Microsoft Word considered harmful


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What program did he use to write his essay?

FWIW, I’m a HUGE fan of WriteRoom - and, no, I did not get paid to write that…

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a poor craftsman blames their tools


An awful lot of people would gladly trade positions with Stross. Being forced to import and format a document in Word 4-5 times a year isn’t something to whine about, even when you’ve exhausted all other whingeable grievances. He should be thankful that his job doesn’t come with a pickaxe attached.

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Open office? It’s what I use.

Whenever I have to use microsoft office at this point, I just get confused and annoyed, but at least some of that probably stems from the fact that I have not used it regularly in years. My school also switched to the Microsoft outlook/Office 365 or whatever the hell it is called for e-mail, and it is incredibly glitchy and annoying to use. Maybe it’s because I’m using it on Firefox instead of Internet explorer? But I really hate using the web interface for mail and avoid it when I can. Seems to me (from a totally non-tech savy POV, mind you) that applications should be cross platform, generally easy to use for everyone, and just… you know, work. It really shouldn’t be a struggle to write a document or read/send emails.


It’s a first world problem, sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not a problem.


A good craftsman will bitch a blue streak if you hand them a screwdriver when they asked for a hammer.


Experienced and skilled craftsmen know poor tools when they see them.


a) Open Office or other equivalents that read word files

b) as each version of word involves new features and does stuff that the old one can’t so of course the old one can’t read it without some sort of add on or upgrade.

Word is pretty innocuous, it’s basically minor formatting things that don’t transfer. It’s a much bigger issue with excel where old excel cannot read new excel stuff and renders docs useless.


Give me edlin, or give me death!


This problem/issue is so deeply obvious to anyone who cares that I need to conclude those who showed up so early to target the authors credibility might be paid trolls. I only say “might be” because I have some lingering desire to be polite.

Can I get a witness?


I think you might be onto something. But then again, I think that operating systems and the applications we use on computers tend to have “fan boys”, and for the true believers, nothing else will do. It’s not about functionality, but base tribalism. So, it could be paid shills or it could be the truly converted… Only their bank accounts know for sure!

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I, myself, am an occasional Apple fanatic and find myself vociferously defending them to the hoards of haters. I also believe many of them are paid shills.

And I consider myself a student of human foibles and biases! Where does the hall of mirrors start and end around here? I forget.

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Yes, but better craftsmen see faulty tools and discard them.


but Microsoft? That is kind of sad.


It’s hard to find out where the paid shills end and begin, it’s true. I think the two feed off each other. And we probably get some sort of “psychic wage” for publicly supporting our personal preferences, if only the assurance that we are doing it from a space of authenticity and not from a space of being paid for it. Microsoft still has their true believers too, as does open source products.

I myself am pretty squarely in the linux category (which has its own brand of true believers of course), but I have to admit that my biggest goal is in helping me get shit done. If it works, that’s fine with me. My preference is for open source stuff, though.

At the end of the day, we should probably just use what works for us and accept that it’s not what works for others…


Yeah, probably, but it’s true. But why is that different than fan boying for Apple? Or even linux for that matter? All of these choices probably have various ideological components to them that are obscured, right?


His criticisms of Microsoft’s deliberate lack of interoperability, ever-changing file-format, and attempts to establish market dominance by force aren’t new, but of course it’s always good to hear them publicized and repeated. About ten years ago I wrote a similar article, Please Don’t Send Me Microsoft Word Documents, which includes links to even earlier essays by others.


Seems to work pretty well for SAS!