Grey Lupous (greyias) wrote,
Grey Lupous

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When good programming goes horribly, utterly wrong

I posted a comment a little while back in one of the writer communities that I was on that I've moved to writing my stories in plain text, and then formatting them later. I really couldn't remember why... until this evening.



What starts out as a simple, "Oh, I should employ those lovely macros I found linked on aelfgyfu_mead 's entry on formatting for fanfics" sadly descends into chaos. To put it bluntly, I have never hated a word processing program so much in my life. See, I tried OpenOffice for one afternoon when I had to write a final in a hurry, and the only computer I had available was a brand new machine that did not come with Office loaded (and I needed the formatting options because it sort of was a final and they wanted it pretty). I can't say exactly what it was that I didn't like about their word processing program, but it was something. So I said, "Haha, good thing I'll always have good ol' reliable Word."

Not so much.

Upon installing the much hated program around March last year, my first thought was, "Oh, look, pretty." I marveled at the lovely background, the way it blended perfectly with Vista, and everything was shiny.

About fifteen seconds later I realized that my old and familiar friends, "File", "Edit", and "Tools" were missing. As were a few others that I rarely cared about. After a brief panic attack and a look at the help files, I decided to give this "Ribbon" a try. After all, I was a suave, computer literate kind of gal, and it would probably be a new, better thing one I got used to it.

Two hours later I was missing chunks of my hair, drooling, and staring cross-eyed at the screen, quietly asking God and Bill Gates what I had done to deserve such a travesty. After a good half hour of self pity and general loathing at the programmers who decided to inflict this ugly beast on me, I set out to fix it, and get my old user interface back. After all, it's what any good action hero (slash fanfic writer) would do!

With the power of Google at my fingertips, I bravely set forth onto the internet to find a solution for my problem.

An hour and a half later I was bald and reduced to the same drooling mess before I had started. I wasn't about to pay someone to have my damn menus back (that's akin to giving the kidnapper the ransom money... although I doubt Microsoft is getting any kind of compensation from this except perverse pleasure).

Sadly, that was just one half of the problem.

The other half is this tiny, nagging thing every time I launch the program, it insists on "configuring and installing" itself, taking a good two to three minutes of time that could be spent furiously typing, doling out injuries to the unsuspecting Atlantean masses. Two to three minutes is enough for me to get distracted and yanked out of the writing mindset.

Well, I finally broke down and installed one of those stupid programs that simulates those oh-so-antiquated UI of days gone by (because why be intuitive when you can be shiny?). I have my good old friends back now, but in fifteen days I'm going to have to pay $15 for the privilege.

I seriously contemplated OpenOffice, until my sister-in-law reminded me that it's rather lacking. And distracting, for some reason. I get easily distracted, especially when writing. I know, I know, I could install Office 2003 and save myself some of this mental anguish, but I have serious doubts that it would run smoothly and properly on Vista (and I'm one of the few who actually likes Vista more than XP). I had such issues trying to do anything simple with Frontpage '03, I've got this nagging feeling that there's going to be similar trouble with the rest of the Office suite.

Now if I could only get it to stop installing itself at every launch we might come to some sort of truce.
Tags: rants

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