Saturday, May 26, 2012

MS Office And The Bicycle

That was such a great thread yesterday that I'm encouraged to do a follow up.

Here in the Catican we use MS Office 2003, save for MS Outlook where we've got the dreadful 2010 version. I just can't figure out what I want that 2003 can't do. Writing letters, shopping lists, missives to my kids, fax cover sheets, very basic budget calculations - that's about all we do with it. What's the point of an upgrade? With the filters that allow you to open 2007 and 2010 documents in your 2003 version, I don't have to worry about compatibility, either. With Office 2003, our needs were met and technology could stop as far as we're concerned.

How about bicycles? How much value-added change has gone on with bicycles in the last, say, 30 years? My bike today and my bike in 1982 could be interchangeable as far as I'm concerned; I'm not an avid rider. And therein lies the business conundrum for Microsoft.

As time goes on, each version of MS Office completely fills customer needs for a larger and larger percentage of the population. The set of potential customers for Office 2010 is substantially smaller than the set for 2003. Just as I don't need a frame made of titanium liberally dosed with Strontium-90 or whatever it is they have these days*, I don't need the #@^&**ing ribbon in Office 2010, either. I just want to do basic calculations or text formatting and then print the result.

So where have you stopped in the MS Office genealogy tree?
My kind of bicycle. And get off of my lawn! 
* - Goldarned kids with their newfangled contraptions! Carnsarnit, in my day we only had Strontium-89 and we were happy to have that!


Kelly the little black dog said...

At home we've got 2003. At work we have a mix of 2008 and 2010. One of the problems I face when forced to use office is that documents created with 2010 are frequently not compatible with the older versions, resulting in all sorts of formatting joy. That seems to be the crux of the issue, to work with other people's documents, I'm forced to upgrade. I'd think the majority of office users are in the work environment.

As for the wiki, we have separate ones for each project. In one case the manager doesn't like it, so that forces us to produce technical documents in word. In both cases the access to the wiki is somewhat restricted, so universal access a problem.

I like the idea of turning the users guide into a wiki. My previous job maintained both an HTML and hard copy versions of the documentation. I always used the web version. Can wikis export their content into some sort of bulk printable format?

K T Cat said...

Kelly, we use Confluence. It will export into both Word and PDF.

Mostly Nothing said...

Unfortunately, you picked the wrong analogy here.

The whole mountain bike industry has grown in the last 30 years. Aluminum and carbon fiber use in frame, radical reduction in weight of components. Suspension parts with shock absorbers. Shifting like a motorcycle accelerator or with the brake levers. tire technology.

I'm looking at what you use it for. Notepad would do most of it. The only reason to upgrade is compatibility with people that have upgraded. Work upgraded to 2007 recently. That's the only reason I did here at home. It was a waste of money.

K T Cat said...

Yeah, mountain bikes have come a long way, but they kind of make my point. Mountain biking is a specialized subset within bicycling. It's great if you're a mountain biker, but irrelevant for the rest of us.