When
· Naughties
· · 2004
· · · February
· · · · 27 (2 entries)

RSS: Unreal and Addictive · What hap­pened was, some­one point­ed out that Ap­ple is now do­ing do­ing RSS feeds for lots of stuff; I signed up for OS X Knowl­edge Base (feed) and Down­loads (feed) and sure enough, ev­ery so of­ten there’s some­thing there to look at. To­day I was kind of hung up wait­ing for a phone call and RSS got me in trou­ble ...
 
Fourteen Years of Pain · I’m busi­ly edit­ing a fair­ly com­plex tech spec writ­ten in Mi­crosoft Word. (Word gen­er­al­ly sucks for tech specs ex­cept for this one is be­ing team-edited with lit­tle in­fras­truc­ture, so we need­ed the revision-marking fea­ture.) When I first ev­er used Word it was in 1989 on a Mac­in­tosh; this first brush with com­pe­tent WYSIWYG changed my think­ing about in­ter­faces and doc­u­ments. There was a prob­lem: back then the han­dling of num­bered lists in Word was bug­gy and frag­ile. To­day, four­teen years lat­er in a re­cent rev of Of­fice, num­bered lists are still bug­gy and frag­ile. In­nocu­ous changes—simple cut/­paste, join­ing para­graph­s, ap­ply­ing the for­mat­ting palette—intermittently send Word in­to psy­chot­ic spasm­s, in one case renum­ber­ing the list start­ing at 65, in an­oth­er mys­te­ri­ous­ly re­mov­ing the colour-coding from all the text in the doc, in an­oth­er re-indenting dozens of ap­par­ent­ly randomly-selected para­graph­s. I sup­pose if it hasn’t got­ten fixed in a decade and a half my grand­chil­dren will prob­a­bly be stuck with it. But I have hopes that the world will learn the valu­able lessons Word taught us all about the in­ter­faces be­tween hu­mans and texts, and for God’s sake move on to some­thing bet­ter.
 
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