Re: Laptops, Mac-to-Windows

Subject: Re: Laptops, Mac-to-Windows
From: Matt Ion <soundy -at- SOUNDY -dot- ORG>
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 14:13:02 -0800

On Sun, 28 Feb 1999 12:15:17 -0800, Leslies wrote:

>I am just starting out as a free-lance technical writer and editor. After
>years of writing and editing as a captive employee (first as a journalist,
>then as a technical writer), I've decided to go it alone. I have a
>considerable investment in Mac software, so I'd like to continue using one.
>Specifically, I've got my eye on a PowerBook G3.

Hmm, nice toys, those G3s. A friend of mine just picked up one of the new
tower systems -- running at 400MHz, they blow the doors off a
similarly-spec'd PII-450 system.

>I would like to hear from other free-lancers who use laptops exclusively in
>their work. I'm curious whether the benefits of mobile computing outweigh
>the ergonomic limitations. Simply put, can a laptop be used successfully as
>a free-lance technical writer's sole computer?

My main desktop machine at home provides a gateway for my LAN to use my
cable-modem connection, as well as my own FTP, web and mail servers. I
use it for more intensive layout and graphic work, as its display can run
at 1280x1024x24bpp(16.7 million colors) as opposed to the laptop's maximum
800x600x16bpp (32k colors), plus it has a lot more storage, the ZIP drive,
and the CD burner, and operates as a print server for my LAN-connected
laser and inkjet printers.

However, I use my laptop (a ThinkPad 380ED Pentium 166) for just about all
my usual day-to-day production, spending a lot of time on the road and
occaisionally working in different areas of the house (depending on my

>I'd also like to hear from free-lancers who use a Macintosh (either desktop
>or laptop) exclusively. How painful are the cross-platform conversion
>headaches, and is it worth it? (Please note that I am *not* seeking
>comments on the merits of Windows and Mac. I use both daily. I'm simply
>seeking input on Mac-to-Windows conversion problems, an area in which I
>have little expertise.)

The biggest problems you'll find are likely to be specific to the software
package rather than the hardware/OS platform. Most graphic-file formats
are fully transportable between platforms. Some cross-platform packages
(such as StarDivision's StarOffice) strive specifically for compatibility
and similarity of appearance and functionality between their different
versions (StarOffice looks and feels the same whether on Linux, Solaris,
Windows, or OS/2, and the files are all fully portable, for example).
Others tend to treat it as an afterthought (older versions of MS Word, to
name one).

The other thing to consider is portability of the media. Without special
additional tools, your Windows PC will not be able to read Mac-formatted
disks (seamless HFS support is available for OS/2). All Macs for the past
few years, on the other hand, have come with support for PC-formatted
disks, so as long as you're careful to format removable media on the PCs,
you should be fine. Networking is also possible, provided either the
company has an Appletalk client on their PCs, or you have an SMB/NetBEUI
client on your Mac.

Your friend and mine,
<All standard disclaimers apply>
"Reality is in alpha test on protoype hardware."

To seek the sacred river Alph
To walk the caves of ice
To break my fast on honeydew
And drink the milk of Paradise...
- Rush, "Xanadu"

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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