Thursday, October 9, 2008

Computer issues

Arggh! This is driving me crazy! Is there anyway I can actually get any work done without being thwarted by stupid, little computer issues.

Yesterday is was trying to setup an FTP server on my WindowXP machine. This is pretty much a single click operation on MacOS X (not including the usual NAT shenanigans) on windows it took forever.

  • The user manual was wrong.
  • The IIs FTP component needed to be installed separately.
  • There's a hidden button for setting the file sharing permissions into "simple" (read useless) mode. For some reason, the document doesn't mention that certain menu items in the MMC sharing controls don't show up in simple mode. grrr..
  • The sharing controls are hideous and there's at least one hideous violation of standard UI widget behavior that blew my mind. For the curious it's a checkbox on a settings dialog that doesn't represent a setting but an action to do when you apply the settings. Someone apparently figured that since they were writing code that did actions (like saving settings) when the user clicked ok, that the dialog represented the actions to take when hitting ok instead of the state of the preferences that are mirrored when the user pressed ok.. grrr.
Today it's open office. I wanted to finally start fixing up one of my long text documents - adding things like style information and a table of contents. I opened up the file and spent 3 hours or so adding style information and a table of contents. Just a few moments ago I reopened the document to start adding content again. Humm, all the style information had gone. Did I open the wrong file.? nope, all the textual information changes were still there, just the style information. I looked at the file type: txt!

You have got to be kidding me.

Apparently, OpenOffice was fine with me adding the text style information but had no intention of actually saving said information.. Or even pointing out that I was adding text style information to a text document. Which makes no sense!

Last time I used microsoft word (version 5.0 mac) it didn't do this. The behavior was to stubbornly insist that if you wanted to save to something other than word's default format you manually go through the save-as process each and every time. It insisted on warning you that you might loose formating information each and every time. In the end one tended to give up, write the thing in word's native file format and save-as something else before sending.

I believe that the modern version of word will actually warn you that the specific things inside your current document can't be saved to whatever you've chosen. I might be wrong on this, though. I haven't been able to get past the modern version of word's interface. Where are the keyboard equivalents listed???

Photoshop won't silently save a file with layers or other non-savable info to a png (ie: it won't loose your layers silently). I can't think of any program that would have allowed me to just waste time like this in all the years of using a computer. This is a first: a completely novel way of destroying my data.

Thankyou Open Office. Thankyou, you stupid, useless application. May the idiot that responsible for destroying my data suffer some sort of miss-fortune... like loosing his data while using Open Office in the same way.

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