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What They Aren’t Saying...


Maybe the best way to start this section is to quote Mick O’Neil, who defines a new term in The Scholastic Macintosh.

“Winertia is the tendency of school system or university to adopt Windows-centric (the industry ‘status quo’) procurement policies despite an overwhelming argument that Macintosh networks are easier to install, cheaper to maintain, and easier to use in an educational environment. Logic alone is not enough ‘force’ to affect a change in a winertia-based system as educational decision making often has more to do with politics than productivity.”

Despite that warning, most PC/Windows proponents will insist that their decision is based on logical considerations. If that is so, then here are a few Mac facts that you can present (that they are unlikely to mention when they are arguing to standardize on PCs). Their receptiveness to this information will give you a good indication of just how much ‘logic’ went into their PC/Windows decision...

1 - Numerous studies have shown that students are more creative and more productive with Macs than with PCs (e.g. look at the very worthwhile IDC report [a PDF file] as well as the Evans report [PDF], both of which we have already referred to. Here is what a student says: Think Different. And here is more research data.)
   [Of course, this assumes that the Macs have been properly kept up-to-date.]

A detailed report from Gistics (PDF) states “Macintosh users typically master twice as many tools as their Windows counterparts.” (Wouldn’t this be a rather big advantage in an academic environment? )

Still another report, this one from Arthur D. Little Corp, concludes that: Mac users (e.g. teachers and students) are 50% more accurate and 44% more productive than Wintel users. (Seems that these would be extremely important objectives for schools: accuracy and productivity.)

On a related note, the UK government agency BECTA launched a digital-video pilot in October 2001, issuing 50 UK schools with an iMovie-equipped iMac and a Canon digital-video camera. Feedback from participating schools — including a young offenders institute — showed that the project resulted in an improvement in pupils’ behavior, motivation and attendance. The aim of the project was to identify ways of inspiring pupils’ creativity, and to gather evidence on the impact of information and communications technology on team-building. And similar.

Confirming these is the experience gained from the state of Maine purchasing 17,000 Macs for it’s seventh grade students in late 2002. The Christian Science Monitor reports that "A mid-year evaluation, conducted by researchers from the University of Southern Maine, found that students using the iBooks were more engaged in school, doingmore homework, and misbehaving less than in previous years." Should I repeat those findings?

Another perspective was provided by an engineer with over 15 years of PC experience: “The main goal of a graphical human interface is to ease the use of a computer through a visually consistent presentation of data, related information, objects to perform actions and relations between entities of all kinds. Consistency is what makes possible learning what a computer can do through a natural everyday use of all kind of software.

“The Macintosh graphical human interface is, by nature, by programmer’s habits and by traditional users vigilance, calibrated to ensure consistency. It helps acquiring visual shortcuts naturally. This makes the perception of a situation more "a snap", so that the system makes you comfortable making a decision at any time.

“The Windows graphical human interface is different. Some objects have been made intentionally globally redundant. The close box of a window being the same as the "Cancel" button most of the time, and the same as the "OK" button in other cases are examples. This is an example of what makes consistency in Windows more of a bonus functionality than a guideline users can rely on. Moreover, some programmers don’t use this redundancy twice the same way and a close box sometimes does "OK" in a window where "Cancel" should be the behavior user thinks is right (Too bad ! Try again… ). The most puzzling for the user is that they have to remember when the thing happens (and probably to learn it is changed in the next revision of the software). These Wintel interface issues hinder learning and discourage creative thinking.”

Lastly, since it is a well-known fact in the business world that the majority of creative professionals use Macs (e.g. see), how much deductive capacity does it take to figure out that students would also be more creative on Macs?

2 - Essentially every independent survey ever done has shown that teachers prefer working with Macs over PCs. (As just a few examples, please refer to the IDC report, (PDF) or this high school Distinguished Educator’s paper, or this college professor’s VERY detailed analysis. Another educator elaborates on several reasons Why I Prefer Macs in the Classroom, as does another, and still another.)
   [These again assume that the Macs have been properly maintained.]
This conclusion should be no surprise, as in the Computer Intelligence InfoCorp’s Consumer Technology Index study, (identified as “the largest, most comprehensive study of personal computer usage in the United States”), they evaluated the degree of user satisfaction of more than 50,000 computer users at home, in self-run businesses, and in businesses where the employer provides the computer.

In every market, the Macintosh was rated FIRST in user satisfaction. By a long shot.

Another reason why is exceptional software support provided for teachers. For instance Apple Remote Desktop features “powerful assistance tools that help teachers make learning more effective. You can monitor your students’ progress, help the kids who need individual attention — and make sure everyone’s working on the lessons you’ve assigned them.”

Read the profound conclusions of this independent, comprehensive teacher assessment (the Teaching, Learning and Computing Study by the University of California). Here is only a small part of what it says:
“We found that teachers with Macintosh expertise are more constructivist in both philosophy and general teaching practice than are other teachers [i.e. those with Windows/PC expertise]. That is, their teaching was more likely to involve designing activities around teacher and student interests (rather than in response to an externally mandated curriculum), having students engage in collaborative group projects where skills are taught and practiced in authentic contexts (rather than in a sequence of textbook exercises), focusing instruction on students’ understanding of complex ideas (rather than on definitions and facts), teaching students to self-consciously assess their own understanding, (in contrast to multiple-choice testing modeling learning)... ”
Just exactly what ELSE do you need to hear?
3 - Countrywide experience in all levels of educational institutions and businesses has conclusively demonstrated that Macs are easier to maintain than PCs. This means less downtime. Lower maintenance also means LESS COST.

In the U.C. Berkeley White Paper On Platform Choice, their Director of Computing says that it is “our belief is that it is less expensive to support Macs; they have less downtime, and problems are easier to troubleshoot...Various other studies corroborate our experience.” [We have provided numerous other citations to support this, on prior pages, e.g. here].
(Wouldn’t easier maintenance, less downtime, and lower cost be important in an academic setting? Duh...)
4 - Apple is the technology leader in the computer business. Period. For example, Macs provide features (like the Spotlight Internet search engine, DiscBurner software, iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, Airport, Rendezvous, iLife) not typically available on any PC, or are an extra cost. (Note that Apple has over 100 times the number of Patents than the typical PC box assembler has. Apple Computer also holds more than twice as many computing patents than does Microsoft.) Two interesting lists of Macintosh innovations (Encyclopedia4U and Sharky list) will put the situation in perspective.
In the same vein, Apple has won more awards for innovative software and pioneering hardware than Microsoft and all the PC assemblers combined. In August of 2002 the Academy of Television Arts Sciences announced the recipients of the Primetime Emmys for engineering and animation. Final Cut Pro and Apple were one of the Emmy winners for “their innovative developments in film engineering.” Last year Apple’s FireWire technology was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for its substantial impact on the television industry.

In 2003 Apple won two Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA): one for the powerful G4 powerbook, and the other for the extraordinary XServe server. In 2003 Apple’s PowerSchool won a prestigious Codie award. In November of 2003 the new G5 Mac was PC Magazine’s grand prize winner. Etc.

Apple also won (for PowerMac G4, Pro Mouse, and Cinema Display) the 2002 Consumer Product Design Of The Year, sponsored by DuPont Engineering Polymers. Elsewhere, England’s D&AD (Design & Art Direction) Society noted Apple’s consistent record of having its design achievements recognized. In 2002 Apple’s iPod took a much-coveted Gold Award, marking a major achievement in the eyes of the 230-strong judging panel. Apple’s iBook and PowerBook G4 Titanium took Silver awards. No other company has received such consistent recognition from the society. D&AD Jury foreman Dick Powell explained: “Well-designed products continuously remind you of their excellence. Apple has long understood this — investing heavily in Emotional Ergonomy that rewards consistently.”

In February 2002, Apple won a Technical Grammy Award. In presenting the company with the award, the association said this about Apple (and similar remarks would apply to several other fields, like video, printing, etc.):

“Apple Computer is considered the leading architect in bringing computer technology into the studio and revolutionizing the way music is written, produced, mixed, recorded and creatively imagined. The introduction of the Macintosh in the mid-1980s helped launch a number of important software breakthroughs, linking technology to the creative process, and literally changing the face of the recording studio.

“Almost immediately, developers began creating revolutionary tools for playing, recording and editing music, all solidly grounded in the Mac’s user-friendly interface. This made the Macintosh virtually synonymous with the computer-driven production techniques of the last decade. Over time, with a Mac and the right tools, a single person could compose, perform, record, edit and mix the instrumental portion of a song or entire album. Thus, the Macintosh became the touchstone of a new model for producing recorded music.

“The creation of the Macintosh sparked a flurry of creativity that continues today. With the Mac’s powerful new processors and new, Apple-driven applications — such as DVD Studio Pro — Apple continues to build on its historic role in moving studio technology forward.”

(Isn’t having creative and challenging software
— along with the most technologically advanced computers —
important for our students and teachers?
5 - Macs are significantly less susceptible to virus attacks. (Currently there have been ZERO identified Mac OSX viruses, but over 100,000 PC viruses. This is not a typo:
ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND Windows viruses.)

Here is what one virus information site says "The good news for Mac users is that the majority of the adware & spyware industry is focused on developing their "malware" to target PC users through ActiveX controls and DILLs that only work on Windows based computers." This September 2003 report by the Wall Street Journal says "If You Are Getting Tired of Viruses Get A Mac."

Microsoft actually acknowledges these numbers: see what their chief of security says (April 2003). There latest "solution" to the problem they have caused is (surprise!) to sell you anti-virus software (January 2005)... Just say no and go with the 100 percent virus free choice.

An August 2003 letter by the US Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) has urged the US Department of Homeland Security to avoid using Microsoft software... It accuses Microsoft of being more interested in economic marketing and competition than security and said the lack of diversity within a network system ’amplifies the risk emanating from any vulnerabilities that do exist’."

CCIA cites these recent examples: "Design flaws in Microsoft’s products have recently been responsible for temporary closure of Maryland’s Department of Motor Vehicles offices, failure of the passenger check-in system at Air Canada, an intrusion on the Navy-Marine intranet, and cancellations and suspensions of service on the CSX railroad. Additionally, a Microsoft exploit managed to disable a safety monitoring system at an off-line nuclear power plant."

A recent superb report (PDF) says "Some of the nation’s leading computer science and network security experts today issued a report warning that the computers and critical technological infrastructure worldwide are increasingly vulnerable to attack because of the security practices and dominance of Microsoft software in desktop computing. As a result of Microsoft’s concerted effort to fortify and expand its monopolies by tightly integrating applications with its operating system, and its success in achieving near ubiquity in personal computing, our computer networks are now susceptible to massive, cascading failures."

Read what FBI employees (i.e. people who are not only sensitive about security, but people who know a thing or two about security) say about Macs (1/04).

Base on similar experiences, it shouldn’t be surprising that Apple servers are much more secure than Windows servers. (Nationwide experience shows that there are significantly fewer hacks onto Mac servers by students thanon PC servers.)

People using Windows servers are trusting that their IT professionals will provide them a safe barrier. This January 2004 story says that this is an illusion: "Many IT pros feel helpless in the battle against the constant barrage of worms and viruses. When using antivirus software, the general rule is to update automatically or download the latest virus definitions at regular intervals. But the problem with antivirus software is that it only offers protection for known viruses; therefore, the software is only effective when it can detect specific patterns in viruses and worms. But someday this may not be possible."

6 - Macs can read PC diskettes/Zips/CDs/Pen Drives without any additional software. (This means that students with PCs at home can bring in almost any documents and these documents can be used and edited on a Mac. Again, the reverse cannot be readily done with PCs.)

        Need to know more? The superb MacWindows site provides tutorials
        for just about every cross-platform aspect imaginable.

7 - All OS 9.x (and later) Macs can be set to automatically update their OS software from an Apple website. (PC’s have adopted this idea as well, but do not do as thorough a job of it. This December 2003 article from Stanford University mentions just some of the issues.)

8 - The sensational Mac OSX G5 XServe server, compared to Wintel models, is less expensive, has higher performance, and offersfeatures they simply do not have.

For example, the system administrator can update their one Mac server which immediately updates the system software of all Macs on their network NetBoot (PDF). This can’t be done as well on the Windows/PC servers. (One PC tech wrote me “The vulnerabilities of enabling NetBIOS on a PC are quite horrific.” This article says “NetBIOS is enough to make admirers of Microsoft grimace. It is a twisted version of the Net..”

Another relevent example is regarding Internet Content Filtering: an issue very dear to educators. Most PC schools I have seen try to solve this by:
1) installing filtering software on each computer [e.g. Filtergate]. This is moderately expensive, very time consuming to administer, is not cross platform, and could likely be bypassed by a motivated student.
2) utilizing a Firewall Appliance, with filtering software (e.g. SonicWall Pro 3060). This is a better solution than #1, but can be very expensive (e.g. five year cost = $7,000±).
3) utilizing a server with filtering software (e.g. InterGate). This is a good solution, which is moderately expensive (e.g. $1000+ for 100 computers).
Compare these to using a Mac XServe. One of the BIG benefits of using a UNIX business-class machine is the availability of a lot of inexpensive software solutions. Here, for example, there is Squid with DansGuardian (& maybe SquidMan or SquidManager for more GUI).
—> This provides FREE content filtering! <—
9 - This January 2004 article says that you are already using a Macso why not move up to the real thing? Read some of the Switcher stories we mentioned, and you’ll see that upgrading will be a productive experience, a good thing, and a fun time. Read what happened when a clinical psychologist hired by another computer company tried to talk Mac users into changing.

10-Apple is very motivated to expand on its school business, and as such is willing to negotiate any issue.
For example, I have been involved in several cases where schools got prices for computers from Dell, etc. They then went to Apple Ed and got prices for Macs with equal performance, same specs (RAM, etc.), same three year warranty, and extra features (e.g. Bluetooth). In EVERY case the purchase price for the Macs was less than the Wintel boxes — and in some situations, significantly less.

Consider these FACTS about Windows:
-> Microsoft admitted on their own website that Windows NT 4.0 has more than 10,000 bugs. (Cybermedia’s First Aid 98 said it "Fixes more than ten thousand Windows problems.")

-> Think that is an exaggeration? Well an internal Microsoft memo actually says that the final version of Windows 2000 has something like 63,000 KNOWN defects.... And Microsoft shrugs this off (note: Microsoft did NOT deny it) by saying that such bugs are a normal part of the computer software business... 63,000 defects...

-> At another publication, a Windows PC industry security expert calls Windows 2000 “a failure”. And Microsoft secretly agrees.

-> You won’t likely hear Windows/PC proponents telling you about the numerous problems that you are likely to encounter with a Mac to Wintel regression.This University of Oregon report outlines some of them.

-> And how about general security issues? Just check out the huge list just of Word 2000 security updates. Stanford University says that Microsoft security fixes have been coming at the rate of about once a week — over the last two years! Apple doesn’t even remotely have this level of security problems.

-> Because of its increased security costs, some insurance companies charge Microsoft Windows NT users higher premiums! (Information Security Magazine: 5/01)

-> On a related matter, the late 2001 Morgan Stanley study reports that, when it comes to Microsoft’s products, there is a long way to go before they will find their way into the data center of large organizations. Morgan Stanley asked the questions as part of its regular CIO series of surveys, questioning more than 200 CIOs about core issues, and it found “a lack of belief in the Microsoft product set.

-> One astute insight by Mr. Dan Knight is to look more closely at why more Windows computers are bought: “Part of the reason is the planned obsolescence of the Wintel platform. Every year Microsoft and Intel get together to set a minimum level of hardware for the next year’s computers. After about three years, Wintel computers cannot be economically brought to this level, so users are forced to buy new computers. (This was one reason the Department of Justice investigated Microsoft and Intel for monopolistic practices.)”

This secondary school’s website lists five major reasons why they prefer Macs to Windows/PCs, and provides dozens of references.

Read this superb collection of articles gathered (into 2004) at Why Choose A Mac.

Look at Why Buy Macs? for an excellent (and current) discussion.

Read Bill Palmer’s Education Resources.

This 2001 Technofile article writes about Why I Recommend an iMac.

Jeff Adkins writes an excellent 2003 report, explaining to his school board why Macs are the way to go.

This November 2001 Knight-Ridder article says For a dependable, easy-to-use computer, why not a Mac?.

Robert Palmer’s website lists eight categories, explaining in each Why The Mac Is Better.

This TechTV feature article elaborates on The Benefits Of Mac Ownership.

Read this computer company’s very detailed explanations as to Why Macs Are Better.

A good collections of sites that compare Macs vs Windows/PCs is at Mac vs PC.

I hate to overwhelm people, but here is a HUGE collection of quotes, facts, etc. of why Macs are the best choice. (Ed: because of its size it takes awhile to load.)

See this for an excellent series of discussions about debunking Mac Myths.

Read Dave Marrathon’s Why Mac list of dozens of Pro-Mac links.

Two good sites with a large list of references pertaining to Mac advantages are: Macfacts, and Josh Meister’s Apple Rules.

The media research group Nielsen/NetRatings released an August 2002 report about Internet usage patterns over six months for nearly 100,000 home and business computer users around the country. T.S. Kelly, director and principal analyst for Nielsen/NetRatings said: “No other report we’ve done has had this kind of interest...”

“Among other findings, it revealed that 70.2 percent of Mac Internet surfers possess a college or post-graduate degree, compared with 54.2 percent of all Internet users. Coupling this information with other facts points to the conclusion that Mac users have higher intelligence.” In the CNet story about the same report, they wrote that “Those who surf the Web using a Mac tend to be better educated and make more money than their PC-using counterparts, according to a report from Nielsen/NetRatings. The study also said Mac users tend to be more Web savvy...”


Read some conclusions of a large school MIS person, which include the following:

“The argument that a visit to Best Buy reveals the popularity of PCs and the scarcity of Macs is a perfect example of what is called "increasing returns" in economics, and "strange attractors" in a branch of mathematics called "chaos theory".

“An economic viewpoint has been developed by Stanford Professor W. Brian Arthur, who developed the theory of increasing returns to explain a phenomenon that takes hold in industries characterized by congealed knowledge with little physical content.”

Professor Arthur mentions several examples of increasing returns, but most applicable to our situation is computer operating systems. In the early to mid 1980’s three operating systems were in use: CP/M, DOS, and Apple’s Macintosh.

“One of these (DOS) was clearly inferior, yet it became the standard. Why? Because it was adopted by IBM (and the clone manufacturers). Once a slight lead was established, software developers had an incentive to support the front-runner. This caused more people to gravitate toward that platform, thus further incentivizing software developers. The resulting positive feedback loop caused DOS (and now Windows) to assume a lead position, EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE CLEARLY INFERIOR TO OTHER CHOICES.”


As author of this site I get a lot of email. Occasionally (less than 5%) it is not charitable. Recently it was suggested that to get really informed that I should read some anti-Mac info at a site (revealingly) called Apple Sucks. Being open-minded, I did.

On that page the author (unidentified and with no email link... hmmm) references several other sites. [Note as of 6/1/02 this enlightening page suddenly disappeared. I am showing you the original text version.] The first one is his/her favorite where he/she exclaims: “ I Hate Apple - A GREAT site full of technical comparisons. They do REAL benchmark tests with Macs vs PC’s. I highly recommend this site to anyone who wants to know the real technical nitty-gritty.” (Emphasis is his/hers.)

So I went on to ‘I Hate Apple’ to see what THAT person had to say. I found a long technical comparison of a Dell Dimension to an older model iMac. What is interesting is in the last paragraph, where this anti-Apple person concludes that the Dell PC’s: “total failure in the video card area makes it unsuitable for the home user. So my pick for the home user in this comparison is the iMac. It boasts far superior gaming abilities and with Firewire and iMovie it makes a fun weekend tool to use making family videos to send to your relatives.” (My emphasis.) Sounds like these anti-Apple people are on to something!

This April 2002 Boston Globe story says: “The best home computer has a sharp, attractive flat-panel display, an elegant off-white semispherical case, and a silver Apple logo. But what puts this iMac over the top is its CD burner, and the software that goes with it. It’s called SuperDrive, and there’s not a lot it won’t do. Of course it plays and burns standard music CDs. It also plays and burns DVDs — the high-capacity disks that are becoming our favorite way to watch movies...”

“You don’t have to buy a Mac to make your own DVDs, as there are burners for PCs as well. But these tend to be aftermarket afterthoughts. There’s a nice burner, and a jumble of photo- and video-editing software. None of it is well-integrated with the underlying Windows operating system, or with Microsoft’s pitiful Windows Movie Maker software. You can make it work, but it takes considerable effort.”

In October of 2002, Apple’s Senior VP of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller, Senior VP of Software Engineering Avie Tevanian, and Director of Mac OS Product Marketing Ken Bereskin met with InfoWorld editors for a remarkably candid and informative interview about Apple’s future plans. A good read!

Here are some miscellaneous tidbits to chew on:

-> Apple’s market share is greater than that of Sony televisions, and the COMBINED shares of ALL European passenger cars sold in the U.S., including Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, Jaguar, and Porsche. (Appliance Mfgr & Market DataBook of Automotive News)

-> In 2002 ZDNet conducted an online poll, which was replied to by over 11,000 readers. Some 90% voted that Macs were better than Windows/PCs for schools.

-> Contrary to the impression given by PC geeks, you CAN actually build your own G4 computer! Here is one site that gives details, and another.

-> The Apple iMac is the best-selling computer in CompUSA’s history.

-> A new Mac is sold every 9 seconds.

-> A September 2001 Wired story says: “With Hewlett-Packard gobbling up Compaq, Gateway slashing staff and Dell driving prices to rock bottom, the PC market has turned into a bloody battlefield. But the big winner could turn out to the only player in desktop computers that doesn’t make a PC: Apple.

-> “PC makers are stuck trying to make money selling identical boxes full of computing power that no one really needs. With no brand loyalty and nearly identical products to sell, the only way to attract customers is to cut prices down to the quick. Dell is leading the industry down that rocky path. The PC price war has been on for months, and everyone is losing. Or are they?... While the PC sector is consolidating and cutting back, Apple is boldly expanding.”

-> A Harris Interactive study found that 53% of those who owned Macs and bought new computers in the first 9 months of 2000 purchased Macs. That is the highest retention rate for any brand of personal computer, including all the leading Windows brands.

-> The Mac OS is available in over 35 different languages.

-> Contrary to what uninformed people have told you Macs and PC’s Get Along Fine.

-> In 2003 SmartMoney published an analysis of portable computers. They said that Apple portables "are better than Windows laptops at handling music, photographs and movies, and for burning DVDs. Plus, they are quite competitive on price, versus comparably equipped competitors."

-> Despite Intel trumpeting how fast USB 2.0 is, the facts are that Firewire/IEEE1394 (which has been included with Macs for years) is a much as " 70% faster."

January 24th, 2004, was the 20th anniversary of the release of the Macintosh. (Here is the famous Apple Superbowl ad [a 3 MB Quicktime movie].) Note how the message is extremely pertinent still today. The timelessness of the ad is one of the reasons it has probably won more awards than any other ad, of ANY kind, in history.

There were MANY stories written about this momentus event. Twenty Years Outside The Box gives a good overview. Arizona Daily Star says "You could argue that every PC is a Macintosh..." Yes we could. "Apple’s Place In Home Computing" also gives some good insights.

One of the main reasons for their continued success, is the ingenius products that continue to eminate from Apple. In early 2004, for example, GarageBand is getting major buzz. To begin with its free with any Mac.

SiliconValley says that it "breaks new ground in how simple it makes the music creation process." USA Today states "Because GarageBand is seamlessly tied together with the other iLife components, your newly created masterpieces can easily serve as the soundtrack for a slide show or family movie, or be transferred to a demo CD, DVD or portable iPod digital music player." And this simply says "GarageBand Rocks."

See what else CBSNews liked in the Fall of 2003.

-> Many people associate IBM with Microsoft, but in actuality IBM is on better terms with Apple. For example, the latest microprocessors in Macs (G5s) are made by IBM. [Read more about IBM making high speed Power PC chips for Apple.]

-> Being a Mac user is like being a Navy SEAL: a small, elite group of people with access to the most sophisticated technology in the world, who everyone calls on to get the really tough jobs done quickly and efficiently.

Conclusion: If you want the best performing, lowest cost, most fun, least problematic computer — get a Macintosh.

Download a printable pdf version of this document (rev: 3/06/04).

If you have any constructive comments or suggestions about this page,
please email John.

This section’s Haiku
(see the bottom of our Intro page for more explanation):

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.

rev: August 6, 2007

— Section #13 —