Business, Conferences

TransMUG’s First Macworld

By Yves Avérous, TransMUG Ambassador

One year ago, at Macworldthe annual San Francisco trade show for Apple Macintosh usersChristine Lemor-Drake and I got the idea for TransMUG, a Mac User Group for translators, anchored in NCTA. Today, TransMUG is recognized as an official Apple User Group. At this year’s show and conference, we had the opportunity to mingle with other group leaders, and Christine even volunteered at the MUG booth in the exhibit hall to get to know our colleagues from MUGs of all origins. Besides camaraderie and good deals (free entrance for TransMUG membera $20 value, and access to the many discounts inside), Macworld was a terrific occasion to garner further knowledge on the tools we have, discover tools we should consider using, and marvel at the new Apple offerings.

For us as translators, one of the most important questions regarding the new Apple products was, “will iWork replace Office?” And the answer is no. Although Pages, the word processor that is part of the $79 package, seems to be a very polished big brother of AppleWorkswithout the spreadsheet featureits purpose is, above all, to provide home and small office users with a very elegant and affordable layout solution, somewhere between Word and Quark XPress/InDesign. And it comes with a set of exciting new fonts that, in the professional world, could by itself justify the entire cost of $79. Add the word processor and the new version of the presentation software, Keynotethe same program that Steve Jobs uses (still priced a few weeks ago at $99)and you really have a deal! The only caveat is that, contrary to the iLife suite of multimedia applications, iWork is not bundled with the Mac mini, the other major revelation of the show.The diminutive Mac mini can sit on top of your PC, network with it, connect to your old USB keyboard and mouse and VGA monitor, and provide you with virus-free computing! I will soon be ordering my $1,300 super-duper configuration, but at $574 you can get a very decent machine ($499 Mac mini, with 40GB hard drive, CD writer/DVD player combo drive, and 256MB of RAM, plus $75 for an extra 256MB, recommended). And if you are in the market for a jump drive (Nina Friedman’s little wonder was a boon at the latest Wordfast workshop, see p. 7), you might want to consider an iPod shuffle. It’s practically the same price as a jump drive of the same size, carries both your PC files and your Mac files, as well as all the songs you can fit in the rest of the memory with the help of the platform-indifferent iTunes. One week after its release, 2 million of the little white sticks had been sold and the wait is now up to four weeks!

Of the five Macworlds I have attended over the past nine years, this year’s show was one of the most energized I have witnessed. And, with the release this spring of Tiger, the next major update of the operating system, we translators will benefit from two fantastic new tools: Spotlightlike Google Desktop Search, but ten times more powerful since it’s based right inside the OSand Safari RSS, the Mac’s web browser, now with an integrated reader for news feeds (see Tool Kit in the December issue of Translorial). Finding your files and your news will never be the same after you start using them. PC users, it’s time to switch; Mac users, it’s time to join TransMUG if you haven’t already. We congregate one hour before every General Meeting at the Three Dollar Café in the lobby of The Center. See you on the 26th!