Old vs. New vs. Better
by LifeOnAString - 9/12/09 6:25 AM
In Reply to: DOS is gross... ;-) by Zoron
The only 20yo computer programs that I still use are PC-Write, and a few simple apps I wrote in Turbo Pascal. Otherwise, my apps are Win98SE vintage or newer. Do you think it is a studied choice... "Well, I think I will upgrade this, use, this and abandon this..." No, it is if there is a better product that lets me do my work better and faster.
That is the flaw in the wave after wave of "new" apps and OS's: they may make some minor technical improvement, and some things that can be sold as "gee whiz," but who actually uses those new bells and whistles. Who actually STARTS using a computer for a task because of them? These have to be weighed against (many more) those who are encumbered by the "new" features getting in the way.
As for the specific of the WP task, I have worked with Word out of necessity for a decade. Why have I not moved to it? Because it simply does not allow the quick SINGLE keystroke to features I use every few minutes. It's not that you cannot do these things in Word, you just can't:
a) split the screen at the current cursor position by pressing <F2>;
b) start a search with <F9>;
c) jump to the next occurrence with <+>;
d) do a single search/replace with <F10>;
e) insert a file with Ctrl-<F6>;
f) export a block of text to a file with Ctrl-<F3>;
to name a few.
Bill Wallace did a great job with the user interface and natural language aspects of PC-Write. No need to define indentations - the program recognizes them without any formatting at all.
Perhaps one of the biggest stupidities is that when I have to highlight a block of text in Word (and virtually all Win apps) I have to hold down the <Shift> key. In PC-Write I start the block text function, and then highlighting follows the cursor until I complete the function: I have twice the number of hands available to me!
Perhaps some of these can be defined as macros in Word, but how long will those work until a "new" version of Word decides to ignore or improperly implement those macro translations. I have old Excel spreadsheets with macros that did not translate into a later version. Funny thing though, if I do a spreadhseet with macros in 20yo QuattroPro, they come up in Excel just fine.
If your job is to play with computers, these are engaging and entertaining issues. Maybe that's your job, or your amusement. Some of us use computers as a tool to generate a work product, and need to reach that product as efficiently and reliably as possible.
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