Making Tasks Harder Than They Need To Be

This isn’t a rant. At least, I don’t think it is. Then again, I rant about things that drive me crazy and this does. Didn’t I recently complain about word processing software that thinks it’s smarter than I am? Yes I did.


During all our post-power-surge equipment replacement hoopla new software was on the list and it had to be compatible with the new computers. Enter “Office 2008 for Mac”. I’ve used MS Word for many years and loved it, but moving into the innovations of this version hasn’t been the load-and-go, plug-and-play easy operation that was always a selling point for Apple computers and the software developed for them. The first document we e-mailed to an associate using this version was met with a “Sorry, but I can’t open this docx thing.” There is a provision for saving documents in a prior compatible format but I have to make a conscious effort to do it each time. Formatting options that used to be intuitive now have me searching through the manual.


That brings a question to mind. Why does every new piece of technology have to be more “sophisticated” than its predecessor — more complex with more features that I don’t want and quite likely won’t use? Software is supposed to make our work simpler. I don’t need a word processor that doubles as a draw program, throws mini clipboards onto my page every time I do a cut-and-paste, or formats text in such a way that it translates into strange symbols when copied onto a webpage. Yes, I’m told there’s a way to turn off all the autoformatting options but so far I haven’t succeeded in doing so.


As a writer there are some features I appreciate, but a wordprocessor that attempts to do all things for all users is bound to fail somewhere. Enough said. There now, that wasn’t a rant, was it? No, I didn’t think so.


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

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