The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

More rants

Posted By on March 7, 2005

  • I have M&M’s with bunnys on them
  • This is my new wallpaper. Okay, so it’s kind of odd having Mac wallpaper on a Linux machine, but since I’m using XFce4 with the Agua theme, it fits
  • One thing I miss about Windows: the fact that it shit itself and I lost everything every couple of years kept my bookmarks all cleaned up. Since I’ve been running the same home directory for like six years, my bookmark file has gotten huge. I need to clean it out. Half the links probably don’t even work anymore.
And now, my rant. As some of you may know, I’ve been making my living as a documentation writer for the past few months. This means spending way too much time using the Microsoft Office suite. Now, Visio is actually not bad. Of course, for the $600 it costs, it had better be damned near perfect. However, the rest is just a tremendous downward spiral. Excel: Excel works. People know this. It’s actually not that bad. It does what it’s supposed to. The problem occurs when you try and open multiple spreadsheets. Now, Word does this right – each document you open comes up in it’s own Window, so you can minimize the ones you’re not looking at. But Excel? Nope. Classic MS MDI (Multiple Document Interface) brain damange. Each spreadsheet opens in the parent excel Window, so I can forget dragging it to my second desktop if another monitor is hooked up, or have it behave properly when I minimize the document. See, when you minimize the document in an MDI window, it goes down to the bottom of that app’s “container Window”. Now, I can understand picking one paradigm over another, but come on Office guys, at least be consistent! Word: Where do I start?
  • Any document over 50 pages (just text and tables, nothing special) gets angry and pegs the CPU to 100% if you leave it unsaved for too long. Saving it causes CPU usage to drop back to 2% or so….
  • Except when it doesn’t. Sometimes, even if you save it, the CPU usage never goes down. So, you have to exit Word and restart it.
  • Now, for desktops, CPU utilization doesn’t matter. Word runs at a low priority, so the machine stays usable. However, on laptops it drains the battery quite rapidly, and causes the monster CPU in my work Dell (M60, IIRC. Oh, and as an aside, it’s only redeeming quality is the wide screen. It pales in comparison to my Thinkpad. The cooling is worse on the Dell, the screen is of lower quality, the keyboard isn’t as nice and the whole thing just feels cheap and plasticy. Get a Thinkpad over a Dell if you can afford it. Mine is an R50p) to get super hot and burn my wang.
  • Then, after the document gets above about 75 pages, Word feels compelled to tell me that it can’t auto spell check anymore because my document has too many errors (variable names are always bugging spellcheckers, this is nothing new).
  • References. For those of you who don’t know, references are these things that you use to “link” to another section. Typically, you use it when referencing another section (hence the name), typically to keep the numbering right. For example, if I link to section 3.2, and then insert something in front of it, making it Section 3.3, all the references update to say 3.3. Now, this actually works, and is fairly impressive. However, in order to make reference, you have to go to something like “Insert -> Reference” and then a pop up appears where you choose the type of reference by scrolling and find what you want to reference and choose insert. Of course, this means that the longer your document, the longer the reference list. No problem, make the window bigger. Oh, wait, you can’t. It’s a fixed sized window.
  • Then, there’s the copy and paste problem. If you copy some referenced text and what references it within the document, the reference still points to the original, not the copy. So, you need to go through the above dance to re-make the reference. (Contrast with LaTeX throwing an error at 2 labels being the same, and so you tack a 1 on the end of both the label and the reference).
  • You can forget about moving them from one document to another – that results in a nasty “Error! Invalid reference!” message in your text. Never mind the fact that both the referenced text and what references it were both copied, and therefore there are no duplications or confusions. Nope, it breaks. (Again, contrast with LaTeX, where this works perfectly).
  • For comparison, in LaTeX, I do a \label{foo} on something I’m going to reference, and a \ref{foo} wherever it’s referenced. Very simple.
  • WYSIWYG formatting. Who thought this up? Every 2 minutes I’m toggling the nonprinting characters (like new page things) to be able to see what I’m editing to make it look right. How hard is it to just format yourself correctly? LaTeX has been doing it for like 15 years.


Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply

Please note: Comment moderation is currently enabled so there will be a delay between when you post your comment and when it shows up. Patience is a virtue; there is no need to re-submit your comment.