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Musing on the Mac...

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Posted by MadaboutDana
Apr 10, 2017 at 09:12 AM

 

I’ve just finished translating a very large presentation in Keynote, over 110 slides, full of graphics, videos etc.

At a certain stage in the process, this involved putting the German original up alongside the English translation so I could compare the two easily.

I’m glad to say that at all times, Keynote operated with exemplary stability and smoothness.

This is very much at odds with my experiences in Microsoft Office (on Mac): if I was to try the same thing with PowerPoint or, gods help us, Word, they would both have been stuttering like anything, and probably collapsing completely at unexpected moments.

That’s despite the fact that I’m working on a 2015 MacBook Pro with the usual 16GB of RAM.

Why do I say this? I suppose it’s to highlight a certain difference in philosophy. While there is no shortage of people willing to slang off Apple, there’s a whole lot of stuff they just quietly get right. Things like being able to reply to telephone calls on your iPad, iPod or MacBook, for example. Things like an operating system that just works, reducing the amount of troubleshooting I have to do for colleagues by more than - at a rough estimate - 80%.

Whereas Windows seems to take two steps back for every big step forward. I keep Windows machines, just so I can stay up to date with what’s going on. And I’m genuinely appalled at how intrusive and over-complicated they have become - even Windows 10, which I liked when it first appeared (anything was better than the grisly Windows 8). I’ve just been talking to a non-techie colleague who’s spent some six hours trying to uninstall all the dependencies on OneDrive he (rather rashly) installed when he first got his new Windows laptop; he still hasn’t finished, he’s unbelievably frustrated, and simply doesn’t understand many of the choices Microsoft ask him to make.

Generalising from the particular is always rash. But my main reason for switching our business over to Mac was Windows 8, after asking myself the very simple question: could I easily train people to use this software? Although I’m what could be described as a “power user” of Windows, most users are not. And the answer was “no”.

And of course some of the truly great CRIMPing software exists on Mac and not on Windows (with the exception of ConnectedText, alas). But that’s a secondary consideration. Honest.

Cheers,
Bill

 


Posted by Andy Brice
Apr 10, 2017 at 09:34 PM

 

I have both PCs and Macs and my software products run on both OSs. They each have their strength and weaknesses. But:

As a user:

Windows 8 was an absolute train wreck for desktop WIndows users. What were they thinking?

The latest line-up of Macbooks seems to be a big step backwards. I can’t imagine their new button bar is going to be very useful or long-lived and I don’t want to have to carry a big bag of adaptors with me.

As a developer:

Apple loves to make life miserable for their developers by nuking their development ecosystem from orbit every few years. Microsoft, on the other hand, work very hard to keep old software working.

The economics of the Mac app store are pretty horrible for developers. Microsoft would probably like to squeeze developers in the same way, but don;t seem to be able to pull it off.

Andy Brice
http://www.hyperplan.com

 


Posted by Dr Andus
Apr 10, 2017 at 11:03 PM

 

Let’s not forget the third option: Chrome OS (which is like Linux made easy) with web apps (WorkFlowy, Gingko, MindMup et al.), though there is also Caret for writing, an excellent offline text editor.

You probably couldn’t pull off the side-by-side PowerPoint trick, and for now there still doesn’t seem to be anything matching the sophistication of Scrivener or ConnectedText online, but it’s an incredibly smooth experience otherwise, especially on some of the higher end higher spec’d Chromebooks like the Dell Chromebook 13 with 8GB RAM and core i5 processor.

 


Posted by MadaboutDana
Apr 11, 2017 at 02:28 PM

 

Ha, yes, I entirely agree about your development points - I remain totally unable to see (and I’m not even a developer!) why the App Store shouldn’t enable upgrades. One-off payments are nice, but scarcely a model for development survival. Subscriptions are often just plain irritating (and must be so for developers, too, because they effectively feel obliged to keep issuing new versions of perfectly acceptable software with extra features/cosmetics/attractions/whatever, any of which could end up introducing bugs/issues/development dead-ends. If I was a developer, it would drive me round the bend!).

As for the new MacBook Pros - I’d agree on the button bar. Not quite so sure about the ports, but if I was ordering a new MacBook Pro, I’d want to cut out some of the hundreds of dollars by ordering one without a button bar. But I don’t do 13-inch screens any more; gimme a 15-inch screen anytime. And of course you can’t get a 15-incher without a button bar…

Andy Brice wrote:
>The latest line-up of Macbooks seems to be a big step backwards. I can’t
>imagine their new button bar is going to be very useful or long-lived
>and I don’t want to have to carry a big bag of adaptors with me.
> >As a developer:
> >Apple loves to make life miserable for their developers by nuking their
>development ecosystem from orbit every few years. Microsoft, on the
>other hand, work very hard to keep old software working.
> >The economics of the Mac app store are pretty horrible for developers.
>Microsoft would probably like to squeeze developers in the same way, but
>don;t seem to be able to pull it off.
> >—
> >Andy Brice
>http://www.hyperplan.com

 


Posted by MadaboutDana
Apr 11, 2017 at 02:30 PM

 

True, Chrome OS is pretty cool. But as you say, the side-by-side PowerPoint/Keynote trick is a no-go (at least for the time being). And what would I do without my massive DEVONthink databases? Well, the short answer is, I’d probably virtualise them (put them in the Cloud somewhere). But there’s something in me that resists this total abrogation of control… ;-)

Dr Andus wrote:
Let’s not forget the third option: Chrome OS (which is like Linux made
>easy) with web apps (WorkFlowy, Gingko, MindMup et al.), though there is
>also Caret for writing, an excellent offline text editor.
> >You probably couldn’t pull off the side-by-side PowerPoint trick, and
>for now there still doesn’t seem to be anything matching the
>sophistication of Scrivener or ConnectedText online, but it’s an
>incredibly smooth experience otherwise, especially on some of the higher
>end higher spec’d Chromebooks like the Dell Chromebook 13 with 8GB RAM
>and core i5 processor.

 


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