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Tuesday, 29 April 2008


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Another one crossing over to the dark side. Maybe he can shine some light over there.

And yet another well-meaning person disappears into the Black-Hole of Microsoft's bureaucracy.

It's too easy a snark, I know, but I hope he was handsomely remunerated for his soul.

Woah! That strikes me as a pretty big deal. I do hope he's treated well at Microsoft and I sincerely hope Lightroom isn't negatively affected by this. I love that darn program.

The move makes sense: Microsoft isn't going to go away, so they might as well have in positions of influence people who know how a streamlined OS actually works. No wonder he was "heavily recruited by Microsoft."

In the linked article, Mark himself says, "Given that I find the current Windows experience really annoying and yet I keep having to deal with it, this opportunity [at Microsoft] was a little too interesting to turn down."

We can't expect one man to do miracles, but it certainly is encouraging...

"(Interestingly, Jeff Schewe says, "Mark doesn't do Windows all that well, he's quite the Mac bigot.")"

Of course! If he knew and liked Windows, why would M$ hire him? They need input, so they need to get someone who doesn't let preoccupations lead him.

Still, it's sad to see another great mind waste his valuable time in a place where a computing mindset of the early nineties prevails. Let's hope Mark can help M$ softeware architects and decision makers to overcome themselves.


I just lost a freelance writing job because I refuse to use Microsoft Word. You know what they say: Oh well. It happens from time to time. I just refuse to waste my time with that ridiculous bloatware.

Mike J.

Oh, and one amendment:

"Mark was particularly involved with implementing the non-destructive localised adjustment tools for Lightroom 2.0"

Maybe Apple should have hired him...


Mike: You probably know this but there are a number of programs that can read/write in MS Word format (such as NeoOffice or even AppleWorks if you work on a Mac). My wife has been translating freelance for years, receiving and sending Word documents without ever actually using MS Word.

MS Word not required to read from and save to Word format, so don't let an antipathy to that application get in the way of paid work!

Dear Mike,

I never write in Microsoft Word, but my editors have always wanted Word docs. I just write in what I feel like (that's usually Nisus) and translate the file before sending it off. That's what I did with all my PHOTO Technique articles.

If I got something in in Word Doc, I just translated it to my preferred format.

In my OS9 days, I did have to run a translater (Maclink Plus) to go between Word docs and my programs. But OSX and current Nisus are entirely comfortable (even native) with RTF and DOC formats.

I always keep Word around, just in case I get something with weird or exotic formating. Only gets fired up a coupla times a year, and not for long.

Ya shoulda took da job, kiddo. Tell'em what de wanna hear, do what's ya wants.

pax / Ctein

Thanks to those who left advice about coping with Word. Yes, I do know about a lot of the options--you can't be a magazine editor without developing an arsenal of strategies for coping with mismatches in file types.

This particular client needed some fairly complicated style sheet templates followed so the work could be ported from Word into InDesign. My choices were either to buy Word and learn to use some of its most obtuse features just for that specific job, or buy InDesign and learn to use it just for that specific job. Unfortunately, the pay for the job was simply too low to justify either alternative. More's the pity.

I am going to have to make some sort of move soon, however. Since I like my technology lean and mean, I was a great fan of "WriteNow," which was an evolution of the old WordStar. WN died maybe a decade ago. The WP channel of AppleWorks (née ClarisWorks) was a somewhat less elegant replicant, but Apple stopped supporting AppleWorks recently. Unfortunately the new "Pages," which is half of iWork, and which I have and have used extensively, is not really a fully satisfactory evolution. It has the "fish nor fowl" problem--it's sort of half WP program and half typesetting program, and not really the best for either task. Plus, it seems to suffer from a problem typical of Apple's more backwater apps, which is that once it's done they don't seem to worry much about polishing or perfecting it. After typesetting two books with v.1, I generated a whole list of suggestions for Apple (which they were soliciting at the time) yet virtually NONE of them were implemented in Pages '08...which amounted to a minor but full-priced update.

At my last corporate job I simply used Quark, which is--ahem--VERY powerful as a word processor! (And the best program I know of for typesetting, at least by the lights of my particular prejudices.) But of course it REALLY doesn't make economic sense to buy and update Quark simply to have something to write with!

I'll take a look at Nisus, Ctein--meanwhile, if anybody has any suggestions or recommendations for a good, simple, flexible WP alternative for OSX, I'm all ears. Thanks again for your kind collective advice.

Mike J.

The "PC vs. Mac" debate is (I suspect) the same as the "Canon vs. Nikon" debate and the "Toyota vs. Honda" debate and so on and so on--namely, some people have good reasons for their particular choice (either one), many people have a preference but no real good reason for it, many people just use whatever they're used to because they always have, and mainly we just do it because it's natural for humans to split up into two teams or two sides. We do it reflexively and naturally and continually, in every conceivable sphere of activity and belief. But most of us get by OK with whatever we choose.

Mike J.


A new version of openoffice was released recently, which now has a native OS-X build. It's free, open source, and might be worth a try, although if you don't like MS Word, it might be too similar for your taste. It does have the advantage of built in export to PDF and save to several formats, including several MS Word versions, and RTF.



"The "PC vs. Mac" debate is (I suspect) the same as the "Canon vs. Nikon" debate and the "Toyota vs. Honda" debate and so on and so on--"

I have heard people praise their Macs to high heaven, but nothing from Windows users. On the contrary, most of what I've heard from actual Windows users were either neutral or negative. I don't think there's much of a debate here.

"The "PC vs. Mac" debate is (I suspect) the same as the "Canon vs. Nikon" debate and the "Toyota vs. Honda" debate and so on and so on--"

To me, it reminds me of listening to certain Leica owners. I own and use both platforms, and I am nearly equally proficient on both. Since the release of XP, I have had very, very, few issues. My father in law, on the other hand, is strictly a Mac user. Yet has had several major issues and about three major crashes in the past several years. I wasn't looking over his shoulder when they happened, but my common sense tells me that it was more the pilot than the equipment or the OS.

How did this turn into a word-processing discussion? I thought the article is about Mark Hamburg and his transfer to Microsoft? So here's wishing the legendary man all the best in his new environs, and do bring cloves of garlic to board meetings with you too (ya never know)

Good for Mark Hamburg and good for Microsoft. Although MS is the company we all love to bash, actually they are very good at finding and hiring talented people. This goes way back, for example, they bought Fox Software for the people as much as for FoxPro itself. Those guys and gals worked not only on MS FoxPro, but spread out and contributed to MS Access, SQL Server, ODBC, OLE DB, etc.

I also agree with Craig - Windows since even Win 2000 and certainly XP has been a very productive platform. My colleagues and I at work have it open all day every day with ten, fifteen or more windows going with all different development tools, and it just keeps ticking and takes a licking.

That said, even though I'm running Vista at home, I am very impressed with my son's MacBook - Apple really created a winner with OSX 10.4 and later.

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