Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Borg Apple.

Often times I get an email or call from one of my customers who want advice on a complete Mac set up. Sometimes they are switching from PC, or upgrading from an antique system. So I send them to the Apple store with this list; computer, printer (usually has a $100 rebate), iPhone, external hard drive, Apple Care and Microsoft Office 2011, Home and Student edition. Although I usually don't buy software from Apple since it's cheaper elsewhere, coming home with everything in one trip is appealing to many.

But alas, what they often come home with is everything on the list with one change; instead of Office, they have iWork; Apple's answer to Microsoft's Office suite. It seems, they relate, that the nice sales person explained that Office is not an Apple product, and iWork works much better and does the same thing. As we used to say back home,

 "Now lookie here, Apple!"

YES, I think iWork is fun and good for lots of people and things. Keynote is much easier than Powerpoint, and just fine if you are in a MacCentric work or play place. But, face it. Most of the word processing world belongs to Microsoft. And most of the time that I suggest Office, it's for a good reason. Sometimes these customers are amateur or professional writers that hope to get some work published, or have to share files with PC users, or just want a fuller, more powerful word processor or spreadsheet. And now, with Office 2011 coming closer to the Windows version of Word etc, for many users, it's a no brainer.
I have been using Office 2011 since it came out, and I must say, it's a pleasure. The media browser works just as well as it does in Pages, so if I want to drag and drop a photo in one of my documents, it's very easy. And, the "ribbon" is finally in the Mac version, making PC users who switch more comfortable.
Also, Excel has Visual Basic version 6.5, the same as the PC version. Powerpoint still feels bloated and clumsy to me, I prefer to use iWork's Keynote for slide presentation. And although Outlook, the replacement for Entourage;the earlier Microsoft mail client for Mac; has full support for Exchange, and has nice search capabilities; it is still too buggy for me. So I use:

WORD PROCESSOR: Microsoft Word 2011

One thing I will say also about Office 2011. I have written to Microsoft support about the buggy behavior of Outlook ( I was reviewing Outlook for a client), and have usually gotten immediate and committed service professionals to stick with me on the issues. My experience with Office, is that usually by the 3rd of 4th service update, many of the bugs are worked out.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I didn't do it.

No, I did not buy the iPad 2. And yes, I was  tempted, especially since my friend Kendra kept texting me how much she LOVES her new one, and sending happy faces, and pics of the box. OK, Kendra, I got you into this Mac world, and now you have the best stuff!

So why didn't I bite? It does have some impressive improvements. First of all, I have an iPad already, and when I travel, I often take it instead of my 3 year old MacBook Pro. I email, play Scrabble, read the NY Times, keep my FileMaker database and even watch Netflix on it. I also use Logmein to get anything I need from my home system when I'm on the road. I don't really need another iCamera (I have the iPhone 4 which by the way has a flash, and the new iPad does not), I don't need any more features at this time. There is plenty of chatter on the web about "Should you or shouldn't you..." Yes, the A5 dual core processor will load your apps twice as fast, but the lack of a retina display means the screen resolutions  are about the same. And still no Flash.

if you should decide to ditch your iPad and upgrade to this new edition, you can sell yours on ebay, Craig's List, Gazelle, or

Or you can give it to your mom, your kid, your spouse, or anyone that doesn't need the latest and could appreciate it.

What I do need is to save my bucks to upgrade my main horse to the new quad core MacBook Pro, which I deeply covet.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

iPad 2

OK, the iPad 2 is finally here. Same price, twice as fast, and (wait for it...) front AND rear facing camera. Will I get one? I already have the original iPad, so probably not. Would I turn one down, should some stranger (or very good, getting better) friends buy me one? Dyuh..NO.

I won't list all of the features, you can find them here:

ANd as of March 11 (probabaly midnight), you can order one from the Apple store.
But, I really use my iPad, and highly recommend this new one. Wait. Maybe I DO want one.

BTW, Apple has REDUCED the price of the original iPad to starting at $399 ($349 for refurbished). So if you want to buy a present for your family or friends, it's a no brainer.