the switch, extended

I know, I know, I said I wouldn't bore you all with details of the switch from pc to mac, but secretly, I know you're dying to know whether I've lost all my teeth from frustration.

Surprisingly…not. In fact, I think I might even be smitten.

There have been problems, naturally. Excel is not exactly rubbish on a Mac, but it's not far from it. It certainly doesn't support as much functionality as the Windows version; I've had to import all my spreadsheets via Google Docs.

Then there were all the Mac "quirks" that I can't stand: the irrepressible start-up sound, for example, and the way hibernation is supported, but impossible to apply manually. Luckily, my Google-fu proved strong enough, and I have muted the startup sound and found a way to manually select hibernation.

I did use a Microsoft Access database to track everything to do with my manuscripts, which for the moment has been downgraded to a spreadsheet, because I've yet to find a freeware equivalent to Access for the Mac platform. Which brings me to the one thing I really, truly miss about the Windows environment: freeware. There's just not so much of it for the Mac, and what little there is rapidly evolves into shareware nagware. Less than ideal.

On the whole, though, I'm happy with my new computer. It's just far less fuss than operating in the Windows environment.

And apparently the anodised aluminium case tastes pretty good, too, because I cannot stop the cat from trying to lick it.

6 thoughts on “the switch, extended

  1. Have you looked at Open Office as a Mac alternative to Excel? I know it has a spreadsheet program, and it should support anything portable from Google Docs anyway.

  2. Hi Kenneth, long time no speak!

    I have looked at OpenOffice, although I've only tested out the Windows distribution so far, not the Mac one. I keep meaning to check it out, for its freeware database, so I do have it in mind.

    One thing I didn't like about it on Windows was the slow start-up as it opened the entire suite of programs as opposed to one individual program. That might be more bearable on the Mac, which is 4 years younger than my Windows laptop!

  3. Hmmm. I haven't had any trouble finding all the freeware I want for the Mac. Of course, that might partly be because I do at least half my stuff in a Linux virtual machine under VirtualBox….

    What are you looking for?

  4. You name it, I was probably looking for it! I'm pretty good for the moment, am slowly learning a few terminal commands that will provide alternatives to the gui programs I was used to using on Windows.

  5. There's the core program which opens everything, and you should be able to open each program individually as well if you have the suite.

    Writing: Take a look at a program called CopyWrite, which has a free-limited version and is a great way to keep documents organized. I haven't been able to find anything that does the same for Windows, yet.

    FTP: look at Cyberduck.

    Graphics: Your best bet, if you can't (cough) buy Adobe, is The Gimp. I wouldn't wholeheartedly recommend it only because I haven't quite gotten the hang of the workflows myself, but it is a very good free program.

    Layouts: Scribus. Haven't used it.

    Vector: Inkscape. Haven't used it. has an entire mac section.

    Offline storage: dropbox has proven very useful for cross-machine synchronizing.

    And also, Google's software is all mac-capable, so you can get gmail notifier, google talk, etc. to work.

  6. Thanks Kenneth, there's a couple in there I haven't heard about, so will definitely take a look. I have a copy of the GIMP, but haven't installed it yet.

    Must admit, the switch to Mac has made me very conscious of preferring software which has both PC and Mac models, just so I can switch between the two machines with minimum re-learning.

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