I’m doing a big hardware/software upgrade over the weekend. (Isn’t that thrilling? Doesn’t that make you want to read the next sentence?) Long story short: Snow Leopard, plus a commodious new hard drive that will make my laptop a yawning maw of data. I’m taking advantage of some bundling/upgrade deals, blah blah blah, and am converting all my basic programs to Mac-proprietary. Which is to say, I’m switching to Pages and not reinstalling Microsoft Word. At least not immediately.
I’m one of those Mac people with strong feelings about my computer, but not yours. It’s a tool, not a religion; use any operating system you want, and we will sit down together at the table of brotherhood. But Word has always been a problem for me, starting with the early days, when you installed it with multiple floppies and every version got bigger and flabbier. Hard drive space was at a premium back then. My first computer had but 160 megabytes of capacity, and it offended me that Word needed 10 percent of it just so I could write a few letters. It was like buying a typewriter that required its own room.
“What the hell?” I spluttered to J.C. “What are they putting on here?”
“Lunch recipes,” he replied. I’m still not sure why it’s so big, except maybe for all the “help” that I spend my first few sessions trying to turn off. Sentence fragments. I use them. And sometimes I start a sentence with a conjunction. I don’t need Bill Gates’ weenie grammar police tapping me on the shoulder, underlining all my personal flair, asking, “Is that the word you want? Strunk and White have very strong feelings about this.” My dream version of MS Word would have two dozen fonts, plain-vanilla formatting, a decent dictionary and a word-count tool. It would cost $19.99.
In other words, it would be Google Docs, which I’ve made my default word processor.
My Snow Leopard order from Amazon triggered a bunch of e-mail pitches. Would I like to buy MS Office 2008 for Mac? My upgrading lapsed years ago, so I suppose I’d have to buy the from-scratch version, a mere four hundred bucks. “Home and student” edition (fewer lunch recipes, I guess), $110. No, nyet, nein, non. Although I will miss the clip art, which I found useful in making mix-tape covers.
What’s your can’t-live-without software? (Besides your web browser, of course.) Mine would be…iTunes, I guess. Final Draft for my little dress-up games. Still editing video with iMovie, although that will change soon; my next resume upgrade will advertise basic Final Cut competence, and it will be true, dammit. And come the start of school, I’ll be using Freedom a lot.
Oh, and speaking of Amazon, thanks and more thanks to all of you who have been buying your Amazon gear through my store. I know it’s not exactly easy, but it has provided a welcome revenue stream (which is to say, more than Google Ads, although loose-changing on street corners would yield more than that) for me. I appreciate every penny.
From the Good Luck in 2012 file: President urges American schoolchildren to work hard and study, GOP freaks out. Remember when it was lefties and their nuclear-free zones that were this silly? Ah, memories.
Sorry for short shrift today, but I’m off to donate blood and refill my stream with grease at the state fair. Be nice while I’m gone.