What happened was, my manager wanted a recent resumé for some internal admin processes. So pulled up TB-Resume.doc in MS Word; I first wrote it over ten years ago using one of the standard Word templates pretty well out of the box, and it’s grown over the years, following me from computer to computer. It’s becoming increasingly irritating to edit; in fact, it turned out that I couldn’t. [Update: Posted a template.]

It’s got some columns-and-anchors magic where the dates are out in the left margin and are supposed to stay attached to the jobs and publications and so on that they belong to. Only they get out of alignment, and then when I try to move them by hand, things go weird, the grid is wrong and when I hold down the magic free-movement key they start oozing out of the margin. Then the hanging-indent in the little bulleted lists stopped working, so I was having to nudge the continuation lines over. I guess at some level it’s creditable that this misshapen outgrowth still works at all, but anyhow my patience ran out. OpenOffice imported it, which is kind of a miracle, but then it faithfully reproduced the bulleted-list breakage and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it there either.

Resumé rendered in HTML

But I was not defeated, no sirree. I switched back to Emacs and dropped into XHTML mode and pulled together a simple, minimal table; with a bit of judicious CSS margin and border wrangling I had a darn fine-looking resumé. It looked way better on the screen than either the Word or the OO.o version, and both Safari and Camino (which is now wrapped around the Firefox 1.5 code, BTW) produced excellent-looking print versions, Camino’s a little better.

A bunch of people asked for the template, so I posted it.

So, I understand why we still need spreadsheets and presentation packages, but assuming you had a Web editor with a good change tracker, why would anyone want a word processor any more?

author · Dad · software · colophon · rights

November 12, 2005
· Technology (77 fragments)
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