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Francis Sakamoto, Photographer San Francisco, California

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I’m Francis Sakamoto, a photographer specializing in color landscapes through long telephoto lenses and telescopes (, and also a [former] desktop publisher and Webmaster for the Blackhawk Museum ( My formal training at UC Berkeley was in Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences but I was also a very early distributor of Celestron telescopes and Pentax cameras.

Because of this background, I have a deep appreciation for products that are efficient to the extreme, continue to perform their function over many years as well or better than any other and are a good value to boot. Over the last decade I’ve purchased and used a huge amount of software but, as in the case of photo equipment, I can easily name those outstanding products that still perform as superbly today as they did many years ago that it’s elevated them to positions as an indispensible part of my “operating system.”

Mariner Write is one of those products and I’ve enjoyed using it since version 1. Mariner Write 2 has run perfectly on my desktop Mac for ages and I now use v.3 on my iBook. The technical support since the beginning, and over the many years, has been superb and very gratifying. With companies becoming increasingly huge and unresponsive, this personal attention is something that has great value to me.

I’m still using version 2 on my “main Mac,” an ancient 7100/66 that’s been souped-up with a 500MHz G3 and uses two graphics boards to drive two monitors at 19" resolution. Unfortunately, no one has ever made a SCSI graphics board that’s compatible beyond OS7.5.1, but this old OS and Mariner 2 seem to have been “made for each other.”

I use QuarkXPress for final layout but Mariner Write handles all text-composing functions before I even think about getting to the Quark stage. Mariner is always open as long as my Mac is on; it never crashes or gets in the way, which I definitely can’t say for many applications running under OS7.5!

I use text clippings (via ClippingNamer) and multiple Mariner document windows regularly and drag and drop paragraphs, phrases and words around freely to compose. In effect, it’s become an indispensible tool that I use to think. Sheets of paper with messy erasures, arrows going every which way and handwritten words squeezed between lines have become a relic of the distant past.

I do everything with it, it seems, from composing educational museum publications or exhibition text to the most menial tasks of writing short notes to myself (I prefer it to Stickies or other notes utilities), cleaning up text grabbed from the Web or email for publication (or to forward to someone else), composing email (sometimes a single message is created in stages over several days) … a hundred different tasks a day.

I wrote a letter to the editor of Macworld that they published in July 2002 in response to their 5-page article about the putative “Power of Word,” which explained how to write macros to use Microsoft Word to smarten quotes — did you know that in Word you have to search separately for single- and double-quotes in order to replace both types? — and remove unwanted carriage returns. To me, the process seemed unnecessarily complex for so common a task (isn’t this the definition of “stupid”?) and, until you make the effort to write the macro, takes a frustratingly long time.

I use QuicKeys to make, for example, “Command–Option– [” (easy for me to remember, since “Option– [” is the Mac keystroke for curly open quote) invoke “Straight to Curly Quotes”; “Command-Return” invoke “Form Paragraphs”; and “Command-Space” invoke “Remove Leading Spaces.” As a result, I pointed out, what is frustrating to do in Word can be accomplished in less than 5 seconds in Mariner. (Actually I’ve timed it since then and it really takes closer to two seconds.)

[Example of using Mariner Write to clean up text grabbed off the Web.]

When an expensive, bloated word processor like Word actually takes much longer and requires more work to do something (especially what you would think would be an obviously common task), you have to suspect that something’s wrong with this picture.

On the other hand if a product like Mariner proves itself so useful that it constantly makes you happy using it throughout the day, then something surely must be very right!

Francis Sakamoto
San Francisco, California