Publishing Dustup Redux

Forget Windows versus Macs, red states versus blue states, and Red Sox versus Yankees (yep, we’re really jonesing for spring training). Apparently, the truly divisive dispute among Macworld readers is about page-layout applications. We ran a story in December’s Mac Beat about how QuarkXPress and Adobe’s InDesign are battling for the hearts and minds of designers. That story brought in a blizzard of letters—indicating that the battle is far from over.

XPress versus InDesign

Charles Finlay I just finished reading “Publishing Dustup” ( Mac Beat, December 2004 ). I’ve been using PageMaker since Aldus owned it. But if I had it to do all over again, I’d buy QuarkXPress. By raising the price on PageMaker upgrades, Adobe is pushing PageMaker users to switch to InDesign.

Paul Findon InDesign group product manager Will Eisley needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror before he boasts about how Adobe values its customers. I’ve used FrameMaker on the Mac almost every working day since 1991. It’s a fantastic application, and nothing else can touch it. In 2001, Adobe said it planned to support OS X in future releases of its flagship products. Fast-forward to 2004. Adobe says there’ll be no version of FrameMaker for Mac OS X. What does Adobe suggest we do? Switch to Windows!

Bob Thomas Jonathan Woolson’s article (“Survive the Switch to InDesign”, Create ; December 2004 ) gave me few if any reasons to make that switch. If Adobe wants me back as a customer (I started out on PageMaker 1.2 in 1985 and only reluctantly switched to QuarkXPress years later), it’ll have to do better than making me convert my Quark 6.5 files by saving them back to 4.11 format (in two steps) or spending $199 for yet another program. That kind of grief I don’t need.

A Tangled Web

Larry Grossman Saft may be everything Dori Smith says it is (“Untangle the Web,” December 2004 ), but I may never find out: its demo is the single most irritating program I’ve ever tried. The constant pop-up reminders to buy the full version led me to delete it the first time I tried it, before I could determine whether I wanted to buy it. I still don’t know whether the rave reviews will get me past the demo on my second (and last) try.

Jim Skinner Your article on Web browsers was interesting, but it failed to note one thing: Mozilla’s Firefox doesn’t work at all with Yahoo Chat. It just stops completely. Did you try it with Yahoo Chat?

We tested the browsers only with iChat. A quick online check uncovered many competing claims about Yahoo Chat’s compatibility with OS X browsers.—Ed.

The Wrong Way Around

Brent Muscutt I wanted to route iTunes to my digital-out port (S/PDIF) but send all other sounds through my G5’s internal speaker. When I read your mention of Rogue Amoeba’s Detour in Mac Gems (   ; December 2004 ), I thought that the software seemed perfect. But after installing it, I found that my only device option was Built In Audio—making it impossible to detour the sounds the way I wanted. When I contacted Rogue Amoeba, it said Detour can’t differentiate between the internal speaker system and the digital out. So I just wasted $12.

You’re right: this is a limitation. We encourage readers to take advantage of free evaluation periods with all software. You can use Detour free for 30 days before you have to buy it—plenty of time to find out about such problems.—Ed.

Displays of Disaffection

David DeCristoforo Apple’s new 23-inch Cinema Displays don’t measure up. The backlighting is uneven, discoloration around the edges makes the screen seem dirty, and they have a strong magenta overtone. I’m not the only one who has noticed these flaws: the Internet and Apple’s own forums are full of reports from buyers who see the same things. Nevertheless, Apple has remained frustratingly silent on these issues. That silence—for months since the introduction of these displays—has many of us feeling unusually frustrated.

All-Access Keyboards

Jeremy M. Cook Excellent tip on accessing the Displays and Sound preference panes using option-F1, option-F3, and so on ( Mac OSXHints ; December 2004 ). However, you say there’s no way to access the Displays pane via a shortcut on a desktop Mac. That’s true for systems with older keyboards that don’t have the F13 to F15 keys. On newer ones, however, F14 and F15 function as brightness keys; the option-F14 and option-F15 combos open the Displays pane.

Held Back by the Mac

Joseph M. Coates Recently, I was reading on the MTV Web site about U2’s visit to New York. About halfway down the page, I saw links to video of the visit. But when I clicked on them, all I got was an error message: “WINDOWS MEDIA TEST Sorry, video is not supported for Macintosh computers at this time.” Isn’t U2 an Apple partner? Can’t Mr. Jobs cut a deal with MTV to use QuickTime?

Vernon J. McMillan I think AOL should add a disclaimer stating that it wants to satisfy only its Windows PC customers. For example, the company says it provides free antivirus software. But when I tried to download it, all I got was this message: “We’re sorry, but we are unable to download McAfee VirusScan Online brought to you by AOL at this time, because you are using a Macintosh/Apple computer. Currently, this software is offered to Windows/PC users only.” I’m sure that Mac users pay the same monthly fee as Windows PC users, but the Mac version of AOL apparently has fewer features.

Does Steve Believe?

Jeremy Krall Question 17 in your Mac trivia quiz (“Hands on Buzzers,” Mac Beat, December 2004) was particularly informative. (Question: Who said, “If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth—and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago”? Answer: Steve Jobs in 1996.) It seems that Steve has been true to his word—he’s milking OS X and pushing the iPod as far as he can. I think my next computer will be a Windows machine.

Eye to the Future

David Weisman Why am I reading the December issue in September? Am I looking at future news and innovations? I understand that postdating a publication increases its shelf life and marketability. But it also insults my intelligence. We could solve this misleading magazine-dating system by looking to the egg carton. Why not simply print “Best if used by December 1, 2004” on the cover?

If you read the December issue in September, you did see into the future: we printed that issue in mid-October. But your point is valid—readers have always disliked postdated magazines. There are many good business reasons for the practice, so publishers must live with the complaints. (But thanks for the suggested fix.)—Ed.

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Corrections

On page 66 of our January 2005 issue (“Picture Your Perfect Camera”), there is a picture of the Nikon F6 where a picture of the Nikon D70 should appear.

In the “Half a Dozen ‘Pods” comparison table ( Mac Beat, January 2005 ), an incorrect price for the iPod U2 Special Edition was given. That iPod costs $349.

In our review of Motion 1.0 (   ; January 2005 ), we misreported the program’s color support. Motion supports 8- and 10-bit color.

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