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Michael Gallagher <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Thu, 10 Jun 1999 12:03:03 -0500
text/plain (53 lines)
Gee, this ought to produce some varied  responses. The new macs give you
quite a bang for your buck. I know some firms that are buying iMacs as
second and third machines, and they are in fact more powerful than any
of my machines in most ways. However I would stick to a tower for
expandability and upgrades (low end towers run about $1600 and give you
a lot of power-check out the Apple store online to see the different
configurations and the recommended sales price). Check out the major
mail order stores, including MacWharehouse, MacMall, MacZone,
MacConnection, ClubMac and get a copy of the latest MacWorld from a
bookstore, inside will be all the ones I have not listed. Definitely
check out the MacWorld web site for reviews, some archived, on all the
different stuff you will be looking at. Get a nice monitor, (at least
$500) at least seventeen inches. The Mac monitor has a good rep, but
there are plenty of good ones out there. (with a non Mac monitor try to
get the seller to provide a Mac adapter for the monitor, otherwise a
Giffin  PNP would be my recommendation). Scanners are a deal these days,
I would review the articles on them online at the MacWorld web site
(True for all the equipment listed here). They can be tricky to judge so
a review helps. Depending on your needs, A Umax 1200U might suffice
(about $150). Note that all the equipment will be using USB (Universal
Serial Bus) as a way of connecting unless you really don't want it ( the
way of the future-probably). For printers, everybody has their favorites
but I am quite happy with the Epson I bought. The Photo stylus EX (now
around $400), gives great color and tabloid size printing. Your needs
might be more modest or not. For layout I use Quark Xpress, and am glad
I do. Printers like it and it is very capable, although I find the
company to be money-hungary snots. You might consider Adobe's new
InDesign. other software is pretty standard, Photoshop (currently Ver
5), Adobe Illustrator or Macromedia Freehand or (my recommendation)
Both. To print well from a layout program you will need a Postscript
emulator for your in-house proofs. I use EpsonRIP, I have heard good and
Bad about BirmyRIP. The worst for last, color management and colorSync.
In the past one big advantage of buying everything from Apple was that
it all was colorSync compatible and all had profiles. With Photoshop 5
and ColorSync 2.6 that has all changed. You want all your equipment to
be ColorSync aware and you want to have a decent profile for each piece
of equipment. Color management gets deep very fast and many service
bureaus wave their hands and pretend. You probably don't want to spend
your life and all your money gaining control of color output fidelity
but do not ignore it. ColorSync is a good middle ground and you can get
an acceptable soft proof without buying expensive equipment. There is a
new product that substitutes your scanner and a known target print for
the traditional sensor that attaches to your monitor to measure color
variation and create profiles. It is not very expensive, but scanners
are not the best starting point for color management, they are often the
most limited peripheral in that area. I think it is called EZ Color.
Good luck
Mike Gallagher
Midwest Educational Graphics
Madison, WI 53715
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