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Becoming obsessed with the idea of a mac

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Posted by Graham Smith
Nov 24, 2007 at 03:42 PM


Matty wrote:

> Please tell me that they are not that great and I should stop
>fantasizing about switching platforms when really I should be writing. 

Having been woken from my temporary hibernation from this forum and responded to a post from Stephen, I feel I should also comment on your original post.

If you have read my other post you will see that I am very impressed with Scrivener, and it has several features which make it the best tool I have come across for pulling together a paper or article. There are some similar tools for Windows such as liquid story binder http://www.blackobelisksoftware.com/ which I trialled at one time, but for reasons I can’t remember didn’t suit me - but worth looking at. I know it says its designed for fiction writing, but I wouldn’t let that put you off having a look.

DevonThink I am less convinced about. I bought DevonAgent at the same time, and in theory it should provide an all in one data management tool, and maybe it will if I put enough work into it. I was put off by its failure to import my emails as that was one of the reasons I bought it. The demo is limited to importing a small number of emails, which imported perfectly, but once bought and registered I discovered it crashed on anything more than a couple of hundred emails (Eagle Filer on the other hand imported them fine). Having said that I still think it shows promise, but I’m not convinced it has any properties that lifts it above the alternatives available on Windows. then again, I haven’t really explored it fully.

The other issue is that Macs are very different to Windows and as well as leaning Scrivener and DevonThink there is a steep learning curve getting up to speed with OSx. In spite of all the hype, Macs are not that intuitive for anyone with an in depth experience of Windows. But in general, while I find myself cursing windows rather a lot, in contrast, as I have become familiar with OSx, I have found myself repeatedly muttering “that’s clever” “this is good” “I like this” etc.

So I am certainly happier with the Mac than I have ever been with Windows, but whether its worth the money and effort to switch, I’m not sure.  I wouldn’t switch for DevonThink.

Scrivener on the other hand is a bit special and if it suits the way you work, I doubt there is anything better. I am also finding the Mac a slightly better working environment than Windows.



Posted by Chris Thompson
Nov 24, 2007 at 06:40 PM


Just a couple of followup points to various posters…. I definitely agree with Hugh about the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners.  One of those will change the way you work with physical documents, regardless of what software you use.  The ScanSnaps also come with a license for Acrobat Professional, which is valuable in itself.  Unfortunately Fujitsu persists in selling “Mac” and “PC” versions of the same scanner, differing only in color and in bundled software, so one has to have an OS in mind before buying.

Regarding Stephen’s comments about the low prices of Mac software seeming “too good to be true”... there are several factors that go into it.  First, for a variety of reasons Mac users tend to buy more software.  If you look at Adobe’s sales for Lightroom, which is available for both Windows and Mac, they’ve actually sold more units total of the Mac version, despite a 20 fold difference in market share for the two platforms, and despite the existence of a competing product on the Mac (Aperture).  Second, though undoubtedly related, there is more competition in the Mac market, keeping prices down.  Third, the Cocoa programming interface is just a lot easier to deal with for smaller teams of developers, increasing productivity without driving up costs.  It’s also considerably richer and better thought out, having the benefit of nearly 15 years of experience (dating back to the NeXT days).  For instance, every application using the Cocoa text framework got inline grammar checking and smart quotes for free when Leopard shipped, without needing to be recompiled or changed.  I find it quite beautiful that I now have access to on the fly grammar checking in OmniOutliner, even though they haven’t shipped the next version of the product yet.  There are many of these kinds of powerful building blocks.  It’s a healthy environment for developers, both from a commercial perspective and a technical perspective.

The one thing I’m really looking forward to is Leopard’s cross-application, unified PIM functions becoming more widely adopted, making the whole OS more Ecco-like.  Even now, it’s great to be able to create a task attached to an email message in Mail, see it automatically in iCal, and also see it automatically in my time billing application (TimeLog 4).  Once it’s possible to attach a todo to an outline item or column entry in OmniOutliner, viewable in every application that’s PIM-aware, in some ways we’ll have a working environment surpassing Ecco as a general purpose tool.  As icing on the cake, the unified PIM functions are CalDAV-aware, making them shareable and networkable.  Some great stuff is coming down the pipe.



Posted by Mike Riley
Nov 26, 2007 at 04:14 AM


Regarding outline processors…. I have probably downloaded and tried every outline processor available for both the PC and the Mac.  Back in 1992 I purchased an inexpensive outliner ( Think Tank ) for my brand new 128k Mac.  Over the years that software was upgraded several times and eventually changed names to More 3.0. In the late 90’s Symantec acquired it and immediately took it off the market…..go figure.  Anyway, to this day, even though I operate primarily with PCs, I still have a G4 setting near my desk with More 3.0 on it for doing serious outlining.  Copies of it can be downloaded from the web at no charge with a little googling effort to find it.  It only works with OS systems < 10.0 so you may have to download one of the earlier OS’s to use it. 


Posted by jamesofford
Nov 27, 2007 at 06:50 PM


I just posted in the thread on Windows vs Mac OS X, but I have a short break before my next meeting so I figured I would chime in here.
I switched to the Mac because of Devonthink, Eaglefiler and Aquaminds Notetaker. I like both Devonthink Pro and Eaglefiler, but I haven’t put as much stress on them as I should have. I also like Notetaker, but it is taking a bit of getting used to. It doesn’t quite work like Onenote does.
At work(where I am now)I am limited to a Windows XP machine. I use Onenote, and used to use Zoot. I haven’t tried installing the new version yet.
I like both of my machines, and can get done what I need to do using either machine.

The thing that I am excited by now is the wealth of info manager software out there on both platforms. Those of us who have been doing this for a while can remember the day when there was a dearth of both outliners, and decent info managers. Now there’s lots.

Find software that you like, and then make the operating system choice.

That being said, if you are taking a look at Devonthink, take a look at the info from Melodie Neal:

Also take a look at any of Ted Goranson’s posts at About This Particular Outliner:


Posted by David Dunham
Nov 28, 2007 at 03:40 AM


And if anyone switching to (or already using) Mac OS X is interested in Opal, contact me (david AT a-sharp DOTCOM) and I’ll send you a coupon for $12 off. (And FYI, a new version to take advantage of Leopard features should be released soon.)


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