Tuesday, November 18, 2008

VISTA and Office 2007 Totally Blow

How about this analogy: Windows Vista and Excel 2007 are to Windows XP and Excel 2003 what whole language is to phonics. In both cases, you take a system that works perfectly well, is logical and intuitive, and replace it with a system that is supposed to be "superior," but in fact is completely inferior.

Having avoided VISTA and Office 2007 as long as possible, I have been forced in the last week to use them in some of the computers in classrooms on campus, and couldn't believe how bad they are. They are not only difficult to use, but it also seems very difficult to write out and explain instructions to somebody else. For example, the Excel 2003 command "Click on Tools, Add-ins, Solver Add-in," starts in Excel 2007 with "Click on the circle icon in the upper left corner of the screen, then.....

VISTA and Office 2007 could be the best thing that ever happened to Apple, I never thought I'd say this, but I would consider switching to a MAC if the only alternative in the future is VISTA.

24 Comments:

At 11/18/2008 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to get technical here but you are confusing VISTA with the new version of Office/Excel.

Even though both products are made by Microsoft, they are not bundled together and usually have separate release dates. The Excel problem you describe is Excel 2007 and has nothing to do with VISTA (it will run on XP as well and you will have the same issues in that environment).

 
At 11/18/2008 9:35 AM, Anonymous RebelRenegade said...

Hey something I can talk about...

Vista will be remembered the way Windows ME is... not fondly. Windows XP was great. Hopefully the next version of Windows can go back to XP greatness.

But yeah like anon said, you're complaining more about the new version of office than Vista.

 
At 11/18/2008 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mac OS actually look s quite a bit like Vista (eg. "the circle in the upper left hand corner" idea) just to let you know. It is different, but as a Mac user, I have never had problems with it.

 
At 11/18/2008 9:50 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

I use Excel anywhere from 2 to 6 hours a day.

I switched from Excel 2003 to Excel 2007 about a month ago. Just like a new pair of shoes, 2007 takes some getting used to because you have to adjust from automatically processing information to actually thinking about what you are doing :-)

It takes work! However, 2007 does have a couple nice features if you use them that 2003 did not have (I use conditional formatting a lot. 2007 is cool).

Just hang in there with 2007. I have a couple of training vidoes for 2007 if you want them. They are on Microsoft's Website, too. Just let me know if you want them.

 
At 11/18/2008 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Vista sucks--just a complete piece of crap for a program. Word07 vs Word03 is roughly a draw.

 
At 11/18/2008 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been using office 2007 for 2 years and I have to say that I hate Excel in particular. The way they replaced the toolbar by the ribbon is a very bad idea. It doesn't add any user-friendliness, to the contrary it add more clicks to perform any task. The new functions could have been added to a 2003 feel and look or they could have offered the user to choose which design they prefer.

 
At 11/18/2008 11:00 AM, Blogger Kevin Murphy said...

Once you have Mac, you never go back ;)

 
At 11/18/2008 11:46 AM, Anonymous Norman said...

This is a down-to-earth indictment of monopolies. Gates has gotten away with calling his company 'innovative' when in fact it is at best hidebound and at worst incompetent. When you have a monopoly you don't have to satisfy the market and Microsoft doesn't. For all of you Apple lovers remember that Jobs thought he had a monopoly due to his software and tried to shove Apple's crappy and expensive hardware down our throats. Apple has only started to suceed when it made its now improved hardware compatible with Microsoft's software.

 
At 11/18/2008 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vista, agreed, but Office 2007 is awesome!

 
At 11/18/2008 12:10 PM, Anonymous coyote said...

Welcome to the club, Mark. We have banned Vista and office upgrades in my company. We have switched entirely to the free Open Office clone for word and spreadsheet apps, and I bought about 10 XP OEM disks before MS stopped selling them.

 
At 11/18/2008 12:16 PM, Blogger John Q Public said...

i had XP, but after installing an updated video driver, the whole system collapsed and would no longer recognize my hard drive. as i am saving for a mac, i refused to spend more money on a worthless system. vista isn't even worth trying, especially if i have to pay for it (which i don't). i am limping along in ubuntu now and it recognizes the same hard drive just fine.

@walt g. if one has to think more about doing simple things, usability suffers. a user should be thinking about their goal (not the steps to reach that goal) as much as possible. until software designers bridge that gap, we're simply going to suffer through whimsical design changes.

 
At 11/18/2008 12:55 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

It's just a learning curve. I can use Excel 2007 just fine now. I had to learn 2003, too. Everything is still there, plus more, but in different places.

 
At 11/18/2008 12:58 PM, Blogger skh.pcola said...

I've owned computers continuously since 1982 and I think Vista and Office 2007 are the best operating system and office productivity suit, respectively, that I've ever used.

Unlike those who have problems with Vista, I've never had a BSOD or any other problem.

Office 2007 is the bee's knees. BTW, for those in school or anybody with a .EDU email account, you can get Office 2007 Ultimate Edition directly from M$ for $60:
http://www.microsoft.com/student/discounts/theultimatesteal-us/default.aspx

That's a great deal, even if you hate the product.

skh.pcola

 
At 11/18/2008 1:00 PM, Blogger Adam said...

Norman,

Would it be fair to say that you favor less regulation of monopolies (or ones that may not technically be one, but behave in a similar fashion) because competition will arise, innovation will overcome access, etc...? Just curious

 
At 11/18/2008 1:39 PM, Blogger Scott Grannis said...

I'm using a Mac and am also running XP via virtualization because I need to use Bloomberg and Excel Windows versions. No problem whatsoever. There is absolutely no reason to not get a Mac, because that gives you the best of all worlds.

 
At 11/18/2008 2:35 PM, Blogger Marko said...

I really like Vista. If you have enough memory and a good processor, it flies, looks great and is easy to use. It does take some getting used to, I agree, but there is nothing wrong with it.

Try using a mac for a couple hours. Yuck!

 
At 11/18/2008 2:38 PM, Anonymous qt said...

Anyone out there try using AutoCAD with Vista? Unfortunately, the application continually crashes because it is not compatible. :-\

The new HP laptop we got does not have drivers for XP Pro so we are advised that we are stuck with Vista. Migration to Linux being the other option although no one seems to be able to tell us if our hdwe and software would be compatible.

 
At 11/18/2008 2:42 PM, Blogger Andy said...

Sorry, but Office 2007 is one of the best software usability improvements ever. For most people it is easier to learn and more convenient. Rather than have to use menus to find things, the most common tasks are arranged in a visual manner.

Does it take some getting used to if you are used to 2003? Yes. But it's well worth it.

I think Vista is fine as well. I don't have any problems with it. Though the only improvement I notice (versus XP) is the clickable address bar in Explorer. That alone is reason enough to use Vista...

 
At 11/18/2008 8:13 PM, Anonymous Just Someone Who Likes Coffee said...

Having contributed to a lot of technical writing (at least, for a developer) learning the jargon of the program is invaluable. The "circle-menu" is called the "Office Button," for example.

Beyond that, I feel your pain. :) I've written plenty of things that have brought sadness to myself and others, and I really do try to avoid it in my work. :) (No, I don't work for MS, so please don't come after me. ;) ).

 
At 11/19/2008 6:47 PM, Anonymous Rian said...

So Office 2007 sucks because you have to make an effort to learn something new. Fantastic reasoning. You don't want to change your workflow, ergo it sucks.

God help you if you get a Mac.

But then if you did get a Mac, you'd be expecting to have to make some more effort, whereas in Microsoft-land, you're not expecting to have to make that effort, so when you do, you complain.

I'd say that it is your expectations that need adjusting and not Microsoft Office or Vista.

 
At 11/19/2008 9:26 PM, Anonymous nemov said...

My company never upgraded to Vista, but we've had Office 2007 since it came out. Office 2007 is much superior. I use Excel hours each day and it's much better than 2003.

 
At 11/20/2008 3:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Went Mac in 2005 and won't ever go back to Mr. Softee.

 
At 12/12/2008 4:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Office 2007 & Vista software is fucking shit.
Yes, I have had the misfortune to use both and that is why now I have wiped Vista off my system & I am now using a pirate version of XP and Office 2003.
I can only assume that Microsoft have got a bunch of smart-arse smug gits who code for them or they use a gang of fucking retards.
Microsoft products are really SHIT these days.

 
At 2/25/2009 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To those Office 2007 apologists, why was it necessary for you to learn a new way to do things? Did it radically improve? No, at BEST it is equal.

As an HCI researcher, I can tell you that anyone involved in developing this interface should be sacked. It is my fondest hope that they are banned from ever designing another interface.

It is not just that the ribbon is an abomination. There are many things that went from fairly intuitive to completely non-intuitive. It seems that everything I ever want to do is buried 10 levels down. One example - I create a chart. How do I add a label for the X and Y axes? (Not the text by the tick marks, the LABEL - what the x-axis is.) This used to be simple, now I can't find it at all. It is good practice to label the axis, but Microsoft has decided to make it difficult for us to do it.

I have a Mac as well. They are not perfect, either, so there's not a lot of hope there. And if you still have to use Office on the Mac - well Microsoft is really unconcerned with making that product any good.

We need a good blanket party at Microsoft to release some stress. (For a display of what a blanket party is, see Full Metal Jacket. It is not fun for the target of the party.)

 

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