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Friday, April 11, 2008

The Incredible Vagueness of Being Microsoft

Once more we venture into another rant about MS products. This time, not Vista, which I have so far managed to avoid, but MS Office 2007*.

I received a new machine at work, fair dinkum, quad core 2.4 Ghz 3 GB machine. All is wonderful 'cept I had to re-install all me apps, but it gave me a chance to clean up my desktop and bookmarks and update a bunch of stuff so that was OK. However, the pre-installed Office "package" is really a lame chihuahua when I was used to a greyhound.

Vague Windows I call 'em. These kind of ghostly soft-edged pastelly boxes with Outlook, Office, Excel etc. inside. They do not inherit the desktop theme from the OS! Why not, you b*stards! Isn't that the rule of UI, do what the user wants and has come to expect? At my advanced age (100 at least), I do not want to be pleasantly surprised by your UI designers hoopy new ideas. They are really bad for the upgrading user, and I haven't a hope of explaining it to my non-computer literate folks.

I have at least dual 21" monitors and I often have 20+ windows open at the same time so your app is not the only focus of my attention, even when I'm typing in it. It is constantly annoying to be unable to distinguish the border of the window and to accidentally click on the wrong thing. Aack! I did try changing the office theme, and it went from vague grey to pastelly blue to a kind of washed out black. Sigh. I'm surprised the freaking things don't come with doilies and antimacassars. Design can be a lovely thing when done well, when done badly it's worse than no design (or the old design anyway).

And don't even get me started about the "ribbon" thing and moving familiar landmarks and tools of the expert Word user to new and unexpected places.

I truly think this UI is an abomination. Open Office for me, I think.

* Pay no attention, I'm taking antibiotics and feel horrid.

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