THE TRANSMUG REPORT – CHRISTMAS IN JULY

BY YVES AVÉROUS

The summer of 2011 was a good season for the Mac. Not only does Apple computers’ market share continue to grow faster than that of Windows PCs’, but the platform received a very nice refresh with the launch of Lion and the addition of the Thunderbolt connectivity across the line.

I had already rounded up the main features of Lion in my previous report, now I have tried them. As a writer, the very first thing I enjoyed using in the text editing features that come with the system was the newly adopted AutoCorrect system akin to the one found on iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, iPod touchs). It’s working in Mail, Safari (and the WordPress Editor takes advantage of it—not Google Docs, alas), TextEdit, and Pages, for the obvious ones. How nice it would be to see it implemented in a native Mac CAT tool… (Wink, wink, nod, nod.)

As a freelancer in San Francisco, I also enjoy leaving my lonely desk at home for some of the pleasant coffee shops that dot the city, offer Internet access, and the pulse of the street. And full screen display of the major applications is a godsend on the smaller laptops. For the older crowd, you can almost feel like you are back in the days of the typewriter, with just your keyboard and your sheet of paper and no other distraction. Fortunately, you now also benefit from all the bells and whistles of a truly powerful machine in the most compact of packagings.

My brand new MacBook Air 11″ is one of those little wonders. With 4GB of RAM and a 256GB Solid State Drive, it compares very favorably with some of the machines deemed the most powerful not long ago. For many of us, attached to a Thunderbolt display, itself connected to larger storage as needed, this could well be the only computer you need. Of course, if you want to run Windows 7 in Crystal mode in a Parallels virtual machine, you may find yourself at the edge of the minimum requirements. But with a few accommodations (minimum use of Windows, allocating most of the memory to Windows when you switch to it, etc.), it should be totally workable.

Finally, on the CAT tool side, Wordfast Classic came up this summer with a brand new version and a handful of nifty features (see the Translorial Tool Kit in this issue, for more details). Working on both platforms, I noticed that the Mac still seems at a disadvantage with this product: while Wordfast is launched automatically with Word on the Windows side (which used to be the case, too, in Word 2004 on the Mac), you now have to add it every time via the Tools menu in the Templates and Add-Ins dialog. It’s a bit of drag, and the toolbar that integrates with Word on Windows still doesn’t on the Mac. Oh well, it’s still the most pleasant tool to use without having to resort to Windows.

Did Santa bring you a new machine this summer, too? Are you on the market for a new setup for your home office? Come share your experience, ask your questions, voice your opinion and ideas on the TransMUG list, found at TransMUG.com. TransMUG, a bona fide Mac User Group with corresponding benefits is 100+ member strong. Join your fellow translators on a Mac via www.transmug.com and come meet the team and discuss the latest Mac technologies at our next TransMUG meeting, prior to the NCTA September General Meeting, at 11:30 am at Out the Door, in the Concourse Level of the Westfield Center of San Francisco. YA

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