Saturday, February 28, 2004

The Purge Continues

I have so far deleted IE from my Mac and am currently in the process of backing up my e-mail from Hotmail so that the account be be deactivated. Yesterday I downloaded a text editor called Tex-Edit Plus, which is half way between a bare bones text editor and word processor. It's working fine for now but I will need a full word-processor soon. Luckily there are a number of cheep alternatives to MS Word like Appleworks, Mellel and a number of shareware apps that look intriguing, such as Bookends and Reference Miner.

Appleworks is b far the most well known (and expensive) of the word processing apps. oddly enough it also has the lowest rating of all the other apps Iíve looked at. Itís still better rated than MS Word but every review of Mellel iíve read has been a rave.

This got me to thinking. MS Word is the ìindustry standardî the app everyone uses. Itís also a piece of shit. Itís an expensive, behemoth of a program (it uses far more megs of RAM to run than any other Word processor app out there. Just check the tech specs and youíll see what I mean). And it has a lot of utterly useless deelyboppers that no one ever uses. So why is it so popular?

Mostly I think it is due to the relentless promoting that Microsoft does of all their software. That, and the monopolistic habit of bundling their crappy software with every PC on the market. Most people donít realize their are alternatives that are cheeper, faster and more user friendly. Yeah, yo have to go look for them and initially, the search feels like dealing in drugs. You have to go down shady alleys and talk to some people whose reputation is unknown in order to get the stuff youríre looking for. This analogy falls short though because unlike drugs, alternative software is cheep. Mellel costs $29. Tex-Edit Plus is shareware, with a recommended donation of $15. Compare this with the student version of MS Office (you have to buy the whole suite) which costs $149.95 or the regular version which is $399.95.

Of course if anyoneís looked at the skyrocketing prices in Prescription meds these days, maybe the comparison is more accurate than I thought.

For the price of the student version of MS Office, you can get ahold of half a dozen smaller, cheeper faster apps that do the same thing (thereís even a shareware app that converts documents from Mac format to Word format and back again so cross platform issues are eliminated). All it takes is an afternoonís search on the Internet. Or just go to, youíre one stop shop for MS alternatives for both the Mac and PC.

Iíll stop prostelatizing now, I promise.


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