Friday, February 23, 2007

Review of Microsoft Word 2007 & Windows Vista

I thought I'd drop in my 2 cents on this in case anyone is considering upgrading to Windows Vista or MS Word. First, save your money and don't fix what isn't broken. Unless you're buying a new laptop or PC, what you're working on right now is just fine and in certain ways, maybe even a little better. (That's for Mac people and old MS Word people).

Here's the thing I just found out yesterday that makes me ache for my old MS Word--and perhaps this is just a poet speaking--but it doesn't have that wonderful feature called "VERSIONS" on the new MS Word, so you cannot save various forms or drafts of the same poem/essay/document in the main file.

I posted a question about it on the MS community boards and it seems the VERSIONS feature sometimes corrupted files. Personally, I never had that happen and really miss the feature--it muddies up my files to have Poem a-version 1, Poem a-version 2, or Poem a-revised all throughout my files. So, I'm not sure how I'll deal with it when I'm not sure how I want a poem, I'm guessing I'll just muddy up my files (thanks, bill).

This new MS Word was not made for the writers of the world but for the people who value style over content (welcome to America!) You can pretty up a document in many ways; they make it easy, they want your press releases, your memos to be glowing, but your poems, your essays...it offers nothing for with the exception of "tags," which you can label your poems/documents with.

I have just started using this feature, but I see it working to help organize your work by form or subject. You could write: sonnets, prose poems, or use the tags to label subjects such as: food, love, birth. This may be helpful as you put together a chapbook of poems or if you want to submit to an anthology on a certain subject or style--you can search easily for those poems. So, it's a benefit, but I'd take the "versions" feature over it any day.

But mostly, Vista and MS Word 07 seem to want to make me feel more important than I am. It makes everything pretty, Toon Townish actually. And they moved everything around in MS Word to make it easier, which actually makes it harder until I learn where everything is. It reminds me of those old computers on television shows, where the camera would focus in at all the lights flashing and the paper spitting out, but again, more to impress than to do anything really interesting besides look good. Maybe the MS Word 2007 can be called the pretty high maintenance girl that occasionally says something smart. I'll take Marianne from Gilligan's Island over Ginger any day. I'll take brain over pretty outfit (right now, you Mac users might be asking then why I'm not working on a Mac then--I'll save that for another post...)

Anyway, the "gadgets" on the side of the desktop are cool (just as using clothespins to stick player cards in your bike spokes is cool or ribbons from your handlebars is cool)--I have a clock, the weather, a slide show of other people's photos because I have none of my own on my computer and a big yellow square that is actually a post-it note (which I haven't used yet.) Still, it's style over content. Though poet/techie Jeannine Gailey has pointed out to me that the main benefits of the new Vista is the increased security. And that I can see, as I type this the words "Fraud monitoring is on" and I'm wondering "on what?" Obviously not our government...but I digress. It's a good feature.

So, that's the review of MS Word and Vista from a poet. Save your cash for stamps, paper and pencils, and upgrade at the very very last minute. You're in the majority if you don't have it. And that's a good thing.

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