Mac Connects To Wireless Network At WinHEC While Windows Portables Can't

by , 10:00 AM EDT, April 19th, 2002

We noticed this juicy tidbit while poking through the ZDNet forums. Ian Bruce pointed out an item from Jerry Pournelle, SciFi writer, a fixture in the technology landscape, one-time editor of the now defunct Byte Magazine, and now editor of The View From Chaos Manor. Mr. Pournelle was at a WinHEC conference recently where Internet connectivity was provided by a 802.11b wireless LAN. The problem was that, according to Mr. Pournelle in his 'View from Chaos Manor' writings, none of the Windows laptops could connect to it, including Microsoft exec Jim "Linux Threatens The American Way Of Life" Allchin, despite having the proper hardware. Better yet, a PowerBook equipped with an Oninoco WiFi card could. In Mr. Pournelle's own words:

I have tried to get an Orinoco Wireless WiFi (Allchin pronounced it "Wiffy" at least seven times in his market department written presentation) and I can't get it to work with Windows 2000. Alex hasn't managed with Windows XP. No one else in the press section has connected to the Internet with their 802.11 cloud. Allchin couldn't connect to Wiffy. But Peter has connected to the Internet with the same card with his PowerBook == as Peter says, with Apple everything is either easy or impossible. Using the Orinoco card with his PowerBook was easy. With Windows 200o so far it has been impossible...

The Winbooks eventually did manage to connect, but problems persisted. Mr. Pournelle noted:

I have managed to get on the Internet. The local network is WINHWC2002. Yesterday it was WinHEC2002. It is case sensitive. Except that Peter's Apple didn't have that problem. He got on yesterday and he's still on today, in a hall that no one else can get on because of very weak signals. Astonishing.

Another unrelated, but very interesting, tidbit from Mr. Pournelle's piece:

Allchin this morning said that there are 17 million copies of Windows XP sold, and this was the most successful Windows launch yet. Richard Doherty observes that only 17 million after this much time is a disaster.

You can read the full piece at The View From Chaos Manor.

The Mac Observer Spin:

Windows conference, Windows laptops, Windows gurus, and the only person able to surf the Internet with the wireless network is using a Mac. The world is full of delicious irony. Even after the Winbooks connected, the Mac continued to outshine them by automatically connecting where the Winbooks could not, and staying connected. Thank goodness that Mr. Pournelle took note of this incident and shared it with the world. We must have missed the Microsoft press release where they mentioned it.

We bet there are lot of you who have witnessed similar incidences where Macs pulled through when Window couldn't or wouldn't. Tell us about it.