Towards a Microsoft-free Mac, Part I

MS Expression Engine Logo

Having freed my phone line from the monopolistic clutches of Bell Canada a few years back I’ve set my sights on my next technological feat, to rid my computers of anything bearing the Microsoft logo.

The big hurdle has been finding a replacement for Office, which I’ll detail in part two of this series. But a surprising hiccup in my plan came when iView Multimedia, my favourite media cataloguing software, was purchased by Steve Ballmer and co. in 2006.

Microsoft immediately re-badged its acquisition as Expression Media and gave it quite possibly the worst start-up logo EVAR!!1! Ordinarily I’m quite happy to stare at a woman’s behind, but this thing is hideous and makes no sense!

Fortunately Microsoft has done little if anything to the actual app, so downgrading to last official release of iView Multimedia Pro — version 3.1.3 if you’re interested — was a relatively painless affair. It’s a Universal Binary, so it will run natively on any Intel Mac. And it works nicely with PhotoSync, a nifty bulk uploader for Flickr and the like.

It’s true that Adobe Bridge or even iPhoto will do much of what iView does for me, but if you don’t want photos loading up in RAM every time you open a folder (Bridge) or your RAW automatically converted to JPGs (iPhoto) then you’ll be interested in giving iView a try.

Expression Media is okay too, I guess… If you can stand that horrible splash screen!


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10 responses to “Towards a Microsoft-free Mac, Part I”

  1. And I’ve found something better — you’ll just have to check back here each and every day until I reveal it, mwa-hah-hah…

    Oh, what the hell, it’s the Mac-specific port of OpenOffice.

    You can still check back here to see why it’s so great, though…


  2. Expression no longer supports clipping files. Picture clippings and text clipping files. These are easy ways to move data around on a mac and I love how iview lets you create libraries of them.

  3. True, the makeover was a little strange, as it removed any reference to photography and DAM/cataloguing concepts.

    However, the MSFT version of the app (ExMedia 1 with SP 1) has done some major league debugging and it runs very smoothly on all my Macs. Plus, most of the iView team is still coding the dam thing, only now in Seattle and not the UK. So… don’t hate the app, hate the game.

  4. AC:

    I bought a cheap copy of Office 2004 for Mac through work’s Microsoft licensing, so I’m using that right now. Office 2004 is much more stable than Office X–it also seems to run faster and is compatible with what I have at work. Work is moving to Vista and the new Office, so my cross-compatibility will depend on Microsoft updating Office 2004 to open the Office Open XML file formats. I’m not permitted to get a cheap copy of Mac Office 2008 under the licensing, so I may test out Open Office should it come out with the update first or Microsoft doesn’t upgrade Office 2004.

    Have you tried out iWork? I played with the demo in a pre-spreadsheet version, and I thought the word processor and presentation apps were pretty good.


  5. Hey Ed,

    I haven’t done much with iWork but I have been following the forum for it on — I’m leery of any product, Windows, Mac or otherwise, that doesn’t use standard file formats.

    More to come on that!

  6. Is Miscrosoft really that bad. I for one like psuedo standards. Makes it easier for the less computer literate individuals or the less advanced users.

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