Sunday, May 28, 2006

Mac Talk

So here's part of the Mac set up. I'm an old die hard Macintosh fanatic, I've been using and supporting them since 1984, mostly from a publishing/advertising/graphic arts focus. I never understood how Jobs (and Amelio and those after him) could never get a marketing campaign together that really focused on the core of the Mac experience, EASE OF USE! Criminy, what does it take to get a clue at Apple marketing? After 20 years they FINALLY come out with a two button scroll mouse?! They almost got it a couple of times (like the two guys setting up the PC and the secretary walks by a several times throughout the day and as she leaves for the day she says, "You should have bought a Mac!"). Yes, yes, their beautiful to look at, but even in the early days, when everyone whined that Macs cost more, they weren't even doing an Apples to apples comparison. Macs came with networking, sound, video, modems, microphones, etc. and those were all add-ons for PCs. By the time you added it up, Macs weren't all that more expensive (maybe $100-$150) at a time when personal computers cost $3,000 ENTRY level and you were lucky if it had a HD. Now, they get it. The new ads are AWESOME. My very special favorite is the Virus ad because it is so stinkin' true. How much productivity is lost in the PC world while IT and home users pull out their hair over viruses, spyware, malware, etc. Guess what folks--never been a problem on a Mac. Unless you want to talk about the WDEF virus and ony the old and worn among us probably remember that. You could get rid of it by rebuilding your desktop on bootup. We're still working away while your PC has the blue screen of death or has just performed and illegal operation (now that's a scary one, first time I saw that, I was looking for the cops...). Now, I know there are those of you peecee owners that sniff about how we have less than 10% of the computer market, but we're still at the top when it comes to service and reliability. How many pc's do you know that are 6 years old and still pumping out huge graphic files at print shops? Eh? None, because they died of E. Coli four years ago. And do you think PCs are doing all the compositing for X-Men, Chronicles of Narnia, The Hulk, (insert blockbuster film name here)? We may only have 10% of the market but Hollywood is a pretty large chunk of 10%. And as a reminder for those who don't know the storied history of the Mac, Microsoft Office came out on a Mac first. Before Windows ever existed. Yes, that's right, Macs ARE business machines! We can read, write and format PC disks, open practically any PC file and you're darn tootin' for sure that PCs don't do the same with Mac disks and files. With the advent of the Mactel machines which can dual boot into WinXP, who would want a computer that can only run one OS? (ok, technically two if you stick Unix on it in a dual boot--but Mac OS X is already BSD Unix.) Of course, with XP your still back in virus hell, but hey, that's your choice now, because you *could* be running the OS X side and being productively happy finally learning why Mac people LOVE their Macs. You don't hear PC people going, "OH, I just LOVE my new PC! It hasn't crashed in the last four hours, WOW! Hey, come over here and check out the movie I just made this morning."

I am not completely antagonistic about PCs. I've built 3 from scratch, I currrently own three (one desktop and two laptops) along with my other Mac gear. Since I do software training, that usually involves both platforms so reality dictates that you have to do both. The applications work the same so it is really a non-issue in most respects. I do however draw the line at working with critical color. Bill Gates wouldn't know a color engine if it slapped him in the face, whupped his rear and sat him down. Color calibration without expensive software for the PC is a joke if you have files that are headed for offset printing. I positively pee my pants when I hear people using Publisher who think they're going to take that to a commercial printer and get it printed. I will say, for those who scrapbook, I am positively impressed with Adobe Photoshop Elements 4 for the PC (and yes, I have it for the Mac too, along with the Adobe CS2 suite). Adobe has been doing color for 20 years, they know how it's done. There is no other product or manufacturer in the PC marketplace that has a image editing product that touches what Photoshop and even PSE4 can do (which, by the way, is based on the CS2 code). I've been teaching a lot of scrapbookers how to fix their pictures using PSE4 and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I've decided that I think I could do that most of the time and really get a kick out of it. That's the teacher in me who loves it when people find out they can do something they didn't think was possible. It's so cool to see their faces light up when they see the results of what they've done. Epson has some great printing products that make using PSE4 with digital cameras and scanners a joy. Add a Wacom tablet, a media card reader, a nice Belkin USB powered hub (the one wit the slot on top for slapping on that flash drive we all have without picking up the hub and flipping it over)--assuming you're using a laptop where USB ports are at a premium. Arharharharharh! Love the gadgets!!

So here's the rundown of the current set up: PowerMac G5 Duo 2.0 ghz, dual layer dvd, 2gb RAM, Radeon 256MB video, 160MB HD with a 250MB external Seagate, external 52x Lite-On CD-RW, Stratitec media card reader, Wacom Graphire3 6 x 8 tablet, D-Link Print server, Epson 2200 wide-format printer, Epson PictureMate Deluxe printer, HP 3800n Color Laserjet, Epson 3400 Photo Scanner, Yamaha speaker system, HP 23" LCD monitor (rotates to portrait), Belkin USB Hub, PowerBook G4 15" 800 mhz laptop with 768mb RAM, CD-RW/DVD ROM, external LaCie DVD-RW, and Canon EOS Rebel XT digital camera with an additional 300mm zoom lens and external flash. There's more but that's what I use on a regular basis outside of the aforementioned PCs with their own tablets, Epson scanners and printers, etc. I also have some historical pieces like an orignal Apple Laptop, the first Apple Powerbook (100), the first color PowerBook, a 11ci, 300baud modem, etc. Now, if I could just kick out a few cats and start a museum in the "cat" room (aka, the room with more than one litter box). A couple more years and someone will have to check me into the museum room...

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