software really does the job of bridging the gap between PC and Apple
by Alan Zisman (c) 1995 First published
in Business in Vancouver
, Issue #300 July 25,1995 High Tech Office column
up about 80
per cent of all the computers in the world. The flip side of that
statistic is that 20 per cent of all the computers are something other
than what used to be known as IBM clones and compatibles. And
about half of those, or about 10 per cent of the world's computers,
are one model or another of Apple's Macintosh. (There haven't
been any Mac clones, though that's just begun to change.)
would make the Macs seem almost insignificant, in some areas of
the figures could be reversed. Ask any graphic artist or page designer:
in those trades and among the businesses that service them, Macintoshes
remain overwhelmingly the machine of choice. And even though PCs have
begun to make inroads in those areas, the newest Power Mac 9500s and
their descendants will continue to be what most designers want to
those Mac users will find themselves needing to exchange files or
data with the PC majority, or the reverse will often occur: stories
written by a PC user will need to be transferred to a Mac user wanting
to lay out pages for printing.
to mix the two platforms. Software allows each to read floppy disks
formatted on the other platform, which wasn't always the case. In
fact, older PC 5-1/4" floppy disks wouldn't even fit in a Mac drive
without the help of scissors (don't even think of trying it!)
and even though 3-1/2" double-density disks fitted into either
machine's drives, they were incompatible.
software called PC Exchange as part of its operating system, allowing
Mac users to read and write from PC high-density floppy disks. And
a number of add-on utilities provide the same abilities for PC users:
if needed, they too can read and write to Mac floppies.
Macs with ethernet
cards can now plug into PC-based Novell Netware networks for
access to the wide range of data on those servers.
have a new PowerMac,
you can do even more. With the addition of enough ram (at least 16
megs) and Soft Windows software, you can pretend to be running a (slow)
Windows PC, and run at least some Windows software. Or you can buy
an add-in board with an actual 486 chip on it, getting the computer
equivalent of multiple personality disorder, but actually running
Windows software on your Mac in real time.
getting a PC file
onto your Mac (or the reverse) may only be the first step. You still
need to be able to use that file in your actual applications. In some
cases, this is not a problem: more and more programs are available
on both platforms and use the same files in both versions. If you
can get your Mac PageMaker file onto your PC, you can load it into
Windows PageMaker. And if you have the same fonts available, and if the
graphics are compatible, you're ready to get to work.
the case. Too often, you may need to load a PC WordPerfect file into
Word on the Mac. Or you want to use a Mac PICT graphic in a PC program.
You need to be able to translate those files into a form that's usable
by your software.
is a company that has made its reputation by specializing in this
problem. It has a pair of programs--MacLink Plus on the Mac side,
and Conversions Plus for Windows--to simplify the process of moving
files between Macs and PCs and translating them into the format that
your software can use.
similar capabilities and interfaces: they let you read a foreign disk,
and in a single step, copy data files, while translating them into
your desired format. Both support most popular word-processor,
database, and graphic formats for both PC and Mac platforms. As a
side benefit, they can also be used to translate files between programs
on the same platform. For example, Microsoft has never seen
a need to let Word for Windows users read files created in Lotus's
AmiPro word processor, but Conversions Plus makes this possible.
do a good job of preserving the look of your files--styles and
are preserved as much as possible, and even embedded graphics are
usually converted correctly.
of MacLink Plus that it has bought the rights to include it in its
upgrade to operating System 7.5. If you're working in a mixed PC and
Mac workplace, one of these $149 programs may be the solution you've
been looking for.