RE: new to contracting, all the usual questions

Subject: RE: new to contracting, all the usual questions
From: "Downing, David" <DavidDowning -at- Users -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2005 15:44:28 -0400



Also on the Mac vs. PC issue, there isn't a Mac version of Visio, but
there is a Mac program called OmniGraffe that'll open Visio files. (I
haven't tried it so I can't speak to how good or bad it is.)

-----Original Message-----
From: Laura Lemay [mailto:llemay -at- gmail -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, April 22, 2005 9:54 AM
Subject: Re: new to contracting, all the usual questions

Re: mac vs PC.

I've been contracting steadily for about five years now, and on and off
for eight years before that. I use primarily a Mac at home and I've had
very little trouble with contracts over the years. A lot of companies
provide machines onsite; a rare few even provide equipment for your use
at home.

Even if you're using a mac in a windows or unix job, most files are
binary compatible between platforms for Office, FrameMaker, and pretty
much all illustration formats. Frame 7.0 on the mac versus 7.1 on
windows is an issue, but a lot of companies I've worked with seem to be
a version or two behind so often that isn't a problem. If your company
uses unusual fonts there may be font issues when you move the files back
and forth. If this is a problem see if you can't get copies of the
fonts -- OSX supports PC-format ttf and otf fonts
natively and that will make your life a lot easier. (I ran into this
problem just this week which is why its on my mind)

Note however that I usually write traditional linear books, API
documentation or web-based tutorials -- if I did online help things
might be different. I believe the tools for help are mostly windows
based.

To move the files from work to home and back I either zip everything up
and email it -- zip is supported on the mac by stuffit -- or I use a
USB drive as Phillip suggested (actually I use a mini SD card reader so
I can use all the same flash cards I have kicking around for my camera
and my palm pilot.)

Recently I've found that since the competition for contracts has gotten
stiffer it helps to casually point out in interviews that I have a fully
stocked home office with Windows, Linux, and Mac and that I can easily
work on anything they give me. It shows I have invested in my career
both money-wise and in the attention to learn all three platforms.

If you do find you need a PC, a decent one can be found for only about
$500 these days. The software you need is more of a problem, of
course, but Ebay can be very helpful for that. You can either find new
software at cut-rate prices or buy previous versions and then upgrade.

good luck;
Laura
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