I interviewed Freakonomics' Stephen Dubner about his favorite shoes, anchovy paste, and why he likes Microsoft Word

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/07/31/i-interviewed-freakonomics-s.html

Man, ageism isn’t cool.


He likes Microsoft Word?

Aw, crap. And to think I respected this guy!


(Only partly in jest. I’ve lost more work to Word than any other product I’ve used, and the best version was probably Word 6.0 or Word 95. After that it was all downhill, although I’ll admit it’s been getting better in recent years.)


“The best Microsoft Word” is a bit like “the cutest tapeworm” or “the friendliest Nazi.”


Hmm. I smell a New York Times article in the making…

Don’t be so down on tapeworms.

I’ve never heard of a tapeworm that denied it was a parasite. They’re scrupulously honest about that. You don’t get TapewormSoft claiming that this year’s new tapeworms are “productivity organisms”, that will be essential for all stomachs everywhere…

I think that you owe them an apology for associating them with Nazis and Microsoft Word…



In hindsight, my comments about Word and tapeworms may have been undercooked.


[love for Word 5.1a goes here]

If one bothered to figure out how to use it, Word was a great product, it could save you so much time on outlining, writing, styling and collaborating on text it was amazing.

Most people didn‘t even use 5% of what it could do, and missed out on all the stuff that would have made life a lot easier for them.

When I was still working as a developer, I quite often explained to potential customers how to achieve the stuff they wanted me to build software for in Word (or Excel).

Word was built for power users, who would invest the time it took to harness that power. Probably the wrong decision, give that most people are overwhelmed by Google Docs or Markdown. :grinning:

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I would grant that, if it wasn’t so damn fragile. The number of times I’ve wept in frustration as Word has randomly changed the definition of one of my styles, or indented something without asking and without any apparent means of undoing it, etc etc etc …

Pfft. Markdown is for wimps. Now AsciiDoc, that’s a proper lightweight mark-up language.

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maybe he has not heard of wonton soap a blue dragon product …oops they cancelled manufacture

AsciiDoc is the Word of lightweight markup :grinning:


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