Microsoft Office

I’m usually not prone to upset, but I’ve arrived at a ‘need to vent’ moment.

Background

Because I once worked as an IT troubleshooter, I completely Mac’d out when it came to my personal computing needs.  It’s not that Microsoft makes bad products – it’s just that I had to deal with their products all day at work and didn’t want the reminder when I came home.  Even now that I’m in a non-IT related job, I still have to use Windows XP (my employer is slow with adoption) and MS Office 2007 every work day (where I’m more-or-less glued to a computer).

I am forced to use MS Publisher for my newsletter at work.  I hate it.  What Pages (or Pagemaker, or Claris Works, or even plain HTML) can do with a few clicks and drags becomes this extremely complicated layered affair that really cuts into my me-time.  I light aromatherapy oils on the day that my newsletter is due in preparation for the headache that I know will invariably come.

For three glorious years, I was able to shun the Microsoft products at home, especially for writing purposes.  I specifically bought Storyist (which, by the way, I would highly recommend for any outline-minded writer) and Pages, and I use Mail for correspondence  (which, admittedly, is not as feature-filled as Outlook).

Begin Rant

A few days ago, after coming off the high of an acceptance email, I was faced with the Achilles Heel of those who want to avoid MS Word – Track Changes.  Storyist works wonderfully when I’m writing, but it becomes useless when my story is going through the editing phase.  Since I was too busy doing a victory dance to really ponder the implications, I caved and bought MS Office Mac 2011 (on the recommendation of a friend, I was able to get this on the cheap through my employer’s Home Use program).

Soon after, the painful process of using a Microsoft product began.  First off, the program took forever to install, only to go through an unending update process (I expected this, so I was still calm).  However, in the past day, MS Word has crashed a total of 3 times (and by crash I mean – Force Quit, all changes lost).  I’ve now gotten into the habit of saving every 10 seconds, just because I’m paranoid.  Apparently, Word 2011 completely chokes when track-changes is used on an .rtf file – which, as it happens, is the only thing that I absolutely need it to do.

Seriously, Microsoft?  Seriously?

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