Starting Line
My Mac Magazine #32, Dec. ’97

Dear Readers:

Well, I’ve finally seen the “Think Different” ads. My first exposure was the back cover of an AdWeek magazine on October 13. Not flashy, but that’s okay. Flash doesn’t always equal substance. My problem is I don’t know who the supposedly famous guy in the ad is. Even so, it was refreshing to see a nice, large ad for Apple outside of Macintosh journals.

When I finally saw the television ad, I honestly didn’t know what it was at first. The angle of the ad, individuality, was what caught me. Hey, I’m a sucker for anything that promotes uniqueness!

I liked it. Okay, okay, it doesn’t have rush of a Pentium ad (and I grudgingly admit I like those commercials – disco was a wonderful time for me!). The Apple ad has something better: it captures Apple’s spirit. And since our wonderful country was founded on the concept of individuality, I suspect Apple’s campaign (IMHO) will begin to make a positive impact on Apple sales and perception. For all I know, it has already begun.

It’s also positive that Apple is flashing their name in front of people’s faces again. Name recognition is extremely important in this age of branding. You may not know which computer is better, but if you remember its name, it will be the first thing you look for. Name recognition also leads to buying preference. You buy what you know, or what you think you know.

For me, it comes down to relief that Apple is advertising again with a decent ad. I hope they not only keep it up but they increase the frequency!

I read a couple of disturbing things this month. The first was regarding Adobe Persuasion. In the December issue of Macworld, there is a blurb that Adobe has discontinued Persuasion as of September 1. The article mentioned that Persuasion “fell victim to its maturity.” When it was released, it was nearly where it needed to be. Improvements were, except with 4.0, minor. I think this a great loss. I say Adobe Persuasion is another victim of Microsoft world domination.

Having used both Persuasion and MS PowerPoint, I can honestly say they both have their good and bad features. However, PowerPoint is still so automated that it can be difficult if not impossible to customize your presentation. Sometimes, it drives me crazy! Let me design! It’s this very customization where Persuasion shines. Not only have we lost a great piece of software, but Microsoft gained a little bigger piece of the pie.

The second nasty little rumor is also in the December issue of Macworld (actually, the merged Macworld and MacUser). The article is by Andy Ihnatko and titled “Greatly Insane: Inside the mind of Steve Jobs.” What was this nasty rumor? That Steve is “pulling the plug on the PowerPC.” Granted, rumors are rumors and must be heard with a grain of salt, but if they’re publishing it in a major mag, well, maybe Apple is flirting with the idea. All I can say is I hope not. If they are, they had better replace it with something 10 times as good. The PowerPC is the best thing on the market right now, bar none, and to pull it without a superb replacement will surely bring Apple, and the rest of us, crashing down (IMHO, that is!).

And that brings me onto my last observation before moving into Helpful Hints: the new Macworld. As you recall, Macworld purchased MacUser and merged the two companies. They also merged the two journals. Reading the new Macworld is a bit like looking into the mind of a person with a double personality. You start off in the usual Macworld format and it suddenly changes into a different format – the MacUser layout. I actually had to look at the cover of the mag to remember what I was reading. Very distracting.

Hey, Macworld! Try actually merging the two styles… don’t keep them separate. Two personalities in the same cover is confusing. You’re a new company now. Drive your desktop publishers crazy and have your journal reflect your new, merged, identity!

Helpful Hints

HH#33: Kaleidoscope Power User – This tip came from R. Burman (pburman@paston.co.uk
) in the United Kingdom: “After using Kaleidoscope for quite awhile, I got annoyed with having to keep opening the System folder, then the Extensions folder and finally the Kaleidoscope Color Schemes folder every time I downloaded a new scheme. So, I came up with the idea of placing an alias of the Kaleidoscope Color Scheme folder into the Launcher.

“Now, whenever I have a new scheme that needs adding, all I have to do is drag it over the Kaleidoscope Color Scheme folder icon in the Launcher window (which then darkens) and let go. This transfers the scheme file directly to its destination.

“This method is also useful for getting to frequently used, but deeply buried folders.”

Thank you, R. Burman! I don’t use Kaleidoscope but this is a great tip for those folks who do.

FYI: I don’t use the Launcher at work but have aliases of my most frequently used applications and documents on the desktop. It makes the desktop messy, but I can find what I need quickly!

HH#34: Apple Audio Player – This a free program that lets you play audio CDs on your Mac while you work. Okay, if you’re at home, no big deal. I mean, you can turn on your powerblaster stereo and listen to Led Zeppelin or Prince while you surf the ‘net, right? But at work it’s a bit different…

Apple Audio Player solves that problem. You can listen to tunes on your Mac. No more worrying about your radio or CD player being ripped off. As an extra added attraction, Apple Audio Player lets you name the individual tracks on your CDs ( and remembers those names), program play sequences and remember those, while its controls let you start, stop, pause, switch tracks, adjust sound, and eject discs, directly from the keyboard. A nifty little piece of software from our friends at Apple.

HH#35: Cut, Copy, and Paste Commands – Okay, this is a very basic tip, but for beginners, it can be invaluable. I remember when I first started using my Mac many moons ago, the cut, copy, and paste commands were extremely confusing. I was used to the DOS world (not even Windows at that time) and these straight forward commands were too much! So, let me break them down for you.

Cut and Paste: These were taken from the graphic design world. To move text, you actually had to cut it from its original position on your document and paste the little piece of paper in its new position. That, essentially, is what happens when you cut and paste in your Mac documents. You highlight the text, cut it, move your cursor to the text’s new position, and paste it in place.

Copy: The same procedure as cut, except you are copying the highlighted text so it will appear in multiple spots in your document.

Of course, now many programs let you drag your highlighted text so you can avoid the whole cut and paste commands if you wish. How, exactly, is that done? Highlight the text you wish to move, click and drag to its new position and you’re finished!

Internet Site of the Month:
The Internet Fraud Watch Web at http://www.fraud.org/ifw.htm
. This site is hosted by the National Consumers League and is intended to inform users about fraud on the Internet. And yes, there is plenty of fraud on the Internet. The ten most frequent fraud reports involve undelivered Internet and online services; damaged, defective, misrepresented or undelivered merchandise; auction sales; pyramids and multilevel marketing; misrepresented cyberspace business opportunities and franchises; work-at-home schemes; prizes and sweepstakes; credit card offers; books and other self-help guides; and magazine subscriptions.

As great as the Internet is, it has its pitfalls. The Internet Fraud Watch Web site can help you avoid those dark holes in cyberspace.

Last, and certainly not least, if you have a particular area that’s giving you trouble, or have a solution to a problem and you want to tell the world, e-mail me. I’ll answer you both personally and post it in the column. I promise, I won’t use your name if you don’t want me to!

Feliz Navidad! AdiĆ³s!


Barbara Bell (pr@mymac.com)


Websites mentioned:
http://www.lowell.org

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