Tech 04 – MS Office


Who remembers the old WordPerfect word processing software? I use to have version 5 and it ran on an MS DOS operating system. I used to use it in ‘split view’ mode, the typing happened in a frame at the top of the screen and the frame on the bottom of the screen showed the various formatting codes. It even placed periods in place of spaces so you could account for every keystroke. That was my first writing application. I worked with it for several years. I continued using it even after windows 3.1 came along. I think I was still using that application when Windows95 rolled out.

I think that after WordPerfect, I was using Windows write application to take care of most of my writing. Then there was a period of time in the mid to late nineties where I flirted with Lotus AmiPro word processing application.  I think I used it only briefly because I was using MS Word 2000 when it rolled out. That was quite the quantum leap forward. I kept using that same version of Word for more than a decade.

I think a new rollout of MS Office occurred in 2003 and 2007. But these were very expensive and my version of Office 2000 was free. I don’t recall the details, but I know I did not have to pay for my version of Office 2000. Somewhere around 2007 or 2008 I was experimenting with the OpenOffice application. I think it was a part of Sun systems foray into open source applications to rival Microsoft. I used it sporadically, but still the main application for my serious writing remained that old version of Word 2000. By the time Word 2007 was issued however, my Word 2000 application was really showing its age lines.

Despite that technology had moved on, the five hundred dollar price tag was still a bit steep for my pockets. Especially growing up in the freeware age of software. Well about a year ago I took the plunge. Microsoft changed its model for selling software from license based to subscription based. So, as I looked at the new version of MS Office designated Office 360 I found that there was a one year subscription for a copy of Office that would be licensed for up to five devices. So I could install this Office suite on both of my desktop machines, as well as my laptop. The annual subscription was about eighty dollars, well within my budget.

So, I have taken the plunge and I’ve been happy with it now for almost a year. I’m using the latest and greatest of the Office applications, and through its OneNote mobile ap component, I’m able to use my Office on all of my devices. Being able to use Office on my mobile devises let’s me do quick writing, especially my haikus on my android smartphone, and doing even more writing on my HP Slate tablet, and then doing the heavy lifting writing, like the proofing, editing, and formatting, with the Office application running on my desktop. All of these files created on the different platforms will synch with one another in the cloud storage component of the Office application.

So last year’s great leap forward has done much to liberate me as a writer. Making me more active, more productive, and more in tune with writing about my experiences since I can draft as I go. Between the smartphone, and the tablet which in carry everywhere these days, I’m never really at a loss for a place to sit and contemplate, and write.