Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A December Miracle

So, Damon and I are late adopters. And I don't mean we wait a year or two before we do an upgrade. I mean we use things until they can't be used anymore and then gripe a lot, because "upgrading" tech sucks. The manufacturers seem to take wicked delight in removing the single most useful feature and replacing it with something we will never, ever use, or rearranging interfaces for no readily apparent reason, so the delete button is where the save button used to be, or in making the new tech just incompatible enough with the products of the old tech that you have trouble accessing your old stuff and - argh. We just hate it.

So when the videocard I was playing Sims2 on went out, we couldn't find an adequate one to replace it that would work with our motherboard and finally Damon said screw it, he was going to get me a new computer and the old one would become mostly his. I felt odd about buying a new computer essentially so I could play a game - my WordPerfect 8 (yes, you read that right) still works fine on the old machine - especially since he's more than once grumbled about the size of it's "footprint" in my life. I mean, sure, I'd miss it, and the online "communities" I've gotten involved in concerning it, but - it's a game. I'd survive. But - possibly because he does grumble about it, but more likely because as soon as I express any guilt or hesitation over the cost of a pleasure he always sets out to convince me that I'm entitled to it - he got stubborn and I've got a new computer. Which is presently internetless and balancing on three TV trays in the game room. The only things on it so far are Windows7, Sims2, and WordPerfect X6, which is a fancy way of saying the 16th version of Word Perfect. In other words, twice as advanced as the one I'm used to.

And I'm still having a few hiccups getting Sims2 set up with all my old stuff (for one thing, no internet means I get to copy all my old files onto a flash drive and walk them across the hall), but my writing stuff made it in one trip and WordPerfect X6 is like a little miracle in a box.

Everything is where it used to be.

New stuff has been added, but I have yet to go looking for anything and find it's been taken away.

A lot of the new stuff is stuff I actually need. Like the ability to hit one button and save as other formats, along with translation from other, often user-hostile formats (yes, I refer to the Devil Program, Word, which I hate with a pure and holy passion so extreme people think I'm joking when I express the true depth of my virulence) without a bunch of hassle. Which is the single problem with my good old WordPerfect 8 - so few people (inexplicably) still use it that I'm always having to translate into .rtf or .txt.

Some of the icons have changed, but not many, and since nothing's been reclassified and the icons still have some visual relationship to their features, and I can still move things around to suit myself, I've yet to be confused.

The old files look exactly the way they used to in the new program - no reformatting, no weird little symbols, no hiccups as the new code for master and subdocuments argues with the old code for master and subdocuments. I just installed it, shifted the files over, set my preferences, and got back to work.

I spend a fair amount of time griping, here, so I thought I'd share my happiness, too. If nothing else, it should give you hope that yes, even in a corporatized, consumerist world in which individual choice is limited by the markets, sometimes you can get what you want even when you didn't know you wanted it.

We should hold out for that more, and accept being sold to, less.


  1. How lovely that you got a word processor that works correctly! I removed Word permanently *counts on fingers* eight years ago after it ate 50,000 words on being told to save a document. In retrospect, they were, as Heinlein put it, part of the million words of crap one must write, but still . . . I use OpenOffice 3.3 now, and that's where I'm stopping as long as I can.

    I'm visualizing a tech-science-fiction world where religions are organized by which software a group utilizes and which is anathema. "Heretic! He used Word! Stone him!" (And this would be why I have eleventy-billion short world-building files and not many actual book-type files.)

  2. Just because they were crap didn't mean you couldn't have gotten some use out of them.

    Everyone has those world-building files. Why do you think I host the garage sale every week? We clear clutter as best we can in order to get down to the ones we can develop into full-fledged works. The trick is not in having ideas; it's in recognizing which ones to keep and invest energy into.