Monday, October 18, 2004

My life with MS Word; a love/passionately hate relationship

My first recollection of using computers at all was the apple IIe and Oregon trail, that was cool but not enough to get me into them, that was elementary school. Years later, my uncle got a “portable” computer (Have no idea what brand model) that was about twice the size of many desktops today (think dell optiplex tower) and it had a more primitive but just as fun donkey kong type game on it (hey it was an early PC, macs still had an advantage), that was late elementary school early high school. Then my parents got an AT 16 Mhz and I had to type papers in WordPerfect 5.1 and we could run Test Drive, Rampage, and Rockford (Boulder dash clone) and in color!!! That was the shit! … but still not enough to get me into computers. Then came my own computer, a 386 DX40, the fastest MoFo in the dorm (for a semester). A buddy of mine taught me some nifty commands like CD, DIR, COPY, and HELP in the OS thing called “DOS” oh and I could run DOOM! Ok now computers were sweet and I could start to dink around with them. I still had WP5.1 but my aunt brought a copy of MS Word (3x?) and said it was great… I tried it… and disagreed. I kept with WP, tried a windows incarnation of it but was not impressed… kept with it for about 3 years then switched to the windows version around version 8, still liked it still hated MS Word. About that time Corel was having problems etc and it seemed like WP development came to a halt.

I was out of school for awhile and didn’t pay much mind to word processing and then got to graduate school and pecked away at papers using WP10 I think… but as usual everyone else was using Word, the ignorant masses I thought. Well I was watching one of my fellow students using the newer version of word and saw them using nice features that weren’t in WP so I tried it… it was a sad day, I realized that MS had finally trumped WP. I now use Word grudgingly, I am not a fan of the vanilla one flavour/size for all that MS seems to cultivate but here they do indeed have a better word processor. For all my grudges I am not going to not use something that is genuinely better based on distaste. So now MS has a better word processor (well office suite in general); now they only have to win me over on the browser (I hate IE compared to the likes of Opera, which kicks ass) and OS (Still a un*x fan, and will continue to be so until advanced under-the-hood features show up in windows [like it did for Mac OSX], and actually becomes stable) fronts.

There is hope, the likes of Open Office as a free alternative, WP as a cheaper word processor for the word processor generalist, and a few others. If they came out with something like a hybrid of Vim and MS Word I would *so* buy it!