Sunday, February 08, 2015

Computer Gripes

~So, I installed an update this morning for one of my programs. Of course, it wanted to include several additional useless-to-me programs, which I refused.  "The update and nothing but the update."

Well, does vengeance know no bounds? After the installation, all the icons on my screen were rearranged. There was no method to the madness [rearrangement].  I spent half an hour putting them in order and discovered that one had vanished. Another half hour tracking down the missing icon.

Who said computers were helpful, benevolent machines that would make our lives easier? Did anyone say that?

Maybe the computers are  neutral; it's the programmers who enjoy messing around.

~When I got my last computer it came preloaded with the word processing program Microsoft Word. It was there for a limited trial, after which I'd have to buy it.  I was using Corel WordPerfect at the time, so ignored the Microsoft program and loaded my Corel program.

Then I noticed all my WordPerfect files had transformed into Microsoft Word files. Creepy. I discovered that particular computer [I'm betting it was the Windows XP operating system] did not support two different word processing programs. They were in conflict with each other, duking it out, and the global behemoth Microsoft Word won.

I simply uninstalled Microsoft Word, and solved the problem.

Then I got another computer, this time with the Windows 7 operating system. No problem supporting two or more word processing programs. However...
Although I was perfectly happy using WordPerfect--easy to use, efficient, did the trick beautifully--can things ever stay ideal in computer world?

Because WordPerfect files were not easily readable by those who didn't have the program, I knew someday I would have to transfer my files to the one everyone uses--Microsoft Word. I swallowed my distaste and bought Word 10.

First of all, this program seems to have a thousand bells and whistles that made my eyes glaze over. I sensed trouble ahead. The copy and paste functions worked fine for transferring files. Inserting a header was fairly easy. But try numbering the pages.  When I hit what everyone would–the insert page number function–I got my page numbers all right. But the rest of the header was wiped clean.

What had been a simple action in WordPerfect became a puzzle of grand proportions.  Help was, well, helpful. But, really, who would normally look for something called "quick parts" to insert numbers in your header? Even then, this supposedly simple action was hidden in something called "field" in which you scroll down a long list until you come to, not "numbers," but "page." 

I don't know how others feel about this, but I think whoever created the program  had their head screwed on backwards. I picture a hundred programmers in a room, divvying up sections of this, and maybe other, programs, and laying bets on who can make theirs the most obtuse and dumb and time-consuming to use.

I was further convinced that I was right when I looked for the setting for indents. line spacing, and paragraph breaks. I honestly thought these would all be under the tab "page layout."

Ha ha. Of course not. On the home page there is a small word "paragraph" in the toolbar with a teeny tiny arrow pointing sort of down. And when you click that arrow, voilĂ -- the necessary settings appear. 

Okay so I got that done, but I passionately dislike the program. There's a new WordPerfect program that is apparently compatible with Microsoft, and I may, if this frustration keeps up, upgrade to the new one. But I fear that it will have been so changed from the simple one I had that it may be as complicated to use as Microsoft Word.

And now I will also have to soon give up, for other reasons, my Quattro Pro spreadsheet, and use [gag] Excel. Another efficiency lost. 

~Each new computer I bought has the latest version of Windows operating system. I have 20+ years of using different versions, and though each upgrade provided more features, it took just as many away, or buried them somewhere.

For example, I don't often use the Run command. But I needed to use it the other day and it was nowhere in visible sight. [Seems it was always somewhere I could see it.] Now some programmer [see above comments about them] decided to make this a game of hide and seek.  You have to click "start" then "all program" then "accessories" then there it is!

I would have never thought to look under accessories for the Run command.

Well, those in the know would call me computer illiterate. In the greater scheme of things, I guess I am. I just don't think "more difficult" means "better."

Like all the smart cars, appliances, TVs and phones, I want a smart computer. Must be out there somewhere, or coming soon.

-- Cat