March 9, 2008

Mac stuff - your opinions requested

Last weekend, my Dell PC kept freezing and crashing while I was trying to write my sermon and prepare my Bible study, and I finally said, "Genug!" I'd been thinking for a year about getting a Mac, so last Saturday I finally made the switch.


So far, I'm really happy with it - iPod and phone are syncing; the web looks great on Safari, I imported all my contacts from Highrise into the Address Book without a hitch, Gmail with IMAP works great in Apple's Mail program.

My main question right now is what the best route to go is for word processing. I opened up the trial for M$ Office for Mac, and was unimpressed by Word and disgusted by the price. (It's possible, in my current state of loathing for Microsoft, that I wasn't fair about it.) So, I'm trying Pages (in iWork) now, but wondered if any of you Mac users have any thoughts about it. One fellow at church said to try NeoOffice, which I understand to be related to Open Office. I've tried Open Office on PC and Ubuntu, but haven't really needed to use it, as my other computers all had M$ Office. I use Google Docs a lot, but it's nice to have a desktop word processor when the layout matters.

Also, any other tips for a Mac newbie?

22 comments:

sam said...

I've been back in the Mac world for two years now (in my second-year at CSL). I use Word because it is free. However, I've been experimenting with both Nisus Writer Pro and Mellel. Both are more "academic" word processors with better support for Hebrew (and other right to left) fonts.

I know both Pastor Weedon and Pastor McCain have spoken quiet highly of Pages... I just haven't been willing to drop the money on it.

In regards to OpenOffice... the only real option that I've seen to run anything like that natively is NeoOffice. It was too buggy the last time I used it (about a year ago).

My .02. What Mac did you get btw???

Dizziness said...

I use Pages for anything personal (and easy output to Word). For interoffice garbage, Office 2008 is hard to beat. 2004 was garbage in comparison.

For large scale papers, I use Scrivener.

Stick with Pages unless you need to work with others, and then 2008 Student/Teacher edition is great for the not-for-profit.

Mason said...

Christopher,
You are already miles ahead of me in understanding Mac! I am still learning Pages, but find it able to do all I require and then some. For shared documents I use Word 2004, which is adequate in retaining format and that is about all.

Did you get a MacBook or a Pro?
+Mason

Kristina said...

I like Pages a lot--did my dissertation in 1.0. I especially like the fact that it will do ligatures automatically. Oh, and that it will save files as Word format when necessary. The palette setup is a little hard to get the hang of, but once you've gotten used to that, it's a breeze.

Peperkorn said...

I have Word 2004, Pages, Mellel, Neooffice, and a few other smaller ones designed for writers. Neooffice and openoffice are too buggy and annoying for me. I use Pages most of the time, and I've found it is a much better interface than Word in any permutation.

So you are the pastor of a church with a school, you qualify for educational discount software. That really dramatically lowers the prices on most everything. Some things are even free.

In general, I'd say go with Pages. It's really half way to a document layout program. You'll be happy with it.

P

Dizziness said...

Macbook Pro... although today I'd probably just do a MB and add a nice iMac or Mac Pro for the same kind of money. It's nice to have a rocket in your pocket sometimes, but usually not. I suppose the 15" of screen real-estate and metal chassis is worth it.

Pages 2.0 is a big improvement over 1.0. I don't touch Word unless I have to. Even 2008 isn't perfect. (I use 2008 since the office is PC with 2007.)

I find the Pages style templates to be indispensable for creating documents. Guaranteed document uniformity of style is a good thing.

Dizziness said...

Macbook Pro... although today I'd probably just do a MB and add a nice iMac or Mac Pro for the same kind of money. It's nice to have a rocket in your pocket sometimes, but usually not. I suppose the 15" of screen real-estate and metal chassis is worth it.

Pages 2.0 is a big improvement over 1.0. I don't touch Word unless I have to. Even 2008 isn't perfect. (I use 2008 since the office is PC with 2007.)

I find the Pages style templates to be indispensable for creating documents. Guaranteed document uniformity of style is a good thing.

Pr. Scott Klemsz said...

Pastor Esget...First, glad to see you made the switch to Mac. I made the switch to Pages in January. The transition has been pretty smooth. I've made some nice brochures on Pages, very simple and easy to use.

I did use Office 2004, but I'm not a big fan of Microsoft so I'm glad to be off of it. I decided not to invest in Office 08.

I should note that my home machine is a 6 year old eMac that can no longer be upgraded. I'm using a new Mac Mini with a Cinema Display in my office. I'm hoping to make the switch to the iPhone in the coming months.

Pr. Scott Klemsz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher Esget said...

Sam:
How do/did you get Word for free?

I went to the Apple Store to get a MacBook (lusting after the Air, but realizing that it would probably be a foolish purchase). My wife thought the iMac would be better, since I don't really need something portable the vast majority of the time. So I got the "smaller" iMac, with the gorgeous 20" screen. 1 GB ram; 2.4 Ghz processor; 320 GB hard drive. I love it.

Lutheran Lucciola said...

Get Mac, and a few of the "open" (Free to public) use programs. Open Office, for instance. Google the name, and check it out. You can download it for free, and it works fantastic.

I am on a G4 that I bought in late 1999-early 2000, and I have updated RAM and a new motherboard about 3 years ago. I have never owned a PC.

Christopher Esget said...

Kristina, Dizziness, Scott, Todd: Thanks for the advice. I think I'll register Pages when the trial is up. $79 seems more than reasonable for the iWork suite - not that I'll use the other programs much.

Dizziness and Todd:
How do you get the school/non-profit discount? (The only reason to get Office, for me, would be the budget spreadsheets and "track-changes" Word documents that get sent around in our church - I'm guessing some of that would get lost in importing/exporting.)

Todd:
Do you have everything? :)

Kristina:
1) I was going to say, "I guess I'll stick with Pages unless I go back to school [which I think about from time to time]," but if you wrote your dissertation on Pages, then I'm sure it would be good enough for me.
2) Palette setup?

Mason:
Did you get Accordance? I own BibleWorks 7, and would like to figure out how to do Parallels/BootCamp/Fusion/whatever to get that working, but I just know I'll mess it up...

Dizziness said...

I purchased the Academic Word 2008 through the Apple Store (actually the 2004 with the upgrade coupon.) Yes, the track changes function might get lost. I've never tried it.

I run Bibleworks7 & Libronix in Parallels (and have done so since getting the MBP two years ago). Runs like a charm. I tried VMWare Fusion beta and it worked fine there but the integration with MacOSX is a little more limited. Bootcamp probably runs fine but didn't like my old OEM Windows XP license.

Christopher Esget said...

Thanks, Dizziness. I'll try BibleWorks in Parallels, but only AFTER I've got the Time Machine up and running (hopefully this weekend), so I don't screw everything up.

Mason said...

Accordance is incredible, but I have not made the purchase yet. The language guys at DTS (Wallace, Fanning, Bock, Harris, etc.) swore it was the best and I did find it to be without compare. I am still using Reinecker/Rogers and Zwicker right now. Paper just feels holier...

Kristina said...

Right, going to store.apple.com and selecting the Education link at the bottom is the easiest way to go. You may need to fax them something on school letterhead, etc. to prove your status. After that you should be fine. Try http://tinyurl.com/2gcw5k.

By palette setup I just meant the floating window with the tabs for page, paragraph formatting, links etc. I hope that makes sense.

Dizziness said...

Kristina,

In the Mac OS X lexicon, its not called a palette but an inspector. Just FYI.

Peperkorn said...

(((Dizziness and Todd:
How do you get the school/non-profit discount? (The only reason to get Office, for me, would be the budget spreadsheets and "track-changes" Word documents that get sent around in our church - I'm guessing some of that would get lost in importing/exporting.))))

You just have to go to a site like AcademicSuperstore.com and sign up. They may ask for verification, which you can send on your church/school letterhead. It's the way to go and saves TONS of money.


(((Todd:
Do you have everything? :))))

Yes.

(((Accordance)))
I use accordance all the time. It is amazing. I used bibleworks for about 10 years or so. There is really no comparison. It's a little pricey, but worth it imo.

Christopher Esget said...

Thanks for these inputs, all - much appreciated.

sam said...

Ack... sorry for not watching the thread and missing the question you asked.

The seminary has some agreement through MS that we get two copies of the major Microsoft products for free including Office for Mac (2004 currently... we are still waiting on the shipment of 2008), XP Pro, and Vista (blech).

I will probably be using Word less now that I finally broke down and got Nisus Pro. The education license was on $39.00 which I think is quite reasonable.

sam said...

One thing to remember also is that Logos (think Luther's Works on CD-ROM) will probably be coming out with the Mac version in the next few months... probably.

I say probably because I've been waiting a long time for this and have had my hopes dashed regarding release dates.

Christopher Esget said...

Wow, Sam - it's good to be a student!