CIS professor tries Mac - and likes it.
Author: James H. Blaisdell
Date: December, 1989
Keywords: mac vs. ibm ms-dos msdos
Text: Imagine me, a die-hard IBM-PC user, being asked to write an article on ''How I use the MacIntosh.'' How could such a thing have happened? It happened because the people I work with at NASA Ames Research Center moved from PCs to Macs and dragged me kicking and screaming with them. But, why would they have done it? For the reasons you already know -- the user interface and because the Mac II finally provided some expandibility through the slots and optional displays, a feature missing from its ancestors. So what do I actually do with my Mac? I use it as my preferred interface wherever I go because, with the Mac interface, I can sit down to a new piece of software and produce results almost immediately. Comparatively, it takes hours of investment with other operating systems and application-dependent interfaces to achieve meaningful results. As an example: I recently headed out to Washington, D.C., for two weeks of intense work. There were Macs available and I had carried my usual software with me. They were using Word 4.0 at the site, and I had heard good things about the embedded Postscript and outlining features. So I just sat down and started work in Word. Imagine doing the same (moving from WordPerfect to Word) on a PC with an important deadline in front of you! I also use Excel. I haven't had the chance or necessity to really learn to use the product; I know from watching others that it is very powerful. I just sat down and started using the features I needed; I just get by with it. It would be impossible to achieve results with a traditional PC product without investing time with the documentation. I stress traditional because it is changing. With windows, it is getting pretty hard to tell PageMaker or Excel on the Mac from PageMaker or Excel on the PC. Lots of presentations; I do lots of presentations. I have used Power Point and Cricket Presents, but my favorite is More II. More II has a good outliner. When you are ready, each bullet item in the outline automagically becomes a slide for a presentation. I think the largest gain in productivity I get comes from using Adobe Illustrator with a couple of good encapsulated postscript clipart sets. I'm no artist, but with this combination I get very credible results. The fact that More II imports lots of file formats (most importantly for me, Adobe Illustrator) for graphics display is critical to my preference of More II. Here is an example I like -- an Illustrator graphic developed with eps clipart that later moved directly into an outline bullet item in More II. Unfortunately, you are looking at a screen captured pict format (at left) representation because WordPerfect won't import the Postscript file from Illustrator. You should see it printed on a Postscript printer. And then there is networking. Using a network product on a PC: 1) costs money for add-on boards, 2) takes work to install, and 3) is relatively hard to use (for example, look at Tops on the PC versus Tops on the Mac). With the Mac, you plug in a couple of connectors, stick in a disk, pull-down a menu, and you're networking! Printing to a postscript printer on the network, sharing files with another Mac. Do I still use the PC? Yes, anytime there is a specific piece of software that won't run on the Mac! For Example, E-R Designer is a database design tool that I really need and it is not available on the Mac. NASTEC DesignAid is a CASE tool that I need, and it too is only available on the PC. Another great use I make of my PC is as a file server via a LocalTalk network to my Mac. After all, I had already paid for my PC hard drives.
Copyright © december, 1989 by James H. Blaisdell