Re: Pc v. Mac

Subject: Re: Pc v. Mac
From: Sarah Stegall <stegall -at- TERAYON -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 14:24:07 -0700

Bill Fetzner wrote:

> Question: Which platform is in the most common use and, consequently,
> considered better for pure technical writing projects?

I'll start out by confessing upfront that I am a beleagured MacAddict in
a world of Wintel lovers, who view my love of the Apple line as deeply
suspect. I have been reprimanded by management for even *mentioning*
Macintoshes in connection with tech writing, so I am definitely feeling
a bit defensive on this subject. Be that as it may, my experience is
that IT DOESN'T MATTER what platform you write on. You're a writer, not
a computer operator. I've written drafts of documentation proposals on
legal pads with a 39-cent ballpoint pen (being out of fountain pens and
vellum). The computer is only a tool for executing your ideas.

I have worked on both platforms, in mixed environments. In one company,
80% of the desktop machines were *Solaris* boxes; no one proposed that
technical writing be done on a UNIX box, although of course it could be
done. As the sole Mac user in a Wintel network, I had NO problems with
compatibility across platforms. Everything was exchanged either on the
network or on floppies, without a hitch. The only difficulty we ran
across was in filename incompatibility in a Windows 3.1 user who could
not read filenames other than in the 8.3 format, and his main problem
was other Windows 98 users using long filenames. I have also worked in
a company where everyone was allowed to choose his own platform (yes!
really!) and it was up to MIS to network us all together. We never had
any problems, and we had a system with Macs, PCs, Solaris, and even a
Radio Shack TRS-80 hooked in! (Don't ask me how our networking wizard
got the Trash80 online--he just did). Our major interface problems were
the mainframes, not the personal computers.

Bottom line: Computers don't write, people do. If your manager is
smart, he or she will let you pick the tool and do your job the way you
know best.
Sarah Stegall Senior Technical Writer
stegall -at- terayon -dot- com Terayon Communication Systems

"I love being a writer, what I can't stand is the paperwork."
-- Peter DeVries

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