Friday, December 28, 2007

A rant about something not house related

(Does something count as house-related if it's preventing you from doing work on your house?)

Microsoft Office 2007 SUCKS.

Let me explain why I am qualified to make that assessment.
  • My first five years of computing (in college) was on punched cards.
  • I wrote 30+ page research papers in college using a basic electric typewriter.
  • My first word processing was on a dedicated word processor that used 8" floppy disks.
  • I've written hundreds of pages of software documentation using Emacs in place of a word processor.
  • My first PC-based word processing program was FinalWord. It was DOS-based, and fit on a single 512k floppy disk.
  • I then progressed to WordPerfect (again, on DOS), then WordPerfect in Windows (I'm talking the first Windows, Windows 3 era).
  • Gradually, as Microsoft took over the world, I had no choice but to move to the Microsoft Office Suite and Word. I went through every Windows-based version provided, starting with the version for Windows 3.x and up through Word 2003, all without a hitch.
  • I have taught advanced classes and provided many hours of help-desk support for every single one of these PC-based word processors; my full-time job since 1984 has been to teach and support PC and network operating systems and applications.
Now I'm trying to figure out what the hell I'm doing in Word 2007, and there's just no question that it sucks beyond all language that I could justify using on my house blog.

Tasks that I could have told you how to do from memory, without a PC in front of me, are now hidden, moved to some place that is completely inconsistent with decades of prior word processing usage and totally counter-intuitive.

Features that have been no-brainers for decades are relocated or missing, from both the menus -- Oh! Wait! No! there AREN'T any menus!! -- and from the Help system. Features that used to take a simply right-mouseclick or keyboard shortcut now require five minutes to locate... is it on this tab? This one? Maybe if I clicked here...


The first person who can tell me why something as basic as a checkbox isn't working (the checkboxes which took me forever to figure out how to get into the document in the first place, because Oh!! The tab that has those commands on it isn't SHOWN by default! You have to go here then there then this other place to SAY that you want to see that tab in order to get those commands) will get a very special prize: A long, thick-handled stripped screwdriver with a dog-gnawed handle, indicative of exactly what I feel that Microsoft has done to the world by releasing this monstrosity. "Threads" my big fat behind; the only "threads" are on the screw that MS has decided to shove up our collective butts with this disaster -- a disaster that we will have no choice but to accept.

Resistance is futile.

What really scares me is that I've only really started looking at Word, but I don't TEACH Word this upcoming semester: I teach Excel and Access.

God help me when we have to start teaching Vista. The only thing that will keep my head from exploding at that point will be my Linux classes.



YardbirdSax said...

I'm totally with you there. I've only used Office 2007 briefly, since (thank goodness) my company hasn't adopted it yet, but the interface is awful. That's not to say that the interface of Office 2003 was great, but at least it was familiar. Unfortunately I have little choice but to deal with them all, since work is 100% Microsoft dependent.

The fact that you actually know what Linux is (let alone teach it) is outstanding. Maybe some day you can convince your work to go totally open source, so you don't have to deal with the crap Microsoft puts out!

Mr. Biddle said...

I feel your pain. I too teach the Microsoft family. My students range from 2nd grade to senior high. This past semester I taught and upgraded from '03 to '07 with the class being divided for about a week. (the students dubbed each side "new" and "retro" accordingly)
There are several times I get lost looking for a feature, and will ask the students to locate it :)
But really, it all comes down to a change in mindset. the students that are unfamiliar with Word have little difficulty picking it up. to them it makes sense. Those of us who are used to a different structure require more effort to make the paradigm shift.

Hang in there. Excel and Access have similar structure changes. Hopefully you have a good instuction manual for the 2007 version. Don't try to convert an old '03 textbook - it just doesn't work.

Greg said...

I program in Access, VB, VBA, and SQL Server. I keep hearing about "ribbons" in the new Access 2007. I'm dreading it, but fortunately my company has no intentions of moving to Vista or Office 2007 any time soon.

I bought a new computer a few weeks ago and specifically bought a Dell because I knew I could still get XP Pro with it.

{I still use Office 97 at home}

Anonymous said...

I feel for you, Toots, but you don't have to accept this as your fate. "Come join me on the Dark Side, Luke"...)
Um, get a Mac. Live free of Word, viruses, and crashing. Macs run Office programs, too. O.K., you can hit me when I see you tomorrow, but I couldn't resist.

The Blonde

Leslie said...

Tell you what, Blondie. You go on a crusade to convince my school to switch to all Macs and I'd be glad to even switch my home PC over to a Mac. Until then, I'm stuck with Microsh*t.