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Monday, 19 April 2021

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Being provoked by a bug in Word is a reason to ditch Word, not the hardware it's running on. :) (I wasn't provoked by a bug, just provoked by Word in general.)

I am eagerly awaiting news of an iMac with an M1 based chipset. The email imac is nearly 13 years old and needs to be replaced. I've got a 5 year old imac that is current photo editor, and will become mail computer. But it needs to be the new chip. And I hope they put the ports at least on the side. Reaching around the back is a pain. If they're on the back I'll have to get some cable dongles for SD cards and other temporary USB connections.

Price? Who knows? But I do know that whatever the price, some people will complain it's too much. They complain that a few dollars for an app on a phone is too much. They complain about cameras that don't have a feature they think should be there, or the quality of the feature, and of course, that they cost too much.

Except, when you think about it, the things we have are amazing. Take a run of the mill iMac of today back to the 70's and the computer scientists would have a collective orgasm. Same with today's cameras. The cars I learned to drive in are now considered death traps. Don't even get me started on cell phones. Nearly every human who has ever lived would consider it the most remarkable thing ever created.

Apple has stated publicly that it intends to use only its own silicon in Mac computers within two years (from the time of the announcement). That's why I believe there is no doubt that the new iMacs will have in-house processors. The question is... will they be M1 chips or perhaps M1X or M2 chips? We know those chips are coming in the next round of MacBook Pros. I expect at least the M1X level in the new iMacs. Too bad my iMac is a 2019 27-inch model with an Intel i5 six-core processor.

There is a very good chance I've already bought my last desk-top computer.

Over the last sixty years a lot has changed—including me. As my interests changed, so did the software I use. As Tommy Duncan sang ...time changes everything.

"SPRING: I've Got my windows open and I'm starting Spring Cleaning..."

Yep, life as I know it goes on hold until October. It's been in the high 80s and low 90s for a month. Windows closed and air conditioner running day and night. In a month I'll look back with fondness thinking about how great the low 90s felt when the heat index crosses the 100 degree mark every day for months.

There could be the occasional severe thunderstorm than could drop the temperature for a few minutes and you might be lucky enough not to lose power when the zero delay flash/boom thunder and lightning is hitting right outside the door.

Don't get me started on hurricane season.

Spring, bah humbug. I hate every month that doesn't end in "R"

A quick explainer. I've bought my last real computer 'cuz my iPhone XS is already a Pocket-Cray. The iPhone 13 will be even more powerful.

I'm switching over from video production to writing. Therefore no need for a lot of screen real estate. I watched Super Bowl LV with the CBS app on my iPhone. I talk-&-text using my Apple Watch 5. Ain't progress great!

Macs vs. PCs: I've long been of the opinion that, functionally, there need be no difference in capability (although Apple don't make really cheap low-standard computers: plastic bodies, inaccurate displays, etc). And of course most of the software is available for both platforms - certainly the Adobe suite and the Microsoft products (allowing for bugs, that is). One big exception would be Apple's own Final Cut Pro. and serious gaming as well. For most buyers I suspect that one distinguishing factor would be the extent to which they are committed to the Apple ecosystem or not.

In my case I am pretty much completely, and it's interesting how that happened. In the early 00s I had a job which involved me working at home, pretty much 100%. My employer (a small software company) provided a computer for me, a PC. I initially found the personal time/work time split hard to manage, and I eventually developed a number of strategies to help me: I had a coffee mug just for work, for example, and I used to make a lunchtime sandwiches at breakfast time, before I 'went to work'. On some nice mornings I would even go for a 10 minute walk round the block so in effect I was 'going to work'. These strategies helped me a lot. Another part of that was not only to have my own, separate, computer for personal stuff (of course), but to make it a different sort of computer, to emphasis the difference between work computing and personal computing: hence, I bought a Mac. And I've stayed with Apple ever since: Macs, iPod, iPads, iPhones, Watch, Apple TV, iCloud subscription, Apple Music subscription.... . I recognise that a PC would perform individual tasks as well (especially now that I no longer working), but by now I'm a committed Apple customer.

[That's similar to my story. I'm only committed to Mac because they were easier to use in 1984! And my employer in the '90s, a publisher, used them. But now I have my two desktops, my iMac, and my iPhone, and they all get along with each other (mostly). Replacing one or the other with something not in the Apple ecosystem wouldn't make any sense for me. --Mike]

Your friend switching from a Mac to a PC may not be as unusual as you imply. I did the very same thing several months ago, after wrestling for years with the performance problems of two different desktop Macs. For almost half the price of a comparably equipped iMac, I now own a zippy all-in-one Lenovo PC that does everything my Macs did, only better. Nowadays the two operating systems have converged so much that it's far simpler than it used to be to make this switch. And Microsoft seems to have dealt with most of the virus vulnerability issues that plagued Windows in the past. Of course, all my Mac-adoring friends and relatives think I'm crazy. But I just chuckle quietly and get on with it.

I’m kind of a geek, which may be why I could never understand why people would want a Mac. With a PC, I can change, repair or upgrade components at will. The architecture is open — I can build a computer myself, with parts that serve MY needs.

Windows may be a bit clunky (not as much these days), but it is somehow able to maintain compatibility with older programs where Macs seem to break things and leave them in the ditch. I’m kind of impressed at the way Windows just seems to work despite the huge array of components and devices that get thrown at it.

It always seemed to me that there wasn’t much bang for the buck with Macs. I used to go to the Photo Plus Expo and watch the Photoshop demos at the Adobe booth. Most of the presenters ran their demos on Macs, and much time was spent watching the beach ball spin as the computer tried to catch up. I was used to getting instant results on my home-built PC that cost about 1/3 less.

What I’m trying to say is that I don’t hate Macs, I just don’t get it. I do buy other Apple products. I love my iPad and like my iPhone.

As a buddy of mine said one time when I asked why he decided to buy a PC instead of a Mac: "I don't need to join another religion."

I've used both at the same time, for easily 20 years. The PC's far outlasted the Macs (sad, since the Macs were virtually all double the price); and the Mac's left me stranded with my peripherals multiple times. I used to tell people I would buy cameras, and the software disc from the manufacturer would say: "download for Windows 98, 2000, Millenial, Vista, etc. etc.", and then the book would say: "...to get Mac download for 10.X.X only, check online."

I'm typing this right now on an ACER I bought for $199.00 in 2012, 'cause my Mac was dying, and I didn't have an income. Still working, knock on wood, still hope to replace someday with a nice Quad Core i5 for under 600 bucks.

[Personally I think the old slag against Apple as a "religion" is very outdated now and no longer meaningful. Maybe it was true in the '80s. --Mike]

John Camp wrote, "For example, if you create in Word for Mac (or worse, in the supposedly compatible Pages) and the manuscript is opened in MS Word (the standard), one bug may separate a possessive apostrophe from its intended place, and attach it to the following word. (As in: The Smiths 'car.)"

In the unlikely event that John didn't find this suggestion in a Microsoft Support page, here it is ...

What finally worked was that I realized I was in an odd font. I switched back to Times New Roman, and POOF the problem disappeared. Whew. It was an easy fix, but it sure took me a long time (and trying various strategies) to resolve.
https://bit.ly/2P4aL7Z

An M1 using 10W is faster than an i9 using 85W.So it is not only the battery life. I replaced a huge tower PC with an M1 Mac Mini. everything is faster, including Intel apps. MacOS takes some getting used too but it is a better polished product than Windows 10.

I concur the Office apps are not as good on the Mac as they on on Windows, maybe I should have expected that.

But the silence and the integration between the different devices (Apple TV, iPhone, iPad) make it a no-brainer to keep the Mac.

And Safari.

For what it's worth, I've been a software developer at a number of high-profile software companies over the past half century. In recent years, all my employers except Microsoft have routinely provided their developers with MacPro laptops. I personally prefer MacOS because of its Unix/Linux-like flavor, something that most TOP readers probably have no reason to care about.

As far as the apostrophe bug in Word for Windows, I'm sure it's extremely annoying, and worse, there may be other hidden flaws. And if the standard in the publishing industry is Windows/Word, then that's an excellent reason to use a PC. For the apostrophe type of error, though, if you're still on a Mac, search or search-and-replace operations in the editor should make the job of proofreading and correcting even a large manuscript fairly easy.

Ted Laso = Meh!

My iPhone 13 is turning into an 12.9 iPad Pro—Whoo Hoo!

I have used Macs since 1985, and PC shortly after since the Mac of the time could not run the accounting software my studio business was using, Peachtree Accounting. Fast forward to today ... still the same it would appear. An iMac for photography and graphic design, and a PC laptop for QuickBooks exclusively.

Seriously looking into QuickBooks online, but I honestly feel better keeping track of a large retail inventory (non photography related) on a hard drive and not out on the wild, wild web. YMMV.

Apple iPhone and iPad are my companions as well. Have an old Macbook I use exclusively for tethering because it works with my outdated backup P45 digital back which came into good use recently as my Hasselblad CFV back is in Sweden for a repair.

Just think in a few short decades, we may look back at what we use today the way we look at old brass instruments of the past. Time waits for no one.

I won't be moving to the M1-based Macs until all the code for the apps I need, specifically the Mac versions of Roon, Photoshop, and most importantly, Capture One Pro, are native and don't have to run in "emulation". I don't want to have to relive that whole PPC/Intel transition thang again. Yikes.

Kudos to Apple for continued appling. Me: Could never figure out what Apple was all about.

Alt: Something like Zorin OS replaces Windows/MACdows without scaring the chickens. Install on hardware from the likes of System76, and you're home.

Zorin is $39 for the "Zorin OS Ultimate" full package. I got off Windows in 2007 and use LinuxMint myself. They all work.

For writers constrained by publishers, both LibreOffice and OpenOffice work like Word, can save to ".docx" format, and there you go, without any licensing fees or subscriptions.

A quick search on any of the above items will get you to the respective web sites, if interested. Aside from hardware guaranteed to be compatible (still a bit awkward), you can get all the rest at no cost if you need to, and it works.

I never try to suggest someone change from whichever platform they're happy with. But if your friend (aka John Camp) was happy w/ his Macs and the sole problem was how Word behaved, two other solutions would have enabled staying on MacOS.

1) Running Windows under emulation in order to run Word. There really isn't a performance hit and you can run it as a window alongside your MacOS apps.

2) Depending on the manuscripts, the online web-app version of Word may have sufficed.

OK, I'll say it's only 1-1/2 options, since #2 is questionable.

Patrick

Speed suggested a tip for John Camp's apostrophe bug to switch fonts. John didn't mention it, but another publishing industry requirement is (as far as I know) 10pt Courier monospace typeface, and double-spaced. Certainly not great for reading, but here we are.

Pat

I love Mac hardware, which lasts - in computing years - effectively forever. (I'm presently running 2 x old iMacs (2014), 1 x 11 inch Air (2010) and 1 x 13 inch (2020 Intel).) I also love OSX - which I understand. Windows (esp. 10) - which I don't understand at all - just drives me nuts. But I hardly use any other Mac software - it's all Microsoft office, Adobe, Google, etc. I have the same problems as John Camp with Word for Mac but instead of buying dedicated Windows machines I have installed Windows 10 on virtual machines via Parallels on my each of the Macs. I open documents in the Windows versions of Word whenever I need to - it's completely seamless - all problems solved with no swapping around computers. I have similar issues with Office Exchange (due to server compatibility with my work) and do the same thing - also completely seamless. The different versions of the software just open as if they were native apps on the Mac. I haven't yet moved to Big Sur yet, as I always wait some months for the kinks in a new OSX to be ironed out before upgrading (e.g. postscript printer software compatibility is always an upgrading issue for me because the manufacturers are tend to be very slow to release new Mac drivers), but will do so on the Intel Air soon to test it before I swap everything else over. I'm definitely aiming to try an M1 Air, which I am thinking will replace the iMacs. It's should be more than fast enough for large photoshop files - as the chip is many times faster than my maxed out 7 year old intel iMacs, which are still adequate for my needs. As one maxed out M1 air costs less than 1/3rd in 2021 dollars (A$2600) of the price I paid in 2014 dollars for each iMac (circa A$9,000 each) , I could buy two and justify buying a Leica M10R with the amount I "saved". Or not.

Mike, I've still heard people refer to Mac as a religion as late as the 20-teens, so while it may be dated trope, it's still out there.

When I tell people I've been using both platforms at the same time, over the last 20 years, because of the needs of corporations I've worked for, and ad agencies; the Mac-O-Philes always start reciting what the advantages of Mac are and seem to go glassy eyed; so maybe not a religion, but a cult? PC people just shrug and say "...sounds like a lot of expense and trouble."

I know aging artists and designers, on the 'downward arc' of a career that are stumbling along with outdated and barely operating Macs because they can't afford a Mac upgrade to a new unit, when they could probably cover their bases with a 500 dollar PC (and easily find drivers for all their outdated peripherals).

Put me into the camp that does not understand how most users (including Mike) can sound excited by yet another desktop/laptop comnputer. To me they are just "white goods" like a fridge or a range. I was an Apple Macophile in the late 80s and 90s, but have been a happy PC user ever since 1998. Why the cult-like following? A mystery. All of these operating systems and most software suffers from serious bloat, a problem shared with both platforms.

A few people have suggested using Virtual Machines for running Windows on Macs. Another option is to run Windows over Bootcamp on (non-M1) Macs which allows you to boot up into WindowsOS or macOS. Not quite as convenient as having Windows running right there within macOS but all you would be paying for is WindowsOS as Bootcamp is free.

Why are people still using Word? Get the LibreOffice suite and most of the inconveniences vanish, though "word processing" is still a brain-dead model for creating documents. But at least the bugs you have will be free, unlike the ones you pay for from Microsoft.

If the solution to a problem is "use Times Roman" then I would rather have the problem. Because that is one of the ugliest typefaces ever invented. No typographer would go near it. Even Georgia is much more pleasant, though the free version (that comes with your OS) is missing many extended characters I find necessary.

For people who want Linux on Windows, I hope you are aware that there are multiple subsystems available, again for free, that you get from the Windows Store, of all places.

I will start by saying I have never used a Mac. I have used PCs since the PC-XT and DOS 1.0. A year ago I decided to upgrade from my 7 year old PC. Mind you, it still ran Lightroom and Photoshop CC with no hiccups, just a little slow for me. I have read for years how great Macs are for graphics so I thought I would consider one.

I set the specs for a new PC first - AMD Ryzen 3800X, 32GB, 14 TB of storage including 3 internal NVMe 2 SSDs, RTX 2060 graphics card, new case, power supply , etc. I always have put my own computers together and I could build this one for less than $2500. I then priced out s new Mac with similar specs. Wow! I did not want to take out a second mortgage to buy a computer! Then I read a performance comparison of super expensive Mac Pros vs. PCs with similar specs to the one I wanted to build, and the PCs won hands down.

Needless to say I built the PC. It was the easiest build ever. Basically just plug and play. It runs Photoshop and Lightroom like a dream. It only takes a few seconds to save huge PSB files to the SSDs. It has not crashed once. I am pretty sure it will be adequate for my needs for a few years.

Not sure how long Macs hold up, but I can buy several PCs for what a high Spec Mac costs. I will remain a lowly PC user for the foreseeable future at least!

It is true that phones are getting much more powerful and you can do amazing things with them. However, I could never carry a phone with a 27 inch diagonal screen - a necessity for photo editing with my tired old eyes!

Plus One for Robin. Had a pal that bought a new PC and was appalled that Microsoft wanted to charge you for the simple office software that used to come with your computer. Went to Libre and no problems! When I get a new PC, that's the way I'm going. I DO NOT believe in paying monthly for the rest of my life for something I consider to be the modern version of a typewriter!

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