What’s the Best Operating System for a Cyber Shepherd?

cyber leaderA friend of mine is a youth leader in a church.  She wants to replace her present laptop for better video editing.  She would also like to help her students learn video editing.  What’s the best operating system for a cyber shepherd?  She asked me whether an iPad would be a good choice for these purposes.  I told her no.  If your curious why, read my email to her, below:

The problem with using Macs if you’re a cyber shepherd is that they don’t play nice with non-Mac users.  Apple hardware is designed to restrict users to Apple sources of content: e.g.,  iTunes for .mp3 files, Quicktime for video files.  Restriction of users’ content choices isn’t readily apparent in everyday transactions, such as the exchange of email and office documents, but it becomes more evident when one tries to collaborate in more complicated ways in a cross-platform environment.  For instance, the iPad would not be a good computer to do editing along with Windows users, because it handles only .mov video files.  See:  http://libraryyou.org/2011/11/14/using-an-ipad-for-video-editing/  Quicktime is the Apple consumer name for .mov video. Technically it’s a great format.  I love to make Quicktime movies with my Windows computer. The Windows Movie Maker application, part of a free suite called Windows Essentials,  handles .mov files just fine.  But the reverse is not true, at least for the low end Mac machines, such as the iPad.  There are many video devices that don’t record in the .mov format, so you wouldn’t be able to help users with those devices edit their clips if you were working with an iPad.

Although I was once a dyed in the wool Mac user, when I decided to start doing digital education in faith communities I saw that I’d have to “cross over to the dark side” and become a Windows user, since there are so many more Windows users than Mac ones; and also because there is a much wider availability of freeware for Windows computers.  CyberKenBlog tries to save you money! That’s where freeware comes in.  Many people don’t even know that there is such a thing as free software.  I probably wouldn’t have discovered this myself if I hadn’t got disgusted with the old Windows Millenium Edition OS, wiped it clean from my hard drive, installed a Mandrake distribution of Linux on it, and immersed myself in open source software for a couple years.   Linux is a free operating system, and almost all the applications that run on it—indeed, thousands–are free!  To give you an example, GIMP, a graphics manipulation program very similar to Photoshop, was developed for the Linux OS, and it’s free, whereas Photoshop costs over $600.

To make a long story short, if you want the greatest flexibility in working with users on a variety of platforms, stay with Windows.

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