Most of us who have had the privilege of reviewing Microsoft Office 2001 GM agree: It’s cool. While many of us are still overcoming the shock and horror of having come to that conclusion about Microsoft Office of all things (I hear stories of one reviewer who slipped a bag over his head and flagellated himself for three days chanting, “Mac is the Way, I shall follow the Way”), the remainder of the intrepid band of testers immediately began playing with Office in ways completely unsuitable for most reviews. As one of those testers, I have a proposition.
Why Should I Do This?
Macintosh User Groups are strange things, communities of people seemingly springing out of nowhere to meet on a regular basis, discuss the Macintosh and help each other out with whatever problems they may be experiencing. Most communities are lucky enough to have a MUG presence of some sort, new MUG’s being created all the time.
Compatibility. There is currently a disparity in the number of APIs in the Carbon specification that have actually been implemented between Mac OS 9 and OS X. The CarbonLib SDK, a free download from Apple, includes both the CarbonLib stub library and a library called LiteCarbonLib, which contains only those calls that currently work on both Mac OS X and OS 9. These libraries are 204 and 124 k respectively, which is a very crude measure of the difference between the two.
The startup screen isn’t much-that’s for sure. I thought I’d begin with that one little grievance, not only because it’s the first thing that I saw, but because it’s the converse of everything else in the new Office 2001 suite of products. Microsoft has really done an excellent job at streamlining the four programs: Entourage (e-mail and PIM), PowerPoint (presentations), Word (word processing), and Excel (spreadsheets). Each one is easy to use, and captures the new Mac “look-and-feel”-that being the striped pillow embossed lines seen in Aqua and Internet Explorer 5.
As a field rep for the new Apple rollout for Circuit City, I have read with increasing disgust the quick-to-judge Mac community pouncing all over the newest member of the iMac/iBook retail family, Circuit City. If you want the short version of this article, here it is: PATIENCE, PEOPLE! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the task before us is almost as Herculean. Transforming low-paid home-electronics wonks into decent Mac salesmen is no easy task, but if you start condemning CC too early, I can guarantee a repeat of the “Worst Buy” disaster.
Computers have shrunk from giant mainframes into gumdrop iMacs, processors and chips have shrunk into millimeters, and prices have dropped to almost nothing. The exact same is true for speakers.And as we close in on the Millenium, one thing has become increasingly clear this decade. Space is valuable. For any consumer, space is very important. That’s why it’s really nice to stumble upon a pair of quality speakers that actually sound great and take up only a small space on a desk. I’m referring to Sonigistix’s Monsoon flat panel speakers.Monsoon has come up with a very small handsome flat panel speaker system that is one of the few that finally does justice to my MP3 and CD collection. They are very small, slim, and low profile. And in a tinted grey they really go great with anything you put them up against.
IK Multimedia’s Groovemaker 2.0 is the perfect program for amateur and professional mixers and DJs alike. No matter what kind of mixing you would like to do: techno, dance, ambient, house, Brazilian percussion, or even hiphop (soon to come); Groovemaker offers CDs for mixing these types of music. And for users who like to hear random mixes without having to mix themselves, Groovemaker includes many automated tasks that its closest competitor, Mixman, fails to provide.
Installation was a snap, and now it was time to make some grooves. Groovemaker first prompts you to select a song (or template) you wish to groove with. The Song dialogue box tells you a concise description of the song, the Beats Per Minute (BPM) at which the song was originally recorded, and plays a sample groove that can be made from the song (since literally millions of different grooves can be made from each individual song). Once you have selected a song to groove with, you have to copy it to your hard disk. Now you are ready to make some mixes.
It all started innocently enough, a lanky 22-year-old recent college graduate hiding from his job hunt at MacWorld Expo, armed with nothing but a Bachelor’s in English and $45 to buy a cool new game. The $45 actually had some value, and he traded it for a copy of Maxis’ recent hit, the people-simulation game known as The Sims.
Players can choose the gender, race, weight, age and appearance for each Sim or choose from an offering of pre-created characters offered by the game. The player then places their Sims in a house of their own design after outfitting the home with the basics of modern survival (lights, phones, toilets, showers, beds, chairs, tables, cooking appliances and a fridge). The game is now underway and chaos is the norm.
Installation was similiar to previous versions. You insert the CD, double click on the installation app, and it reboots from the CD into Mac OS X. It erases a partition on your hard drive and installs itself. The installation took somewhat more time than the current Mac OS; I timed it at 17 minutes.
During the application, you are IN Aqua. You can drag the installation window around, access menus, etc. I tried clicking on the Services cascading menu, but since OS X wasn’t installed, there was no services, so the menu disappeared, but when I brought it up again, it was more transparent. I repeated this process until it no longer came up at all, and though the installation appeared to finish, I had to do a cold restart, and the machine never finished booting into Mac OS X. I had to reboot from the OS 9 CD and then repeat the OS X installation process.