Hello, fellow Mac users! After my one-month hiatus (due to the fact that the wonderful college tradition known as spring break coincided directly with last month’s issue deadline, and, well, you know… you need to have priorities!), I’m back and ready to give you another monthly dose of mindless Mac musings. Let’s get started with the tidbits, in no particular order:
THE TOPIC THAT REFUSES TO DIE:
That’s right, yet another Internet email option. MacsRule http://www.macsrule.com is an email forwarding service that supplies users with an “email alias,” which is in essence a fake domain name. This is similar to the service that iName and POBox provide, but the clincher is that the domain name is “@macsrule.com.” Cool, huh? For $12 a year, you can show everyone you exchange email with that you bleed in six colors.
MAKE YOUR OLD MAC ACT NOT-QUITE-SO-OLD:
I’m not sure how many of you readers are still using 68020 and 68030-based Macs, but if you are, here’s a piece of shareware that might be worth checking out. Pseud040 version 1.3, by Michael Connolly, tricks older Macs into thinking they have, well, a not-quite-as-old CPU. If there are applications that require at least a 68040 processor that you would like to run on your ‘020 or ‘030 Macintosh, installing this control panel will allow you to run those apps. In my case, this gives my Mac a real case of identity problems: my LC is originally an ‘020, which has been upgraded to an ‘030, but thinks that it’s an ‘040. Jeesh!
Keep in mind, though, that this is just an emulator and NOT an accelerator, which means that your Mac will not actually get any faster as a result of installing this software. In other words, you’ll be able to run software that requires an ‘040 processor, but you’ll probably do so rather slowly. (Case in point: trying to get Duke Nukem 3D to run on my LC… no, don’t go there!) Also, in addition to a few games, I don’t use many applications that require the use of an ‘040. So, it’ll be up to you to decide whether or not Pseud040 version 1.3 is worth the $20 shareware fee, but I’d encourage you to give it a try if it sounds like something that might help you out.
Finally, I have always liked my Mac just because it was flat out more fun than any Windows computer I had ever used. But now, living on a Windows-only campus and being forced to access the campus network via Wintel computer, I also appreciate my Mac because it’s easier to get more stuff done, too. Although I’m not about to trash the entire Windows operating system (because, as much as I hate to admit it, it does some things very well), there are more than enough oddities and blemishes present that I can feel my productivity lagging whenever I’m using Word 97 or Excel 97 for Windows.
One very annoying “feature” in Word 97 is the process you have to use to format text. Unless you’re planning on using only boldface, underlining, and italicizing, you aren’t going to find formatting options on the default button bar (whether or not you can customize this, I’m not sure, and since I’m using a campus-wide application over the campus network, messing with the preferences is not encouraged). I was writing a chemistry lab report the other day, and, for obvious reasons, needed to some subscripting and superscripting. I was lost on how to go about this, so I had to call the annoying Mr. Paperclip to answer my questions. It turns out the recommended way to subscript text in Word 97 is to highlight the text, go to the Format menu, choose the Font option under that menu, click on the “subscript” check box in the resulting dialog box, and click OK. I would much rather highlight the text and type Command-hypen in ClarisWorks, thank-you-very-much. I’ve run into similar procedures to double-space a document, too. And this huge, option-laden behemoth of a word processor is the industry standard on the vast majority of the world’s computers? Woe is me! Oh, and one more thing-there is no PC keystroke combination for the bullet character (•). (It’s option-8 on the Mac, try it if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) No bullets??? Come on!!
The moral of the story is, the Mac isn’t just better because it’s easier to use, crashes less, looks prettier, or is easier to customize, even though those are pretty good reasons, too. It’s better because it’s just plain, flat-out more efficient. And that’s all I got to say about that.
To close, I must admit that one thing scares me: every now and then, I’ll be typing in ClarisWorks on my Mac, and I’ll try to cut-and-paste using Control-X and Control-V. Downright scary. If I’m not careful, I’m going to be assimilated…