Thursday, August 27, 2009

Upping Fuckgrades

I’ve been using Microsoft Word to write with since before you were born. Probably. Almost, anyway.

Back in the 20th century, 1984 to be exact, I much preferred the Apple program MacWrite. It let you use like 10 or 12 different fonts—sometimes in the same sentence!—and I think it even had search and replace.

Then there was this program called WriteNow that was smaller and faster—I’m pretty sure it fit on a single 512K floppy disk—that was my favorite for a couple months.

But eventually, the Microsoft marketing machine ensured that resistance was futile and by the time Word 3.0 came around, I’d succumbed and have been a consistent—if not consistently satisfied—user ever since then.

I think the software peaked at about version 5.1; seems to me that by then, it did pretty much all I wanted it to do; I could create endnotes, automate tables of contents, employ styles, even, I think, insert pictures, although I’m loathe to do so since every one allegedly is worth more than three of my usual 327-word essays.

Since 2004, I’ve been using Microsoft Office 2004 and have gotten used to its many quirks, foibles, and convoluted ways of doing things, but this spring, as more and more students began submitting papers for me to grade in Office 2008, it became necessary for me to upgrade which I did a few months ago, albeit reluctantly.

Today, therefore, I spent a good 45 minutes swearing at my computer, loud enough to wake up the kid well before her usual noontime reveille, trying to figure out how to format headers and footers in new Sections, something that was reasonably straightforward (for a Microsoft product, anyway) in previous versions.

The rub was the change in terminology from “Same as Previous” to “Link with Previous,” or some such nonsense, and don’t even get me started on the way they changed how a table of contents is generated, grrr!


Blogger Andrew Davidson said...

Here's what I say: Don't accept Word docs for papers.

Make them send you the lingua franca of the digital docuverse: PDFs. No fuss, no muss, no version problems, no font issues...

8:42 PM  

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