Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Next to the Last Day of 2010

I have thirty days left on my sixty-day free trial of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010.  So far I’m underwhelmed.  I don’t see enough differences/improvements from the 2007 version, and on my computer, it loads like I’m running Windows 3.0 on top of DOS 5.0 before I can get to Office whatever point-oh.
My first experience with MS Word for Windows was 2.1d.  It ran under DOS and a windows like shell called run-time Windows, and looked suspiciously like MACWord.  We ran it in a 16 MHz 286sx with 1 meg of ram, and the gui was prone to crash or slow to a crawl when you performed certain tasks.  On the plus side it did some things with a click or two what took six steps in Wordperfect 5.0 running in DOS, and by time the folks in Salt Lake City released a windows version of their product, Office had graduated to a full blown integrated system (sort of) that ran circles around its competition, Wordperfect for Windows and the one Lotus Corporation was plugging, AmiPro or something like that.
Now here’s the thing with Microsoft apps.  I’m pretty sure that every function ever introduced in every version of Office is still there somewhere in Office 2010.  They never remove anything, they just either put it in a different location and call it newer and better, or  they disable it and add something new that does the same thing but requires more code to do it.
Think about it.  MS Office for Windows 4.1 professional was forty-one 1.44 megabyte diskettes that consisted of five distinct sets of disks packaged as stand-alone applications.  Word, Excel, Powerpoint,  Access and Outlook.  Version 4.3 was exactly the same applications, except that they mixed the apps up on the diskettes so that you had to go through all 43 of them even if all you wanted to install was Word.  You literally inserted about thirty of the forty-three diskettes under that scenario for no other purpose than for the office installer to verify that you had the whole set.  That, and the fact that this is really when Microsoft got hip to the idea of spreading random bits of code for each app on totally otherwise unrelated diskettes.  Starting with this release of the app, you could no longer just copy the diskettes to your hard drive, and you couldn’t run it on a 10 megabyte hard drive either.
Fast forward to version 14, commonly called Office 2010, and they now serve it up in three different flavors.  Home and Student includes three licenses, but tosses Outlook.  Home and Business includes Outlook, but tosses Publisher.  Professional has everything Home and Student has plus Publisher, Outlook, and Access.  All three come on DVD’s and range from about 700 megabytes to a gig and a half to install, and have a proprietary file format introduced in the 2007 version that for the first time, older versions can’t read.  Prices range from $149 for Home and Student to $500 for Professional.  My combination is sort of hand assembled.  I have three pieces to the puzzle that I would have to either purchase separately, or purchase Office 2010 Pro to get in one package, and I’d have Access, which I don’t need.  My upgrades would be Office Home and Student, Publisher, and Outlook.  To upgrade them at the current prices, it would be over $300.
Or you just download Open Office, Thunderbird, and Sunbird from for free and have a suite of apps fully compatible with MS office, Outlook, and the Outlook Calendar, and takes up less than 300 meg to install.
Long story short (I know – too late), unless they come up with a really killer sale price (like $50 for Home and Student) I’ll be uninstalling the trial version and going back to the 2007 release when the trial expires on 29th January.
Got great news last night.  A Face Book friend from Reno, NV has just learned she is cancer free.  Praise God for answered prayer!
And some not so good news.  My baby sister has cancerous polyps in her colon, and a cancerous mass on her liver.  Please pray for her.  Her name is Kathleen, but everyone knows her as Kat – same as my daughter, Kathryn.  I didn’t plan it that way, that’s just how things worked out.  They even look a little alike.
I still get to participate in the outreach ministry of our church back in Pittsburgh.  Each week I edit the audio files from the previous weekend’s three services.  I then upload the edited audio files back to their server, and the program producer breaks them up into bite sized pieces for their radio program, Faith in Progress, Monday through Friday at 1:30 and 11:30 PM on WORD-FM in Pittsburgh and streamed live on the WORD-FM web site at those same times.
Now, here’s the really cool part.  Through the magic of the internet, Blackberry apps,  and Bluetooth technology, I’m listening to the broadcast via my Bluetooth headset while I’m writing this!
Even more interesting, when we lived in Pittsburgh, I did this by exchanging flash drives with the producer.  He would give me a 4 gigabyte thumb drive with twelve –sixteen files, I would edit them, and they would be broadcast two or three months after the Sunday service in which they were preached.  Now that I’m a thousand miles away, the producer uploads all the weekend’s material to their server on Sunday night.  I download them late Sunday or Early Monday, and barring unforeseen problems I have them edited and back on the server for the producer by Monday night, or Tuesday at the latest.  If all things are firing on all pistons, they hit the radio in time for Wednesday or Thursday of the same week!  Now how cool is that!
Oh – the editing software (Audacity) I use is free as well!  If money was not an issue I could go with the newest, latest, greatest (Office Pro 2010 at $500, Adobe Audition at $600 or Adobe Soundbooth Premium at $1,700).  Since money IS an issue, there is the Open Office suite and
audacity, and they’re all free!
Granted, I’m not going to produce a THX Dolby 5.1 surround sound score to Star Wars with the free stuff, but I can get a clean, CD quality file for radio broadcast!
This is not where I intended to go, so I’ll stop here.  After all, there’s always tomorrow.
Happy Trails.

PS  Catch another segment with Author Patricia Morrison on EdinRoad Radio at Blog Talk Radio.  Showtime is 6:30.
Post a Comment