Macs may be enjoying new inroads and great sales records as of late, but there's one place you definitely won't find one of Apple's computers yet: The New York State Bar Examination.
As our friends at TUAW have pointed out, April Dembosky at the New York Times reports that thousands of recent law school graduates are deep within the throes of their bar exam in New York. As recent as 2003, portions of the exam were opened to being completed on a notebook computer, though limited seating was offered only on a lottery basis. Last summer was the first time anyone with their own notebook could bring one in, though the board has a strict "can't blame it on the dog" policy when it comes to technology:
Technical difficulties may include hardware or software malfunctions, data saving or retrieval problems, operator errors, upload or download problems, or the loss of electrical power at the examination facility. In the event any technical difficulties occur during the bar examination, you must handwrite your essay answers in the answer books provided and no additional time may be allowed. If you choose to continue to use your computer to write your essay answers after experiencing technical difficulties, or when you have been instructed not to do so, you do so at your own risk.
To make matters worse for Mac users—even those who opt to set up Boot Camp and install Windows for the Microsoft-dominated law industry—the board's policy is just as strict on thinking different for the exam:
We do not support Apple products in any form including Intel-based laptops running Boot Camp — no exceptions.
The exam software uses various methods to lock out all other apps for the duration of the test to prevent Wikipedia from answering too many of the questions. Still, while the software is designed exclusively for Windows, the New York State Board of Law Examiners appear to be spooked out of their leather seats at the very notion of Apple hardware, despite the fact that some Macs run Windows just as well better than most PCs.
Judging from the rest of Dembosky's report, though, it sounds like the Windows software needs quite a bit of help before Mac-slinging law students can begin opining for a compatible version. Horror stories of software gone awry and nuking test answers during and after the exam have most students spooked, as only half of this summer's 12,000 candidates opted to forgo pen and paper.