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Steve Bogart

News, Pointers & Commentary: May 1-14 1997

10 May 1997  
From Information Week: Microsoft To Provide Backwards Compatibility For Office 97 -- wait a minute, wasn't it supposed to be backwards-compatible in the first place? Why do people sit still for this?
9 May 1997  
Office 97 trouble: Office 97 And The Upgrade Blues, written by Fred Langa for WinMag, details the reasons behind the magazine's decision to take Office 97 off the WinList (their recommended software list). Also, Word formats fixed this summer (by Alex Lash for describes the problems Microsoft has created for users by changing the file format used in Word 97. What a wonderful, productivity-enhancing upgrade Office 97 is, especially for people who have to share files!
8 May 1997  
Office 97 -- or Office 1984? is a decent analysis of why Office 97 is a scary step in the evolution of software, and why if you buy it you're pretty much locked into the world of Microsoft. Oh yes, and you'll probably have to upgrade your computer to even run it. Gee, what great software Microsoft writes.

On the other hand, you could still do your word processing on a 10-year old Mac, like Jason Chen does in The Power of Old Macs (from MacNow magazine). Not that you would, but you could. Could you on a 10-year old PC?

Hm, never would have guessed: Remember the Fred Moody piece from May 2? Seems the Pliant Research folks (who Mr. Moody said: A) invented the Mac interface and B) were leaving Apple to work for Microsoft) neither created the Mac interface nor are leaving Apple to work for Microsoft. Imagine my surprise. Read the whole story at PRNewsWire.

7 May 1997  
Mac's Hand-Held MessagePad Winning Rave Reviews by Charles Haddad, Cox News Service. Interesting tidbit: CNN might hand out Newtons to its reporters? Wouldn't that be a badly-needed PR boost for Apple...

This page was beginning to get long, so I moved older material to an archive area where this stuff will be stored permanently. I think it's very important to keep older material around; it's a fine historical snapshot of the past, and storage space is cheap. In fact, everything on the web should be archived permanently somewhere. There will a Scribble on this sometime...

6 May 1997  
Is this any way to run a computer? Read Brian Livingston's Readers shed light on the mysteries of Windows 95 and see what a mess this 'modern OS' can make of your work. Aren't computers supposed to save time?

A pretty clear-headed comparison of an older Newton vs. the USR Pilot is on MacKiDo: Newton or a Pilot.

"They are both great products that serve different needs."
5 May 1997  
new Scribble: No One Knows My Plan 1997: What am I trying to do here, anyway?

Straight from the CEO's mouth: A MacWeek interview with Gil Amelio provides some more clues as to the direction Apple's going with Rhapsody (which we should apparently start calling Concert).

I nearly always find Bill Machrone's PC Week columns to be well-reasoned and convincing, not to mention entertaining. Here's this week's, criticizing the movement to merge the web browser and the desktop environment: A Plague on Both Their Houses. Right on.

Also in PC Week, see Peter Coffee's somewhat surprised feature on the number of positive e-mail responses he received when he took a close look at the health of the MacOS world: Mac user mail rivals North Dakota floods. One quote:

"Many confirmed that in mixed environments, Macs require a tiny fraction of the support demanded by Windows PCs. Typical was the help desk specialist at a major federal agency. Almost half of the agency's machines are Macs, but he handles those with half of his time and does Web site work for the rest of the day--while four other technicians spend all of their time on Windows. "
2 May 1997  
Aha! Here's a Microsoft person I wholly agree with: Robert Hess holds forth on good web design in his May 1 more or hess column Repeal the User Tax. Favorite quote:
"...when you add some cool feature onto your site, think of it as a 'time tax' on the user. You are asking users to give up precious moments to listen to what you have to say. If you're really interested in keeping their attention, and getting them back again, you need to think about how best to make them feel like their time on your site is well spent."
Of course, when I loaded his page on my Windows 95 machine, Internet Explorer wanted to download some ActiveX components to "provide easier navigation". I consider that to be a fine example of bandwidth-wasting user-taxing garbage, but I attribute the garbage's presence to the fact that the 'SiteBuilder Network' (where his column is located) is supposed to be an ActiveX showcase. I chose not to download them and saw the page just fine, but it was ironic given his thesis.

Yeesh: Here's another fine journalistic mind at work: Biting Off a Chunk of Apple by Fred Moody of ABC News has this insightful quote:

"Every day, of course, brings new signs of Apple's imminent demise."
Hm, that's funny, his bio at the end mentions he's the author of a rah-rah book about Microsoft's multimedia efforts. Why, sure I'll believe he'll write objectively about Apple...

Hey, I made it onto Dave Winer's e-mail page. Cool.

1 May 1997  
Here's a fine piece explaining some of the reasons for NOT using 'sophisticated' page editors like FrontPage, PageMill, etc: WYSIWYG or the Real Thing? by Nadav Savio in "Webmonkey".
"The idea behind WYSIWYG editors is fundamentally flawed."...

Today's Yeesh: According to Reuters, Dataquest is saying that the MacOS share of the global operating system market will be 1.5% in 1997. Excuse me? The most recent figures from Dataquest were that the Mac share of the U.S. business market went UP from 6.7% in 1996 to 7.8% in the last quarter. Is the MacOS that bad off in the rest of the world? They've got the only OS that handles Indian languages with anything close to aplomb, they have a Chinese Dictation Kit which transcribes spoken Mandarin into Chinese text...what gives? I'd like to see a bit more supporting information for their 1.5% figure before I give it anything but a guffaw. And a yeesh.

On the other hand: You know, sometimes Apple just makes dumb, dumb, dumb decisions and you wonder how they've survived this long. Like making new offices for the executives behind key-card-access doors when there are still offices from a previous management team available -- that's the way to win the trust of your employees, just spend exorbitant amounts of money to wall them out! Bah. Read the whole sad story in the SJ Merc.

I'm going to be seeing They Might Be Giants tonight in Edwardsville. Most excellent...

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