Thursday, July 12, 2007

[Much used office software made by people that can afford better lawyers than me] 2007

First, let me make it clear; I am NOT averse to change, especially when it is for the better. Anything that allows me to work faster, more efficiently or with greater ease I generally welcome with open arms and offer tea and biscuits (The nice kind. In foil wrapping).
However, if change brings about headaches, frustration and gnashing of teeth; out comes the cricket bat and its standard Midland quota of nails.
For work purposes I have recently been forced to upgrade to the latest edition of the software these few paragraphs are poised to lynch and have since been asking myself one question:
A vague query, you may think, especially if you are unfamiliar with the offending package (though, if you’re computer-savvy enough to be trawling through other people’s blogs, that seems unlikely).
Why, I ask, after countless versions, after conditioning millions of users, after allowing them to develop a comfortable familiarity with the layout of the interface, have the makers of this software gone and changed everything?!
Five seconds (probably less, actually) after the update I knew I had made a mistake and that my working life was to become a misery for months to come. All the icons had changed, the buttons that performed certain functions had been moved (nay; HIDDEN) and, greatest annoyance of all; the dictionary had been set to U.S. spelling.
Now, Colonists, I really don’t give a rat’s rectum what hideous and unsavoury things you do to The Queen’s English on your side of the pond, so long as it stays there. And forcing me to spend one hair-tearing hour searching through the endless menus and unhelpful help-pages in order to switch the dictionary, permanently, to U.K. spelling…..well, that’s just rude.
Who was it that thought such changes would be a good idea?
Who was it that decided to throw away years of development and force everyone to start from scratch, relearning the interface and probably costing businesses a sh*tload of money as work-rate drops while poor sods like me fumble around with the unwieldy nonsense foisted upon them?
It’s like suddenly asking people to drive on the other side of the road!
Ha d the update simply been a cosmetic change, with new elements neatly slotted into place by the old, I wouldn’t be seething as I am. In the past there’s always been an option to switch to ‘Classic’ mode, making it seem like there’s been no change at all. Perfect!
But the bastards seem to have removed that too.
Or hidden it.
To me, the 2007 update is the most irritating thing this (anonymous-in-this-rant-but-quite-easily-identified-as-they-have-the-market-cornered) software maker has forced upon us poor consumers.
Even worse than that fekking paper-clip…..


James said...

Vista getting you down JJ? It sucks, and the latest version of office just takes the p***. Keep up the good art work, perhaps Art smashing up his PC with a cricket bat would make an apt sketch?

Sam said...

Here here.. have to admit tho i think Outlook 2007 is a great improvement, and Visio 2007, they were nice enough to leave the old familier 2002/3 interface. However i totally agree that they have created the bastard children of Word/Excel/etc. There is no actual productive value to the new change, they're just trying to be like Apple and make it all pretty.. failing dismally in the process

Test said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dohickey Jones said...

I certainly agree, the Big M seems to have gone on a change for change sake crusade, I tried the Beta of Vista for all of 3 days and Office for 2. I'm not back to the comforting embrace of XP and 2003.

Toshiro said...

Hmm.. never had such problems with my mac.
This may shock a lot of people, but windows isn't that good. :) but that's just me.

Dominik Sto┼╝ek said...

As MS developers say on their blogs (google it, it's worth that), a switch to the new layout has been a risky decision. The goal was not to simplify, idiotize, or make office mac-like. The real problem was that with the old design, most of funcitonality was hidden somewhere in the menu. The new interface encourages people to go like "I wonder what this button does". With Live Preview (you can see the effect before you click) it's quite convenient. The new UI trys to make use your office in a good way, the way you're not used to, but better in the long run.

We have to understand the design goals of the software we use to use it productively. MS changed the design goals in 2007. Face it. :)

I hope no-one gets offended :) cheers

Matthew said...

@ T
windows is good when you strip it out and use only the good bits and replace the rest i.e. i have replaced explorer with black box, much better.

Sorry to here your problems jj hope you can work around them :)


Virual said...

avoid all things vista

John said...

Despite the fact that you decry our pure, evolved English, I must agree with you here. Though I haven't used... the program formerly known as Windows... I have been forced to switch from a fast, integrated, and proficient program (Microsoft Outlook)to one which is slower, loses mail, does not work with any of our other office programs, and handles like a drunken mule with a cactus shoved square up it's *bleep!* (Lotus Notes).
I can't understand how a company thinks that saving a bit on licensing, or whatever, will pay off when their employees can't even communicate with eachother reliably, let alone with our clientele.

Zachariah said...

Well, The ribbon interface has been in the works for a long time, and is hailed by the HCI community (Human-Computer Interaction) as a major step forward. It's an example of what happens when you listen to researchers-- it will be an improvement, but people won't adopt it right away. That's why research is always 20 years ahead of industry. And besides, why would you buy an upgrade that keeps everything the same?

Scott said...

On behalf of all Americans, I apologize to you, Her Majesty, and Dr. Who for our bastardization of what is a proud, vowel filled language.

And while I'm doing that, I feel the need to apologize for Medieval Times; where you can see our country's bastardized version of your country's history.

Linoth said...

I've taken a few too many classes on the product of which you refer to, so I tend to think of my familiarity with it as being above average. I thought, heck, this'll be easy!

Took me a good 10 minutes to find where you change the language, although I spotted how to make it permenant within 10 seconds of finding it. Then I felt proud of myself. And before I posted this comment and made myself look like an ass, I thought I should make sure I was using 2k7. Thought I was.

Bloody hell, it's 2003. Is 2007 really that bad? Maybe I should install it. I've always been a glutton for pain and punishment.

Litestep with me.
Some things do need to go. Windows Firewall. IE. When using a laptop, Explorer goes away too. But I've never been able to replace Explorer and feel comfortable on a desktop PC. It helps, though, to learn a few tricks along the way. Like pathing a directory in "My Documents" and putting shortcuts in there with a simple name of the program you want. That way, oh, Windows+R, opera, enter. Browsing the web easy as pie. Microsoft even makes it easy. winword, excel, outlook... sol!

Matthew said...

@ linoth
All I do is tell windows that i check all the antivires and firewall stuff so it stays out, also blackbox (shell replacement for explore) is like Linux for windows left click instead of pressing start. to escape explore use firefox or opera.

Tony said...

"Why don't they make us drive on the other side of the road?"

Now you now our American pain.

Now, mind, I don't have Vista myself, but it seems that it has you standing on your head. Personally, I don't understand what Microsoft is doing, changing just about everything. It really just doesn't make any sense as far as versions go (Cue computers falling out of windows), and I totally understand your aggression, especially with the helpless help files (An oxymoron, why do they make these things?). Just try your best not to tear your hair out. Maybe when Big Bill leaves next year, the company will start to make more sense of itself. He really is giving his money to charity. A smart decision there I do say so myself.

Matthew said...

Hey JJ,
Here is a page with links to some little Flash applets, where you click the function in the Office 2003 interface and it shows you where to go for that function in 2007. Hope this helps.

--some other guy, also named matthew

Peter said...

I am surprised to see an artist not using a mac. I would have left Word long ago for Pages, that is if I ever used Word. Boy is that thing sucky. Can't place pdfs, can't save pdfs, can't place anything vector (the older mac versions can do all these things, not well but it can do them) who in the crap pays for software this crappy?
Oh, sorry, I forgot…