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    October 23rd, 2008

    ♬ That’s what it’s all about
    Hey, this is the life I couldn’t live without… ♬

    Words and Music by Craig Wiseman, Steve McEwan, recorded by Brooks & Dunn.

    The continuation of the chronicle of the pluses and minuses of living with a Mac.

    First the minuses.

    This part of the post has less to do with the Mac as it does about Microsoft – which was part of the reason why I went to a Mac in the first place – to try to experience something other than being held captive to the Windows – Microsoft environment.  I am learning you can run but you can’t hide – even on a Mac.

    I am called upon to give presentations extensively and since I need to work and share presentations with others, this meant that I use PowerPoint (and the entire Microsoft Office suite for the Mac).  Despite the fact that it is a Microsoft product, it is very Mac-like in how it operates.  But there are times when you need to visit the Microsoft website – for example, when you wish to download the Clipart that Microsoft makes available for PowerPoint users.  I give all due compliments to Microsoft for the Microsoft  Clipart collection – it is wonderful and I thank Microsoft for continually updating it and adding new graphics to the collection.  My PowerPoints would be very boring without them!

    But – here is where it gets interesting. Downloading MS Clipart into a PC is a bit of rigmarole – but at least it is a fairly straightforward rigmarole.  Not so when you are using a Mac.

    Once you realize that the same process for downloading Clipart for the PC does not work for a Mac, you start searching the Microsoft help section of the Office website for more info. MS takes you to a web page on configuring MS Explorer to download MS Clipart.  Problem is, MS stopped supporting MS Explorer for the Mac when Apple brought out Safari.  I don’t even think you can find MS Explorer for the Mac anywhere. No luck here.

    Thank goodness for Mac users who have struggled with this and posted their tips on the same MS web page that talks about configuring MS Explorer (I note that there is no assistance offered for configuring Firefox or Safari to download Clipart …but I digress).

    The process is as follows (this is all after you have selected the clipart, clicked on ‘download’ and gone thru the MS consent approvals):

    “Click the cipart you want, and download it. After you have saved the file to your desktop, add the extension .cil to it. After this, you can import it: Have Word or Powerpoint open, go to “Insert Clipart”, choose import, and direct to the file you just downloaded.

    Good luck, Oliver Reiser”

    Except that this doesn’t quite work any more – you also need to follow this tip:

    “I noticed when I imported the clip into Clip Gallery, that even though I had added the .cil extension, the file was still not available for me to select–it was light grey. While on the Import window I had to go to “Enable” and select “Microsoft Office Online Files” from the drop down box. Only then did the .cil file I could see in light grey become black, and allow me to select it for import..”

    Then the clip is imported into MS Clipart Gallery (except that it isn’t sorted into the categories that MS has established such as “people” etc….all the Clipart you import is loaded into just one folder. I guess you have to sort it yourself).  You can then finally copy and paste the clipart into your PowerPoint.  Whew!

    I couldn’t have said it any better than:

    “Megan Poore: Gee. Could Microsoft make this any harder for Mac users?”

    I would only add that you have to do all of this each and every time you wish to download a piece of Clipart.

    Sheesh!

    And to continue the saga regarding Clipart in prior PowerPoints done on a PC – I am still experiencing the loss of Clipart when I open the PPT in MS PowerPoint for a Mac.  I am still at a loss on how to stop this from happening.

    Ok – enough for the minuses.

    The pluses of living with a Mac so far:

    1.    The screen. Even thou my MacBook is only a 13 inch screen, it is certainly the best screen on any laptop I have ever used.  Bar none.  I have the fonts set quite small and yet I don’t have any difficulty reading the words on the screen, without the use of reading glasses.  Photographs are simply stunning on this screen.
    2.    The keyboard. One of the things that I disliked about most keyboards is the constant ‘click click click’ when you are working.  Not on the Macbook.  The keys are wonderfully tactile yet quiet. The keyboard doesn’t take away from your concentration.
    3.    The consistency.  The menu bar in every Mac program has ‘things’ in the same place.  The drop down menus don’t reorder themselves or default to a silly short list that only ends up wasting time when you are searching for something that you can’t seem to find and you are not sure of what it is called.
    4.    The ‘sleep and wake up’ function.  When I was on a PC laptop, about half the time the laptop would not ‘wake up’ from a stand by or hibernated state – and I ended up with 5 minutes of wasted time while the laptop rebooted (and I risked the loss of data resulting from the crash).  The Mac goes to sleep – instantly – and wakes up just as fast.  Every time.  Without the need for a reboot. I leave all my applications open on the MacBook and forget about them – there isn’t the concern that Windows will crash and I risk corrupting files as a result.
    5.    Wireless connectivity.  It seemed on the PC that I was spending long periods of time trying to connect to different wireless networks – trying to recall the different protocols for each network  (was this one WEP? What was the password? Etc…). Not so on the Mac – it connects with ease and remembers the passwords for me.  Nothing could be easier.

    All in all, the experience in moving to the Mac has been positive.  Yes, I miss my right-click (sigh – I am getting used to the keyboard shortcuts as a result).  I am adjusting to the ‘two-finger drag’ that is the equivalent to the scroll on the PC.  But the frustrations of living in the PC- Windows world are fading and now I find myself wishing I was using a Mac instead of a PC when I am in the office with the Law Society of BC instead of only on my own time.  I sincerely think my productivity would go up and the lost time fighting with PC-based problems would diminish.  Isn’t that what it is all about? I am quickly becoming adjusted to the life that I couldn’t live without….

    This entry was posted on Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 at 8:55 pm and is filed under Adding Value, Change Management, humour, I'm a Mac, Issues facing Law Firms, Technology, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    3 Responses to “I’m a Mac – Day 18”
    1. Colin Rasmussen Says:

      To right click using the keyboard, simply hold and then click with the trackpad. Also, you can use a mouse with a right click button (i.e. a standard PC mouse) and Mac recognizes it.

      One more thing – there is OpenOffice for Mac, so if you want to get away from commercial platforms for documents, that is now available. Tried it recently and it works very well. OpenOffice also has the ability to read docs in .doc, .docx, .pdf and .wpd formats, and can export files back into a number of standard formats.

    2. Colin Rasmussen Says:

      for some reason it took out the key to the right click hint which is to hold down the ctrl button …

    3. Barbara Padolina Says:

      Thank you for the tips on how to import .cil files into Clip Art! It worked for me and I am so grateful as I have wasted so much time trying to figure it out. Clicking on “Enable Microsoft Office online files” allowed me to import the .cil file on my desktop. My browser is Firefox so I was a bit concerned it would not work but it did!

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