CzyA's Big Head

America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within. -Stalin

Friday, February 11, 2005

iWork 05

This was billed as a replacement or upgrade of Apple Works 6. While the wordprocessing program and Keynote 2 presentation program are both examples of quality Apple writing applications, I have to say this is not a replacement for Apple Works 6. Why? It lakes one major application: a spreadsheet. If your in any business related field, then Microsoft Office for Mac is still the defacto standard. I can remember for the first several months I owned my iBook, Apple Works 6 did everything I needed, but had some short commings. The spreadsheet would export numbers and formatting to Excel, but not the equations. So I could send someone the end result data, but not how those results were acheived. That was a serious drawback and why I purchased, and still use, Office V.x. I have not upgraded to Office 2004 for mac yet simple because Office V.x does everything I need. The other huge draw back was lack of a presentation program of any quality. Yes, Apple Works 6 included a presentation program, but it stunk. I needed PowerPoint for sales pitches and presentations in business school period. Keynote was a step in the right direction, but still wasn't there yet. iWork 05 is not going to be replacing my install of MS Office, but I can tell you that I will be using Pages and Keynote 2 more.

Pages - Is 2 parts Word, one part Publisher, and a great program for typing a letter or designing a brochure. In many ways, Word for Mac is Word for Windows + 1/2 MS Publisher for windows. For those that don't want the expense or need for Pagemaker/Indesign or Quark, say a small business, Pages is wonderfully easy to use and very powerful. Its intergration with iLife (iPhoto, iTunes, etc) is great for adding images and page layout. I've found no problems thus far with exporting the document to Word format and then opening with Office for Mac or Office 2002 and Office 2002/XP on Windows. If your a home user or small business wanting to design flyers, Brochures, catalogs, etc. on the Mac, then this ideal for the $79 price tag. I would like to see a few more templates, but I am sure that more will be available from 3rd party sources with time online.

Keynote 2 - Today I could and probably will be using Keynote more instead of Powerpoint. Its very similar in operation and options and is rather good for creating such items. Its intergration with iTunes, iPhoto, and iMovie again is great for keeping media organized on your machine in simple locations. Also I like being able to export into Macromedia Flash format for placing slide shows online in an effective presentation media. Now I will rail against Flash for many things, but for displaying an effective powerpoint like slideshow online, flash is the tool to use. You can also export into Adobe PDF and HTML. My biggest complaint is that the Apple designed themes still lack the selction of Powerpoint and is still somewhat limited. Again I am sure that 3rd party design firms will create and make available on CD or download more themes online soon.

Final Words: If your in publishing and advertising and on a budget or a home user without the need for a spreadsheet appliction than for $79, iWork '05 is a great buy for the price. I hope in iWork '06 a good spreadsheet application is added. I didn't go into databases here because Apple Works 6's DB was useless for tracking anything more than recipes or mailing addresses and Apple's built in Address Book does a much better job of keeping track of contacts. Also, MS Office offers no DB program for the Mac. Filemaker is still the standard Macintosh DB Appliction, but one can also run the free MySQL or PostgreSQL database systems as well, however neither of these have a great front end for the typical, non hard core Unix Geek, Mac user.

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