RE: graphic artist work

Subject: RE: graphic artist work
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- jci -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 10:27:14 -0500

Now before you hit the reply button, keep a couple of things in mind:

1) Computers are tools we use in pursiuit of a separate end. The goal is to
produce docs, not play with a machine.

2) That tool is good which fits both your hand and the job well.

3) A competent worker can produce competent output in spite of a bad tool,
while even the best tool won't make an incompetent worker competent.

>Rumor has it that
>Motorola, who also made their own brand of clones, is still steamed at
>SJ for killing the clone licenses ... and moved their systems from
>Macs to NT machines.

The most interesting thing about this, if it were true, is that Motorola
would then be funding Intel, as NT (and W2K) don't run on Motorola chips.
When NT was launched there was this big hubbub about it running on seven
different microprocessors. One by one, it vanished on all but intel and
alpha (and the alpha version was on life-support when last heard from).

The real irony is that the NT on Motorola port was funded (and written) by
Motorola itself. Then Motorola realized that nobody was buying it, so it
dropped funding for the port, and told MS that if the port was to continue
MS would have to pay for it itself. A few weeks later, MS announced it was
dropping the PowerPC version of NT.

>Does the long filename persist if the file is placed on a floppy
>and transferred? .... and doesn't the file depend on the three letter
>extension to allow it to be opened by the proper program?

Well, it depends on the individual system's registry, which is sort of like
a manually-operated equivalent of the Mac desktop file. I say
"manually-operated" because while the act of copying an app unto a Mac disc
updates the desktop file, the Windows registry must be updated in a
separate action. A file extension gets entered into the registry, either by
a user or by the installation routine for the app, which then takes control
of that extension system wide. If the extension is in the system registry,
then the system will use that app to open the file.

This has a few unfortunate side effects. If you have some jpegs you want to
work with in ImageReady, for example, while others you want to work with in
Photshop and still others you want to work with in Fireworks, Windows just
can't handle that. All jpegs must go by default to the same application.
Macs keep track of the creator as well as the file type, and will go back
to the creator by default for each file.

We had a couple of real problems around here stemming from that. We
installed a viewer for CAD files, allowing us to view CAD drawings from the
desktop. Unfortunately, the installer for that viewer also took over all
GIF and JPEG files, and wouldn't give them back. We ended up having to
manually delete the registry entry for that app and manually re-enter the
CAD extensions we wanted it to view, while preserving the GIF and JPEG
apps. In another instance, the camera interface software insisted on taking
over JPEGs for its own (horrible) editor, and wouldn't be satisfied until
we did the same thing to it. That had the side effect of breaking a
database the engineers used for linking to images of specific product
installations; a vital tool around here went south and for a while no one
understood why. There was some *real* anger vented over that one, I tell

>> Still, why not discuss more _everyday_ little irritations, then,
>>like not
>> being able to get disks out of the machine without getting the
>> permission,
>On the Mac, you can't eject a floppy/CD/Zip disk that has open
>applications. Not sure how that works on the PC, as I've never tried
>to run an app from a floppy ....

Windows machines (at least the Gateways I've seen around here) won't let
you eject a Zip or a CD when the system is using it, but you can pull a
floppy out anytime you want to. Not sure why you'd *want* to remove a disk
before the system is done with it, though. Seems like a good way to shoot
yourself in the foot with a large caliber revolver. Still, if you insist,
you can do it on a Mac as well. (In fact, some of the cheaper add-on drives
for macs used to force you to eject the disc yourself; this didn't sell
well to the mac market, despite the price, so not many of those are left.)

> not being able to defrag FROM the HD, or while doing other
> things, and so on?

Hmm, don't remember the last time I've wanted to do that. (Reminds me of my
favorite line in a user manual. It was for a piece of software that would
let you play with the disc sector interleave factors on a working drive. it
read "While this should not result in the loss of any data, no sane person
would do this without a backup.") My defragger comes on a bootable CD, I
just slip it in and voila! I'm defragging from a completely clean OS.

I used one of those programs which defragged my mac drive in the
background, several years ago. Wasn't impressed. (Don't remember the name,
I think it was Alisys that made it.)

To be honest, I think the benefits of defragging are oversold. I used to do
it frequently. Now I do it once a year. I don't notice much of a difference
in performance. Maybe I or my system is simply more efficient than
"normal"at using available disk space, I don't know.

>MetaCreations is gone, now, alas ... another victim of shortsighted

Well, that remains to be seen. They've simply changed focus as a company;
time will tell if it benefits them. Though it's clear it certainly isn't
benefitting their current user base much.

> Bottom line, for graphics people, is this: anything you can do with
> a Mac in 2000, you can do with a PC in 2000 (and vice-versa). But
> probably
> for less money.

I missed the start of this conversation, but that sounds like someone who
doesn't do much graphics work. True, there's a great deal of superficial
resemblance. But the problem comes when you expect the packages to behave
similarly on the two platforms. Our illustrator here had Windows versions
of his apps in for a trial (nothing would please our local IS staff more
than to move the art department off those renegade systems they use).
Trouble was they were slower and more buggy on Windows than on the mac and
the video color fidelity was crappy, and this was demonstrated to the
satisfaction of a prejudiced audience (the IS staff) to the point where
they were allowed to purchase new macs for the department when no one else

What it came down to was time. It took longer under the Windows versions of
the apps, and beyond that, there was the time involved for a few proofing
print runs to get the colors right. Yes, the calibration tools were there,
but the price was high enough it took the Windows systems out of the
running, at least for now. MS is working hard, but there's still some
internal bottlenecks in Windows which cause problems.

Hey,platform wars can be fun. But the bottom line is results. I've seen
good work done on Windows machines, and crappy work done on Macs. "It's a
poor workman who blames his tools." If ths whole thing started because
someone wanted advice on a system purchase, you should buy the system you
can work with best. Try both out (and avoid purchasing from anyone who
refuses to let you put the machine to a meaningful test) and see which one
feels best to your hands. Numbers on a spec sheet are nice, but they're no
substitute for the feel of a mouse and the smell of fresh-baked pixels.

Odds are you'll have to move your output across platforms no matter what
choice you make, so let that concern go. Pick your software, that will be
the most limiting factor in your decision. Then pick the hardware that runs
it best.

>Don't forget that antivirus software ... and don't forget to factor in
>the next version of "I Love You" on your lost productivity.

Oh, that's fairly easy to avoid, as long as you're not forced to use the MS
mail client software. Use Notes, or any of the standard POP/IMAP clients;
they know better than to execute macros sent from anyone in the known

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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