Too Big to Fail… Or Work

Somewhere between 2000 and 2005 or so, desktop computing reached its apex. The programs did what they were supposed to do, there was a lot of functionality, and they did it (relatively) efficiently. After that, software companies still tried to upgrade products, but the features were unnecessary, the programs became unwieldy, and the whole process was balky.
Our church bought a computer in 2006. It works great. Windows XP, Office 2003, and Photoshop elements version whatever-from-that-era all work splendidly.
I’m working on my Mac, with office 2011. Now, changes to documents are tracked not with the friendly strike-through of yore, but with deletions marked in notes on the side. This means that every time my proofreader (who is awesome!) changes a “The” to “the”, there is an underline on “the”, a dotted line to the margin, and the comment “Deleted: The”. Formatting changes are marked, no longer in blue, but with the same side note. Who in their right mind though this was more efficient? Who asked for this? Who said, “You know, this program needs a way to make edits less readable.
When we made changes to the church constitution and bylaws, I could NOT edit them on anything past MS Word 2003, because the deletions were NOT PRINTED IN THE TEXT AS WAS REQUIRED!!! So, when there is talk of updating the computer system at church, I always say, “That computer does what we want. New computers likely won’t.” And it’s the truth. New computers are overbuilt. Which is one reason that tablets are so popular. They don’t have all the over-doing things that plagues desktops. You know what people would actually like in desktops? Something that is powerful, but lean. Why waste all that powerful processing on overbuilt and overburdensome software?
That’s Google’s theory with the Google Chromebook. It sells well. Imagine how it would sell if you didn’t need an internet connection to turn it on. But I suspect a company like Microsoft doesn’t want to hear that. They are too busy building the next spectacular failure of an operating system to care about what people want. Microsoft is quickly becoming the General Motors of the computer world: The Car of Yesterday, for the consumer of Today, at Tomorrow’s prices. I just hope the government doesn’t decide they are “too big to fail.”

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