Why Microsoft, Why…?

I used to like Microsoft products now they are beginning to seriously irritate me.  Purely my opinion but here are a few examples.

The most POINTLESS info box in the world

What IS the point of this box?  Well, d’oh, Fliss, it means that if you click ‘Yes’ you’ll stay signed in and, like, if you tick Don’t show this again it will never be displayed again… right?  Wrong!  It does not matter whether I click Yes or No nor whether I tick Don’t show this again or not, EVERY time I log in to an Office 365 product I get this same info box.  You will hear the whoop of joy around the world when they fix this… if they fix this.

Microsoft’s most pointless box – Office 365

If Microsoft made cars…

It’s an old one, but it’s great.  Some time ago, when Bill Gates was still in charge (come back Bill, all is forgiven) he reportedly compared the computer industry  to that of the car industry saying that if they (the car industry) had kept up with technology like the IT industry, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that did 1,000 miles to the gallon…  Read General Motors reply.  It still holds good today and it will make you chuckle.  However, I smiled when I realised that ‘Number 10’ had actually come true for the car industry.  I do indeed have to press a Start button to not only turn my car on, but off as well.

MS Word – it used to be a great word processor

As my friend Sarah says, “Word Version 2 was a great word processor.  It did what I told it to do, not what it thought I should do.”  Now it’s a mammoth, sprawling product, clunky to use which has a propensity to fall over and crash with monotonous regularity.  Whoever thought ‘the Ribbon’ was a good idea as a replacement to self-explanatory menus, needs shooting.

Why has it become such a sprawling mess?  I believe it’s due to the attempt to make it an all-encompassing word processor / desktop publisher as well as the resistance of companies to actually train people to use computers.  Therefore applications are dumbed-down and ‘things’ just happen.  Try typing TEH in Word; you can’t.  It will immediately correct it to THE.

But isn’t that a great idea?  Yes, that little trick came out in Word 95 (guess what year…?) and I thought it was great – then.  There are dozens of words that ‘auto-correct‘, but what happens if you wanted to type ‘TEH’, initials perhaps?  If you knew your way around Word, you would know that you could use the Undo command ( [Ctrl] [z] ) to undo the Microsoft-initiated command and if you really knew Word (if you actually received training)  you would know it was called AutoCorrect and be able to find it in the settings and remove ‘TEH’ from the ‘to correct‘ list.

Excel

My baby, my beloved application has survived the ravages of time quite well – apart from the Ribbons debacle where I now have to scrabble about for standard options that were previously easy to find.  But on the whole, it’s still my own sweet baby.  Assuming that you have used Excel and can at least copy using the AutoFill handle…

Excel AutoFill Handle

…take a look at this video and see if you learn any new tricks.  Use the play bar at the bottom to pause / restart and the button to the far left rewinds from the start.

Other than that, click and play.

Office 365

Microsoft – why?  Well, actually, I know why.  It is an amazingly clever bit of marketing.  They sell applications ‘cheap’ that they developed, and from which they made money long time past,  and companies flock to buy the industry standard.  It is cheap because it is ‘hosted’ by Microsoft on ‘The Cloud’ (a gazillion computers called ‘servers’) under Microsoft control on which they store Word, Excel, etc..  The fact Microsoft store the products means huge cost-savings for companies who no longer need to spend millions on servers nor the technicians to manage them.  So far, win-win, right?

Don’t forget they are bundling a load of these applications for you to use, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook are just the beginning of it, which is really generous of Microsoft, yeah?  We’ve got a licence in my day-job whereby I can download Microsoft Office 356 on to something like 15 devices (personal laptop, home computer, tablet, smartphone, ad nauseam,).  Another generous thing by Microsoft…

And suddenly they have control of the market and can drop updates that can potentially screw up your systems, simply because of other things you have installed.  ‘Things’ have suddenly stopped working… oh yes, another Microsoft update.  And for some reason, you just accept that. (See point 3 of General Motors’ reply to Bill Gates.)

Ah yes, but if you don’t have updates your computer can be hacked or infected by viruses.  True of Windows operating system, but did I REALLY need the last upgrade of Office where the button images on the ribbon changed?  From a cross to a dustbin, etc.?  I KNEW the cross meant delete.  Leave it alone.  I then go into Word, Excel or PowerPoint and any ‘automation’ I’ve set up is frequently wiped due to an Office 365 update.

George Orwell, you were right, just the year was wrong.  2018 and not 1984.

Important Note:

Any links given are given in good faith and no responsibility is taken for any adverse results should you click on text or a graphic that acts as a link to another area. If you are concerned, close the Window –   in the top left-hand corner of the window – if you find yourself in a window or a site in which you are not comfortable. Push comes to shove, switch the computer off – but be aware, you may lose unsaved work in other applications.

No site or company is personally recommended – they are simply places where you may (or you may not) get more help.

Many of the links in this blog are specifically from a free online encyclopedia called Wikipedia. As far as ‘trustworthy information’ goes, Wikipedia is probably the best one. Founded by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger (and others) in… but hey, click on the links to find out more. Oh yes, and there’s the BBC (in the UK) but I don’t know the news channels in other countries to be able to comment.

This series is specifically about PCs (Personal Computers) and Windows 10 and not about Apple Macs.

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