Saturday, April 07, 2007

Can't We All Just Get Along?

It’s kinda ironic when I think about it. Almost two decades ago, about the time I first drank the Apple Kool-Aid, I had to grapple with the question of being compatible with the rest of the world. “Everybody” used Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office was “essential.”

Well, even if I had bought a used Windows machine instead of the second-hand Apple Macintosh LC III, I wouldn’t have had enough money left over to buy the high-priced Office Suite. That was back when Macs really did cost a lot more than PC’s so there was no way I had money to get Office. I learned very quickly that I didn’t need Office as badly as I had been told; most of my friends and associates didn’t even have computers back then. It was still considered somewhat of a luxury.

Now today is a different story. Eventually, I had to breakdown and buy Office for Mac. Worked great; fully compatible cross-platform. More recently, Apple developed their iWork Suite which is fully Office compatible and has all the Appleness that keeps me on a steady Kool-Aid diet.

So back to the irony. I have a friend who is a long-time PC user. I produce a weekly slideshow in Keynote which she needs to be able to open and view. Shouldn’t be a problem. Keynote has an export feature that will produce a Powerpoint file for me to send her. The problem is that she doesn’t have Powerpoint. We tried to use a workaround involving me using Keynote’s export to PDF feature but her computer is also not taking calls from PDF files for some reason. Can’t we all just get along?

If you’re having similar compatibility issues, I recommend you check out OpenOffice. It is a FREE (you know that’s my price range!) multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute. I wish I knew about this solution back in the eighties (it has been around that long). So friends (you know who you are), go download it today and let’s be compatible.

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