Defying Big Blue

Jan 28 2009 Published by under Uncategorized

I have a confession. I am a Mac guy. From the very early days of home computers I have pretty much always had a Mac, either at school/work, home or both. My lab is entirely Mac and I was never forced into using a PC throughout grad school or in my postdoc, since those labs ran Macs as well. I can use a PC with no problem, but the times I have owned them make me pine for my Mac. There really is no comparison, especially when you consider the rate of performance decline as the machines get older. You can run a Mac for years on end, but a PC is basically a doorstop in 5 years or less.

Despite my personal bias, I have always used Microsoft products because there was no real alternative. Remember in the early 90s cursing because someone sent you a WordPerfect document that couldn't be opened in any other software? I do and I didn't want to be that guy. The good people at Apple also realized this and when they made their Office equivalent, they went to great lengths to ensure that people could import ppt documents with ease and export presentations in ppt format. Despite this, I hesitated making the switch because of the "unreadable file" prospect that looms over any potential speaker at a conference. I wasn't going to make two presentations (one in PowerPoint and one in Keynote) just to avoid this, so I continued using PowerPoint.

The difference now is that I have a class to put together and I am using my own laptop. There is virtually no way that I might face any compatibility issues here, so I think I am going to create my lectures for class this semester in Keynote. But before I do, I thought I would solicit any advice on potential drawbacks of moving to Keynote. I don't that Mac has the answer for everything, so if I am about to run into a massive pitfall by switching (for class, not international presentations), better to know that now.

5 responses so far

  • Professor in Training says:

    Dedicated Mac chick here! I found that (the older versions of) Keynote gave really nice looking presentations but that PowerPoint was more user-friendly (gasp) and simply had a lot more options. I eventually gave up on Keynote as I was the only person using a Mac during grad school and plugging in my laptop for a presentation wasn't always an option. That being said though, you can export Keynote presentations as .ppt files but - in the older version at least - the .ppt files just didn't look as cool as they did when they were in Keynote. If you can run all of your classes using your own laptop, there's no problem with continuing to use Keynote so go for it ... I guess my only question would be: are you required to make your lectures available to students (eg via Blackboard)? If yes, then you would have to either use PowerPoint or export to pdf format for posting.

  • Comrade PhysioProf says:

    export to pdf format for postingThis is the only way to guarantee cross-platform and cross-machine identity of your document.

  • caroline says:

    I'm a PC user, but have seen some cool things about Keynote (such as how you can have a clock and all your notes open during your presentation on your computer, but that the screen would be the presentation).My only question is whether your school (or a school you may? want to teach at in the future) would provide computers in the classrooms? My grad school (R1) did not do this, but in my teaching school now, all classrooms are smart rooms and have computers and everything else already in it. I LOVE not having to carry my laptop around with me - I just bring my USB drive, plug in, and go! But if you expect to need your laptop at all your classes, then Keynote may be fine.

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    I knew there was a reason I liked you, PiT. We are not required to put our slides online in any form right now, and since I am only teaching a grad course, it's not really a big deal. I think Keynote should be fine in the future, even if I do need to deposite my slides.Our new building does have computers in every room, but I'm sure they will be PCs. Since the rooms I will be teaching in will be only a few steps from my office (once we move in), I have no problem carrying the laptop. Plus, it may be the only exercise I get right now!

  • Professor in Training says:

    I knew there was a reason I liked you, PiT. Haha - glad you finally found a reason!

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