Call Me User.

jumping-pc.jpg
Clipart by Microsoft Publisher 2002
Also published by American Chronicle in a slightly different form

Or, Maxing Microsoft Word 2003

What the world needs now is love – and to write, speak & think better, much better. Two software are necessary here: a computer program and a brain. Because the computer helps us think, but we have to think for ourselves.

I think we have user-unfriendly software, especially an inconvenient worp (word processor). I’ve been using Microsoft Word almost as soon as Bill Gates released Version 1 more than 20 years ago that now I can make Word 2003 jump through hoops. And what does Bill Gates do? He throws it out my Windows; Word 2007 is so foreign to me it makes me jump.

For me, The Road Ahead is neither Microsoft Word 2007 nor the competitive OpenOffice Writer 2. Both slow me down manually and mentally: my hands tie me down and my brain fails me. They don’t understand me, the user, or, which is worse, they think they understand me!

So, here’s my software challenge to those who have a worp on their menu: Corel with WordPerfect (it was the best, its graphics mouth-watering), IBM Lotus with WordPro (nice, but I wasn’t impressed), Sun Microsystems with StarOffice Writer (looks good, with ‘Save as PDF’ but not outline-organize that I like), Google with Google Docs (very good, writes HTML codes for my blogging), OpenOffice.org with Writer (excellent but not perfect – I can’t customize it), Microsoft Corporation with Word 2003 (the best is yet to come).

I’m thinking globally: Give this writer, editor and publisher a worp that is so intuitive I can master it in 4 hours instead of 40 months. I’m thinking locally: Here is my wish list for the super word processor:

(1) I wish she worked fast, very fast.

Microsoft Word approaches the speed of might, but it freezes before my eyes and what can I do? I stare back, a boy in waiting. What Microsoft needs is anti-freeze.

(2) I wish she worked hard for me.

I work hard – I want to write easy. I don’t want my word processor to make me work harder, memorizing a complex series of commands like we all did in That Golden Age Of WordStar, the 1980s. I want the routines of writing and editing to become play, not continue to be skull-drudgery. I want ready-made shortcuts, to make short shrift of it all.

(3) I wish she were perfectly programmable – by me.

I want to create my own shortcuts, beyond writing macros. I want to create my menu and name it after myself, why not – Frank’s Own looks nice – and change everything tomorrow. I want commands I understand, unlike the computerese ‘Insert Reference’ (what reference?) and the silly ‘Edit Find’ (to search is to edit?). I want to be able to put in answers to my own questions, like ‘How do I put a running title again?’

(4) I wish she helped me organize my ideas.

I want an outlining feature that helps me organize – and reorganize at will – the thoughts inside my head, the heads and subheads of my manuscript. An outline I can collapse and expand just by pressing a key or two, so that I can view where my thoughts are leading – or misleading me. With outline-organize in my worp, creativity in my head and hands – out of the chaos comes order, out of the disorder unity.

(5) I wish she helped me blog hard, blog easy.

I worp before I blog; I want to worp easy. My blogsites number 48 as of today, so you can see I blog hard – I want to blog easy. I want a software that helps me put emphasis where I want: bold, italics, underline, smallcaps – along with font, size matters to me. And line numbers and bullets. More.

(6) I wish she completed me.

I love what I do. Above all, I would love a word processor that makes me whole: writer, editor, publisher. A worp is supposed only to help you write and edit. But I want to do the publishing myself, and PageMaker is pretty & difficult.

Word is my worp all the time. I have desktop-published several books using Word 5.5, Word 97, Word XP and Word 2003. I have been editing and desktop-publishing The Philippine Journal of Crop Science using Word XP / 2003 since 2001.

(7) I wish she knew me.

I’d love to have a word processor that is instinctive, that outguesses me. For instance, I want to write a personal column; I simply type ‘column’ somewhere, press Enter (or click an icon), and I’m in a new universe of help, wordlessly offering assistance in the language understood by idiots & dummies: symbols, signs & wonders. If I want your word, I’ll ask for it!

No worp I know is intuitive. Word 2007? I’ve test-driven it, online. It’s pretty and difficult to use – I’m 67; I’ve just learned that pretty & difficult applies to both girls and software. Learning never stops.

An inconvenient truth to tell, but I already have a worp that fulfills 6 out of my 7 wishes, deserving 4&1/2 out of 5 stars. The older knows best: The Worp Superstar is Word 2003. I know Bill Gates doesn’t know that – he doesn’t know me from Adam.

Editing a book or dissertation with Word’s OO (outline-organize) feature, collapsing subtitles with texts, instantly I can critique the sequencing of ideas in the manuscript. Writing with OO, I get more ideas, brainstorming at the beginning, middle & end. Oh, sometimes I go ape! Like: Everybody knows he lost; I know he won. Read my ‘Lesson from a Loser (Or How Manny Pacquiao Won‘ (29 May, globalnation.inquirer.net). Read also my ‘The Children of Maidanek. Or, Drawing Gas & Drawing Butterflies‘ (20 May, americanchronicle.com). With OO, my writer brain is highly original. We don’t make them like they used to.

If Microsoft Word were intuitive, it would be max. I want my 7th wish come true so I can write, edit and publish in 7th heaven.

 

Copyright 31 May 2007 by Frank A Hilario
Researched for, written, organized-reorganized & formatted via Microsoft Word 2003.

 

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