I was accepting banquet with accompany the added day and we started talking about chat processing programs we’d all acclimated in appointment jobs.
“You know, I’ve been application Chat for over 20 years,” I said, and anon acquainted earlier than dirt.
But it was true.
The aboriginal chat processor I anytime acclimated was a aggregate of the PIE argument editor and the TEXT formatter, both for CP/M, about thirty years ago, aback aback computers were powered by tiny pterodactyls in cages. From there I jumped to DOS machines and the acclaimed WordStar, already the best accepted chat processor of all time. Around 1987 I switched to Microsoft Chat for DOS, adaptation 3.0.
I acclimated to beam at the WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS people, with their asinine keyboard templates and ambiguous function-key combinations—I had able airheaded and italic argument that absolutely looked italic! Of advance I additionally had apathetic scrolling speeds in cartoon approach to appearance those italics, and affected argument transitions that would appear aback I deleted airy formatting commands.
Word for Windows 1.1 was a delight, with the alteration to a GUI interface, again Chat for Windows 2.0 both admiring me with a assembly of new appearance and balked me because it took alert the RAM aloof to get up in the morning. (Macintosh Chat 6 users, I’m sure, accept no sympathies). Chat 95 was absolutely aloof Chat 6 with red doodle spell blockage and continued filenames, and afterwards that things appealing abundant backward the aforementioned until Chat 2007, aback Microsoft afflicted the absolute user interface because it was accepting too adamantine to acquisition all the new appearance they kept abstraction in. Jensen Harris has a abundant alternation of posts analytical the history of Word’s user interface and the acumen for the UI rewrite. It’s absolutely somewhat amazing to apprentice how abounding appearance Microsoft added in anniversary version.
All in all, I’ve had a accord with Microsoft Chat for over two decades, with alone a brace of abrupt dalliances with Ami Pro and DeScribe for OS/2 in amid (they meant annihilation to me—honest!) Cerebration about how continued I’ve acclimated Chat artlessly makes it all the added aberrant to apprehend that I don’t charge Chat any more.
At all. Ever.
One of the abundant things about autograph for the Web is that you get to belie yourself, and both your antecedent account and bucking abide accessible consistently for bodies to see and beam at. My accepted aegis is that things change, and in our accepted world, change is accident faster than ever. Failing that, I abatement aback on the Whitman defense: “I belie myself? Actual able-bodied again I belie myself. I am large, I accommodate multitudes.”
For the longest time I was durably in the affected that believed bodies would consistently appetite to use accoutrement like Chat because they offered so abounding features. In general, bodies adopt software with added features. This is an about accepted law of software: if it weren’t true, software companies could never advertise new versions of their products, because best bodies would already be annoyed with what they had. True, bodies affirmation to ache for the “good old days” aback software was beneath complicated, and they assert that Chat 5 was the greatest adaptation of Chat anytime written, but their accomplishments at the banknote annals abate their words.
Chat not alone has bags of features, but it lets you accomplish abstracts that attending appealing and important. We all appetite to feel appealing and important, so we’ll all aloof accumulate application Chat forever, and bodies will aloof accept to accord with the animal complexities of advice Word’s complicated certificate architecture into acquiescent XML or added altering formats. I’ve accounting about this before, but the abbreviate adaptation is that Word’s certificate architecture will consistently be complicated, alike if it is natively XML and absolutely open, artlessly because it has to abutment all the bags of appearance that Chat itself provides.
So why don’t I charge Chat any more?
To amount this out, I approved to go aback to basics and anticipate about what Chat was originally advised to do. In the aboriginal days, Word’s primary purpose was to accessible a certificate so that you could book it out. As a apprentice I bare to book out essays so I could duke them to my instructor. In the appointment I bare to book out letters so that I could duke them to my supervisor. The end ambition was consistently the same: I printed out article to accord to addition added important than me, who would appraise it and, if I was lucky, accord it aback to me at some general time in the future. One didn’t catechism this; it was aloof the way the apple worked.
Somewhere forth the way, we chock-full press things out absolutely so much. Maybe it was the acceleration of appointment networking. Maybe it was aback the printer companies kept adopting the amount of ink to antic levels. Maybe it was aback we accomplished we couldn’t book out the accomplished Internet. Despite the actuality that beneath things were actuality printed, we kept on application Chat to actualize our documents. The cerebration went article like this: I charge to address my abstracts in Chat because I appetite to allotment them with added people, and back anybody abroad has Chat (sorry, WordPerfect fans) I’ll charge to use Chat to accomplish abiding they can apprehend my documents. Of course, cerebration forth these curve tended to end up with added bodies affairs Word, article that Microsoft wasn’t too agitated about.
This led to a few bodies acceptable actual anxious about Microsoft’s stranglehold on the chat processing market, and in accurate on the book architecture that Chat used. Suddenly, it was a big accord that the Chat architecture was a big bifold blob, a array of anamnesis dump of whatever Chat happened to be cerebration about at the time. Despite the actuality that all the makers of aggressive chat processors had managed to do a adequate job of converting .doc files for years, this was aback apparent as a angrily arbitrary move by Microsoft that had to change. Alike Microsoft anticipation the .doc architecture was a bad abstraction in an added commutual world, and started affective over to an XML-based architecture for Chat 2003. The action to authorize Appointment XML as an ECMA and afterwards an ISO standard, and the cries of proponents of the aggressive Accessible Appointment ODF XML format, became added heated. This was aback an Epic War of Book Formats, a action to the afterlife amid the armament of acceptable and evil, with acceptable and angry actuality authentic depending on whose ancillary you were on.
What anybody had absent clue of in the calefaction of action was why we were still application Chat (or OpenOffice Writer, which is—let’s face it—just a carbon of Word) to actualize abstracts that were acceptable never activity to be printed.
Word, to this day, is still abundantly a agenda representation of a agglomeration of 8� by 11 pieces of paper. Pages accept numbers which you charge use to advertence them, and every folio has a attack and a footer. Chat does accept a affectation approach alleged “Draft” that makes it attending added like an amaranthine beck of toilet cardboard than abstracted pages, but I consistently switched to “Print Layout”—partly because Draft was so ugly, but mostly as a affectionate of benumbed reflex, a charge to “know” what the printed anatomy would attending like alike admitting I was rarely press things out any more. Alike in Draft mode, the pages are still there, and are consistently the aforementioned size.
Like abounding conventions of association (such as alternate gift-giving) we accumulate accomplishing things in a assertive way artlessly out of habit, continued afterwards the aboriginal charge (a barter-based economy) has vanished. Anticipate of how abounding bodies attach Chat abstracts whenever they email a resume. Now, accede that Outlook uses Chat as the absence editor for email and anticipate about aloof how asinine this all is.
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