Just for fun: "Why Microsoft Word must Die"

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robertdguthrie
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Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:30 pm Post

r6d2 wrote:My background is into computer programming. [blah blah...] :wink:

But what is your stance on the great Brownies vs pie debate of 2013?! You're either for brownies, or against common decency and human rights.

Brownies are far superior to either pie or cake! There, I said it.

Pie is structurally unsound.
--Apple, cherry, cream.
Pie is incomplete.
--Pumpkin pie requires whipped cream to be edible.
Pie is not portable.
--Put a slice in your pocket. I dare you.

Brownies can be used to support a flimsy pan instead of the other way 'round.
--Structurally sound!
Brownies need no condiments
--Complete!
Brownies can travel in your pocket, in your bag, in your shoes!
--Portable!

I'M CARRYING BROWNIES IN EVERY POCKET, AND MY WALLET TOO! AND I'M GOING TO EAT ONE NOW! Is that lint? EXTRA FIBER! BROWNIES ARE THE HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE!
Often wrong, rarely in doubt.
Time for a change... I'm now rdale; same dog-avatar, same dog... channel?

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r6d2
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Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:02 pm Post

robertdguthrie wrote:But what is your stance on the great Brownies vs pie debate of 2013?! You're either for brownies, or against common decency and human rights.

OMG, I completely forgot to make my real point! :wink:

On the culinary realm I'm definitely an agnostic. In other words: I cherish the moment, be it a brownie or a pie, or better yet, a delicious peanut-butter toast or a bunch of scrambled eggs & bacon. You name it.

My wife has been asking me for years to grant her -and only her- super user access to the fridge, but so far I've managed to refuse. Over my dead body I'll surrender my eating fetishes. :mrgreen:

And please don't give me the human rights speech! Physiological needs are the pillar of the Maslow pyramid. :lol:
r6d2

Beware of realism when writing. Avoid the usual zoo inhabitants. Summon the unicorns and the tritons, and give them reality!
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Jaysen
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Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:36 pm Post

Mr Brownie pocketer,

You are comparing "fine art" to "functional product". A pie is appreciated because of its delicacy, its sophistication, its fragility. You would not take a Picasso and hang it on the exterior of your house, Take the canvas off the frame, or wad it up and put it in your pocket. Why would you treat pie any differently?
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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Jaysen
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Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:39 pm Post

r6d2 wrote:On the culinary realm I'm definitely an agnostic.

I'm glad to see you acknowledge that you believe that one could be better than the other and that you are simply waiting for conclusive evidence. I can respect that.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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Wock
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Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:15 pm Post

Pilsbury wrote:Cream Cheese Brownie Pie
http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/cream-cheese-brownie-pie/af6895a5-a82e-4ec2-bd7d-2112fde9f1c0
This fudgy top-prize winning dessert needs nothing more than an ice-cold glass of milk to make a perfect ending to any meal.
• prep time15 min
• total time4 hr 5 min
• ingredients12
• servings8
Ingredients
Crust
1
box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
Cream Cheese Layer
1
package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
3
tablespoons sugar
1
teaspoon vanilla
1
egg
Brownie Layer
1
box (15.8 oz) Pillsbury® double chocolate brownie mix
1/4
cup vegetable oil
1
tablespoon water
2
eggs
1/2
cup chopped pecans
Topping
Reserved chocolate syrup packet from brownie mix
3
tablespoons hot fudge topping
Steps
1Heat oven to 350°F. Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie.
The wheel is turning but the hamster is still dead.

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Jaysen
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Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:26 am Post

I'm not sure where this abomination originated, and I probably don't want to know, but someone make it.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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nom
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Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:00 pm Post

Jaysen wrote:You are comparing "fine art" to "functional product". A pie is appreciated because of its delicacy, its sophistication, its fragility. You would not take a Picasso and hang it on the exterior of your house, Take the canvas off the frame, or wad it up and put it in your pocket. Why would you treat pie any differently?


I used to be a pie man. When I first lived in the USA, many many moons ago, I was homesick for the experience of a true-blue Aussie meat pie. So I bought an American pot-pie. :shock:
It was, to my memory, the first "food" (I use the word advisedly) that I spat out and refused to eat. Pies never recovered their magic and I became agnostic.

Until...

...Madame Nom and I recently discovered a little cafe near her optometrist that makes excellent coffee. As a coffee snob, that is important and it got us in the door. We then discovered they make brownies. These brownies are something I would never hang on the exterior of my house, nor would I carry them in my pocket. Such sacrilege is an abomination to contemplate. No, these masterpieces of culinary delight are to be savoured in tiny bites to make them last longer. Such delicate sophistication and care in a brownie is unusual, in a cafe brownie is unheard of. They are, in all senses of the word, remarkable.

I used to be pie man, but I have seen the light and the light is brown.
Complete and utter NOMsense.
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vic-k
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Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:20 pm Post

nom wrote:I used to be pie man, but I have seen the light and the light is brown.
Here y'are, this'll restore y'r equilibrium Image
Janet Street Porter's Desperate Dan Cow Pie
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

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BodminBeast
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Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:55 pm Post

Caught this young colt on the Moor this evening. Can't beat'em fresh...

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Wock
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Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:29 pm Post

In his own words, Long Duk Dong speaks on pie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyJBz7Z2EWE
The wheel is turning but the hamster is still dead.

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BodminBeast
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Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:51 pm Post

That's all very good, Mr Pigeon. By the by, my grandpa WAS a hyena. Or was it hernia? Can't recall...

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Fluff
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Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:28 pm Post

Bodmin,
Received wisdom has it that the BofB-M is actually feline, and not one of yours mate.





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Fluff
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BodminBeast
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Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:31 am Post

Oh, there you are. Here Pusspuss, come on, come to Papa...

Back on topic: I have Word for Mac. I tolerate it, but prefer to use Nisus Writer Pro, or even Bean. Just a matter of taste when all's said and done.

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Bluesman
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Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:32 am Post

charlie.stross wrote:
Bluesman wrote:
sfosparky wrote:——————
It always makes me laugh when people blame their own incompetence on the software.


Are you calling me incompetent?

I write books for a living. I've written (and sold) books using Microsoft Word. My hatred of that product is informed by hardcore experience; I've been using one variety or another of word processor and text editor for close to 30 years; I've been using MS Word itself on and off since 1991: I used to work as a programmer: I have a computer science degree: and I still don't like Word.

And just to bring the discussion full-circle, here's why I still use Word (despite everything) ...


Incompetent may be a strong word, but I find it interesting that someone with this amount of experience hates (what I perceive to be) a very complete and very usable Office suite this much. I like Scrivener much better for writing, but I have no trouble doing it in Word if I have to.

I merely matched the tone-of-voice; it was an angry response to an angry article I happened to disagree with. I'll be honest to say that I haven't used Word for as long as you did. I've been in since Office '97, which I'd say is still a decent while, and like I said, Office 2007 and 2010 were the two main tools I happily used throughout college. They helped me and never got in my way.

That said, maybe it's different for the Mac version, I can only speak for the Windows version of MS Office.

Word is very easy to use for simple tasks. It's rather difficult to use for complex tasks. The range of tasks it can be used for is sprawling and covers some really arcane areas, but the expertise needed to make best use of it is so esoteric that corporate IT departments have to employ Word specialists.

Let's remember that the average user of word processors has little or no IT training. Some studies showed that around 80% of users of MS Office on Windows didn't know about the Ctrl-C, Ctrl-X, Ctrl-V shortcuts for cut and paste, or Ctrl-F for searching; around 50% didn't even know that cut and paste was possible, and were using Word as a glass typewriter.

Exposing functionality buried deep in the menu hierarchy via the ribbon seems like a good idea to the technically literate who want to make things easier for the illiterate. Unfortunately they overestimate the literacy of the illiterate; we train users to ignore user interface clutter such as greyed-out menu items or window decorations, so they also tend to ignore the ribbon (it looks like more incomprehensible clutter) or find it a thing of terror (full of scary stuff they don't understand).

Word has some bad habits. One is autocorrect and autoformat. Again, this is the sort of "hlepful" behaviour that techies think will assist novice users. Rather, it results in Word making random, arbitrary, and sometimes counter-productive changes to the novice user's, impeding their ability to learn a consistent set of actions for achieving their goals. When stuff sometimes happens "by magic" we can't learn to associate cause with effect.

Another bad habit is modal dialogs, but that's not unique to Word: that's a general problem afflicting GUIs that should have been fixed in the early 80s before Xerox let them out of the lab. And then there is the horrible collision between direct formatting and hierarchical styles -- two different paradigms for document layout control that simply don't work together. Yes, experts can cope, but most people aren't experts.

Then there are files. Don't get me started on files. Suffice to say, after two decades of trying, I [i]still[/] haven't managed to get my mother to understand the relationship between a file, a document, and a window on the screen of her iMac. Or my brother-in-law. Or my sister.

So, no: I don't think Word is easy to use. We fool ourselves into thinking it's easy to use because compared to Word Perfect 5.1 it's got lots of nice graphical bits and it shows you an approximation of what it thinks the final document will look like ... but it's not, really.


Autocorrect and autoformat are fantastic when you set them up to your preferences. I use those functions in a way they help me become more productive.

And I think here lies the difference in our basic approach: I don't want things to be as simple as possible. I don't want computers to be easy, accessible and unintimidating and I like that most people are clumsy with them and I am not. That's why I also really don't like Apple products and their software. They simplified things to the point of me feeling completely trapped.

If I'm working with a piece of software that can do a lot of stuff, I'm willing to put the time in to learn it. It did take me quite a while to get the hang of some of the more obscure/hidden features of Word, and I'm still learning. It's a very powerful piece of software (for the right purposes) once you figured out how to use it right.

The same goes for Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign and Lightroom. It took years before I really got fast and handy in those suites and my bookcase is filled with training workbooks for them. Scrivener is kinda the same in that regard. Without going through the tutorial, you won't get very far. I go back to it every now and then to see if I happened to miss something and I don't see why that should be different for MS Office. It's a very extensive piece of software and it only makes sense to me that it would take a while to figure it out. The fact that most people don't is their own mistake, not MS Office's.

With Word 2007, they created a HARD-CODED, unmodifiable, space-wasting tool bar that emphasized form over function.


Office 2007 was a radical first step in a new direction. Not everything worked out right away, but they improved a lot over the last couple of versions. You can completely customize the ribbon in Office 2010 and onward. If it takes up too much space, press CTRL+F1 and it completely collapses, taking in even less space than the bar that was around in Office 97 (this has been in there since Office 2007).

If you have trouble with things being hard-coded, there's always open source software.

r6d2 wrote:My background is into computer programming. As such, I was taught to be able to program "Hello, world!" on any language that would eventually came into the market. At first I thought this was a waste of time, but then I learned the most valuable lesson: if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem will look like a nail.

Now I make a living out of that lesson.

At the end, I guess you stick to the tools you feel more comfortable with for a particular job. A boss of mine used to say "I really don't care which outfit you wear while doing the job I need you to do, as long as the deliverable turns out to be suitable for the intended purpose, and in due time".

A wise guy he was.

When I discovered Scrivener, the first thing I did after completing the excellent tutorial was to write "Hello, world!". It was a breeze, and I was delighted. 8)


What do you do? Just curious.

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Fluff
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Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:08 pm Post

Bluesman wrote:What do you do? Just curious.
If I may be allowed a moment of interjection, young MasterBluesman. r6d2, is a sewer rat, I think. He lives closer than most to the Earth's core… or so he claims. Unless he's referring to his sweetheart's heart. :? Must confess, I've never considered it in that light before… hmm… back to the drawing board.
C'est la vie…eh?
Fluff
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