Starting Line
My Mac Magazine #40, Aug. ’98

Dear Readers,

Well, my husband has gone over to the Dark Side. Yes, he is going to school to learn Windoze networking. The good news is once he is done with that, I can probably convince him to get up to speed on Macs so I’ll finally have some tech support at home. The bad news is the amount of disinformation floating around the Windoze community. I am amazed, shocked, and disheartened at what his classmates are telling him!

Like, Apple was bought out by SoftPC, Apple is going out of business, Macs are outdated; those poor grade school kids will have no idea how to use Windoze when they get to college (yeah, right!)… Granted, nothing we haven’t heard before, but these are supposed to be open-minded college students and this is also after Apple has started its advertising campaign! This tells me that Apple still has a lot, and I mean a lot, of work still to do. Again, nothing new. From what I’ve heard, not only does Apple need to inform the entire PC community that it is as much of a viable business as Microsoft, but teach them the strengths of Macs. I’m not advocating trying to convert these folks, but let’s give them a little correct information.

I would say one of the biggest areas of misinformation out there is that mixed platform networks are more expensive to run. This, I believe, is based entirely on perception. The only studies I have been able to find (and wrote about a couple of months ago) show that mixed platform networks are actually easier and less expensive to run. That’s the kind of information Apple needs to push.

Why? Not to break into the corporate environment. No, rather to support the graphics industry that is its lifeblood. Many corporations have an in-house graphic/Marketing Communications department. It may be small (like mine) or it may be big, but at some level, it exists. For the most part, these are Mac-based. And, they fight daily with their IS department to keep those computers. IS maintains it is more expensive to run a mixed platform network when really it is their refusal to learn how to support Macs that is the problem.

Of course, there is also the issue of how a support department like IS can dictate what people use on the job rather than provide support enabling folks to be efficient at their job, but I digress. The point I am trying to make is the advertising campaign by Apple is great, but it is only one small part of the pie. They need to really beef up their public relations to the Windoze community, which should be easier now that they are aligned with Microsoft.

One way to accomplish this might be to attend some of these PC conventions and inform folks how easy and how efficient it is to work Macs into their Windoze networks. Another way might be to advertise in journals that serve both the Mac and Windoze communities, like the Desktop Publisher’s Journal or Photographic Processing or Presentations. Or, be really brave and advertise and publish white papers in PC-only journals. The entire world is open to Apple; it only has to plant the seeds.

Helpful Hints

HH#53: Cookies — Cookies are little files that some websites drop into your hard drive. They contain information on your web browsing habits. For privacy freaks like myself, I find these to be a huge invasion of my privacy. Track where I go, when I am on your site, fine, that’s reasonable, but don’t put a tracking device on my hard drive!

So, how do you combat Cookies? Most browsers will inform you when a Cookie information is going to be dropped into your Mac. Check your Preferences dialogue box in your browser for specifics.

Another route is to install Cookie banning software on your computer. I use a little program called Cookie Monster. I can’t remember where I got it; I’ve had it for quite some time. It launches each time I turn on my system and deletes your browser’s Cookies file. Now if a website views your Cookie, it sees just what you done or visited since startup. No questions, no hassles.

HH#54: Copyright Issues — Now, some of you might be wondering how this applies to newbies. Well, it applies to everyone!

A lot of folks download graphics from websites or scan them in from a magazine. They figure “I’ll touch this up so much that no one will ever recognize it. Then, I can use it in my personal site or a presentation at work, or whatever. I’m not using it for financial gain so there’s nothing wrong with it.” Wrong! You’ll lessen your chances of being caught, especially with internal business uses, but that doesn’t make it right. This issue has become such a hot topic among designers that the software industry has started to respond.

There are programs you can purchase that place a digital watermark on your digital artwork. This watermark stays in the code of the graphic, no matter how extensive the alterations. Combined with a web-crawling program that searches out your watermark, you now have a pretty cool tool to protect your hard work (or a pretty cool tool that gets you in trouble for using someone else’s hard work!) They’re not as common as say, word processing programs, but a little searching on the web will yield results. Better yet, have any readers used digital watermarks? We’d love to read about your experiences.

Now, what happens if your unauthorized use of artwork is found out? Well, if the offended company is being kind, they’ll bill you, most likely at a higher rate than if you had just paid the usage fee. If they are not being kind, they can haul you into court and chances are, they’ll win.

Bottom line, it’s just plain wrong to use someone else’s work without permission. For personal use, it’s just not worth the risk. For that matter, it’s not worth the risk in the business world either, especially since business usually has funds to pay for the use. In either case, there is just no excuse.

In the rush to meet a deadline, it’s an easy thing to overlook, but don’t. Trust me, I’ve been there. It’s hard to stand up to supervisors who don’t understand and couldn’t care less. But it’s even worse to try and explain why you broke the law if you are caught.

Internet Site of the Month:

While Presentations needs to work on its Mac coverage for presentation hard and software, the journal and site offers tips on how to improve your public speaking. That makes it all worthwhile. And, who couldn’t use tips getting rid of those sweaty palms?

Good computing!

Barbara Bell

Websites mentioned:

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