March 17th, 2005

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.

5 Responses to “111105017739014659”

  1. Khurram says:

    I appreciate that you love your Mac, but I’ve been using a PC for almost 17 years, and windows for more than 13 years, and I have not faced problems such as you describe. Maybe since you’ve been working on a Mac, you expect Windows (or Wintel) to be the same. Here’s news for you: Don’t drive a car if all you know is how to ride a bike. Yes they both get you from point A to B, but it’s radically different to handle both of them. Anyway, don’t take this personal. It’s sort of a personality issue also. I like chocolate icecream, you might not. Similarly you like Mac, and I’m happy with my Windows.

  2. BeanZ says:

    I agree with most of what you say, except that I am not a biker who doesn’t know how to drive a car. I have used Windows and many of my colleagues continue to do so – we have a mixed computing environment. I have developed cross-platform CDs and websites and am fully cognizant of the differences in both platforms. The issue is more about human-computer interface design than a Mac/Windows war. While the comment about personality types is well-taken, there are a number of components in a GUI and a modern day OS that should be standard and consistent.

    Most die-hard Windows users today, complain of spyware, malware, and viruses, and I have personally experienced a lot of hardware issues, driver incompatibilities and a range of unfathomable errors on Windows that I don’t have to suffer through on a Mac. This is not to say that Macs don’t have problems – all technology does – even my damn phone hangs from time to time ;-)

    Khair, am not taking this personally at all – I do love my Mac and it’s a way of life. At the end of the day, it’s all about choice.


  3. Khurram says:

    Nice reply. I just want to add that spyware and malware is more abundant on MS than any other operating system not only because of the poor code base (though poor code base is arguable, but I can give MS haters that much leeway), but because of the abundance of the operating system itself. Creating a virus for MS gives the creator more “bang for the buck” than creating a virus for Unix or Mac. Once Mac or Unix becomes the leading OS, see if it isn’t plagued by such problems. Not to put down any operating system as such, just want to make it clear that after all OS’s are also made by humans, and there are loads of hackers (or crackers, to be politically correct!) who have a lot of time on their hands, and are very, very, very intelligent. They will always find ways to subvert the security measures built in and create viruses.

  4. BeanZ says:

    “I can give MS haters that much leeway …”
    Hehe ;-) Thanks!

    Although Windows has a lot of vulnerabilities, I agree that the fact that it is the dominant platform results in the abundance of viruses and afflications. I’d like to think that Mac users are “nice” folk and would, as a matter of principle, not write viruses ;-)

    The whole virus/spyware/malware AND spam phenomenon is truly frightening and a major threat to the unregulated Internet. What makes these losers tick? Subversion is very romantic but hudd hotee hai – and spammers are just beyond my comprehension.

  5. Khurram says:

    Hey if no one was evil, then being nice wouldn’t be a virtue, would it? Actually, I don’t think you give enough credit to the people whom you call ‘losers’. These are actually very bright, hardworking and intelligent people. It’s just that they’re using their talents in a wrong way. That doesn’t mean they’re not talented, or ‘losers’.
    Actually the sensible thing in this argument is that you should not take sides. And neither should you hate. There are pros and cons in every OS, and you should realise that some of the differences in OS’s are performance related (Windows crashes, Unix doesn’t), and some are more cultural (Unix insists on being silent when everything has gone right, because it was created by geeks and for geeks, whereas MS Win insists on telling you about each and everything, because it was created with the philosophy ‘A computer on every desk, in every home!’). There’s an awesome article about this over here: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/Biculturalism.html

    Here’s an excerpt to keep things interesting:

    “Yes, we all eat food, but over there, they eat raw fish with rice using wood sticks, while over here, we eat slabs of ground cow on bread with our hands. A cultural difference doesn’t mean that American stomachs can’t digest sushi or that Japanese stomachs can’t digest Big Macs, and it doesn’t mean that there aren’t lots of Americans who eat sushi or Japanese who eat burgers, but it does mean that Americans getting off the plane for the first time in Tokyo are confronted with an overwhelming feeling that this place is strange, dammit, and no amount of philosophizing about how underneath we’re all the same, we all love and work and sing and die will overcome the fact that Americans and Japanese can never really get comfortable with each others’ toilet arrangements.”

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