Aaaaah – to have a moment to breathe, think, write something other than a proposal, content for a website, bullet points for a presentation on contextual advertising … WTF!!!!!!!!!!! As of now, I am envious of crows. What happy lives they lead. Anyhow, I will not be held hostage by myself for much longer – major changes needed and happen they will. SOON.
A few days ago, I did some design work for the Chair(wo)man of a big corporation. 9 screens = 9 JPEGs which were handed over to her secretary to incorporate into the piece of crap that passes of as software – i.e. Powerpoint. While I don’t believe in expending energy on negativity, I can’t help but despise Windows and most Microsoft software with a passion that I realize could easily be applied elsewhere.
Anyway, so the secretary didn’t know what to do with the files so I opened up Powerpoint for her (on her Windows machine – aaaaaagh) and created a blank presentation, and inserted the first graphic (1024 x 768 – same as her monitor resolution). Did another one as well so she’d know exactly what to do with the other 7 graphics. Well, when the slideshow ran, the bottom right corner was cut off. Why?? No clue!! Told her to call in the IT guys to fix it and ran off because I can’t take more than 5 minutes of exposure to Windows.
Next morning, she called up and said, the bottom right corner is still cut off. So, I said, lemme check on my Mac. Opened up Powerpoint (yes, unfortunately I have Microsoft Office polluting my hard drive) and went through the same drill. Well, the results of the slideshow were even worse on my Mac than on her PC. I am quite a geek but could not, for the life of me, figure out which menu in the hideousity that is Powerpoint, leads to a dialog box that simply allows you to choose your presentation size in pixels – i.e. 1024 x 768 or 800 x600 or whateverthefuck you want. If one is expected to do it in inches via Page Setup, that is ludicrous. OK, have to admit that I gave up in frustration. Fired up Keynote 2 (the Apple equivalent of Powerpoint – yes, it doesn’t do everything and the kitchen sink – like you can’t write Visual Basic code from inside your presentation – geewhiz), chose 1024 x 768 as the size (which is the first thing it asks you) and inserted all my graphics into 9 slides – went to the File Menu, chose Export, then chose Powerpoint and saved the file. The entire exercise, from start to finish took 30 seconds and the file opened in Powerpoint and played beautifully with all alignments intact. Why am I surprised?
Yesterday, I was forced to demo a database-driven website at a client’s premises at extremely short notice, leaving no time to configure IIS, SQL Server, and a whole lot of other snotty bullshit, on the client’s server. We NEVER give final site demos at a client’s premises. They always come to our office. But not this client!! So, one option was to pick up our solitary development server and lug it to the client’s office – which would have had the rest of the team up in arms. The other option was to say no. The final option was to say ok. We did whatever we had to do but then, the shit hit the fan. The demo laptop on which we copied all the files, database, applications, etc. lacked adequate VRAM to run some animations properly. BAH. Accessed the site off a better laptop and everything worked perfectly, even tho the slowpoke laptop was being used as a server. Fine. Got a hub to connect the two and it died. OK, both laptops were WiFi enabled so attempted to create a Peer2Peer network, didn’t happen. We were already 15 minutes past our scheduled departure time. Yanked out an iBook, went to the Airport menu, selected Create Network, clicked OK and both Wintels were able to connect, one instantly, and one after a Restart (!!!!!) So, the Mac (never taken seriously as a business machine), saved the day by providing networking facilities to two idiotboxes. The demo went fine but NEVER AGAIN, will I agree to a something like this at such short notice, outside my own office.
At the end of this rather long, vitriolic post, all I really want to say, for the 845th time, is that Mac OS X just works. Developers who conform to Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines create beautiful, clean, powerful software that gets stuff done. Examples include Ranchero’s NetNewsWire, Panic’s Transmit, Objective Development’s Launchbar, Omni Group’s OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner, Apple’s own Keynote, iTunes, Safari, and a whole bunch of others that make life worth living. At the end of a hard day, when everything and everyone you’ve interacted with bites, hisses, and kicks, a WiFi enabled 12″ Powerbook G4 is the only thing that makes sense.
Oh, and one other thing. Macs do not get hit by viruses, malware, spyware, and all the other evil stuff that brings Wintels down in the blink of an eye.