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Why I’m taking my Thinkpad, not my Powerbook, with me on the road

I’m enjoying my new Powerbook G4. Really. I’m not finding it magical or worthy of religious veneration, but it’s been running continuously since I got it, it feels good, and I’m not done discovering all its nice touches. Nevertheless, when I go to Europe next week, I’m taking my Thinkpad X40 with me instead of the PB (assuming my ThinkPad is back from the shop — ulp). I’m sorry to do it, which is an indication of the bond I’m forming with my Mac, but when you put it all in the balance, the TP wins — given my idiosyncratic needs.

Here’s why:

Most important, I just installed Powerpoint 2004 and the Mac version doesn’t have features that I count on in Windows. In particular, it doesn’t have motion path animation and it doesn’t have an animation timeline. It plays path animations created under Windows, but you can’t create them or edit them on the Mac. Since I’m going to Europe to give presentations (5 in 4 days, 3 cities, and 2 countries), and my presentations rely on those features, that’s a killer for me. (Keynote seems to be a totally lovely piece of software, but it also doesn’t do path animation or have a timeline.)

Then there’s the fact that the PB is heavier than my TP and seems to get less than the TP’s 5+ hours of battery. I have an extra PB battery on order, but I have a bad back and adding weight makes a difference to me. If I were shopping for a new Windows laptop, I would not consider one as heavy as the PB or with its battery life. So, that’s a trade-off. Not a killer, though: If Mac Powerpoint were up to Windows’ Powerpoint’s snuff, I’d be taking the Mac with me.

Here’s the part that makes me really sad. Because I have a big, powerful PC desktop machine for work when I’m at home, I use my laptop almost entirely for travel. Much of the travel that I get paid for involves giving presentations. I know how I work and know that I will tinker with the presentation up to the last minute. So I’m afraid I’m regretfully going to have to go back to a Windows laptop.

Microsoft wins because it defeatured Office on the Mac. Sigh.

I am nevertheless going to hold onto the PB for a while because it’s fun, I’d like to learn more, and maybe there’s a way out of this that I don’t know about. [Tags: ]

But wait! The Mac has a late surge! IBM received my broken ThinkPad on Nov. 17 but has to wait until Nov 30 to get in a newhard drive. So I’m taking my Mac with me to Europe after all.

That is totally sucky service from IBM. It used to be actually good. Is this an isolated incident or are they headed the way of Dell?

14 Responses to “Why I’m taking my Thinkpad, not my Powerbook, with me on the road”

  1. Phew! Now I won’t be embarrassed by your hardware if I make it for the drink on Tuesday ….


  2. Come to the light, children, come to the light.

  3. I’ve always had excellent repairs from IBM. This is a bit surprising to me.

  4. just wait until you find yourself making your presentations twice as stunning with Keynote. suddenly you will come home and replace your desktop with a G5 ;)

    BTW there is a lot of talk about animation on the Apple Keynote product page:


    “Keynote lets you easily assign studio-quality animation effects to both individual characters and words, offering control over timing, direction and bullet grouping.

    Create animations faster than ever with advanced control over the entry, exit, motion and timing of objects.”

  5. Keynote won’t yet do the animation David wants. Maybe in version 3 it will – I expect it to be released hopefully in January at MacWorld. The animations wanted will be moving objects around a slide rather than off or onto it.

    You can easily show routes on a map though using wipe transitions. That said, if Dave has a sample Powerpoint show in Windows I could see, there may be a chance to emulate it in Keynote 2. I expect KN 3 will leapfrog some of the bloat of PPT yet keep itself simple and elegant, as much as that sounds contradictory.

  6. Les, you’re exactly right. I do use a lot of exntrance and exit animation, and you can hack a lot of effects with that. But path animation enables the free movement of objects within a slide, and the animation timeline enables events to occur at arbitrarily specified times.

    I’ll keep an eye out for the next version of Keynote.

    PS: I hardly ever use slide-to-slide transitions, which seem to be Keynote’s biggest wow, because I generally find them to be disruptive for the sake of showing off.

  7. Yawn. Sorry I stumbled onto this throughly boring story. Sorry you didn’t figure into the equation the fact that one machine runs XP and the other a more elegant OS. Instead, the benchmark here was the arcane fact that Win version of PP has animation timeline. Gee, must be very important for lower to mid level managers who must float around the world and sell their wares or their bosses ideas. Put a warning on this blog. “BORING AND USELESS INFORMATION HERE”.

  8. Once you experience Keynote, you’ll never look back to a 1980’s relic like PowerPoint. For animation, use Flash.

  9. Gary, I have tried out Keynote. It’s got much better slide transitions than PPT. The other advantages listed here don’t seem that important to me. (Actually, Powerpoints sucky shadows do matter to me. Keynote’s soft shadows are much better.)

    AS for using Flash for animation: That’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid. Flash gives me too much control – great for professionals, but tough for amateurs like me. I’ve used it, and I’ve spent a LOT of time trying to get done the relatively simple animations I want. Plus, I don’t want to run little movies; I want objects on screen to move.

  10. I had a problem with my then six-month-old ThinkPad last July; one of the left trackpad buttons was getting a little “mushy.” I filed an online service request with IBM, assigning it the lowest priority possible, and they were on-site the next day. Service rep told me that IBM had sold the computer line but retained service.

  11. Hey, if you REALLY want to have fun with motion on a timeline, pick up a copy of Apple’s Motion. It’s a beautiful, slick program that does exactly what you need.

    You should be able to take QuickTime from Motion and put it into a PowerPoint slide.

    And there’s a free demo, so it costs nothing to give it a shot.

    I think you’ll love it!


  12. David… if you have to shop again for Windows laptops… take a look at the Sony Vaio line.

  13. Hysterical. Steve Jobs is THE acknowledged maker of marketing presentations and his presentations on Keynote blow away the competition – especially those of Bill gates and his Willy Wonka Chocolate factory appearance..

    Here, some middle-manager is hung about his Powerpoint tools…! Dear oh dear.

    Just shows that what matters is what you say and how you say it. It has nothing at all to do with time-wasting, distracting idiot features that MS build into Powerpoint for Win.

    Get on with what’s important will you!

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