The march of the Mac reaches Westminster

imac_narrowweb__300x4422I’VE POSTED before about my love of all things Apple.

Now it looks like other parliamentarians who share my enthusiasm might be about to make a breakthrough in persuading the parliamentary authorities to relax their grip on all things Windows and start to consider the alternatives.

The estimable Derek Wyatt MP, a fellow Mac-lover, has organised a meeting next month when we will have the opportunity to put our case to the Parliamentary Information and Communications Directorate (PICT). Apparently, at least one MP already has a deal whereby he has kitted out his office with Apple Macs and can use them to access all his parliamentary email and the intranet, something Derek and I understood not to be possible (or at least not acceptable to those in charge).

If we’re successful in making our case, it could have major ramifications: I know of a number of colleagues (including at least one minister) who have already invested in Macs and were resigned to not having the technical support and access to some information that comes as standard with the inferior standard-issue House of Commons PCs. There are plenty of others who would jump ship if it were made easier for them and their staff to do so.

I certainly would prefer to shift the whole of Team Harris onto Macs, despite the superficial objection of one memer of staff who compared choosing a Mac over a PC to driving an automatic rather than a manual. Not a bad analogy, actually (I do, as it happens, drive an automatic).

But if the meeting goes as we hope, he will have to get used to having an iMac in front of him in the future.



Filed under Parliament, Technology

18 responses to “The march of the Mac reaches Westminster

  1. Bob Jones

    I think the reason they don’t want you to use Macs is it might make it harder for them to bug your computers, something Zanu-Labour are probably quite keen on doing.

    It’s not against the Wilson doctrine for them to copy all your e-mails with computer software apparently, bet Brown’s already doing it.

  2. Bob, where do you come up with brilliance like this?! “Zanu-Labour”! That’s incredibly original and intelligent because it immediately invites comparison with Labour and Mugabe’s regime! I get it! Tell me, are you a student of Wilde?

    Brilliant. I’ll dine out on that one…

  3. Bob Jones

    Quick, get the anti-terror squad to 10 Downing Street quick.

    One Gordie Brown says he got information from a civil servant … why he pretty much conspired to commit misconduct in a public office and aided and abetted, counsellelled or procured misconduct in a public office, don’t you think?

  4. Johnny Norfolk

    The March of the Police reaches Westminster more like.

  5. BAba Mzungu

    Hi Tom,
    Did you type this post on a Mac? If so, I suggest you switch on the spell checker 😉


  6. Sorry, I sometimes miss typos, but you’ll have to be more specific about this one.

  7. I very much hope that MP’s are allowed to use Mac’s as opposed to PCs. If this happens I’m going to push my boss to fill our office with them, or at least let me have one!

  8. robtro

    If you and your staff are paying for the Mac’s out of your own pockets then that’s fine, but if the tax payer is involved then I would say get Linux. It’s free, easy to secure and has a huge array of powerful apps, also for free. Ubuntu and Kubuntu are both easy to use after some practice. Did I mention Linux is free!
    Being a CompSci I have WinXP/Vista, Ubuntu, and a Macbook pro in my ownership. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, Vista is a pain in the bum though, keep clear of Windows till Win7 comes out. Macs are great for programmes designed especially made for their architecture and the UI department at Mac must be one of the most innovative in the consumer field at the moment but! You do pay a huge amount for the badge. Linux is a great system for having full control, you get to actually harness the power of the computer using it, I mainly use it for software development though. XP is the OS staple at the moment, its a bit dated but is rock solid and is still the de facto OS in the market.

  9. Chris' Wills

    I bet you use Office suite on your Macintosh PC.

    I would have thought all goverment PCs should use open source software, far more cost effective and secure.

  10. Chris' Wills

    Very good Tom, I assume you’ve set the OS to growl as it boots up :o)

    Now what office suite do you type your letters on, office 2008, iWork08 or some other?

  11. OK, I get it now. No, you’re right, I do use Office suite for Mac. I thought you were asking if I use Windows OS on my Mac (which apparently you can, but I don’t see the point).


  12. Chris' Wills

    Ah, so not a total Mac fanboi :o)

    I would think that Windows would run fairly slowly on a Mac, though you can run OS/X on a standard PC; needs some work though.

    So if it is the OS you like rather than the prettiness of Macs you could save a lot of money.

  13. Mac’s are actually great pieces of kit, although you have to watch them in an office environment in my opinion.

    The reason being that Microsoft Office for Mac is such an awful piece of software, that pales in comparison when compared with it’s much more feature rich and more aesthetically pleasing PC counterpart. I think Microsoft does it on purpose.

    A good example is with Excel and macros. Macros are a fairly standard operation in Excel yet that feature is not in Microsoft Office for Mac. So I were to send you a standard Excel file with macros you would be unable to open it. That’s a killer for most office environments right there.

  14. Chris' Wills

    Yet another political blog; if you sent me an Excel file with macros it wouldn’t make it past my filters. Nasty things, can carry bugs and viruses.

    Never understood why people don’t just send the finished product if it is a one off, otherwise host it on a shared drive looked after by IT.

  15. Andrew F

    All this nerd-talk is turning me on.

  16. As much as I want to say you should get Linux because of the cost savings I’ll just accept that anything non-Windows is progress.

    You should note, however, that if updating your blog from Safari on a Mac the WYSIWYG editor won’t work very well. Best to use Firefox for this.

    You should also consider NeoOffice as an alternative to MS Office on Mac.

  17. Letters From A Tory

    Tom, perhaps you could ask the police to leave a Mac in every MP’s office that they break into? Would speed things up a bit.

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