so dollars worth of advantage, I'd buy one. But it doesn't, at least it doesn't for me, so I don't have one.

Consider tweaking the utility/price ratio and Mac sales will soar. You don't have to make low-end Macs, just drop the price by a percentage. It's my guess that the rise in sales will offset it. Experiment with your price point a bit, Steve. People will pay for style, they're just not willing to pay through the nose for it.

Whoops (1)

cheesekeeper (649923) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654861)

Sadly, he probably pissed off Steve in the first step, due to his oversimplification. The Mac is not just about style, Apple just happens to be one of the few companies that actually put a real effort into design. The Mac is all about being an extremely well designed integrated system - both in software and hardware. iLife is easily worth $300, included with every single Mac, not to mention the amazing OS X, which is easily worth $200. It's just really really hard to convince folks that there is that much difference between an eMac and a sh*tty $700 Dell with XP Home, MS Works, and an analog LCD.
Apple has never really been comfortable selling piece-by-piece, and to actually undercut in the way Salkever recommends would require them to do so. Personally, I'd love to see how well a flat panel eMac with a combo drive, no iLife, and a $700 price tag would do.
Can they make it happen?

6 step plan? (0, Offtopic)

nebaz (453974) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654868)

I'll take two.

Not just Russia... (0, Troll)

Etcetera (14711) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654875)


If using a Mac means servers in Russia are less likely to harvest my passwords and offer my identity to the highest bidder, I think that's an offer I'd like to hear more about.

What about the servers in PANAMA???

Some good, some bad. (1)

lpangelrob2 (721920) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654882)

All right, running comments time. :-) Mandatory disclaimer that I own a PowerBook.

Apple's share of the U.S. PC industry has fallen from 4.2% in mid-2002 to 2.8% in the first quarter, says IDC.

Apple pundits will generally tell you this doesn't matter... and I'm inclined to say they have a point. Average life of my 3 PCs before this one was 4 years. I bought the PB expecting it to last 6. Time will tell.

Sure, Apple flogs low-grade eMacs to schools at bargain-basement prices -- but they have big, fat CRT monitors. Ugh.

I just took a trip to the Best Buy website (let's make the poor assumption that Apple and Best Buy have the same ideas about margins and profits)... yup. CRTs are still roughly $300 cheaper than LCDs. I spent 20 seconds there, I didn't check for the quality of the monitors.

You probably seen the terrific product designs such as well-known architect Michael Graves' line of stylish housewares -- offered a budget prices.

Note that this is not a generalization [target.com] . :-)

Offer a $200 bounty on a PC exchanged for a new iMac or iBook.

But I like my PC too. It's useful sometimes. For... games and stuff.

Why not offer all Mac buyers a try-and-buy program much like what some Apple resellers are offering to purchasers of high-end Xserve units.

I hear this Unix thing is unbreakable... what better way to test it than to feed it to the dogs that are the general public for free for a couple weeks! :D Realistically, I think their inventories might be a bit too short to do that.

Anyways, those are my first thoughts. At the very least the guy has some interesting ideas. I still think Apple feels they're fine with the niche they have. Reply at will. :)

Obivious (0, Redundant)

Reducer2001 (197985) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654888)

In Soviet Russia, passwords harvest you!

Six step? (1)

dacarr (562277) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654898)

You know, I saw "six step", and I started wondering if they were half addicted to something - therefore needng a truncated version of the 12-step program.

Nice Resume (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654912)

How I love reading a random's attempt at getting a job at apple. I liked his Apples need to be cheaper suggestion. Yawn.

Slashdot will post ANY news piece with Apple somewhere inside.

I've Said It Before and I'll Say It Again (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654920)

ADVERTISE

That's what Apple needs to do, ADVERTISE. Now when the new iMacs come out, we'll be hit with a wave of advertising but they should do it more.

Watch TV, what do you see? You see ads for Dell, HP, and other manufacturers. You see Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Radio Shack, and more all hocking computers. What was the last Apple ad you saw? The G5 one? When was the last time you saw an iMac ad or a iBook ad on TV? Years ago you say?

Thats what it seems like to me. When we looked for a computer for my 12 year old little sister, we did look briefly at Macs. My parrents liked the idea but we went with a PC in the end because of her investment in Windows games. If it wasn't for that, it would have been a Mac. But that was because I informed them. I help out neighbors all the time with their computers (I'm in a well-to-do area) and when they want a computer, they go down to Best Buy or something and buy one, or they call Dell or some such. They don't even give Macs a first thought because they aren't advertised.

As any Machead will argue, a Mac is a great value. You get a great computer with a great OS, but you also get tons of software. You get iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, etc. You get a great e-mail client, web browser, etc. If Apple would just advertise that their computers already include about all the software you'll need, they'd sell better. Remember the ads from when the iMac first came out about how simple they were to setup? That's what we need.

Viruses. Macs don't have viruses. They don't have spyware. They don't have all sorts of problems that people in the PC world have to buy software to deal with. This should be hammered home. You shouldn't be able to walk down the street without at least 2/10 people you stop knowing Apple advertises this.

Apple needs to advertise. They have great stuff, but they need to have more people know it. Advertise the stylish laptops. Advertise discounts on iPods when you buy your student a new Mac. Advertise how easy it is to use and how many of the hassles aren't there, but ADVERTISE.

On a side note, the article does have some great suggestions, like $200 off a Mac when you turn in a PC.

You have to go with what you are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654925)

If Apple goes the down the road this author suggests they'll lose all customer loyalty and be merely another company out of hundreds. They're targeted at a niche and they're guaranteed to lose, not gain, ground if they try to fight someone else's battle by someone else's rules. Personally, I would rather have someone like Steve Jobs running Apple than this idiot. There's probably a good reason why Steve Jobs runs a big company and this other guy writes articles rather than running big companies. Even with this guy as an author, I think we can do without another moron suggesting that, instead of a company that would compromise its share of the the market for quality, what we really need is another Dell or Gateway or Compaq or...

Step 4: YES! YES! YES! (1)

peteforsyth (730130) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654930)

All-In-One is for SUCKERS!!! Most educated computer users know that a monitor will eventually crap out, and want to be able to get a cheap replacement.

A low-end headless Mac - THAT is how you'll finally get me to upgrade from my G3-enhanced 8600, Apple.

He's just another sheep (5, Insightful)

danaris (525051) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654932)

His first 4 recommendations are basically to be like everyone else:

  1. Make Macs low-margin
  2. Make them "cheap chic" (see #1)
  3. No more all-in-one
  4. Sell high-volume, low-price (see #1)

So basically, he's another of those people who thinks that, of course, Steve must be trying to maximize his market share at the expense of everything else! And, of course, the best way to do that is to make Macs cheap, like Dells. Because Dell sells a lot of units! ....Which is true. But it's not the point.

Apple's purpose is not to maximize marketshare but to maximize money. They do that by selling with high margins. Removing the high margins would make Apple unable to function, basically. They are not another assemble and resell outfit. They are not another Dell.

Why do so few people realize that?

As for making a headless "iMac," first, that wouldn't be an iMac, and second, that's not what Apple needs. They have a whole bunch of headless machines--what the heck do you think a PowerMac is??? And if I'm not mistaken, the PowerMacs come with iLife installed. So....he wants them to make a PowerMac. Yay! They're already doing that!

Why do people keep insisting that the way for Apple to dominate the market is to become another low-margin box-assembler? They're doing just fine the way they are. They're not in any trouble. Their stock price is higher than it's been in years--granted, it was higher a couple of weeks ago, but it always rises before and tanks after a major show.

My six steps for Apple?

  1. Come out with something really cool for the new iMac
  2. Sell it for the same price as the current iMac
  3. Keep doing what you've been doing
  4. Profit
  5. Profit???
  6. Profit!!!

Dan Aris

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