Sunday 29 July 2007

Mac on SBS - Shades of my University Experiences

Back in my University days, I was chided by those around me for sticking to the PCs, then 286/386, and WordPerfect to write my APA based papers. It was tough to get WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS to follow those strict rules!

Finally, I took a risk and started using the Macs that had Word on them. I don't remember what model they were. All I remember was the fact that they had no buttons anywhere to get my floppy out. They were rectangular with an integrated monitor.

Yes, we moved things around on floppies back then! :D

Why shades of my University experiences on Macs?

There were two separate occasions where a Mac ate my floppy. Both times happened where the paper was due within a day or so, and I was too inexperienced with computers to know about hard copy or backups.

Both times the Help department would do practically nothing for me. And, both times I ended up having to be at the lab doors in the morning to call the help desk to get down there and help me get my disk.

Last night reminded me about those experiences in a very blunt and not-so friendly way.

I am not sure what I did, or did not do, but at some point after about 3-4 hours of working on the Tech Assessment publication, when I Restored (brought up from being minimized) the document I was working it was back to its original state before I had began working on it 3-4 hours earlier. I went on and checked the other documents as well, and they were back to their original state when I started with them too.

In this case, we have an InDesign book that is comprised of six or seven separate InDesign documents. Only the document currently being worked on is showing on the screen in windowed form. The others are all minimized and showing in the Dock.

Using either the Window menu option, or by clicking on the open document icon in the Dock was how I was toggling back and forth between the documents.

So, here I am after 3-4 hours of having setup the document structures, table of contents and its formatting, page numbering, and the like and the documents were essentially empty. All of them.

Again, I am not sure what I did or did not do. But, something happened.

Needless to say, I was not pleased. :(

There is no "Autosave" feature in InDesign that can be seen. There is an "AutoRecovery" setting for a folder on the Mac, but they did not yield anything.

So, an old lesson learned: Hit that "Save" button frequently while working on the iMac.

Much of the time was spent struggling with the formatting, so getting things back to where they were took a third of the time, but it was still painful none the less.

The network location for the data has VSS enabled, but very infrequently on the weekends as we tend not to be working!

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.

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