To defect or not?

I have been a Windows gal for as long as we’ve been using Windows. I remember when the first Microsoft products started to come out. I started off on WordStar for word processing and Lotus for spreadsheets, and I graduated to WordPerfect, which did everything I needed it to.

I remember when the monopoly began. I was working for the National Grid at the time and we used WordPerfect and Lotus for everything. But these new things, Word and Excel, were creeping in and our IT bod was desperately trying to resist …

… but, alas, he lost.

My first computer was a double-floppy-disk-driven thing. The operating system was on one floppy and everything else – my WordStar, in this case – was on the other. And it had a green screen. I got it free from work when they were chucking some out. I may have got my first PC with built-in hard drive (C drive) the same way, I can’t remember now.

I used to love WordPerfect, and I was a bit good at Lotus. But then computers started to have these MS packages already built into them, or they were compatible with each other and everything else and I started to obtain copies of the whole suite – either cheaply or as part of a work package. (If we had it at work, then we could use it at home when were weren’t using at work.)

Eventually, I got so good at the MS suite that I started to teach it as part of the Computer Literacy and Information Technology (CLAIT) course, for Birmingham Council.

I couldn’t get to grips with Access, but pretty soon all of my letterheads, compliment slips, invoices, etc, were created in Publisher. And that was it, I was hooked. Mr Gates had me – along with millions of others.

Word and Excel are still pretty much what I use on a day-to-day basis. Even when I tried to resist purchasing the new Office 365 subscription (they have far too much control), I ended up having to use part of the poet’s multi-user subscription as it’s so compatible with all of my clients’ works.

I think both are far too complicated and powerful for their own good, but when I cast around for a replacement, the only thing I could find was Apache OpenOffice, which is also good, but it’s not as compatible with my clients’ files as it thinks it is. Saying that, I am starting to use it for my own work more and more. (The blogs are still composed on OpenOffice now, before being copied and pasted over.)

For a few years I have been using Scrivener for Windows. I had to get the Windows version because, well, that’s what I had. But Scrivener have been promising an update for over a year now, and it’s been pushed back yet again. Even when the update comes through, if I want to use it, I have to pay again.

And so I’m contemplating moving over to Scrivener for MacOS. I don’t even have a Mac, but the Mac version does so much more than the Windows version, and it’s always first in the queue for updates and improvements as well. It was designed for Mac in the first place, I believe, and that’s probably what comes most easily and cost-effectively to the developers.

I’ll have to pay for it again, of course. But as I’m going to have to pay for the Windows update anyway …

Recently, the poet bought an old 4th generation iPad. He wanted to use a mixing desk app on there for a new PA system his band have treated themselves to – and they needed it! The used iPad he’s bought is perfectly adequate for what he’s bought it for.

But he’s also contemplating putting his photo-editing software on there, so we can take it away with us. And the one he always used to use, Affinity, was only ever updated for the mobile Mac operating system, when we could have done with it on Android or Windows Mobile.

The problem is, the 4th-gen iPad isn’t compatible with the suite he wants, although he can use it for LightRoom, I think.

And so now we’re thinking about getting one between us that we can both use – he can put Affinity and LightRoom on, as well as this mixing desk app, and I can put Scrivener on and … a word processing and spreadsheet package … (I don’t think I can use MS Office, without having to pay for it again, or Apache OpenOffice.)

So, Mac-users – and users of both – what should we do? Is it worth forking out for an iPad(-pro) or a MacBook Air or something? Or should we stick with what we know and get a Windows Surface (Pro)?

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