Tom Negrino sounds more like an apologist for Microsoft than someone giving an accurate assessment of Office 2001 (
“Get It Together,”
January 2001). Therefore, here are a few items your readers should consider before paying tribute to the Borg.
When you install Office 2001, Microsoft dumps a load of its junk fonts into your Fonts folder. Does anyone really use Tahoma, Verdana, or Webdings? Then there’s the vaunted project gallery. Who cares? This was the first thing I turned off after removing the junk fonts.
Mr. Negrino seems to think that compatibility with Office 97 and Office 98 cross-platform applications is something to rave about. Quite frankly, these are table stakes. And while we’re on the subject of compatibility, it should be pointed out that Entourage is not compatible with Outlook Exchange Server. Quite simply, if you’re using Outlook in a corporate environment, you’re out of luck.
Your review of Microsoft Office 2000 failed to note a serious drawback of the program for people who use handhelds: the conduits included in Microsoft’s Value Pak are inadequate.
The Entourage categories don’t transfer between Entourage and handhelds. Categories created on a Palm device seem to multiply in Entourage every time you sync. There is no e-mail conduit, leaving myriad handheld users unable to transfer mail to and from Entourage.
Further, the newsgroups are showing multiple instances of people having difficulty with crashes as they try to sync. Microsoft’s tech support is not very knowledgeable or helpful about this particular aspect of Entourage, and the company is not supporting handheld problems in Entourage.
Christopher Breen’s review of MacSoft’s Scrabble (
2000 Game Hall of Fame,”
January 2001) fails to mention two very irritating features. The game has a pointless one-minute start-up video, and the disc must be in the CD-ROM drive before you can play the game. This means I cannot play it in planes without carting along my CD-ROM drive.
Lego of My Wallet!
Greg Knauss suggests that Mac users should purchase educational Mindstorms kits from Pitsco Lego Dacta (
“Legos, Will Robinson! Legos!”
, January 2001) — but if they did, they’d be laying out more cash than necessary.
Mac-using Lego fans have been presented with a couple of roadblocks to Mindstorms heaven. First, Lego does not offer a Mac version of the programming software included with the Robotics Invention System. Second, the cable included is a standard PC 9-pin serial of an unusual design that stymies attempts to use an adapter dongle with the IR tower used to communicate with the Mindstorms RCX (the “CPU” of the Mindstorms Robotics Invention System).
There is, however, a “tre’s geek” solution: downloading Dave Baum’s incredible MacNQC (
) and learning to program the RCX using a C-like language (NQC stands for “Not Quite C”). This solution would require only the purchase of a Macintosh USB-serial cable.
Joseph Schorr’s article about adding a second ATA hard drive (
“Starving for Storage,”
, January 2001) to first generation G3s and G4s was very insightful, easy to understand, and alas, a complete letdown. After reading his simplistic instructions on how to go about adding a second drive, I instantly shopped for the best price on a 40GB ATA drive. Upon its arrival, I opened the box and placed this gorgeous gigabyte bank next to my first generation G3, careful not to cover up Schorr’s “how could you possibly screw this up” article spread out on the floor next to me. What to my blundering eyes did
appear, but a drive bay able to accommodate a secondary ATA drive. And that wasn’t all: the computer itself does not even accommodate dual ATA drives!
All it would have taken was a simple “First, check to see if your first-generation G3 has a mounting bracket for dual ATA drives. If not, you’ll need to go to a secondary SCSI drive.”
We stated that the configuration shown was present in most Power Mac G3s and G4s, not all of them — a fact several readers discovered the hard way. Apple manufactured these Power Macs with a number of different configurations. The first step in a project such as this should always be confirming that your Mac’s configuration matches the one in the instructions.–Joseph Schorr
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